The Only Holiday Budget You Need

Best Buys of the Summer Season

You might already know that the best time to buy summer clothes is in the winter, and vise versa. But there are a ton of other items that, when bought during June, July, and August, can save you major bucks in the long run!

Gym Membership
Though more people may be working out during the summer months to stay fit for swimsuit season, the warmer weather brings the majority of fitness fanatics’ outdoors. This means gyms try harder to recruit new members with waived sign-up fees and discounted rates.

Christmas time is another big pull for tech companies, which tend to reduce prices for the holidays, but back to school time (end of July and August) is another big season for sales on items like laptops and cell phones.

Summer Fruits and Vegetables
It’s wonderful to be able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are actually locally grown this time of year—but don’t only think of these items in the short term. Most berries and vegetables, like corn and cucumber, freeze well, so take advantage!

Where most months of the year have a major holiday, July is one of a few months where gift giving is less likely to occur. Jewelry retailers tend to reduce prices and increase sales as a result, making the summer a great time to think ahead on these purchases.

With new models arriving in September and October, stores love to reduce prices on popular furniture items in July and August to open up space by the time fall rolls around. If you’re in the market for a new sofa, summer is an opportune time to buy.

Basic Budgeting Tips to Get You Started

Let’s face it—we could all do better with budgeting. Whether you just splurged on a pair of jeans you really didn’t need, or eat out one too many nights a week, money goes faster than you think. Those daily lattes add up, after all. If you’re new to budgeting, it can seem like an overwhelming territory to navigate. These tips keep it simple so you can tackle this responsibility with ease.

Figure out what your monthly expenses are.

I’ve played the game before of adding things up in my head and coming up with an arbitrary number of how much I spend a month. But sitting down and actually looking at your bank statements to see what you’re spending is another story. Break it down into the various categories you’re spending in so you can see where it is you can cut back.

Set goals.

Is there a trip you’re saving up for? Are you trying to make your own meals instead of eating out as much? Have you had your eye on a designer purse for a while? Everyone has something that they want to save up for, so set goals for yourself! This will create an incentive for when you notice yourself spending frivolously.

Don’t spend more than you make.

This sounds like a no brainer, but believe it or not, 43 percent of Americans spend more than they make on a monthly basis. That’s a pretty startling number, and you don’t want to be a part of it. Only put on credit what you can afford.

Actually stick to your budget.

We’re only human, and we all have slip-ups. But don’t let one indulgent extra-large latte on a crappy Monday turn into a daily ritual—before you know it, the budget is out the window. Set reminders on your phone or have a trusty friend hold you accountable so you remember to stick to your monetary goals.

Put the extra money into savings.

Out of sight, out of mind—that’s how I view my savings account. I don’t view the money in my savings as spendable. I see it as money that will go towards a big-ticket item or a once-in-a-lifetime trip down the line.

There are countless other budgeting tips, but stick to these basics and you’ll be off to a great start. Happy saving!

Don’t Make These Common Home Buying Mistakes

When you are looking to buy a home, there isn’t wiggle room to forget or overlook any part of the process. Here are a few common mistakes that can easily be avoided.

Create a Budget
Make sure before even beginning the home buying process, you are aware of how much you are able to spend, how much you plan on saving, and your credit score. You never want to put yourself in a position where you are unable to spend what you thought you could. Set a budget for yourself and have a goal for saving.

Underestimating costs
Think beyond the down payment. There are going to be a lot of different factors you will need to take into account when it comes to saving—if something in the home needs repair, if you plan on painting, if you have any extra fees based on location. These are questions to think about, and come up with a reasonable solution, too, so you don’t have to panic about it later.

What you need vs. what you want
Make a list of what you must have as a part of your future home and what’s more of a “want.” You won’t always be able to hit every aspect on your list of wants, but make sure things that are not flexible once you buy, like location, are things you are satisfied with. If you want a deck and your home lacks one, that’s always something you can add on in the future.

What’s the neighborhood like
Its super important to take your lifestyle into account when it comes to the atmosphere in your neighborhood. Do you walk your dog? Does the neighborhood have sidewalks? Dog friendly parks nearby? Do you tend to enjoy rural or suburban areas more? Don’t settle in an area that you are not comfortable with.

Honesty with your agent
Sometimes it’s hard to lay everything out about your personal life in terms of needs and financial stability—which is why it important to be honest with your agent. Don’t try and overestimate your budget, speak up if you don’t like something, and don’t settle. This is one of the most important decisions of your life. If you are not completely honest, you are going to struggle or have to deal with the consequences somewhere down the road.

Going in without backup
Agents exist for a reason– they have access and experience in buying homes that you probably do not. You are more likely than not going to be extremely stressed–which can lead to rash decisions. Let an agent give you peace of mind, walk you through each step of the home buying process, and make your life a lot easier.

The Search for the Perfect Water Filter

Don’t spend money on just any water filter, find the one that fits your lifestyle by utilizing the following tips.

Know the water quality in your area

Water quality varies by state and region so it’s important to do an area specific search to find the best method for you. There are a few easy ways to find out what the water quality is like in your area; if you are looking for immediate answers, call the health department. If you are looking for results more specific to just your home, you can buy an easy water filtration test to do yourself.

How much you are willing to spend?

Whether you are interested in a pitcher, faucet attachment, or for the entire house, the price range for these products can vary heavily. You are going to want to be mindful of your budget, while ensuring you find a suitable water filter. Decide whether or not you are interested in treating your entire home or just your drinking water. Many people tend to choose both when it comes to the quality in their home, but maybe start with drinking water if your budget is not super flexible.

Know the purification process

Here are a few forms of purification you are likely to come across:

Reverse osmosis is a process typically used for inorganic chemicals such as salts, metals, minerals, and asbestos. Unlike activated carbon, reverse osmosis does remove lead. There are typically four stages of this process.

Activated carbon is typically common for ridding chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, radon, and trihalomethanes. Some cons to be mindful of would be that not all carbon filters get rid of lead, something you definitely do not want to sneak its way into your water supply. This type of filter may be especially useful for those having issues with the taste of their water supply.

Ultra-violet has long been proven to kill 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses, but usually is not the type of filtration system that stands alone. A plus side to a UV filtration system is that it is typically low maintenance.

Make sure you are investing in the water quality your home needs by utilizing these tips!