Category: Personal Finance

Why it is Important to Have a Budget Set When Planning a Move

budget setDo you have a budget set for moving to your new home?

Most people only allocate money for mortgage payments.

But, when you buy a home the list price isn’t your only expense.

This article breaks down extra costs you must include in your budget.

Have a Budget Set to Cover Closing Costs

Closing costs are the catchall term used to describe fees charged by the lender.

These costs will vary based on your:

  • Lender
  • Loan Type
  • Location
  • Professional Services

Lender Fees

Regulations require lenders be clear about all fees. Examine your documents. You should understand any extra costs related to your mortgage.

Many lenders have the new homeowner pay property and mortgage taxes upfront. You may pay several months or a year’s worth of taxes at closing.

Mortgage companies, banks, and brokers charge an origination fee for processing the loan application. Origination fees are also added to refinanced mortgages. The fee is usually 1% of the loan value.

The lender fees aren’t the only added expenses.

Loan Types

A conventional loan with less than a 20% down needs private mortgage insurance to protect the lender. That costs more.

A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan with a low down payment needs an upfront insurance premium. This premium is often 1.75% of the loan value.

If you get a Veteran Affairs (VA) mortgage loans you may not need mortgage insurance or a down payment, but you will need to pay a funding fee. It’s usually 1.25 to 3.30% of the loan value.

Location

Every year Bankrate does a survey of closing costs in the United States. The analysis includes 10 lenders in every state.

The 2017 results show the average closing costs for a $200,000 home with a 20% down payment ranged from $1,700 to over $2,500.

You can see the state-by-state closing costs results here.

Other location-related expenses are taxes and association fees. If the home seller pre-paid taxes or association fees, you’ll have to reimburse them.

Professional Services

Home Inspection
Don’t skip a house inspection. There’s thrifty, and then there’s foolish.

A home inspection costs a few hundred dollars. It can reveal an expensive problem such as termite or flood damage, or faulty wiring.

Many lenders require an inspection. Some don’t. Regardless, have a thorough home inspection done so you know the true condition of the house.

If the home inspection finds a major problem, you can negotiate the cost of repairing it or walk away from the sale.

Land Survey
Some states ask for a survey to verify the lot size. This is an added expense.

Attorney Fees
If a lawyer prepares or reviews the sale documents, that’s an extra cost.

Professional Movers
The price of transporting belongings depends on how far you’re moving, and how much stuff you have. Moving out of state or across the country will cost more than across town.

If you hire professional movers, estimate your cost based on hourly rates. For example, a two-bedroom apartment moved across town will take 3 people about 6 hours.

Read this article on more service expenses so you have your budget set for closing.

Plan Ahead for Closing Costs

All the closing fees are due at the time of sale. Plan ahead with an online closing costs calculator to figure out how much money you need.

Want more ideas for ways to save money when you move? We’ve got what you need to make your move a success.

Where to Find Quality Loans for Bad Credit

There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to take out a loan.

Maybe you want to go back to school now that your kids are a little bit older. Perhaps you want to build an addition onto your house to make room for a new arrival. Maybe you need a new car to get your kids to and from soccer practice.

However, if you have bad credit, getting that loan can sometimes be pretty tough.

But despite what you might think, there are options out there. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to find the best loans for bad credit.

The financial future you want is possible. You just have to know where to look to find it.

Try Online Installment Loans

The first option on our list of loans for bad credit?

Online installment loans.

First of all, online installment loans often let you borrow more money than other options allow. You’re paid this money in installments (in most cases, once a month.) This helps you to increase your credit score while also preventing you from spending the money carelessly.

So, if you struggle to control your desire to splurge, installment loans are a wonderful option.

This means that you’ll also have a longer period over which to repay the loan — but that’s an advantage if your current cash flow is less than you’d like it to be.

Most online installment loans bad credit also offer a more flexible repayment schedule. As long as you have an American bank account and have proven a reasonable ability to repay the loans, you’ll be approved.

Best of all?

In the majority of installment loan applications, no credit check is required. Additionally, you won’t be asked to divulge detailed information about your finances. The application is incredible simple, and only takes about ten minutes to fill out.

In most cases, you’ll see your first installment payment within 24 hours of your approval.

A Loan from a Credit Union

If your credit is less than stellar, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to get approved for a loan by a bank.

Luckily, there are other options.

Another one of the most popular loans for bad credit? Credit union loans.

