The holidays are just around the corner, but the holidays don’t have to bust your budget. It’s possible to enjoy the holiday cheer and reach your goal of saving for a home.
Below are some tips from ACTS Housing’s Director of Homebuyer Counseling that can keep you on track as you plan to make holiday purchases.
Make a list: Generate a list with names of individuals you plan to buy for.
Check it twice: Assign a spending limit for each person and stick to the amount you budget.
Start early: The more time you give yourself to shop, the more bargain-conscious you can afford to be. There are great deals to be had before the shopping season officially begins.
Double check for accuracy: Everyone makes mistakes, even the person ringing up your sale. And with long lines at the register, it’s even more likely. Check your receipt to make sure you were charged correctly.
Save your receipts: After checking for accuracy, put your receipts somewhere you will be able to find them later. That way you can track your spending as you go, but also efficiently return items if need be.
Carry a visual reminder of your homebuying goal with you when shopping.
Use a layaway plan when available. It helps you stop from buying on impulse, without thinking. Layaway plans do not have finance charges like credit cards do.
Use the money you have. Try to pay with cash, check or debit card instead of a credit card.
Ask yourself hard questions. DO I really need to spend the money? Is buying your home more important than the material items you will be purchasing? (Need: something you/family has to have. Want: something you/family would like to have).
Continue to save. Most important, continue to put money in the savings account for the purchase of the home. Do not stop saving during the holiday!
Meet the ACTS team! You’ve stumbled upon an ACTS Team Member spotlight. These spotlights, published once a month, share what our team members do each day to make ACTS a success.
Jenean Shorter, ACTS realtor, specializes in making dreams come true. She beams with pride when she discusses the light in one of her homebuyers’ faces when they saw the home they loved.
“She said ‘yes, this is the one,” Jenean recalled. This isn’t the first time a homeowner has fallen in love with a home she has showed them.
A typical work day for her involves nonstop home showings and submitting paperwork on behalf of her homebuyers.
Before becoming a realtor Jenean would spend her breaks from work looking at houses. She took that as a sign that she should pursue a career in real estate. She found the process fascinating after purchasing her own home nine years ago.
“I didn’t want to go back,” she said of her career in banking.
In order to inspire, Jenean draws upon her own experience.
“I was always scared to do it,” Jenean said.
She says the most exciting part of her deals are families finding the perfect house. As an ACTS realtor, Jenean plays a pivotal role in outreach to schools, one of which is St. Marcus.
Two out of three of her children attend the school, so she has a personal interest in ensuring the children have as much stability as her own.
“To see us having St. Marcus advocates to promote ACTS, to say ‘it does work’ I hope it gets more parents through the program,” she said.
Her advice to those who are afraid to make the first move toward homeownership includes changing your mindset. “It’s not as hard as you think,” she said. “It’s much more affordable than renting and it’s a place to call your own.”
ACTS Housing’s mission is to promote affordable home ownership that fosters a low-income family’s ability to be self-empowered, thereby reducing community blight, neighborhood deterioration, and poverty. ACTS’ strategy is to generate home ownership opportunities for inner-city residents within a targeted neighborhood so that an entire community can be transformed and sustained. ACTS’ team provides home buying services throughout the city of Milwaukee.