Tips For Buying Your First Home!

 

Buying your first home can be a roller coaster of emotions! We found that out first hand a few months back, but it’s also soo rewarding. We were overwhelmed, but we were also equipped with an amazing realtor that was patient, full of answers, and simply beyond amazing! She made the process so much easier than we expected it to be. 

Pre-approval

Before you even begin seriously looking,  get a pre-approval. Pre-approvals let realtors and sellers know that you are a serious buyer.  This will save you a ton of time in the long run, but be prepared to be an open book. Have all of your paperwork organized and easy to find (don’t make the mistake I made and pack any of it up- because you’ll never know what they need at the last minute.) The required paperwork can vary, but in general be prepared to provide proof of employment, proof of income, bank statements,  proof of current living cost, etc. Pre-approvals will let you know where you stand. You’ll know if you’re ready to take the next step and how much you’re approved for or if there’s a few extra things you need to do before you take the plunge.

Finding the right mortgage company  can be overwhelming for a first time home buyer. Don’t fret! Ask around- friends, neighbors, and family members can offer some direction. However, if you still have no luck, a relator may be able to set you up with a mortgage company.

Shop around as well! We tried 3 companies. Company A told us no from the beginning, Company B approved us, and company C approved us as well at a slightly higher amount than company B. I ended up asking company B if they could meet Company C’s offer and they actually exceeded it a little.  While we didn’t really need the higher amount, it did give us a little more room to search for.

 

Search, Search, Search

Finding the right home is a fun task that really brought my husband and I together. We loved comparing our thoughts, likes, and visions together.  We used a variety of sites to locate homes on the market, but Zillow was by far the better choice and most accurate.  We  created a list of homes that were within our budget and preferences. We already had an idea of what we wanted, but  searching also opened up some possibilities as well.

Create a list of 5+ homes that you want to see in person and send them over to your realtor. They will schedule viewings so that you can see the homes. It’s a good idea to continue looking-even after you think you’ve found the one.  Once you start viewings, the real fun begins. I kept things organized by taking notes about each house so that I didn’t forget the little details that I liked or disliked about each one.

As you view the homes, imagine yourself living there, would your belongs fit, are the rooms big enough,  how would you decorate, does the house fit you? These are among the questions that you’ll ask yourself.

The Finish Line

Once you viewed plenty of homes, You’ll eventually find the one you want and put an offer in. Be prepared to negotiate a little.  Your realtor will help you through this process. This is where the stress came in for us, but be patient. Most sellers are willing to negotiate.

Once you’ve put an offer in and the seller accepts it- the real fun begins.  You’ll have a full inspection, which may reveal some items that need to be fixed or replaced. Your realtor will help you decide which fixes are small that you may take the responsibility of and which ones you’ll want the seller to fix. You’ll have a final walkthrough with your realtor once those items are fixed as well.

 

Closing

Closing times can vary. We closed in about 30 days from the time that we made the initial offer. Be prepared to sign, sign, and sign some more. We went into closing and were very happy that the sellers were full of answers about the neighbors, area, and home. They also came prepared and had warranty papers on the work we requested to be fixed. We were beyond grateful because they made it easy for us. Once the papers were signed and the keys were handed over, we were officially home owners.

It’s a process, but it was so worth it. We found the home that was right for us and we had an amazing support team.

 

Find Homes for sale in Atlanta, GA.

My Top 5 Favorite Kitchen Products!

I’ve always felt comfortable in the kitchen. As a child I loved watching my mom cook, but as an adult I love experimenting with new recipes, trying new ingredients, and challenging myself. Regardless of the task before me, these 5 kitchen products tend to come in handy!

1.mixing bowls

I love having a nice quality mixing bowl set. I prefer stainless steel, but I also have a plastic set as well. The stainless steel looks more professional and is easier to clean as well.  I love this 9 piece set.  When I originally purchased this set it only came with the 3 bowls, but they’ve recently improved the set even further and added lids and grater attachments. They stack neatly inside each other to save space the bottoms and the handles are silicone for a good grip.

2.knife set

Having a nice knife set is also a must have! I’ve tried plenty of knives, but this set is by far my favorite. I love the grips, they are lightweight and easy to use, and they are colorful.  Sure, I prefer black or silver knives traditionally, but these bright colors make cooking so much fun! They also have covers to ensure you don’t cut yourself and to protect the knife when not in use.

