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10 Tips for Washing Your Car at Your Apartment Community

Don’t let random passersby deface your ride with “Wash Me” scrawled in windshield dirt. Instead, avoid the old “drive of shame” and give it a good old-fashioned scrub down with an apartment car wash.

Even if your apartment doesn’t have a car wash station on its list of amenities, that doesn’t mean you can’t still DIY this wet and wild chore. It just takes a few supplies and a little bit of strategy to get the job done.

A dirty car with someone writing

How do I wash my car if I live in an apartment?

Sure, you could drive somewhere for a car wash, but where’s the fun in that? Hand-washing a car is a great workout and an even better way to cool down in the summer months. Just follow these easy tips for an apartment car wash and you’ll soon have the ultimate clean car. Bonus points if you detail the inside, too!

1. Use a spigot and hose

The water’s going to have to come from somewhere, right? Even if you know where the spigot is already, it’s probably smart to check with management to make sure you can use it. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even spot you a hose for the job! If not, pick up an expandable hose at the local hardware store. Those are easier to store than the old-school variety.

2. Go waterless

A waterless car wash product is a solid option for cars that aren’t filthy to start off with. So, if you’ve just gone muddin’, skip ahead. These products are not for you. Waterless car wash is available in concentrated form (so you have to dilute it), or ready-to-use. Some even have built-in wax! To use, simply spray the product on and wipe it off with a soft towel. When the towel section gets dirty, use a different part.

3. Use a no-rinse product

Split the difference between waterless and a full wash by using a no-rinse product, like Optimum No Rinse. This three-in-one product functions as a rinseless wash, as well as a detailer and a lubricant. Just add the recommended amount to one or two gallons of water, then apply with a wash mitt or microfiber towel.

Car wheels being washed.

4. Be wheel wise

The wheels are not the same as the rest of the vehicle, so don’t treat them like they are. Clean them first because they’re the dirtiest parts of the car.

Spray with a good hose to dislodge dirt from crevices. Use a tire-specific cleaner and a towel/mitt to scrub it down. Don’t use that towel on the rest of the car because it’s likely pretty gross.

5. Go with waterless wipes

The waterless car wash product community is booming. There are waterless wipes already primed with cleaners available for purchase. Pick up a pack each for general washing, tire and trim and wax, if you want to go full-out.

Man washing his car.

6. Pick up a pump sprayer

Here’s another idea on the waterless front. If you want to avoid the hassle of a spigot and hose (or don’t have access to one), purchase a small pump sprayer. Such a device helps evenly apply a coat of waterless cleaner. Then, you just clean as normal with a mitt or microfiber towel. It can also rinse the car off with plain water (fill it up inside first), but the water pressure isn’t as good as the average hose.

7. Use a duster

If you can’t do a full wash apartment car wash at your complex or just don’t have time, use a California Duster to quickly get rid of dirt and dust and bring back the shine. This tool will buy you more time between washes, and is usable during full washes, as well.

8. Wipe aways bugs with dryer sheets

Sometimes dried up, dead bugs just don’t want to come off. Without the power of a professional car wash it is extra challenging. Before you start washing, use old dryer sheets to wipe bugs off. Then wash as normal.

Toothpaste on car.

9. Apply toothpaste (no, seriously!)

No need to buy a pricey product to put the finishing touches on your headlights. Squirt some toothpaste on a rag and polish up those headlights until they shine.

10. Create your own all-natural cleaner

For the final, streak-free rinse, opt for a green cleaner. Wash the car as normal. Then rinse the soap residue with a hose. Mix three parts vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle and spray the car. Then wipe down with a newspaper for a shiny, squeaky clean finish.

Hand washing a car.

General apartment car wash tips

Specific techniques aside, there are some general things to consider when doing an apartment car wash. Minding these suggestions make the whole process easier, not to mention more effective and enjoyable.

  • Do a quick once over: Before setting up for the apartment car wash, make sure your car isn’t leaking any fluids or oils. That won’t go over well with management.
  • Steer clear of storm drains. It’s bad for the environment, local wildlife and drinking water if soap from the car wash gets into the storm drain. Do your best to find a spot far away from storm drains to prevent any issues, or use an eco-friendly cleaner that is non-toxic and doesn’t have chlorine, fragrance, phosphates or petroleum-based ingredients.
  • Seek out the shade: It seems counterintuitive, but the sun causes streaks. So for the best finish possible, find a spot in the shade to do your apartment car wash.
  • Get your towels: Grab a few towels or wash mitts to get the job done. Make sure to have one each (at least) for the tires, body wash and for drying.
  • Conserve water: Don’t just leave the hose on indiscriminately. Doing so wastes about 10 gallons per minute! While you’re doing the wash — turn it off whenever you’re not rinsing or filling the bucket. Make it easier on yourself by attaching a nozzle that will automatically shut off the water when not in use.
  • Clean up after the clean-up: Other than waiting for water to dry, no one at your apartment should see any residue from your apartment car wash. Resist the easier, but less responsible urge to dump dirty water in the street. Instead, carry the bucket inside and dispose of it in a sink or toilet.

Other than these tips, use your common sense. If all goes well the first-time management is more likely to let you keep doing car washes from the comfort of your apartment parking lot.

Lather, rinse, repeat

Each and every time you wash your car by hand you’ll come up with ways to make an apartment car wash more efficient and easier. Eventually, you’ll be a well-oiled machine for…well, your well-oiled machine.

The post 10 Tips for Washing Your Car at Your Apartment Community appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Natural Remedies for Roaches: 8 Prevention Methods to Try

The survival skills cockroaches have are amazing. They can continue living, for a short time, without their heads. They can hold their breath underwater for 40 minutes. They can run up to three miles in a single hour.

This is all great for roaches (and pretty interesting too) — until the ugly bugs infest your apartment. Once they’ve made their way into your home, all you want to do is get rid of them. But, before you make an appointment with an exterminator, consider an organic, DIY approach. Use one of the many natural remedies for roaches to keep them away.

Cockroach

Cockroach

How to get rid of cockroaches

Once you’ve established you’ve got unwanted visitors, whether you’ve seen roaches or just their nasty trails, it’s time to consider how you want to get rid of them. You can use chemicals to do the job, but if you have pets or young children or you’re sensitive to certain products, going natural might be a better option.

When it’s time to get rid of unwanted insect visitors, look to your pantry first, you might already have some of these natural remedies for roaches ready to go.

