Category: saving money

What You Need to Know About Bad Credit Home Loans

Did you know research shows the average credit card interest rate is 13.66% in the U.S.? And the average debt held by balance-holding households is over $16,000.

With these staggering statistics, it’s no wonder many people don’t have the most stellar of credit history.

Let’s take a look at 7 things you need to know about bad credit home loans.

1. Obstacles That Make it Difficult to Buy a House With Bad Credit

We’d all like to be debt-free. That’s just not always the reality of our situations.

When you have a bad credit score, it can be easy to feel like you’ll never be able to purchase a home. But that’s not true.

There are challenges to be aware of that come along with bad credit. Here are a few you need to have on your radar.

Denial of a Mortgage Loan

We’ve all made mistakes with our money. And your credit score is a constant reminder of these mistakes.

A good credit score is considered 750 or above. And a score that looks like this will get a buyer approved for a mortgage easily.

However, a credit score below 670 is grounds for denial of a mortgage for most mortgage lenders.

Denial of the Best Interest Rates

A high credit score will also get a home buyer the most competitive interest rates around. While lower credit scores leave a lot to be desired in this area.

Whether you’re wanting to do home buying or condo buying, a credit score under 670 will make it incredibly hard to complete the process. This is where bad credit home loans can help you out.

2. Ways You Can Compensate For a Low Credit Score

You can repair your credit. But it sometimes seems to take forever. While it’s good to routinely work on this, there are also other ways to make up for a low score. A few situations that can compensate for a low credit score are:

  • A substantial amount in your savings
  • High current income
  • Potential for promotion with present employer
  • Paying comparable amount as rent
  • High down payment plan
  • Consistent and solid employment history

Of course, these factors are not always possible to salvage your bad credit score. But meeting even one of them will help your odds.

3. Finding Lenders That Work With Buyers With Bad Credit

There are lenders who work with first-time home buyers and those with bad credit by offering bad credit home loans.

Federal Housing Administration

The Federal Housing Administration offers an FHA loan for those with a poor credit history. These loans provide low down payment and low credit options.

The FHA loan can be available to those with a credit score of 580. This loan provides a low down payment of 3.5%.

If your credit score is between 500 and 579, you may still qualify for an FHA loan. But you’ll typically be offered a 10% down payment to compensate for the low credit score.

Requirements for FHA Mortgage Loans

To qualify for an FHA loan, you’ll need to have:

  • A 580 FICO score or above
  • Confirmable income
  • Steady employment with a minimum of 2 years in the same type of work or with the same company
  • 3.5% down payment
  • Zero late or defaulted payments within the past one year

FHA Loans With No Credit History

If you’ve never had a line of credit in your name, a lender may be willing to use alternative credit valuations. These may include areas such as rent payments, phone bills or utility bills to support a solid payment history.

For this alternate option to be valid, you must have 12 months straight with zero delayed payments.

These FHA loans are ideal for first-time buyers with a poor credit history. But remember, the ultimate decision to qualify you for a loan remains with the individual lender.

VA Loans For Veterans with Poor Credit

The VA loans provide veterans with the option of receiving financial support in purchasing a new home.

The VA loans provide 100% financing and zero monthly mortgage insurance premiums. These loans also offer flexible credit score requirements.

4. Gather Quotes

Before making a decision on which loan to agree to, shop around for the best deal for your situation.

A good rule of thumb is to obtain at minimum 3 quotes from various lenders. Compare the interest rates, required down payments and loan fees.

Fear of Lowering Your Credit Score

Oftentimes, prospective home buyers are worried that shopping around for the best mortgage loan deal will negatively affect their credit score. But not to worry.

FICO provides a one month window for you to rate-shop. During this time, all inquiries from mortgage companies will register as only one inquiry.

So, you can let go of the hesitation for fear of impacting your credit score.

5. Down Payment Assistance and Grants

As a first-time home buyer, you may qualify for assistance with the down payment or a grant.

If you receive low or moderate income, you’re in the running for this type of assistance. It often aids in covering the cost of the down payment and some of the closing costs.

6. Local City and County Home Buying Assistance

There are home buying assistant programs in nearly every city and county. You can check the city or county’s official website for any available options.

