Trulia’s 12 Houses: June Horoscope

Ready to play catch-up this summer? June opens with Mercury retrograde, asking you to dial in on projects, finances, and business ventures. So keep collecting data on the neighborhood you want to move to, on your mortgage options, or even on investment strategies. Hold fast on any big decisions until after June 11 when Mercury gets the communication green light.

If you’re feeling the urge to jump into a long-term lease or even buy your own place, hold your horses. In fact, avoid signing anything binding until June 12 or beyond. (Better safe than sorry.) Late June sparkles and shines as Venus visits Jupiter, bringing gregarious gratification, elaborate expansion, and the perfect cosmic weather to host a housewarming party — or make that investment you were researching during Mercury retrograde.

Aren’t you glad you waited?

Excellent money, growth, and opportunity days: June 6, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
Good money, growth, and opportunity days: June 15, 17, 18

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Aries

ARIES

Vacillating Venus enters your house of risk and joins joyous Jupiter near the end of the month. You’ll feel like a million bucks, but don’t let your happy mood carry you overboard. You could make a quick investment with a fast payoff — or you could go too far and end up ruining your credit. Tread carefully. Don’t be surprised if you find networking opportunities or inspiration for researching that dream house with the midmonth new moon.

Favorable days: June 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 29, 30
Unfavorable days: June 12, 13, 28

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Taurus

TAURUS

Harmonious Venus skips into the area of your home in June and joins idealistic Jupiter near the end of the month. If you’ve been daydreaming about a new DIY project or even a more complex overhaul, the timing is highly favorable now. But keep a level head: these two planets together can be exaggerated. House hunting? Keep up your home search momentum and you could land the house of your dreams this month! Set intentions related to increasing your earned income streams with the new moon on June 16.

Favorable days: June 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 29, 30
Unfavorable days: June 12, 13, 28

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Gemini

GEMINI

Mental Mercury, your ruling planet, has been moving backward since May and forcing you to play catch-up. Take advantage of this time to weigh the pros and cons of moving into that bigger apartment you’ve been eyeing or do a risk assessment related to paying off a mortgage (early, perhaps?). Talk to the appropriate people and do your research. But wait to make your move until midmonth. With the new moon on June 16, you may want to consider how you are perceived in the world to ensure you have a clear representation of yourself before moving forward.

Research days: June 6, 10, 14, 19, 24
Nonresearch days: June 8, 22, 23, 30

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Cancer

CANCER

Last month, Jupiter was in your house of earned income. If you didn’t take action, now is the time: This month is your last chance to act BIG as Venus graces Jupiter. With both planets in your house of material resources, look for new ways to increase your financial security. (Convert your garage into a rental space?) Or even make your move on buying that cottage in the country! Midmonth, set intentions related to the positive karma you’ve accumulated.

Favorable days: June 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 29, 30
Unfavorable days: June 12, 13, 28

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Leo

LEO

Passionate Mars is in your house of community until the end of the month, Leo. Channel this ferocious energy into your neighborhood and invest financially in what you care about close to home. Volunteer, donate to a local organization, or beautify your street. Get your neighbors involved! With the midmonth new moon, this is the perfect timing, and the opportunities that come from strengthening your community may surprise you. Bonus: Supporting your community can raise property values!

Power days: June 5, 7, 11, 14, 16, 21, 26
Nonpower days: June 2, 9, 23

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Virgo

VIRGO

Your ruling planet, meticulous Mercury, has been moving backward in your house of the career path and worldly reputation. Now is the time to do research related to a lucrative career move or how to improve your credit score. This would also be a good time to talk with a lender about a potential home purchase. Make your move after midmonth. With the new moon on June 16, set intentions around ambitious goals and your vocation.

Research days: June 6, 10, 14, 19, 24
Nonresearch days: June 8, 22, 23, 30

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Libra

LIBRA

It’s time to pare down, my balanced friend. Dutiful Saturn is in your house of earned income and material resources until August. Take advantage of Saturn’s last jaunt by spending modestly and being responsible with your credit, such as paying down student loans or credit card debt. If you put in the hard work, Libra, Saturn will always thank you later. Channel your energy toward finding a mentor or taking a class during the midmonth new moon.

Responsible days: June 1, 5, 10, 18, 23, 28
Nonresponsible days: June 8, 14, 21

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SCORPIO

Fearless Mars is in your house of other people’s money until the end of the month, making June a good time to get jazzed over the prospects of a loan for a new home or a line of credit for an improvement project. If you’re serious about making an offer, Scorpio, consider other investments you have to source. Set intentions related to going to get that extra money midmonth with the new moon.