While you’ll still need to provide a certain amount of financial information, and demonstrate a reasonable repayment ability, credit union loans are a great possibility for those with bad credit.

To get the loan, you’ll need to become a member of a credit union. This too, isn’t nearly as complicated as it might sound. All you really need to do is demonstrate that you live near the credit union, or that you work in a certain field approved by the union.

This means that pretty much anyone will be accepted for membership, as long as you find a credit union where you meet the membership criteria.

So, how are these credit unions able to grant you loans even if you have truly awful credit?

It’s because they operate as non-profit entities, so they can undercut the costs and interest rates of banks.

Plus, because they’re used to working with individuals on a more personal basis, you’ll likely receive much better customer service than you would at a large bank branch. You’ll also have to pay less fees and penalties, which can make the process much more of a financial possibility.

Keep in mind though, that loans from a credit union will often have shorter repayment periods than installment loans. Additionally, the amount of money you’re able to borrow will likely be less than you can get from an installment loan.

Apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit

If you’re a homeowner, you’ll have a nice leg up when it comes to getting loans for bad credit.

This is because you’ll be able to use what’s called a home equity line of credit (also known as a “HELOC.”)

Of course, this means that your home will serve as collateral. So, that means it’s incredibly important to really think about this choice, and to be honest with yourself about your ability to make repayments.

If you have a minimum of a 20% stake of equity in your home, you’re eligible for a HELOC. You’ll also need to prove to your lender that you have a strong record of employment.

If approved, you’ll be able to take out a line of credit on your home that’s tax-deductible. The interest rate will be much more manageable than other options, and you’ll be able to use the money for anything you like.

Look for “Bad Credit Loans”

In your search for loans for bad credit, you might come across something simply titled “bad credit loans.”

However, this option is last on our list for a reason. Only go for this choice if you’ve been denied the other loan types we’ve listed.

Why?

Because this is the type of loan where it’s easy to get trapped in a debt cycle. This is because these loans come with seriously high interest rates that make it challenging to get out of debt.

However, the majority of people who apply for these loans are accepted, even if you have bad credit.

Want More Advice About Loans for Bad Credit?

As you can see from this post, you have far more options than you might think when it comes to securing loans for bad credit.

However, it’s always important to make sure that you’re borrowing money because of a real need, not because of a want. Speak with your partner and talk about how you plan to stick to your repayment schedule.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re always on top of your bills? By looking for other ways to save money.

That’s where we come in.

Spend some time on our website to connect with the best deals and discounts for everyday items. Also, be sure to check out our money-saving tips.

Now is the time to secure your financial future, for both you and your children. We’re happy to have helped you take the first step.

How To Save Money On Health Care When You’re Uninsured

Have you recently found yourself without health insurance? You’re not alone: 11.7% of Americans are currently without health care insurance.

And that number is growing, up from a low of 10.9% in 2016.

Why?

Rising premiums can make health insurance out of reach for many, and some people prefer to take the penalty rather than pay for expensive insurance they rarely use.

Even those with insurance sometimes go without health care. 25% of Americans say that either they or someone in their home has gone without medical care because it’s too expensive.

But health care is so important. What can you do if you’re insured but find yourself in need of care? Read on for four money-saving tips.

1. Find a Direct Primary Care Provider

Even without insurance, you don’t have to go without basic health care! Direct primary care providers (also sometimes cash-only providers) are a great option. They provide both primary and preventative care for cash–some don’t even accept insurance!

Some cash-only clinics are run like urgent care clinics, where you pay a set fee per visit. Others offer a sort of subscription plan, where you pay a monthly fee (usually less than $50) and can receive an unlimited amount of primary/preventative care.

2. Use Urgent Care Clinics

If you need to be seen immediately (assuming it’s not an emergency), and you can’t get in with a primary care provider, look for urgent care clinics in your area. There are likely several to choose from.

An urgent care clinic is most certainly going to be cheaper and faster than an emergency room, but they have a lot of the same equipment available for screening and testing.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Price Shop

This tip may seem strange or intimidating if you are used to having insurance. With health insurance, you rarely ask about costs since you know what your out-of-pocket payments are.

When you’re uninsured, however, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about costs ahead of time. Call around and ask for prices from multiple providers.

And don’t beat around the bush: Let them know you are insured. For example, if you’re looking to get a vasectomy, call several clinics and simply ask “How much does a vasectomy cost without insurance?”

