Homebuying 101: Understanding Your First Mortgage

For some, becoming a homeowner is often thought of as a rite of passage into adulthood. For others, it’s an investment opportunity by becoming a landlord or reselling later at a higher price. Buying a house can give you the chance to put down roots, improve your credit and build a home for your family. But it can be a complex process that typically requires applying for a home loan known as a mortgage. Before you begin the mortgage application process, it’s important to understand how mortgages work and what you can do to set yourself up for success.

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10 Steps To Manage Your Budget After Graduation

So, you’ve just graduated, and you’ve been thrown into the real world. There are no more student loans, and you’ve (more than likely) started earning your first, full-time wage.

As exciting as this is, it can be extremely overwhelming and can exasperate any symptoms of PMDD you might be experiencing one month, making socializing or maintaining relationships even harder.

One of the main aspects that causes so much stress is money problems. For many new graduates, the thought of budgeting, paying bills or saving money for bigger things is totally foreign.

Firstly, remember you’re not alone. Every graduate is in the same boat, and don’t worry; it isn’t sinking. It’s keeping afloat, and you’re doing fine.

Here are our top tips for managing your budget after our graduate.

Step one — Get organized

The first step is to sort out all your finances, incomings and outgoings completely. This means, getting a hold of all your paperwork. The good news (if you’re much handier on a computer) is; a lot of paperwork is now completely paperless, so you can manage everything from your laptop or phone.

We recommend creating folders in your inbox and on your desktop, setting up a spreadsheet and buying a folder for all your bills.

This way, if you need to double check something, you know exactly where it is.

A little bit of organization makes everything a lot less stressful. Dedicate a bit of your time to doing this.

Step two — Make a budget

You can’t manage a budget if you don’t have one, that’s a fact. So, perhaps the most important step in this list is actually to create a budget.

This might be the first ever time you’ve had to do this, but we promise it’s easy.

The first step is to establish your fixed costs. These will include things like rent, utilities, and your cell phone bill. To create a budget note down how much will be going into your bank and all the parts which will definitely be coming out.

Remember, don’t focus this budget just on your wage. Make sure it’s based on your take-home pay. Taxes and health-care costs might just shock you a little bit.

Doing this will give you a clear outlook on your fixed budget. However, we all know our money goes to other areas. Sometimes we treat ourselves, sometimes there’s a party, and other times there’s a holiday planned. Obviously, this is fine, just plan for them.

Make sure you plan the Starbuck’s coffee that you’ll pick up, or set yourself a limit to how much money you can spend on clothes.

If you can, try to have some money left over. Every last penny of your take-home pay doesn’t have to be spent. Try to have a little bit left over, this will help you on a rainy day, or will help you on a sunny holiday day — your choice.

Step three — Make sure you open the right accounts

You’ll need to open a bank account, and a savings account. Look into all the options, see which one has the best deals. For example, some will offer lower fees and high-interest rates.

Some banks even offer you sign-up bonuses which will give you an extra $100 just to open an account with them.

You might also want to open a credit card. We know, it’s super scary. A credit card seems to scream “spend more money,” but that’s not the case. It will help you get a good credit score, ultimately meaning you’ll pay less every month.

Credit scores vary from 300 to 850, with 20.7% of Americans holding a credit score above 800. With a high credit score, you will pay no interest when you carry a credit card balance; you’ll qualify for lower interest rates on loans like mortgages and auto loans. You’ll also be much more likely to have loans approved for.

Be smart with your credit card, and always pay it off. Only use it on items that you know you can pay off. You can also find credit cards that offer you deals like cash rebates and airline miles.

Step four — Get insurance

Most people forget to protect themselves in emergencies, which ultimately ends up costing them so much money in the long run. You’ll need protection on cars, health and renters insurance.

The Affordable Care Act means that you will have to pay a tax penalty if you don’t have medical coverage. As for cars and your home, you might just want to have insurance set up just in case something happens.

You can never be over-prepared, especially when it comes to money. Look into insurance that will work well for you. Consider what you have, and what you need to protect.

Perhaps you have expensive computer equipment or family jewelry. Some plans will cover personal property; some just cover maintenance issues.

You can also look into discounts when bundling your insurance packages together.

Step five — Cancel your subscriptions

Have you checked your monthly outgoings properly? Have you got subscriptions for Spotify, Apple Music, Netflix, Amazon Prime, a Newspaper or magazine? Are there any that you can cancel?

Canceling one or two of these could save you hundreds every year. We will say, don’t look at it in this way. Don’t think about it as money you can spend on something else, put it into your savings account instead — every little helps.

Step six — Consider surprise expenses

When people plan their budget, they tend to make it as high as possible. For instance, they’ll set everything super low and then get disappointed when they can’t follow their budget.

We say be lenient, plan in big food shops, nights out, and takeaways. This way, it’ll be easier to follow and actually do better with.

One thing you must also factor in is surprise expenses. Everything might be going swimmingly, and then you’re hit with a surprise bill, or you lose your job, or your car breaks down.

Of course, we all hope that none of these things will ever happen, but they do, and it’s best to be in a comfortable situation.

A general rule of thumb is to be prepared for six months, at least then you’ll have money available for medical bills or car repair. Less stress is always positive.

Step seven — Your student loan

When you graduate and get a job, you should look into ways to pay off your student loan. You have multiple options available here, and you should look into all of them and find the best one for you. You can choose:

  • 10-year term with a fixed payment plan
  • 25-year term with a payment plan that changes with your wage

Paying off your student loan isn’t as stressful as you might have been led to believe, but it’s best to get it sorted and out of the way.

Step eight — Utilize apps and services

We all live on our phones, so, utilize that. There are so many amazing apps that you can use to your benefit now, that will aid you in keeping to your budget. Here are a few of our favorites:

Mint— offer an online budget planner, giving you an overall look of your bank accounts, credit cards, and bills. Putting everything right there in front of you.

Pocket Guard— we particularly like how this one categorizes all our expenses, subscriptions and bills into graphs and tabs. There’s something about color and budgeting that makes it so much easier.

CountAbout — This is a little bit different as it allows you to create a daily log, keeping track of every day’s expenses. This helps you to budget more day-to-day rather than month-to-month.

An honorable mention has to go to MoneyBox; an app made directly for millennials to help them with investing. It makes it as easy as possible and is a great way to help with money after graduating.

Step nine — Cancel subscriptions, keep what you need

After graduation, people tend to forget to cancel many student-specific subscriptions, which can often cause some budget leaks. Review all of your subscriptions services and cancel whatever feels unnecessary. Also, don’t forget to write a detailed review of the essay writing services you’ve been using throughout your student years.

Step ten — Plan for retirement

We know, it seems way too early to plan for retirement. Why should you start planning for something that will only happen decades later? Well, for yourself.

The sooner you start planning for retirement, the more money you will have in the future. Someday, an old version of you will look back at younger you and thank you.

Just put as much money as you can into a retirement fund, and you’ll see the money pile up. It might be a long way off, but that just means you can more time to save up a ton of money. Embrace it.

Conclusion

Budgeting doesn’t have to be a horrible task. In fact, it can be fun and ease stress in your life.

Having a well-thought-out budget and your incomings and outgoings carefully laid out will eliminate most of your worries and uncertainty about money.

Not to mention, having a plan for rainy days and your retirement will make you feel much more at ease, and excited for the future. We hope these little, easy tips help you in your graduate life.

3 Ways You Can Save Money at the Dentist

Dr. David Hudnall

Proper dental care is essential to one’s overall health and well-being. However, the cost of dental care is high which can make it difficult for people to receive the care they may need. It’s recommended that you visit a dentist once every six months for routine cleanings and examinations. Regular visits are the best way to prevent dental emergencies and save you money. However, if you do experience a dental emergency, you can contact a 24-hour dental network to schedule care. I have been practicing dentistry for more than 18 years and know that the cost of dental care can turn people away. However, it’s important to keep you healthy and there are many ways you can save money at the dentist. Here are the best ways you can save money at your dental visits

  1. Dental Insurance

Having dental insurance is the best way to save money on dental care, if available. Depending on where you work, there may be dental coverage available so be sure to sign up. Approximately 27 percent of adults between the ages of 21 and 64 have dental coverage, however, only 34 percent of seniors have a dental coverage plan. Dental insurance can save you a lot of money as most plans will pay for exams, x-rays, and cleanings as well as some procedures such as fillings and crowns.