Power days: June 5, 7, 11, 14, 16, 21, 26
Nonpower days: June 2, 9, 23

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Sagittarius

SAGITTARIUS

Neptune the dreamer is in your area of the home for an extended stay, Sagittarius, idealizing your perfect pad or living situation. Use this to get inspired — visit design showrooms or embark on home and garden tours this summer. But don’t get completely carried away in the fantasy. Create a concrete budget and a plan to be ready to make a move when you come back from dreamland. With the new moon on June 16, look into collaboration or partnership to obtain your goals.

Inspirational days: June 4, 8, 12, 13, 17, 27
Noninspirational days: June 2, 15, 22, 23, 29

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Capricorn

CAPRICORN

Gregarious Venus enters your house of other people’s money and joins grandiose Jupiter near the end of the month, creating opportunity. But you might need to know how to negotiate with or charm those in charge of your opulence! Now is the time to secure the investor, loan, or interest rate you deserve, dear Capricorn. Set intentions related to projects that require a considerable time investment.

Favorable days: June 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 29, 30
Unfavorable days: June 12, 13, 28

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Aquarius

AQUARIUS

Flirtatious Venus joins gallant Jupiter in your house of relationships and collaborations near the end of June, Aquarius. Consider this a favorable time to work with someone on a goal your heart burns for (but might not been affordable in the past). Call up your real estate agent, mortgage broker, financial adviser — or even a buddy to go halfsies with on a supersweet duplex! Set new moon intentions related to playing the stock market for a quick turnaround midmonth.

Favorable days: June 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 29, 30
Unfavorable days: June 12, 13, 28

June2015-Trulia-Trulias-12-Houses-June-Horoscope-Pisces

PISCES

Spry Mercury has been moving backward in your area of the home. Use this energy to do research related to your home finances — hunting for a more affordable apartment or new city to make your home base? Check out the neighborhood or visit local businesses to get a more detailed report on living expenses. You’ll be happy you’ve done the work when Mercury moves forward later this month. Set intentions for what you really want in your next housing situation by midmonth.

Research days: June 6, 10, 14, 19, 24
Nonresearch days: June 8, 22, 23, 30

Trulia’s Blog

Trulia’s 12 Houses: June Horoscope was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

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Eat These 10 Foods For Financial Health In 2016

A new year is coming; who couldn’t use a little extra insurance in the finance department? Whether you’re on the hunt for an apartment for rent in New York, NY, or a home for sale in Charleston, SC — or just hoping to give your bank account a little boost — there’s always a reason to hope for a more prosperous year ahead.

Around the world, these foods are traditionally expected to bring prosperity, good fortune, and financial health when eaten on New Year’s Day. (They’re also delicious, so it’s a win-win.) Be sure to save room for dessert!

Eat These 10 Foods For Financial Health In 2016

Lentils: These little legumes swell as they cook and look like coins, making them a prime food for prosperity. In Italy, the green variety is eaten with sausage just after midnight for a delicious — and auspicious — year ahead.

Black-eyed peas: In the American South, black-eyed peas are often served on New Year’s Day in a dish called hoppin’ John. Eat them with collard greens for an additional boost of good fortune.

Greens: Leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, and chard not only are good for your waistline, but they’re thought to help your wallet too — especially since their vibrant color and appearance resembles that of paper money. Fill your plate: It’s thought that the more greens you consume, the more fortunate you’ll be.

Cornbread: Its rich yellow hue gives it the appearance of gold. (And when made properly, it’s also more than easy to indulge.) In the South, people often add extra corn kernels to the batter for a double dose of luck.

Pomegranates: If you’ve ever cracked open one of these luscious red fruits, you know they contain a ton of seeds. In Turkey and other Mediterranean countries, eating these seeds is thought to bring abundance to your life — and pocketbook.

Grapes: In Spain, revelers eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve to symbolize each month of the year. A sweet grape promises a marvelous month, a sour grape, a less than stellar one.

Pork: Pigs tend to root their hooves forward and are a bit, shall we say, zaftig. Because of this, eating pork on New Year’s Day is thought to bring an abundance going forward in the year to come.

Noodles: In China and Japan, soba or buckwheat noodles are eaten on New Year’s Eve to symbolize longevity. Just be sure to put the entire noodle in your mouth before breaking it. If grains are more your gear, quinoa, barley, and rice are also thought to bring about abundance.

Fish: A fish’s scales resemble coins, which channels thoughts of prosperity. In Germany, Poland, and Scandinavia, it’s customary to consume herring at midnight, while in Italy, dried salted cod is often on the menu. And the Swedes feast on myriad different fishes, including seafood salad. Yum!

Circular food: Bring on the bagels … and the doughnuts … and the round cakes. Turns out, eating foods shaped like a circle on New Year’s Day is thought to bring about a lucky full-circle year. (Some cultures even hide coins or almonds in the baked goods, which is also said to bring about good fortune.)