1. Sugar

This is an example of using something sweet to lure cockroaches to their demise. You just have to add a little something extra. Mix one part powdered sugar with three parts boric acid. The sugar brings the bugs in — the boric acid takes them out.

Boric acid isn’t toxic to people or pets, but it can irritate skin. When putting this mixture down, avoid counters and stick to the hidden spots roaches can use for hiding places. Good spots are behind appliances, under the sink and in any cracks along the edges of cabinets.

If either ingredient isn’t readily available, this is a versatile recipe, so you can swap out ingredients to achieve the same effect. Instead of powdered sugar, you can use peanut butter or jelly. You can also replace the boric acid with food-grade diatomaceous earth.

soapy water, one of the natural remedies for roaches

soapy water, one of the natural remedies for roaches

2. Soapy water

If you spot a cockroach and want to kill it without having to get close enough to step on it, keep a spray bottle of soapy water handy. Use diluted dish soap so that whatever surface it gets on also gets clean (an added bonus).

Spraying this mixture directly onto a roach makes it impossible for the bug to breathe. It clogs up their skin, which is how they take in air. It may take an extra little bit to do the trick, and you still have to dispose of the roach but hey — it won’t head back to hang with its buddies.

3. Coffee grounds

This easy-to-find food staple helps make a perfect cockroach trap. They serve as bait to bring the roaches in and are non-toxic for every other member of your home. To make a trap, all you need is a glass jar, coffee grounds and water.

To build your trap:

  • Fill a large glass jar about halfway with water.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of moistened coffee grounds.
  • Place the jars as close to potential nesting spots as possible.

The roaches will come in to check out the coffee, climb into the jar and get stuck and eventually drown. Then, dump the entire contents of the trap into the toilet for a goodbye flush.

Lemon, one of the natural remedies for roaches

Lemon, one of the natural remedies for roaches

4. Lemon

While lemon won’t work on its own to keep roaches away, using lemon-scented cleaners around your home can have a big impact on keeping the place cockroach-free.

A clean home is the best way to avoid an infestation, and the scent of a lemon actually works to keep a variety of insects from wanting to live in your place.

For an easy, all-purpose cleaner you can make at home, you only need two ingredients — citrus peels and vinegar. To make:

  • Fill a glass jar with clean, chopped-up lemon peels.
  • Pour white vinegar over the peels to submerge them and seal the jar.
  • Let the mixture sit for about four weeks, shaking it regularly.
  • Strain out the peels and put the liquid into a spray bottle.

This will keep countertops, appliances, floors and glass all clean and smelling great, while also helping you deal with the cockroaches.

Make sure to clean your place regularly, focusing on areas like the kitchen and dining room. Roaches love crumbs and can smell food if packages get left open in your pantry. It’s also a good idea to empty your trash regularly to keep food odors out of your home.

5. Plants

Another big attractor for roaches is moisture. One way to deal with excess moisture in your home is to check your pipes regularly for leaks, but sometimes it’s a matter of high humidity. To deal with this, consider buying a few house plants.

You’ll need a specific type, epiphytes like ferns, orchids and cacti. These are special plants that work as a natural dehumidifier, pulling water from the air to keep themselves hydrated. They’re easy to care for and will help reduce moisture levels in your home.

Place one in every bathroom, on a screened-in porch, or anywhere where the air feels heavy. They won’t repel cockroaches themselves but will help take away a serious temptation for the bugs to come into your home.

onions, one of the natural remedies for roaches

onions, one of the natural remedies for roaches

6. Onions

This is maybe the strangest of the natural remedies for roaches, but it uses ingredients you’re bound to have at home right now. All you need is an onion and baking soda. Again, the food attracts hungry insects, and the baking soda does the dirty work.

To set this up:

  • Dice up about half an onion.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over it.
  • Place on a small paper plate anywhere roaches may hide overnight.

Since roaches prefer the dark, you’ll most likely “feed” more if you wait until evening to put out your trap. It’s also best to do it when there’s minimal risk of running into the nasty guys yourself.

7. Cornstarch

When you need to cover up cracks to keep the roaches away, this remedy is a great choice. Not only will it fill the space to let fewer roaches through, but it will also kill any of them who eat it.

Mix equal parts of cornstarch and Plaster of Paris to make a powder you can sprinkle anywhere. Don’t activate the Plaster of Paris with water beforehand. The roaches do that after they eat the concoction when they drink water. It’s the mixing in their stomach that ultimately kills them.

It’s important to note that Plaster of Paris is a toxic ingredient and dangerous for children and pets. Using this recipe specifically in cracks helps keep it away from everyone but the roaches.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil

8. Peppermint

Roaches hate the smell of peppermint. They’ll avoid it like the plague. It can also actually harm them if they come into contact with it. Spraying a mixture with peppermint oil directly onto roaches can mean lights out, but that’s only if you see the invaders around.

You’ll have more success using mint as a repellent, targeting areas near where you think roaches are hiding. To make a mint-infused spray:

  • Mix two parts water with one part white vinegar into a spray bottle.
  • Add about 10 drops of peppermint oil.
  • Shake up and spray.

Chemicals aren’t required to keep the roaches away

The question is never if you’ll see a roach in your apartment, but rather when. They’re out there, and there’s a lot of them, but knowing how to repel them and say good-bye for good means you don’t have to live with them. Us

ing natural remedies for roaches allows you to live insect-free without having to buy harsh chemicals or spend money on an exterminator. Just make sure you’re targeting the right areas. Roaches love to live in places like boiler rooms, basements, crawl spaces, steam tunnels, drains and sewers. Happy hunting!

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Source: apartmentguide.com

10 Essentials for a Homemade First Aid Kit

Having medical supplies in your apartment just makes good sense. A well-stocked first-aid kit can help you respond effectively to common injuries and emergencies, according to the Mayo Clinic . Especially when an urgent need for an adhesive bandage or ice pack happens.

Why not be prepared and tailor a first aid kit to meet your everyday needs? A homemade first aid kit for minor emergencies lets you pick and choose all the must-haves. It doesn’t need to cost a slew of bucks either. Start your medicinal scavenger hunt at your local dollar store, where you’ll likely be surprised by the inventory.

The first step, determine your budget. Spend between $10 and $20 and have plenty of handy essentials right at your fingertips. Your first aid kit can be easily stored neatly in a pantry, or beneath the sink in your kitchen or bathroom.

We’ve organized a list of basics to help you get your homemade first aid kit ready for use.

1. Pain relievers

pain medicine

Generic-brand pain relievers come in many formats such as gel, lotion and patches. Use pain relievers for headaches and to reduce swelling. Find them for less at discount stores.