As with any of the other loan options, you’ll be required to meet specific criteria. Most financial assistant programs through your city will require you to complete a home buyer’s educational course, as well.

7. Bring Your Credit Score Out of the Red Before Closing

There are a few ways you can rapidly enhance your credit score. You can:

  • Bring your credit card balances down to below 10%
  • Ensure all current payments are made promptly
  • Don’t apply for credit
  • Contest any false content on your credit report

Before you apply for bad credit home loans, bring your credit score out of the red as quickly as possible.

Bad Credit Home Loans

Having bad credit doesn’t mean you’re stuck. We all have times when it feels like we just can’t crawl out of an overwhelming situation.

But you can at least arm yourself with the facts to stay informed.

These are our top tips for buying a house with a bad credit home loan. What would you add? Comment below!

Couponing Tips for the Thrifty Mom

couponingLooking for ways to save money on your next shopping trip?

Tired of paying full price for items when you know there’s a better way?

Fear not, this guide will break down couponing basics for you so you can have more money in your pocket at the end of the month.

We know that as a mom you have a lot of expenses. Learning to coupon properly will save you money and make your life better. It may even become a new hobby!

Read on for 3 tips for the thrifty mom.

1) Know Where to Look

In order to be a pro, you must know the best sources to get coupons.

There are several websites that compile coupons.

Our site has tons of articles on how to find coupons for your needs. Whether you’re looking for discounts on dating sites or discounts on eyeglasses, we have you covered.

It’s important you get your coupons off of reliable sites only. Otherwise, the coupons may be void and not work when you try to use them.

Never trust a coupon site that wants to take your credit card information in exchange for a coupon.

2) Coupon With Your Kids

When you present couponing in the right way, it transforms from a mundane chore to a fun crafting project.

Coupons aren’t only found online, they’re also found in newspapers and magazines.

Spend time with your kids cutting out coupons to your favorite places and compiling them neatly in a box or coupon book.

This activity is also a great time to teach your children about money. When your kids see the effort you go through to save money on everyday items, they’ll understand that money is precious and that it doesn’t grow on trees.

The next time they want a new toy they may even suggest you check a coupon book for a discount and your heart will swell with pride.

3) Keep your Coupons Organized

Organization will be the difference between couponing being rewarding and couponing being your worst nightmare.

You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you remember saving a coupon for your new family tv but you can’t find it to save your life.

Prevent this by having an effective coupon organization system. Whether that’s sorting them in a filing cabinet alphabetically, putting them in a coupon book, or sorting them in a file card holder is up to you.

When your coupons are organized it will be easy to pull them out to save money on particular items.

No matter what you’re interested in, there is a coupon out there for it. Interested in bowling? Look for bowling coupons.

Run a salon and need scheduling software? Learn more about affordable salon software here.

Celebrate Your Couponing

Using coupons can be a very rewarding and fun activity for you and your family.

You can feel satisfied that you’re saving money with most of your purchases.

If you have any questions about this article or want to contact us for any reason, feel free to do so here!

3 Expert Money Saver Tips You Need in Your Life

money saverDo you ever feel like every month you try to save some money, and every month you come up short of your goals? It seems like no matter how hard you try, something comes up and you can never get ahead.

If so, don’t feel bad. You certainly aren’t alone in your struggles to save.

According to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, “nearly 50 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to come up with $400 in savings in the event of an emergency.”

This statistic certainly is frightening. However, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re not one of these Americans.

Let’s take a look at the top 3 expert money saver tips you need in your life.

1. Create a Plan

As French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Now, even though he probably wasn’t talking about financial savings, the quote undoubtedly still applies.

It may seem obvious, but creating a detailed savings plan is something many people overlook.

Use a spreadsheet to create a plan that includes how much money you want to save and in what time period. Also, include what you want to save for. Is it a nice vacation or are you paying off a loan? Doing so will help you keep yourself accountable and on track.

Many banks actually have easy-to-use savings planners built into their apps, so be sure to check these out.

2. Be a Smart Shopper

Many people are under the impression that “smart shopping” means buying items that are of lesser quality.

However, this simply is not the case.