Trulia’s Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

Eat These 10 Foods For Financial Health In 2016 was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

Sell your home fast in Atlanta

With the correct approach and a little work, you can sell your home in record time.

Set yourself up for a quick sale.

The peak home buying season may be over, but there are still steps you can take to ensure a speedy sale. Setting the right price and making an excellent first impression are both essential to attracting buyers, but what else can you do to get the offers rolling in? Here are 10 tips to help you sell your home as quickly as possible – even in the off season.

Price it right from the start.

Sellers often think they should start the asking price high and then lower it later if the house fails to sell. But that can result in a slower sale – sometimes even at a lower price. “The first 30 days’ activity of your house being on the market is always the best activity you’re going to see,” says Michael Mahon, general manager of HER Realtors in Columbus, Ohio. If the price is too high, many buyers and their agents will stay away, assuming you’re not serious about selling or you’re unwilling to negotiate.
Enhance your homes curb appeal.

This could mean adding new sod, planting flowers, painting the front door or replacing the mailbox. Prospective buyers form an opinion the moment they spot the home. “Curb appeal is everything,” Mahon says. “Driving into the driveway and walking into that front door sets the expectations.”

Update the interior and exterior.

New fixtures, fresh paint and updated landscaping are all fairly easy and affordable ways to give your home a makeover. “It’s got to look up to the current market conditions and what’s in style,” Mahon says.

Clean, declutter, depersonalize. 

The fewer things there are in the home, the larger it will look, so remove knickknacks and excess furniture. Also take down family photos, religious items and political posters so prospective buyers can envision their family in the house, not yours. Finally, you may want to hire a cleaning service to do a deep cleaning.

Stage the house to show how the rooms are supposed to be used.

If you have odd rooms with no obvious role, give them one. An odd alcove off the kitchen could be staged as an office or a pantry, for example.

Make the property easy to show

The more flexible you are about visits, the more people will be able to see your home. Be ready for prospective visitors early in the morning, at night and on weekends, with little notice. Also, leave when the house is shown so would-be buyers can feel free to move about without feeling like intruders and discuss the home’s pros and cons honestly.

Remove your pets.

Also remove their paraphernalia, such as dog dishes and cat litter boxes (or at least hide them). A prospective buyer shouldn’t even know that a pet lives in the home if you can help it, Mahon says.

Make sure your listing is on all major online portals.

This is usually part of an agent’s service, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check that your listing is on Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. It also helps if your agent showcases the home on social media. “We sell as many homes off Facebook as we do off the [multiple listing service],” Mahon says. Both the agency and the individual agents have Facebook business pages where they share listings.

Ensure the listing has good photos, and lots of them.

Most home buyers start their search online and decide which homes they want to see based on the photos. You probably want something better than snapshots taken quickly with your agent’s phone.

Share information about life in the neighborhood.

The listing should include photos not only of the house, but also of nearby recreation, dining and shopping areas. If the schools are good, make sure that information is in the listing. “You’re not only marketing the home – you’re marketing the lifestyle,” Mahon says.

 

10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

How to File a Renters Insurance Claim Without the Headache

renters-insurance-claim

By Shannon Ireland

What would you do if someone broke into your apartment or rental home and stole your belongings? Or if a fire damaged your possessions? If you’re one of the estimate 37 percent of renters with renters insurance, you should be in good shape — if you successfully manage the claims process.

Relax, it’s not that hard. Here’s a look at the process, and tips for getting the most out of your policy so you can file a claim stress-free.

If a break-in has occurred

Contact the police so you can start the process of filing a report. While you’re waiting for officers to arrive at your home, take inventory of the damage and the items that are missing.

Once you’ve filed your police report, contact your renters insurance provider and begin the process of filing a claim. You’ll need the number of the police report, as well as:

  • Your insurance policy. It will contain information about your deductible and coverage.
  • Photos of the damage incurred during the break-in. It’s important that you keep the damaged property rather than disposing of it. The claims adjuster likely will want to see it.
  • Your home inventory. This is a list of the contents of the apartment or rental home, complete with photos and, when available, receipts. You can still file a claim if you don’t have an inventory, but the process could be longer and more cumbersome. If you haven’t done an inventory, complete one before trouble strikes. An inventory checklist can help make this task easier.

Be sure to notify your landlord of the break-in, particularly if there is damage to the structure of the home or apartment. Your landlord’s insurance will be responsible for that.

