Get Your Finances in Order: To-Do List
1. Develop a household budget. Instead of creating a budget of what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual spending habits over the last several months. This approach will factor in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, as well as predictable costs such as rent, utility bills, and groceries.
2. Reduce your debt. Lenders generally look for a total debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt — car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.
3. Look for ways to save. You probably know how much you spend on rent and utilities, but little expenses add up, too. Try writing down everything you spend for one month. You’ll probably spot some great ways to save, whether it’s cutting out that morning trip to Starbucks or eating dinner at home more often.
4. Increase your income. Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.
5. Save for a down payment. Designate a certain amount of money each month to put away in your savings account. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with only 5 percent down, or even less, you can usually get a better rate if you put down a larger percentage of the total purchase. Aim for a 20 percent down payment.
6. Keep your job. While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.
7. Establish a good credit history. Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills, too. Pay off the entire balance promptly.
Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved
Relive the Super Bowl XLIV
Super Bowl Sunday- It’s Super Bowl Sunday!!! Yes yes I know, I feel the same way, that we are just not as excited as we were last year. If we are not excited about the game, we can at least look forward to the commercials right? The only thing I have ever known on Super Bowl Sunday is having a house party with lots of great food. So this is your thing to do today in New Orleans. Call up a friend, see who is having the party and join them for the big game. If you are really upset about our New Orleans Saints not making it to the Super Bowl this year, pull out your Super Bowl XLIV dvd and replay the Saints victory. That should make for a great day!
Our New Orleans Saints have had a great reign this past year as Super Bowl Champions. It is something we will never forget. It is unfortunate that our reign will come to an end but relive it one more time today! What is your favorite Super Bowl XLIV memory?
Dog Park at Bonnabel Boat Launch
Today was finally warmed up a little bit back in New Orleans. It warmed up just enough for everyone to get out of the house and enjoy the pretty day. Just remember, all of our pups have wanted to get out of the house just as much as you. So make sometime in your busy day of running errands to get Spot out of the house as well. The dog park at the Bonnabel Boat Launch is a great place to go let Spot run around and make some new friends. It is also free! Yes the Bonnabel Dog Park is open while construction is going on in the area. Head all the way down Bonnabel towards Lake Pontchartrain. Once you hit the Boat Launch you can’t miss it. Your pups will thank you!
Sip n Paint!
We all know how miserably cold it is outside here in New Orleans. But that should not stop you from getting out and about tonight. It is Friday after all!! I know a glass or two of wine will keep you nice and warm inside. If you are looking for something to do tonight, head to Sip and Paint on Ridgelake in Metairie. They have an Open Party tonight at 7pm. It is only $35 a person! Bring your own wine or whatever you would like to drink to keep you warm and toasty inside, while you paint your very own masterpiece. Don’t’ worry for all of you who think you are “non-artists”, there is an instructor there guiding you along the way as you paint. Tonight’s picture is a Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Glass. (see to the right). These class are a lot of fun, and you get to take home some memorabilia for your wall!
If you already have plans tonight, check out the website for more upcoming dates. They have a lot of great pictures coming up to paint! Do you have a bunch of people who would like to all attend a same class? You can book your own party! Check out the website for more details.
This is a picture of my friend Stasi and I when we painted the Streetcar!
3350 Ridgelake Drive Suite 105
Metairie, LA 70002
The Ruby Slipper
I recently went to The Ruby Slipper for lunch at it’s new downtown location on Magazine Street. The Ruby Slipper is a great cafe, only open for breakfast and lunch. If you have not been to either if The Ruby Slippers two locations, put it on your to do list in New Orleans. Although when I went to the new location I got the Ruby Club, they have really become know for their breakfast. I had their breakfast at their Mid-City location on South Cortez the first time I went a couple of years ago. I can’t remember what I had, but I remember it being good! They must be doing something right, according to their website, The Ruby Slipper won Best Brunch on WWL TV Food Wars contest this past September. Besides great food, I love their cute logo!
The Ruby Slipper is another locally owned New Orleans gem. Whether you are Downtown New Orleans or in Mid-City looking for a great breakfast, check out The Ruby Slipper. See below for hours of operation because they close after lunch.
