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How To Create A Household Budget!

How To Create A Household Budget!

Step 1: Write down your total take-home monthly income.
This is the easy part! Jot down what you earn. Because many expenses are billed monthly, figuring out how much you have to spend each month is easiest for your plan.

Step 2: Write down your essential expenses. Start with fixed bills like rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card debt and insurance, then factor in other monthly costs that are always the same. These are your essential fixed expenses.

Step 3: List your essential variable expenses.
You know you’ll have these bills, but the amounts vary. Examples are your phones, utilities, food, household expenses, gasoline, medication, public transportation, shoes and clothing. You can assign an estimated amount to each based on past experience, rounding to the closest $10.

Step 4: List reasonable amounts for nonessential expenses.
This includes entertainment, eating out, hobbies and other ways you spend money on a regular basis.

Step 5: Find the extras.
Go to your current method of tracking your spending (your checkbook register, credit card statements, Quicken reports) to see what expenses you’ve left out. You’ll likely see items for car maintenance and repair, gifts, vacations, Christmas and holidays. For items that do not recur monthly, determine the annual cost, then divide by 12 to see how much you should set aside each month to anticipate that irregular expense.

Step 6: Figure out your totals.
Add up your expenses, then subtract that amount from your income. With luck you’ll come out in the black, with at least a little money left over. But if your expenses exceed your income, you’ll see a negative sum. Don’t panic—this is just the start of an ongoing process.

Step 7: See where you can cut .
If you came up short, go back to your projected monthly expenses and see what you can get rid of. Look first to your nonessential expenses. Which items can you remove altogether for a while (eating out seems like a fine target; perhaps hobby expenses too, for a season)? Keep going through the list, making adjustments until your total expenses are less than your income.

Step 8: Follow your spending plan as closely as possible.
Track your spending every day by posting it on a sheet of paper. Take notes and research ways you’ll be able to do even better next month. At month’s end, add up your actual spending and compare it with what you planned. Use this information to create the next month’s spending plan.

Congratulations—you’ve just elevated yourself from being clueless to financially savvy. You should feel very good about this! As difficult as it might be to see in black and white that your income and expenses are not quite in sync, just knowing where you are is going to make all the difference.

Even if you find yourself in a particularly tight financial position right now, take heart. As you pay off debts and find more ways to cut expenses, you’ll begin to sense a significant loosening of financial pressure. Soon you’ll be ready to add new categories to your spending plan for things like saving for a new car, home improvements or going back to college.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on your way to reaching financial freedom.

Source: Woman’s Day Magazineimages

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Great Starter or Investment Home For Sale in Fort Worth, Texas!


Great Starter Or Investment Property For Sale in Fort Worth, Texas!


Overview
Maps
Photos
Description
Neighborhood

$189,900
Single Family Home
Main Features
3 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
1 Unit
Interior: 2,055 sqft
Lot: 5,489 sqft
Location
4608 Golden Yarrow Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76244
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

Listed by: Jim Striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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Just Listed Southlake, Texas Home For Sale!


Fabulous home on large lot in Lonesome Dove Estates in Southlake, Texas!


Overview
Maps
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Description
Neighborhood
Market Stats

$529,000
Single Family Home
Main Features
4 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
1 Unit
Interior: 3,727 sqft
Lot: 0.36 acre(s)
Location
1316 Hat Creek Trail
Southlake, TX 76092
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

Listed by: Jim striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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Double Oak, Texas Home For Sale with its own Pond!


Gorgeous home on 2 acre lot with private pond and gazebo in Double Oak, Texas!


Overview
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Description
Neighborhood

$689,000
Single Family Home
Main Features
5 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
1 Unit
Interior: 4,488 sqft
Lot: 1.99 acre(s)
Location
309 Highland Court
Double Oak, TX 75077
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

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Immaculate Flower Mound, Texas Home For Sale! Take A Look…


Immaculate Flower Mound Home For Sale!


Overview
Maps
Photos
Description
Neighborhood
Market Stats

$439,900
Single Family Home
Main Features
4 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
1 Unit
Interior: 4,160 sqft
Lot: 0.34 acre(s)
Location
2012 Town View Blvd
Flower Mound, TX 75028
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

Listed by: Jim Striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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#flowermoundhomesforsale #flowermound #jimstriegel #flowermoundrealestate

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Homeowner Tax Breaks On The House

Tax Time

Homeowner Tax Breaks On The House

Tax season can make most of us cringe. But, if you’re a homeowner, make certain you meet with experts to see how you may benefit at tax time by owning a home.

Minimizing your tax liability is always the goal. Start first by getting all your paperwork together. Hopefully you’ve kept good, clean records of everything pertaining to your home. Remodeling projects can often be deducted, so go through your files and search for the paid invoices. However, repairs to restore items to their original state usually aren’t tax deductible.

