My First Home By Shashank Shekhar Review

Cover picture of My First Home by Shashank Shekhar.

Are you dreaming of owning your own home? Would you like to avoid the pitfalls of buying a home? Before you do anything else read My First Home: A step-by-step guide to achieving the ultimate American dream by Shashank Shekhar with Richa Sarin.

Reading this book could save you a lot of time and trouble.

The author walks you through the process of buying a home from being sure you are ready to buy a home, finding a Home Buying Team, and getting Pre-Approved, all the way to living in your house and making it a home.

There is a lot of good advice in this book. The author recommends getting out of debt, and saving up for a deposit, before you do anything else. That does make it lots easier.

Chapters include information on how to start looking for a house, knowing what kind of home you want, some things to look out for, getting a mortgage, home inspections and appraisals, how to hold titles, and tips on saving money on utilities.

The book is well written and easy to understand without making you feel like he is talking down to you. I like that.

You can buy a copy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


 First time home buying is a special occasion in everyone’s life. But because of the complexities around it, most people approach it with a mix of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. I wrote this book with the sole purpose of making the process easier and more predictable.

This book first helps you in deciding whether you are ready to buy or not and then gives a step-by-step instruction on what you can expect along the process should you decide to buy. The book takes it a step further and even advises you on steps you can take to remain a happy homeowner.

Few things have greater impact on net worth than owning a home. In a comparison of renters versus homeowners, the Federal Reserve Board of Consumer Finance found that the average net worth of renters was just $4,000 compared to homeowners at $184,400.

Homeowners create positive environments for families. Children of homeowners are 59% more likely to become homeowners. Their children are also 25% more likely to graduate from high school and 116% more likely to graduate from college. (Source – Rossi and Weber National Survey of Families.)

There can be no other benefit that can beat the emotional satisfaction of home ownership. Whether it’s having the nicest lawn on the block, or having your own backyard and garage or being able to color the walls the way you want, it is so much more fun than renting.

Remaining in one neighborhood for several years lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

A home often symbolizes family, rest and security — it’s not just four walls and a room. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking and a personal milestone.

Just a few simple steps before you write that purchase offer can turn your fortune and have other would-be buyers wondering – what are they doing that I’m not?

After all, even though we pretend to look logical, most of our decisions are based on emotions.

Establishing a good credit history has never been as important as it is today. It’s not just that you’ll need good credit to get decent rates when you’re ready to buy a home or a car. Your credit history can determine whether you get a good job, a decent apartment or reasonable rates on insurance. It’s a classic Catch-22: You’ve got to have credit to get credit. So where do you start?

To get the best credit score, you need a mix of different credit types including revolving accounts (credit cards, lines of credit) and installment accounts (auto loans, personal loans, mortgages).

About the Author:

Promo pic of Author Shashank Shekhar.

Shashank Shekhar is the founder and CEO of Arcus Lending, which has grown over 1000% in the last three years by helping thousands of families secure better financing for their homes. He is a well-known writer and blogger in his field, and has been featured in Yahoo! News, FOX, The Washington Post,, Huffington Post and several other media outlets for his expertise.

Shekhar is the best-selling author of  First Time Home Buying 101, Real Estate Unleashed, and the much anticipated My First Home: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Ultimate American Dream. He is the host of the TV and radio show, “Mortgage Matters,” and was interviewed by Emmy Award-winning director Nick Nanton on his TV show.

His awards include: “Top 40 Under 40′′ most influential mortgage professionals in the country for 2012, 2013 and 2014 by National Mortgage Professional Magazine; “Hot 100′′ movers and shakers in the country by Mortgage Professional America (MPA) for 2014, 2015, 2016; “Top 200 loan officers in the country” (ranked by production volume) by Origination News – 2014, 2015, 2016; “Top 25 most connected mortgage professionals in the country” in 2011 and 2014 by National Mortgage Professional Magazine; Scotsman Guide Top Originators – 2015, 2016; Nominated for “Entrepreneur of the Year” award at Silicon Valley Awards, 2013.

Shashank has an MBA in marketing, and before founding Arcus Lending, worked for GE Money in mid-level management and worked for a start-up mortgage origination company as Director of Product Management.  He credits the success of Arcus Lending to legendary customer service and an unrelenting focus on education. Shashank lives and breathes the mantra “We are in the customer service and education business; we just happen to do mortgages.”

Shashank sits on the board of Give India, a non-profit that works for fundraising for Indian charities. He is a homeowner in Saratoga, CA with his wife Smita and two daughters, Anishka and Anya. When he is not busy growing his company, he can be seen skydiving from 15,000 feet or learning biohacking techniques.

I received a free book to review.

Save Money With Motion Sensor LED Lights

MSLPro Motion Sensing Socket PlugThe MSLPro Motion Sensing Socket Plug is a great way to save on lighting costs.

It uses a regular LED light bulb that puts out about 475 Lumens. That is about the same as a 40 watt incandescent bulb, which is plenty of light for most purposes.

I put the one we got in our kitchen. I had it by the door at first but I had to move it because the light shined into our bedroom, right on my husbands face. Not a good thing.

I moved it to the other side of the kitchen and it works really great. It lights up the whole kitchen well enough for most things. I do like having the overhead light on when I’m cooking though.

Motion Sensor Plug Light.

