First Time Moving Out TIps

First Time Moving Out – Top Tips

It’s a big day in anyone’s life when they move into their first apartment. However, no one just up and one day moves into one. It takes a lot of strategic pre-planning and budgeting because if all goes well, you’re establishing good credit. If it doesn’t, late rent or an eviction is something that can stay with you for years to come. That’s not to scare you. It’s simply to encourage you to do as much preparing as you can so that you can enjoy your first apartment with total peace and no regrets.

Here Are The Top Five Tips For Your First Time Moving Out:

Check Your Credit

9.5 times out of 10, the person that you’re going to want to rent from is going to check your credit and so you might as well before they do. There is a bit of a catch twenty-two here. If this is your first time moving out into an apartment, this might also reflect the fact that you don’t have a lot of past credit history and so while you don’t have any “bad” credit, no credit can be looked upon as being something similar. If this is the case, you can build your credit by getting a prepaid credit card, making purchases and paying them off immediately. You might also want to get a couple of bills in your name to establish payment history as well. However, if time is of the essence, there are landlords that do show some mercy in these matters. They’re usually not commercial property companies, but personal owners. Craigslist is a good place to start looking for people who are willing to work with you even if your credit is not the best (or the most active). Be prepared to pay a steeper security deposit (in most cases), though.

Plan a Budget

Creating a budget will help reduce your stress by making sure you’re financial ready for your first time moving out.  If this is your first apartment, then this is probably your first time paying for a series of monthly bills. Water, electricity, cable and food are not luxuries, they are necessities. This means that you have to make sure that you allot enough every month to cover these expenses. When it comes to the electricity, bear in mind that in extreme cold or heat, the bill will fluctuate (you actually might want to put aside $100 extra bucks in the summer and winter months to cover it).

Shop Around

Like pretty much everything else in this world with a price tag, apartments also have deals going on. Therefore, it’s best to not just go with the first one that catches your eye or works within your budget. If you’ve decided that you want to check out some Upper West Side apartments for rent, do your research: which ones have the most amenities, how much is the security deposit, which ones are close to subway or bus routes as well as cleaners and grocery stores? Also, if you can, try and speak with a tenant or two to get an understanding on what the noise levels are like and if there is staff available to tend to the property in a timely manner. Never look for an apartment like you don’t have options. You always do.

Check Your Lease (and check it twice)

There are a lot of people who find out some things the hard way about their rental agreement because they didn’t read the fine print. For instance, if you are going with a private renter and the lease says “as is”, this means that repairs that aren’t major, they are not liable for (so also do a thorough inspection of the property that you’re renting before signing). Another thing to review is if rent is due on the last day of the month or the first and how much grace you are given to actually turn it in (some places give 5, others may give as much as 10). And, if you’re thinking it’s a place where you’ll want to stay for a while, also be sure to check out what it says about renewing your lease. Plus, if you want to leave after a year, get some clarity on when your security deposit will be refunded to you (something that a lot of people forget about discussing).

Don’t Pay Out-of-Pocket For Repairs

One of the biggest differences between paying rent and paying a mortgage is that when you’re renting property, it doesn’t belong to you. So, when the refrigerator breaks down, the faucets stop working or there are electrical or plumbing issues, they are not your (financial) concern; they are your landlord’s. My first time moving out, I made the mistake of paying for repairs out of pocket.  When there is an issue with your place, notify your landlord. If it’s dire, most state tenant laws make it mandatory that a landlord check out the problem within 24 hours with up to a few days to make the repair. Don’t allow your landlords to cause you to think that you must pocket the expenses. At the very least (with a private owner), work out an arrangement where if you do pay for it (keep all receipts), they will either reimburse you or take it out of the next month’s rent.

Being prepared for your first time moving out will help make this a great experience!

ways to save money on a tight budget

Quick & Painless Ways to Start Saving Money Regardless of Income Level

Learning to save money is not easy for everyone. Let’s face it; we’re not all hardwired to love saving money. In a society that is mostly consumer driven, it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people that they need to save money when they really want the latest and greatest new HDTV.

People are taking vacations and buying new cars when they can barely afford to pay their electric bills. It just doesn’t make sense logically, but when you look at it from the way that parents are training their kids it only makes sense. The fact is that we all need to be saving money no matter what our income level is.