If you haven’t kept good records, now is the time to start. It’ll pay off in 2015 when it comes time to do your taxes. Here are a few tips to get you ready for tax season this year and beyond.

The largest savings is the mortgage interest deduction. Homeowners love this one because, especially in the early years of a loan, it can save tons of money. The deduction can be claimed on both primary and secondary homes. Two requirements: your home is less than a million dollars and you itemize your tax return.

Find your property tax statement for the end of the year. Your property taxes paid are deductible for as long as you own the home. This is another tax savings that you’ll be able to record on your Federal form. Property taxes are taken as an itemized expense.

Improving your home can also be a tax write-off. Maybe you added a room addition, installed a new roof, or made general improvements to increase the value of your home, all of these things can help to reduce your tax liability and they can also increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell.

If you’ve installed energy-efficiency appliances or upgrades, you can offset your tax bill to the IRS, dollar-for-dollar for up to 10 percent of the amount that you spent on specific home energy-efficiency upgrades. That means items such as energy-efficient water heaters or insulation can help you at tax time. However, the cap on this deduction is a mere $500 (there are cases when it’s less. Check with your tax accountant for details).

With so many people working from home, the home (business) office is not only convenient but also a tax write-off. A new 2013 tax deduction allows homeowners who have an office in their house to claim $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet (a simpler formula than previous tax years). So a room that’s 8×10 can save you $400.

Keep in mind that tax deductions are always on the government’s chopping block and some, like the energy tax credit, are gone after the 2013 tax year and not expected to return for future tax years.

There are many fees and expenses associated with owning a home. Don’t try to guess which things will help lower your tax bill. Instead, compile all of your home’s documents and receipts from the previous year and bring them into your tax accountant for advice. Often there are areas where you can save a little more, but you won’t know until you try.

Note:

Recently, the IRS announced that it has significantly updated “Your Federal Income Tax” forms. According to the IRS, Publication 17 includes important changes to help taxpayers “get the most out of various tax benefits and get a jump on preparing their 2013 federal income tax returns.” This 292-page guide contains thousands of interactive links to help taxpayers quickly get answers to their questions.
Other publications which may assist you include: No. 1, “Your Rights as a Taxpayer;” No. 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses;” No. 504, “Divorced or Separated Individuals;” No. 523, “Selling Your Home;” and No. 530, “Tax Information for First Time Homebuyers.”

A complete list can be found at http://www.irs.gov, click on Forms and Publications.

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Bring On Spring

Your home has weathered a vicious winter this year with winter lasting so long and being so harsh. As the cold retreats and the snow melts, your home deserves some well-earned TLC.

Even though you still might want to hibernate, there’s no better time to prepare your home to Bring On Spring! If you plan and prepare now, you can avoid costly repairs later.

Roof: Inspect the roof for thehe harsh winter weather has been beating on your roof all season. Make sure you inspect your roof for weather-damaged shingles.

Clean the Gutters: Clogged gutters can lead to water damage.

Clean/Replace HVAC Filters: Clean filters keep your system running efficiently and energy costs in check.

Clean Refrigerator Coils: Dirty fridge coils can also increase the electric bill.

Clean and Repair Driveways, Fences, Decks, and Patios: Remove salt, sand, and deicers. Repair cracks, holes, and gaps.

Check Window and Door Seals: Extreme cold can cause weather sealants to crack leaving these areas vulnerable to water damage.

Plan to Paint: Inspect indoor and outdoor areas for paint repair. Choose eco-friendly paints. Try a new color in a room or two for a fresh new look.

Check AC System: Hire a qualified heating and cooling professional to clean and service your AC system.

Replace Batteries in Smoke Detectors: Don’t neglect this lifesaving tip!

Clean and Repair Windows: Now is the time to hire a professional to get the inside and outside of your windows clean and check for any damaged seals.

Chimney Care: Check the exterior of the chimney for damage. Hire a certified chimney sweep to clean and inspect the flue.

Check Lawn Equipment: Make sure lawn mowers are ready for the first spring cut.

My favorite part of spring is the birds chirping and flowers blooming. How about you…What’s your favorite part of spring?

Are you ready for spring?

Are you ready for spring?

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Flower Mound Home For Sale…Walk to High School


Wonderful 1-Story Home For Sale In Waterford Park in Flower Mound


Overview
Maps
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Description
Neighborhood
Market Stats

$309,900
Single Family Home
Main Features
4 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Unit
Interior: 2,594 sqft
Lot: 0.34 acre(s)
Location
6000 Crestside Drive
Flower Mound, TX 75028
USA

Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634
JStriegel@Realtor.com
http://www.JimStriegel.com

   

Listed by: Jim Striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

Our recent listings

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Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas employers plan to increase their hiring in early 2014

Dallas Adds More Jobs in 2014

 

Employers in Dallas-Fort Worth and across Texas expect to hire at a healthy pace in the first quarter of 2014 and faster than the national average, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

The Texas employment outlook is the second best in the nation, after North Dakota.

