Making a Budget- Your Path to Financial Success
Did you know that only 2 out of every 10 Americans make a budget for each month? That means most people don’t know how much they’re spending, or what they’re spending on.
Budgeting monthly is the smart thing to do, allowing you to allocate more money into savings and your future needs. Using the Consumer.gov monthly budget spreadsheet, you can set yourself and your family up for financial success.
A Smart Way to Protect Yourself- Renter’s Insurance
In an unpredictable world, it’s important to protect your hard earned possessions and assets. Renter’s Insurance is a low cost way to provide coverage for personal belongings, personal liability, medical payments, and additional living expenses.
EVERCREST D&M is partnered with the low-cost insurance provider ePremium Insurance™. Every resident is automatically approved and there is no credit check fee or cumbersome enrollment process. Find out more and sign up at www.epremiuminsurance.com!
Water Conservation Initiative™
In 2015, EVERCREST Development & Management implemented the Water Conservation Initiative™ in response to the California drought crisis and the increasing challenges of climate change. Residents can do their part by making small changes in their daily routine to help conserve our precious resources. Here are some tips:
- Report water runoff & leaks immediately.
- Water in the evenings so no water is lost to evaporation.
- Avoid washing down pavements.
- Install shutoff nozzles on garden hoses.
- Limit shower times.
- Avoid letting water run when washing dishes by hand.
- Use your dishwater, they typically require less water.
- When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
How to Conserve Energy and Save Money Doing It
- Wash clothes in cold water, savings average $63/year.
- Install a programmable thermostat and save up to 10% on cooling and heating costs.
- Use your window shades and close your blinds to keep out the hot sun.
- Turn off all lights, appliances and unplug all electronics not in use.
- Use CFL and LED lightbulbs. They last much longer and reduce energy use from about a third to as much as 80%.
- Buy appliances with the Energy Star label, the government’s symbol for energy efficiency.
- Clean and change A/C filters regularly. Dirty A/C filter make the A/C unit work harder to keep you cool.
- Reduce water heater temperature to 130°F and purchase a specially-designed blanket to retain heat.
- Seal air leaks and properly insulate windows to save up to 20% on heating and cooling bills.
10 Smart Money Saving Tips
- Track your spending. Figure out where your money is going each month. This way, you can decide where to cut back and where to allocate funds.
- Cancel recurring expenses. Recurring expenses can take the form of subscriptions to services such as cable TV, gym memberships, mobile phone contracts, and magazine contracts, etc.. Canceling recurring expenses drastically reduces monthly expenses that can be diverted towards paying down debt.
- Pay down your loans and credit cards. Interest payments on loans and unsecured debts account for a large percentage of monthly expenses. As much as possible, allocate a portion of your income to paying down these debts.
- Pay yourself. Divert money to your savings or retirement account each month to plan for the future.
- Start an emergency fund. Things happen, and having an emergency fund is a hedge against any big changes in the future. Typically, you’ll want to keep two to three month’s worth of your salary liquid in your savings account.
- Eat at home. Eating out may be fun but drains your pockets. Eating at a restaurant can be double or triple the price of eating a home cooked meal.
- Maintain your car. Simple preventive maintenance such as frequent oil changes and inflating tires prevents future expensive fixes to your car.
- Negotiate with your credit card company. Call your credit card company to see if you can lower the interest rate on your credit card. Doing so will save you hundreds of dollars in interest over time.
- Negotiate with your cell phone company. A simple phone call to your cell phone company can often pay off if they are running a promotion. If not, shop around and see if there are other alternative cell phone companies that have cheaper plans for the same service.
- Maintain your health. Eat well, drink water, get plenty of sleep, and exercise frequently. Failing to maintain your health will devastate your finances. Medical expenses are exorbitant and account for a large percentage of personal bankruptcies.
How to Burglar-proof Your Home While Traveling
- Avoid discussing travel plans online. In the new age of social media, anyone can overhear that your home is going to stand empty while you’re away.
- Install deadbolt locks. Deadbolts on doors make your home more difficult to break into and burglars don’t like difficult.
- Install a home security alarm. Alarms can serve as a deterrent and many companies offer 24-hour monitoring in case of an emergency.
- Keep a small light on so burglars think someone is at home.
- Avoid a pile up of mail or newspapers at your front door. Kindly ask a neighbor to gather mail for you so burglars aren’t tipped off that you’re away.
- Ask your neighbor to keep an eye out for you and give them your number. Trusty neighbors take care of each other and serve as an emergency contact while you’re away.
How to Declutter Your Home
- Make a list of places and areas you’d like to declutter first. Instead of tackling the daunting task of decluttering the whole house, consider decluttering one room at a time.
- Fill up one trash bag a week. Filling up one trash bag a week creates a manageable task and allows you to set realistic goals. Donate the items to your local Goodwill, you might even get a tax write-off!
- Give or throw away one item a day, that’s 365 items in a year.
- Donate unwanted books or reading materials to your local library.
- Recycle. There are recycling centers in every city.
- Organize first, buy second. Use the resources you already have before you buy new items.
- Declutter junk first. Decluttering can be a very emotional experience because you may have a personal attachment to certain items. Declutter junk first, then work through the items you have a personal attachment to.
- Don’t wait. The best time to declutter is today!
Simple Tips on Building Better Credit
- Obtain a copy of your credit report. To fix your credit, you have to know what delinquent accounts you have and how much you owe.
- Pay your bills on time, in full, every month. Delinquent payments and collections have major negative impacts on your score.
- Eliminate credit card balances. Your score takes into consideration your credit card balances. Try consolidating your credit cards or get rid of them altogether until you have your finances in order.
- Reduce your debt. Budget and come up with a personal payment plan.
- Get current with missed payments. Everyone makes mistakes, but make sure to repay delinquent accounts. A “collection” indicator on your credit report is a huge black mark.