7 Affordable Ways to Update Your Older Mobile Home

Mobile homes are a product of variety. There are tons of styles and types to fit different people. With all these changes and options the possibilities are endless! The same is true for older models. You don’t have to have a new model to have a modern look. Want to update your home?

We’ve hit on some practical ways that you can update your home. Not only do these ideas improve the overall appearance, but they could also add value! Need some ideas on how to maintain your home and keep it looking on trend? Check out the list below!

  1. Change door knobs – Not a fan of those gold knobs? Changing old knobs can give the whole home a modern feel. Most knobs are about $10-20 per door. You can even buy one every month if you don’t have enough to get them all at once.
  2. Paint kitchen cabinets — Darker cabinets are in! Update lighter cabinets with a painting kit that is cost-efficient. Kits usually don’t require priming, and they give you step by step instructions. Most kits run about $70. If you don’t want to go dark – simply pick any color to freshen up old or worn cabinets.
  3. Alter decorative spaces— Older models often have decorative pieces or windows that aren’t always practical. You can easily paint frosted glass with chalk board paint ($20-30) or cover the area with cork to make them functional.
  4. Update vinyl flooring – Floors often show age. However, they definitely cost more than the other ideas. If you’re looking for an investment – this is the one. Costs vary depending on square feet and style. This is another place where you can do one room at a time to regulate costs.
  5. Change light fixtures – Lighting sets the vibe of a home. Modern lighting is EVERYWHERE! A simple hanging light in the kitchen or a spotlight on an accent wall can give your mobile home a fresh look! You can even add wall lights for an even more updated look.
  6. Refinish tubs— If your tub looks discolored by age or mineral water it may be time for a facelift. Bathroom remodels are an option, but they are pricey. If you’re wanting to save some of the cost you may want to consider refinishing your tub. Be sure to research this one and ask people who have had it done.
  7. Landscaping— Adding some potted flowers or lining the home with different plants is a great way to add color and youth to the exterior of a mobile home. You can even put a patio set in the yard! Try these ideas!

Keep Momentum With Our Home Update Series!

Ready to get started? Pick a project from the list and you’ll be on your way. This may even get you thinking of something you want to update that we didn’t list. We know it’s going to look GREAT!

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Debt Avalanche Versus Debt Snowball

Our society talks about the weight of debt, but there’s not a lot of talk about overcoming it. I’m here to add to the conversation. There are two great methods for paying off debt. Both options give you a bit of control, organization, and most importantly they help you see results. One is not   better than the other – what matters is how they may fit your specific situation and your perspective on financial wins.

So, when reading this think about your situation, and maybe it will prompt you to do some reevaluating. Both the avalanche and snowball method can help you start a journey toward financial wellness, without being overwhelmed.

*Keep in mind when looking at these methods that mortgages loans are not included. Not because they are not a debt, but because mortgage loans are long terms and can take decades to pay off and not everyone plans to stays in their home until the mortgage is paid in full.*

Debt Avalanche: repayment option that focuses extra financial resources to the highest interest rate debt payments first. Then it works down the line in descending order of debt interest rate. If you’re willing to be disciplined – this may be the perfect fit.

  • Pay the minimum required for all loans, use available funds to make extra payments to highest interest item first
  • Main asset: Helps you reduce some long-term high interest (lower overall
  • Main flaw: Doesn’t yield quick reward
  • Good for people with high interest loans

Learn More

Debt Snowball: repayment option based on paying minimums and paying extra on the smallest debt, then when the smallest debt is paid off, start paying off the next debt with the smallest balance.  If you need some motivation this can be a good option for you.

  • The idea is that while paying the minimum owed on all debts you also pay off the lowest balance debt quickly and then move on to paying more than the minimum on the  next smallest debt and so on.
  • Main asset: You can start knocking out small pieces of debt + see the results of your effort quicker
  • Main flaw: You end up paying more in interest (higher overall payments)
  • Good for people who need a bit of encouragement or a push to start

Learn More

My own method is to use both. When I began tackling my finances,  I only had student debt in the form of multiple loans. I used a mix of snowball and avalanche. I paid more than the minimums, and once I had the loans more manageable I started allocating additional amounts to higher interest loans within my collection of student loans. So, don’t feel limited you can use both as well!

Both options can be a good plan for anyone who needs to pay off debt but always consider your complete financial situation, including making sure you have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses and speaking with a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation. Taking the first steps can feel hard, but the reward is worth it. Which method better fits your situation? What first steps will you take?

Gearing Up for a Financial Spring Cleaning?

