Are You Ready to Make the Leap into Home Ownership? Here’s How You Can Tell

Are you ready to make that leap from living at home or renting to owning a home of your own? While everyone moves at their own pace, here are some signs that you can use to determine if it is time to own your own home. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you can use to justify your decision.

Are You Sticking Around?
If you plan on moving soon for a job or think that you won’t be in town much longer, it may be better to rent. However, if you are thinking about living in the same town or within the same county for years to come, it is time to put down roots. The stability that comes with home ownership may make you more prepared for a marriage and/or a family if that is something that you want. This stability may make you more attractive if you are single and searching for a long-term relationship.

Do You Have a Steady Job?

Those who have a steady job and know that they have a stable salary may want to make the move to home ownership. As long as there aren’t any other major debts eating into your income, you can probably handle a mortgage and other costs associated with home ownership. The equity that you build in your home can help you build wealth for the future if and when you want to retire. Your home may also make a great rental property in the future, which can help you diversify your portfolio and keep you solvent for years to come.

You Are Spending More Time Watching Television Shows Related to Home Ownership

You may have caught yourself recently watching shows revolving around people or couples who are looking for homes. You may also be watching programs dedicated to giving tips as to how you can upgrade your home. If you watch these shows frequently, it may be a sign that you are ready to move out on your own and take on the exciting challenge of being a homeowner.

Are you ready to be a homeowner in the near future? Only you can say for sure if it is time to make that leap. However, those who are looking for a long-term housing solution may be ready to make that move.

Pokemon Go

If you haven’t heard, Pokemon Go is a new reality-based mobile video game which uses real-world locations as the fantasy settings. This new mobile video game allows users to get up, go outside and explore surroundings while finding Pokemons.

Part of the allure of this game is the idea that it can encourage people to be more active by taking them away from the TV screen and getting them outside.

However, the game has already caused some troubles with ‘playing and driving’. It is important to remember that while this can be a source of enjoyment and entertainment, it should be played responsibly. Just as texting and driving or watching a movie while driving isn’t safe, playing this game while driving isn’t safe either.

This game is very likely a glimpse into the future of technology and is already being called the biggest mobile game in the US. So, if you are into this new craze (and even if you’re not), give it a try to see what all of the fuss is about, however, make sure that you play ‘Pokemon Go’ responsibly.

Ways to Save on School Supplies

With it being the middle of summer, soon enough some of you parents with young ones will have to go out for those miserable school supply shopping runs. As the time draws near, advertisements, deals, and sales will be popping up. But what are some tips that’ll help aid in an efficient supply run, while also getting exactly what you need? Along with personal experiences, and the advice of others, we have gathered a brief list of strategies and tricks that’ll help you get ahead of the school game:

  • Shop at home: Instead of taking your supply list straight to a retail outlet, see how much you can gather from your craft drawers, closet shelves, and file cabinets.
  • Wait out the rush: If you can wait until after Labor Day, most stores are eager to unload their leftover inventory at a decent discount. This is especially true for some of those big-ticket items like backpacks or computer bags.
  • Teamwork works in bulk: The downside to shopping in bulk is that, well, you get supplies in bulk. For most families, 10 reams of loose-leaf paper is overkill . . . unless you team up with friends. If you can find a few families to join in, bulk shopping for school supplies can make sense – and save dollars.
  • Use coupons: Start looking for coupons in your Sunday paper, store magazines, and online at coupon websites.
  • Cash instead of the card: Use cash instead of credit cards to pay for your back-to-school supplies. Paying for supplies with cash allows you to keep an eye on your funds and to stay within your budget.

Safe Recycling

Recycling has become a part of everyday life in many ways. It’s creating jobs, saving money, protecting the environment, and protecting our health. With recent innovative technologies, ways to recycle are always being improved on. But how can you and your family play a bigger part? Recycling is made easier at your home with curbside pickup programs, as well as separate disposal bins in public locations. Groups of recycling are mainly organized as Paper, Plastics, and Glass (as shown in the picture above). Below you will find some facts on recycling for each group and ways to be a more efficient recycler!

Paper – Facts:

  • If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
  • The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.

Paper – Improving Efficiency:

  • Recyclable paper includes: magazines and catalogs, telephone books, direct mail, brochures, pamphlets and booklets, in addition to cereal, cake, chips and cracker boxes.
  • Be sure to remove the liner and all food from the box, flatten the box and place flattened box in a paper sack with your junk mail, mixed paper, magazines and catalogs.
  • Non-recyclable paper includes tissue, waxed and carbon paper.