There are many ways to be a smart shopper without comprising quality. Here’s what we suggest:

Buy Out of Season

Buying a pool in July or a Christmas tree in December might be the “festive” thing to do, but it’s not always the financially savviest.

Nearly every product you buy has a demand cycle. Buy when demand’s the lowest, and you’ll save some money. Buy last year’s model when shopping for tech devices. Buy sweaters during the summer. And buy holiday decorations after the holiday is over.

Buy Lasting Products

Sure, a 6-pack of shirts from a big box retailer may seem like a good deal, but how long are those shirts really going to last you?

Often times, buying the quality item that is more expensive will save you more money in the long run.

Ask For Discounts

It never hurts to ask for a discount before purchasing.

Often times, a quick chat with a customer service rep is all you need to get a discount on a big purchase item.

3. Earn More

Sometimes the best way to save more is to earn more.

Now, this may seem impossible for someone who works a salaried job with no overtime pay, but really anyone with a little dedication can find ways to earn more money.

Here are a few simple ways to earn more:

  • Sell items on eBay, Etsy, or Amazon
  • Work as a freelancer — writing, photography, graphic design, etc.
  • Get a part-time job on nights or weekends
  • Take paid surveys online

Money Saver Tips Can Save the Day

Hopefully, these tips help kick your saving efforts into gear.

Saving money is hard for everyone, so don’t get discouraged if you’re off to a slow start.

What’s your favorite expert money saver tip to follow? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Save Money on Independent Health Insurance

Independent Health Insurance Saving money on independent health insurance can change your life for the better, especially when it saves you money! Although the hunt for a cost-saving plan can be a tiring one, it is well worth the energy.

Whether it’s a covered Fresno resident or an LA native, finding the right independent health insurance plan doesn’t always mean it has to be the most expensive.

There are a number of ways to save money on independent health insurance. Here are some of the most effective:

Do the Research

Don’t just settle for Google searches or chat forums. It’s so important to talk to friends, relatives and trusted third parties. Listen to their experiences and gain insight that will benefit your search for the best plan.

There is no better resource for finding the right independent health insurance than people in your network who may require the same care you do.

If you have a good relationship with your primary care physician, don’t hesitate to take the conversation into their office. Receptionists, nurses, and doctors are all people, too. And, they might have insider tips to help you save more money!

Shop Around

Go a step further by chatting up insurance agents from different companies. Keep notes about each provider, and be prepared to compare differences in coverage and cost.

If coverage from one provider is the same as another but has a bigger price tag, talk about it! Ask questions, and see if there are other options that can match or reduce the cost you’re looking at.

Keep notes about each provider, and be prepared to compare differences in coverage and cost.

If coverage from one provider is the same as another but has a bigger price tag, talk about it! Ask questions, and see if there are other options that can match or reduce the cost you’re looking at.

Cut Costs Even More

Using these tips, you can save beyond the price of independent health insurance.

Non-insurance options

These types of discounted plans can be offered by banks to customers or unions and nonprofits to their members. Contact a representative to find out what the qualifications are.

Find a local dental program

Schools and dental academies are always looking for patients to practice on. And don’t worry, everything is supervised by professional educators. The cost of these services is extremely low, and the quality of the service can sometimes be better than a regular dentist office.

Visit clinics instead of the ER

Trips to the emergency room can rack up a lot of money. Unless the situation is an actual emergency (if it is, go to the emergency room!), opt for an urgent care clinic instead.

Use free screening services

Use the state website to find low-cost or free preventative screening services. Find out the ones closest to you here.

Keep tabs on medical bills

Sometimes the administrative personnel at hospitals or doctors can make mistakes. Watch bank account statements to ensure that you are not overcharged for visits and services.

Mix it up

If someone doesn’t need medical, dental, and vision insurance, weigh different options. Maybe medical and vision are crucial, but dental work will be sufficient with dental school visits. There are always options. Weigh them, and pick the best combination for the lowest cost.

One of the key takeaways is to always ask questions. Ask insurance agents any and everything that comes to mind.

After all, the more someone knows, the more they can save!

Check out more beneficial tips here at our blog!

