Now that the kids are back in school and the fall sports season has begun, many of us find ourselves wondering how we’re going to get everything done. It can be difficult to juggle daily tasks when we work two jobs – the one that pays the bills, and the one that we love (at least most of the time): raising our kids.
If you feel like you are running ragged trying to keep up, these tips can help you balance work and family life:
Get up before the rest of the family. Getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep is nothing compared to how relaxed you’ll feel if you get up and get ready before the craziness of the morning hits. Whether it’s your morning workout, taking a shower, or drinking that much needed cup of coffee, when your act is together it makes it easier to get their act together.
Prepare for the day ahead of time. From picking out their outfits for the next day or even week, to making lunches the night before, to keeping frozen meals at the ready for fast and easy dinners, taking a few minutes to prep ahead can make the day run smoothly.
Come up with a routine and stick to it. Having a set schedule for the day will ensure your kids know what to expect when, and what's expected of them. Schedule conflicts and melt-downs can be avoided when everyone knows the plan.
Stay involved in your kids’ day. Working during the day doesn't mean you can't be an active participant in your kids' daycare or school. Visiting on your lunch may not be an option for you, but you can always bring in an activity or a snack for the kids. You could also use your skills to help with a class project. You’ll feel more involved with your kids and they, as well as the school, will know you care.
Make time for some R&R. At the end of the day, make sure you plan some time for you and your partner to rest and recuperate together and just be adults. Try to plan a lunch date, dinner, or movie night once a week without the kids. Having a bit of “you” time in your schedule can help you manage the rest of the demands on your time.
We all have what it takes to keep going even when we feel there’s too much happening at once. Working even just one of these things into your daily or weekly routine can make a difference in your work/life balancing act.
A Brief History of Labor Day
Created during the height of the Industrial Revolution, Labor Day was meant to pay tribute to American workers. The holiday was first recognized on September 5, 1882 when 10,000 blue collar workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City in protest, creating the first Labor Day parade. This idea for a “workingman’s holiday” began to gain precedence in other states, being recognized each year on the first Monday of September. However, the congressional act that officially named Labor Day as a national holiday wasn’t passed until 1894. Now Labor Day is celebrated nationally, giving workers a well-deserved day to relax, and marking the end of summer for most children who are starting back at school.
Fun Things to do for Labor Day
The first Labor Day was celebrated much like it still is today, with a parade, picnics, and fireworks, but there are so many more options on how to spend the long weekend.
Host a Barbeque — Labor Day marks the end of summer, which doesn’t just mean it’s time to put away the white pants. Have a nice outdoor meal while the weather’s still agreeable and spend the day surrounded by good company and delicious food. Whether you invite some friends to join you or just stick together as a family, a barbeque is a great way to get together and enjoy some time in the yard before life gets out of hand.
Go Camping — Nature is calling! Go for a camping trip before it’s too cold and enjoy some time where you can see all the stars in the sky while telling stories around a campfire. Bring your family or a handful of friends and delight in some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You will create wonderful memories and hopefully brighten your mood towards the coming work week.
Go for a Hike — Don’t have the full weekend free? You can still spend a day appreciating nature while also getting a good amount of exercise. Hike a mountain or walk a park trail. Bring a picnic lunch and sit for a while in the great outdoors. Remember, never hike alone. It’s dangerous and not nearly as fun as when you bring along other people.
Shopping Spree! — It’s impossible not to notice the amount of sales happening for Labor Day weekend, and with back to school and the changing of the season, it’s a great time to take advantage of them. Change up your wardrobe, prepare the kids for the new school year, or even look into bigger purchases while prices are in your favor. Make a day of it, treat yourself a little, and get ready for the new season.
Take a Trip — It’s your last real vacation option until Columbus Day weekend, so take advantage of it. Visit a family member who lives out of town or just go to a small tourist location. You could go away for the weekend or just take a day trip or two. Find a beach and spend a day in the sand before summer officially ends. It’s a great time to explore somewhere new.
Festival Fever — Just because it’s suddenly September doesn’t mean it’s the end of fair and festival season. Yes, many fairs will be reaching their last weekend, but many will still be open through the holiday, and others might just be starting. There are sure to be events filled with carnival rides, games, crafts, music, or bizarre and definitely fried foods. What reason is there not to go?
Relax — Most people have a day off, so why not just treat it as such? Try to have a you day. Read a book, watch a movie with your family, maybe play a board game or two, and just chill. Soon there’ll be projects and sports practices and holidays to prepare for, so why not take this time to breathe and rest easy before the busy insanity of life comes to knock on your door.
However you choose to spend your day, have fun, be safe, and remember that the holiday exists to appreciate a year of hard work and to pay tribute toward the laborers who built America up to what it is today.
