22 May 2017

How Much Should You Save For Your New Home?

Saving for a Down Payment? How Much Should You Save?

If you are planning to purchase a home, you may have a lot of questions about down payments. The more you can pay up front, the less you’ll end up paying in interest over the years, thus saving money. This means it’s financially sound to save as much as you are able to use as a down payment. But still, how much should you save? And how long should it take?


Different Approaches to Down Payments

In a perfect world, we would pay cash for everything and not have to take out loans. Financing the purchase of a home means that over time you end up paying much more than the home is actually worth. For example, if finance $200,000 on a home with a 4% interest rate, you’ll end up paying over $140,000 in interest over the life of a 30-year loan.

However, paying cash for a home is just not an option for most people. Taking out a loan is the only way to make it happen. However, the more money you are able to put down initially in the form of a down payment, the less you’ll end up spending in the long run. In fact, it’s recommended that you put down at least 20% of the home’s purchase price as a down payment.

Do Lenders Require 20%?

No, a 20% down payment is not required, but it’s recommended. FHA loans require as little as a 3.5% down payment, and many other loan offers require as little as 5%. There are some special programs that require no down payment at all.

However, when you put down less than 20% as a down payment, lenders perceive you as a bigger risk, so you will likely be charged a higher interest rate. You’ll even be required to pay for private mortgage insurance if your down payment is less than 20%. This means that your monthly payment, including your mortgage, interest, private mortgage insurance, property taxes and homeowners insurance from your Des Moines insurance agent, could end up being much more than you might expect.

Are There Other Benefits to Putting 20% Down?

There are a number of other benefits to putting down at least 20% when you finance the purchase of a home. These include less risk that you’ll end up owing more than the home is worth and the ability to deal with financial problems because you’ll be paying much less each month.

How Can You Save for a Down Payment?

Although a 20% down payment is ideal when financing the purchase of a home, it may not be realistic for all homebuyers. Nevertheless, it’s a goal you should aim for. Here are some suggestions for working towards that 20%.
  • If you currently own a home, sell it before purchasing a new home. Any cash you walk away from the sale with can be used towards a down payment on a new home.
  • Create or rework your monthly budget to allow you save. The truth is it may take longer than you would like to reach your 20%. Be patient and stick to your savings plan.
  • Consider extra work. You may want to take on freelance work you can do on your own schedule, after your normal 9 to 5. You could find a second part-time job. Although this is clearly extra work, it may be worth it if it gets you in your new home.
Getting to your goal of a 20% down payment may seem overwhelming now, but it will certainly save you money in the long run. It’s absolutely worth it to budget and save where you can so that you can meet your goal in the future. Purchasing a home that is really more than you can afford each month will only create extra stress. This doesn’t contribute to your quality of life.

03 May 2017

How Much Can Family Influence Your Personality?

If you think that your music and style choices, movie preferences and the fact that you’re no stranger to BBW dating sites are not affected by your family, you’re wrong. We don’t usually give it much thought, but it’s a fact that our families do indeed affect how we develop as people and which choices we make to an extent.

There’s no denying this. Most of our personality traits come from our surroundings, which are comprised of our parents, our siblings, our extended family, our friends, and so on. With that being said, let’s take a look at just how much can family influence your personality.


From an Early Age

You know how most kids pick up their parents’ mannerism, speech patterns and behavior? While it may look it, the influence our parents have on us from an early age isn’t limited to external factors such as speech and gesticulation.

Things such as identification, social class, ordinal position and parental socialization are the biggest influences our parents have on us while we’re kids.

Not only do we adopt certain things from our parents, but we actively identify with them at that stage. By the age of six, most kids will identify themselves with their parents and will experience emotions such as pride or shame if their parent or parents achieve a success or receive criticism, respectively.

If we look at the social class influence, for example, we will see that it affects a child motivation and preparation when it comes to academic achievement. If you were born in a middle-class family, you’re more prone to having higher grades in school than someone who was born in a lower-class or working class family.

Assuming Your Role

There are certain theories that explain how each child gets influenced by his or her family, depending on the birth order.

