Vipul Pawani | Woodbridge Real Estate, Fairfax Real Estate, Herndon Real Estate


Once you buy a home, you realize that every penny of your budget matters. The initial purchase of a house can be financially overwhelming. You’ll be withdrawing thousands of dollars from your account to secure the home. Once you close on the house, it’s time to buckle down on your budget. Continue reading for some tips on how to do just that.


Food Spending


For most people, food spending is one of the biggest things that suck the life out of their budget. Whether you’re getting take out three times a week or spending massive amounts at the grocery store, it’s time to take a serious look at your food spending.


Shop With A Plan


If you head to the grocery store with a plan in mind, your shopping trip will be more successful and less expensive. Many people are unsure of what they have in their cabinets and fridge, let alone what to make for dinner. Make a list of meals to have for the week. Then, see what you need to complete those recipes in your kitchen and pantry. It’s also a good idea to stock your pantry with essentials when sales are going on.        


Supermarket ads can also be incredibly useful. You might have to store hop on a weekly basis, but shopping with the sales can save you a lot of money in the long term. 


Look At Your Credit Card Statements


Are you being charged for a monthly gym membership that you don’t ever make use of? You can do one of two things: Start going to the gym or cancel out your membership and begin a daily jogging routine. Look at your cable bill and any other monthly subscriptions that you have. See where you can cut back. Are premium movie channels a necessity? It’s easy to forget what we’re being charged for on a monthly basis if we don’t look at our bank and card statements. 


Cut Luxuries


Maybe in your life before becoming a homeowner, you went for a weekly massage or had a monthly housecleaning service. You can still have these luxuries, but they may need to be less often or less extensive. For example, a significant portion of time during maid service is spent loading the dishwasher or cleaning pots and pans. You can clean up after yourself and your family each night following dinner and cut back on the amount of time a maid would need to spend in your home. The cleaning person also now will have more time to spend on other things in the house that need attention. 


You can keep your massage; it may just have to be bi-weekly or monthly. Get creative to still have the things you want in your budget without going overboard.    


Moving day; you’ve waited months for this day to arrive, working hard to make sure you, your family, pets, and belongings are ready for the big move.

With all of the preparations and various people involved, it’s easy for moving day to become dangerous.

To ensure that you and your family have a safe and smooth moving day, I’ve provided some tips that every mover should keep in mind.

Make plans for pets and young children

The last thing you want on the first day in your new home is to be wandering around the neighborhood looking for your dog who slipped away during the move. If possible, make arrangements for pets to stay with friends or family for moving day to make things easier.

If you need to bring your pets along, it’s a good idea to put them in a “playroom” with their toys, water bowl, etc. while you have the door to the house open. Not only will it stop them from running out, but it will also prevent you from tripping over them while you carry the couch.

Don’t be a hero

It’s our tendency to want to do a job ourselves if we want it done right. But, when it comes to moving, that philosophy can lead to a thrown out back and a damper on your plans.

When it comes to getting large and heavy objects in and out of the house, make sure you have at least one other person ready to lift with you.

Stack from heaviest to lightest

It may seem obvious, but in the confusion of a move, it can be easy to pack your truck or van in a less-than-ideal way. Rather than playing Tetris with your boxes, try to focus on weight instead. You don’t want heavy boxes near the roof in case they fall on you or on your other belongings.

Place the largest and heavier items in the van first. This will allow you to plan the rest of the load around them, rather than having to move them around to make room.

Take a breather

As tempting as it may be, you don’t have to finish everything in one day. As long as your truck is locked and secure, it’s okay if you don’t bring in every single box. Resting throughout the day and staying hydrated, especially when moving in the summer, will help you stay sharp and ready to keep working.

Have an emergency plan

If you take precautions, you most likely won’t have to worry about emergencies. However, accidents do happen and it’s best to be prepared for them when they do. If you or a family member requires medication, make sure it’s handy and that everyone knows where it is.

Similarly, label your first aid kit and keep it with your necessities during the move.


If you follow these tips, your moving day should be a simple and safe process and you’ll be enjoying your new home in no time.


You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but don’t have a large down payment saved, odds are you’ve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you don’t have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and don’t want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, let’s spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and you’ll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once you’ve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, you’ll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you don’t make a down payment of 10% or more. That’s a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you don’t want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, you’ll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.


Packing your entire house is a daunting task to say the least. We are always left wondering how did we end up with so much stuff?

A quick Google search will bring up “ultimate lists” of all of the “packing hacks” you could ever humanly think of. Making the process feel even more daunting.