Plastic – Facts:

  • In America, we generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste per year with only 1-2% being recycled.
  • It has been estimated that recycling, reuse, and composting create 6 – 10 times as many jobs as waste incineration and landfills.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

Plastics – Improving Efficiency:

  • Remove plastic tops from the plastic containers being recycled and rinse containers with water.
  • Crushing containers will help save space while storing them.
  • Prepare plastic containers for recycling by ensuring first that they are either: (PETE), (HDPF), (PVC), (LDPE), (PP), (PS), or (Other) which include squeezable syrup and condiment bottles and some microwave food trays. (These identification codes are often on the bottom of the plastic container encircled by three chasing arrows.)

Glass – Facts:

  • Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.
  • Recycled glass can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials.
  • Recycled glass is always part of the recipe for glass, and the more that is used, the greater the decrease in energy used in the furnace. This makes using recycled glass profitable in the long run, lowering costs for glass container manufacturers – and benefiting the environment.

Glass – Improving Efficiency:

  • Prepare glass containers for recycling by rinsing out with water.
  • Labels on glass containers do not have to be removed because they are removed during the crushing process and/or burned off during the melting process.
  • Avoid breaking the glass and mixing broken colors together as this may make the glass unacceptable for recycling.

How To Properly Introduce Your Dog To A Safe, Puppy-Proofed Home

There’s a quote that rings true for many homeowners which says, “A house is not a home without a dog.” After a long day at work, there is nothing better than walking through the front door to find your furry friend waiting, tail wagging as he jumps with excitement at your arrival. They are live-in vacuum cleaners, 24/7 cuddle buddies and always willing to share a few kisses. However, while dogs fill your heart and home with love, puppies typically require some extra patience and time to become your perfect housemate.  The critical first step is to properly introduce your puppy to his new home and create an area in which he will be safe.

Welcome Home

You have just picked up the new puppy and your family’s excitement level is at an all-time high. You can’t wait to get him home, show him the numerous toys you’ve already bought and capture that perfect photo of him exploring his new territory to post on Instagram. However, excitement aside, there are a few steps to take in order to make the transition easier for everyone involved.

Once arriving home, your first stop should be a potty break in the backyard. Keep the puppy on his leash and lead him to the area in which you expect all “business” to be completed. After all, it’s never too early to get started on the tedious task of potty training.

If you have other furry family members, it’s suggested that dogs meet in a neutral area so that your older dogs don’t feel as though their territory is being infringed upon. While your yard would suffice, a neighbor’s yard or a nearby park are ideal areas. An introduction away from the house can help with a smooth transition. Have a family member or friend hold the new dog’s leash, while you stay with your older pal. Remember, just as humans don’t become best friends with someone after five minutes, nether do dogs. It may take some time for the newcomer to be welcomed into the pack.

Set Boundaries

Next it’s time to begin the grand tour of your home. Remember, your house is filled with unknown sights and smells, which can be very overwhelming for a pet. Keeping the puppy on his leash, lead him through the house, avoiding the rooms you wish to keep off limits. Your tour should end in the portion of the house where the dog bowls, beds and crate will reside. It is a good idea to section this area off from the rest of the house. You can use dog gates to close off open areas. Keeping the new puppy confined to a smaller area will help with the potty training process and avoid over stimulating him. Then, over the next few weeks, you can gradually increase the area in which the dog is welcome.

Finally, take off the leash and let your puppy explore his area, making himself at home.

Puppy Proof

Bringing home a new puppy is similar to bringing home a new baby. However, you are thrown directly into the “terrible twos.” Anything and everything looks like a toy and ends up in a mouth full of sharp puppy teeth. After taking the following measures, you can keep all sofas, rugs, paws and tails safe and out of harm’s way.

We’ve all heard those horror stories of dogs who ate entire birthday cakes off the counter, or helped their family finish off the Halloween candy. Human food, such as chocolate, can be toxic to dogs. The first step to puppy proofing any home is to verify that all food, household chemicals and cleaning supplies are out of paws reach. It’s also a good idea to keep trash cans inside of pantries, closets and/or cabinets to ensure your furry friend doesn’t go on any “dumpster diving” adventures. If the puppy does get into human food, you can refer to the ASPCA’s website for a list of toxic foods for pets.

Also remember, just because it isn’t food, doesn’t mean a dog won’t eat it. Puppies have been known to eat articles of clothing (such as underwear and socks), hair ties, earrings, and retainers. Time to break those old habits and say goodbye to the days when half of your closet lived on your bedroom floor. It’s also a good idea to keep all litter boxes in an area unavailable to the new puppy. Dogs view this as a “special” treat, but it can cause digestive issues. Put yourself in your puppy’s shoes. Walk throughout the house, thinking of any ways he could get hurt and make changes as necessary.

By following these steps, you can now sit back and smile. You have an adorable new family member and many wonderful years to look forward to!

 Bailey McMahon is a senior at the University of North Texas studying marketing and economics. She was born and raised in the Dallas/Forth Worth area and loves life in the city. Post-graduation, she hopes to earn a position in the Dallas, New York or San Francisco area working for a marketing agency.