Even if you only make $25,000 a year, you need to be living below your means enough to be able to put that money in an emergency fund. Most experts recommend that you have at least a 6 to 9 month emergency fund in place in case life happens. But how do you save when you feel like your income is barely enough to cover your current expenses?

Take Care of Debt First

The first thing that you have to do is start to kill off any debt that you have. You may have to start doing some things on the side to
pay your debt down faster.

When you have bills hanging over your head, you’re never going to be able to save enough money to matter. Living with debt is one surefire way of experiencing “life” in the least enjoyable way.

In order to knock off your debt quickly, think of doing things like having a garage sale or selling items in an online auction. Even doing small things like this from time to time will help you knock some of your debt off so that you can start putting more money toward savings.

You might want to also speak with some of your credit card companies to see if you can settle on some of your credit card debt. If you owe $10,000 on a credit card, but you only make $20,000 a year then it’s obvious you’re never going to pay their credit card off.

Some creditors might be willing to make a deal with you, especially if you find yourself getting behind.

Savings Goals to Give You Direction

You also need to set some goals for your savings plan. What are you saving for exactly? Perhaps you’re saving for the down payment on your first home or for a vacation. Figure out how much you need to put back each week or month to meet your goals.

However, don’t just save for things that are tangible. Make sure that you’re saving for your future, your retirement, your kid’s college funds, etc.

Give yourself a time-frame in which you would like to make your financial goals. The best way to do that is set some short-term goals along with a long-term one. This will allow you to have some attainable goals along the way so that you’re not discouraged.

Think about how much you need to save out of each paycheck so that you can meet these goals. A good way to figure out how much are spending is to keep track of all your daily expenses. Write down how much you spend on gas, eating out, car payments, your cable bill, utilities, entertainment, etc.

Often, when people see how much money they’re throwing away on unimportant things, it makes it very easy to start saving.

Final Thoughts on Saving

No matter what income level you’re at right now, you can save money. It may be a matter of trimming your expenses, but you have to decide what your priorities are and what’s most important to you.

If you want to purchase a home, it might not be quite as important to you to go clothes shopping all the time or get your hair done on a regular basis. If you make the sacrifices now, your savings account will thank you for it.

Saving Money For Travel

Saving Money For Travel Tips

Many families take a vacation as a reward for working hard and making it through the preceding months. Vacations create unique memories that everyone will share for years to come. Coming up with the money for a trip is not always easy. There are five budgeting tips that any family can use when saving money for travel.

1. Create A Savings Account

Creating a separate savings account for vacation money will help in a number of ways. It allows families to see the actual amount of money saved without having to deduct current expenses. A separate account also makes it harder to access the savings. This reduces the chances that it will be used for an impulse purchase. A dedicated savings account is useful because it is safe and separate from the main accounts used every day. Fees or other charges on a checking account will not affect the vacation savings.

2. Temporarily Eliminate Extras

A vacation is a time to relax and to have fun. One way to save money for a trip is to reduce the extra services in a home temporarily. Sacrificing a little entertainment or fun while saving will make the vacation much more enjoyable. Some extra services that could be cancelled include premium cable channels, housekeeping and expensive cell phone perks that do not affect service. These services can be reactivated after the vacation. The money from the cancelled services can be put directly into the savings account each week or month.

3. Lower Credit Card Payments

One way to help save money is to try to lower credit card payments before the vacation. Lowering interest rates will reduce monthly spending on bills. Credit card companies will sometimes lower rates for good customers who call and negotiate. This is not always possible for people with credit problems. A reputable credit repair service can often fix credit history problems quickly. This can make it possible to negotiate with a credit card company for lower rates.

4. Reduce Vacation Costs

An alternate way to help save money for a vacation is to lower the cost of the trip. This will make each dollar saved more valuable. Reducing the cost of a vacation can take some work. It is helpful to check regularly if there are new deals or discounts available. Finding less expensive hotel rooms or airfare will make it easier to save and will give the family more spending money once the vacation starts.

5. Create And Follow A Budget

The most effective way to save money for a vacation is to create a budget and then follow it as closely as possible. The budget should account for food, gas and other spending. Unnecessary expenses like eating out should be removed from the budget. All members of the family should resist spending money that is not listed in the budget. A good budget will predict exactly how much can be saved each week. It also shows expenses that could be reduced.