In most cases, it’s going to be expected from the firstborn child to be a high achiever, a leader and someone who’s supposed to take on a lot of responsibility. The second and middle child usually assumes to role of the peacemaker and develops negotiation and adaptability. As far as the youngest child goes, he or she tends to be the most outgoing and charming of all the kids, but also the most independent.

This doesn’t apply to all kids all the time. Nonetheless, it’s what happens in most cases and it usually determines someone’s personality from the get go. Without realizing it, our personality is shaped from the moment we’re born, but more importantly, the biggest influence on that process comes from our family.

Also, let’s not forget that each child influences its parent, too. Yet another example of how family influences your personality is the way we parent each of our kids. We’re the most focused with our first child, but also the most inexperienced, while we tend to be more laid back and relaxed with each next kid, mostly due to all the knowledge we accumulate while only having one child.

29 April 2017

Top 5 Reasons People Don't Care About Divorcing


Whether it’s because a husband and wife can’t communicate anymore or because he’s constantly browsing cougar dating sites and she’s spending money like crazy, every marriage that has a serious problem like this is more than likely to end with a divorce.

And while the divorce rates are nowadays higher than ever, less and less people actually care that their marriage is going down the drain. It’s not because of indifference, however, but because it’s better to go through a quick divorce than to hold on to a doomed marriage – and here are five reasons why.


1. Embracing the Inevitable

It may not seem like it to those who are observing a marriage between two people, but it becomes pretty clear to both the husband and the wife that their relationship has hit an iceberg once certain problems start surfacing.

That being said, it’s better to just let that ship sink as smoothly and as painlessly as possible instead of doing everything you can to keep it afloat, even though its demise is absolutely certain. Why prolong the inevitable when you can embrace it and move on with your life?

2. Healthier for the Children

It’s a fact that nobody wants their kids to have a broken home, there’s no arguing with that. However, in most cases, children tend to have a better childhood and will do better later in life if their parents are divorced rather than living in an unhealthy marriage.

If your marriage is bad, you’re likely to constantly fight, yell or ignore your partner, which is something that puts a lot of stress on children. That’s why it’s better if they’re removed from these situation, which is best achieved with a divorce.

3. Wasting Time

With or without kids, an unhealthy marriage is nothing but a waste of time. We already mentioned moving on with your life before, but in this case, we’ll accent it even further.

One of the worst things about staying in an unhealthy marriage are missed opportunities. From people with whom you could have an actual healthy relationship with to spending your energy on your career and other things, a divorce is the only efficient solution to missing out on so many things in life.

4. Not What You Signed Up For

Remember that, when you got married, the general idea was that you were entering a union with someone who’s supposed to compliment you and make you happy, and vice versa? When you’re staying in a bad marriage instead of getting a divorce, you’re just making yourself unhappy.

Fact is, you didn’t sign up for an unhealthy marriage when you said “Yes” on your wedding day. Both you and your partner expected love, care and understanding from your marriage, so if you’re not getting that, your only logical next step is a divorce.

5. Later Personal Growth

People don’t care about divorcing or they would rather get a divorce over being in a bad marriage simply because an unhealthy relationship prevents them from experiencing personal growth.

Once you’re out of a bad marriage, you can look back and reflect on what happened, why it happened and how it affected you. This can be a learning opportunity, but it won’t be presented to you if you desperately cling to a marriage that’s doomed to fail.

28 April 2017

Cloth Diapering 101


Here’s a fact for you: the average baby will go through 3000 disposable diapers in one year. Think about that for a second.
Now, here’s another fact: the average baby will go through… wait for it… 15 cloth diapers in one year.



Amazing, right? If you consider just the cost of cloth versus disposable, it’s an obvious choice. But when you add in the environmental benefits, the arguments for using cloth become even more compelling. For example, did you know that it takes 500 years for a single disposable diaper to decompose and if every baby in the USA used disposables, that would mean 20 billion diapers per year?

And if the environmental argument doesn’t sway you, think about your baby. The diaper is the one article of ‘clothing’ that your child wears closest to their sensitive skin. Cloth diapers use absorbent fabrics rather than chemical gels to keep baby dry, eliminating a primary cause of recurrent diaper rash. How? The chemicals in disposables draw some of the moisture away, giving the impression that the diaper is soiled, when in fact it is. Thinking the diaper isn’t soiled, a baby will often be left longer between changes, which can result in diaper rash. A lot of children also experience diaper rash as a result of exposure to the chemical gels or scents in disposable diapers.So why not consider an alternative?