You can also look for brand name pain relievers at your favorite big-box retailer, drug store or pharmacy. If you have a rewards card at your drug store, you can also look for two-for-one deals on the pain relievers that work best for you.

2. Reusable ice packs

Reusable ice packs, which you can store in the freezer, are musts for your first aid kit. They should be your go-to to reduce swelling from bumps and twists.

If you need an ice pack immediately but don’t have one that’s cold, make an investment and buy instant cold packs. They’re easy to use: Snap the seal inside or squeeze the pack and they get cold in an instant! Just be sure to look for ones that are non-toxic.

3. Protective gloves

Be cautious about cleanliness. Try to keep a wound that requires attention clean of germs by picking up non-latex gloves. Look for deals. Sometimes, they come in multi-packs.

4. Minor wound dressing

first aid kit supplies for dressing minor wounds

Think of what you might need to dress minor wounds from accidental falls or burns from cooking. The list could include:

  • Gauze pads
  • Elastic wraps
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Cute band-aids for littles
  • Adhesive tape
  • Bandage strips and “butterfly” bandages in assorted sizes
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Antiseptic cleansers

5. Hydrogen peroxide

You can shop for hydrogen peroxide at the dollar store of choice. You can also save there on musts like hand sanitizer and non-latex gloves for whoever is administering the first aid.

6. Applicators

Be sure to have items you use every day, including cotton balls and swabs. They’ll serve double-duty in the bathroom for everything from ear cleaning to makeup removal.

7. Tweezers

tweezers

Look for tweezers for splinter removal in the health and beauty section. Get small scissors for cutting bandages or gauze to the right length, too.

8. Thermometer

To know for sure if someone is running a fever, you should pick up a thermometer and add it to the kit’s mix. Some digital varieties even come with disposable plastic sleeves. These are great if you have more than one child whose temperature must be taken.

9. First aid box or case

Check the automotive and household aisles and you might score a small, sectioned case with a snap-lock to store everything in.

10. First aid manual

It’s also helpful to include a first aid manual in your kit as a guide for treating minor injuries and wounds. Look for one with instructions on performing CPR and diagrams of how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, in the event of choking.

Need more stuff?

For more extensive homemade first aid kits, you’ll probably have to stray outside the bounds of the dollar store. Head to your local pharmacy or supermarket to pick up extra items.

Now that you’ve created a first aid kit for your apartment, you’re a pro! Create a second first aid kit to keep in your car. You never know when it could come in handy.

The post 10 Essentials for a Homemade First Aid Kit appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City

One of the most family-friendly cities in the west, Salt Lake City has more to offer than many might think. While it’s not an extremely large city, it’s definitely not small — and it’s growing. A lot.

It’s slowly becoming a new hub for tech companies, creating an abundance of jobs and drawing in the crowds from out of state. Although people are coming in droves, rent prices went down last year and you can typically find a one-bedroom apartment for between $1,200 and $1,300.

With prices like that, there’s no better time than now to find the perfect neighborhood for you in Salt Lake City.

Sugarhouse

Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / 21 and View

Sugarhouse offers the best of everything — a quaint suburban feel, lots of fun, independently-owned restaurants and it radiates an eclectic feeling. Not to mention that it’s near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, making it easy to find hikes nearby or hitting the slopes in Park City.

It’s also a really safe area, which is why there are so many people always looking to move to Sugarhouse. There are many parks, notably Sugarhouse park, which has plenty of wide-open grass fields, pavilions for public use, basketball courts and a pond.

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The Avenues

The Avenues in Salt Lake City.

The Avenues is a fairly affluent area — home to lots of historic buildings and houses built in the 1920s and 1930s. Although it’s a little more expensive here, it’s for good reason.

It has the old charm, but with new, vibrant residents that have given new life to the neighborhood over the last decade or so.

The neighborhood is safe and beautiful and it’s easy to walk to restaurants and shops in the area.

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Downtown

Salt Lake City.

Downtown is right in the middle of everything — it’s truly the heart of Salt Lake City. There’s a good mix of the old and the new, with historical sites and beautiful architecture.

There’s also lots to see and do, whether you’re wanting to try a great restaurant or shop at the massive City Creek shopping center.

You can walk most places, but you’ve also got the TRAX and FrontRunner trains that not only will get you around downtown but will get you to other outlying parts of the valley quickly (and you don’t have to deal with the traffic).

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Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.

The area surrounding the state capitol building, fittingly named Capitol Hill, is one of the most desirable neighborhoods. Not too far from downtown, you are in close proximity to endless entertainment.

As noted by the name, it’s right on top of a hill, which overlooks the entire Salt Lake valley for some of the best views you can get. Furthermore, one of the favorite local activities every year is strolling through the cherry blossom trees that line the capitol building.

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Yalecrest

Yalecrest in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / the New Broadmoore

Safe, diverse and historic are three words that perfectly describe Yalecrest. Here, you’ll find incredible homes — many larger Tudor-style homes that make you feel like you’re in another century.

You’re right by many trendy restaurants and food markets, not to mention you’ve got both Sugar House Park and Liberty Park nearby.

A simple neighborhood walk through Yalecrest is a treat — the mature landscaping and exposed wood beams on homes never grow boring.

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Wasatch Hollow

Wasatch Hollow salt lake city

Photo source: Redfin / 1838 E Kensington Ave

Wasatch Hollow feels like many other city suburbs. It’s quiet and fairly safe but has a diverse crowd of residents to set it apart from other neighborhoods.

Many young families are settling down in the area since it’s close to grocery stores and good schools. While it’s not quite Yalecrest, full of beautiful Tudor-style homes — it’s pretty close to it with fully matured tree-lined streets and well-kept homes.

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Central City

Central City in Salt Lake City.

In Central City, you’re about as close to Downtown as you can get without actually being downtown. The age of the area is easily noticed — but in a good way.

Expect a mixture of old historic homes from different times and architectural periods and lots of restaurants with decades of history, along with newer bars and coffee shops.

The area attracts lots of young professionals who work downtown and don’t mind having a little less square footage to live in. Even with the smaller living quarters, the distinct indie vibe of Central City is well worth it if you’re looking for an interesting day-to-day life.

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Rose Park

Rose Park in Salt Lake.

While it didn’t always have a great reputation, Rose Park is now an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s a fairly peaceful and quiet area that’s seeing a revival — more and more people are flocking to it.

Couples and young families are turning Rose Park into a more youthful area. More restaurants are opening up to accommodate the crowds.