5 Ways to Save Time (and Money) Moving Out of State

moving out of stateAre you moving out of state? Dreading the costs of packing your home and moving to a new location?

From truck fees to mover fees, there are a lot of expenses. Let’s not even talk about the time it takes to pack your whole life into boxes!

But, moving doesn’t have to break the bank. It also doesn’t have to consume all of your time!

Want to make moving less stressful? If so, keep reading!

We’ll discuss 5 ways to save time and money when moving out of state.

1. Sell What You Don’t Need

Over time, we all buy things we just don’t need. If you’ve got items in your closet that you’ve never used, why pack them?

Moving out of state is all about new beginnings. There’s no need to bring items that you haven’t touched!

Go through your closets and spare bedrooms. Find things that you don’t need anymore, such as clothing, kid’s toys, and other items.

Sell or donate your stuff! In turn, you may earn some real cash. Your donations may also equate to a tax deduction.

2. Move Early in the Week

Timing is everything. When moving to a new state, you want to plan your move accordingly. To save time and money:

  • Avoid moving on a weekend
  • Don’t move on a Thursday or Friday
  • Avoid moving during rush hour traffic

Moving earlier in the week saves money. Most people move later in the week when truck rental fees may be higher.

Save some cash and put those Monday blues to work!

3. Optimize Utility Shut-Off Timing

Depending on your moving date, you may end up paying for utilities even though you aren’t living in the home. To avoid dishing out money, be wise about utility shut-off.

While you need water and electricity, chances are you can go without cable for a few weeks.

4. Compare Costs of DIY vs. Professional Movers

You may be quick to assume that professional moving services are overly expensive. But, the items needed to DIY your move can be just as expensive.

Shop around for a professional moving company. Gather quotes from at least three local companies and learn more about their services.

When looking around, don’t hesitate to negotiate.

Moving companies may be willing to drop fees in exchange for your business. Without you, their company is missing out on profit.

If DIYing your move is the cheapest option, avoid moving in rush hour traffic. You’ll also want to avoid overloading the moving truck. A weighed down truck has even poorer gas mileage.

5. Don’t Pay for Boxes

You can’t move out of state without boxes. If you’ve shopped around for boxes, you’ve probably seen just how expensive they can be. Companies know they are a must-have item so they charge super high prices for them.

The good news is that you don’t have to pay for boxes at all! You can easily get your hands on free boxes.

To find boxes:

  • Ask friends and family members who have recently moved
  • Ask a local liquor store owner
  • Use empty boxes from work, such as printer-paper boxes
  • Check Craigslist’s free section or Freecycle

Saving Money is Our Specialty

Want to save money in all aspects of life? Looking to live frugally?

If so, ThrifyMommaRamblings is the website for you.

We provide all sorts of thrifty living and business tips. From working from home to money-saving showerheads, we help keep money in your wallet!

Now’s the time to be a frugal consumer. Check out our website today to get started.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or comments!

5 Home Improvement Services That’ll Save You Money in the Long Run

home improvement servicesSpend money to save money? That’s a tough pill to swallow. But in the long run, going green will keep some of that green in your wallet.

For as little as $1.25, an energy-efficient light bulb can use up to 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb. Seems worth it, right?

Let’s take a look at a couple home improvement services that will bring you one step closer to that ocean front hotel room in Hawaii.

Weatherstrip Your Home

Take a look at this gorgeous dual pane corner window. What a wonderful way to let in that early morning light.

Making sure all your windows and doors are not only stunning, but sealed, is one of the most valuable home improvement services you’ll invest in.

Weatherstripping your windows and doors can save you up to 15% in energy costs. The next time you pay your electric bill, you’ll be glad to know that none of your cool air escaped out into the humidity.

Install a Low Flow Shower Head

Just like the wasted cold air, there’s a way to make sure every bit of hot water in your shower is being used. Did you know that water heating accounts for 18% of your utility bill?

A low flow shower head comes in at $10-$20, saving you upwards of 25% on your utility bill.

Update Your Appliances to High-Energy

You’ve probably seen that little Energy Star sticker on appliances before. Did you know you can receive a tax credit for installing them?

Imagine slicing your utility bill as much as 30% and receiving a tax credit.

