Spruce Grove Mortgage Broker: Krista Lindstrom
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Who taught you about money?

My parents are still married after four decades together and recently retired after they successfully sold their business. My in-laws have also been married for four decades, and both couples live happily thru retirement. How did they do that? How did they like each enough to stay together that long, and how did they save enough money to be retired while they still had their health?

Tightening the belt

As I think back to some of my memories growing up, I can remember my mom and dad calling a “family meeting”. I hated these growing up…(mostly because my friends made fun of me) I think I was in grade eight? My mom had quit her job in accounting for my parents to build a car wash. I knew something big was going down because my mom was in tears.

As I sat and listened, I learned that my parents had put a mortgage on our family home (that was previously paid off) and had used every possible shoebox stash of money they had. My mom was crying because the car wash had encountered some delays opening its doors (as any project does) and they were out of money. They were not going to be able to buy my brother and me back-to-school clothes.

As I think about that today. The message that was sent to my brother and me. The message was “if you don’t have money to pay for it – you go without.” And we did . . . we went without new back-to-school clothes and it wasn’t the end of the world.

I certainly wasn’t traumatized by it. I learned a much bigger lesson. Live within my means and if I didn’t have the money to pay for it in my bank account, I didn’t get it. That lesson has stuck with me my entire life. And today we operate our household finances the same way.

Pinch the pennies

I was very fortunate in relationship number two, that he was raised the exact same way I was. In the early parts of our relationship, I quickly realized that he was better at money than I was. He spread larger expenses out over the year and made sure our bank account went in the right direction every month. In the event, if went backwards there was a conversation between us on what happened and how we were going to fix it.

I remember my father-in-law coming to visit and for the first time, I heard him say if you pinch the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. I think of him every time I am grocery shopping and it’s really cold and I don’t want to take the buggy back to get my $1 back.

Where did Canadians go wrong?

When I think about the headline, we see almost weekly “Canadian debt increasing at an alarming rate,” I think, where did Canadians go wrong? Well, I think a lot of it comes down to marketing. When did it become ok to only advertise how much a monthly payment is for something instead of what the total cost is?

The worst financial choice a consumer can make is to allow a “balloon payment” at the end of financing or to finance a vehicle (a depreciating asset) greater than five years. When you enter any financing situation the question you should always ask yourself is “what is my exit strategy?” If you don’t have a good one then you better not do it.

Ask more questions

The other thing I absolutely despise and is a VERY poor financial decision is to finance a boat or RV over 25 years. Not only are these recreation pieces a depreciating asset but your overall cost is astronomically amortized over 25 years. My mentality on this is if you can’t afford to buy a piece of recreation equipment with cash . . . do not buy it!

I assure you that you don’t need a $100,000 boat or RV. Save some money, and spend a few hours on Kijiji. We need to ask more questions and be better thinkers about what our financial future looks like.

I recently bought a new to me vehicle and I am so excited about it….no car payment! It’s not fancy, 2017 Honda Civic touring, but it had 17,000kms on it when we bought it cash. But I have pure joy when I fill gas and its $35 for a full tank that lasts me 10 days and my insurance cost cut in half from my previous Nissan Murano.

I learned the hard way with that Murano…I (not my husband) wanted to buy it new from the dealer. So, we did, and when we sold it after three years our deprecation on that vehicle was $10k per year. OUCH! My plan is way more practical this time. When I go to sell it three years my depreciation cost should be about $1500 per year. Yes, I clearly learned the hard way.

How do you sleep at night?

In closing, I think we need to go back in time with how we think. Does all that debt to look like you have the biggest and the best really bring you that much joy? How do you sleep at night? What happens if you get sick or injured and you can’t work? Do some basic math and figure out how much that purchase is actually costing you? Who cares what the damn payment is – what is the hard cost of owning it? And if you can honestly say that you can afford it and it will bring you total happiness with no regret – then please proceed. Me? I like nice things, but I sleep better with money in my bank account.

Storage Tips for Spring Cleaning | Home Tips

When winter finally decides to release its grip on the world, there are a lot of things that you suddenly find yourself able to do. Many people choose to use their newfound spring freedom to clean, tidy and reorganize their home. Because spring cleaning is more than just a light tidy-up, many people use it as a reason to clean and reorganize parts of their home that don’t see daily use, like storage closets and garage shelves. Tidy, organized storage is an important part of a clean, clutter-free home, so it’s important to keep on top of your storage spaces. Here are some ways to do that:

Appropriate Containers
Stored items are usually things you don’t use very often, but plan to use at some point. It’s important to store your things in containers that will protect them from damage, accidents, weather, rodents and moisture. While some things are safe enough in cardboard boxes, especially fragile items whose boxes include Styrofoam padding, other things such as clothing should be kept in waterproof plastic containers. Small, loose items are best stored in a container with drawers or other small compartments for easy organization.