Other reasons for property loss and damage

If you’re the victim of fire or damage from wind or hail or another covered peril, contact your insurance provider immediately to begin your claim and start assessing the damage to your possessions. Again, that home inventory can really help. Follow these other steps:

  1. As with a break-in, take plenty of photos to document the damage to your possessions. Don’t get rid of the damaged items until a claims adjuster gives you the OK.
  2. Keep a record of receipts for any expenses or repairs associated with the loss. If you must relocate for repairs, your policy could provide for reimbursement for extra expenses.
  3. Let your landlord know about the damage. Temporary repairs to prevent further damage are OK, but ask him or her not to proceed further until the adjuster has investigated the claim.

Once you’ve filed your claim, ask how long it will take to process it so that you can tackle the next steps in a timely fashion.

Get estimates and meet with the claims adjuster

Depending on the specifics of your policy, you could be reimbursed for the replacement value or the actual cash value of your stolen or damaged possessions. Replacement value reimburses you for the full cost of the item, while actual cash value takes depreciation into account. Either way, get replacement and repair cost estimates for your possessions.

Start the final phase of the claim process by meeting with a claims adjuster, who will investigate your claim to ensure its validity, approve or veto the claim, authorize payment action and approve requests for temporary living arrangements.

Settling the claim

Before signing the documents to settle the claim, review it in its entirety. It’s a good idea to have a lawyer look it over.

If you’re not clear on any of the language or information presented in the claim document, ask questions. Now is the time to contest things. Once you’ve signed off on the settlement, keep a copy of the settlement documents for your records.

Filing a claim isn’t difficult, but it’s important to do it correctly. Follow these steps to simplify the process. And be happy that you’re not one of the 63 percent of renters who don’t have insurance.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Tips & Advice

How to File a Renters Insurance Claim Without the Headache was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Are You a Risky Borrower? 4 Ways to Find Out

Are-You-a-Risky-Borrower-4-Ways-to-Find-OutMost people will tell you that acquiring a mortgage can be a lengthy, complicated process. Throw into the mix a few credit blemishes or a heavy debt burden, and the path to homeownership can suddenly become an uphill battle.

Before you pick out your dream home and start mentally placing your furniture, it’s important to know if your financial situation will make potential lenders deem you a high-risk borrower. If they do, you don’t have to resign yourself to being a lifetime renter — there are steps you can take to improve your situation and increase the likelihood of being approved for a loan later on.

Tammi Robson, a mortgage broker at Metro Lenders Inc. in Denver, CO, determines loan eligibility using a three-pronged approach. “Approval of a real estate transaction depends on the approval of three things: the borrower’s credit, the borrower’s income, and the house itself. The borrower’s credit must meet minimum guidelines, their income must support their ability to repay the mortgage, and the house they want to buy or refinance must appraise for the amount needed.”

While every situation is different, here are the four major red flags that can cause potential lenders to consider you a risky borrower.

1. Your credit score is below 620

One of the quickest ways for a lender to get a snapshot of your ability to make future payments is to check your credit score and see how you fared with financial responsibility in the past.

You can receive one free report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) once a year, and some lenders will run an analysis to determine what can be done to bring your score within an acceptable range.

2. You don’t have steady employment or you have less than two years of self-employment income

W-2 employees working a minimum of 40 hours per week are the most attractive to lenders. If you are working part time, or if you don’t have at least two years of tax returns to properly represent your self-employment income, acquiring a loan becomes trickier. For the latter, Robson suggests having a mortgage professional look over your tax returns to determine how much home you can really afford.

3. You have financial responsibilities you aren’t taking care of

While credit scores and income are important, Robson explains that even more pressing are larger issues like delinquent child support payments, unpaid income tax liens, and delinquent federal student loans.

“If serious delinquencies show on a credit report, an underwriter will simply deny the loan,” says Robson. “Therefore, a borrower should bring those accounts current, and/or re-establish a payment history prior to pursuing home loan qualification.”

4. You don’t have a down payment

Lenders prefer that borrowers be financially vested in their new home from the get-go. So if you don’t have a down payment, you’ll have to jump through more hoops to showcase your financial worthiness, and private mortgage insurance will most likely be a requirement of your loan. However, your lender may be able to help you find down payment assistance programs to help bridge the gap.

How can you improve your chances?

When guiding clients through the process of acquiring a loan, Robson has a laundry list of things she suggests they tackle or monitor. Among the top items are acquiring a credit report, working to pay down debt and bring all accounts into good standing, and either securing funds for a down payment or searching for homes that allow 100% financing.

In addition, she suggests avoiding large purchases — like a car — prior to or at any point during the loan approval process. “Many borrowers ask me what is the maximum they can buy that won’t affect their loan qualification,” says Robson. “I tell them $ 30. If it costs more than $ 30, don’t buy it!”

Trulia’s Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

Are You a Risky Borrower? 4 Ways to Find Out was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Down Payment Gift? Be Prepared to Reveal All

There are many ways to come up with the cash, but if you choose to ask a family member or friend for help, remember: It can come with strings attached.

