The All American Dream is to own a home of your own. Many people think that paying rent is a waste of money. But when you do buy a house, you have more expenses than when you rent that many people do not consider. The monthly house payment may be similar to your rent payment but you will have utilities that may have been included in your rent payment. When you own a home, you have utility bills, garbage and water bills. You either have to do your lawn work and snow removal, or have it hired out which is another expense. Also, you have to have money saved for unexpected expenses and regular upkeep and repairs. When you rented, if something went wrong you could call the landlord. Now it is up to you to either fix it or you have to hire someone to do it. While renting the landlords were responsible for updating the carpet and painting. Now that is your responsibility. There will also be increased insurance expenses.

When you buy, in most cases you need a down payment besides your monthly mortgage payments. It is recommended to have as high a down payment as you can. If you do not put 20% down, you will have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). In recent years, in many cases people have been able to get a mortgage without having to put any or very little money down.

It is recommended if you are thinking of buying a house, to put that amount of your anticipated monthly mortgage payment away, while you are still paying rent. If you can do this consistently for 6 months or so, you should be able to afford your mortgage payment.

Many people end up in homes they can’t afford when the beginning payments are too easy. In some cases, there are interest only mortgages. That in the first years you pay only interest on the mortgage. In these cases, you do not build any equity and in some cases when the market goes down, the value of your house could go down and you end up owing more on your house than it is worth. When this happens and you have to sell for some reason you would then have to come up with the difference.

A couple may think they can afford the house because they can make the payments but if something happens that they lose one of the incomes then they get into trouble. Experts say that younger people are living in homes and own cars that took their parents 30 years to afford.

So while owning a home is a great thing, it is also important to make sure you can afford it, so it does become a dream instead of a nightmare.

Nancy Kvamme

In past years the main things that were figured in monthly payments were car payments and either mortgage or rent.  Now it seems like you can buy almost anything on a monthly payment plan.  This is fine as long as you don’t overextend yourself.  The amount of each payment may not seem like alot but when you add several of them they can get out of hand. 

Just like keeping an eye on how much you charge on your credit cards, you also have to keep an eye on your monthly payments.  Also, if you are figuring them on how much you earn per hour or day, you have to figure based on your net pay.  Some people figure it on their gross pay and forget they have to pay taxes out of that too.

Nancy Kvamme

Just as its important to manage your finances while you are younger, its also important to take care of your health. Just like saving for retirement, we feel like it is not important and will get around to it someday, you health can slip away from you too. If you take steps early it can be easier to maintain your health.

Watching what you eat, exercise, avoiding smoking and watching your consumption of alcohol are ways to maintain your health.

As with your money, you should be keeping an eye on how you spend your money, so with your health you should be keeping track of what you are eating.

Also, if you are able to budget your money and travel, etc now when you are younger instead of waiting until you are retired. In alot of cases people spend their whole lives working and plan to travel when they are retired, but by that time it is difficult for them to fully enjoy it if they have physical limitations.

And if you have health problems you will more than likely have increased medical and insurance expenses, which that money could be spent on other things if you were in better health.

I know some medical issues are inherited and cannot be avoided, but in many cases they can be avoided.

Following is an article from J.D. Roth at the blog <a href=>Get Rich Slowly</a>.

Nancy Kvamme

Usually we hear “Paper or Plastic” at the grocery store, but it can also relate to how you pay for your purchases. In today’s society few people write checks anymore and many don’t use cash alot either. It seems so easy to just swipe your credit or debit card. Sometimes too easy. It is fine to use cards if you know how to manage them. One benefit of the debit card over the credit card is that you have to have the money in your account to use it. So you cannot overspend the way you would be able to with a credit card.

Also, with the debit card, as long as you don’t overdraft your account, there are no interest or finance charges as with a credit card.

Studies have shown that people are more likely to spend more when using a credit card or debit card than with cash. Cash is more tangible and you feel it more emotionally when you need to hand over a large amount. By using cash you need to plan your purchases better since you have a certain amount to spend.

One idea to stay on budget in each area is to use the “envelope system”. When you have made your budget, for each of the categories (groceries, clothes, etc) put the set amount for each in an envelope and only spend the money in each of the envelopes. If you need to go over budget in one area, you need to deduct that amount from another envelope.

Nancy Kvamme

October 17 – 23 is <a href=>National Protect your Identity week</a>.  Locally there are events scheduled offering free sensitive document shredding.  Wednesday and Thursday it will be offered at the Village Family Resource Center on 25th St and 13th Ave S with a limit of 3 boxes.  On Saturday it will be offered at Wells Fargo Bank on 25th St S and 13th Ave with a limit of 1 box or 3 bags per vehicle.