Here’s your guide to packing tips you’ll actually be glad to know - and none of what you won’t.

Start by decluttering as much as possible.

Get rid of what you no longer need or use. The more you get rid of now the less you have to pack up, carry or even pay to have moved to the new house. Depending on your timeline try to give yourself at least one week where you go through each room one day at a time. However, if you have even more time available you can tackle this project by sections of each room. That smaller you can break down any task the easier and more manageable it becomes.

Schedule your move date.

Schedule your move day with movers at least a month ahead of time to guarantee your perfect time slot. Planning ahead in this way also leaves plenty of room to negotiate with your moving company to find the cheapest time of the month to move. If you have a flexible schedule or able to put in for the time off ahead of time you’ll open up even more possibility for snagging a great deal.

In fact, schedule everything.

Make a schedule and to do list for the moving process. Add it to your calendar, whether that be physical, digital or both! Know your disconnect times will be and when you need to bring back items like cable boxes. Call in for help at least a few weeks out so friends and family are able to make room in their own schedules to help you out.

Pack savvily.

Pack a little bit each day starting with the least essential items you can easily live without. Save money on boxes by asking your local stores, like the grocery or liquor store, for free boxes. Keep thick blankets out to wrap fragile items like your television in if your moving company doesn’t offer them or you’re moving on your own. Buy different colored packing tape to color code boxes by room. Assign one room to each color and label each box well by including its contents to make unpacking a snap.

Be prepared on moving day.

Find the fastest and shortest route from your old house to the new one. While researching be on the lookout for potential tie-ups like construction or a large town event. Have extra packing tape, light bulbs, and extension cords on hand for moving day. Before unplugging all of your electronics take pictures of your cord setup to take the guesswork out of setup at the new house. Defrost and clean out your fridge at least the day before move day. You’ll avoid messy leaks and can look forward to a like-new fridge on move-in day. Keep a cleaning kit on hand and at the ready, you never know what accidents might pop up during the moving process.


A healthy lifestyle is a reflection of your personal values and the habits you cultivate on a daily basis. When you prioritize, in your own mind, the importance of taking care of your own health, as well as that of your family, you've laid the groundwork for a healthier home environment. One of the worst dietary habits that many families fall into is keeping the kitchen well stocked with ice cream, cookies, cheese, crackers, and potato chips. While the mantra "All things in moderation" is a good guideline to follow, many people -- especially children -- do not have the self discipline to put that idea into practice. As you may have discovered, motivating your kids to eat less junk food and more fruits and vegetables can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility -- and unfortunately, that's not the kind of exercise that burns calories! A Few Ideas For Healthier Eating Permanently purging your home of all signs of snack foods that contain "empty calories" is too extreme of a solution for most families! A more realistic alternative might be to buy snacks in limited amounts and opt for the "reduced fat" version, whenever possible. Then, by keeping a fresh supply of apples, bananas, and other fruit in the house, you're encouraging your family to make healthier eating choices. One way to present this alternative in a more appealing way is to make low-cal fruit smoothies for your kids, or teach them to do it themselves (if they're old enough). A proven method of helping to control portion size is to serve food on smaller plates. Not only does it create the illusion of a larger serving, but it helps to limit the size of second helpings. It doesn't work for everybody all the time, but it is worth a try! Offering ice water with meals, instead of sugary soda and fruit drinks, is another simple, but healthy habit for the family. A slice of lemon or lime can add to both the taste and visual appeal. There are literally dozens of other healthy food choices you can incorporate into your family's diet, but I'll leave those details to the nutritionists, dieticians, and medical professionals. There are also several authoritative websites online that can provide you with complete guidelines, recipes, healthy snacks, and meal plans. What About Exercise? As you've probably heard, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of health problems in people of all ages. Fortunately, there are at least as many choices for staying physically active as there are excuses for avoiding it. Even if the idea of heading to the gym four times a week sounds about as appealing as being trapped in an elevator with a door-to-door salesman, there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape. Low-impact sports, such as golf, tennis, and swimming, can provide an array of benefits for both the mind and body. When all else fails, there's always the option of taking a family walk in the park or neighborhood. Sometimes adding a dog into the mix can provide an additional incentive to go out and "hit the pavement." While all exercise and dietary programs should be approved by your physician before getting started, there are quite a few common-sense approaches to improving health, such as portion control, junk food reduction, and age-appropriate physical activity (taking in account medical restrictions and personal safety.)



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