The Heart of Mid-City
139 South Cortez Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
Mid-City Hours of Operation
Monday – Closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – 7am – 2pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 3pm
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday – 7am – 3pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 3pm
5 Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes
1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal. Ask, ask and ask as many questions you can think of. No question is a dumb question. This is you first home, there are a lot things you can over look.
2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house. A lot of homes that first time home buyers are looking at, are in a price range that is appealing to a lot people. Make sure you have all your financing ready. Meaning you have gotten pre-qualified, saved for a down payment and have extra for inspections and the appraisal. This way so when you come across the house you can not live without, you are ready to write an offer.
3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process. Buying your first home is a very stressful ordeal. Most likely one of the most stressful things you will ever do. Be sure you are working with an agent who is very patient and willing to answer all of you questions. You want someone to guide you down the right path.
4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller. By having all of your ducks in a row with your financing, this also tells the seller you are serious about buying a house. This can make your offer more appealing. Yes in some areas it is still a buyer’s market, but that does not mean you should low ball a seller. Put yourself in their shoes if you were selling your home a few years down the line.
5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years. Resale is just as important when you are buying your first home. If this is your “starter” home, when problems do you think you may come across when you go to sell? If are getting a good deal now, will you have to give that good deal to someone else when you go to sell?
The list of 5 mistakes came from Real Estate Checklists and Systems. Commentary underneath is strictly my opinion.
Image curiosity of Freedigitalphotos.net
Eat at Squeal Bar-B-Q on Oak Street
It is cold outside once more in New Orleans. It is funny; I do not think I know one New Orleanian that likes the cold. I see on Facebook everyone talking about how cold it is here. At least we are not up North stuck in our houses because of the snow! Even though it is cold, I do appreciate that I can still get out of my house to find something warm to eat. I am venturing over to Oak Street today to talk about Squeal Bar-B-Q. Haven’t even there yet? You must, it’s BBQ greatness. We had Crab and Andoullie stuffed Mushrooms to start. I had the Beef Brisket sandwich with a side of mac and cheese and corn grits. These are all good things to warm you up on these cold days. =) (No, the beans and coleslaw on the plate below were not mine. My friends were just trying to make it seem that way. I could never eat all that!)
Squeal Bar-B-Q is locally owned by three brothers. According to Squeal Bar-B-Q’s website, they opened the doors on Oak Street in November 2008. They must be doing something right for the last 2 years. In an effort to support local New Orleans businesses, spot by Squeal Bar-B-Q on Oak Street for some good ole New Orleans BBQ.
8400 Oak Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
To see Squeal Bar-B-Q’s Menu, check out:
Class at Nola Pilates
As I’ve been enjoying way too much King Cake in the last couple of weeks, it has got me thinking about getting back to a work out regimen. Nola Pilates in Lakeview has some great work classes if you are looking to get into your workout rhythm. What is great about Nola Pilates is that you can check their weekly schedule to see what classes that are open. You can then pick and choose which classes you would like to attend based on your schedule. If you are like me, your schedule changes all the time, so it’s perfect!
Nola Pilates has classes for every level of your workout. Attend an Xtend workout that combines the barre of ballet and Pilates or a Reformer class with spring resistance that brings out the basics in Pilates or even a spin class! Spin classes are one of my favorite workouts.
For more information on classes and fees, check out their website below
6268 Vicksburg Street
New Orleans, LA 70124-3045
Welty’s Deli for Lunch
I haven’t ventured over into the CBD yet for my blog, so it is about time I did. If you are in the CBD of New Orleans with a big appetite, Welty’s Deli is a great place to stop for lunch. Welty’s Deli is located on Camp Street between Poydras and Canal Street. Welty’s Deli gets a pretty big lunch crowd because of all the office buildings nearby so be sure to get there a little early. Like I said earlier, come with an appetite because Welty’s sandwiches are huge. I’ve gotten the CBD Club and I could only eat half! I took the second have home and had a great lunch the next day!
Welty’s Deli is only open until 2pm Monday through Friday, but there is always the catering menu for your weekend parties.
Monday – Friday 7am – 2pm
336 Camp St
New Orleans, LA 70130