4. Negotiate Your Bills

If you do end up in the emergency room or hospital, and you weren’t able to use the above tips, don’t despair. You can negotiate your medical bills after you receive them. Insurance companies do it all the time!

Many hospitals and doctors will provide a discount to patients who pay in cash. And even if they don’t, or if the total is too high for you to pay all at once, you can often still negotiate your bill down and set up a reasonable payment plan.

Saving Money on Health Care Is Not the Only Way

Now that you’ve got the scoop on how to save money on care while uninsured, you may be wondering what else you can do to keep dollars in your pocket while protecting your health.

One of the absolute best ways to maintain your health (along with your wealth) is to be proactive about it! That means having a healthy lifestyle, which includes maintaining a good diet and getting plenty of exercise.

If you’d like more information on staying healthy and wealthy, check out our health and fitness blog for more tips and ideas.

How a Travel Budget App Works and Saves You Money

Dying to get away, but afraid your wallet can’t handle it?

There’s an app for that!

Vacations can be expensive, but with careful planning, you can make the trip of your dreams a reality. Of course, stressing about money won’t make for a very relaxing trip. Hopefully, our list will provide you with the perfect travel budget app to help you plan ahead and avoid having to think about expenses come vacation time.

Buy This, Not That

It’s easy to get carried away when everything you see is new and exciting. But when you get home with an astronomically expensive handmade Turkish rug or an authentic Scottish kilt, you might realize you’ve put yourself in the red.

Try one of these apps to help you create and stick to a budget.

Trip Wallet

This is the perfect travel budget app. Whether you are spending the weekend in a log cabin or exploring Rome, this travel expense tracker app has your back.

Log your receipts on the app’s “Quick Add” screen to keep track of your daily spendings. At the end of each day, you’ll get a detailed spending report along with a comparison to your budget to help you stick to the plan. The app costs $4.99, but there is a free version that allows you to track up to 25 items.

Trabee Pocket

Trabee is particularly helpful if you are traveling out of the country and switching between currencies. It allows you to categorize your spendings as cash or credit, so you can keep track of exactly how much you are putting on your card.

Using credit can be a great option when traveling thanks to all the bonus points, but without a tracker, it is easy to get carried away. Trust Trabee Pocket to keep you in check.

Of course, if you’re already working to repair your credit, sticking to cash might be the better option. Need help getting your credit back up to speed? Check out this review of CreditRepair.com.

Cheap Flights

You don’t want to spend all your money before you even get there!

Flight prices can vary drastically based on lots of factors. Here are a few apps to help you determine the best time to buy.

Hopper

A travel budget app for planning and booking flights, Hopper is easy to navigate and free to use. You can compare airline prices on just about all the airlines (Southwest and JetBlue are two exceptions), and the app makes recommendations on the best time to buy. You can even set up alerts to keep track of how the prices are changing while you’re waiting for the perfect time to purchase.

Kayak

Probably the best known budget travel app, Kayak compares the prices of most major airlines, and if your dates are flexible, helps you pick the cheapest time to fly. Though its alerts aren’t quite as easy to use as Hopper’s, Kayak earns extra points for its abilities to search for rental car and lodging deals as well.

Affordable Places to Stay

Finding a clean and comfortable hotel can be difficult, especially on a budget. With these apps, however, you can find a great place to stay without breaking the bank.

Hotel Tonight

If you don’t get anxiety waiting until the last minute, this app could be your saving grace! Hotel Tonight provides great last-minute-only deals for booking hotels. It’s easy to navigate, and you can book your room directly through the app.

Airbnb

Airbnb is a great option if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, especially if you book a room with a kitchen. It’s easy to throw away your money on meals, but cooking at home won’t leave quite the same dent in your pocket. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the true experience of wherever it is you’re visiting if you stay in an actual authentic home.

DIY Travel Planning

A travel agent? No, thanks. With all these resources at your fingertips, your phone can do the work.

Travelzoo

This fantastic travel budget app searches for the best deals on meals, activities, and ways to get pampered. If you are looking for an all-in-one app, Travelzoo also finds good deals on flights and lodging.

PackPoint

This app is designed to make sure you never forget a thing. Based on the length of your trip, the weather at your destination and the activities you have planned, PackPoint creates a personalized list of what – and how much – you need. It’s like a free personal packing assistant.

