Until Debt Do Us Part: Family and Mortgage Care
Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home or already have a mortgage and find the loan a financial struggle, here’s some encouragement from the top real estate agents Bellevue, WA home buyers look to for advice.
Track All Spending
The first thing you need to do to make paying down your mortgage easier is to get a handle on every penny that comes into and goes out of your household. This means creating a budget and sticking to it.
Write down all your income and all your necessary expenses to start. If you’re like many families, you have no idea how much you spend each week on groceries, recreation, parking, dry cleaning, and other non-fixed expenses. It’s time to change that.
Decide how much you can afford to pay for every expense, and don’t exceed it. Every time you spend money, keep track of it in a ledger, subtracting it from your income. Your expenses should not exceed the money coming in. If they do, take a look at the next two steps.
Many people spend money on things they “need,” when in fact, these expenses are really things they want, many of them luxuries. It’s time to cut out non-essential spending including:
• Enormous cable TV packages
• Shopping for clothes and makeup
• Eating out and expensive coffee drinks
• Toys, gadgets, and electronics
• Going out instead of staying in for entertainment
• Liquor and pricey groceries, as well as cigarettes
• Salon and spa treatments
• Collectibles and expensive hobbies
• Pricey health club memberships
You’ll appreciate this strategy when you’re finally able to start paying off your mortgage with ease, or you can begin looking for homes for sale in Bellevue, WA because you have enough money saved to comfortably get started with your mortgage.
Save Money Creatively
There are plenty of ways you can get creative about saving. Try combining some of these methods and see how fast the cash piles up:
• Sell items you’re not using and put the money in an interest-bearing account.
• Turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them.
• Use a programmable thermostat and keep the settings moderate.
• Take advantage of coupons and customer rewards programs.
• Car pool, take public transportation, bike, or walk to work or school.
• Shop at warehouse or discount grocery stores.
• Grow your own produce and herbs.
• Buy in bulk when it’s more cost efficient.
• Plan meals in advance and use a grocery shopping list.
• Put your credit cards on ice, literally: freeze them in your fridge.
• Give DIY gifts instead of store-bought ones.
• Learn how to mend clothes or take them to a tailor rather than buying new.
• Keep kids’ birthday parties simple.
• Negotiate new credit card interest rates or transfer your balances to the cards with the lowest rates.
• Use the public library.
• Switch your life insurance policy from whole life to term.
• Downsize your cars to ones that are more fuel efficient and cheaper to insure.
• Trade babysitting or pet sitting with neighbors.
• Bring your own lunch to school or work.
• Get rid of unnecessary features on your mobile phone bill.
• Consolidate student loans.
Don’t let yourself or your family members get run down. Even if you have health insurance, if you get sick or injured, extra costs for copayments, services not covered by insurance, and medications add up fast.
Focus on Your Primary Source of Income
If you have a good job, work at getting better at it. Are there ways you could increase your wages or salary? Could you pick up extra hours, ask for a raise, or take classes for a promotion? Watch your attendance and punctuality so you don’t get docked or worse, let go.
Consider Secondary Income Sources
If you’re really strapped for cash, you may be considering a second job. You could work another job, although there is a point of diminishing returns if you become too exhausted. Instead, consider these secondary income sources:
• Renting out part of your house, including garage space
• Side gigs like driving for a rideshare, where you control your schedule
• Affiliate marketing
• Sales (jewelry, candles, housewares, cosmetics, etc.)
• Self-publishing your own books
• Flipping products on auction sites
• Creating your own online course
• Starting a blog or video channel with advertising
• Renting out your equipment, like chainsaws, trailers, snowmobiles, etc.
By the way, are you still paying your older kids an allowance? Why not ask them to help too by getting an after school job, mowing lawns, babysitting, or pet walking?
Refinance Your Mortgage
If you have a mortgage that’s swamping you, you might be able to refinance it, especially if you have a lot of equity in the property. Talk to your lender and look at refinancing opportunities that could lower your mortgage payment or roll in other debt for a net gain each month.
Support Your Spouse or Partner
Stressing about saving and making the mortgage can be hard on relationships. Support your partner or spouse and work together as a team. Saving money and eliminating debt will be much more rewarding that way.
One last point: never give up. You will achieve your goal if you stick to it. It will be worth it when you can look around the home you bought with your hard-earned money and say, “I did this!”