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Queue the panic. Mortgage rates have officially spiked and the media is all over it. Yep, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased from 2.65% to 2.79% this week, per Freddie Macâs weekly survey. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater noted in the weekly news release that mortgage rates have been under pressure [&hellip
The post Donât Freak Out About the Recent Mortgage Rate âSpikeâ first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.
While 30-year fixed mortgage rates tend to steal all the headlines, 15-year fixed mortgage rates quietly reached record lows this week as well, per Freddie Macâs weekly survey. This morning, Freddie announced that the 30-year fixed fell to a new record low 2.65%, down from 2.67% last week. That was the first record low of [&hellip
The post 15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Just Hit Record Lows: Should You Consider One? first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.
In the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. housing market hit an all-time high of $32.8 trillion, per The Federal Reserveâs Flow of Funds Report, as referenced in the latest Monthly Chartbook from the Urban Institute. That was up from roughly $32.4 trillion in the first quarter of 2020, thanks to an increase in home [&hellip
The post Value of U.S. Housing Market Hits Another All-Time High first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.
Between the ages of 7 and 21, I visited the happiest places on Earth â Disneyland and Disney World â a total of five times. My first four times, my mom paid for my trips/tickets. For my fifth visit, I was actually paid (in per diem) to go to Disneyworld by my college to compete in a national choir championship. Yes, I know, thatâs what they call a #Humblebrag, but also, we won (unlike our football team). But enough about my short-lived, semi-pro singing career…
It wasnât until summer 2019 when my husband and I decided to incorporate Disneyland into our post-nuptial plans, that I actually paid my own way and realized the true price tag of experiencing Disney magic. While, in retrospect, we definitely overpaid, I obviously wouldnât trade the experience of getting to the parks before opening and leaving just before closing (a total of 14 hours) for anything. After really looking at the numbers, I realized we couldâve probably traveled to an all-inclusive tropical resort and spent the same amount â you live and you learn right?
But that doesnât mean I wonât go back to Disneyland or Disney World again. In fact, Iâm in the process of planning another trip. This time, however, Iâm wiser and have done my research and will be taking a more budget-friendly approach revolving around two effective (and fun!) hacks.
Here are two ways I hacked our budget to save on our seventh trip to the happiest place on Earth.
Disney Trip Hack #1: Start a Disney Jar (and set a budget)
Similar in concept to a swear jar but probably much more effective, a Disney jar can be a scary-fast way to save up for a trip no matter how large you want to live it up.
The rules of a Disney jar are simple:
- Anytime you see something Disney-related, you put a set amount of money in a jar or transfer it to a savings account.
- Donât take any money out of said jar or account until youâve hit the goal amount you need to take the Disney adventure of your dreams.
If youâre skeptical, consider how much Disney really has a presence in our day-to-day lives. Aside from their wide net of media brands including anything with the name Disney along with ABC, ESPN, Marvel, Lucas Films, Fox, ABC, you can also take the brand, Apple, for example. Itâs a bit tangled, to say the least, but Apple and Disney are very closely tied through their respective relationships with Pixar. To me, the lines are blurry enough that Iâd say itâs fair to add at least $1 to your Disney fund each day you use your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or other Apple products.
The amount you contribute to the jar depends on your target timeline, plans, and how much youâll need to save. If itâs a passive idea, maybe stick to just a buck, but if you want to be more aggressive, up the ante.
Of course, to do this you need to work backward and plan by looking up prices in advance (something I recommend for taking a trip virtually anywhere). Here are a few things to look up in advance when setting your savings goal:
- Research restaurant menus ahead of time and, as most people will tell you, bring your own snacks. We even brought our own RedBulls on our last visitâgame changer!
- Same goes for merchandise and experiences. You can look up these prices in advance and even order some merchandise beforehand.
- As Disney announced in 2016, their ticket prices fluctuate at each park throughout the year.
From there, set aside an allowance youâll stick to. And if you have kids, give them an allowance too â kids are more impulsive but the last thing you want is a toddler screaming in the middle of Tune Town over a $29 pair of ears you really wish you had known about and bought online weeks ago. This can also be an additional incentive for good behavior and chore completion in the weeks leading up to a trip (that is, if the trip isnât a big surprise).
Disney Trip Hack #2: Think outside the resort
I know Iâm going to catch flack for this but in all honesty, if your idea of visiting Disney absolutely MUST involve staying at one of their resorts, youâre already failing to hack your budget. Many Disney bloggers will preach endlessly about how you can save money on resort packages that include food or other amenities, but at the end of the day, theyâve drank a little too much of the Kool-Aid. It is by far MUCH cheaper to stay in a nearby Airbnb or even another hotel. Yes, this goes for families as well.
Again, if staying at the Disney resort is a non-negotiable item on your list of must-haves, thereâs nothing wrong with that, but Iâll also just say, from my experience staying at a Disney resort, the rooms arenât all that nice as far as hotels go. Iâm no snob when it comes to hotels but given the room rates, youâre paying much more than you need to for a sub-par room. And at the same time, if youâre doing Disney right, you wonât spend much time in your hotel room â even if youâre there on your honeymoon.
But staying somewhere other than a Disney-run property isnât the only or even the best way to save on accommodations. In fact, why pay for a room at all?
To uplevel this strategy, consider house sitting for local residents as a way to either stay near a Disney park for free or, even better, get paid. In some cases, you may even be able to offset some of the costs of your tripâlike your flights or gas getting there depending on where youâre from, or at the very least, the $15 daily cost of Max Passes (a Disneyland/California Adventure-only item) to help you avoid lines.
Along those lines, if you have friends in the areas surrounding the Disney parks you want to visit, stop reading this article and call them. Not only might they have a spare room or couch for you to sleep on â again, all youâll be doing is sleeping in between trips to the park(s) â but, itâs well-known that Southern California and Florida residents get very deep discounts on tickets so maybe theyâll want to come with you and show you around. (They canât, however, typically buy you tickets as most of the deals require you to actually be a resident.)
When it comes to a Disney vacation, the key to having an amazing time without going over your budget is planning ahead. From a Disney jar to staying off-site, youâll be able to have a blast as long as you keep an eye on your bottom line.
More than anything, youâll need to make sure that you donât let that Disney magic carry you away to budget Neverland.
–By Melissa Hollis
The post Taking a Disney Trip? Here Are Two Key Budget Hacks appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Whether you’re a new or experienced thrift store shopper, you’ll love this post from Laurie at Passionate Penny Pincher on 7Â items you should always look for at Goodwill before shopping retail stores.
Similar to the increased waiting times to get a COVID-19 test these days, itâs taking an extended amount of time to get a mortgage to the finish line. The reason is simply unprecedented demand, just like those COVID-19 tests. The more people that need one, the longer the wait, period. This is the downside to [&hellip
The post Itâs Taking a Really Long Time to Get a Mortgage Right Now first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.