Another way to receive coverage for dental care is through the Affordable Care Act. Some plans available will offer dental coverage. You may also be eligible for coverage through the Departments of Veterans Affairs or Medicaid.

  1. Dental Savings Plans

Dental savings plans are another option for saving money on dental care and procedures. While they may not be as comprehensive as an insurance plan, they’re a good option if somebody cannot get dental coverage. With dental savings plans, you pay an annual fee that ranges from $80-$200. This provides you with access to a large network of dentists who offer discounts up to 50 percent of care for members.

  1. University Dental Schools

When you receive care from a university dental school, a student will be working alongside a faculty member to provide you with cleanings, x-rays, exams, and basic procedures. Services will often be offered at little to no cost. Plus, there are at least two dental schools in every state in the United States, making it affordable and accessible for you to receive care. If visiting a standard dental office to receive care is too expensive for you, scheduling an appointment with a university dental school could be a great alternative.

Dental care is essential to one’s overall health. Sometimes, the costs can be daunting but don’t let the price of dental care keep you from receiving care. Visiting the dentist routinely for cleanings and exams will save you money in the long run, as they will prevent serious dental emergencies. Having a good dental care routine at home will also help prevent serious dental conditions and will save you money in the long run. Making dental care a priority is important for your well-being so don’t let the costs turn you away.

5 Savvy Tips on How to Save Money with Coupons and Vouchers

Are you one of the 75% of people using coupons these days? These money-saving miracles benefit both your wallet and even the companies that offer them. So why not start now?

It seems overwhelming at first, but after you’ve done it a couple of times, it’ll become second nature.

Down below are some of the best tips on how to save money with coupons. Keep reading to get started!

1. Seek Out Reliable Sources

There are many different companies collecting coupons for people’s convenience. The trouble is finding the ones that are a notch above the rest. Poor websites list expired codes that only end up wasting your time and effort and no one wants that.

Take some time to research a source before delving into their coupons and vouchers. Read reviews about the website to see what other people experienced through them. The best sources give useful information alongside their codes and vouchers.

For example, one reliable source shares this helpful post to get you the most out of your glasses purchases.

2. Compare Competitors

It’s a beginner’s mistake to settle on one coupon without ever looking for something better. All companies are competitors to one another, so use that to your advantage.

Chances are good that you’ll find an even better coupon or voucher for the exact same purchase. It’s far better to take a little extra time to scope out all possible avenues before settling on the right coupon.

3. Act Fast

If there’s a good coupon available, other coupon hunters will want those savings as well. If you wait too long to use that special offer, the item won’t be there by the time you go shopping. Or worse, the offer expires before you have the chance to use it.

Once you find the coupon that you want, don’t idle too long. Better to use it and get the benefits right away without risking the chance of losing out on those savings.

4. Be Mindful of Restrictions

Vouchers and coupons are great assets for anyone on a budget, but they do still come with some restrictions. It might require the purchase of extra items before the coupon kicks in. Or it tells you the maximum units you’re allowed before the deal stops working.

Reading the fine print ensures you won’t run into any trouble when it’s time to check out.

5. Make Use of Free Shipping

Getting free shipping on top of the savings from your coupons is like finding hidden treasure. Most online stores offer free shipping in one capacity or another.

Most stores give free shipping after you’ve spent a certain amount, while others offer it to members only. Some offer it for a limited time.

Before using up your coupons, check out the shipping rates of the store. Sometimes it works out better for your wallet to find one with free shipping and skip the coupon.

Learning How to Save Money with Coupons is Easier Than Ever

With the help of the tips above, you’ll never have to wonder how to save money with coupons again. All it takes is a little planning ahead and you’re good to go.

Even if you don’t want to become a coupon-using master, these tips are still great for less frequent purchases. Sometimes a little extra cash makes all the difference.

Looking for even more money-saving inspiration? Find out the secrets to becoming a billionaire!