If you’re like me, you are gearing up for spring cleaning. Dust has piled up and the system you had going for organization may need a little extra attention. Have you thought of tidying up your personal finances? They deserve a good scrub, too! I get it – cleaning your home is a lot less intimidating and has immediate results. Yet, the rewards of creating a habit in which you check in financially can lend itself to long term progress.

Let’s look at ways you can spruce up your finances this spring.

  1. Pay towards your debt with your tax refund.
    It’s tempting to use your tax refund money on fun things or vacations. I’m not saying don’t do anything nice for yourself, but keep any debts you may have in mind. Could you pay something off with your tax refund? Want to cut back on some loan interest? It may be worth putting that money towards reducing or paying off a debt.
  2. Consider cutting back.
    With so many subscription services these days it’s easy to let them add up without realizing how much they are really costing you. Take inventory. Are there some you could get rid of? Could you share or split with a friend? Find a cheaper service or option? Making these changes makes you aware of expenses you may not have realized and helps you prioritize.
  3. Meal plan/ buy in bulk.
    There’s a lot of waste that happens in my house when I don’t plan meals ahead. Not just because I’m not buying in bulk, but because when I’m less precise I spend more. The old ‘take a list’ thing is real. Give your finances some love by getting the best deal you can when grocery shopping and stretching those meals/ingredients.
  4. Leave the credit card at home.
    I know, you’ve got that project, that thing you want, but making financial stability your priority is worth so much more than a moments satisfaction. Save up for those items so you can pay for them without adding to your debt.
  5. Have a spend free day/ weekend every now and then.
    Take a day to let the money sit still without being touched. You can still have a fun day! This helps us evaluate what we are spending money on and can be a wake-up call to bored or emotional spending. Get some spend free ideas here!
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    Spend some time outside!
  6. Outline a debt repayment plan.
    Just hoping that bills will go away isn’t reality. Like everything else, it takes work. So, take this time to get serious and make a plan to start chipping away at your debt. If you have a plan already – great job – tighten it up and adjust it, if needed.
  7. Check on your emergency fund.
    Is it depleted, nonexistent? Work on making it priority again and give it a little TLC.

Have any other ideas? How do you spring clean your finances? I hope this has encouraged you to spend a little time digging in, and I hope that you see a return on your efforts.

Get Tips on Reducing Debt

Energy Saving Tips for Your Mobile Home

Do you wince every time the utility bill comes in the mail? Do you feel like you could be saving energy and cash? Saving energy can get expensive with new appliances and products. Often those are great investments but for those on a tight budget they aren’t realistic solutions.

Below are ways you can have a more energy efficient home without spending a lot. Feel free to research more – there are tons of resources on this topic! Make it a goal to try 5 of these tips consistently and compare your bills for the next few months.

Air Conditioner: Turn your COOL/HEAT up or down when you are at work or gone from the house for a while, depending on the season. Then put it on a comfortable setting when you are at home. Consider improving or adding insulation.

Check Out Insulation Options!

  • Air Conditioner Filters: Replace them when suggested.
  • Doors: Purchase door draft stoppers “snakes” that will ensure a snug seal and keep air from escaping or entering.
  • Leave bedroom doors open for maximum circulation.
  • Windows: Caulk windows to seal them. Use a caulk gun to apply, a scraper to remove old caulk, and a flat tool to spread it out on the window seam.
  • Open windows to utilize outside air – great in spring or fall!
  • Fireplaces: Board up the flue or install doors to the front of the fireplace to keep air from getting in from the outside.
  • Outlets: Use a power strip and switch it off when you’re gone out of the house for a while. Plus, it’ll give you more outlet space!
  • Dishes: Hand wash and air dry dishes in between meals, then when you have a lot to wash use the dishwasher. Open your dishwasher and let dishes air dry instead of using the drying function.
  • Washer: Machine wash clothes on cold – it costs less and colors are less likely to bleed.
  • Lighting: Invest in energy efficient bulbs like CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp).
  • Fans: Use box or rotating fans to circulate air and keep the temperature regulated.
  • Roof: Install a roof cap or apply a roof coating to reflect sunlight and reduce heat

Want to invest into making a more energy efficient home? Compare bills after trying these ideas and use the money you saved to start a home savings account. Then try to save that amount every other month. Next time you want to make a bigger purchase you’ll have some cash set aside!

The Ultimate Guide to Being at Home

Given the fact that you may be spending more time at home – I’ve compiled a list of things that will help you stay productive and healthy. From my family to yours, all the best!

Deep Cleaning/ Green Cleaning Guide for Your Kitchen

Let’s start with those gritty places we forget!