You look into your credit report and see that your score is not as high as you had expected. What could have gone wrong? Although you think you may have done everything right, some seemingly harmless actions could negatively affect your credit.
Paying off credit card debt & closing accounts — Paying off credit card balances is always a good idea, but in some situations closing them after your payment has been made can negatively affect your credit score. Fifteen percent of your credit score is determined by the length of time that accounts have been established so if you must cancel a card, be sure it is one with a short credit history. Also, be sure to keep a good mix of credit (at least 1-2 major credit cards) as that can account for 10% of your score.
Maxing out cards & paying them off after the next statement — Although you paid off your balance, your statement will still reflect the status of your card. Your credit report will show that you have maxed out your card even if you pay the full balance the day after it your statement posts. To avoid this, be sure to pay any high balances off before the next statement date. A best practice for keeping your credit score in tact is to keep balances below 30% of your available credit.
Making payments a day late — Unfortunately, a day late is a day late. Your credit report will not state how many days late your payment was so you will still receive a 30-day late penalty. Many credit card companies may also charge a late payment penalty or increase interest rates for being late on your payments. To avoid penalties, be sure to schedule monthly payments for at least the minimum payment due. This will keep you in good standing until you have the opportunity to make a larger payment or pay off the balance.
Paying off old collections — This may seem to be a good thing to do, but it may actually harm more than help. Credit scoring models lend more weight to recent activity so making this a current activity on your credit report may hurt your score. If you do plan on paying off old accounts, make sure that all agreements have been signed & the creditor will be giving you a letter of deletion.
There are always steps that can be taken to improve low credit scores. If you have any questions about credit scoring and how it will affect you during the mortgage process, contact one of our Loan Originators. They will be happy to help you get on track and on the road to homeownership!
You’re about to close on your new home. You’ve followed the wiring instructions that were in the email your Realtor sent you. You check to make sure the funds were withdrawn, but see that your account is completely empty…
This is the result of one of the newest online scams: taking advantage of home buyers who are excited about closing on their new home. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Association of Realtors have issued a warning about a new phishing scheme that has left many people with no money in the bank.
Hackers have figured out a way to access clients’ and Realtors’ email accounts. The hackers are then able to get information about the upcoming closing. With the closing date in hand, the hacker will send an email to the buyer pretending to be a Realtor or Title Company employee. The fake email claims that there has been a last-minute change in the wiring instructions, and includes different bank account information that the buyer should wire funds to the new account. In reality, the new account belongs to the hacker. Before anyone realizes what has happened, the money is gone from the account.
How to Avoid It
- Contact your Real Estate Professional or Title Company to see if they actually sent you the email about the change.
- Do not send financial information via email. It is not secure and can be easily accessed by hackers.
- Make sure any websites you transmit financial information through are secure. You can tell by looking at the URL at the top of the screen. If it is https instead of http, that means it is a secure site.
- Access websites by manually typing in the page information instead of clicking on links you receive in emails.
- Consistently update your computer security and anti-virus programs.
- If something feels suspicious, trust your gut.
At Homestead Funding Corp., we take our clients’ privacy very seriously. We have several measures in place that help protect your personal information. If you believe you may be the victim of a financial scam, please report it to the FTC as soon as possible at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
Homestead Funding: Why Refinance Your Mortgage ?
The general rule for refinancing a mortgage has always been if you can reduce your rate by .75-1% or more, then it is the perfect time to refi. This may be considered the best reason to refinance, but it is not the only reason why it may be in your best interest. Some other reasons why it may be a good time to refinance your mortgage are:
You'd like to lower your monthly out-of-pocket costs — Saving money each month on your mortgage, no matter the amount, can make a big difference. It's always a good idea to look into your refinance options when interest rates are low.
You need to build equity — When you are able to pay more each moth, it may be beneficial to refinance a 30-year loan into a 15- or 20- year loan. Cutting the term of your loan builds equity faster and could also save you money paid on interest over the life of the loan.
A different loan program may work better for your situation — When you first applied for your loan an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) made the most sense for you. If your situation has changed, a Fixed Rate may work better for you now. There’s never any harm in checking if a new loan product could help you save money and streamline your finances.
Your credit has improved — After making mortgage payments on time and in full, your credit score may have improved. Reviewing your current score and looking for any new options that may be available to you could increase your savings over the life of the loan.
You’d like to tap into your home’s equity — A cash-out refinance may be the best option for you to pay for the long-awaited home renovation or other expenses.
If you have been on the fence about whether or not to refinance your home, we would be happy to help assess your situation and see if refinancing makes sense for you. Contact us today to get started!