5 Steps For an Effective Holiday Budget

5 Steps to Make an Effective Holiday Budget

“Set a gift budget” is often the top suggestion in “smart spending for the holidays”-type articles.  I agree that it belongs at the top, but exactly what does setting a budget for the Holidays and/or Christmas mean?  Well, it’s far more than a personal pep talk such as, “I’m going to take it easier this year on gifts.”  No, setting a budget for Christmas means evaluating your finances and determining exactly how much you can spend and still remain on solid financial footing.  And while I believe most people intuitively understand that (whether they choose do it or not), it often doesn’t work.  Why?  Christmas budgets generally don’t go far enough down into the realities of holiday spending.  So if you’ve had trouble with Christmas spending in the past and you’re searching for a better way to keep it under control then I recommend the following holiday budgeting process.

Step #1 – Determine how much you have to spend

As stated above, the first step is to evaluate your finances and determine exactly how much you have to spend for the holidays.  Remember to think beyond gifts.  For example, depending on your Christmas traditions you might need to take into account getting a Christmas tree, decorations, food for a holiday meal, setting aside money for special donations, etc.

Note that if you’re already disciplined and organized enough to stay within your overall budget then you don’t have to go any further than this step (though I still recommend reading on as you may find these tips helpful).  If, however, you believe that you’ll struggle to stay within budget managing a lump sum then follow the additional steps below to bring your holiday spending under control.

Step #2 – Make a list of everyone you would like to get a gift

Let me refine this a little bit: make a list of everyone you would realistically like to get a gift.  Of course a list of everyone that you would like to get a gift would be much longer, but unless you’re rolling in money your wallet will never be able to completely afford what you’re heart would like it to.  So make out your Christmas list, but don’t go completely overboard.

Step #3 – Determine how much you plan to spend for each person

Estimate by name how much money you think you would have to spend in order to get each person on your list the kind of gift that you would like.  Once you’re down then total up the individual amounts.

Step #4 – Rework who you will buy for and how much you will spend until your budget is in balance

Compare the total you came up with in Step #3 to the total amount you have to spend on Christmas gifts that you figured out in Step #1.  If you’re at or below budget then you can go ahead and skip to Step #5.  If, however, you’re over budget then you have the following 3 options to lower your Christmas spending.

  1. You can buy fewer gifts for the people on your list (e.g. instead of getting a child 4 gifts you could get them 3).
  2. You can buy gifts for fewer people, i.e. you can drop some people from your list (some acquaintances, more distant relations, etc.).
  3. You can spend less money per gift for the people on your list (by thinking ahead, by being creative, or by flat out getting less elaborate gifts).

That’s it – those are the dials you can turn in order to take control of your Christmas spending.  So apply the savings methods you wish to employ, add up the new total and once again compare it to the overall amount you have to spend.  Repeat the process until your budget is in balance.

Step #5 – Stay disciplined as you shop by sticking to your plan

Once you have done all of the above then comes the most important thing of all: you need to actually stick to your plan when doing your Christmas shopping.  That doesn’t mean that you have to be ridiculously rigid and inflexible as you’re buying.  For example, if you see the perfect gift for someone and it’s a little over budget then it’s okay to get it and long as you make sure that you pay a little less for someone else’s gift.  In short, you don’t have to follow your holiday budget to the letter, but you do need to maintain a sense of discipline in following your plan.

Example – Applying Holiday Budgeting Principles

Here’s an example of how to apply the holiday budgeting principles outlined above.

Step #1 – After evaluating your finances you determine that you have $500 to spend on Christmas gifts.

Step #2 – Here is a list of the people you would like to buy gifts for.

Step #3 – Here is what you feel you would need to spend by person to get each person on your list the kind of Christmas gift that you would like to.

Original Holiday Budget

Step #4 – After looking over your Christmas list you determine that the amount you want to spend on gifts ($650 – see Step $3) is $150 less than the amount you have to spend ($500 – see Step #1).  So how can you balance your holiday budget?  After talking to the families of your brother and sister it turns out that they are having similar struggles.  As a result, your families jointly decide on the following:

  • The adults in your brother and sister’s families agree not to buy for each other.
  • You work out a plan to buy group gifts for your nieces and nephews rather than for each individual child.
  • You decide to spend a little less on your parents and in-laws.
  • Finally, you and your spouse decide to spend a little less than each other.

