Buying a home is often seen as an important rite of passage to ‘adulthood’ and a major part of the American dream. Depending on your situation and where you live, it can also be cheaper than renting. But unless you have a large chunk of money just sitting around, the down payment it requires is a big obstacle. As higher costs of living continue to shrink our net income, it can be a real struggle to save that recommended 20%, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer with few assets. Thankfully, there are plenty of assistance and low-down-payment options out there if you really need them. Here are some simple strategies for saving up for your first down payment.
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I was given a small weekly allowance as a child, but unlike most kids, I didn’t choose to spend it right away. Instead, I couldn’t wait to put it in my piggy bank. I wasn’t really saving up for anything at that age. It was just exciting to watch my bank get filled with coins.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was slowly learning about saving and how to manage money. What people say is true. It’s never too early to start teaching kids good financial values. Kids soak in the most when they are young, so why not get a head start?

The concepts and lessons they learn about money will stick with them through adulthood. Here are four of the best lessons to teach kids about finances.
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One financial decision many people struggle with is whether to focus their energy and resources on paying off debt (which frees more of your income) or investing in retirement (which secures your financial future). With more than 43 million Americans responsible for $1.6 trillion dollars in student loan debt, getting free of debt burdens should be a high priority.

At the same time, the guarantee of Social Security benefits are questionable for many in my age bracket, making it imperative to invest in personal retirement accounts and other savings options. Both are equally important, so which should you tackle first? The answer depends largely on your unique situation.

Here are a few areas to examine as you consider which of these wise financial moves should be your first priority.
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It’s no secret that growing even a small vegetable and herb garden saves money on grocery bills through the spring and summer months (and, if you preserve them, you’ll save through the fall and winter as well). What’s not as well-known is the expense of putting one in. For me, gardening always seemed like an inexpensive hobby. After all, it’s just plants, dirt, water, and sunshine, right? I found out the truth when I got started. I didn’t realize how much all these ‘natural’ things can cost (except the sunshine… that’s still free unless you have to create your own). With that in mind, here are a few ways to save money while planting a spring garden.

1. Early Preparation: Start Your Own Seeds Indoor

Back in the days before you could just buy a packet of seeds or flat of seedlings from the garden center, gardeners saved their own seeds from the previous season and started them inside so they’d be ready to plant once the soil was ready. Anyone can do this. Seeds aren’t that expensive, but you’ll save plenty of money on plants.
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cleaning up
Clutter can take over your house and also your finances. I have lived many years with clutter, and I can tell you that living with less has been so much more beneficial to my bank account.

Here are four financial benefits you’ll reap almost immediately after dealing with the clutter.

1. Improved Productivity

Since I’m a freelance writer, my paycheck depends on how much I get done. And I’ll confess – I used to struggle to get any work done because I was constantly bombarded with a mental to-do list of all the areas of my home that needed to be cleaned and organized. There is something so draining about seeing a sink full of dishes and dirty counters and my productivity has suffered.

Strangely enough, getting rid of the majority of visual clutter in my house has made me a better cleaner and more productive writer. I bet many other professionals will reap similar benefits at their workplace since clutter can weigh us down without us even us realizing it.
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I was so fed up with my insurance company! Premium hikes every single year even though we never filed a single claim, an indifferent agent, and a premium that was outrageously expensive to begin with.

For a few years, I was so busy raising small kids that I neglected our finances. But as soon as my kids grew up a little and I had more time on my hands, I knew it was time to start shopping around for a new insurer.

So I cleared up my morning and started making phone calls.
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