Making Road Trips Fun

Road tripping can be a great way to save money on airfare and rental car fees. Here are some apps to make the most of your time on the road.

GasBuddy

GasBuddy lets you search for nearby gas prices – as well as gas prices up ahead. Gas prices vary largely by state, so if you know where to fill up, you can protect your wallet. Plan your gas stops, and you’ll never find yourself stuck getting the expensive stuff.

Audio Books by Audiobooks

Need a good pass time for the long haul? If you don’t want to pay for a fancy audiobook subscription, the vast free books section on this audiobook app should keep you occupied for miles.

Keeping the Memories

If you’re going to make the plunge and plan your dream vacation, you are definitely going to want to have something to show for it. After all, isn’t part of the fun coming home and sharing your incredible new experiences with your loved ones?

ProCamera

Want the best photos but can’t afford that fancy DSLR camera? ProCamera is a pretty cool way to go, and at $6.99, it’s the best option for your wallet. The app helps you make the most of your phone’s camera and has capabilities beyond what’s already in the built-in camera.

A Travel Budget App for Everything

When you’re working multiple jobs to pay off that debt, a break isn’t just nice; it’s necessary. These apps are at your disposal (often for free) and help make traveling on a budget possible.

Planning to cook from your AirBnB or do laundry to avoid those checked baggage fees? Check out these coupons to keep the savings coming.

How to Find a Tasty Seafood Restaurant on a Budget

seafood restaurantFamilies trying to save money often reserve going out to eat for special occasions. Elegant steakhouses and fresh seafood restaurants are often ruled out for fear that they will be too expensive.

The good news is that following a few simple tips makes it easy to find a tasty seafood restaurant that won’t blow up the family budget.

Are you ready to enjoy your next night out? Read on to learn more.

Do Your Research

Ask friends and family for recommendations and check out online reviews on sites like Yelp. Visit the restaurant’s website and Facebook page to get a feel for the atmosphere. Review the menu online before leaving will help ensure that the options fit within the set budget and the food choices are acceptable.

Choose Local Favorites

Avoid over-priced tourist traps by dining at restaurants off the beaten path. Find out where the locals go and you’re likely to find the best deals in town. If your city has a local fish market that also serves food, this is often the best bet for a fresh and affordable meal.

Look for Coupons and Deals

Visit sites like Groupon and Living Social to look for discounts and deals. Peruse the daily newspaper for printed coupons, and keep an eye out for complimentary coupon books. To entice new visitors, popular restaurants often publish coupons in local tourism guides.

Stretch Your Dining Budget

Even a high-end seafood restaurant can be budget-friendly for patrons who make smart menu choices. Restaurant portions are typically much larger than a single serving, so plan to take half of the meal home. Here are a few more tips to help stretch your dining budget:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Share an appetizer
  • Consider splitting your meal
  • Stick to one alcoholic beverage
  • Skip dessert, or wait until you get home

Turn Your Home into a Seafood Restaurant

When you factor in extra costs like gas money, gratuity, and babysitting fees, dining out is still too expensive for some families. The good news is that with just a little bit of effort, it’s easy to create a delicious seafood restaurant experience right in the comfort of your own home. This is typically a far less expensive option and comes with the advantage of knowing exactly how the meal was prepared.

The good news is that with just a little bit of effort, it’s easy to create a delicious seafood restaurant experience right in the comfort of your own home. This is typically a far less expensive option and comes with the advantage of knowing exactly how the meal was prepared.

Home delivery services like Crab Dynasty, ship fresh quality seafood right to your door. There are a variety of seafood options offered including softshell Maryland crab, lobster, shellfish, and a variety of fresh fish fillets. Pair your main entree with your favorite local foods and a nice bottle of wine for an exquisite dining experience that doesn’t break the bank.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re planning a date night away from the kids, a girl’s night out, or a family outing, it’s important to let yourself relax and have some fun once in a while. Choosing the right restaurant can mean the difference between an excellent experience and a veritable disaster. Following the steps above will help ensure a delicious, guilt-free dining experience.

Did you enjoy this article? Follow the Thrifty Momma Ramblings Facebook page for more great tips and information.

The 5 Best Loans for Single Moms With Bad Credit

loans for single momsAs a single parent, you know how challenging it is to manage your family’s finances.

Despite your best efforts to save, you may find yourself in a situation when you need money right now. If you need cash and your credit is poor, your situation is even more complicated.

But don’t despair. Just because you have bad credit doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for financial help.

