Becoming a Homeowner at 25

Becoming a Homeowner at 25 - Chic and Domestic
Becoming a Homeowner at 25 – Chic and Domestic

*Disclaimer: This post contains referral links. I may be compensated for your clicks!*

I’m so excited to finally get around to writing this post! If you’ve been with me so far on this journey then you know that we were finally able to close on our house, just in time for Christmas.
It’s been an amazing but scary feeling to become a homeowner, but it feels great to know that we set out to achieve such a large goal, and now we can say that it’s something we can officially cross off of our list.

I always knew that I wanted to become a homeowner. More importantly, I knew that I wanted to become a homeowner sooner rather than later. After crunching the numbers and seeing just how much we were spending on rent in a year’s time, it just made more sense for us to do what we needed to do to purchase our own piece real estate. I really wanted to go from just having a place we called home, to actual home buying.

CHECK OUT “7 SIMPLE STEPS TO PURCHASE YOUR FAMILY HOME” HERE!

For me personally, I have goals to own multiple rental properties in the future, so purchasing our cozy little townhome was not only a great move for our family, but also for my future plans to turn it into an asset.

We collectively worked on our credit, because obviously credit is key if you plan to have a mortgage on your home. I have to be honest, it wasn’t like our starting point for our credit was in bad shape, but it still took some time to really get it to where we wanted it to be. In fact, my husband was basically starting at zero. Not a literal zero credit score, but he was essentially starting from the bottom with no current credit history.

It took about a year to establish a positive credit history for him, which wasn’t too hard with the help of things like secured credit cards, and self lender. His credit was around 730 by the time we finally had it pulled for our mortgage loan, which was great considering his starting point was roughly 550 with no credit history.

CHECK OUT “HOW TO BUILD AND BOOST YOUR CREDIT” HERE!

We also started to put aside a savings that was specifically for buying our home. There are a lot of expected and unexpected expenses that come with purchasing a home. A lot. You won’t always have exact number goals to save for with these expenses since a lot of things are based on the cost of your actual purchase, your location, what companies you’re using, and how your deal is negotiated. We started by saving a $1000 emergency fund, and growing a separate savings from there for purchasing our home.

CHECK OUT “HOW TO SAVE A $1000 EMERGENCY FUND” HERE!

Be on the lookout for more posts on what to look for during the process of home buying. Subscribe!

This entire dream meant everything to us. Neither of us have family around us that actually own their own home. No parents, no grandparents, none of our family members are homeowners. We really wanted to buy a house for our kids before the year was over. That was the end goal. I can’t even begin to explain the overwhelming feeling of finally bringing them home and showing them around their new rooms and really seeing the excitement on their faces.

I know that many of my subscribers (Hopefully that includes you) are interested in one day achieving this goal for their own families, and I really want to continue to share my knowledge and experience so that no matter how young you are, or what obstacles you think are in your way, you too can purchase your family home, and really build the life that you dream of.

Be sure to subscribe for more of the “From Home to Home Buying” series! Don’t miss out on more keys to becoming a homeowner, and how to achieve financial success once you get there.

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5 Changes to Make to Your Personal Finances

5 Changes To Make To Your Personal Finances - Chic and Domestic
5 Changes To Make To Your Personal Finances – Chic and Domestic

Not everyone has a positive relationship with money. In fact, if we can be honest, I believe that most of us don’t have the best relationship with our money. Are we making enough? Are we spending too much? Are we investing enough? Are we saving for the right things?

I would be lying if I said that I’ve always been great with my money because I haven’t. Sometimes I overspend on things, there have been times when my budget is nonexistent, and I have spent a great amount of time living life without an emergency fund! … YEAH.

It takes a lot to really be serious and committed to your finances in the beginning, but the more positive changes that you make, the stronger your money relationship gets. Every positive step you take in the right direction puts your finances in a better position to really build the foundation for the dream life that you imagine.

1. Save money
If you currently aren’t saving, you my friend are doing something wrong. When it comes to savings, every little bit counts. It doesn’t matter if you can afford a more aggressive savings goal, or if you’re seriously saving just a few dollars a week. When it’s time for you to break the glass for an emergency, you’ll be glad that you’re even a few dollars, or even a couple hundred dollars closer to paying for that emergency. If you can start and commit to building a savings, then you’re already strengthening the self control it takes to tackle your personal finances.

Check out my post “5 Money Challenges To Try In 2019” here!

2. Get out of debt
Plenty of people in the world live successfully with debt over their heads. The United States does it with ease and not a care in the world. That’s not the point! The point is, you don’t want to be one of those people, and you don’t want to be thousands of dollars in debt. Regain control! I absolutely understand that not everyone will be buying a house in cash, or avoiding car payments and credit cards, but it’s important to prioritize and recognize that too many unnecessary debts all at once is a downward spiral. Start by paying off or paying down your store cards, paying off a small medical bill, pay those parking and toll fines! Stop letting other people hold that IOU over your head, and get them out of your life FOR GOOD.

