Afonso Real Estate

Posted by Afonso Real Estate on 5/20/2015

Who doesn't love a bargain? You can negotiate a deal for just about anything. Here is how to try your hand at bargain hunting at flea markets, yard sales, junk stores, antique malls, and thrift stores. Some helpful tips on how to haggle: Dress the part. If you are looking for a deal don't flaunt your designer handbag and shoes. You want the seller to believe you when you say you’re only willing or able to pay less. Be friendly. A smile and kind hello can go a long way when asking for a discount. Ask for the discount. You can't get what you don't ask for. Make a fair offer. If you offer too little you can insult the seller and they will be less willing to offer you a deal. Start your offer at a little more than half the asking price and expect to meet somewhere in the middle. Inspect the merchandise. If the item has a flaw nicely point it out to the seller. Make a group offer. Gather a group of items and offer one price for all of them together. This benefits the seller and they are typically more willing to make a deal. Pay in cash. Always buy in cash, sellers love cash (who doesn't). You may even want to take the money out of your wallet to show the seller you are serious.  

Categories: Money Saving Tips  

Posted by Afonso Real Estate on 5/6/2015

Who doesn't love a bargain? Some of the best shopping deals these days can be found online. Savvy shoppers even know that some days are even better than others to find the biggest savings., a website that looks at online retailers, ran a survey to see what days of the week online websites offer the biggest discounts. Here is what they found: Mondays: If you are looking for men's and women's dress pants try Mondays. ShopItToMe found the average sale price is about 48 percent off. The site also found Mondays are great for purchasing sunglasses with an average discount of around 55 percent. Tuesdays: If you are shopping for men's clothes, it may be pants on Mondays but all other men's apparel is typically on sale on Tuesday with a discount around 42 percent. Wednesdays: You can save an average of 38 percent on shoes. Also look for great deals on kids' clothing with an average discount around 40 percent. Thursdays: Handbags lover's Thursdays typically offer a 36 percent savings. Fridays: Once you have purchased a new handbag you will need accessories to match. Look for an average of 42 percent off jewelry, belts and scarves. Saturdays: Underwear and outwear are on deep discount on Saturdays. Shoppers can save an average of 37 percent on intimates and a whopping 51 percent on jackets and outerwear. Sundays: Swimsuit prices are reduced approximately 52 percent on Sundays. What are your best online shopping tips?

Categories: Money Saving Tips  

Posted by Afonso Real Estate on 2/18/2015

When you are looking to buy a home or refinance it is important that your credit is in tip-top shape. It is often a credit score that gets in the way of a home buyer and their dream home. Credit today means everything as far as your purchasing power. So if you want to be ready when opportunity knocks read on for some for smart ideas on how to keep your credit score going up.

1. Use your credit cards.

This may sound funny but it is important to have credit over having no credit. Paying in cash and over using credit cards isn’t always a good move for your credit score. Cards that are seldom used are often shut down or closed by the credit card companies. Because 30 percent of your credit score is based on your debt-to-credit-limit ratio you will want to have a high your total available credit. Having one account closed increases that ratio of available credit to debt and thus lowers your credit score.

2. Pay off your credit cards.

It may seem to make sense to pay off the highest-interest card first and save the most money in the end. But your credit score will get a bigger boost from knocking off the lowest-balance card. Instead of spreading your monthly payments equally among credit cards, pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest. As you pay off each card, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card.

3. Don’t close cards once they are paid off.

The length of time you’ve had credit determines fifteen percent of your score. By closing your oldest account, you can shorten the length of your credit history causing a big hit to your score.

4. Keep the balance low

Much of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit-limit ratio on individual accounts. Maxing out one card raises your debt-to-credit-limit ratio and your credit score. So be sure to keep balances as low as possible. Try to target no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

5. Stay away from retail-card accounts.

These are a big no-no. Retail store cards often have lower limits and higher interest rates. So running up balances on low-limit store cards affects your credit score more negatively than does using one or two bank cards. So in the long run the fifteen percent you were going to save on the one purchase will probably cost you more in the end.  

Posted by Afonso Real Estate on 11/26/2014

Everything green is all the rage, and recently there has been an increased demand for green homes. Some experts estimate a projected demand  of a $100 billion sub-market by 2016. In 2011, green homes made up roughly 17 percent of the market and are expected to reach two out of five homes by 2016. The list of reasons to buy a green home is extensive. Green homes are friendly to the environment. Consumers also believe that green homes will have better value in the future. Green homes may cost a little more to build now but have shown to save money in energy efficiency over time. According to a survey conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, ninety percent of homeowners surveyed said energy efficiency is important because of personal values, and because of lower energy bills. They also cited other factors like indoor air quality, material durability, use of post-consumer materials and sustainability-focused waste management practices. Consumers may also be able to save money on their mortgage or receive a federal tax credit for buying a green home or doing eco-friendly home improvements. For certain efficient home improvements, you can receive a federal tax credit equal to 30‰ with a cap at $1500 for the purchase of energy efficient technologies such as

  • Water Heaters
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Heat Pumps
  • Air Conditioners
  • Insulation
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Roofs
  • Stoves that use qualified Biomass Fuel

Categories: Money Saving Tips  

Posted by Afonso Real Estate on 10/29/2014

It doesn't matter how old you are someday you will hopefully retire. According to Pew Research Center, there are 75 million baby boomers in the United States and retirement is coming quick or may already be here. So if you are a boomer or just thinking about retirement and feeling like you are not prepared there is still time to get on the right track. Here is a retirement checklist to help get you started: Know how much you need to live The first step in planning for retirement is to know how much money you will need to live. Make a list of all of your expenses and your sources of income. If your costs outweigh your guaranteed income you may need to reevaluate your costs. Rethink your retirement savings plan Unless you have a pension you will not have a set amount of money to live on for your retirement. If you have a 401k or other employer-sponsored retirement plan you will need to plan to make that money last. It may be best to meet with a financial planner to determine ways to maximize your income stream. A financial planner may also help you consolidate your retirement accounts. Understand your social security benefits Depending on the age at which you start social security withdrawals you may have less money than you thought. Social security withdrawals before the age of 70 could result in 20-30% less in benefits. Deciding what age you will retire and when you will draw on your social security benefits is an important decision. Plan for inflation Like it or not the cost of living goes up. The cost of health care also continues to rise and without proper planning for inflation in living costs and health care your retirement income could run out sooner than you planned. A good start for planning is to know that over the past one hundred years the average inflation rate has been 3.4%. Have a will It is important to establish a will and/or living will. This will help you and your family make important decisions regarding health care, long term care and estate issues. Tackling retirement planning ahead of time will help you begin the next chapter of your life worry free and allow you to plan for the fun times ahead.

Categories: Money Saving Tips