Cathy Lomasney's Blog
If budgeting isn’t your thing, you’ll be glad to discover that it’s quite simple. There’s a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you won’t even think about it. If you’re saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories:
- Living expenses
- Financial goals
- Personal spending
Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances.
20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where you’d save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement.
The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isn’t a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesn’t require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.
A Clear Plan
These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.
The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.
First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, you’ll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, you’ll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers.
Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.
For those of us looking for small ways that we can contribute to an eco-friendly society, recycling is one of the best places to start. Since its inception in the 1970s, recycling technology has come a long way, making it easier than ever for consumers to recycle their household waste.
Although the excuses for not recycling are dwindling, there still can be a learning curve. Depending on where you live, there might be certain requirements you have to meet for your recycling to actually make it to the plant. And, in spite of the fact that we can now effectively recycle more materials than ever, there are still some items that you shouldn’t toss in the recycling bin.
If you’re new to recycling or just want to learn more about what you can and cannot recycle, read on.
Rules and regulations may vary
Let’s begin with a disclaimer: recycling isn’t the same everywhere. While many cities have free recycling and curbside pickup programs, some smaller towns and suburbs do not. In these instances, recycling is often a service provided by waste management companies in your area at a small added fee to your monthly garbage pickup bill.
What is single-sort recycling?
If you’re new to recycling, odds are you’re imagining having to sort out paper from plastic and metal and so on. However, due to single-sort recycling (also known as “no-sort” and “zero-sort” recycling) you don’t have to worry about putting different items in different bins.
With single-sort recycling, you can put everything in the same container and it will later be sorted automatically at a recycling facility using complex machinery.
What can I recycle?
Generally, the following items are now able to be recycled. However, you should follow the guidelines provided by your recycling company or municipal recycling facility.
Aluminum cans and foil.
2.7 million tons of aluminum is discarded each year, half of which gets processed at a recycling facility. The benefit of recycling aluminum is that it is 100% recyclable, so nothing is lost in the process. At the facility, aluminum cans, foil, and other products are shredded up and turned into small chips of aluminum that can be sent back for production and reuse.
Paper and cardboards.
Magazines, newspaper, cardboard, office paper, and juice cartons are just some of the paper goods that can be recycled. In the U.S., we recycling a large percentage of our paper goods due to the collection of newspapers. One item that people often toss in the recycling bin that isn’t able to be recycling is food containers that have food and grease seeped into them.
Most glass items are recyclable. However, crystal glass, heat-resistant glass, and ceramic items (like plates and mugs) are not able to be recycled at a facility and should either be repurposed or tossed out.
Electronics and batteries.
While you might not be able to toss most of these items in your recycling bin, there are several simple ways to recycle electronics and batteries. Calling your local appliance store, automotive retailers, and electronics stores like Best Buy often will take certain items for reuse and recycling.
As you complete the final steps of the home selling process, it is important to cancel various everyday house services prior to moving day. In fact, some of the essential services that you may need to cancel include:
Notify your electric company about your plans to move. You also can tell the company how much longer you will be staying in your house and provide it with a forwarding address for your final invoice.
Ultimately, you should provide your electric company with at least a few weeks' notice about your plans to relocate. This will ensure that you and the electric company can work together to settle your final bill.
2. Cable and Internet
If you like your current cable and internet services provider, you may be able to transfer your current services to your new location. And if you call your cable and internet services provider and speak with a customer service agent, you can find out exactly how to do that.
Of course, there may be instances where you need to cancel your cable and internet services. If you are moving to a city or town where your current cable and internet services provider is unavailable, for example, you may need to cancel your services.
Contact your local water company and give it the news about your moving plans. This will ensure that you won't be billed for any water services after your moving date.
Don't wait until the last minute to notify your water services provider about your move, either. Remember, the sooner you inform your water services provider about your moving plans, the sooner you can guarantee that any water services in your name will be discontinued once you relocate from your current address.
As the day of your home closing approaches, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. If you collaborate with a real estate agent throughout the property selling journey, you can get the help you need to overcome any potential house selling hurdles.
A real estate agent is a house selling expert, and as such, will serve as a helpful guide throughout the property selling journey. First, a real estate agent will learn about you and your home. He or she next will craft a custom property selling strategy, one that ensures you can quickly sell your residence and maximize its value. Then, a real estate agent will list your residence, promote it to prospective buyers and set up house showings and open house events. And once you receive an accept an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to finalize your home sale.
When it comes to selling a house, it often helps to hire a real estate agent. By employing a real estate agent, you can receive in-depth insights at each stage of the house selling journey. And as a result, you can quickly and effortlessly accomplish your desired home selling results.
44 Parkwood Drive, Pepperell, MA 01463
Thankfully, the human brain is usually a pretty efficient mechanism for keeping our lives organized, healthy, and safe.
However, when we're rushed, overwhelmed, or feeling stressed, important tasks, safety measures, and priorities are sometimes forgotten.
Most of the time, this does not pose an imminent health or safety threat, but there are exceptions. Fortunately, there are often simple solutions available and preventative measures we can take.
Finding high-tech (or low-tech) ways to remember important things can provide you and your family with improved home safety, more peace of mind, and other benefits.
Here are a few strategies for overcoming the pitfalls of occasional forgetfulness.
- Practice present moment awareness. You'll tend to be happier, healthier, and safer when you condition your mind to stay in the present moment as much as possible. Although there is a lot of value in planning for the future and dwelling on happy memories, it's counterproductive to worry about problems that might never happen or regret things from the past that can't be changed. People waste a lot of energy and create self-imposed stress when they spend more than a few seconds worrying or regretting. Staying focused on the present moment also has some health and safety implications worth mentioning. For example, how many times have you left the house (or gone to bed) and wondered if you locked the door, turned off the oven, or unplugged the iron? Getting yourself in the habit of bringing your mind back to the task at hand and being more aware of what you're doing will help you avoid some of these potential dangers, concerns, and distracting thoughts.
- Set an alarm as a reminder. If you set an alarm on your mobile device or computer to remind yourself to get ready for an appointment, send an important email, make a phone call, or check on the progress of dinner in the oven, then you never have to worry about getting distracted and losing track of time.
- Good habits can be a lifesaver. Going through a mental inventory before you leave the house or go to bed can help reduce forgetfulness about locking doors, turning off kitchen appliances, and reactivating the smoke alarm. And speaking of smoke alarms, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that homeowners check the batteries in their smoke detectors once a month and replace them with fresh batteries at least once a year. It also urges people to completely replace their smoke alarms every 10 years. Important safety note: The federal agency strongly discourages people from removing smoke detector batteries to silence the device while cooking. Instead, it recommends opening a window, waving a towel at the alarm to clear the air [a paper plate also works], pressing a "hush" button if the unit has one, or moving the alarm several feet away from the cooking area.