Scraping together a down payment can be a challenge. Most lenders require a 20% minimum — regardless of the monthly mortgage payment that you can afford. There are many ways to come up with the cash, but if you choose to ask a family member or friend for help, remember: It can come with strings attached.

“Money has a way of challenging relationships,” says Lauren Kovar, a certified public accountant in Chicago. “You have to communicate upfront so that the money doesn’t become an issue that destroys the relationship.”

Lenders prefer to see gifts from family rather than friends, unless it’s a close, long-standing relationship you can document. But regardless of your relationship, it’s important to discuss boundaries and expectations before accepting any financial gift. Everyone manages their money differently, so choose your partners wisely. Consider this: If Mom and Dad are putting up some cash, they might feel entitled to a say in the home you buy, how much you spend on it, and maybe even what you do with it after you move in.

“If it’s a gift, you would want to communicate very clearly upfront that this is a gift and that you would feel uncomfortable if they had a say in how you spent that money,” says Kovar. “If you care whether someone tells you how to decorate and live in your home, then don’t do business with them.”

Even if your family member or friend doesn’t want to audit your finances before bestowing their monetary gift, lenders and the IRS have requirements that you and the gift giver need to consider.

Gifts can be taxed

If you’re gifted the money, it’s yours to do with as you please, but your lender may ask that the gift giver sign a document stating that it’s truly a gift and not a loan. Since the gift giver — rather than the recipient — pays taxes on gifts, there may be taxes involved at rates as high as 40%.

Gift taxes don’t kick in right away, though. Think through this scenario: You’re buying a home with your partner, and your parents are gifting the down payment. Each parent can give $ 14,000 a year — the 2015 annual exclusion — to both you and your partner separately, bringing the total gift to $ 56,000.

Anything above that $ 14,000 exclusion limit counts toward the $ 5.43 million basic exclusion, the amount an individual can leave to heirs without being required to pay a federal estate tax. The basic exclusion is frequently adjusted for inflation, as is the annual exclusion limit.

“The key with gifts is documentation so that you don’t have a situation if you get audited,” says Katherine Dean, managing director of wealth planning at Wells Fargo Private Bank. “If you’re giving the $ 14,000 to a child and their spouse, you would want to write one check for each gift.” Donors are required to keep track of gifts with IRS Form 709.

Time gifts right

When you deposit a gift into your account matters to underwriters: Applying for a loan the day after you receive a gift may affect your chances of obtaining a mortgage.

“Underwriters automatically assume that you don’t have the capacity to make your payments if they’re seeing an influx of cash in your account,” says Dean. “The way to get around this is to ‘season’ it by having it sit in your account for more than 60 days.”

If the gift isn’t seasoned, your lender may require a letter from the donor explaining that this money is a one-time gift and not a loan. And if your gift giver is reluctant to share bank statements with your lender, you may just have to wait. “The donor may also have to show their financials to the underwriter,” says Dean. “The lender wants to make sure that the donor can afford this gift as well and they want to see stability.”

There are other options

Many lenders ask for an abundance of information from borrowers — and anyone else involved in the borrowing process — to ensure their loans will not go unpaid. If you’re uncomfortable with your lender’s requirements or the input your friend or family member expects in exchange for a monetary gift, you do have other options.

You can take the traditional route and wait to purchase a new home so that you have time to save enough money for a down payment. Budgeting or taking a second job to help boost your monthly cash flow can help you build your savings more quickly. Purchasing a less expensive property that requires a smaller down payment is also an option.

Ultimately, buying a home should be an exciting time, with a big celebration once you’ve gotten settled into your new home. To make the process go smoothly and to maintain your relationships with friends and family, it’s worth the time it takes to plan things out. Then save a seat at the head of the table at your housewarming party for the friend or family member who funded your down payment as a way of saying thanks!

Have you accepted a gift from a friend or family member to pull together a down payment on a home? Share your advice in the comments below!

Trulia’s Blog

Down Payment Gift? Be Prepared to Reveal All was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Budget Ideas for People Who Hate Budgets

Budgeting doesn’t have to be all checkbook balancing and spreadsheet managing. Have a little fun with it, try out different types of budgets, and learn what works — and makes the most sense — for you.

Raise your hand if you think sitting down with a spreadsheet full of numbers sounds like a good time. Chances are, there aren’t many hands in the air — but if you want to do more with your money and have a positive impact on your financial situation — whether or not you hope to buy a house someday, it’s critical.

We’re talking about budgets. You need one so you can take charge of your finances and meet your biggest money goals.

