Wanda J. Hall - Westford Real Estate



Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 12/11/2017

For many of us, it can seem like our paychecks are gone before we even get a chance to see them. With seemingly endless bills and expenses, both recurring and unforeseen, saving up for a house is a daunting task.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prepare yourself for those intimidating down payments and many closing costs.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through how you can start saving for a home right this moment. After all, every day is another day you could be contributing to your savings and taking another step closer to owning your own home.

Use a Budgeting Tool

The first step to saving and determining how much you can save is to start budgeting. Many people hear the term “budget” and get nervous thinking they’ll have to start counting the number of coffees they buy. However, there are less anxiety-inducing ways to budget.

From your phone, tablet, or computer you have access to a large number of free budgeting tools. Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and PocketGuard are three of the top budgeting tools that will get you started.

With apps that integrate with your bank accounts and loan balances,  there is little work required on your part. Just set an amount to save each week or month, and direct the funds into your savings account.

Set up a dedicated savings account

Speaking of savings accounts--now is a great time to set up a new one. It’s almost always free to open a new account with your bank. What’s more, it’s a lot less tempting to pull from a savings account when it’s labeled something like “HOUSE SAVINGS - DO NOT TOUCH.”

Once you have your budgeting app and bank account set up, it’s time to dig into some of the ways you can save money without skipping meals.

Cutting Monthly Expenses

Rather than telling yourself you can’t buy any more fancy Starbucks drinks anymore until you have a house (don’t torture yourself), make a list of all your monthly expenses. That can include anything from Netflix and Spotify to haircuts and car washes.

A great way to make this list is to go through your credit and debit card transactions. If you have autopay set up, you might not even realize how many services are withdrawing directly from your accounts each month.

For each item on your list, determine if you can either eliminate the expense or spend less on it. Maybe you go for the deluxe car war rather than the basic. Or, you might pay for services you don’t use as much as you used to.

If you’re worried about having no entertainment if you drop Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, you could try out your local library system. Most of the time you can have books, movies, and music shipped for free from all around your state.

When it comes to cable, cell phone plans, car insurance, and other monthly bills give your provider a call and tell them you’re thinking about switching over to a cheaper competitor. They’ll likely offer you a discounted rate. If they don’t, follow through on your promise and call other providers to see if you can get better rates.





Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 11/27/2017

Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."

Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.






Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 3/30/2015

Money experts recommend having an emergency fund, however, that is easier said than done. You will want to have at least three to six months of living expenses in your emergency fund. Here are some tips on how to get there: Determine how much you need                                                                                               Calculate how much you spend each month. Add up your rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, food and utilities. This will give you an idea of how much you will need to save. Start small If you find it hard to save, start by saving small amounts. Even if you only saved $20 per week for one year, you would increase your savings account by $1040.00 Have achievable goals                                                                                                                     Start with a small goal and gradually work towards a larger one. Set your initial goal of one month's savings and build upon that. If you start small and make savings a habit it will be easier to save. Make it automatic                                                                                                                           Set up automatic contributions to your savings account. Move a specified amount of money to your savings account through direct deposit. If you do this you may not even miss the money. Watch where your money goes                                                                                                 Keep track of how much money you spend. Calculate your spending average and try to spend less. Another great way to save is to find areas where you can cut back. What are some of your best tips for saving money?  





Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 12/1/2014

In today's economic climate protecting your financial health is more important than ever. From health insurance to your plans for retirement, there’s a lot to consider. Here are some tips from Family Wealth Management Group, LLC to help protect your assets and financial future. It is never too early to plan In order to plan, you need to know what you have. Review your pension plan, 401 (k), IRAs, Social Security benefits and other savings plans to assess whether they meet your long-term retirement goals and will generate an income stream to meet your projected expenses. Curb spending Time to take an inventory on how much you spend. Keep a log on trips to the market, afternoon lattes, dry cleaning and all of your miscellaneous spending. Try to eliminate a portion of these expenses. Once you track them you will realize you are spending more than you thought. Re-define your financial goals Ask yourself where you see yourself in five, 10 or 15 years. See if it is possible to redefine your goals. You may be able to retire earlier or pay for college. Set goals to achieve the things you want. Get help Professional advice about investment losses, financial products, insurance coverage and other important issues will help you make the right choices for your current financial situation.




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 5/26/2014

Who doesn't love a bargain? You can negotiate a deal for just about anything. Here is how to try your hand at bargain hunting at flea markets, yard sales, junk stores, antique malls, and thrift stores. Some helpful tips on how to haggle: Dress the part. If you are looking for a deal don't flaunt your designer handbag and shoes. You want the seller to believe you when you say you’re only willing or able to pay less. Be friendly. A smile and kind hello can go a long way when asking for a discount. Ask for the discount. You can't get what you don't ask for. Make a fair offer. If you offer too little you can insult the seller and they will be less willing to offer you a deal. Start your offer at a little more than half the asking price and expect to meet somewhere in the middle. Inspect the merchandise. If the item has a flaw nicely point it out to the seller. Make a group offer. Gather a group of items and offer one price for all of them together. This benefits the seller and they are typically more willing to make a deal. Pay in cash. Always buy in cash, sellers love cash (who doesn't). You may even want to take the money out of your wallet to show the seller you are serious.  




Categories: Money Saving Tips