How to Budget for the Beginner

How to Budget for the Beginner

Creating a budget can help you make the most of your money.

  • Budgeting is one of the key foundational concepts of personal finance, but knowing how to create one is still a mystery for many people. Budgeting is often viewed as the equivalent of financial deprivation. If made properly, however, a budget can help you achieve financial freedom. If you’re a budgeting beginner, learning how to create a monthly spending plan is the first step in getting your finances under control.
  • Determine how much money you’re making each month. You can’t successfully create a budget if you don’t know how much you’ve got coming in. You should create a list of all the income you receive each month from all sources, including pay from your job, money you make from a side gig or hobby, child or spousal support, interest income, etc. If your income varies throughout the year, it may be easier to use your average monthly income as a starting point.
  • Make a list of all your basic monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, car payment, utilities, groceries, gas, pet care, insurance, etc. Now, compare your total basic expenses with your total monthly income. If your income is higher than your expenses, you’re already off to a good start. If your basic expenses exceed your income, go over each one carefully to determine how you can reduce your costs.
  • Write down everything you spend on a daily basis. Not knowing where your money is actually going can be a major budget buster, and tracking your spending helps you to identify areas where you can cut costs. If you’re just getting started with budgeting, it’s recommended that you track your spending for at least a month or two to establish your spending patterns.
  • Add up any and all debts, including mortgage loans, car loans, credit cards, student loans and medical bills. Next, add up the minimum payments for your debts and how much you’re actually paying each month. If you’re only making minimum payments on your debts, you should go over each of your basic expenses to see if you can cut spending. Once you find extra money in your budget, you can use it to repay your debts more quickly.
  • Set aside some portion of your income each pay period specifically for savings. Building up an emergency fund of cash can protect you in the event of an unexpected expense or a temporary loss of income. Ideally, you should have anywhere from six to eight months of expenses saved. If your newly created budget is still a little tight, start off with $10 or $20 per week and increase your savings as you eliminate your debts.

Items you will need

  • List of monthly expenses
  • Most recent pay stubs or income statements
  • List of debts
  • Pen and paper or budgeting software



  • Don’t forget to leave room in your budget for some inexpensive fun. Creating a budget that’s too strict will leave you feeling deprived, which may actually lead to overspending

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6 Tricks for Making a Room Look More Spacious

6 Tricks for Making a Room Look More Spacious

Wherever you live, you only have a certain amount of space and most people want the room to be spacious. A home’s size is predetermined by the architect who built it, while an apartment is designed specifically to fit a certain amount of units in a building.

While you may not be able to bust out a wall to make more room in your living space, you can still make it fit your needs. Don’t throw out your furniture pieces just yet. With a few easy tricks, you’ll soon feel like you’re living in the spacious home you desire; lighting, paint, mirrors and spacious area rugs help increase the magnitude of a space.

Try these six tips for fooling the eye and making a room look more spacious. Even someone on the tightest budget can maximize the space in their home — or, at least, the appearance of it — and make it feel brand new.

1. Clean From Top to Bottom

The best thing you can do to create more space in your home is clean it from top to bottom. Take a day to empty every closet and shelf you’ve turned a blind eye to, and dig through the contents. Toss anything you don’t want to keep in a pile. Then, separate it later into one collection of items you can donate and one pile of things to throw out.

Once you clear your home of any unwanted or unnecessary things, you’ll automatically gain more space to work with. Then you can move on to the fun stuff, like redecorating and playing with the way you set up each room. Lighting, paint, mirrors

2. Work With Mirrors

The first tip any interior designer will give you to open up a room is to hang mirrors. While you don’t need to cover the walls with mirrors from top to bottom, you’ll need more than a couple of mirrors hanging here and there to do the job.

Instead, hang mirrors strategically as decor and make each room feel bigger. Use them to create a visual window rather than constructing an actual windowpane. Play around with different sizes to determine what works for you. Consider the space, color and design of each mirror you choose.

3. Combine Lighting and Paint

When you need to work with an especially small space, lighting and paint color play a vital role. Natural light fills a living area and brightens every corner, making it appear larger. The right color paint will emphasize this trick of the eye. So, where can you start?

The first step to approaching paint is to match it with your floors to get the shade that works best in each room. Light floors and light paint will visually open up a space more than if you matched dark paint with light floors. Ask for paint samples at your local hardware store to try out swatches and figure out what you like before committing to painting the whole room.

4. Hang Curtains Higher

When you picture an expensive home with extra spacious rooms, you might imagine tall windows with extra tall curtains. While your home’s curtains probably fit the size of your windows, think about switching them out for longer shades to achieve this look. Hang the curtains four to five inches above the top of each window to maximize its size and play a visual trick with the room.

5. Invest in Tall Furniture

People with large homes often have taller furniture made specifically for each room. Even if you can’t do the same, you can still invest in tall furniture that fits the height of any area of your home. Find tall furniture that looks like it belongs in your space, such as a bookshelf painted your favorite color.

