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A Must-Have Financial Calculator

A Must-Have Financial CalculatorTrying to figure out your budget and need that one must-have financial calculator? I might have what you've been looking for. As we all know financial health and stability depends upon making informed decisions about loans, debt, taxes, savings, and more. Unfortunately, most people (including first-time homebuyers!) lack a true understanding of how to apply math to help them clearly understand these essential areas.

While there are many specialized calculators out there for a particular area (say debt, or mortgage payments), there are few which consolidate all of the most popular financial calculators in one place. Not to mention, you can chalk up quite a bill paying $2-$5 for each independent calculator you may need.

Recently I discovered CalcMoolator, a handy online collection of calculators which also has easy-to-use apps for both iOS and Android devices. The most popular calculators include:

  • Auto Lease vs. Buy
  • Auto Loan Estimate
  • First-Year Baby Costs
  • Estimate Your Credit Score
  • Pay Off My Credit Card Debt Sooner
  • My Lifetime Earnings
  • Salary to Hourly Wage
  • Rent vs. Buy
  • What If I Pay More?
  • Mortgage Payment Estimate

Check out CalcMoolator for yourself: http://www.calcmoolator.com/

Thinking about getting your “financial house in order” before you buy real estate? Let’s connect! Call or text me at (617) 899-3162 or email me at mpallares55@gmail.com. I'm here to help.

7 Tips for Making the Most of Your Farmers' Market

Making the most of your local farmers' market.

With the rise of sustainability and “locavore” movements, farmers’ markets are growing in popularity almost everywhere you look. Farmers’ markets are a great way to lay hands on some of the freshest fruits and vegetables while supporting farmers and their families right in your community. My personal favorite is the Roslindale Village Main Street Farmers’ Market held in Adams Park on Saturdays. (For details, check them out at http://bit.ly/2d88HFY)

Though you might not be aware of it, there’s probably a farmers’ market near you, too. A good place to start is the Local Harvest website (http://www.localharvest.org/) which can help you find a variety of markets in the U.S.

If you’ve never shopped a farmers’ market before, don’t be intimidated! Below are some helpful tips to make your experience fun, affordable, and convenient:

1. Be sure to bring small cash bills (and change, if you have it). Typically ATM/Debit cards are not accepted. Payment is usually handled at farmers’ stands, not through a check-out line.

2. Having your hands free is a big plus, so consider carrying a fanny pack for securely storing your money. (Prevents you from having to put your wallet down...a big reason wallets get lost!)

3. Old strollers can make for handy shopping carts, plus they fold up nicely for transport to/from the market. Don’t forget any reusable bags you may have at home, too!

4. Don’t haggle for small lots of fruits and veggies. Looking to buy a big box? Then you might suggest a deal.

5. Some of the best tasting fruit may not look waxy and “supermarket fresh.” Don’t let this deter you. Often quality fruit from the farm is never shipped to supermarkets because it’s fragile. Handle gently, and don’t be afraid of minor cosmetic flaws.

6. If you want to ask farmers lots of questions, try to time your visit for very early when the market isn’t slammed.

7. Remember that fresh means seasonal! Go with an open mind, not a “must have” list. Part of the pleasure is discovering what’s at its peak and getting creative with ingredients.

Have you been to a farmers’ market in your own neighborhood? I’d love to hear what your favorites are! Leave your comments here.

Need A Hand? Let My Network of Contacts Work For You

 

Usually when agents start talking about referrals, people assume they’re hunting for new listings or more buyers to represent. This isn’t one of those posts! In fact, I wish more people would come to me looking for referrals in the community. My network of contacts is ready to work for you.

A good real estate agent knows people in the community you can trust, and I’m always happy to provide the connection. If you think about it, agents pretty much interact with all of the people dedicated to protecting, improving, or maintaining your biggest asset: Your home. Whether it’s a local insurance agent, an honest contractor, or a crack crew of yard and maintenance people, agents are great sources of “who you should know.” (We’re also reliable sources of locals-only community info!)

It’s too bad that agents are often involved only in the sale or purchase of a house. I prefer to think of myself as a lifetime consultant to my clients, and providing the names of people I would stake my reputation on is simply a part of my ethical obligation to serve. So, by all means, if you’re looking for someone in the neighborhood, do drop me a line or just call or text me. I’d be more than happy to help: You can always reach me at mpallares55@gmail.com or (617) 899-3162.

Less Stuff, More Happiness: Taking Steps to Unclutter Your Home

I often work with clients who find themselves outgrowing their home. Sometimes these are couples who have welcomed their first child into the world; an avid collector who can't bear to part with piles of possessions; and, other times it’s the simple accumulation of the family's “stuff” over time which has crowded their house.

While I’m always glad to help homeowners make the “upgrade” to a bigger home, I’m also interested in helping them make the most of the home they have today. Given the amount of time we spend in our homes, it makes sense to work towards a clutter-free, organized, peaceful environment.

Sometimes I work with clients who find the things they own have ended up “owning them.” What we own and what we actually use are often very different, and what we don’t use can take up a lot of space. Have you ever calculated the usable square footage an abandoned treadmill or stationary bike takes up in a spare room or garage?

Recently, I came across a very interesting guide to help clients and friends “unclutter” their lives. Written by Dinah Sanders, Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff is a handy way to approach the problem of a packed house (and the stresses associated it). From a review of the Discardia:

“With three key principles and numerous practical tips, Discardia helps you solve specific issues, carve away the nonsense of physical objects, habits, or emotional baggage, and uncover what brings you joy.”

Whether you’re looking to downsize, feel cramped in your current home, or get a sense that you could have more happiness if you had “less stuff,” I recommend you check out this actionable, inspiring, (but not sappy) book. Dinah also runs a blog (http://www.discardia.com/) where you can learn more about her approach and read articles on the topic of enjoying more with less.

If you’re looking to upgrade or downgrade your home, I’d be happy to help. Get in touch via phone or text at (617) 899-3162 or shoot me an email at mpallares55@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you.

Fund-Raising Walks and Runs: Taking Steps Towards Good Causes

It will be peak season soon for fund-raising walks and runs.A change of season means a shift in many facets of our lives: getting out those sweaters, putting away the water wings, loading up on firewood. It’s an exciting time of year as we turn to another page on the calendar. With summer vacations over and cooler weather in store, many charities and non-profits schedule their fund-raising walks and runs in the Fall in order to attract the most volunteers.

If you’ve given any thought to using your daily steps towards a good cause, I’ve found the perfect website for you. Check out Active.com, a site focused on providing information about walking and running activities. To make it even easier for you, here’s the link that takes you straight to Massachusetts walk/run fundraisers: http://bit.ly/2bQF3mz

Whether you plan to get out and put your feet to good use or simply want to enjoy one of the best seasons in New England, I hope that you and your family will have a fun and healthy season.

Michael A. Pallares

at Andrew Mitchell & Company

617-899-3162 | mpallares55@gmail.com Offices in Concord & Marion, Ma