3.food chopper

A good food processor is a vegan’s best friend! I bought mine before I went vegan, but it wasn’t until I went vegan that I really began putting it to use. I use it nearly every day. Salsa, vegan cheese, shredded veggies, homemade flavored butters, you name it- I’ve done it. I absolutely love my food processor.

4. blender

If you’re in the market for a great blender, the Ninja Master prep is amazing! This is my sidekick for smoothies, chopped veggies,  protein shakes, and adult beverages! I absolutely love how easy it is to use and the  versatility. It’s a must have!

5.silicone utensils

Last, but definitely not least- I adore silicone utensils! They are bright and colorful, lightweight, and easy to use. I love that I don’t have to worry about them scratching my pans. There are tons of sets on the market ranging in colors and price. I have about 5 sets at my house, but they each get plenty of use.

Get 300 bonus SB when you sign up for Swagbucks in June

Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.

 

All throughout June you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before July 1st, 2018. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

3. That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. 

 

New To Swagbucks?

If you haven’t heard of Swagbucks, it’s a site that rewards you for online activities that you’re already doing. You collect points then redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and more! Swagbucks is totally legit. I use it myself on a daily basis to earn money that I save up for Christmas, birthdays and date nights! 

Storm Front By Susan May Warren {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.

Synopsis

A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community and among the missing are not only a group of students but PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved–and lost–walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked–no, ran–from over a year ago. She had her reasons–good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up–not on the missing students, or on her.

Life and love hang in the balance in Susan May Warren’s breathless story of holding on to hope during a deadly summer of storms.

 

My Thoughts!

Susan May Warren became one of my favorites a while back. She has a wonderful writing style and entangles her readers within the story. This book did not disappoint. It offered a steady pace that made it hard to put down. I finished it in record time and was left wanting more. The characters are unique, well developed, and relatable. The story offered twists and turns that were unexpected. I love how invested I became in this read. It was definitely moving. Even though this is the 5th book in the Montana Rescue series, it stood well on it’s own.  I highly recommend this read- really any read from Warren!

Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

Blind Betrayal By Nancy Mehl {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.

Synopsis

Deputy U.S. Marshal Casey Sloane has worked at the St. Louis Marshals office for two years and is given a routine assignment to help transport a reporter to D.C. to testify before a grand jury. Valerie, the reporter, was writing a story about an up-and-coming environmentalist who suddenly disappeared and, she later discovered, whose backers purportedly have ties to a terrorist.

When the seemingly ordinary assignment suddenly takes a shocking turn, Casey is forced to put aside her own feelings about the unexpected reappearance of a man from her past as she and two other Marshals take Valerie on the run. And as it becomes dangerously clear Valerie’s testimony has even bigger implications than they knew, they’ll do whatever it takes to make it out alive.

My Thoughts!

This is book 3 in the Defenders of Justice series. Mehl did an amazing job at  creating a whole new world and taking me deep into it. I got lost in this book just moments after I started reading it. It was easy to follow and understand. I loved the unexpected twists and the well developed characters. It offered romance and suspense, which is always a great combination. I highly recommend this read!

Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

The Solace of Water By Elizabeth Younts {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.

Synopsis

In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.

After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.

My Thoughts!

This was my first read by Elizabeth Younts. She has a unique writing style and brings to life characters and a story we can all relate to. I love how the characters come to life. They are relatable, battle personal issues, and  really  make you see yourself in them. While this story is based in the 50’s, it’s still relatable to present day and I love how Younts brings that to focus.  With touchy topics, racial issues, and diversity- this read is bound to make you stop and think while taking a look around you. I highly recommend it!

Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

 

Unbreakable By Sara Ella {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from those of others as well as the author/publisher. Some of the links on the following page are “affiliate links” and I may be compensated if you click on these links.

Synopsis

Sara Ella masterfully takes readers to new worlds in the jaw-dropping finale to the Unblemished trilogy. With the fate of the Reflections at stake, Eliyana must destroy the Void . . . but at what cost?

Eliyana Ember is a reluctant queen. As vessel of the Verity—the purest of souls—only she can lead the fight against the wicked magnetism of the Void. If she fails, the paths between Reflections will cease to exist, and those she loves will remain plagued by darkness.

