9 Spending Habits that Will Change the Way You Shop

We’ve all had a long day where retail therapy has felt like the solution to our blues. While it may be instantly gratifying, we usually end up with something we don’t need and a case of buyer remorse. So instead of repeating these habits, let’s look at some easy ways to reduce our spending and buy smart when we do go to make a purchase.

1. Plan. Ask yourself, “Is this a planned purchase?” Now this isn’t to say you can’t grab lunch when that meeting runs late, or that you can’t get something on a whim. This is to say you should limit those times. Working off a budget demands discipline and spontaneous spending throws a wrench in that.
2. Imagine it in a month. Obviously, food and other items are exempt here. Think to yourself, “Will I wear this in a month?” Are you going to be bored with the item, buy something new to replace it, forget about it? If so, chances are it’s not a good investment.
3. Improvement test. Test your purchase. What will it add to your life: clutter, an avenue to buy more things to support it, nothing, or make you happy for a bit? Again, these are not valid improvements. Yes, this encourages you to buy based on practicality instead of desire. It’s not a ton of fun now, but when your savings allows you to buy that new car for your growing family it’s totally worth it.
4. Check your emotions. Buying on emotion can be a bad way to gage necessity.
5. Keep your receipts from the days purchases. Write down how much you spent after adding up all your receipts. This will help you realize how things add up.
6. Actually balance your checkbook. It’s not a lost art.
7. Learn to change your mind. When you check out and things are more expensive than you thought, put stuff back or ask for things to be taken off. It’s okay to even walk away. You are not obligated, unless it’s a service that’s already been performed.
8. Research. Having an idea of prices before you buy something is so helpful and keeps you realistic. It also can keep you from wanting something you don’t need or can’t afford at the time.
9. Put the credit card away. Emergencies, planned purchases, or gas to keep your credit going these are the only things you should routinely put on your credit card.

Keep Saving!

Reward yourself along the way as you learn to do more and more of these! See how much you save as you implement practices to shop smarter. Have a friend do it with you so you stay accountable. Set your intention before you begin. Are you wanting to change spending to take care of debt, save up for something specific, for a new family member, or are you just wanting to lead a less emotionally spending life? Find your motivation.

Making a Fire Safety Plan for Your Family

Fires cause devastation quickly. The best preventative measure you can take in your mobile home is to have a plan for such disasters. It’s never as easy as the question, “What one thing would you grab if your house was burning?” Real fires don’t give you the option to hesitate. Give your family peace of mind and a plan at the same time. Here are some ways to be ready:

  1. Have an exit strategy. In the moments of a fire you’ll be clouded by adrenaline and panic – so try to agree on a preventative exit strategy. Will every person exit individually? Will one parent help one child, while the other helps the second child escape? Will siblings help each other leave the home? These things are important to decide. Obviously, an actual fire may change what you are able to do, but sticking to your plan can help save lives.
  2. Establish a common meeting place. Is your meeting place a tree or the mailbox? Is it outside a neighbor’s house? It may be smart to have a backup as well in case one meeting space is compromised or unreachable due to the fire.
  3. Know how to access the situation. If you wake up to smoke or a fire and you can’t see the source of it – you’ll want to take a quick assessment. The first thing is if your room is filled with smoke and the floor is clear, drop to the floor, as heat rises and the smoke should be thinner at a lower level. Is your window clear and accessible? If your door is closed, do not grab the door knob. Use the back of your hand to check to see if the door is hot. If not, you can probably open the door, but stay low. If the door is hot, head to the window. If you can easily exit it – do so. If not, open the window as far as you can and grab a blanket or pillow sham to wave out the window so firefighters know where you are.
  4. Don’t be sentimental about items. Leave it behind. It does not matter. Going back into a fire or delaying your exit because of an item can cost you your life and it simply is not worth it. It can be replaced. If it’s a memory – you’ll make new ones.
  5. Map it out and do drills. Draw/write out your strategy and keep it on your fridge or where your family can revisit it. Twice a month try walking out your plan and talking through possible snags and how to remedy them. Be sure your kids understand and are comfortable with the plan.

Learn More Fire Safety Tips!

Things to Consider When Buying a Used Mobile Home

Many people shy away from buying used homes in general. They are intimidated by the work that goes into fixing up a home or living in a place that may have exceeded its warranty. These are valid hesitancies, however buying used also opens the door to possibility. We’re going to explore a little bit about what it means to buy a used mobile home. It may be more of an exciting journey than you were expecting.

Make it all your own – It really is true in the world of manufactured homes today that you can create the home you want. Mobile homes are versatile in more ways than one. If you purchase a fixer upper, you can start from scratch essentially and mold the home into a place of dreams.

Data plate – All mobile homes have a data plate located within their interiors. It’s usually under the kitchen sink, master bedroom closet, or utility room electrical panel.
You want to check this out in any home you consider. It tells you information about how the home was manufactured, including important information like the wind zone, roof load, and other items you need to know as a buyer.

