Sep 30

What is a family budget?

A family budget is a set of instructions or laid-out-in-advance procedures which act as a guide to paying your bills, buying things members of the family need, putting aside some money as savings, and so on and so forth. Nobody in your household should spend any money, outside of an absolute emergency, whenever doing so would cause the household to go over the family budget.

The family budget tells you your financial spending and consumption limits for a given period of time, usually for one month that based upon the following:

  • Your household’s total income,
  • your debt load (including taxes),
  • your regularly occurring expenses such as your electricity or phone bill the lifestyle you want to maintain or realize

All family budgets are intended to help you realize your goals and take care of all immediate needs, such as food, for yourself and your family while at the same time getting your household to make more money than it spends.

What makes a family budget successful?

The cornerstone of a successful family budget, or any budget, is by making sure that more money is brought in than goes out. You cannot realize your financial goals and lifestyle dreams if you and your family members are spending money that you don’t have. If you are living in debt, you must assure that your household income is greater than your consumption expenses every week, month, or yearly quarter. The most important goal of creating the family budget is to get yourself out of debt, and to do so as fast as possible.

How does creating and then maintaining an effective family budget work?

It all begins with preparation and thinking ahead. The word economics literally means “household management” in its Greek root. Apart from making sure all the people in the house gets along decently, the financial part of household management is the most important part.

You should draw up a plan of expenditures and you must follow it. If you do it right, you should be able to maintain your current lifestyle, and have enough money for recreation and leisure (which are important to mental and emotional health). But, maintaining this budget could mean changing certain spending habits. If that’s the case, you and all your family members who are working will need to comply with the family budget.

At least for most of us, money is limited. This means you need to prioritize how you spend your money. When most of your immediate needs are taken care of, your family budget will guide you to pay down your most pressing or outstanding debts first. For the vast majority of people, this will be their mortgage or credit card debt.

Pay Yourself First

Creating a family budget, however, also works on the principle of “paying yourself first”. This means that you put aside as much money as your budget permits toward savings and investments. Your “investments” might be a money market account, CD at your bank, or it might be some stock investments made with the guidance of a financial professional. But at any rate, you must make sure that you take some of your income off the top before you get down to the business of paying the supermarket for your food and then paying the bank for your mortgage.

A Household Budgeting Tool that Works

United First Financial has a proprietary software program called the Money Merge Account This unique software is designed to help you calculate with pinpoint accuracy how to balance your household finances to achieve the maximum debt pay down per period while still meeting all of your household’s financial dreams and goals. The Money Merge Account is an incredible tool that anyone serious about household budgeting should look into.

Stephen Gill is a financial analyst that specializes in debt reduction. Did you know that 3 out of EVERY 4 people who enter a debt relief program fail? Setting a family budget may seem like a no-brainer but most people fail because their static budget is not enough for emergencies and unforeseen expenses. By taking control of your finances and setting budgets for debt reduction you utilize critical ingredients for getting out of debt in the shortest time possible.

Author: Stephen Gill
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Sep 30

Bad debt consolidation is a program that those with bad credit and unpaid multiple debts can seek. All debts are consolidated into a single one at lowered interest rate.
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Originally posted 2008-08-26 10:30:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Sep 29
Real Estate Advisor asked:

When you start the process of buying a home or any type of real estate, you’ll no doubt hear the term “earnest money deposit” (EMD). So what exactly is an EMD?

An EMD becomes relevant when you are ready to make an offer on a property. In most states, your Real Estate Agent prepares the offer on your behalf. The offer usually takes the form of a written contract that is submitted to the seller by way of their agent.

In addition to the offer document, sellers typically expect an EMD. An EMD is a monetary deposit submitted via check to demonstrate to the seller that you are a serious buyer. In some regions of the country, only a photocopy of the check is submitted with the offer, and the original check is delivered to the appropriate entity if the offer is accepted. Ask your Real Estate Agent to clarify how deposits are handled in your region of the country.

The check is usually made out to an independent third- party such as a Title Company, Escrow Company, Real Estate Attorney or your Real Estate Broker. Ask your Real Estate Agent to clarify who will hold the EMD.

The amount of the EMD sellers expect varies by region. The EMD amount is based on the customs and practices for a region, but is generally from 1% to 2% of the purchase price. In a competitive market place where demand exceeds the supply of homes, some buyers may offer a higher EMD than expected to impress the seller of their intent. In determining the amount of your EMD, consult your Real Estate Agent and balance the need to demonstrate your serious intent, against the good business practice of minimizing the deposit amount.

The amount of the EMD is usually applied to reduce the purchase price of the property or to cover closing costs, as you dictate. For example, if you are purchasing a $300,000 property and you give an EMD of $3000, then the remaining balance owned at closing is $297,000 (plus closing costs). Alternatively, you may direct that the EMD be applied toward the closing costs.

Once a valid contract for purchase is created, an independent third-party usually holds the EMD until the purchase is either completed or cancelled. At this point, the money belongs jointly to both the seller and the buyer.

In cases where you make an offer that is accepted but later decide to cancel the offer, the terms specified in the contract (or state law) will dictate if, and under what circumstances, the EMD is returned to you. Be aware that you could loose your deposit if you do not not comply with the terms of your contract. Your Real Estate Agent can provide you information about how EMDs are dealt with if a contract is cancelled.

Since state law varies by region and practices can differ even within the same state, be sure to consult your Real Estate agent about the rules that apply to EMDs in your region of the country. You should also be aware that the EMD is not related to any down payment that you make toward your home loan.