Is Home Ownership Right for Everyone?

Often times you hear of home ownership referred to as the American dream but this isn’t always necessarily the case. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether to buy your first home or to continue renting. When living expenses consume a considerable portion of most people’s income, it is a good idea to put a lot of thought into the decision and where your money is ultimately going. Here are a few factors to consider before possibly making the leap into home ownership.

1. Low Credit Score

Generally speaking it is said that a score below a 620, will not be helpful to you in buying your first home. If you are below this number, it is probably best to spend the next year or so making a conscious effort to rebuild your score. Delaying the purchase of your first home to do so can end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars in the long term on interest alone.

2. Job Stability or Relocation

Being laid off is usually not something you can anticipate unless your employer is extremely transparent. If you don’t have an emergency fund accumulated in order to make at least the approximate payment of your anticipated mortgage, you probably are not ready to make the leap into home ownership. Most lenders require that you have at least three months of reserves for a reason.

Additionally, even if you have or plan to voluntarily leave your current employer you may have a difficult time securing a mortgage. Lenders like to see a history of employment, if not with the same company, than at least in the same industry. Other factors to consider is how mobile you are. If you are at high risk for being relocated or do not intend to stay in the house for a considerable amount of time, you could very well lose money in the case of a sale. A general rule of thumb is that your property needs to appreciate at least 10% in order to avoid losing money in a sale.

3. Maintenance fund

A home is a continuous project that requires time and money to upkeep. It is always a good idea to have a home inspected before closing on it, but even then, not all of the problems and potential problems are evident. In addition to an emergency fund, it is recommended to have a reserve fund of at least 5% of the purchase price of the home in order to cover maintenance and upkeep. Furthermore, not everyone wants or knows how to maintain a property. Many people prefer to rent in order to have the benefits of a house without the risk of ownership.

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Small Ways to Save Money Around the House

When it comes to running your household, expenses can really add up. Finding creative or efficient ways to continue living the way you are and still save money can be a lifestyle change that is not only easy, but can also become quite addictive. Here are some simple ways to save a little money around the house without sacrificing your quality of life.

Conserve Energy

It is easy to forget to turn off the light switch when leaving the house, but this simple practice alone can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. If you are running on old appliances, you may consider swapping them out for energy efficient devices. There are many other devices available that help save energy by killing the source of power from the house to the appliance. This is useful for many appliances that use electricity even when they are not powered on .

Opt in to the Bundle Plan
Many utility companies, offer ways to save money by bundling your services. Some examples of this are your telephone, cable, and phone bills. Another good source of savings is bundling your car, home, and life insurance.

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Creative Meal Planning on Vacation

I hate meal planning in general, but doing so when on vacation just seems cruel. The tricky part is that most people are on a budget when they travel, so even though we get tempted to throw caution to the wind, and buy everything in sight. I’m like that. I get tempted to try all sorts of local cuisine when I’m travelling. That doesn’t do much for the budget that I had set.

But, eating on a budget doesn’t have to be boring. No, you don’t have to have a cooler full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can find inexpensive, delicious alternatives with a bit of pre-planning and some imagination.

 

Find where the locals eat

Let’s face it, the locals don’t alway dine at 5 Star restaurants. They also know where the hidden gems are and what to get where. One of the tricks I’ve learned is to ask people I meet in coffee shops where their favorite street food vendor is. They are more than to happy to share, and I get to eat something that I normally wouldn’t have found out about.

Do Your Homework

If you’re too shy to ask the locals, or street food isn’t your thing, make sure you do your research and find out if there are deals going where you’re visiting. I always make sure I consult the locals when I travel, but sometimes there is a language barrier. Sometime the local tourist website has deals/promotions for local restaurants. You can find all sorts of stuff online. Don’t forget to check your credit card offers just in case they have something for your next vacation.

 

all inclusive vacations

Choose an All-Inclusive Vacation Package

 

You all know my love for all- inclusive package. I mean it’s fool proof. You pay one amount, and you get all the food, and liquor you could ever want in that week. The only suggestion I would make here is to read the reviews before you pick a resort just based on price. I have a steel stomach so I can normally eat anything, but there have been resorts where I’ve just eaten fries, and fruits for the week. On the bright side, I lost weight on vacation which is something unheard of.

 

Look for Food Festivals

Most of the major cities have multiple food festivals throughout the year. I’ve been to 4 in Toronto this year already. You can find the info on google, or better yet- Twitter!

 

Find a Kitchen.

One of my favorite places to stay in is a bed and breakfast. Well, actually, anything with breakfast but you get the drift. Bed and breakfasts normally feed you enough that you don’t have to hunt for an early lunch.

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