Shredding sensitive documents is one way to protect yourself from identity theft.

If your ID is stolen, it takes many hours and is expensive to go through the process of getting things straightened out again.  Some banks provide protection and will cover some of the work and cost of repairing it.

Nancy Kvamme

You have probably seen the television commercials for layaway from Kmart and Sears. Layaway is another way of purchasing items instead of credit cards. For a small fee down (usually $5 fee plus a percentage of the cost of the item as a down payment) you can pick out items and make scheduled payments over a couple of months or few months and when the full amount has been paid you are able to take the item home. One difference of layaway instead of credit cards is that there are no interest or finance charges.
There are also layaway programs available for online purchases. One of which is <a href=>Elayaway</a>. You can select items from various online merchants and schedule to have the payments withdrawn from your checking account.
Even though with layaway programs you avoid credit card debt and fees. But you still have to monitor what you are spending so you are able to make the payments as they are scheduled.

Posted in Uncategorized
Nancy Kvamme

I am writing this post from the Albuquerque airport. I met a friend here for a long weekend for the Hotair Balloon Fiesta and other sights. By watching how I spend my money is one way I can afford to travel sometimes. Some people think I am depriving myself by the way I choose to spend and not spend my money. It is important to me to be financially healthy and by giving up some things I get the chance to travel and do other things I enjoy.

Also, by planning ahead and saving I am able to have the money to pay for my trips before I go and right after returning. I feel trips are more enjoyable when you have the money to pay for it and don’t have to worry about how to pay for it or as some people say have your vacation follow you home by having months of payments after returning home.

When traveling, a lot of people use their credit card reward points. Some people charge most of their expenses on their credit cards for the reward points or miles. But if you cannot pay off the balance right away and end up paying interest and finance charges, those reward points are not such a great deal.

So while it is important to take the chance to get away once in awhile, it is also important to plan so you can do it without going into debt that you cannot pay off right away.

Posted in Uncategorized
Nancy Kvamme

So Many Shoes, So Little Money is a book by Lisa Serwin about relating money and finances to fashion and shopping. Finances and budgeting are topics that most people shy away from. One reason for this is that most of us were not taught about finances in school and at home. Once you get the chance to learn the basics you will learn it doesn’t have to be such a scary thing.

Lisa’s book starts with budgeting basics and works its way through the different aspects of finances such as saving, bank accounts, interest, insurance and other topics.

I feel it is a good book for both those just starting out and also as a refresher for others.

I will be presenting a seminar with some of the ideas from the book and other financial topics at the <a href=>Womans Showcase</a> at the FargoDome from 2-3 on Sat, Oct 16.  I will also be having a booth at the Womans Showcase for my In the Black Money Coaching business.  So if you get a chance stop to see me at booth 809.

Posted in Uncategorized
Nancy Kvamme

<a href=>Practical Money Skills</a> is a website with resources to teach financial literacy to kids and adults which is sponsored by Visa.  There are links to information for individuals and also for teachers who want to take it into their classrooms. 

There are also games to teach kids about money.  Sometimes it is easier to teach kids when they don’t always realize you are trying to teach them something.  One of the games if Financial Football and they are working on a Financial Soccer game.

Some of the topics covered under the personal finance section are credit and debt, savings and spending, and life events.

There are also calculators on various subjects such as how much you can afford to pay for a car, budget and goals, career and retirement, college saving and mortgages.

For other resources to teach kids about money, check out my other posts <a href=>here</a> and <a href=>here</a>.

Posted in Uncategorized
Nancy Kvamme

In previous posts I have mentioned the importance of teaching children about finances. Along with that is teaching Employee Financial Literacy. Many of us were not taught how to manage finances when we were in school. In many cases also, people are trained how to practice their profession but then get out of school and do not know how to run the “business” part of a business.

Studies show that in 1979, 10% of adults reported they had stress from personal finance difficulties, in recent studies that number has climbed to 25%. Employees often list financial stress as the top source of all types of stress they experience.

For employers, financial literacy education in the workplace can lead to improved motivation, improved recruitment and retention of staff. Providing employees the tools to become financially literate about the basics – knowing how to manage personal savings, understand credit and create a spending plan helps improve factors that affect the organization’s bottom line, such as productivity.

Employees under financial stress can be passive, unengaged in their work, confused and anxious about mortgage and college loans, vehicle and credit card payments and more.

I feel it is now more than important than ever to face these issues. When people are having difficulties with their finances and start borrowing, that borrowing cannot go on forever and someday they will have to face it. The sooner they get to the root of the problem and start solving it the better. Also, if we educate employees they will be better equipped to teach their children about finances

For more information on employee financial literacy training contact me at <a href=>click here</a>

Posted in Uncategorized
Nancy Kvamme