  • Sink and shower drains
  • Washer/dryer interiors
  • Shower curtains/ liners
  • Baseboards
  • Coffee pot
  • Microwave interior/plate
  • Oven/ detachable heating elements
  • Fridge
  • Rugs
  • Comforters
  • Tablecloths
  • Window Panes
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Get started where it counts – in the kitchen!

Now, let’s talk cleaners. I understand wanting that fresh-knock-you-over scent, but it may be harming you and your family. Simply consider making your own cleaners or purchasing a safer alternative. It’s always better to know the ingredients behind what you use and how they affect you and your skin. Making your own cleaners may not smell the same, but it certainly costs a lot less and won’t leave you feeling lightheaded after a deep clean.

There are three things in every green-product maker’s toolbelt:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice

With these things you can rule the deep cleaning world and not get a headache!

There are tons of ideas that can help you get started! As you transition to green cleaner – invest in some strong sponges and steel wool. You’ll have to add a little more elbow grease since you’re not using harmful chemicals, but with a little effort you’ll get a better, safer clean.

Now, let’s freshen our home!!

  • Open windows each evening to air out stale smells
  • Wash the window treatments and hang them up to dry, then press them if needed
  • Rinse out trash can
  • Make homemade fresheners
  • Change the air filters

See Our Pinterest For More Tips!

 

Small Closet Organization Checklist

Is your closet out of control? Come on, I’m talking you can barely shut it, you wear the same jeans every day because you can’t find anything else, and you’ve got shoes from middle school. It’s okay – I’m talking from experience – my closet has been messy, too. But a small closet doesn’t have to equal small organization. Need a plan? Let’s get started!

The checklist below is in order – tackle one, then on to the next! Go over this list every season to ensure you’re keeping up with your organization.

  • Try it on! Have a little fashion show and figure out what still fits. You can also plan some outfits during this time and get ideas of what you want to keep.
  • Donate it! If it doesn’t fit or you’re not into it anymore – donate it or give it to a friend or family member.
  • Door Start with the back of your door – add a hanging rack or an over the door organizer. You can use both sides of the door if needed. This is a great bit of space that most people forget.
  • Floor Stack shoes and place out of season shoes in the back. You can also put them in a bin somewhere else if you have the extra storage. Add a shoe rack if you’ve got a lot of shoes!
  • Hanging space Do you need to add an extra rod or dowel for storage? Doubling your hanging space is a great way to organize clothes better. Don’t forget accessories – special hangers or closet squares add space!
  • Height Check the height of your closet – are you using it? If not, you may want to consider putting in a shelf. This is a great place for out of season clothes or accessories.

I hope this has helped you transform your closet and discover space you didn’t know you had! Go ahead – wear those shoes you forgot you had through the house and reward yourself! I would!

 

Six Ways to Enjoy the Best of Spring

Spring is here and I am actually super excited about it this season! There has been so much illness across the country and bitter cold that makes us me thankful for the turning of the seasons. Spring feels like the most obvious and shifting season because the earth splits from frozen to growth. It’s also rather quick and not gradual like the other seasons can feel. So, with my very best: I welcome spring!

Below I’ve compiled a list of ways to celebrate the sunshine and growth all around!

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Try making your own floral arrangements!

Spring clean!: Cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore – pull up the blinds, open the windows, and listen to your favorite album! Pay careful attention to areas that don’t get much attention, like the inside of appliances: ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, etc. Wipe off interior and exterior of windows. Dust fan blades, wash curtains or blankets that you’ve used all winter, and sweep in hard to reach places. Check out our Pinterest board for cleaning tips and tricks!

Seasonal Separation: It’s time to go through your home – particularly your closet and get rid of some things. I try to make it a practice at the turn of each season to evaluate what I have and if I use it or if it just sits there. So for clothes that you don’t wear or that don’t fit – donate them. If you haven’t worn it in a year you won’t miss it.

Plant something!: There’s something rewarding about taking care of a plant and watching it grow or even sometimes yielding from it. You can easily make an indoor herb garden by getting a large pot and placing three or four different herbs in it. They often do well indoor or outdoor with partial shade. Plus, they really add to your cooking.

Start walking: I can’t tell you how much better my day is when I just take a fifteen-minute walk. Just walk a little bit on your breaks from work, walk with your family when you get home from work and put little ones in the stroller, or do it as fitness and speed walk. It’s easy and every little bit can help you feel good.

Go fishing: As a kid my favorite thing I got to do with my dad was go fishing. Most of those times were only in a local pond or standing on the edge of a small river. You don’t have to go to a lake or have boat to enjoy fishing. It’s a great hobby that teaches kids and adults alike to be patient and wait for a good thing. Licenses required in each state will vary. Get started!