Before you roll your eyes and groan, understand that you have a lot of options here. Just because you hate boring spreadsheets or the hassle of keeping up with receipts does not mean you actually hate budgets.

More likely, you haven’t found the right one for you yet. Let’s explore a few budget ideas you can try.

1. Make it automatic

You don’t have to create a household budget that sucks away all your free time and mental energy. Instead, automate it with one of the tools and technologies available to help you do it.

  • Mint.com can help you track your spending and understand where your money goes each month.
  • You Need a Budget is budgeting software that promises to “implement a system that will require less time ‘managing’ your money.”
  • Personal Capital combines your everyday finances with your investments so you can view the big picture of your financial situation all in one place.

Setting up these tools can help you track your expenses and review your spending each month. They make budgeting easier and lots more fun.

You can also set automatic transfers from your checking to savings accounts to fund important goals and create automatic bill pay so you never forget to handle a fixed expense.

2. Give yourself an allowance

Weekly or monthly allowances aren’t just for kids. A grown-up spending allowance can help you better manage your money each month while also eliminating the need to track every last cent with a dreaded spreadsheet.

For this budgeting alternative to work, you do need to put in some effort upfront. First, know how much you earn each month — and that means the amount of money hitting your checking account after taxes and withdrawals for things like your 401(k) and health insurance. Then calculate your fixed expenses. This includes things like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and other living costs and bills.

Subtract your expenses from your income. If you haven’t already set up an automatic transfer to savings or investments, do so now.

After taking into account your savings and expenses, what’s left over? This is your spending allowance for the month. You can spend it on whatever you want, but once that money is gone, remember, it’s gone.

3. Use various accounts for your buckets

A twist on the allowance idea is to set up three accounts: one for expenses, one for fun money, and one for savings. Deposit percentages of your paycheck into each account, and pull from the appropriate one throughout the month to cover your living costs and your discretionary spending.

You’ll need to do some legwork first to determine what percentage of your paycheck belongs in which bucket. But you don’t need to track every last cent throughout the month or worry about overspending before you get around to saving.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be all checkbook balancing and spreadsheet managing. Have a little fun with it, try out different types of budgets, and learn what works — and makes the most sense — for you.

What budgeting tricks have helped you save money? Share your tips in the comments below.

Trulia’s Blog

Budget Ideas for People Who Hate Budgets was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

7 Motivational Quotes to Help You Save Money

Saving money can be quite a slog, even if you have a special goal in mind — like a down payment on a shiny new house. But don’t get discouraged; you’ve got this!

Here are seven motivational quotes to help keep you on the savings track.

Motivational Quote Munger

“The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.” — T.T. Munger

Think of it this way: Saving each month is like attending class. Your new house: the reward! You will have earned that A, you scholarly saver!

Motivational Quote Ben Franklin

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” — Benjamin Franklin

It doesn’t get more old school than this. Save your pennies now and soon enough you will open the door to your very own home. It’s the American dream. Remember: Saving even a small amount each month moves you toward your goal.

Motivational Quote Kim Hubbard

“The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” — Kin Hubbard

In all seriousness, though, it’s good to be cautious about your investments — whether you’re saving up for a new house, a trip to Italy, or just to have an emergency fund should the need arise.

Motivational Quote Joe Biden

“Don’t tell me what you value; show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” — Joe Biden

When saving for your future home it’s easy to get sidetracked buying items that bring us short-term happiness, like a new pair of shoes or the latest electronic gadget. At the end of the day, if a new home is what you value, then let the numbers tell the story.

Motivational Quote Dave Ramsey

“You must gain control over your money, or the lack of it will forever control you.” — Dave Ramsey

You work hard for your money, so why not boss it around like an overbearing executive? Contribute to your savings account each month and take control of your finances. Like a boss.

Motivational Quote Warren Buffett

“Spend what is left after saving.” — Warren Buffett

Rather than saving whatever random amount is left at the end of the month, make a monthly savings goal. Once you’ve paid your bills and met your savings goal, spend the money that is left over — and not vice versa.

Motivational Quote - Jean Chatzsky

“By definition, saving — for anything — requires us to not get things now so we can get bigger ones later.” — Jean Chatzsky

When you’re saving for a down payment, it’s a lot easier to sacrifice the small things now knowing that you’re saving toward a goal for yourself. Keep your eye on the prize!

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7 Motivational Quotes to Help You Save Money was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

4 Reasons Renters Need an Emergency Fund, Now More Than Ever

Life happens, and an emergency fund can be the cushion you need to keep your head above water in any situation.

Life happens, and an emergency fund can be the cushion you need to keep your head above water in any situation.

Renting instead of buying a property certainly has its fair share of perks. The big one: maintenance and upkeep. If a major bug infestation occurs or the dishwasher sputters its last breath, the landlord is generally the one in charge of forking over the cash to fix the problem.