Are you new to cloth diapering?

Cloth diapers are easy to use, will save you money—even if you switch out your disposables for cloth only one or two times a day—andare made to be reused time and time again. If you’re having another baby at some point, clothdiapers can be passed down to the new arrival! After all, toddlers who wear cloth diapers typically potty train up to six months sooner than those who wear disposables!


Easy tips for using cloth diapers

Unlike cloth diapers in the past, today’s brands, like Bambino Mio, are compact, trendy and easy to use at home or out and about. They can fit from birth onwards, offering maximum protection and serious style! Many parents prefer cloth diapers in the case of those inevitable blow outs, as they do a better job of keeping everything contained. Cloth diapers can also be used overnight to keep baby dry and snuggled in super soft fabric.

How many cloth diapers you will need will depend on a couple of things:
  1. Are you using cloth full time or only part of the time? For example, some parents opt to use disposables when they are out and about and cloth at home. Interestingly, disposables don’t provide a unique advantage when out, as long as you’re prepared with a ‘wet bag’ to put the used diapers into until you get home. 
  2. How often do you plan to launder the soiled diapers? You will need to make sure that you have enough to use while the rest are in the washing machine. You change cloth diapers as often as you would disposables—every 2 to 4 hours, so you can do your math based on that. Most newborns will go through 8 - 12 diapers in a 24 hour period, while kids 6 months and older will use fewer. 

Addressing the question of leaks

Frequently asked questions for new cloth diaper users include leakage. Cloth diapers shouldn’t leak if they’re being used properly. If you’re experiencing leaks, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you changing often enough? Every 2 to 4 hours should do the trick! 
  • Are you using a diaper liner? If you double it up or it isn’t laying flat in the diaper, you can experience some leaks. 
  • Are you using oil based rash creams? Oil based creams can reduce the absorbency of the diaper. Stick to a thin layer of water based diaper creams to avoid that: they’re better for baby’s skin anyway! 
  • Did you pre-wash your new diapers? This is mentioned in detail later, but for now, know that NOT pre-washing them before first use can have an impact on absorbency. 
  • Are the diapers fitting correctly? A cloth diaper should be snug against baby’s tummy and legs. Adjusting the angle of the velcro tabs has the best effect on the leg opening and keeping it tight! 
  • Do you simply need more absorbency? As baby grows, so do their bowel movements and quantities of urine, so you might get to a stage where the single layer diaper isn’t sufficient to absorb everything. At that point, all you need to do is add a layer with absorbent pads that can be added to a cloth diaper! And if you have never ‘strip washed’ your cloth diapers, it’s probably a good time to do this. Check the details on washing and drying, below! 
Using cloth diapers when you’re not at home

As noted above, there’s no need to revert to disposables when you’re out on the town with your baby. The only difference is that you’ll pop the soiled cloth diaper into a wet bag that you will have pre-packed in the diaper bag, along with extra diapers. Then when you get home, all you have to do is drop those diapers into the dry/wet pail, ready for the washing machine.


Washing and drying cloth diapers

No need to rush to the washing machine every single day! Just store the soiled diaper—after disposing of any excess waste with a diaper liner or diaper sprayer in a dry/wet pail until you’re ready to wash, typically every 2-3 days. Ideally, you should line the pail with a mesh laundry bag so that all you have to do when it comes time to wash is pick up the whole bag and toss it in the washer! Easy as anything! 

What kind of detergent is best? In the aim of avoiding too many chemicals, you should also make sure that your detergent is baby friendly, with no fragrance or added whiteners. Standard non-biological detergents often contain extra ingredients—enzymes—which can irritate baby’s sensitive skin, causing rashes or even an allergic reaction. Look for products instead that are designed for washing cloth diapers or at least for washing without harsh chemicals! No two detergents are alike to be sure to read the labels carefully!