Read on to learn about five loans for single moms who have bad credit

1. Small Personal Loan

Depending on the amount of money you need to borrow, a small personal loan could be the perfect solution.

Most personal loans are for amounts between $1,000 and $10,000. Because the beginning principal is so low, your monthly payments will also be low. Logically, the more you borrow, the higher your payments will be.

Worried about your poor credit rating? Requesting the smallest sum necessary will improve your chances of approval.

2. Installment Loan

Another common type of loans for single moms is an installment loan. These loans also feature low monthly payments, which are ideal for single parents on a tight budget.

The longer your borrowing term, the lower your monthly payments. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll pay more interest over time this way.

In general, bad credit loans monthly payments are affordable for most single-parent families.

3. Payday Cash Advance Loans

If you have a steady paycheck and you need cash quickly, you could consider a payday cash advance loan.

Rather than long-term monthly payments, payday cash loans always come in small, manageable amounts. Most lenders limit the amount you can borrow to less than $1,000.

You secure the principal amount with your next paycheck, and you repay the loan in a single installment. This can be a great way to get cash in an emergency, but keep in mind these loans usually come with high interest rates.

4. Self-Sufficiency Grants

Are you living “paycheck to paycheck?” If you’re working as long and hard as possible but you still can’t make ends meet, you may qualify for a self-sufficiency grant.

Because these are grants and not loans, the recipient does not have to repay the money they receive. For low-income families living just above the poverty line, this could be a viable way to get needed help.

If you’re struggling to pay for essentials like utility bills, you might also consider federal or state assistance options.

5. Veterans Administration (VA) Loan

Would you like to stop renting and buy your own home? Did you or someone in your family serve in the military?

If so, you may be eligible for a VA loan. This loan is available to veterans and their families and features no down payments and no mortgage insurance.

Best of all, financing is 100% backed by the government.

Final Thoughts on Loans for Single Moms

There are few things in life as stressful as financial problems. For single parents with poor credit, the struggle is even greater.

Your situation isn’t hopeless. There are plenty of loans for single moms available to help you and your family.

Be sure to check out my latest frugal living tips for more advice on thrifty living.

Taking the Hassle Out of Home Loans for Single Mothers

mother daughterIf you’re a single mom, buying a home can be tough. If there aren’t two people contributing to the household economy, saving up enough money for a down-payment can seem like a Herculean task.

Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations out there willing to approve home loans for single mothers. Unfortunately, looking for these organizations and trying to take stock of your options can be a hassle.

This guide will help you find the help you need to get a home loan as a single mom.

Organizations That Help Provide Home Loans For Single Mothers

It’s important to note that not every bit of assistance you’ll get is a loan. Because a lot of loans are need-based, you should evaluate your specific situation to see exactly how much you can get out of a loan. Every penny helps, so finding ways to get extra money will also be important.

Here are a few organizations that can help in a variety of ways.

 The Nehemiah Foundation

The Nehemiah Foundation is an organization offering grants to help single parents make a down payment on a home. While this grant can be helpful, it’s also highly in demand. Therefore, it’s recommended that you apply right away and are realistic with yourself about your own financial situation.

For more information about the Nehemiah Foundation’s generous grants, check out their website.

Habitat For Humanity

While it isn’t a loan, Habitat for Humanity will provide a house for you to live in. The only catch is that you have to build it yourself.

Whether they’re building international or Florida homes, Habitat for Humanity considers applicants on a case-by-case basis. The other thing to consider is your own willingness to work on the construction of the home. It’s a huge time commitment between jobs and sources of income like blogging.

VA Loans

Women make up 15.3% of armed services personnel. If you’ve served, you should look into getting a VA loan. They can be some of the best home loans for single mothers.

For more information on VA home loans and whether or not you’re eligible, click here.

FHA Loans

FHA loans are there to help you reduce down payment and closing costs on buying a home. They’ve been around for over 80 years and can help you get the results you need on your down payment.

Using an FHA loan, you can reduce your down payment to as low as 3.5 percent of the total price of the home. In addition, you can even apply if you have bad credit. That means these loans are entirely worth taking a look at.

More Advice

While there are plenty of options regarding home loans for single mothers, you should still consider finding ways to increase your income potential.

Whether it’s starting a blog or trying out product testing for money, even a busy single mother can work some things into her schedule with just a few extra minutes a day. For more information, check out this income-boosting advice.