3. Cut your expenses
It’s really the little things that start to add up. Reevaluating your budget is something that you should do every so often, but especially when you’re wanting to make some positive changes to your finances. Get rid of that extra subscription, maybe an unused gym membership, or even finding ways to cut down a few of the expenses that you plan to keep. Nine times out of ten, for the average person, you’re probably overspending somewhere. Again, every little bit counts. Every penny that you save by cutting your expenses can then be used to tackle your debts, or pad that much needed savings account.

4. Invest
If you’ve read my post “My Personal Finance Goals For the New Year” then you’ll know that one of my larger goals for the new year is invest. Investing can mean whatever you want it to mean for you personally. Invest in stock, invest in your financial knowledge, invest in your financial future. Like your personal finances, how we manage money is always evolving, so it’s always good to keep up with all of your options out there to put you in a better place financially.

5. Change your mindset
So much of making a lifestyle change is mental. Tell yourself that YOU WILL, and stop making excuses as to why you can’t. You will save, you will pay off that debt, you will reach all of your financial goals, you will build the life that you want for yourself.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest! Pinning budget greatness, All Day, Every day.

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My Personal Finance Goals For the New Year

My Personal Finance Goals For The New Year - Chic and Domestic
My Personal Finance Goals For The New Year – Chic and Domestic

With 2018 coming to end, I think that now is the perfect time to discuss personal finance goals for the future. Everyone makes all sort of goals for the New Year, and trust me I have a longgg list of things I want to accomplish. I’ll spare you some time though, and only bore you with a few of my personal finance goals for 2019.

1. Invest
Investing has been heavy on my mind, and it’s something that I want to do a lot more of in the New Year. I personally believe that if you can’t stop thinking about a goal, then it’s time to take action and make it come to life. I’ve invested in a stock investing course that I’ve been working my way through the last month or so and it has been extremely helpful for me.

Another way that I plan to invest in 2019 is by getting into real estate. As you might know, my husband and I purchased our first home just in time for the holidays, but I also have my own personal goals to invest in real estate as a business. Now, for a more realistic take on things, I might not necessarily purchase more real estate this year, but I do plan to invest in myself, so that I can invest in my wealth, and be that much closer to reaching my other investing goals.

2. Raise My Credit Score
My credit score has been doing lovely the last few months. I feel like I’ve been making the right moves to get where I’m trying to go, but I want a 780 or above in the New Year and I don’t plan on stopping until I get there.

Be sure to check out my post “How To Build and Boost Your Credit” or Credit Building Hacks For The New Year” here!

3. Pay down my student loan debt
Now, I can’t say that I’m in some crazy amount of student loan debt. It’s not 6 figures, it’s not pushing it at $90,000 and it’s honestly not even $50,000 worth of debt, but to me it’s all just debt that I don’t want to keep holding on to. I’ve done a very good job of planning my future educational and career goals around avoiding too much debt, or preferable any at all, and that’s the plan I want to stick to.

4. Pay Down My Mortgage
This is obviously a new goal for me. A very exciting one at that. When we got our keys I was cray excited, but the extreme number cruncher in me was like, “I can’t wait to start paying this thing OFF!” This obviously (clearly) won’t be happening in 2019, but I can accomplish a smaller goal of consistently paying it down on time, and at a more aggressive rate than required.

Be sure to subscribe and look out for more of my home buying and new homeowner tips!

5. Cut My Household Expenses
Cutting my household expenses will always be a personal finance goal of mine. Not just for a new year, but all year long. I’m always looking for ways to cut expenses, and increase the amount of money that I could possibly be saving. I redo our family budget when I feel like it’s needed, but a new year is a great time to look over things when you’re feeling fresh and positive for a financial change.

6. SAAAAVE
I will be saving saving saving all year long. Be sure to look out for my upcoming post on “A Few Easy Ways To Save” for inspiration to do some saving for your own family, and a little bit of how I personally plan to juggle our money to make sure it’s tucked away right where I want it. Also once again, be sure to subscribe for all of the great saving, budgeting, and personal finance content that I have coming your way.

Check out my post “5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019” here!

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Credit Building Hacks for the New Year

Credit Building Hacks For the New Year - Chic and Domestic
Credit Building Hacks For the New Year – Chic and Domestic

*This post contains referral links. I may be compensated for your clicks!*

My self lender account has been nothing short of a success for my credit. I was able to talk about just how helpful it was for my credit in my How To Build and Boost Your Credit post from my Purchasing Your Family Home series. With so many people gearing up to face their finances head on in the New Year, I’m getting more and more questions about not only savings and budgeting, but also ways to increase credit scores.

I don’t always get to talk about the importance of good credit and your credit scores, but because I’ve been blogging through our family home buying process the topic has actually come up a lot. I know that so many of my lovely subscribers (Are you one? Because you should beee!) are interested in purchasing their own family home in the future, so why not talk about it!?