Just be sure to keep the water temperature at around 104F. Too high temperatures and too frequent tumble drying will cause your diapers to wear out faster.

How should you dry your cloth diapers? For maximum sustainability and long wear, air drying is best to preserve them but tumble drying at a warm—not hot—temperature is fine too. 

Getting stains out of cloth diapers? Stains are inevitable but there is a lot you can do to minimize and even eliminate them. Miofresh diaper cleanser is designed specifically to prevent and reduce stains on cloth diapers. For particularly stubborn stains, a good soak in a solution of hand hot water and Miofresh can go a long way. But did you know that sunlight is nature’s stain remover? Putting the cloth diapers out to air dry in full sunlight is not just good to preserve them for a long time BUT it will also help to bleach stains away!

What is strip washing? A buildup of detergent and / or residual bacteria on cloth diapers can create an ammonia like odor and reduce the absorbency of the diaper, so if either of these are occurring, you should strip wash your clothdiapers to return them to optimal absorbency. If you get into the habit of doing this every four to five months, you’ll find that you have no issues with buildups. How do you strip wash diapers? Soak the diapers in hand hot water with an ounce of miofresh per 176 fl. Oz of water for two hours. Then wash them as usual and give them an extra rinse to make sure it’s all clean!


Got a new set of cloth diapers? Prewash before using them: they will become more absorbent after a few washes!

And make sure to skip the fabric softener for the diaper load. A lot of babies are sensitive to those products and they can affect the absorbency of a cloth diaper.

Babies, bank accounts and the environment would all be better off if everyone took a look at how easy it is to add clothdiapering to raising their little ones. Why not consider #choosingcloth today?

Bio: Guy Schanschieff is the co-founder of Bambino Mio, the largest and most accessible diaper brand in the world, with distribution in 70 countries and over 50 awards to its name. The brand offers a range of cloth diapering products and accessories designed for the stylish, modern, and eco-conscious parent including the miosolo all-in-onediaper, miosoft two-piece diaper, reusable swim diapers, mio squares, potty training pants, and much more. Check them out on their website: https://www.bambinomio.com/usa/ or on social media: TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTubePinterest

27 April 2017

Why is Family so Important?

Have you ever thought about the importance our families have in our lives? It may not seem like it, but while your parents are arguing where you should all go for a summer vacation, while your widower grandpa is thinking about senior dating and while your sister is constantly yammering about some boy that may or may not like her, you’re all affecting each other in some way without realizing it.

We think that we would be alright on our own, but in truth, our families play a larger role in our well-being than we might think. With that in mind, here are four reasons why family is so important.


1. Love and Understanding

The first and most important thing that you family brings to your life is love. Nobody will love you in the same way as your parents and your siblings, which is why we rarely hesitate to go to our family members for consolation and support.

Furthermore, you can usually count on your family to understand you. Even those people who have been completely rejected by society for looking like this or doing that can always rely upon the fact that their family will embrace them no matter what.

2. Home is Where Your Family is

Not only do people like to travel, but there’s a lot of us that tend to move from place to place while living an independent life. However, what happens when your plans fail and everything you hoped for goes to ruin?

In these (and many more) scenarios, you can always count on your family to be there for you. When you lose all your money, your possessions and your living space, your family will be there to take you in and give you a roof over your head for as long as it takes.

3. Decisions, Decisions…

It doesn’t matter if you’re good at making decisions or not, because even the most resolute people sometimes have trouble making up their minds on certain matters, which is also where family comes in to save the day.

In many cases, people will turn to their family members over partners and friends for advice and opinions on a dilemma their having. Decision-making isn’t always an easy process, especially if many things depend on the outcome of that same process – that’s why it’s always good to have a family you can rely on for advice.

4. Your Family Shapes You

Finally, we’re getting to the fact which not everyone likes, but which makes our family (or a lack thereof) one of the most important aspects of our lives. Be it good or bad, constant or inconstant, your family is largely responsible for shaping you as a person.

What happens to us from the moment we’re born to the moment we die helps carve out a person from a chunk of clay, in the manner of speaking. Both supportive and toxic families most definitely influence us and our personality, but it’s up to us to channel that influence and make ourselves into a
good or a bad person.