When you’re planning how best to use your storage spaces, keep in mind which items you will be using the most often and keep them accessible. Sentimental items that you won’t want to access very often can be kept in the back of your storage closet. Things that you will want to find on a regular basis, like camping gear or holiday decorations, should be kept where they will be easy to find without making a mess of your closet.

Clear Labeling
There are few things more frustrating than looking for an object that you know is in “one of these boxes”, but not remembering which one of a dozen identical containers it’s kept in. This is why storage should always be clearly labeled. Some storage boxes come with built in labels. Others need to be labeled with pens and tape, or with permanent markers. Try to make your storage labeling as specific as possible. For instance, rather than simply writing “books” on a box, add some clues as to which books they are, such as “reference books” or “novels, authors A-D”. It takes a bit of extra time, but it will save you a lot of time and mess when you go on the hunt for a particular item.

Take Stock
Finally, make sure that you are taking regular stock of your storage spaces. Every spring cleaning, take an honest look at what you’re storing and get rid of things that truly don’t need to be there. Check for damaged boxes and make any repairs and replacements necessary to keep things in good condition. Do this every year for a tidy, efficient home!

Follow my mortgage and home blog for more tips like these! 

6 Tips to Sell Your Home Quickly | Mortgage Broker

If you’ve ever tried to sell a house quickly before you know how difficult it can be. You wait daily for the ideal buyer to make a reasonable offer, and hope everything will run smoothly. Unfortunately, this rarely goes smoothly. The good news is that you can speed up the process with the following six tips to sell your home quickly.

It’s important to note that the following tips to sell your home quickly work in any market, including the current Alberta atmosphere.

  1. Make Your House Less Homey

Although you’ve probably put a lot blood, sweat and tears into making your house a home, this is not a plus as a selling feature. When people are looking at new homes, they want to try to visualize their family living there – they don’t want to see your lifestyle.

Declutter and simplify your house. Make sure it’s clean and welcoming for potential home buyers and give them the opportunity to dream about what it will look like when they move in.  Take down family photos, wall decals and fold up handmade quilts.

  1. Hire a Professional to Take Pictures

To engage house shoppers you need to have bright and professional photographs to entice them. Using your cell phone works great for vacation photos but grainy, un-centered pictures are not a great selling feature.

  1. Price Your Home Competitively

You need to be realistic when you list the price you want for your house. If you price it too high, you won’t get very many offers and the listing will eventually go stale. On the other hand, if you price it too low, you’re not being fair to yourself.

  1. Make Necessary Repairs

To sell your house quickly you don’t want anything to go wrong because you fail to pass a home inspection.  If there is something that needs replacing that will affect the inspection, make sure you fix or replace it.

  1. Go Easy on Upgrades

Don’t spend thousands of dollars remodeling, because that could take months. As well, chances are high that you will not get your money back, and it can be more of a selling feature without upgrades. Potential home buyers may not buy because they would have wanted a different ambiance than you chose. However, minor fixes like leaky faucets and holes in the all are a must.

  1. Clean up the Yard

Since your yard is the first thing potential buyers will see, make sure your yard is inviting. If you’re not sure you can look at your yard objectively, you can get someone else’s opinion; such as a friend, neighbor, or real estate professional.  After your house is up for sale, make sure you clear away debris, mow your lawn regularly, or shovel snow.  If you have a dog, scoop that poop. No potential buyer wants to see that.

Krista Lindstrom is a mortgage broker that specializes in helping divorcing spouses buy out their spouse. If you want to dissolve financial ties with your ex, you can visit our website for more information on the process.

5 Quick and Easy Healthy Recipes for 2016

Are you looking for some healthy quick and easy recipes for this year? There are many recipes that you can introduce to your loved ones, and they will become family favorites. The steps are easy to follow, and they can all be made in about an hour.

Note that if you look up these ideas on allrecipes.com, you’ll find tons of great tweaks to each one, along with hundreds of reviews and advice from those that have made the dish.