Soon, it’s expected that the area will be one of the most lively in the valley.

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East Bench

East Bench in Salt Lake City.

Settled into the hills of the mountains to the east of the Salt Lake valley, you’ll find East Bench. This neighborhood is full of single-family homes and well-established, older residents.

Most of the homes are large and spacious here — unlike many other neighborhoods in the lower valley with smaller and tightly packed streets.

There are no grocery stores or shopping centers in the actual East Bench neighborhood, but there’s plenty nearby, — so you’re not missing out on anything important.

Despite being further from local amenities, the view from the neighborhood is an exceptional one.

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Poplar Grove

Poplar Grove in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / Cornell Street Apartments

One of the larger neighborhoods within Salt Lake City, Poplar Grove lies just east of downtown. And like some of the other neighborhoods, it’s been given new life in recent years.

It’s maintained a diverse demographic throughout the years, which is part of what makes the neighborhood great. Being so close to downtown means there’s no shortage of things to do, restaurants to eat at and shopping spots to explore!

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People’s Freeway

People

In People’s Freeway, you’ll find it’s full of laid-back restaurants and activities. Smith’s Ballpark is in the neighborhood, where you can catch Salt Lake’s minor league baseball team, the Bees.

Most residents in this area live in apartments or condos, which have drawn in more young professionals and young couples, rather than full families. And the neighborhood caters to those young professionals and couples — with plenty of chill bars and affordable restaurants around, it’s easy to meet new people in the same stage of life.

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Fairpark

Fairpark in Salt Lake City.

Fairpark, given its name for the fairgrounds in this neighborhood, is a truly eclectic area of Salt Lake.

Full of great ethnic cuisine, Fairpark offers up some of the best Mexican and Asian restaurants in the city. Furthermore, if you’re one who likes to cook cultural foods at home — there is a surplus of ethnic markets so you can buy anything you need for authentic dishes.

Fairpark is close to downtown, but a bit quieter. You still feel like you’re in the city but in a lesser-known part. You’re far from the hustle and bustle of the big city and can explore this hidden gem of a neighborhood in peace.

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Liberty Wells

Liberty Wells in Salt Lake City.

Full of restaurants, coffee shops and bars — the Liberty Wells neighborhood attracts some of the most interesting, eccentric people in the valley. Most are young professionals, so it’s no wonder the area maintains a vibrant atmosphere.

There’s not too much traffic and you can walk most places in Liberty Wells. Local businesses offer everything from handmade postcards to imported cheese — you’re always bound to find something interesting and unexpected around every corner.

If you’re wanting to meet new people, this is one of the friendliest neighborhoods where you can grab a drink and chat with almost anyone.

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Bonneville Hills

Bonneville Hills in Salt Lake City.

Bonneville Hills is your typical suburb — quiet, safe and beautiful in its own right.

With great K-12 schools in the area and the University of Utah close by, lots of families, college students and young professionals enjoy living in the neighborhood.

There are parks around every corner and you’re minutes away from many hikes and canyons, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities right outside your front door.

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Glendale

Glendale in Salt Lake City.

Established during World War II, Glendale is one of the friendliest neighborhoods you’ll find. Its close sense of community attracts families and couples looking to settle down for a while.

With such an engaging community, Glendale brings in plenty of diversity, blending together Hispanic, Polynesian and Native American cultures — along with many others.

Plus, it’s one of the more affordable areas close to downtown, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

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Which Salt Lake City neighborhood is best for you?

There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, it’s hard to choose where to live. No matter which neighborhood draws you in, you’re sure to find that Salt Lake is a wonderful, diverse city that you’ll fit into quickly.

So check out Salt Lake City apartments to rent or homes to buy to get started with your move!

The post The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

6 Ways I Saved Money On College Costs

Check out this list of ways to save money on college costs. This is a great list!How much does college cost? This is a question many wonder. There’s rarely a week that goes by where I don’t receive an email from a student or parents of a student who are looking for ways to cut college costs. That’s why today I want to talk about college costs and how you can create a college budget that works so that you can save money in college.

College is very expensive – there is no doubt about that.

However, I want you to know that it IS possible to get a valuable college degree on a budget!

The average public university is over $20,000 per year and the average private university totals over $45,000 once you account for tuition, room and board, fees, textbooks, living expenses and more.

Even with how expensive college can possibly be, there are many ways to cut college expenses and create a college budget so that you can control rising college costs.

Continue reading below to read about the many different ways I cut college costs. While I was not perfect and still racked up student loan debt, I did earn three college degrees on a reasonable budget.

Related articles:

  • How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500
  • How I Paid Off $38,000 In Student Loan Debt In 7 Months
  • The Benefits of Paying Off Student Loan Debt Early
  • Should I Ruin My Retirement By Helping My Child Through College?
  • How To Save Money – My Best Money Saving Tips

 

1. Take classes at a community college to cut college costs.

Whether you are in college already or you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.

Earning credits at a community college usually costs just a small fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester.

There is a myth out there that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is NOT TRUE at all. When you finally earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits at all. So this myth makes no sense because your degree looks the exact same as everyone else’s’ who you went to college with. You might as well save money because it won’t make much of a difference.

I only took classes at a community college during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I still regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.

Also, you are most likely just taking general credits at the community college, so it’s not like you would be missing much by taking classes there instead of a college that has a better reputation for the major you are seeking.

If you do decide to go to a community college, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of the credits. It’s an easy step to take so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes as well as to make sure that ALL of the classes will transfer succesfully.

 

2. Take advantage of high school classes to lower your college budget.

Many high schools allow you to take college classes to earn both college and high school credits at the same time.

This is something I highly recommend you look into if you are still in high school, as it saves time and is one of the best ways to save money on college costs.

When I was in my senior year in high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities. I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). This way I knocked out a whole semester of college. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.

 

3. Take all the credits you can to stay within your college budget.

At many universities, you pay a flat fee. So whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you are paying nearly the exact same price.

For this reason, I always recommend that a student take as many classes as they can if they are going to a college that charges a flat fee tuition.

If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are paying for!

 

4. Apply for scholarships to lower your college costs.

Before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, FAFSA, and more. You usually have to turn in any paperwork around spring time for the following semester, so I highly recommend doing this right now if you are going to college in the fall.

Another myth will be busted right now. Many believe that all scholarships are impossible to have or it means you have to win a contest. That is just a myth.

I received around $16,000 a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get as they were all just because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well just for good grades, so I know they can be found as long as you do well in high school!