After falling through a draining Threshold and suffering near-death, Eliyana awakens to a Shadowalker-ridden Venice, Italy. From there, she must learn to navigate mysteries of time and space. Traveling across the seven Reflections, Eliyana seeks one thing: the demise of the Void.

But something else is at stake—the fate of her heart. Kyaphus Rhyen and Joshua David, brothers in arms, duel to win her hand. Ky remains ensnared and tortured by the Void. Joshua, though well-meaning, harbors dark secrets. Meanwhile, Eliyana finds herself torn, her mind and memories leading her in one direction, but her heart pulling her toward a man she knows she shouldn’t trust.

How can she discern whom to believe when she cannot even depend on her own fragmented memories?

Traversing the realms of fantasy and reality through a labyrinth of plot twists, Unbreakable delivers a thrilling conclusion to Sara Ella’s Unblemished Trilogy.

My Thoughts!

Sara Ella did an amazing job at closing out this 3 book young adult fantasy series. It was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish.  I have become a huge fan of Sara Ella. She creates magic with her words and draws the reader in. She pulls you to the edge of your seat, pulls you in, and doesn’t let go.  I could get lost in her words for hours on in. The story is well written and easy to follow. It’s a roller coaster from start to end with tons of twists and turns that are unexpected. I’m sad to see the series come to an end, but I can’t wait to see what’s next from Ella.

Purchase It!

Hurry on over to Amazon to grab this book! *Remember that Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time with or without notice.  Please double check pricing before purchasing.

 

How to Make Living on a Frugal Budget Less Stressful

Image via Pixabay

 

Living a frugal life according to a budget doesn’t have to be overly stressful, but for many people, it can seem to be something of a personal crisis. This often has more to do with the fact that people on a tight budget will tend to cut out fulfilling and healthy pastimes and behaviours, in order to save the pennies.

But while a professional lawyer can help you with you semi truck accident case, assuming you’ve been embroiled in a car accident, finding good advice on how to live well and keep your spirits up on a budget can be less straightforward.

Here are some tips and suggestions for making a frugal lifestyle less stressful.

 

Dedicate a good portion of your budget to staying well-fed

People sometimes underestimate the incredible degree to which the food they eat affects their overall mood, health, ability to function day-to-day, and even just the sense of fulfilment and joy that we’re all after.

It may seem like a stunningly obvious point to make, but when you’re not properly nourished, every single thing in your life will seem less pleasurable and more stressful, often by an order of magnitude.

If you’re eating at a constant caloric deficit, for example, while excluding carbs from your diet, and missing out on essential vitamins and minerals, your body’s stress hormone production will be ramped up dramatically. This is especially true if you’re also dependent on stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine to make it through the day.

Of course, anything that causes your body to dramatically ramp up its production of stress hormones, at the exact same time that you’re already anxious about your finances, is a recipe for disaster.

Always be sure to dedicate a good proportion of your budget to nutrition. Stay well-fed, no matter what other corners you have to cut.

 

Enjoy the cheap and free forms of entertainment found online

Entertainment is essential for relaxation, happiness, and recovery from things like a long day at work. Entertainment is also a major area in which many of us spend substantial amounts of money on a regular basis.

Luckily, you don’t need to buy a new video game every weekend, or go to the cinema, in order to keep yourself entertained. There are many cheap and free forms of entertainment available online that can be a major help.

Project Gutenberg, for example, is a legal resource where you can download many literary classics for free. Even a Netflix subscription may be a significantly cheaper option to whatever you were doing before.

 

Take the time to enjoy the beauty of nature

Regular exposure to nature is one of the most important and mood-enhancing aspects of the human experience. Some research has even suggested that patients in hospitals who can see a tree from the window of their room, recover faster from various diseases and injuries.

Nature is, therefore, a great stress-buster and — luckily — it’s usually free (or at least very cheap) to enjoy.

Set aside some time to visit national parks and forests, have picnics, and go on hikes.

 

The Pros & Cons Of Walking To Work

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For many of us, our daily commute to our place of work or business can cause no small amount of misery. As well as having to deal with heavy crowds and traffic, conventional commutes also tend to be costly, either in gas or the price of a public transport ticket.

