Author Archives: Ray Jennings

How To Pay for College and Housing at the same time

How To Pay for College and Housing at the same time

I have to assume that you are either a parent or student if you are reading this post, and one of the biggest financial fears for parents and students is ever growing college expenses.

Before we begin to look at the rising cost of student housing and more affordable options, let’s talk about choosing the right school. You might say that you and your child are already set on what school to go to. I would recommend rethinking that option if the school you have selecting is going to put you into unnecessary debt.

Thinking In Advance on How To Pay For College

If you feel confused about how to pick the right school that makes financial sense then I suggest you seek out an expert who can help. While there are many professionals out there to choose from I personally recommend Mark Kelly the founder of University Financial Strategies who specializes in helping families pay for 4 years of college down to the penny. In the video example below Mark gives a simple break down of a typical student with a $130,000 loan coming out of college with a business major that might make around $3,000 per month. That means that the student owes around $1,500 per month for 10 years to the school they attended for the next 10 years, or around $850 for 25 years. At the 10 year loan that is half their estimated income! This is why choosing a college that makes financial sense with monthly payments you can afford is so important. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you or your child have to go to a super fancy school just for social status, it’s really not worth it in the long run.

The Smart Way to Choose Housing when Paying off College Debt

Now that we have gone over choosing the school that fits your budget opposed to the social status choice, let’s talk about choosing your housing because the same exact principles apply to both.

If you are a student and going to be going to a college close to your parents home then the smartest choice is living with your parents while going to school. I know thats probably not the answer you wanted to hear as most college students want that first taste of freedom and independence but remember this is financial advice.

Tips For College Students and Grads Trying To Find an Apartment

If you have picked a school that fits your budget that is away from home then the smart thing is to first make a budget list which has all your current bills and see how much you have left over to spend on rent. If the school you have picked is in a big city then try to find a place in a smaller surrounding town as the rents will most likely be much more affordable.

Simplicity is your friend when it comes to saving money on housing. Watch out for extra amenities like fancy lobbies and pools which will raise your rent. If you are looking at a multi story apartment building then its important to know the 1st floor is always more expensive because it’s easy to get in and out.

Looking in winter compared to spring and summer can also save you some money because landlords know that far less people are moving in the winter months which makes them lower rent costs. While having a perfect credit score is not required everyone it can be a deal breaking if you are competing against someone else with a good score, so make sure your at least monitor it.

Finally, patience is key when you are on your search for the affordable housing option while in college. I know it can be tough but remember, don’t spend money you don’t have because you will only regret it in the future.

Why Shipping Container Homes Are Growing In Popularity

Why Shipping Container Homes Are Growing In Popularity

The idea of living in a 20 to 40 foot shipping container might sound strange, but before you shun the concept lets take a look at why many people around the world are seeing this a as a great affordable option.

Structurale Integrity

Let me ask you an obvious question that a small child could answer correctly. What is stronger, wood or steel? The answer like I already said is obvious, steel of course is stronger than wood. So you might ask yourself, why have homes for many years been built with wood when it is a very weak and non durable material in comparison to steel. As any wood built home owner knows, wood can be subject to termite damage which can be very expensive to repair while I don’t know of any terminate species in the world that eat steel.

Building Time

Think about this, when you are working with a contractor to start building a new home it’s going to take a few months just to get the base foundation built. On the flip side, a shipping container already comes pre-built as it is basically a big hollow steel rectangle. The time it takes fro a contractor, or maybe even you to cut out your desired window locations and install insulation and electrical work is a tiny fraction compared to traditional home building.

The Cost

Ok, maybe I should have listed this one first. By far the biggest barrier for a potential home buyer is price. For example, where I grew up in southern California, a lowest price you can possibly find for a 2 bedroom home is five hundred thousand plus. I know if you move inland away from the ocean price decreases, but not by that much. You can buy a beautiful pre built shipping container home for under one hundred and fifty thousand which can be a huge relief for those who don’t earn a large income or for those you simply don’t want to be making payments for thirty years.

Additional Resources

I know that trying to figure your way around a new industry, which shipping container homes are, can be a daunting task. If you are currently in research mode to see what your options are for shipping container homes, take a look at curbed’s article on 5 container homes you can buy right now. If you are on a really tight budget and want to calculate the cheapest possible way you can build a container home for check out the video below.

Pros and Cons of Buying A Condo

Pros and Cons of Buying A Condo

I know what you are thinking already, this blog is about affordable living options and a condo is still not what most people would consider cheap. And your right, purchasing a condo is not cheap but it can be a much more affordable option than a house. In this post I’m going to bring to light the main pros and cons of condo ownership and if it is a good option for you.

The Pros

Pros of owning a condo

Price: As I have already stated a condo is typically always going to be a more affordable option that a private home. You can expect to pay 20% or even 50% cheaper than a home in a similar area.

Responsibility: When you purchase a condo you are really only paying for the interior of the structure which reduces your liability and insurance costs. If something happens to your roof, then your HOA fees will cover that through their insurance.

The Cons

Privacy: If privacy is a really important issue to you, then condo living might be a challenge. It really depends on who your neighbors are. If they are respectful and quiet then all is good, but if they are loud and ignore you then you could have nightmare on your hands.

HOA Fees: This stands for “home owners association” and I was on the fence about making this a con because most private homes now come with HOA fees. These are fees for the amenities that come with your condo complex, like a pool, security guard, land scape service and so on. If your goal is to have low HOA fees then you want to look for condos with a small amount of amenities.

Check out the video below by Dave Ramsey for more insight on investing in a condo.

Is A Condo Right For You?

Well it really comes down to personal life circumstances. If you are single or are married with a small family then it could be a good option. On the other hand, if you have a bigger family, then the smaller space could cause a lot of challenges. To get a good idea of what price ranges condos are in your area, check out condo.com to search millions across the united states. Whatever decision you make, just make sure to count all the cost (present and future) to determine if purchasing a condo is a good move for you and your family.

3 Types Of Affordable Living

3 affordable living options

With the ever growing problem of home foreclosures, bankruptcy, and homelessness, now has never been a better time to learn about affordable living options for you and your family.

The Golden Rule For Financial Peace

There are so many difficult situations when it comes to finance and living options, but if there is one Golden Rule is is living within or below your means. That basically means that you spend no more that the money you have each month or more ideally, less than you earn so you can start saving. It’s strange but true that most people who live within or below their means have less bad unexpected financial things happen in their life that people who spend all their money. It’s like saying that if you prepare for the storm you, the storm won’t come, but if you don’t prepare, you can be ensured the storm is on it’s way.

Mobile Homes

This type of construction is far less expensive that traditional housing which can take the stress off you. This term can range from actually a house on wheels to a moveable home that is positioned to site a trailer park.

Tiny Homes

Over the last 10 years there has been a full blown tiny home movement sweeping the word. Again, they much more affordable than traditional housing and far less to maintain. The obvious challenge living in a a tiny home would be the space.

Shipping Container Homes

These have gotten my attention more than the others. Think of them a a setup from a tiny home, meaning you have the cost advantage compared to traditional housing but they offer slightly more space. The are made from steel shipping containers, formerly used to ship merchandise over seas. They make good building blocks because they are basically big rectangles you can piece together or use in single fashion. They are also much stronger than a home built from wood, making them terminate resistant.

I hope these affordable living options spark some good ideas for you to start living a more debt free focused life. For more info on affordable living options you can visit https://affordablehousingonline.com/ for a directory of resources. Also, the video below gives more great ideas to help you save money and living.