There are other ways to find scholarships as well. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list out possible scholarships for you to apply to.

Tip: Many forget that you usually have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!

 

5. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your college budget.

Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major.

For me, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This means if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.

I saved a decent amount of money on college textbooks by renting them and finding them used. Renting them was nice because I just had to pay one fee and didn’t ever have to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return them. There was no worrying about the book being worthless if a new edition came out, which was nice! Buying books used was nice occasionally as well just because sometimes I could make my money back.

I recommend Campus Book Rentals if you are looking for textbook rentals. Their rentals are affordable and they make getting the textbooks you need easy.

Read: How To Save Money On Textbooks + Campus Book Rentals Review

 

6. Skip the high price of living on campus to cut your college budget.

To save more money, I decided to live on my own. I didn’t have the option of living at home after high school and living on campus would have cost me a ton of money.

Instead, I found a very cheap rental house (the house was VERY small and probably could have been considered a tiny home) and was able to somewhat easily commute to work and college from it. I probably saved around $500 a month by living on my own instead of on campus, and I learned a lot by living on my own at a young age as well.

If you can live at home though and want to save money, I highly recommend it if it’s an option for you. You can save thousands of dollars a semester by doing this!

I understand that some are against this because it may impact your “college experience,” but I think most people would be fine not living on campus, especially if it’s not in the budget. You could probably save around $40,000 over the years on your degree by living at home.

How did you cut college costs and control your college budget? How much student loan debt did you have when you graduated?

 

The post 6 Ways I Saved Money On College Costs appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

"How Will You Measure Your Life?" The Question that Changed Me Forever

Reading is one of my superpowers. I make time daily in my work life to consume an article or a chapter of a non-fiction book. I usually learn something—a new fact to absorb or a tactic to try. 

Incredibly rarely, something I read actually changes me. 

When I first read this piece, I was an exhausted, overworked, always-feeling-guilty mom with a long commute and a need for something to change.

Seven years ago, I first stumbled on an article called How Will You Measure Your Life? written by the renowned Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. The piece captivated me, and I credit it with setting me on a new path. Christensen, who has since passed away, offered me a sense of direction and clarity. I find many people around me seek the same thing right now, which is precisely why I'm revisiting a seven-year-old article with you today.

When I first read this piece, I was an exhausted, overworked, always-feeling-guilty mom with a long commute and a need for something to change. Reading it helped me ask and answer some big questions for myself—not by telling me what to think, but rather how to think. Christensen's article applied big wonky management concepts to the everyday business of humanity. And he did it beautifully.

Since I first read "How Will You Measure Your Life," I've made a habit of rereading it once a year. And each year I take something new from it.

Today, in case you’re one of those people sitting with big questions, I’d love to share some of my favorite insights. If you’ve ever wondered how to maintain fulfillment, balance, and integrity in your life and career, then this one’s for you.

How do I achieve fulfillment in my career?

Professor Christensen begins with an introduction to the work of Frederick Herzberg whose research in the mid-twentieth century taught us that money is not our most powerful motivating force.

As Money Girl Laura Adams tells us, money can buy us happiness … but only to a point. To have emotional well-being, we need to have enough money to cover basics like food and shelter comfortably. A widely cited 2010 study set that bar at $75,000 a year. Making more than that, data told us, didn’t equate to more happiness.

Unlock those golden handcuffs and free yourself to find joy in your work.

So if money doesn’t drive happiness, then what does? According to Christensen, it’s the opportunity to learn, to grow in responsibility, to contribute to the development of others, and to be recognized for your hard work and achievements. 

So ask yourself: Are you having these fulfilling experiences in your work today? 

If you could use a bump, are there ways you can infuse more life into your work? Can you take on a project that might help you expand your thinking, network, or knowledge? Can you mentor someone whose success you’d love to enhance? Can you publicly recognize a colleague who did you a small solid?

Or are you ready for a change you now realize you can afford to make?

Maybe you’ve always worked in corporate and dreamed of rolling into the non-profit space. Or you’re being pulled in multiple directions and want to transition to working part-time for a while. Or there’s that side hustle you always wanted to try, or that degree you dream of getting.

Unlock those golden handcuffs and free yourself to find joy in your work. 

For me, this meant finally stepping out of a job that felt heavy and taking that chance on starting my own business. I’ve never looked back.

How do I maintain balance?

This, Christensen explains, is really a question of how your strategy is defined and implemented.

”…A company’s strategy is determined by the types of initiatives that management invests in.”

If a company's strategy is to win by creating high-quality products, but it chooses to maximize its profit margin by using cheap materials to manufacture them, well … I think you can see why the strategy is doomed to fail.

So the question here is what strategy have you defined for your life. And are you making the right investments to support it?

To make the analogy work, Christensen imagines each important part of his life as a line of business—his career, his family, and his community.

He wants each of them to succeed. So he allocates his investments—his time, his focus, his care—in alignment with that strategy.

I realized that my time is my investment portfolio. I wanted to take ownership of it.

“Allocation choices,” he says, “can make you turn out to be very different from what you intended.”

He goes on to observe that “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers even though… loving relationships… are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”

When I first read this, I knew my sense of balance was off. Yet I somehow felt powerless to change it. But there was something in his framing about the allocation of resources that really hit me. I realized that my time is my investment portfolio. I wanted to take ownership of it.

Did I quit my job and start my business the next day? I assure you I did not. But this reframing was exactly the gift I needed to move from feeling constrained and trapped to feeling encouraged and ready to explore some options. 

Where have you possibly overinvested in work and underinvested in the things or people that bring you joy?

I’m not suggesting you follow my path. I’m inviting you to assess yours. Are you investing according to the outcomes you hope to achieve? Where have you possibly overinvested in work and underinvested in the things or people that bring you joy?

How do I keep integrity at the forefront?

Ever hear of something called the “marginal cost mistake?” I hadn’t. It’s the idea that most people who’ve fallen from grace (think Bernie Madoff) didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit a major crime.

“A voice in our head says ‘Look, I know that as a general rule most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once it’s OK.’ The marginal cost of doing something wrong ‘just this once’ always seems alluringly low. It suckers you in.”

Personally, I’ve never stood on the precipice of making a criminal choice. But this concept has shown up in my life in different ways.

Think long and hard before you break the golden rule. Otherwise, your 'marginal cost mistake' will stay with you.

In my life today, I stand firmly in the camp of respect and equality for every human being. If someone in my life—a client, a colleague, even a family member—makes an off-color joke or comment, I know it’s easier to ignore it. Just this once. 

