Usually during the summer we like to enjoy the warm weather but it is important to be mindful of how much water we are using.
Check out our helpful water saving tips we can all use around the house:
Check for any leaks – Small leaks from a faucet can waste more water (and money) than you think! Also a leaky toilet can waste a lot of water without you knowing. Most parts are inexpensive to fix and easy to install.
Use your water meter – You can check for leaks by reading the meter before and after a two hour period when no water is being used. If it doesn’t read exactly the same there is a leak.
Install water saving appliances – Low flow shower heads and low flow faucet aerators are easy to install and will save you a lot of money. Limit your long hot shower (which uses five to ten gallons ever minute!) and use a low flow showerhead as well.
Turn off water while brushing your teeth – Most of us run the water while we brush are teeth but there is no need. Wet your toothbrush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
Wait to use your clothes washer and dishwasher until you have a full load – This will help with optimum water conservation. Most dishwashers don’t need to be pre-rinsed, which saves on water usage.
Don’t let your kitchen sink run – Fill one side of the basin with soapy water and the other with rinse water. This will avoid running the water while rinsing your dishes.
Store drinking water in the fridge – Don’t run the tap water letting it cool off. Store your drinking water in the fridge so it is nice and cool and ready to drink. You can also get a water filter for your sink or most refrigerators have a water dispenser in them with ice cold water.
If you are buying a home, it is important to know the details of your loan.
Whether you go with a conventional loan, FHA loan or a VA loan, there are different features that many loans offer.
The following are some features of a home loan:
Fixed Rate – A mortgage with a fixed rate means your interest and mortgage payments remain the same, or “fixed”, through the entire loan. Typically the loans are for 15 to 30 years. A 15 year loan will obviously have higher monthly payments but you will end up saving more than half of the interest costs than a 30 year fixed loan and pay it off in half the time.
Adjustable Rate – This type of mortgage is also known as an ARM. The interest rate on an ARM fluctuates during the entire life of the loan. Your interest rate will be modified based on a predetermined economic index established at the beginning of the loan. Most of the time a max is set on the interest rate to avoid enormous increases. An ARM is usually safe only if your budget can afford to handle fluctuating payments.
Payment Option Adjustable Rate – This type of loan accommodates a households fluctuating cash flow which include minimum payment options, interest only payment options and others. You will want to thoroughly understand these types of loans because you need to make sure you are prepared for a sudden increase in payment.
Balloon Rate – A balloon mortgage has a fixed rate but for a shorter term than 15 or 30 years. At the end of the balloon rate (the fixed rate), the borrower must pay the remaining lump sum or refinance. If the buyer is purchasing unimproved property that they plan to build on in less than ten years, a balloon mortgage may be a good option.
Talk to a lending professional to find out what the best type of loan for you is. We highly recommend knowing exactly what you are getting into when you apply for a home loan.
College is a fun time for any student but students should be aware of some money saving and spending tips. Check out The Law Offices Of Page, Lobo, Costales & Preston’s college money tips:
Setup your online banking and automate your finances. If you have bills, set them up to automatically be paid through your online banking. It isn’t a bad idea to also automatically have a little go into a savings account each month as well.
Open a credit card BUT only one with a small limit. We know this can be dangerous but you need to only do this if you are going to pay off the balance each month and set the limit as low as possible. Credit cards are a great way to build your credit rating.
Apply for scholarships – it’s free money so why not! If you are already in college, don’t worry you can still apply for a scholarship. You may be surprised at how much you can get.
Work while you are in college or start a side business. There are most likely plenty of job openings on campus or you can start your own business like a landscaping service or tutoring business.
Limit your entertainment money. Of course you will go out in college but pick your nights wisely so they stay within your budget. Or stay in and enjoy a homemade meal and drinks with your buddies.
Use local transportation to get around instead of a car. Most college towns offer great public transportation. Not having a car will cut down on gas bills, parking fees and regular upkeep costs.
Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is one of the best moves you can make if you are filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process, have done plenty of research on the topic, and have dealt with the court system for years.
When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to keep the following in mind:
Make sure you hire an expert – It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. You should find out what percentage of a lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy and how many cases he has filed. It is best to avoid a “jack of all trades” type of lawyer.
You’ll get what you pay for – Of course you are already tight on money if you are filing for bankruptcy however it is important to keep the saying in mind: “You get what you pay for”. Don’t go with the least expensive lawyer because you may end up having to pay more money in the long run.
Make sure you will get detailed attention – Many law firms will run their clients through a bankruptcy mill resulting in lousy legal work, unhappy clients and wary judges and trustees. In order to spot a mill, check with your local bar association for recommendations on attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Most mills will not be on top of the networking which is a normal characteristic of a local bar association.
Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer – Picking a lawyer you are comfortable with is most important. If you don’t have a good feel about the attorney, find another one. Filing bankruptcy is an emotional roller coaster and you want to feel right about what your lawyer is doing for you.
If you are buried in debt, you may be considering debt collection.
A debt collector does have some advantages but you should also be aware of the disadvantages too. Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share some of the good and bad when it comes to debt collection:
The benefits of using a debt collection agency:
Debt collectors have more experience – They are more assertive and consistent when it comes to getting the bills paid.
A debt collector will free up your time and energy – Instead of beign the one to make the phone calls and send out letters to collect debts, give that job to a debt collector. Plus, your number won’t show up on the debtor’s caller ID if they are trying to avoid you.
Debt collectors have advanced tools – They can communicate with debtors using new telephone technologies and third party resources that grant access to debtor information. They are also in constant communication with debtors through written and verbal methods.
The negatives of using a debt collection agency:
Debt collectors charge a heavy fee – This service obviously comes with a price. Debt collectors usually charge a percentage of what they collect for you (anywhere from 25 to 50 percent depending on the debt).
Using a debt collector can affect your client relations – Remember a debt collector is acting as your voice for your business. If they lack communication skills it may create misfortune between you and your customer. However, once an account is turned over to a debt collector they are unlikely to return to you for future business. Also, is it worth dealing with that customer who doesn’t always pay?
Your debt collector may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – This law dictates how agencies can collect from consumers. There is however laws and regulations that a debt collector must follow. Ask for a “hold harmless agreement” in your contract with the debt collection agency.
Planning to build a home or remodel your existing home?
The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston come across many construction cases where the contractor either does not have a license or the license he or she carries is out of date.
It is important to know how to hire a contractorwhen starting a construction project at your home. Here are some tips to choosing a contractor:
Make sure he or she is currently state licensed in your area. Has the construction company paid its employees legally and carry workers’ compensation, property damage and liability insurance? You should also find out how long he or she has been in business along with a list of references you can contact.
Does the contractor have a work crew or do they subcontract the work? Protect yourself from a mechanics lien by asking the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers for lien releases or waivers upon each payment.
Ask if the contractor can supply you with a fixed start and completion date included in a formal written agreement. If you aren’t normally onsite during the project it is a good idea to check in regularly to make sure everything is coming along.
Ask for an itemized price estimate from each potential contractor when getting bids. Examine each carefully paying attention to those that seem too high or too low. Lower bids may mean you will get a hasty job that won’t leave you with a quality finished product. Remember, in most cases you get what you pay for.
Ask the contractor for a schedule of the work from start to finish. If you want regular progress reports, ask for them in writing.
Don’t let your payments get ahead of the work. We recommend paying 10 percent down before they start the project. If it is a stable company they won’t need a large amount of money to pay for materials or overhead.
If you have questions about a mechaincs lien or construction issues, contact Jonathon Preston with Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC.
A budget is a perfect way to stay on top of your money.
You can track how much you have coming in and how much is going out with a budget. It is also helpful to be able to see how much you are spending on certain things and if you can cut some unnecessary costs out.
Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some tips to creating a budget for yourself:
Set up your expenses by categories. The first category should be fixed expenses such as mortgage or rent, vehicle payments, credit card payments and household expenses like your electricity and HOA dues.
The next category is controllable expenses. This includes eating out, coffee at Starbucks, entertainment, manicures, etc. These are all things that are not mandatory and necessary.
Once your categories are lined up, add them up for each month and then for the entire year. When you add them up, you will most likely see spending patterns along with areas you can improve on.
Make a good estimate of what you spend by going through your checkbook and any other receipts or records you’ve kept over the past few months. Don’t be unrealistic – Avoid setting unrealistically low spending limits then become discouraged when you don’t meet them. Give yourself a little “wiggle room” just in case. As you get more comfortable with your budget each month you’ll get a better idea of where to set your spending limit.
Add up your budget’s list of essentials and extras separately. When you keep the lists separate you can make cuts more easily.
Take your total monthly income and subtract your essentials list from that. If you have money left over, subtract your extras list from that amount. If you still have money left over you should look into a savings or investment plan.
If you don’t have money left over and subtracting your extras list brings you into the negative, start looking for places to cut back. You can also trim up your extras list to put more money toward your debt repayment as well.
When you prepare your new budget, consider adding more money not only into an emergency fund, but saving for retirement, children’s college, or a dream vacation.