Enjoy your dream location – Mobile homes are after all – mobile. If you don’t want to be confined by what’s already been built or a specific location, then this may be a good option. As long as the home’s condition does not prevent relocation and relocating the home will satisfy local requirements, you could place your home by a lake, in a holler on the mountains, and anywhere in-between. Many people also like the ability to place a home on family land. You should be aware that moving a mobile home could be costly – local movers in your area should be able to provide estimates.

Set up and delivery – You want to be sure to find out what the seller offers, if anything, in the way of set up and delivery. Sometimes it’s included in the cost and sometimes it’s separate. It’s also important to use a reputable professional mover. Do your research, especially if you choose your own.

Price difference / fit your budget – There’s no doubt one of the perks of mobile homes is the price. They typically cost less than site-built homes, especially used. They won’t hit your wallet quite as hard, and instead of always resorting to renting – they offer the ability to own a home and stay in budget.

Less money to fix up/maintain – Since mobile homes are manufactured that means usually that they are built with more economical materials, meaning that they may be less expensive to repair or maintain. This will all depend on your specific model, but will usually ring true.

Rental power – You might be considering a mobile home as secondary housing or as an investment opportunity. In this case you could purchase a mobile home to rent out to friends or tenants.

Check Out First-time Home Buyer Tips!

A used mobile home may be the choice for you or it may not be, but it’s always smart to evaluate all your options when purchasing.

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Landscaping Ideas to Improve Drainage

Water can be a menace to any mobile home – flooding damage to your tires squealing in a puddle of mud. Depending on where your home is located, you may have some options to either redirect water or soak it up. Improving your landscaping can be the simple solution to long time water build-up prevention. Below we explore some basic strategies.

If your yard has a natural indention/depression, a swale may be a good solution for you. Swales are used to redirect water build-up by sending it elsewhere. It’s recommended to add rocks or deep rooted plants  to the edge of the swale. A small gravel path can be laid as a path to the swale if water does not naturally flow to it.

Another easy solution is to extend drainage pipes. You can add piping, place a concrete piece below the spout, or make your own small path to redirect water with a heavier wood chip mulch, gravel, or rocks.

If your land has a small hill that dumps out into a patch of flat land you might consider a rain garden. Rain gardens simply catch high amounts of water. Try putting plants that do well in lots of water and sun in a rain garden. Place the most porous plant in the place where the water settles. It would be wise to use heavy mulch and rocks as well. This method captures water instead of redirecting it. Please be sure plants in the garden can handle lots of water.

You might have small cement valleys poured along your driveway or just down the hill. The same thing could be achieved with rocks or pebbles as well.

Lastly, you can make use of large, stacked flat rocks. These are very versatile and great for both placing at the end of a drain spout or making wide paths that can catch and redirect water. You can also try tons of different methods of stacking or placing to create the style you want.

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Caring for your mobile home and keeping up with maintenance can improve the life of your home. Plus, by working with drainage problems you can avoid both annoying and serious issues.

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Tips to Setting up a Savings Account and Sticking with it

Many people blame their lack of savings on their financial situations. It’s a common belief that only the rich can save because they have extra. But saving is not about excess – it’s about making room. That means that saving is available to most everyone. Certainly, it’s difficult when funds are low, but saving may help you prioritize and get back on track.

The best saving is done without you really realizing it. Check out the ideas below to get started!

Create a budget

Let us help you with your budget  if you don’t have one! Don’t read any further until you have made one!

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Outline your savings goals

Brainstorm your savings goals. Think specific and tangible. We recommend monthly goals that you evaluate and renew at the end of each month. Write them down.

Open a savings or checking account at a secondary bank/credit union

It’s often hard to save with one account, but if you open up a savings account at another bank it’s easier to forget about it and let the funds add up. You can also open a checking account to use for big purchases only and use your other bank card for daily needs. You’ll find you can save for yearly needs and things like a down payment all at once.

Split up your direct deposit

It’s likely you have auto-pay, why not have direct deposit? Even better, why not split up your direct deposit if you can. Some companies will allow you to direct deposit into more than one account and select how much you’d like to go to each account. Select a certain amount of your paycheck to filter into your savings account. Yes, 10 dollars every paycheck makes a difference. If your place of work doesn’t do this you can do it manually with cash.

Keep the Change

Coins are all but forgotten in society. We look at change like the annoying jingle in our pocket and because of that we end up missing it’s worth. Keep your spare change in a big jar, and put it into your savings account yearly.

Let it Be

We’d encourage you to leave your savings alone, but we understand that sometimes you need to dip into them. Just be sure to only do so when you really need to. Also, think of how to make up what you spent. Only pull from savings for medical or family emergencies – no leisure buys.

Make room

Perhaps, these ideas still seem hard to do. No worries. If things are tight consider the following: place 10 percent of your tax return in savings, get quotes on a cheaper phone bill and save the difference, cut the internet for a while and visit a library, save half that birthday/holiday cash, ask for cash for the remainder of gift cards, sell that thing you don’t need and give your savings some love. These are just to get you started!

2018 is shaping up to be quite the year for your wallet! You can follow all the disciplines listed above. Anyone can. The difference isn’t your income – it’s making room in your budget to succeed.