But I won’t. And having that clarity makes the choice so simple for me.

Maybe your boss asked you to “borrow” a competitor’s idea you heard about… just this once. Or a friend needs a reference and wonders if you’ll play the role of her former boss… but just for this one potential job.

Think long and hard before you break the golden rule. Otherwise, your "marginal cost mistake" will stay with you. I still remember kids I didn’t stand up for on the playground. I can’t change what’s behind me, but I can be a version of myself going forward that the little girl in me would be proud of.

I wish the same for you.

I hope these ideas have triggered some insight or courage or inspiration. May you be fulfilled, may you be in balance, and may you be the most gleaming version of you.   

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

We Want a Diverse Area With Moderate Population, Warm, Beach and Culture—So Where Should We Retire?

Gulfport, FLCourtesy Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

Dear MarketWatch,

We are African-Americans and want to retire to a diverse area with moderate population, warm, beach, culture. We can afford a better-than-average lifestyle and want to feel accepted in our new community — hopefully somewhere with high walkability and homes with character. And maybe near a major airport…. for lots of traveling.

Let me know what you come up with. Thanks.

— Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

We all know there are plenty of beach towns in the U.S., but finding one with personality is a bigger challenge.

I’m going to leave out some obvious places, like Miami Beach and, though less diverse, Hilton Head. On the West Coast, no Southern California. Too obvious. Plus, while you can afford a better-than average lifestyle, home prices there are so high that they could hamper your travel budget. The same goes for Sag Harbor and the Hamptons more broadly (plus you’d still have winter on Long Island).

Instead, I’ll look for some off-the-beaten path possibilities. I’m sure readers will have their own suggestions.

As always, explore the area in all seasons, and be realistic about the retirement budget. When you find your dream place, ask which areas are susceptible to flooding during hurricanes and other storms.

A street in the historic district of Wilmington, NC
A street in the historic district of Wilmington, NC

Courtesy Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Atlantic: Wilmington, North Carolina

Check out the Cape Fear region, which includes Wilmington as well as beach towns like Carolina Beach and the more upscale Wrightsville Beach.

Wilmington is growing quickly and at 123,000 people has more than half of New Hanover County’s population. The share of those 65 and older are roughly in line with the U.S. average. Look for a place where you’ll catch a breeze off the Intracoastal Waterway or the ocean to counter the summer humidity — so not too far inland.

You’ll have no shortage of cultural offerings, starting with Thalian Hall, the Cameron Art Museum and the Wilson Center. The University of North Carolina Wilmington, which has 17,000 students, lets those 65 and older audit classes for free, while its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers shorter courses to those 50 and older.

Be sure to explore the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which stretches from Wilmington to Jacksonville, Fla., and is home to cultural groups descended from enslaved peoples from West and Central Africa. Poplar Grove Plantation is one local site.

Winter days get into the 50s, with average lows in the 40s. Average highs in July are in the 80s.

Here’s what’s on the housing market now in Wilmington and in New Hanover County using Realtor.com (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.).

As for travel, while Wilmington has an airport, you’ll have more choices flying from Raleigh two hours away.

———

Gulfport, FL, is next to St. Petersburg.
Gulfport, FL, is next to St. Petersburg.

Courtesy Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

The Gulf of Mexico: Gulfport, Florida

Florida’s popularity with retirees is no secret, in part because it’s affordable and has no state income tax. But all too often, home means living in a high rise or a gated community.

Gulfport, though, is described as how Key West was before it became overrun with tourists.

This town of 12,000, just west of St. Petersburg, is your artsy, funky, walkable spot in the middle of the Tampa Bay metro area and its 3 million people. You’ll also find plenty of retirees; 30% of Gulfport’s residents are 65 or older.

Gulfport comes with sunset views from its own (man-made) strip of sand over Boca Ciega Bay so, yes, it’s on the Gulf side of Florida but technically not on the Gulf of Mexico. But opposite the bay is St. Pete Beach, which gets raves from TripAdvisor (a local says head to the Pass-A-Grille section at the southern tip). When you tire of that, there are more white-sand beaches to sink your toes in, including Siesta Beach in Sarasota an hour south (and Dr. Beach’s pick in 2017 for best beach in the U.S.) as well as Caladesi Island State Park (No. 6 on Dr. Beach’s list this year) an hour north.

And if you just want to walk, don’t overlook the 45-mile Pinellas Trail that stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and goes through the northern edge of Gulfport.

For bigger getaways, there’s Tampa International Airport.

To get a sense of the local housing market, here’s what’s for sale now, again using Realtor.com.

As you explore the Tampa area, also check out Safety Harbor, a town of 18,000 on the western side of Tampa Bay with its own walkable downtown, and Dunedin (pronounced Duh-nee-din) north of Clearwater that’s also popular with retirees. You know there’s plenty of cultural offerings in a metro this size. One that might be easy to overlook: the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum in St. Petersburg.

———

Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
Overlooking Waikiki Beach

Christopher Ball/iStock

The Pacific: Oahu, Hawaii

If year-round pleasant weather is the priority, Hawaii can’t be beat. Average highs are in the 80s year-round, and average lows bottom out in the mid-60s. Of course there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches.

When you tire of water, take advantage of wonderful hiking opportunities. And while the focus of your international travels might shift toward Asia, you may want to spend more time just staying, discovering Hawaiian culture and exploring some of the national parks.

You admittedly won’t find a big population of African-Americans here, but Hawaiians have a much more open and fluid view of race and diversity than many of us on the mainland.

Start your search for your retirement life on Oahu Island. About a third of the island’s million residents live in Honolulu itself, one of the country’s most diverse and affluent cities and the birthplace of President Barack Obama. Curious about sites associated with him in some way? Here are even more.

You’ll find plenty of cultural offerings in Honolulu (including some of Hawaii’s best festivals, as voted by readers of Hawai’i Magazine), plus the state university (those 60 and older can audit classes for free).

There’s even Costco, if that’s your thing. Oh, and that Elvis statue…

Yes, there’s the cost of getting everything to Hawaii — some things will be even more expensive than parts of California. Here’s what the local housing market looks like.

If Honolulu is too pricey, consider some of the smaller towns on the island. Or check out the less-populated (and cheaper) Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island. Start with the Kalaoa area.

The post We Want a Diverse Area With Moderate Population, Warm, Beach and Culture—So Where Should We Retire? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Why Does My Mortgage Keep Getting Sold?

marchmeena29/Getty Images

A letter arrives in the mail and tells you your mortgage has been sold. It also informs you to send your monthly payments to a new address. Don’t panic! This happens all the time, and you shouldn’t see many (if any) changes.