However, emergency funds are still a necessity if you’re signing a lease instead of a mortgage. Life happens, and although you may not be facing foreclosure should your financial situation suddenly change, an emergency fund can be the cushion you need to keep your head above water in any situation.

If you’re a renter, here are a few reasons why you still need that emergency fund.

#1: Your landlord can raise your rent without much notice (really)

While many states prohibit a rent increase during the term of a lease, if you’re renting on a month-to-month basis, you could be obliged to pay an increased rate with as little as 30 days’ notice.

States such as New York and Texas allow rent increases if both parties consent to the change. However, if the tenant doesn’t agree to the increase, they must terminate their lease. In other words, inaction legally indicates approval on the part of the tenant.

No matter where you live, it’s always important to read the fine print carefully. Even if you have a long lease, your agreement could state the landlord has the leeway to raise your rent before the next rental period.

Bottom line: You could be on the hook for either higher rent or the costs to move into a new unit.

#2: Disaster can strike anyone, at any time

We’ve all had those weeks or months when everything imaginable seems to go wrong at the same time — the car suddenly needs a major repair, a long-forgotten doctor’s bill comes in the mail, and the dog needs emergency surgery after consuming a pound of chocolate.

Unfortunately, these situations don’t wait until we are financially prepared to handle them — the preparation has to occur before they happen. Ideally, you’d have enough stashed away that you have emergency rent money for three months should you lose your job — giving you time to find a new (better!) job without having to settle for a less-than-stellar offer just because you need some emergency rent money.

#3: Paying off debt? You still need that emergency fund

Debt payoff may be front and center in your mind, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to forgo having an emergency fund.

Think about this: After spending months and months paying down mountains of debt, you suddenly find yourself without a job or left with an avalanche of unexpected medical bills. Now, with no emergency fund and lackluster job prospects, you have one option — pulling out those credit cards and putting yourself back into the debt cycle.

While you might be tempted to funnel all available funds into making your dreams of debt freedom come true, an emergency fund will ensure you don’t meet any brick walls on your path.

#4: Lessen your money stress

In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 72% of respondents reported feeling stressed about money in the previous month. A whopping 64% reported money was a somewhat or significant source of stress in their lives.

One of the most stressful aspects of money management is dealing with circumstances we’re not financially prepared to handle. What’s the remedy? Building an emergency fund for peace of mind.

Have you ever needed your emergency fund? Share your savings tips and experiences in the comments!

Trulia’s Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

4 Reasons Renters Need an Emergency Fund, Now More Than Ever was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Trulia’s 12 Houses: September Horoscope

September steps onto the stage struggling with the high feelings of faith and a demand for perfection. Jupiter has entered Virgo for the next year and with this transition, Jupiter will want to perfect, refine, and improve in a big way.

Strapped for cash? Keep the faith! Make plans, research, and strategize during the Mercury retrograde midmonth and for the following three weeks — and plan to wrap up any loose communications, project plans, and binding contracts prior to the meticulous planet’s backward jaunt.

Excellent money, growth, and opportunity days: 5, 6

Good money, growth, and opportunity days: 2, 9, 10, 19, 20, 28, 30

September Horoscope Aries

ARIES

After the recent retrograde, Venus graces your house of risk, gambling, and fun once again, looking for an opportunity that may have been missed. Think back to June and notice if something that was passed over early in the summer is presenting itself again. Perhaps it’s a quick investment to fund your fall travel plans? Look to begin negotiations after September 6.

With the midmonth new moon, make intentions related to projects that require a considerable time investment.

Negotiating days: 10, 15, 20, 29

Non-negotiating days: 1-6, 17, 24

September Horoscope Taurus

TAURUS

After moving backward for six weeks, flirtatious Venus is in full swing in your house of home, living, and family. Postretrograde is a perfect chance to snap up a missed opportunity. Now is the time to spend a little hard-earned cash and beautify your living space.

Set intentions with the new moon on September 12 related to what you really desire in a housing situation.

Negotiating days: 10, 15, 20, 29

Non-negotiating days: 1-6, 17, 24

September Horoscope Gemini

GEMINI

If you had three wishes related to your home or finances, what would they be? Generous Jupiter has entered your house of home for the next year and brings a desire to focus on large-scale home improvements. September is not the month to make your major move — for now, just do a little dreaming.

Set intentions related to what you really desire in a housing situation with the midmonth new moon.

Opportunity days: 2, 6, 11, 21,

Non-opportunity days: 4, 15-18, 26, 30

September Horoscope Cancer

CANCER

Last month, there was the potential for a surge of money as Venus was moving retrograde. Hopefully, you gave your finances a boost then; now’s the time to prove your worth to the person in charge and ask for a raise! The key to getting what you want is having drive and heart.

