The dawn of a new year is an opportunity for new beginnings, new adventures and new goals. If one of your goals for 2024 is to find and move into the home of your dreams, committing to financial wellness is an important first step to take. January is Financial Wellness Month in the United States, making it a great time to take inventory of your spending and saving habits. With that in mind, here are five financial wellness tips to help you get started on this important endeavor:
Craft a Maintainable Budget
Keeping your spending in check will be important for you as you prepare to find and finance your dream home. Putting a budget down in writing can help you decide how much you can realistically afford to pay for a mortgage each month, identify expenses you can reduce or eliminate, and set firm savings goals, so you’re able to bring a good down payment to the table when you’re shopping for loans. Keeping an eye on your spending can also help you stay on top of your monthly bill payments, which is essential for maintaining and improving your credit score.
Streamline Your Subscriptions
Most consumers are unaware of exactly what they’re subscribed to and, according to a report by C+R Research, tend to underestimate the cost for these services by an average of $133. According to that same report, 40% of consumers surveyed admitted to forgetting about recurring monthly charges while over 70% acknowledge the ease with which they can be overlooked. Subscription management apps such as PocketGuard or Trubill can be a good way to determine if you’re able to streamline the number of online services you’re paying for, or you can simply do a comprehensive review of your various statements to identify recurring charges and determine their value to you.
Reduce or Consolidate your Debt
Depending on the size and scope of your debt, this can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Debt consolidation is an increasingly popular way to more effectively manage your outstanding loans or balances. Be mindful of the companies you might think about using to relieve your debt however, as there are predatory lenders who might end up costing more than you bargained for.
Ask for Down Payment Contributions for Gifts
When your birthday rolls around this year, or if you have another milestone (wedding, baby shower, etc.) coming up, asking for a down payment contribution can be a good way to build up the total you’ll need to provide to your lender. Learn more about how family members can help out with the financing of your dream home in this article.
Be Cognizant of your Credit Rating
When you begin the mortgage shopping process, your credit score will be one of the important factors that lenders look at when determining what types of loans you are eligible for and how much they’ll allow you to borrow. A strong credit rating can also help you receive a more favorable interest rate. Consistently checking your rating on a regular basis can also help you catch any irregularities, errors or other issues before they become a problem when you’re looking to finance your dream home. Keep an eye on it all the way to the closing table—if something changes before you’ve signed the final paperwork, it could affect your loan approval. Check out this guide for addition credit score management tips.
We hope that these financial wellness tips can help you make 2024 the year you make the home of your dreams a reality!