Now your holiday budget looks like this.

Revised Holiday Budget

Congratulations, you now have your holiday budget under control!  Now all you need to do is limit your gift buying to the people on your list and keep your purchases within the amounts you have set.

Here is more information budgeting.

Top 5 Frugal Living Tips – Living On A Budget

Why pick a frugal life?  Most people are now deferring becoming parents and instead opt for getting a mortgage, traveling and preparing for retirement.  For some of us it’s about taking charge of our personal finance in order to achieving financial freedom.  This means being in a financial situation where we aren’t stressing every day about how we are going to pay the monthly bills. 

How Do You Start The Frugal Lifestyle?

Well, if you’re reading this for the first time scratching your head and pondering this very question understand that you’re not the first.  You most certainly won’t be the last couple to face this dilemma. It’s a big decision and you are probably already adding up all the creature comforts (the daily latte, magazine subscriptions, 2-door coupe) that are going to be side-lined when you start on your frugal living path.

By living a frugal lifestyle it doesn’t mean you can’t spend money and still enjoy the things you use to.  Spending money is the easiest and biggest way to have an impact on your free cash flow.  Now, reducing the working hours of one partner can free up some more lifestyle choices as well.  Holidays are easier to juggle (albeit harder to pay for), socializing time is freed up and odd jobs around the house can be accomplished without spending weekends rushing around.

If you planning on living on one income in the near future, or want to achieve financial independence, you might want to peruse the 5 frugal living tips. 

5  Living Frugal Tips

Frugal Living Tips Budget
Address Your Spending Budget

Procrastinate in creating a budget will only mean delayed, and harder, results of limited spending. You can’t keep the same spending habits when your family income goes from 100K to 50K. Some immediate savings are going to come from work-related expenses for the partner who has left the workforce such as parking, transport fees, fuel, cafe lunches etc. Other areas that might need to be pruned are non-essential items such as the weekly manicure, daily newspaper, cable-TV subscription.  Look at your cell phone bill and see if there are services you are not using or if there’s a cheaper plan that can still meet your needs..  It may seem like you’re giving up a lot but in essence your just removing what you filled your double income up with. 

Consolidate Any Loans or Credit Cards

Improve Your Credit In 5 Easy Steps

Read How To Improve Your Credit In 5 Easy Steps

This is an area where you can make huge immediate savings.  Your credit score will have a big impact on how much savings you achieve.  If your mortgage length is 25 years try extending it over a 30 year time span. Of course you will end up paying more interest but it is better to have a mortgage that is achievable than default on one that’s not. Provided you don’t fix the interest rate you can supplement payments as and when you receive extra money.  In the long run this will save you money and can help you on a path to becoming debt free.

Buying in Bulk & Thinking Ahead

This seems like one of the most obvious frugal living tips, but the mind set of most individuals is well it’s only $1… that’s not going to make a difference. Let’s say you purchase two diet cokes every day at work from the vending machine for $1 each. We’ll assume you work 5 days a week for the whole year (260 days). You’re spending $520 a year on diet coke from the vending machine. Now assume you purchase the diet coke from the grocery store when it’s on sale for $4 for a 12 pack. Now you’re average price per diet coke is $.25, so you’re spending $130 annual. You’d save yourself $390 a year. Being prepared and buying in bulk is one of the best frugal living tips, since it doesn’t impact your life style. This can also help individuals stop impulse buying.

Find Supplemental Income Sources

There are so many opportunities today for stay-at-home moms or dads. Be creative and use your time well. You can make extra income from home, even an extra $50 per week can help out the family budget.  It might not be a lot of money, but it’s an extra $2,600 a year.

Increase Your Salary Insurance

The risk losing one salary while both partners are working isn’t too detrimental. This should only be considered if you’re only living on one income. Salary Insurance protects the main income in case of death, disablement or if the breadwinner has contracted a terminal illness. Work related accident insurance is covered by your employment (unless self-employed) but Salary Insurance protects against things you can’t.

Make some wise choices and frugal living on one income shouldn’t be too hard. Ignore the fact that your lifestyle will need to change and you will find that problems will continue to mount regardless of your nonchalance.