Set intentions related to finding networking opportunities or researching the best long-term investment with the midmonth new moon.

Negotiating days: 10, 15, 20, 29

Non-negotiating days: 1-6, 17, 24

September Horoscope Leo

LEO

Dear Leo, are you interested in large bank deposits? Good news: Benefic planet Jupiter has just moved into your house of earned income for the next year. For the next 12 months, focus on expanding your earning potential, whether that means going to school or taking up new responsibilities at work. Don’t make a demanding move just yet, but if you are willing, then good old Jupiter is ready to help!

Set intentions related to your financial vision and earned-income sources with the new moon on September 12.

Opportunity days: 2, 6, 11, 21

Non-opportunity days: 4, 15-18, 26, 30

September Horoscope Virgo

VIRGO

Ever wondered how you could earn more money, dear Virgo? This month, the normally spry Mercury moves backward into your house of earned income and material resources. Get out your calculator and brainstorm ways you could add to your bottom line. New budget plan? Sell some stuff (and declutter in the process)? Look into a new job or a side project to make some extra cash? Whatever it is, don’t jump in just yet — get the legwork done first.

With the new moon on September 12, set intentions related to how you are perceived in the world to ensure you are representing yourself clearly.

Research days: 4, 15, 20, 30

Non-research days: 7, 9, 17, 22, 28

September Horoscope Libra

LIBRA

For the past few months, there’s been a flurry of activity in your house of community, tribe, and groups. The timing is still good to tackle that neighborhood project: Build stronger bonds with your community and help create a safer, more desirable place to live. (Both of which help raise local property values — and your net worth.) Get involved! Make friends! Go create something beautiful!

Midmonth, set intentions related to the positive karma you’ve accumulated.

Negotiating days: 10, 15, 20, 29

Non-negotiating days: 1-6, 17, 24

September Horoscope Scorpio

SCORPIO

Last month, you might have felt an aggressive jolt in your house of career path and worldly reputation. Now, with charming Venus sweetly parading through, exercise your people skills to get ahead financially, whether you need a new home loan, a promotion, or a credit approval. You can do anything. You’re a Scorpio after all.

Set midmonth new moon intentions related to your house of community and shared common good.

Negotiating days: 10, 15, 20, 29

Non-negotiating days: 1-6, 17, 24

September Horoscope Sagittarius

SAGITTARIUS

Jupiter , your ruling planet, has just moved into your house of career path and worldly reputation for the next year! This indicates that you are in for some excitement surrounding what you do and how you are known. This is your year for getting ahead, whether it’s a promotion, a new job, or a shiny new home loan.

With the new moon on September 12, set intentions around your ambitious goals and vocation.

Opportunity days: 2, 6, 11, 21

Non-opportunity days: 4, 15-18, 26, 30

September Horoscope Capricorn

CAPRICORN

You’ve got it, dear Capricorn, and now is the time to sell it! Negotiating Venus has moved into your house of marketing and other’s people’s money. Are you trying to sell a home or get financial backing on a new project? How about hoping to be a candidate for a loan? Push gently, and employ some heart to get what you want. Venus might even remind you of a key piece to a missed opportunity from June.

Set intentions related to finding a mentor or taking a class during the midmonth new moon.

Negotiating days: 10, 15, 20, 29

Non­negotiating days: 1-6, 17, 24

September Horoscope Aquarius

AQUARIUS

Sometimes I like to think of Jupiter as the archetype of Santa Claus — he’s big, jolly, and gives you gifts if you’ve been good. Jupiter has just walked into your house of other people’s money, and this gift-giving planet has a big one for you! For the next year, you’ll have a better chance at landing that loan because you are able to market yourself in a desirable way. Absolutely do necessary grunt work before clinching the deal and remember to be good for goodness’ sake!

During the new moon on September 12, set intentions related to the money of others working in your favor: loans, trusts, interest earned.

Opportunity days: 2, 6, 11, 21

Non-opportunity days: 4, 15-18, 26, 30

September Horoscope Pisces

PISCES

Want to know an astrology bad word? It’s this phrase: Mercury retrograde. Many people out there think it’s responsible for making their lives difficult, but it can actually be a good thing. It’s time to research, Pisces, to rethink and to replan. This month and into October, mental Mercury is in your house of marketing and other people’s money. A contemplative Pisces probably already knows that it’s time to check in on how your investments are flowing and how you could possibly refinance.

Set intentions related to collaborating with someone to get what you need during the new moon on September 12.

Research days: 4, 15, 20, 30

Non-research days: 7, 9, 17, 22, 28

Trulia’s Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

Trulia’s 12 Houses: September Horoscope was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home