 

There is, however, one option that many of us overlook: walking to work. If you are within a half-hour walk of your workplace, walking should be feasible— but would it be a good idea? Here are the pros and cons you might want to consider…

 

PRO: It’s free

 

Arguably the biggest pro of all, walking to work could save you a small fortune on the cost of your commute. If you have been looking for areas to cut from your family budget, this could be one immediate reduction that makes a huge amount of difference.

 

CON: The danger aspect

 

We all know that driving or taking public transport can be dangerous, but it’s easy to forget that being a pedestrian has its own risks also. There are thousands of pedestrian accidents every year in the USA. Should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself involved in such an incident, you will likely find yourself dealing with an injury and needing to read more at GBW.law about the possibility of compensation. While such a circumstance is rather unlikely, it’s an eventuality you have to consider.

 

PRO: You can mitigate the safety concerns.

 

If you found the mention of safety above rather alarming, then remember there are ways and means of making your walking experience safer. For example, using reflective materials can help ensure that vehicles are more likely to notice you when you’re making your way to work.

 

CON: The weather worries

 

Even if you decide not to walk on days where the weather is bad, it’s inevitable that you will experience some inclement weather when walking your commute. Weather can change rapidly, after all, and you may set out on what looks like a dry, bright day, only to find a storm system rushes in when you’re halfway through your journey.

 

PRO: It’s good for you

 

Walking to work wouldn’t just be a way of getting to your office; it’d be exercise, and fairly effective exercise too. As detailed on MayoClinic.org, walking has myriad benefits that can make a huge difference to your health.

 

CON: The impact on your professional appearance

 

You will likely need to arrive at work earlier than you normally would so that you have time to smarten your appearance. If you’re the kind of worker or business owner who prefers a lie-in, your willingness to do this will have a huge role to play in whether walking to work is a good fit for you!

 

In conclusion

 

The above pros and cons are not designed to argue any particular choice. Instead, they are presented as an unbiased picture of both the ups and the downs you may experience should you choose to walk to work. The decision to walk to work is a private one and depends on a number of personal factors, so ultimately, the choice will always be subjective. Now that you have read through the above, you can be confident that you’ll be able to make a fully-informed and well-rounded choice as to whether walking to work is a viable option for you.

 

Dealing With The Financial Implications Of Accidents And Illness

If you’re fit and healthy, you may assume that this will be the case for many years to come. Sadly, life doesn’t always take the path we expect, and it’s never wise to take your health for granted. If you fall ill suddenly or you’re involved in an accident, which results in life-changing injuries, you may find that you face financial problems, as well as emotional difficulties related to coming to terms with your prognosis. If you’re worried about the financial impact of poor health, this guide will help you cope.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/17124132409

 

Review your financial status

Before you can make plans and start figuring out your next move, it’s a good idea to review your current financial status. Take a look at your balances and accounts and work out how much money you’ve got available. If you have savings accounts, for example, this can provide a nest-egg to cover bills and household payments if you have to take time off work or think about changing job due to your injuries. If you’re used to manual labor, for example, an injury could force you into a change of career. Once you’ve got figures in front of you, you can determine whether you need to move money and work out the best ways to use any contingency funds you have.

 

Invest in insurance

If your health status has changed, you’ll need to revise your insurance policy to make sure that any further treatment you require is covered. Contact your current provider and look at other options online. If you’re looking for policies that cover long-term disability, search for providers with a good track record for making payments and approving claims. If you submit a claim you expect to be approved, and it’s rejected, you may be able to appeal against the decision. You can see more online if you need help or information about delayed or unsuccessful claims. The cost of your insurance policy is likely to increase if you have health issues, and this is why shopping around for the best deal is so important.

 

Learn about your entitlements

If you’ve been forced to look for a new job, you’ve taken sick leave or you’re unable to work full stop due to ill health, it’s essential to be aware of your rights and entitlements. Check your employment contract and get in touch with the relevant authorities to see if you could access benefits that would help towards the cost of living without a steady income. You can find information online or set up an informal meeting with an advisor. It’s important to understand what kind of help is available to you and to take advantage of schemes that are designed to benefit those struggling with illness.

 

Illness doesn’t just affect your physical health and mental wellbeing. It can also have a dramatic impact on your financial situation. Many people who have health conditions or serious injuries worry about how they’re going to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads. If you’re anxious about your financial situation, follow these steps, and hopefully, you’ll gain clarity, comfort, and confidence.