 

Enjoying the Weekend at Home Ideas

  • Go hiking: If you need an all-day event, or your looking to spend some energy with your older kids or your pets this option is made for you! You can stay active and enjoy the scenery – talk about the best of both worlds!
  • Exercise: Clear some space and build those muscles at home.
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Yoga is a great option that helps you clear your mind and strengthen your body.
  • Take lunch to the park: Instead of staying inside, take lunch outside! Heck, it can be your own backyard!
  • Have a candlelit story time: Put the phones and electronics away. Light some candles and turn the lights off. Read the kids a book by candle light. You’ll feel like your back in the day and get to focus on one thing at a time for change!
  • Volunteer: Easy, free, and it helps someone else! This is the best one on the list. It’s never too early to teach your kids to put others’ and their needs first.
  • Break out the board games: Work together or enjoy a little friendly competition playing some games. This is great for those kiddos that need a little break from technology.
  • Go outside and draw what you see: Take another look at your backyard or your front yard. Draw your best rendition! Be sure to include all the color you see!
  • Look for your next home: Check out vmfhomes.com! Find your dream home!

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When Paying Ahead on Your Mortgage Can be Beneficial

When we started our mortgage, I was shaken up by the number of years and total of payments behind owning our home. It seemed so big, and I could only see it getting bigger with interest. In the first year of owning, we tried to simply get used having our monthly payment. But after researching I wanted to be a little more proactive in paying off our home.

Pre-paying your mortgage is situational. It’s not a one size fits all, but it can save you a lot of money in interest if you are in a financial position to do it. For me, it makes sense to pre-pay an extra fifty dollars a payment to cut time and interest off my total amount owed. Let’s dig in and look at when paying ahead can be beneficial.

If you’ve found your forever home. If you know you plan to stay in this home for a long period of time, then paying it off faster may be worth it. That way you are putting money into something that will benefit you and your family for years to come.

Family Summer Lifestyle 2018-56
If you’ve found the place to call home, you’ll feel more at ease in investing in it. 

You’re in a financial situation where you can focus on debt. When you boil it down, the difference between paying off your mortgage sooner or later is when you want/need to have more money. What I mean is that if you are in a tight spot financially now with lots of bills and financial responsibilities you probably would benefit more from paying your regular payment.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of bills or financial responsibilities and you’ve got savings you may want to pay down your mortgage debt now. This may give you less money in the future, but you also will have less debt. It’s always a catch 22. Moral of the story: if it won’t hurt you to add even 10 dollars a month, it may be worth considering. If it’s going to hurt you financially it’s not worth it – this is voluntary, not mandatory.

You want to eliminate as much interest as possible. In light of my own financial philosophy, reducing the amount of interest I pay over the life of the loan is a major motivation. Interest is a quiet debt, and for that reason I like to address it head on. The extra amount you end up paying by letting interest compound is significant. So, whenever I see an avenue to reduce my mortgage debt and the amount of interest I owe on that debt – I’m willing to do it. Even if it means having less money to spend now. I’d rather have less or no debt now than more money, but everyone is different.

You have some savings. It’s important to have some cushion. If you’ve been able to save, then pre-paying may also be appealing to you. That way you’re not spending the only money you’d have for emergencies and you are focusing on prioritizing your funds. Many people recommend having 3 – 6 months of earnings in savings, but this isn’t realistic for everyone. You should know based off your budget how much you might need if an emergency happened, and you needed enough money to last several months without a paycheck.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover some of the main motivations behind pre-paying your mortgage. Remember the amount does not have to be big. You’d be amazed what pre-paying 10 dollars a payment for a year could do to decrease the total interest you will pay on your mortgage loan over time. Would pre-paying be a good option for you?

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How to Help Prevent Your Mobile Home’s Foundation from Shifting

Mobile homes that are placed on pier and anchor foundations can be vulnerable to shifting if they are not set up properly or not maintained. It is a good idea to discuss your home’s foundation with your licensed installer before your home arrives.

The main cause of sinking foundations is due to the ground shifting. This usually happens when the weather changes. Freezing temperatures, rain, and humidity all effect the dirt underneath your home and change it by expanding and contracting.  While you cannot control the weather, preventing moisture from accumulating underneath your home will help prevent the soil and foundation from shifting. According to a Manufactured Housing Research Alliance publication, these are some of the main preventative actions you can take.

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The best prevention is being aware of how your home is being placed and having communication with the team that is doing the work.

1. Shed Water

Ensure that your property can shed water. When your land is being prepped, make sure the land is graded so that water will shed away from the home.  If not, water could pool underneath the home causing damage. It is also important to be sure your gutter downspouts drain water away from the home.  Gutter downspout  extensions can be attached to the end of the downspout after your home is placed.

