You may think that creating a household budget is as simple as adding all your income and subtracting all your expenses, but there is (or should be) quite a bit more to the equation. When you only factor in your current earnings and current expenses, you’re not planning for the future. These three steps can help put you on the path toward better finances and a budget that works for your lifestyle.
3 Steps to a Budget that Works
(Family Features) You may think that creating a household budget is as simple as adding all your income and subtracting all your expenses, but there is (or should be) quite a bit more to the equation.
When you only factor in your current earnings and current expenses, you’re not planning for the future. That means any financial goals can be easily deferred, and you may be overlooking the opportunity to shift your spending habits. These three steps can help put you on the path toward better finances and a budget that works for your lifestyle.
Beyond simply adding and subtracting a list of income and expenses, taking into account your priorities and goals can help ensure you create a practical budget that works. Find more tips for creating an appropriate financial plan that fits your personal goals and lifestyle at eLivingToday.com.
Navigating a Financial Emergency
Life’s financial emergencies happen, but 6 in 10 Americans cannot cover an unexpected $500 bill without selling something or borrowing money, according to Bankrate.
“When you don’t have cash for something you need, there are many different financing options available. However, few realize that many of these options can lead to a debt spiral that can be difficult to pull out of,” said Richard Carrano, CEO of Purchasing Power, an employee purchase program offering consumer products and services through payroll deduction.
Understanding your financing options can help ensure you make the best choice to meet your short-term needs without compromising your long-term finances.
Credit cards: Chances are, even with a shaky financial history, you can find a creditor willing to offer you a line of credit, but you’ll likely have a steep annual percentage rate that accrues each month. Furthermore, if you’re unable to repay more than the monthly minimum, you could end up carrying that debt for years before it’s fully paid down.
Employee purchase programs: Research shows that financial stress at home regularly impacts employee productivity at work. This leads many employers to offer an employee purchase program such as Purchasing Power, which allows you to buy what you need through automatic paycheck deductions over a 12-month period. There’s no credit check, zero interest and no hidden fees. There’s also a free financial wellness platform to help with budgeting, credit reports and personal coaching. Learn more at PurchasingPower.com.
Rent to own: With rent-to-own products, you pay a monthly principal amount plus service fees and taxes for a period of time, up to completing the rental agreement and owning the item outright. While the monthly rate makes items like appliances and furniture immediately accessible, renters can end up paying as much as three times the retail value of an item.
Payday/Title loans: Essentially, these loans function as a loan against a future paycheck or your vehicle. They often come with high percentage rates and fees, as well as short repayment schedules. Rely on these loans only if you can cover the entire loan and associated fees by the designated due date.
Whatever option you choose for emergency financing, understanding the repercussions can help you long-term.
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(BPT) - You’ve saved enough for a down payment, your budget is looking good and you’re earning steady income. You’re at the point in your life where you feel confident you’re ready to buy that first home. Congratulations! Buying a home is one of the most exciting and rewarding purchases you’ll ever make. However, if it’s your first time shopping for a mortgage, you may not be super knowledgeable about some of the financing terms you’ll hear, including “interest rates.”
If you’ve used any kind of credit before, you probably have a basic understanding of interest — it’s the money lenders charge in exchange for allowing you to use their funds to make a purchase. While the basic concept is simple, mortgage interest rates can be complex and differing.
“Many factors go into determining the interest rate your lender will offer you,” says Eric Hamilton, president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “By understanding the factors that influence your interest rate, you can obtain the best possible mortgage plan and get into the home of your dreams quicker.”
A variety of factors determines your interest rate, including:
* Down payment — Just as you put money down on a new car, mortgage lenders like to see down payments from homebuyers. A down payment not only reduces the total amount you need to borrow, but it also shows the lender you are able to manage money. Different lenders require different amounts for a down payment, but most would likely view 10-20 percent of the home’s purchase price to be a good down payment.
* Collateral — This is the property you agree to “put up” in exchange for the loan and serves to protect the lender against a borrower’s default. If you’re buying a manufactured home, you can collateralize the loan with either the home itself or with the home and a piece of land together. For site-built homes, the loan would be collateralized with the home and land together always.
* Loan amount — The amount you need to borrow is calculated by taking the purchase price of the home, less your down payment, and adding any other expenses that will be financed as part of the loan, which could include closing costs, discount points and third party fees.
* Credit score — Lenders will want to review the credit reports and scores for everyone who is listed as a borrower on the mortgage application. With your written permission, the lender will obtain your credit report from a credit reporting agency. Generally, the better your credit score is the more likely you will be approved, plus qualify for the best available interest rate from the lender you choose.
* Origination cost — This is the amount the lender charges to process the loan application, which includes gathering and reviewing all loan application documents, underwriting and closing your home loan. This expense typically appears on your loan documents as a “loan origination fee.”
“After you apply for a mortgage, the lender should be able to give you an idea of the interest rate you’ll likely qualify for,” Hamilton says. “With that information, you can use a monthly mortgage payment calculator to estimate just how much the mortgage payment will be each month. Knowing the monthly payment can help homebuyers make better decisions about budgeting, savings, spending and investing.”
To learn more about mortgages for manufactured homes, visit www.vmfhomeloan.com.
Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc., 500 Alcoa Trail, Maryville, TN 37804, 865-380-3000, NMLS #1561, ( http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/), AZ Lic. #BK-0902616, Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license, GA Residential Mortgage (Lic. #6911), Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee, Licensed by the NH Banking Department, MT Lic. #1561, Licensed by PA Dept. of Banking.
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