Use Energy Efficient Lighting Where Possible

This can be as simple as purchasing LED or CFL light bulbs. LED light bulbs are the most expensive option. But they also pack the biggest punch in energy savings. This makes them a smart investment in the end.

CFLs are a little bit behind the LED technology, but will absolutely save you money in the long run.

Consumer Reports has broken it all down for us, room by room, price tag by price tag.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat

This one requires a licensed HVAC technician. But again, it affords you the luxury of a cool and comfortable house – no matter the time of day or season – without wasting a drop of air.

They also tend to be more accurate than regular thermostats, keeping an extra eye on your savings.

Other Home Improvement Services

This list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Have you thought about ceiling fans? For as little as $50, you’re looking at added savings and cooler rooms.

Bigger ticket items like tankless water heaters go a long way, too. (They also offer a federal tax rebate.) But, if you start with these five home improvement services, you’re well on your way.

We hope you’ll stop by our blog as often as you can. Thrifty Momma is always finding new ways to pinch those pennies, and we love to share. If you ever want to chat about cutting costs without cutting corners, we’re only a click away.

5 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Band Before You Book

wedding band 1Live music at a wedding reception can turn a celebration into a party! It — along with photography — is a part of wedding planning most people agree is worth spending money on.

But that doesn’t mean it has to break the budget. When shopping for a wedding band, do your homework to get the best value for your money.

It’s not like last-minute travel that can give you a major financial break by waiting. You need to start early to get the band that going to make you happy and help boost the celebration on the big day.

Here are 5 questions to ask every wedding band you interview:

1. What’s Your Style and Repertoire?

It’s a no-brainer to not hire a rock band if you and your beloved are fans of country music.

But asking a wedding band about their style of music goes beyond genre. It’s also about the way they play. Are they ultra-serious or playful? Is their energy mellow or ecstatic?

You also want to hear how they describe the way they interact with wedding guests. Do they talk to them between songs and make jokes? How do they respond to requests?

Find out the range of songs they know how to play. If people make requests, is the band going to know how to play the songs? Pay extra attention to this if you’ll have many older people at the reception.

Ask to see videos of the wedding band’s previous gigs. Better still, see if it would be okay for you to stop by an upcoming reception where they’d be playing. Clear it with the bride and groom first and then only stay for 15-20 minutes.

2. What’s Included?

Wedding bands either charge by the hour or a flat fee. But the real wedding band cost isn’t measured in dollars. It’s measured by value.

Either way, know what’s included to avoid surprise costs or worse, a disappointing experience for you and your guests.

Find out how they expect to be involved in setup and packing up. Most venues have rules and guidelines about that.

Will the band provide all sound equipment? If not, what equipment will you or the venue have to arrange?

Will the band leader also act as emcee for the evening?

Make sure you know if their travel and equipment transport costs are included the fee or hourly rate. Also, get the details on their liability insurance and terms of cancellation.

Bands will sometimes reduce the fee in exchange for having CDs available for sale.

3. Do They Have Recent References?

Hearing from other couples about their experience with the wedding band you’re interviewing can help you make a good decision.

Ask about the quality of the band’s performance during cocktails and dinner when their music should be in the background. When they played dance music, how did they encourage guests to get on the dance floor?

If you’re unable to speak to previous clients, ask for 2-3 short videos of the band’s performance at recent weddings.

4. Is the Wedding Band Familiar with the Venue?

When a wedding band has played at a venue before, it reduces the risks of something going wrong. They know the layout and acoustics. And they’ll often have business relationships with the venue staff.

If the band has no previous experience with your chosen venue, ask them to check it out before you sign a contract. This benefits them too. They can identify and resolve any logistic or equipment issues ahead of time.

5. What Are Their Contingency Plans?

The best planning can’t eliminate the risk of a musician getting sick or equipment malfunctioning just before your big day.

But good planning includes backup plans for critical issues. Asking reasonable “what if” questions can help the band put together a plan B, if they don’t already have one.

More, More, More

Do you have other questions you asked a wedding band? Share your story on our Facebook page. And if there are other wedding plan tips you’d like to see, contact us with your ideas.