2. Ground Cover

There are a few other things that deserve your attention underneath the home. A proper ground cover under your home will help prevent moisture in the crawl space from entering the home through the floor. Make sure this is installed when the home is initially placed and have the barrier inspected by a professional periodically.   Have the vapor barrier repaired or replaced if the inspector finds any tears.  Do not attempt to inspect or fix the vapor barrier yourself.  Only a professional contractor should go under your home.

3. Skirting

Lastly, it is important to  keep your skirting in good condition. Skirting keeps critters out and protects the underbelly of the home (pipes included) from the elements and moisture. If you notice a hole or have damaged skirting– consider investing in an update.

There are reasons other than water or moisture that can be the cause of your homes’ sinking foundation. However, these are the most common and preventable reasons. Once your home settles, it can become un-level. Look out for creaking floors, sticking doors, and buckling in the walls or floors. These could be signs of a foundation issue. We hope this helps!

These items are designed for professionals. So please ask your contractor or those placing your home to be sure these items are done by someone who can expertly and safely perform them. Doing these items incorrectly can damage your home.

Your Home From Water

VMFHomes.com Consolidates Facebook Pages for Better User Experience

You may have noticed while reading our blog that we have a great website with a huge inventory of mobile homes. Over the years, we’ve looked for the best ways to evolve and connect our customers, who are potential homeowners, with resources that fit them.  Facebook is a reservoir of growth and sharing, so it only made sense to put our products where our customers were.

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We hope that this will make it easier for you to find your forever home!

We regionalized our Facebook pages into multiples pages, “Used Mobile Homes of the Midwest”, is one example. This served us and our customers well for a while as we were able to advertise to the areas specific of those who liked the page. This was quite important as we have homes across the United States, and we wanted to serve customers with solutions in their area.

Our “Used Mobile Homes…” pages were the best way, we felt, to share inventory on social media. Now, we’ve found an even better way to share our inventory. We are combining all the pages into one page: “VMF Homes”. This will allow us to share everything we have with you, and it will be easier for our customers to find our brand. This will also streamline our ability to respond to you, update pricing, and give you the best information.

Keep an eye out for changes! Also, go ahead, if you’re a fan of our older pages, and like VMF Homes today!

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Tips on How to Keep Your 2020 Resolutions and Goals

Okay, so you took the time and set yourself up to grow for the new year! Great job! Yet, now so soon into the new year you might be feeling a bit discouraged, realize the true impact of your goal, or you may just not know how to go about making the change. We understand all of these situations. We also love to meet goals and do better, so as you work on you – we’re on your team! Here are some simple tips that can hopefully help you in sticking to your resolution.

Find accountability. A lot of people suggest sharing your resolutions with friends or a support group working towards for similar goals. This can feel a little scary because speaking it means you are responsible for it. Yet, friends and support should be ready to cheer you on – so there’s little to fear. Having someone to check in with you weekly or monthly can help you process what you’re doing, and perhaps what you could do more of, or better. Find the right folks to help you get motivated and encourage you.

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Spending more time with family is a great resolution. 

Try to have tunnel vision. It’s usually best to focus on one goal, but if you’re like me you’ve got plenty you want to do. So, if you made more than one resolution that doesn’t mean your off the hook for this one. It means you need to plan out some events/ support groups that will help you in each goal: perhaps divide your resolutions up into sets of months (one resolution gets two months, then you start with another), or simply spend time reflecting on your progress on each one individually.

Track progress/ success. One of the biggest downfalls for trying to change or create new habits is that people don’t realize how difficult it is to do what they want to do. Beyond that, when we don’t achieve what we thought we would – it’s all the more discouraging. A great way to combat this is to write down your small wins and progress. Journaling isn’t the only way though. You can reward yourself with a treat when you reach a milestone or have friends celebrate with you!

Be okay with stumbling. You will falter. That’s okay. Accept that as learning, lean into what it can teach you. Give yourself some time, evaluate where you slipped, and then try again. There’s no shame in that. The most thorough successes are met with a tried and true path. Learning looks a lot like missing the mark but that way it sticks with you and you understand truly earning it.

Ask for help. Trying to make a fitness goal? Ask a friend to register with you for a 5K. Add people to your goal. It’s so much better when you aren’t alone. Perhaps you have a friend that really excels in a direction you are trying to go – ask them for their tips and tricks. You probably have more resources and support available than you realize.

Change is hard, but 100 percent worth it. You can make those resolutions a reality. Take small steps, accept when you trip, and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be quite the year!

Make This Year Sustainable