Check out my post “7 Steps to Purchase Your Family Home” here!

So, a few things for the people who don’t know …

Self Lender is an online credit building CD account. It helps with boosting your credit score by reporting on time payments (as long as your payments are ON TIME) but the best part about it is how it holds your monthly payments for savings and distributes it back to you at the end! You essentially get a credit boost for an installment loan, but you’re really just paying yourself monthly, and tucking away your own money for savings. That’s a WIN.

You also don’t get a ding on your credit report for an inquiry, and it starts reporting almost immediately. I personally saw a credit increase of 50 points within the first 30 days of reporting, and 5 or 10 point raises after that. They have a few “loan” options depending on how much you can afford to save every month, and how quickly you plan to reach your savings goal. One is for as little as $25 a month.

A few more things to be aware of …

Now, because self lender reports as a (hopefully positive) installment loan on your credit report, if you are planning to make a big purchase sometime soon, like a house or a car, this “loan” will be viewed as a positive revolving debt on your credit report. No problem though, I would just recommend doing this and completing the CD before running your credit for your big purchase. You do have the option to pay in full at any time and close out your self lender account.

Overall, I can’t recommend self lender enough! I’ve been working really hard on my credit over the last year or so and seeing that big jump that simply trying out self lender has given me was well worth it. I chose to do the $25 option this time, but I actually plan to open another Self Lender CD with a larger monthly payment once this one is completed. You can honestly never have enough savings, and any boost on my credit report is a winner for me.

If Self Lender sounds like something that you’d be interested in trying in the New Year, check out my referral code and receive $10 towards your personal savings here!

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52 Week Money Challenge Hacks

52 Week Money Challenge Hacks - Chic and Domestic
52 Week Money Challenge Hacks – Chic and Domestic

With the 52 week money challenge being one of the more popular challenges for New Year’s savings, who would I be to not address all of the many many ways to hack the challenge to make it work for you!

Let’s be honest, all of our personal finances are not created equal. Our budgets vary slightly, drastically, and everything in between. Some of us are paid monthly, weekly, biweekly, often, and hardly ever. Yes, even inconsistent paychecks don’t disqualify you from a savings challenge.

Before we get to how to hack the 52 week challenge, let’s first discuss how the original 52 week challenge even works. It’s an incremental savings challenge so your weekly savings will vary. You’ll start week one by saving $1, continue on to week 2 by saving $2, week 3 you will save another $3, all the way through week 52 when you’ll be saving $52 and finishing out with a grand total of $1378 in savings. It’s just that easy.

If you happened to read How To Save a $1000 Emergency Fund, then you’ll know that I love the Qapital app for easy, pain free saving. They even offer the option to set a 52 week challenge rule that will easily transfer your funds for you. I swear by the app, especially if you’re serious about your savings goals. If you try it out today with my referral code you’ll be able to receive $5 FREE towards your first savings goal. Check it out here.

Be sure to check out my post “5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019” for more savings ideas!

Modified 52 week challenges
1. Reverse 52 Week Challenge
Maybe around the new year is when you have a little bit more cash to put aside for savings. The Reverse 52 Week Challenge would probably be right for you. You can still tuck away your weekly commitment, only you will start off by saving your $52 payment first, and end the challenge with your last payment of $1 towards your savings.

2. Modified 52 Week Challenge
The easiest way to modify the challenge to make it work for you is by saving your weekly payments the way you want to! Every week you will make a payment of $1, $10, $42, or $52, whichever one of your 52 payments you can afford that week. Maybe this week you have some extra money so you decide to save $52, but maybe next week you only have $10 to put aside.The easiest way to get this done is by keeping a detailed record and crossing off which one of your payments you’ve already made.

3. 52 Week Biweekly Money Challenge
For the people who get paid biweekly, maybe it will just be easier for you to make one large payment when you get paid rather than making an extra payment between paydays. You can essentially turn the 52 week challenge into a 26 payment, biweekly challenge by making 2 weeks worth of payments at one time. Week one you would be saving $3, and then $7, and then move on to $11, all the way up until week 26 when you put $103 into savings.

4. 52 Week Mini Money Challenge
Maybe you have a tighter budget but you’re still looking to get in on this 52 weeks of savings. No problem at all, you can easily modify the challenge to fit your financial situation. With the 52 Week Mini Money Challenge you can easily save smaller increments of money, and still be working towards a savings goal. You would start week one by saving 50 cents, and gradually increasing that amount by 50 cents every week. Your final 52 week payment should be $26, and you will still end up with $689 in savings by the end of the year.

5. 52 Week Double Money Challenge
Say your financial situation is great right now and you can afford to put a little bit more into savings every week. You can easily double your weekly savings by starting week 1 off at $2, week 2 would be $4, week 3 would be $6, and at week 52 you would be putting aside $104, and ending up with a grand total of $2756 at the end of the year. Look at those savingsss!

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