Building a House on a Budget

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Once you are ready to move from the realm of renting to homeownership, the first question you face is to buy or to build. While the home buying process is far from easy and stress free, the home building process comes with its own set of challenges. One of the main headaches people face when building their home is staying on budget. Building a house is a costly undertaking, and getting nickel and dimed during the process can really add up. Here are some tips to staying on budget while you build your dream home.

  1. You will be paying more than the initial price

When you are going through a builder, be aware of up sales or upgrades. Most likely the initial price you receive will be for a base model or the bare basics. Structural upgrades or interior upgrades will cost you extra, so it’s important to decide what you want right off the bat and what can be added on later.

  1. Use a certified contractor

The old adage is true; you get what you pay for. Choosing the right contractor up front may cost a bit extra at first, but save you headaches and money in the long run. Having to redo or replace a shoddy job by a cheaper, less experienced contractor can cost more than just hiring the right person in the first place.

  1. Decide ahead of time

Sit down with your builder and nail down exactly what you want done. Any changes to the plans or materials will delay your projects months and can cost an arm and a leg. The entire process will go a lot smoother if you can make a plan, and stick to it.

  1. Don’t do it all at once

If there is something you really want, like ceramic or hardwood floors, try for a cheaper alternative initially and replace later. Going with a vinyl floor will be a lot cheaper initially and provide a great foundation for adding in hardwood or ceramic flooring.

Building a house can seem extremely daunting if you have never done it before, but the upside is you can build it to be your dream home. You get to choose the location, color scheme, design, everything. Don’t let the hassle deter you from going out and building your dream home!

How to Pivot from Being a Spender to an Investor

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We have all heard the expression “Make your money work for you”. Most of us having savings accounts, and a lot of people associate saving and investing, but the truth is they are quite different, and they both have a place in your portfolio. While they do both have a place in your finances, it is important to understand the difference.

Everyone knows what a savings account is, and most of us have them, but in short, saving means putting cash into an extremely safe account. Savings accounts are great for having a reserve of quick cash that you can access at any time, but typically have a very low interest rate.

Investing your money includes more risk than just setting aside money, but this is how you really make your money work for you. With investments, there is never any actual guarantee that you will get a return, which is why you have to do your research before investing. The most common forms of investment are stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Since we all try and save money, how can we make the pivot into investing our money? As a general rule of thumb saving should always come first. Your savings account is your fall back plan in case of emergencies, and if possible, you should have enough saved to cover at least six months’ worth of living expenses. Any goal you have in life that can be fulfilled within five years should be based on saving, not investing. Investing is safest and has the greatest return when done long term, you don’t need a get rich quick scheme. Think saving for a new car versus saving for retirement.

Once you are stable savings wise, then it’s time to put money into investments. Like we said before, you want to think long term here. The stock market can be extremely volatile at times and if you are playing the short game you can lose out big time. Investing in long term assets is a great way to set up your financial stability as you start focusing on retirement.