Twenty-one percent of Texas companies surveyed plan to hire in early 2014, employees. Seventy-one percent expect no changes, 5 percent plan to cut jobs and 3 percent aren’t sure of their plans. That yields a 16 percent net employment outlook, compared with 15 percent at this time last year.

The outlook is even stronger for Dallas-Fort Worth, where 26 percent of companies plan to hire, according to the Manpower survey. In addition, 64 percent plan no changes, 7 percent plan to cut jobs and 3 percent are undecided. The area’s first-quarter net employment outlook is 19 percent, up from 12 percent a year earlier.

Employers’ hiring expectations for the first quarter of 2014 are “significantly more optimistic” than the 8 percent outlook for the current quarter, said Ron Griffin, Manpower’s regional vice president for Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. The best job prospects in Dallas-Fort Worth for the first quarter appear to be in the construction, manufacturing, transportation and health care industries, he said.

Of the more than 18,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 17 percent told Manpower they plan to add employees. Seventy-three percent plan no changes, 7 percent expect to cut jobs and 3 percent are undecided. The nation’s net employment outlook is 13 percent. Only one state — Montana — has a negative outlook.

A separate survey by the National Association for Business Economics calls for the pace of the nation’s economic growth to accelerate in the current quarter through next year.

NABE’s Outlook Survey represents the consensus of 51 forecasters.

“While the federal government shutdown is likely to weigh on growth in the [current] quarter, the economy posted a surprisingly strong third-quarter performance,” said survey chairman Timothy Gill, deputy chief economist at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. U.S. third-quarter real gross domestic product grew faster than expected to an upwardly revised 3.6 percent annualized rate.

The NABE panelists expect 2.1 percent economic growth this year and 2.8 percent in 2014.

“The U.S. economy is likely to experience some headwinds in 2014,” Gill said. “Most panelists believe that the Federal Reserve will begin to rein in its policy of quantitative easing in the first half of 2014 and that additional sequestration cuts will negatively affect economic growth.”

However, NABE’s forecasters expect U.S. employment and hourly wages to grow faster in 2014. Hourly wages are forecast to increase 2.4 percent, up from an estimated 1.8 percent this year.

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Preparing to Sell Your Home: 6 Tips To Help Your Home Look its Best With These 6 Tips!

Real Estate Connection ~ Jim Striegel Team

Real Estate Connection ~ Jim Striegel Team

Selling your home can be a stressful process and preparing your house for sale can be just as stressful. Critical buyers, less than optimal photographs and competing homes can sink a sale before the offer is even brought to the table. If you want to make your home stand out from the crowd, try these six tips to help your home look its best when you’re preparing it for sale.

1. Put away the clutter

Your Aunt Agnes’s collection of Hummel figurines may be precious family heirlooms, but they also can turn off potential buyers. Prospective buyers need to be able to picture their furniture and mementos in the home. Consider putting your personal belongings, things like family photos, heirlooms and potentially controversial books, into storage. While having furnishings help your home feel comfortable, an overly personalized home can be difficult to sell since prospective buyers will not be able to envision themselves there, according to Extra Space Storage.

2. Put extra furniture in storage

Your comfortable reclining sectional may be great for watching football, but it won’t help you sell your home. Large pieces of furniture make rooms seem much smaller than they are. Remove large dressers, sofas and other oversized items. Replacing a sofa with a loveseat can make your living room look larger.

3. Remove evidence of pets

You may love Fido and Fluffy, but your buyers may not. Before open houses and showings, pack away the pet beds and bowls. Use a baking-soda-based carpet freshener to remove pet smells, but avoid going overboard. Bombarding the buyer with a myriad of scents can signal that you have something to hide.

4. Repaint bright walls and remove wallpaper

If you love lime green, then it may be time to break out the paint brush. Colors that fit your taste may not suit your buyer. Patterned wallpaper and brightly painted walls can drive away buyers who are looking for a move-in ready house.

5. Add incentives

You may not have the time or money to correct your home’s design flaws, so be prepared to offer incentives. If your living room has bright red carpet, then you may want to offer a carpet allowance, so that a potential buyer can replace it with something neutral. This is something you might want to talk to your real estate agent about as they can provide you with some of their insights and suggestions on what might be helpful.

6. Fix landscaping flaws

If you are a little lax with landscaping, now is the time to fix up your yard. Trim bushes, lay down fresh mulch, and plant new flowers. Hanging baskets add a pop of color to your front porch and add curb appeal. Remove weeds and cut back nuisance plants. If you are listing your home in the winter, add plants that thrive in winter, such as holly, burning bush or juniper.

Selling your home isn’t easy.  But, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves, these six tips for preparing your house for sale can really help make your home more appealing to prospective buyers.

Article and insights provided by Kandace Heller.

 

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