Surprise your family or your guests

One quick and easy recipe you should try is Yorkshire pudding. All you will need is flour, milk, salt and eggs, and roast beef pan drippings. It will work well with roast beef, and it will become a popular meal with your family. You will be pleased with how it turns out, and the pudding will stand tall with a hollow centre with lots of gravy. It only takes fifteen minutes to prepare, and it will be ready in less than an hour. Additionally, it will make a great addition to a family meal, or even on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Another recipe is the quick beef stir fry that will be great for a weeknight meal. It has thin slices of beef sirloin which are stir-fried with lots of vegetables and soy sauce. You can even add some grated ginger for a unique taste. Both of these recipes won’t take long to cook, and they will please even the fussiest eaters.

Meals with a unique twist

If you’re looking for something with a little spice, then you will like the recipe for curried chicken and brown rice casserole. It is full of flavor, and it is healthy and light as well.  It will only take over an hour, and the steps for the recipe are easy to follow. Moreover, it is a nice substitute for other curries you may have tried, and you will enjoy the unique taste.

There are also some delicious chicken recipes, and one of them is garlic chicken. It has garlic powder, onion powder and seasoning salt, and all you have to do is sauté the ingredients together, and it will only take you twenty minutes. This is another good recipe if you have a busy family, and you will love the seasoning on the chicken. This is a good recipe for someone who is learning how to cook as well. Just be sure to handle the chicken carefully to eliminate cross contamination of bacteria in your kitchen.

Does your family like fish? The kiss salmon recipe will be something your family will enjoy. You only need three ingredients for this meal, and you can serve it with rice or vegetables to make it a complete dish. The barbecue sauce will give it a unique taste, and it will be a nice change from regular salmon.  It will only take forty-five minutes, and it is suitable for a family of four.

Any of these recipes will bring your family together, and they will ask for seconds. Additionally, they are healthy, and low in fat and calories. Therefore, you know you will be feeding your family healthy food. Whether it be a formal gathering or a weeknight meal, you will enjoy the memories created with these meals. That is why I am dedicated to helping you eat healthier, and you won’t have to compensate for the taste.

Call Spousal Buyout Specialist Krista Lindstrom, today!

New Year, New Décor Tips for Your Home | Home Tips

With a new year comes new styles. Maybe you want to revamp your wardrobe or sport a new hairstyle, or better yet, spruce up your home. One of your New Year resolutions may have been to implement a new style or new décor into your home; a fresh, new coat of paint can really make your house pop. However, it can be hard to know where to start, and figuring out which styles are ‘in’ can be overwhelming. Following these tips and tricks for bringing some new elements into your home will help you be well on your way to the new and improved home you want!

  1. Change up your entrance
    The first thing that people see when they visit your home is your front door. You want to make it looks as inviting as possible to visitors, and it doesn’t hurt to add some curb appeal. Add a door with a splash of colour such as yellow or red, repaint your worn-down porch, and sprinkle in some outdoor décor. With these additions, your exterior is sure to shine.
  2. Keep the tone neutral
    When decorating your home, it can be fun picking out exciting wall colours. Vibrant blues and pastel pinks can be eye-catching, and may seem like a good idea at the moment. However, it’s worth it to keep your wall colours neutral so that they are able to flow with the rest of your home. To make the walls pop, choose one wall in the room to be an accent wall and use it for your colourful expression.
  3. Drape your home in sunlight
    There’s nothing worse than a home that looks dark and dreary. Brighten up your space with some light, sheer curtains that can allow sunlight to shine through. A bright and cheerful space can be the one element that re-vamps your whole home.
  4. Add lighting to rooms in need
    Many rooms don’t have the option to bring in natural lighting. While natural sunlight is optimal, added lighting can be just as good. There are many lamps that can add the light you need while also doubling as decoration. Choose sleek floor or table lamps to make your dull space look cozy.
  5. Utilize area rugs
    Area rugs can add a touch of style to any room for a low cost. Most area rugs run anywhere from $99 to $400 dollars (in the modest range), and can be used in the living room, bed room or office space, preferably rooms with hardwood flooring. You can purchase rugs in an array of colours and design which you can use to compliment your theme.

There are many different approaches to re-vamping your home. Especially in the New Year, you want to make sure your spaces have fresh new looks and are keeping up with trends. There’s nothing better than starting off a New Year right by overhauling your home and setting the tone for the rest of the year.

For more home tips keep an eye on my mortgage blog.