Category : Blog

Useful Tools to help you Budget

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Courtesy of TaxCredits.net

Learning to Manage a Budget

Learning how to properly budget is crucial, especially for new homeowners and families. It’s important to set realistic goals for paying off your mortgage, projects around the house and overall spending habits. Being proactive in organizing expenses can help to avoid getting in the mindset of “it’ll get done eventually.” The digital age and advancements in technology have simplified the budgeting process. Here are a few free resources to guide you in the right direction toward healthy budgeting and spending.

Mint.com

Simply put, Mint.com has it all. From budgeting, to categorized breakdowns of spending habits, to investment tracking, Mint provides the complete financial planning package. Users can connect bank accounts, credit cards and loans as they see fit to track user-determined goals for spending and saving. With as much as Mint has to offer, it’s still surprisingly easy to navigate, allowing users to maximize their budgeting and saving needs. Whether you’re at home or on the go, Mint is available whenever you need it and updates automatically. For those interested in tracking their day-to-day spending habits alongside longterm investment and loan goals, Mint.com is your go-to resource.

Level Money

With Level Money, a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms, budgeting is tracked on a daily basis. After entering your monthly income, bills, savings and other expenses, Level Money calculates the amount you can spend on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The app updates automatically with every purchase, providing a live projection of your allowed spending. Level Money also features digestible graphs and breakdowns of where your money is going. This app has a simple yet attractive design, and its easy-to-use platform is perfect for those looking to change daily spending habits.

Microsoft Excel Budget Template

Tools like Mint.com and Level Money are great, but they’re not for everyone. For those who’d rather avoid tracking financial information online, the Microsoft Excel “Simple Monthly Budget” template is the perfect resource. It’s free to download and saves you the time (and frustration) of creating your own spreadsheet. The Simple Monthly Budget template takes it one step further by creating visual representations of your monthly spending using charts and graphs. It’s customizable, safe and secure to help make the best of your budget.

We help get rid of closing costs. We serve Veterans and Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Welcome Home Tuesday | Brothers by Birth-Friends for Life

Welcome Home Tuesday

Bailey and Meyers Leonard are brothers who have been close all their lives, but they share a tight friendship that is beyond sibling love. By the end of this touching video you will see just how much this Marine means to his younger brother and the unbreakable bond of friendship that they share. Welcome home Bailey!

We help get rid of closing costs for Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Backyard Ideas: Making the Most of Your Space

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Making the most of your backyard space doesn’t have to be a time consuming, daunting task. No matter how big or small, there are a lot of fun, creative and inexpensive backyard ideas to help you spend quality time in your yard. Being able to create some of the best memories in your own backyard is one of the many perks to owning a home. With a few adjustments throughout the summer, homeowners can transform their backyard from a plot of grass to an outside space to call home.

Here are five backyard ideas for kids, adults and the neighborhood alike that allow you to make the most of your backyard space.

Fostering the community

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One the easiest ways to make your backyard feel more welcoming is to make is a space for the whole neighborhood. Even in a smaller backyard, having a space for kids to run around, play games and interact is the perfect way to forge friendships with those in your community. If the space allows for it, take the time to set up a “field day” for the community with games, food and a place to enjoy the summer sun.

For new homeowners, using your personal backyard space creates an inviting, welcoming atmosphere when introducing yourself to the neighborhood.

Create your own movie theater

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Take your weekly family movie night off the couch and into the backyard. All it takes is a few picnic blankets, pillows, a white bed sheet and a small projector and you’ve made your very own outdoor movie theater. Remember the popcorn and candy and you’re ready for a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Born to Lounge

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Relaxation is key. If you have the space, investing in comfortable lawn furniture can do wonders for your backyard. Spend a weekend afternoon reading a book outside, have a few friends over or simply sit back and enjoy a glass of lemonade. Even if there isn’t quite enough space for permanent lawn furniture, a basic folding chair will do just fine. In fact, the ability to pack up the furniture and get it out of the away when you need the space is a nice option to have, as long as you’re able to sit back and relax somewhere.

All it takes is the right chair to cultivate a personal backyard paradise.

Potted possibilities

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Gardens can be a lot of work, and not everyone have the space for them. Fortunately you don’t need a lot of space (or a lot of time commitment) for a few potted plants in the backyard. Choose your favorite vegetable or herb plants—from tomatoes and jalapeños, to basil and dill—and a few of your favorite flowers to bring your backyard to life. Not only will they become a low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing addition to your yard, but the whole family can enjoy the taste of freshly grown ingredients with every meal.

Gathering around the fire

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Similarly to a garden, not everyone has the space or finances for a built-in fire pit. However, that doesn’t mean a family can’t still enjoy the warm glow of a fire on a cool summer night. With a variety of portable fire pits to choose from and do-it-yourself options, families can create the feeling of camping without piling the kids and equipment in the car. A fire pit is a great way to bring the great outdoors to your backyard and make s’mores the good old-fashioned way.

We help get rid of closing costs. We serve Veterans and Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Summer Home Preparation: 4 Great Tips

Summer Home Preparation: 4 Great Tips

It’s time for some summer home preparation. With winter finally coming to an end, everyone’s eager to turn on the air conditioning, jump in the pool or pack the car for a summer vacation. But before soaking up the sun, there are a few things every homeowner should inspect to cut down costs, stay cool and comfortable and avoid ruining what could have been a great afternoon barbecue. Here are a few simple things that are easy to overlook before summer officially begins:

#1 Changing the Rotation

There’s no reason to let your air conditioner do all the work, and if you don’t have air conditioning, this tip is even more important. Setting your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise pushes air down, creating a breeze to cool down the room. It’s as easy as a flick of a switch on the base of the fan.

#2 Fielding the Filters

When the sun is beating down on the house all day and into the early evening, the air conditioner is your greatest ally in the fight to stay cool. That being said, the AC can’t do it all on its own. Dust, pet hair and other small debris collect in the vents, eventually getting caught in the filter. If this filter isn’t changed regularly, airflow is reduced and electricity costs rise along with the temperature inside your home. Buy a few new filters at the beginning of the season so you aren’t caught off guard come the end of July.

#3 Look up—how’s the roof?

Aside from the sweltering sun, summer brings a slew of storms, damaging winds and unpredictable weather than can wreak havoc on your home. Having a professional inspect the quality and integrity of the roof, or doing it yourself, will afford you opportunities to make any necessary repairs or improvements. While you’re up there, do a quick sweep of the gutters and drains—it’s better to be safe than sorry. These repairs can be a bit on the costly side, but it’s better to be prepared instead of working on the fly to fix a leak in the middle of a storm.

#4 Grilling on Fumes

The entire family is coming together for the first cookout of the season. You’ve got all the burgers, bratwursts and corn on the cob ready to go, but when you go to light the grill—nothing. The propane tank is empty.

As soon as the weather warrants use of the grill, make a quick trip to the store and stock up on propane. That way no one is left hungry and waiting, and your cookout goes off without a hitch.

We help get rid of closing costs. We serve Veterans and Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Welcome Home Tuesday | Dad and His Lil’ Ladies

The Wendling Family

This Tuesday we are sharing this touching video that shows the beautiful Wendling family as they prepare and welcome home their man. It is an uplifting view into the life of a military family. Check it out for yourselves, you will see the overwhelming joy and love that this family shares. Welcome Home!

We help get rid of closing costs for Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!