“I would say probably 30% to 50% of the time [borrowers are] going to eventually end up mailing their payments somewhere else different from when they first originated it,” says Rocke Andrews, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

So why does your mortgage get sold—and why can it happen multiple times? Banks and mortgage servicers constantly check the numbers to find a way to make a buck on your big loan. It all takes place behind the scenes, and you find out the result only when you get that aforementioned letter in the mail.

What does a mortgage being sold mean for homeowners?

The short version: When a loan is sold, the terms of that loan don’t change. But where a mortgage-holder submits payment and receives customer service may change as the loan gets sold. And that could affect a few things.

“The level of service that you receive may vary depending upon who the servicer is,” Andrews says. “Certain servicers might offshore a lot of that [work]. So when you would call into servicing you could get a call center in India or over in Asia somewhere and people were less than knowledgeable about the product.”

But service issues that lead to frustration are the exception, not the rule, says Andrews. “Most [consumers] don’t deal with the servicers that much, they just send in a payment and things are happy.”

The new servicer might offer different payment options and may have different fees associated with payment types, so be sure to check any auto payment or bill pay functions you’ve set up.

The basics of mortgage servicing

To understand why mortgages are sold, it’s important to understand some basics.

First, when you take out a mortgage to buy a home, a lender approves your loan and you make payments to a loan servicer. Sometimes, the servicer and the lender are one and the same. More often, they’re not.

The servicer “collects the payment and disburses it out,” Andrews says. “They distribute the payment to the investors, [send] property taxes to the local taxing entity, and [pay] homeowners insurance. They are taking care of all the payments coming in and getting them distributed to the people they belong to.”

Andrews says a small portion of the interest you pay on a loan—often a quarter of a percent—goes to the servicer.

“Typically servicing is a labor-intensive business—there are only five or six servicers [nationwide] that probably handle 75% to 80% of all the mortgages in the United States,” Andrews explains. Major players include Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Freedom, and Mr. Cooper. Some of these companies service the loans they originate.

Servicers can sell your mortgage

Lenders can enter agreements with servicers to purchase batches of loan servicing. Or lenders may shop around for a servicer if they’re carrying too many loans on their books.

Servicers are interested in buying loans in order to sell other products to their new-found customers. Andrews uses an example of a big bank that can then attempt to sell retirement funds, credit cards, or other profitable financial product to customers they had no prior relationship with.

Many lenders originate loans, and then proceed to sell off the servicing or the loan itself. If the servicer changes, the customer must receive a notification. There will be a grace period in case a borrower accidentally sends payment to the wrong place.

Lenders often sell the loans to financiers as a mortgage-backed security for investors or to government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae.

So why does my mortgage get sold?

Loan servicers are businesses in search of a profit. Andrews says the value of the servicing depends on two main factors:

  • Whether a borrower pays on time or not
  • How long the borrower will be paying

If a servicer receives a quarter percent for servicing a 30-year mortgage, a consumer who pays steadily for the life of the loan is more valuable  than a borrower who opts for a refinance within a few years.

Keep in mind: During a refinance, the new loan pays off the old loan, and new terms are set. So if a servicer was expecting to earn a quarter of a percent over 30 years and the borrower refinances after only five years, the servicer gets the share for five years as opposed to 30.

For example, if you have a $100,000 loan at 4% for 30 years, you’d pay about $70,000 in interest over the life of the loan. However, the lender would need to wait a full 30 years to make that full $70,000. In hopes of a quicker profit, lenders will often sell the loan.

If servicing a loan costs more than the money it brings in, lenders may attempt to sell the servicing of it to lower their costs. The lender may also sell the loan itself to free up money in order to make more loans.

Loan servicers have another consideration in play. They need to pay investors who buy mortgage-backed securities—even if a consumer with a mortgage can’t make payments or is in forbearance.

“The downside to forbearance is the servicing company has to make your payment for you,” Andrews says. “That’s why we’re running into problems.”

With millions of homeowners asking for forbearance, Andrews predicts more mortgages will be sold.

Can I state that I don’t want my mortgage sold?

Somewhere in the terms and conditions of your mortgage paperwork, it likely says your mortgage can be sold. Andrews says there is really no way to keep it from happening.

The trade-off for the odd behind-the-scenes shuffling of your mortgage is a lower interest rate for you—the all-important borrower.

“It’s just part of making the entire mortgage industry safer, more liquid,” Andrews says. “Back in the old days you would go to the bank and make your payment at the bank.” The rates depended on how much money the bank had and the area economy.

But instead of the bygone days of interacting with the local banker, nationwide competition for your borrowing needs has been unlocked.

“By nationalizing the mortgage market, you provide lower rates and better options to the consumer,” says Andrews.

The post Why Does My Mortgage Keep Getting Sold? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

The Ultimate List of More Than 50 Budget Categories You Must Use

The post The Ultimate List of More Than 50 Budget Categories You Must Use appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

It is no secret that you need a budget.  But, it is imperative that it includes everything.  Take the time to review your spending and don’t leave anything off of it.  Below you will find a list of household budget categories you need to include. Forgetting even one off might be a big mistake.

It is no secret that the number one thing you must do to take control of your finances is to create a budget.  Without one, you really can’t see where your money goes.  Or, more importantly, you don’t get to direct your money to be spent as you would like for it to be!

While there are posts on how to create a budget, one question I get frequently is, “What categories should I include in a budget?”   When you are new to making a budget, something such as a personal budget categories list can help.  I agree.

As you create yours for the first time, it is important you don’t leave off anything important. A successful budget is one that includes a line item for every way you spend your money.

If you are just learning about budgeting, you will want to check out our page — How to Budget.

There, you will learn everything you want to know about budgets and budgeting.

 

To help you get a jump start on with your budget, and to make sure you don’t leave off any categories, download our free budget template.  This form has helped thousands get started with creating a budget.

SIMPLE BUDGET CATEGORIES 

Once you have your form, you are ready to figure out your budget categories!  While you may not have each of these as individual line items on your form, just make sure you include them all somewhere in your budget!

 

DONATIONS OR CHARITY CATEGORIES

These are all of the monthly donations you make to various charities.  Don’t forget about those you may make only once or twice a year as well!

Church
Medical Research
Youth Groups

 

SAVINGS CATEGORIES

While not needed to live, it is crucial that you always pay yourself before you pay anyone else.  Once you meet your necessary expenses, ensure you are saving enough each month.

