Buying a House

Buying a house? Like a real house? To some, that kind of thing makes people quiver. According my husband, it’s the best possible move for us to make rather than renting. Granted, everyone is different…but in our real estate market (PA), it is certainly the right move.

But, buying a house comes with a couple of really…real responsibilities. Ones that you wouldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams. Coming from a girl rifled with anxiety and over thinking, you would think I wouldn’t miss something as big as..oh, a water heater, a roof, or a purchase of a lawn mower…but, we all make mistakes. Right?

I’m here to walk you through this, because as much as other people say, it is almost impossible for a young couple to buy a house…I’m here to tell you, it’s possible. You just have to plan a hell of a lot. (Which is hard for me)

First thing you have to get in order:

Start saving: I’m not talking about $5 every paycheck. I’m talking $100. Rip that band aid off, and get it together. kate spade will ALWAYS be there…and you don’t need to keep up your closet’s appearance, you have bigger fish to fry. If you are already paying rent, make sure to budget yourself. Sit down, and budget into your budget to save about $50-$100 each paycheck…or even every month. It adds up, and it is so worth it in the end.

Start a Savings Account: Transfer your monthly deposit into a savings account that you can’t get your hands on if you have a moment of weakness in Longchamp. We chose to go with Capital One 360, and it seems to give us the best interest rate for the amount of money we had saved up for the house. It also has a really easy app and very pleasant customer service people. We all know I’m hard to please, so obviously they’re doing it right.

Save your pennies: Okay, so this one is dumb, but it helps Michael and me have a little extra cash for when we do want to go out to dinner. Usually, I don’t use cash, but every once in a while we both will withdraw a couple 20’s and use it for the week. ANY change we get goes straight into a huge vase in our room. Since Michael used TDbank, we can change in our pennies and dimes for some crisp hundies if we wait long enough. Some use it as a vacation fund, or a puppy fund…but we use it as a food fund because we’re in love with going out to eat.

Which brings me to my next point….budget your ass.

Sorry, but it has to be said. You literally have no idea how much you hemorrhage in money in ONE DAY if you don’t watch yourself. I’m all about the treat yo’ self…but don’t treat yo’ self to a Chanel if you can only buy a tote from the line at Home Goods. Embrace the cheap, and don’t get tears on your new reusable tote.

I go by the rule: $5 a day on any item you want. Make your food at home, and don’t buy any snacks during the day. Now, the $5 rule is only applicable to frivolous purchases. We all know you have to pump your gas, and buy your groceries…so my $5 is used on my coffee…because I am a beast without it. I sit down after receiving my check and budget in my gas for a week, my groceries, student loans, water bills, electric bills, and our mortgage. After calculating all of our expenses, I see how much we have left.

Since both Michael and I get paid bi-weekly…we multiply 5 times 14…which is obviously 70. I usually give myself $100 in case I forget my lunch one day…but you can you know…not eat or something. I then subtract my “allowance” from my total left…and viola! What you save in that paycheck. It seems like a lot of extra work, but my co-worker turned me into a saving machine when she told me about her unwritten rule! ( thanks G!)

Anyway, back to the important stuff, the house and stuff.

Go Slow: Trust me, you would rather be in your situation and saving for 3 years than buy a house without much planning and be house poor…the worst kind of poor. Not only are you bound by contracts and bills…but you can also be charged a hell of a lot of interest, fees, and garnishing of your freaking paycheck if you can’t pay. This holds true for buying that beautiful new couch for your cozy new living room as well. If you can get a free couch for now, TAKE IT. Take anything you can and say thank you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the color for your theme…take it and don’t complain. Second hand furniture is the best kind…because it’s mostly FREE. Save that money for a new couch down the line, when you can afford to drop $700 and not cry as they swipe your credit card…oops.

Expect the impossible: You think you won’t have a bum roof? You will. Concrete problems? Yes, those too. Make sure to allot for the unexpected and impossible, because 9 times out of 10, a new (for you) home will have it’s issues, whether it’s carpenter ants or a water heater that leaks…make sure to are prepared for it, because it will happen.

Now that I’ve thoroughly discouraged you…sorry…I will leave you with one thing:

While I am sitting at my kitchen table, that we bought by ourselves for $500 off of Close5, I will say, it feels pretty damn good to know that I have at least on thing handled.

Now, if I could get my dog to stop jumping onto my bed…

Love you, mean it.

K

Penny Pinching is the Way to Go

With Christmas just over a month away, I have already started a list of people I need to purchase a gift for and the amount I expect the gift to cost.  This is a great way to stick to my budget. I have to congratulate myself, not for my low paying job, but because I am almost positive I am nearing the end of what I call my obsession for designer brands. I could easily charge a Michael Kors bag on my credit card and slowly pay it off over the upcoming months, but I don’t. I instead have come to realize that this isn’t going to make me Instagram famous. No matter how hard I try.

I realize there is a bigger picture: there are bigger things you have to worry about than spending frivolously… No matter how much I think a new handbag would bring in a new season or a new necklace would accent my new outfit, in the long run it isn’t the right choice.

It makes more sense to watch your pennies and only indulge in the smaller things such as my cup of Starbucks iced coffee, a milkshake, or a bite to eat once a week with the person I love when we have the same days off.  I am learning my lessons about what I preach about impulse buying, and instant gratification. It’s not ideal and not where I see myself in five years. For now, my wedding planning and purchasing a house are more important than that new handbag I want, or that Tiffany’s necklace I hope my fiance gets me for Christmas. 🙂

Happy planning and happy savings.

xoxo- Kate

Broke Ain’t No Joke

Let’s talk about this hiatus, huh?

Anywho, I’m trying my friends. I really am. Life catches you and throws you around like a piece of meat. Ugh, whatevs. Let’s just say,

I’m sorry. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, we have some new confessions. We can call them the good, the bad, and the really terrible.

For the good: I started making my own lunch, I thankfully have a job, and I’m paying off my credit card debt…$20 each week to be exact. I have to say, it’s a good balance. I’ve trained myself to look at my paycheck with $40 less every two weeks.

For the bad: I work in a clothing store. A really cute one. I get a fairly awesome discount, and I wear the clothes anyway. We all can see where this is going.

The really terrible: EEK! Okay, I’m getting married next year, and PINTEREST is making things so hard on me (typical first world problem) Ok, but seriously. Everything I see on there, I want in my wedding. I had to talk myself out of buying ANOTHER engagement photo shoot outfit because while shopping, my creative wheels were turning.   On another note, let’s hear it for all the fabulous bitties living paycheck to paycheck! (Do I hear a…cricket?) Is it just me? Well, in that case: let me break it down. I barely make enough to afford gas, food, and a student loan. (Thanks Sallie Mae)

This is where my wonderous post comes in:

What To Expect When Broke:

  1. Ha. The first thing you have to expect is probably a major cramp in your social life. Sure, I gave up going out every weekend once I graduated from college, but let’s get real, a girl’s got to get her drank on. Right?
  2. On top of that major cramp in social life, you’ll probably experience some sort of desperate search for coins; quarters, pennies, nickels, dimes OH MY.
  3. Coffee is a luxury: well, I didn’t give this up..because I’d be a much meaner person if that was taken away.
  4. You find new and exciting ways to revamp your clothing style: In other words: You can’t buy a new outfit every weekend…sorry, Blair Waldorf.
  5. Lastly, (and this is just the tip of the iceberg) you will tend to think you have more money than you actually do. I am so guilty of this. I love giving presents, and I really do have to learn that I cannot afford it!

A word from the wise, it’s hard. This is a hard, stupid concept to wrap your head around. It comes with petty fights with loved ones (don’t give in to fighting about money) and a lot of lonely nights while your friends go out without you.

Next post? What do to on a limited budget.

xoxo- Kate

Credit Cards, Promo E-mails, and Mailings! Oh My!

Let’s talk about the biggest trap around these days…Credit cards!
Now, I’m not saying its a complete trap, but much like life vests in the water, credit cards give you a false sense of security, and in this case, money. No matter how much money you make each week from a job, credit card companies will target you for everything you’ve got.

Here’s my advice: (thanks to my boyfriend)
Use your card for a purchase, but pay off the amount ASAP. Don’t wait until the end of the billing cycle. Why? Most of the time, you will reach for a credit card if you are short on cash. I do it too, and together we can stop this nonsense! On top of that, credit cards will give you a minimum payment each month. Most of us busy folk pay the minimum and go on with our daily lives. DON’T DO THIS! After each month, most cards have interest for an unpaid balance. So basically, your credit card is a ticking time bomb that increases in a balance just because you aren’t spending or paying off a balance wisely.

Credit cards aren’t your thing? Lucky. Well, I am going to reiterate a previous post. Promotional e-mails and mailings. These items are used as ploys by companies. (No matter your vice)
I like to think each time you click on an e-mail, a marketing employee for that company laughs manically. These people are marketing geniuses! That catchy e-mail titles, the amazing colors, the pretty pictures…anyone can get sucked in…right?

My advice? Get it together and unsubscribe. My friend and I recently went through our e-mails and purged our accumulated promo e-mails. Since I last wrote this post, more e-mails piled into my inbox to try and tempt me. Did I give in? Obviously. I have a weakness for Rebecca Minkoff! Don’t judge me!

As for mailings, refuse a mailing address when purchasing in a store. It’s for your own good. Sales people will try and convince you otherwise. Listen to me: no.
You aren’t being rude, you’re helping yourself.

Back to a clean slate tomorrow. Be strong, saving beauties!

K

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Payday! Payday!

As your weekend plans start to come together, and Friday night is closer than ever, it is imperative that you keep a conscious eye out for frivolous spending. As my loyal followers, I feel I have a duty to let you know, payday is just a day that is there to tempt you. “But, Katie, I just got paid! I have so much expendable money! It’s Friday!”

….No, no you don’t. Sit back and read…this could help you out of the poor house.

1) Let’s cut to the chase, every single time that you are planning on going out for an night on the town, you believe that you need a complete new outfit. Whether it be Thursday after work or Friday after work, your pump yourself up and lead yourself to believe that you had enough cash to go out to get cute new pair of pants or a new dress. If you’re an instant gratification gal or guy like I am, you have tunnel vision all the way to the store.

Fight the urge, my saving beauties!

Am I being unfair? Probably a little bit. But the fact of the matter is that you do have something to wear and quite honestly no one will actually notice your outfit!

2) How many credit cards do you have? One? Two? Six? Go in your wallet and take them all out. NEVER pay for a night out on your credit card. Don’t open a tab with a debit card either…imagine waking up with $27 left in your account! (It’s happened) Before you go out on the town, stop at your bank…NOT a random ATM. This way, you don’t have a surcharge on your account. Estimate how much money you will be spending and take out $20 extra. I like to call this “God forbid” money. With my anxiety, I like to cook up situations that may happen. I.E- my friends leave me, I get kidnapped…you know, the logical stuff.

3) How do you get to your destination? Walk? Taxi? Car? If you’re walking, good for you! Just don’t wear heels. Anything else is going to cost you $10-$25. In your allotted cash. That’s right! No credit or debit cards can be used!

Make sure that you have a definite area which in which you will be staying the entire night. If you were hitting up multiple places, be smart about it. Shop around different taxi companies. A word of advice: don’t appear drunk, many cab drivers will assume you do not know where you are, and take a long cut! Don’t be afraid to speak up if you know a shorter way!

4) Have the munchies? Cut it out! You will end up wasting more money and if you’re on a diet, well… You get what I mean.

5) Lastly, make sure to collect loose money in your purse or pocket and put it back into the bank! If you were under budget, congrats! If you went over budget, go through and reevaluate your night. I’m sure there were some purchases that you shouldn’t have made!

Happy Weekend, saving beauties!

K