Melissa Barth's Blog
Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.
Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.
Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.
Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!
There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.
Lakeville, MA 02347
Where to live is as important, if not more so, as choosing the size and type of house that you'll live in. And it's not just the neighborhood that will determine whether or not you like your house. The size of the town that you buy a house in is key.
In fact, you could love a house and a neighborhood, including the schools, retail stores and theaters, but hate where you live because the town's offerings and reputation. Truly knowing a town takes study.
Reasons to move to and stay away from big and small towns
A lot of that study can come through online research and discussions that you have with people who live in towns you're thinking about relocating to. It also helps to pay attention to the below pros and cons that are found in small and big towns:
Small town pros
- Less traffic congestion
- Chance to get to know more people on a first name basis
- Neighbors who have lived in certain areas for decades
- More focus on high school sports and arts
- Shorter lines to grab lunch or make retail purchases
Big town pros
- Greater job opportunities
- Chance to walk to work
- Better public transportation services
- More entertainment options
- Center of social and governmental activities
- Wider variety of food options
Small town cons
- Need to own a vehicle to get to schools, store and work
- Less likelihood that bad neighbors will move soon
- Fewer entertainment options
- Greater distances between houses which could make it hard for young children to make and play with friends regularly
Big town cons
- Higher crime rates
- Longer work commutes due to congested traffic
- Less yard space, especially in big towns that boast a population of more than a million people
- More social temptations
Choosing between a small town and a big town
Small towns have a reputation of being easier to make friends in. Pace of small towns is generally slower than the speed of living in big, thriving cities. As good as it seems, you probably won't find the same excitement, opportunities or social engagements in a small town that you can find in several spots in a big town.
Consider your personality and your lifestyle before you buy a house in a small town or a big city. If you like being at the center of musical concerts, live stage plays, old and modern movie shows, food from diverse cultures and collegiate and professional sports competitions, buying a house in a big town might work better.
Be the type of person who appreciates quiet evenings spent sitting on the front or back porch, regular meals at your favorite diner and greater focus on high school sports, near empty two lane roads and you might be better suited for small town living. Both small towns and big towns offer rewards. The trick is to find a town that fits most of your lifestyle wants.
262 Baird St, Fall River, MA 02721