If you are in your employer’s retirement plan, you pay those before you get your paycheck, so you would not include them.  However, make sure you account for the different types of savings accounts you may have.

Emergency Fund Savings
Annual Fees, such as taxes, insurance, and dues
College Savings
Investments
Christmas/Birthdays/Anniversaries
Additional Retirement (outside of your employer’s plan)

Read More:  Yearly Savings Challenge

 

CATEGORIES FOR HOUSING

No one will forget to add housing to their budget.  But, make sure you include the amount you may save for repairs and other expenses. To figure out how much to budget, look over your prior year spending and divide that total by 12.  You will add this to your savings, but you can track it under your housing budget category.

First Mortgage
Second Mortgage (if applicable)
Property Taxes
Insurance
Home Owner’s Association Dues
Maintenance
Housekeeper/Cleaning
Lawn Care

 

PERSONAL BUDGET UTILITIES CATEGORIES

You can’t live without your water and electricity.  It is essential that you don’t leave any of these off of your budget either!  These are some of the basic budget categories most people will not intend to forget, but just might.

Electricity
Water
Gas/Oil
Sewer
Trash
Cable/Satellite/Streaming Services
Internet (if not part of your cable bill)
Phone

Read more:  How to Lower Your Utility Bills

 

FOOD

You have to eat. There are only two ways that happens  — you cook or you eat out. Make sure you include both of these categories in your budget.

Groceries
Dining Out

 

TRANSPORTATION CATEGORIES

You have to be able to get around.  That doesn’t always mean a vehicle as it could mean using other means of transportation.  Whatever method you use, make sure you include all of those expenses in your budget.

Remember that you may not have to pay for some of these items each month, but it is essential you budget for them monthly so that the funds are available when needed.

Vehicle payment (make sure you include all payments for all vehicles)
Fuel
Insurance
Taxes
Tags/Licensing
Maintenance
Parking Fees
Taxi/Bus Fares

 

CLOTHING

A line item many people leave off of their budget is clothing.  They forget that it is a necessary expense.  While this doesn’t mean you should go and buy new clothes all of the time, it does allow you to replace items which are worn out.

It is also essential that parents include this item as kids need clothes a bit more frequently.

Adult Clothing
Kids Clothing

 

CATEGORIES FOR HEALTH

Don’t forget your health expenses when determining a budget.  Make sure you include the money you pay towards your co-pays during the year.

Health Insurance
Dental Insurance
Eye Insurance
Doctor Visits
Dental Visits
Optometrist
Medications
Deductible Savings

 

PERSONAL ITEMS CATEGORIES

Personal is a “catch-all” category which may contain much of your discretionary spending!  Some of the most common types you need to include:

Haircuts/Manicures/Pedicures
Life Insurance
Child Care/Babysitting
Toiletries (if not included in your grocery budget above)
Household Items (if you did not already include in your groceries budget above)
Education/Tuition
Dry Cleaning/Laundry
School Dues/Supplies
Magazines
Gym Memberships
Organization Dues
Postage
Pet Care (food, grooming, shots, boarding)
Photos (school and family photos)
Random Spending (always useful as a way to pay for the things you may not have broken out in your budget)

 

RECREATION

We all love to spend some time doing things we love.  Don’t forget to include your entertainment category when determining your budget.

Entertainment (movies/concerts)
Crafts
Hobbies
Parties
Vacations

 

DEBTS

Once you pay off your debt, these will go away entirely and will no longer be needed.  You can learn how to get out of debt and get started with that (once you have your budget).

Credit Cards (all debt)
Unsecured loans
Home equity loans
Student loans
Medical loans

 

Now you have the categories you need for your budget!  Take the first step in getting control of your finances by putting this to work for you.

caclulator on desk to figure budget categories

The post The Ultimate List of More Than 50 Budget Categories You Must Use appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

8 Tips to Save Money on Meat

TipstoSaveMoneyonMeat

Buy It in the Morning

Looking for deals on meat? Hit up the supermarket in the early morning. That’s when they’ll be restocking the meat case, and you’ll have the best bet at finding a deal.

Buy in Bulk

Ask at the deli counter of your supermarket for “bulk ends,” and ask if there’s a discount! These end bits of sliced meats are too small to slice in the machine, but can be sliced or cubed at home. They’re often offered at half off!

Befriend the Butcher

When does your supermarket mark-down meat? It’s as easy as asking the butcher. Especially if you’re friendly, he or she will usually be happy to let you know this valuable savings secret.

Market Watch

Supermarkets have started using their own wording on meat packages to make you think that the product you are buying is a better grade than it really is. Most of the major chains are buying more select-grade beef, but may call it by any number of fancy names such as “top premium beef,” “prime quality cut,” “select choice,” “market choice,” or “premium cut.” Be aware that these titles don’t actually mean anything!

Ask for Discounted Cuts

Grocery stores make a lot of money on meat, so it’s not surprising that they display the priciest cuts in the case! Experience dramatic savings by instead asking the butcher to slice different cuts for you from the same primal (or section) of the cow or pig. These cuts can be as little as one-fifth the cost of the expensive, pre-packaged cuts, and they’ll be just as tender and tasty. Here are a few discounted (yet delicious) cuts you can ask for: Instead of buying ground beef, ask the butcher to grind up a bottom round roast for you. If you’re looking for rib eye steak, request chuck eye. (You may need to ask the butcher to cut a 4-inch roast off the front of the boneless chuck, then to peel out the chuck eye and cut it into steaks.) Instead of pork tenderloin, buy an entire loin roast and ask the butcher to cut it up for you.

Buy Bigger Hams

If you’re going to buy a canned ham, purchase the largest one you can afford. Most smaller canned hams are made from bits and pieces glued together with gelatin. Cured hams are injected with a solution of brine salts, sugar, and nitrites. The weight of the ham will increase with the injection, and if the total weight goes up by 8 percent, the label will usually say “ham with natural juices.” If the weight of the ham increases by more than 10 percent, the label must read “water added.”

Make Your Own Patties

Never buy meat that’s already been shaped into patties (unless it’s on sale). Instead, buy your own and shape into patties yourself. Place a sheet of waxed paper between each, then place the entire stack in a resealable plastic bag and put in the freezer.

Leaner Isn’t Always Better

Even if you want to prepare low-fat meals, you don’t always need to buy the leanest (and most expensive) ground beef. If you’re preparing hamburgers on a grill or on a broiler rack, most of the fat will be lost during the cooking process, so stick with the moderately lean varieties.

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Source: quickanddirtytips.com