Budget

afford a houseMany Americans are starting to feel as if they will never be able to afford a house, especially in areas like San Francisco, New York, and even Miami.

While many people choose to rent instead, you can still afford a house when you're broke. Here are a few steps to take if you want to own your own home.

Weigh Your Options

If you live in an area that buying a house is cheaper than renting (even factoring in insurance and repairs), it may be your best option to buy a home instead of rent. When trying to afford a house when you're broke, you may think that moving is expensive, but it doesn't have to be.

Some expenses may come up in your first few months of owning a home, but that is to be expected. Think about it this way: If you typically rent for $1,500 a month and you buy a home that only costs $800 a month, you are already saving $700 every single month. If something breaks down, and it costs $500 to fix, you still get ahead by $200 by having your own home.

Now, owning a home isn't always cheaper, so it's best to weigh your options. However, in many areas, including my own, owning a home tends to fare better than renting.

Look Into Assistance to Afford a House

Every state has home buying programs that can help you afford a house when you're broke. While the assistance varies from state to state, it's still worth it to look into what yours offers. Some will help you secure a loan as a first-time home buyer, even if you are low-income.

Some states even offer grants to move into less desirable areas or moving into more deserted places. It's best to look into these programs to see what you qualify for, you may be able to get your home for a lot cheaper than you first thought. ...continue reading

Popular logic when you are trying to improve your finances is to consider drastic measures to create a noticeable difference but making these major moves is not always the best course of action and a series of small changes can have just as much impact, if not more.

Here are some savvy financial tips to consider and some insights on how you can implement some lasting positive changes to your financial situation. Including a suggestion to take an alternative view on reaching your goals, why you need to analyze your monthly costs, plus some tips that should help you keep more of your cash.

Think small to improve the bigger picture

It’s easy to adopt the mindset that paying an extra $30 or so extra toward your credit card debt payments is hardly worth the bother and won’t really make much of a difference.

It is perfectly understandable that you look at the balance and think how can I clear the debt in one go? But it often pays to take an alternative approach to clearing your debts and adding to your savings pot.

Those seemingly insignificant additional payments actually make a substantial difference to reaching your goals and rather than keep wondering how you are going to raise a chunk of cash in one go, start chipping away at your balances with these small additional sums of money.

It is a good strategy to think small as those extra payments will ultimately get you to where you want to be a lot quicker than if you keep holding back trying to raise enough cash to make what you might consider a meaningful contribution.

When you are committed to clearing debt and putting more toward your savings, don’t try to do it all almost immediately, make regular additional payments when you can and also try to make small changes to your finances to help you free up extra cash. ...continue reading

meal planning easierWith many people on the go and leading busy lives, meal planning has gained popularity. It can help you save money, eat healthier, and save time.

But what happens if meal planning seems more like a hassle? Here are a few tips and tricks to make meal planning easier and more effective.

Save Recipes

If you have recipes that you could eat all of the time, save them on your phone, computer, or even on sites like Pinterest. That way, if you are feeling uninspired while meal planning, you can take a quick peek at your list.

If you want to stay super organized and make meal planning easier, you can organize your recipes by type (breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.). Try to keep these meals simple and easy prep.

If you are saving your recipes via places like Evernote or your phone, remember to link the recipe or jot down the ingredients needed, especially if the recipe has more than five ingredients. This will keep you from searching for the recipe every time you want to use it.

Make Meal Planning Easier With Themes

To keep yourself from staring at your calendar every time you have to plan your meals, create a weekly theme.

For example, you could make soup on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, and so on. Not only will this make your meal planning easier, but it will also keep you from getting bored by eating the same meals over and over. ...continue reading