Bookshelves are one of the best pieces of furniture you can find to create a bigger room. Look around thrift stores in your area for bookshelves on sale, or consider building one yourself using your room’s exact measurements. Line one wall with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and leave some space on each shelf unfilled to create the appearance of a larger room with more space.

6. Buy Large Rugs

Homeowners commonly use rugs to create a focal point in a room. The right rug blends seamlessly into any design scheme — and if you’re trying to create more visual space, you’ll want to go big or go home. Larger rugs cover more of the floor and create the illusion of a larger more spacious room. On the other hand, having multiple small rugs in one room shrinks each section and minimizes the entire space.

Large rugs are worth saving up for. As soon as you unroll your new addition, you’ll immediately see a change in how you perceive the room.

Stick to Tiny Changes

When you think about making a room bigger, you might immediately picture expensive renovation and weeks of contractors moving in and out of your home. Instead, you can avoid the headache of a large project and create the same effect with tiny changes.

Buy a lighter paint color and redo your home to expand every room. Build tall furniture or roll out an oversized rug while you’ve got free time on the weekend. Little efforts make a huge difference in changing your home from feeling like a cramped space to one with room to breathe.

Jaime Fallon Premier Realty Team

NB Elite Realty


Jaime Fallon Broker Associate

Flipping & Listing with Jaime Fallon

Flipping & Listing with Jaime Fallon

Flipping Properties is a SCARY endeavor to embark upon! Jaime Fallon showcases flipping and listing in the video below to maximize your profits as a seller or flipping investor. Here are other factors to consider when embarking on a house flip

EVALUATE NEIGHBORHOOD Do values appreciate over time? ◦Is there a HOA? Limits what you can do without approval

EVALUATE SCHOOL DISTRICT Is the neighborhood part of an “A” rated school district?

EVALUATE NEIGHBORHOOD COMPS Analyze Days on Market and the homes specifics. Is it a luxury or executive neighborhood that makes it unique? Is the home in a unique job are such as an oil and gas or tech neighborhood?

 WHEN EVALUATING A HOUSE TO RENOVATE  Does the property have equity?  What is the payoff on property?  Does the seller have cash to update property?  How long will renovations take?

What Is After Repair Value (ARV) in Real Estate? The 70rule is a basic quick calculation to determine   what the maximum price you should offer on a property should be. This calculation is made by multiplying the after repaired value (“ARV”) by 70% and then subtracting any repairs needed. This gives you a 30% margin to cover your profit, holding costs & closing costs.  Calculating After Repair Value (ARV):  The ARV formula isn’t complex. It basically boils down to the  Property’s Current Value + Value of Renovations = ARV. 

Example: Maximum Purchase Target = ARV x 70% minus Estimated Repair CostsMaximum Purchase Target = $200,000 x 70% – $30,000 repair costs.  Maximum Purchase Target = $110,000

*Get the materials estimates right and buy at discounts. Work not only with the big box home stores but also with liquidators and rehab stores.

*Know your contractors and their capabilities. Supervise to the extent necessary to be sure you’re getting quality work that will be done on time and inside the budget.

*Budget based on your buyer. Keep the materials in the “acceptable” range if you’re going to be selling in the commercial market. Upgrade to finishers that buyers want if you’re selling in the consumer retail market.


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A seller’s primary focus should be on fixing the MAJOR concerns first. The right combination of good staging a great realtor and smaller, less expensive updates can make for a great return. Here are a few simple home repairs to make before putting your home on the market to get the most bang for your buck.


If you think your floors are dated, dingy and gross, so will potential buyers and this small investment will make your home stand out from the crowd! . Replace what’s worn. If you have already updated the flooring in your home to hardwood floors or put in new carpet, consider refinishing the wood floors if needed or having your carpets professionally cleaned.


These two rooms are vital in the minds of a buyer’s perception of price point and investment value! Updating grout, counter tops, cabinet hardware or faucets, replacing counter tops, painting cabinets and updating kitchen appliances will get your home into top selling shape.


Did you once suffer the wrath of a plumbing problem that left unsightly water stains in your ceiling? Did your roof previously leak during a storm? Even if the problem is repaired, paint the ceiling leak mark, and if you haven’t fixed the leak or roof, FIX IT!


Spend a little bit to have a lawn service spruce up your yard, i.e. mulch, pull weeds, trim landscaping and sod patchy grass. Repair or replace rotted wood on fencing. If there’s a plethora of wood rot or cement board rot around the exterior, replace with new and repaint.


Did Mittens claw your door jambs or maybe Butch chewed through a window screen? Or perhaps little Johnny colored on the walls with his crayons and left little hand marks on the walls. Whatever the issue is, get it repaired. Small aesthetic blemishes cause big concerns for home buyers.


Call Jaime Fallon Premier Realty Team today for a FREE home sales investment evaluation (281) 763-9825.

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