She explains how to make a basic budget, as well as gives some good advice for saving money each month.
If you and your spouse are buying a home together, it makes sense that you will both be on the mortgage as owners. Your combined income will mean you can be approved for more, and both parties are protected in case of divorce. However, there are certain instances where only one partner should apply.
If one partner is a liability and could end up causing a higher interest rate, it may be in both of your interests to leave them off. Check out this post by Gretchen Lindow at the Magnify Money Blog for when you should leave your spouse off the mortgage application:
-One partner has credit problems: low credit, no credit, identity theft, or a large amount of debt.
-One partner has low income, does not have 2 years of W2’s, etc.
I recently went vegetarian for a few reasons: ethical, environmental, and even health reasons. However, there is another reason that a lot of people don’t talk about: financial! There is a common misconception that to fit in with the “vegan lifestyle,” you have to be upper middle class, and able to afford shopping at expensive health food stores. But it’s simply not true! Some of the most frugal foods you can buy are vegan/vegetarian friendly, like rice, beans, and canned/fresh produce. And yes, while some meat substitutes can be quite pricey, not all of them are. A one pound block of tofu at my local Kroger is $1.88: compared to the absolute cheapest ground beef they have, which is $3.50 a pound.
However, whether you’re vegan or not, your enjoyment of tofu completely depends on how it’s cooked, and it can be difficult to master. I stopped eating meat about 3 months ago, I’ve cooked tofu at least 10 times since then, and I’m still trying to get it just right. If you’re trying to save money and switch to tofu every now and then, here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:
-Always buy extra-firm tofu; it’s more solid and meat-like.
-Drain the package of water, then press the block of tofu between two paper towels and put something heavy on top of it- for about 20 minutes.
-One method of flavoring it is to marinate it in sauce for a few hours. Then, cook it however you like- baking, frying, etc.
-Another method is to toss the tofu in a small amount of corn starch and then pan-fry it to crispiness!
Saving for a home is probably the largest lump sum that most of will ever spend. It takes years and lots of careful budgeting and planning to achieve, so of course it makes sense to do everything you can to protect it. Always, always, always hire a Realtor when buying or selling a home- they know the legal ins and outs and will have your (and your money)’s best interest at heart. For other ways to make sure your deposit is protected, check out this post by Dave Hanson at the Dave Hanson Home Team Blog for tips:
-Make sure you get an inspection on the home before closing
-Make sure there is a contingency clause, so that you are able to walk away with your full deposit in case you are denied for a loan
-Go over the property disclosures
Shopping at thrift stores is a great way to save money, if you do it right. Buying used clothes, furniture, home décor, and books is usually way cheaper than buying new- and helps the environment by recycling these materials. However, since their prices are lower, it is tempting for people to spend more than they should there! I can walk into a Goodwill or other store and walk out after spending $50- which I would never spend at another store. But I justify it, since I was able to get so much for the price. For tips on being thrift store savvy, read this post by Rachel Muller at the Dollar Stretcher:
-Inventory what you own- how many black shirts do you already own? How many books? How many kitchen gadgets? Counting up how many things you already have can help you avoid repeat buys.
-Make a list of what you actually are planning to look for before you go in- and don’t buy any extra junk.
-Set a spending limit- only bring in a certain amount in cash, and you won’t be tempted to go over it.
I’ve always thought that buying soil is really stupid. I mean, why should I have to pay for dirt? It’s everywhere, and it’s already free. I realize that regular dirt isn’t ideal for growing most plants, and what you are really paying for is the nutrients in the soil, but still. It’s like buying bottled water when you have a perfectly good faucet at home, or going to an oxygen bar. Being the cheapskate that I am, I’m always looking to save money in the kitchen as well. That’s why I love this post by Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Here are a bunch of veggies that can be regrown only using scraps and water: