Tracey Fiorelli
Janice Mitchell Real Estate, Inc | 508-509-8162 | [email protected]


Posted by Tracey Fiorelli on 6/27/2020

If budgeting isnít your thing, youíll be glad to discover that itís quite simple. Thereís a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you wonít even think about it. If youíre saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories: 


  • Living expenses
  • Financial goals
  • Personal spending


Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances. 


20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where youíd save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement. 


The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isnít a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesnít require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.


A Clear Plan 


These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.


The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.   



Steps


First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, youíll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, youíll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers. 


Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.     





Tags: budgeting   saving money  
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Posted by Tracey Fiorelli on 12/30/2017

These days keeping track of your money can be a hassle. Between all the different ways you can spend your money itís easy to lose track of your spending. Luckily there are some great apps for money management. Below are a few favoritesó all rated with 3.5 stars and up. LearnVest: LearnVest is a money management platform, but itís also much more. You can link up your various accounts to keep track of your spending, savings and goals (that you set). But the best part about this app are the articles you receive via email from them. The articles that they send are full of helpful information related to early retirement, saving for your wedding, how to pay down debt, rebuilding bad credit, smart saving, and so much more. Every article is worth the read. This app is available on iOS. Mint: Mint is a well-known money management platform. You can hook up your bank accounts, credit cards, 401k and loans and set up budgets. The app utilizes graphs to show you how you spend your money and provides you with bill reminders. It will even give you your net worth. The only downfall to the app is that it has a difficult time connecting to small banksí online banking systems. This app is available on iOS and Google Play. Daily Budget: This is a do-it-yourself app. If you are one that is weary about putting your personal banking information onto your phone then this is the money management app for you. You plug in your income, reoccurring expenses and it gives you a daily budget. You can add in additional income and expenses as they occur. But, you will have to pay for the full version if you want to utilize all income and expense categories. This app is available on iOS. Comparable apps are available on Google Play. Prosper Daily: This appís main emphasis is on protecting your accounts. You can link up your bank accounts and credit cards and approve or deny charges as they occur. But, it is also good for a high level review of your accounts. You are able to view your balances on your credit cards and checking account all in one place. Another pro of this app is that you are able to categorize your charges making it easy to keep track of what you are spending your money on. One of the great new features now available is the ability to view your credit score. And beyond that it provides insight into why your score is the way it is and how to improve it. This app is available on iOS and Google Play. These apps will aid you in getting in front of your spending and back in control of where your money is going. Be sure to take full advantage of the offerings that each app has, as it will only benefit you in the long run.





Posted by Tracey Fiorelli on 8/5/2017

Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.

Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.

In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.

Strategies For Saving Money

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.

If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.

Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."

Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.






Posted by Tracey Fiorelli on 4/1/2017

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial milestones youíll reach in your life. If youíre a first-time homebuyer, it can be scary to take the plunge and make a down payment on your first home.

Down payments are one element that makes up the factors which determine your monthly mortgage payments, and in turn, how much youíll be paying toward your home in total. So, itís important to understand just how much to save for a down payment.

In this article, weíll talk about down payments, why they matter, and your options for saving up for a down payment.

Why down payments matter

A down payment is simply the amount of money a buyer pays at the time of closing on the house. Down payments help assure lenders that you will make your monthly mortgage payments because you have invested a substantial amount of money into the house and therefore risk losing your down payment if you fail to pay the mortgage and your house is foreclosed on.

If youíre eager to buy your first home, you may want to make the smallest down payment possible so you can move in sooner. However, a smaller down payment typically means a larger monthly mortgage payment. Thatís because your mortgage payment depends on several factors.

When a lender determines how much they will lend you towards your home and how much your monthly mortgage payments will be, their formula takes into account your down payment, your credit score, and the value of the property. The higher your credit score and the higher your down payment is, the less your monthly payments will be.

Mortgage types and down payments

Many first time home buyers cannot afford large down payments on their first home (20% or more). As a result, there are loan types insured by the Federal Housing Administration that are offered for as low as 3.5% of the mortgage amount.

If you arenít approved for an FHA loan but plan on making a down payment of less than 20%, you can still buy a home with private mortgage insurance (PMI). With PMI you pay a monthly premium for your insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payments.

How long and how much to save

So, how much should you save? The short answer is as much as possible. However, if you need to move soon because of life circumstances, it isnít always an option to hold off on moving for long periods of time.

If youíre currently renting each month at high prices, it might make more sense to put that money towards your first home, an asset which will likely increase in value, rather than spend it on rent which you get no return on.  

One of the best ways to save for a down payment is to set up a new cash savings account that will automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck each week. Having an off-limits account is a great way to save without the temptation of spending it on luxuries if the money would normally be sitting in your checking account.

Another option is to start investing. If youíre in no rush to buy a home and have the financial resources, investing pays off much more than a savings account does when it comes to increasing assets.

Regardless of how you choose to save, the most important takeaway is that you take action now to start saving and you donít deviate from your savings plan for any reason.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Tracey Fiorelli on 4/21/2016

It is the desire of most people to become rich in life and live comfortably in retirement. The problem is that most people are not ready to pay the price required to achieve this long term goal. No one living their dream life today arrived there by chance. They all made a concerted effort to ensure their plans became a reality. The first step is saving, some people have problems saving money hence only having enough to meet their present needs. Never bothering to set some money aside for the future can leave an individual in a real financial bind.

This article will provide you with some practical steps on how to save money. The first step is determining how much you will save, how long you will save it, and how to keep you from spending it.

Take Care of Your Debts

Before you start saving, you need to clear your debts so you can start with a clean slate. Calculate how much you earn in a year and how much you are in debt. Calculate how much you want to use towards repaying the depth on a monthly basis and stick to it. The larger the portion, the faster you get out of debt. It may be a bit of a strain on your budget, but the sooner your debt is eliminated the better off you will be.

Set Your Goals

You need to set goals that provide a clear picture of what you are working towards. Maybe you want to have $5000.00 in savings by the end of the year, have this written on a piece of paper and placed where it is visible to you at all times. †This message will act as a continuous reminder of the goal you are aiming to achieve.

Establish A Time Frame

What good is a goal without a time frame? There has to be a precise and definite time frame, this makes your goals realistic. For example, ďIn 6 months, I want to have $30,000 in my account by saving $5,000 every monthĒ. That is a long term goal that has been broken into short term goals with a precise payment amount and time frame.

Keeping A Record

It is very important to keep a record of every expense you make and every bit of income you receive. Keep a small note book in check always to determine precisely how much you spend. †Include your utilities, rent, insurance, car payments, fuel, food and other living expenses. †You will be surprised how much you spend when you start writing it down.

Cut Down On Your Expenses

This is where you need to take decisive actions. Cut down on your expenditure so you have more money for your savings account. For example: instead of paying for the internet, a land line and mobile phone, why not make most calls on Skype as calls on that platform are free. Do away with the land line, your mobile phone and Skype should take care of all your calling needs. Can you do away with cable television? If so, why not, that could prove to be a substantial savings at the end of the year.

Assess Your Self

You will need †to assess your position from time to time and determine if you are on course with respect to meeting your goal. Take a look at your progressive income and expenditure. The expenditure should reduce subsequently allowing an increase in savings.

When it comes to money, savings should be your first priority. This is a form of paying yourself first. Even small deposits will add up at the end of the year. †Discipline and consistency are key when building that proverbial nest egg.