Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Mid-year resolution: Get out and move!

Summer's here y'all! We're halfway through the year and some of us haven't followed through with our commitment to workout regularly.

If you're like me you don't love exercise, get bored easily, and are absolutely not willing to pay what the specialty gyms are asking (looking at you, SoulCycle and CrossFit). Fortunately, this season is the perfect time to get recommitted in a budget-friendly manner. Here are some suggestions:

1. Do anything with your kids, as long as it's outdoors. Whether it's going to the zoo, exploring your local parks (Rock Creek Park here in DC is my favorite), or even going to an amusement park, as long as you actively participate you'll burn a ton of calories and feel like you've run several miles.

        The cost: varies

2. Running/walking/hiking. These are excellent ways to see your city close up, not just through the car window. If you can't stand working out in soaring summer temps, start early in the morning or late in the evening, and freeze your water so it'll remain cold while you're out. Get a friend who's around the same fitness level (preferably slightly better, so you'll be pushed to improve) to join you. Finally, push yourself to go a little farther than the last time, and you'll be amazed with the results.

        The cost: invest in shoes (go to a specialty running store like Fleet Feet or Pacers) and socks, and wear breathable clothing. Replace your shoes every 200-300 miles.

3. Search for Free and Almost Free Things To Do: they won't all be exercise but most will cause you to be active. Something as small as walking around a festival can yield more than 10,000 steps.

        The cost: varies

4. Outdoor bootcamps: They're everywhere. Google the ones in your area, and realistically determine whether the time of day, price and location work for your schedule.

        The cost: $10-25 per session

5. Swimming. This is one of the best workouts, regardless of age or fitness level (especially if you've had a prior injury or health condition).

        The cost: minimal. A basic swimsuit, goggles and possibly a cap. Public pools are everywhere and typically free. Check your city's Department of Parks and Recreation for further information.

6. Bicycling. Cities are becoming more bike-friendly, so this is another great way to explore without a car. If you're leery of hitting the streets, search for nearby bike trails - even if there isn't a formal one, cycle bloggers have likely posted their favorite local paths.

        The cost: the bike. You can rent or buy one but beware, they're not cheap. If you're just getting started, you may want to consider a second hand or restored bike.

Enjoy the warm weather!

And so it is.