It has three different settings you can change, the motion sensing distance, the time it stays on, and whether it will come on in the daytime.

Since our kitchen is usually nice and bright during the day, I set it to only come on after dark. It will come on during storms or on cloudy days too, but mostly only at night.

I also set the distance so it would come on when someone walked into the kitchen, and to stay on for 3 minutes. The stay on timer counts from when it last detects motion.  You can set it to stay on from 25 seconds to 5 minutes. If you keep moving it will stay on.

I originally set it to only stay on for about 1 minute, but my husband wanted it to stay on long enough for him to get the coffee maker going in the morning, and the coffee maker is just out of range of the motion sensor on the other side of the kitchen (weird angles in this house).

He used to turn the light on and just leave it on so he could see when he came back down the hall. Now with this light we are saving electricity because it goes off while he isn’t in there. I really like that.

I would love to replace just about all the lights in our house with motion sensor lights.

I received a free product to review.

Secrets Of A Closet Millionaire By Michele Ashby

Secrets of a Closet Millionaire by Michele Ashby.If you have read a lot of books about money management, and budgeting, but still don’t “get it”, Secrets of a Closet Millionaire could be the book for you.

The author says she read a lot of books, and knew a lot about finance, but didn’t really “get it” herself at first.

Then she met a man who helped figure out a “get well plan”, and she was on her way to becoming the master of her money.

In this book she tells how she did it, and gives you some ideas of how you can do it too.

I like the way she presents the information in this book. I have read a few books about finances, and getting out of debt, so I was already familiar with most of the concepts, but haven’t ever managed to actually put them into practice on a consistent basis.

Some of the advice in this book helped with that. I think (not absolutely sure YET) that I actually “get it” now.

About the book :

Secrets of a Closet Millionaire offers step-by-step guidance so you can take charge of your money and your life. Part how-to and part memoir, Michele teaches you about getting real with your money–to fully understand it and get it to behave how you want. Secrets of a Closet Millionaire helps you answer questions such as:

* How can I clear my debt AND save for my future?
* How do I pay myself first when I owe everyone else?
* How can I live without credit cards?
* How can I relieve my money worries?
* How much money will I need for my retirement?

Financial expert, Michele Ashby, will help you put together your Get Well Plan and guide you to fulfill it. Through the art of money mastery, you can be freed from financial stress and worry to live the life of your dreams.

About the Author:

Picture of Author Michele Ashby.Michele Ashby has three decades of experience working as a stockbroker, holistic financial guide and international business consultant. She became a well-known mining analyst and parlayed her expertise of the mining industry into a successful trade association for the gold mining business and their largest institutional investors.

Ashby is also founder and president of Dani’s Foundation, a non-profit organization created in memory of Michele’s daughter, Dani Stell, who passed away in 1999 from Ewing’s Sarcoma.


I received a free book to review.

Easy Way To Keep Up With Your Money

I have never been really good at budgeting. I always thought budgeting was hard and got frustrated with trying to figure out how to portion out my money.

I have tried several money management programs through the years including Microsoft money when it first came out years ago.

Back then everything had to be put in manually and I would always end up forgetting to put something in and get confused when nothing matched. Or I would just get frustrated with tying to set it up so I could actually see where it was going.

I tried a couple of other programs last year and though they have improved a great deal in the last few years (you can now download all your bank info) they still seem too confusing to me.

I could figure out how to track my checking pretty easy with all of those programs.  Unfortunately figuring out how to get all the other accounts (savings, credit cards, cash) on there so I knew where all my money was and what it should be used for was just frustrating and I gave up.

Logo for You Need A Budget.

But then I saw a post about the You Need A Budget software.  I downloaded the free 34 day free trial and got it all set up within an hour or so. It only took that long because of putting in ALL my accounts at one time. I wanted to get it all done and over with.

What I really really like about this program is that it has a separate budget section.  The program allows you to set accounts as being either on the budget or off the budget. If it is on the budget then it shows on your budget page. If the account is off budget it doesn’t show on your budget page and you manage it separately.

So I can see everything that affects my budget in one place. I have it set up with master categories for things that have to be paid each month (mortgage, water bill, electric), things that are optional (cable, phone), things that need to be paid quarterly or yearly (insurance, taxes), and things that we are saving up for (new car, emergencies).

One of the best things about this program is that you are NOT supposed to budget any money until you actually have that money in your hand (or account).  At that time you add the income to the program and figure out what you need(or want) to use the money for. I have a category for dinners out…just because I like eating out occasionally and I would feel deprived if I couldn’t do that at all.

That makes it much easier to figure out how much money you can spend or if you even have any discretionary money. One of my problems always was forgetting what needed to be paid and spending too much on something else.

Now I can set up the budget and see exactly how much is needed where. I am loving this program and I went on and bought my very own copy. You can use the program on multiple computers or on a mobile device as long as all of those are for your own use. So if you are out shopping you could check your budget to see if you have money while you are in the store.

You can download a 34 day free trial of the software here if you would like to try it out yourself. If you decide you like the program and decide to buy it (like I did) you can get a discount by coming back here and using this $6 off link.

Their website has some really good tutorials that walk you through just about everything you might want to do with it. And a great support section too.

Gamers Helping Children

Well indirectly helping children. They are raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital which treats at least 500,000 children a year (from all over the place).

The really great thing about this hospital is that it treats the kids even if their family can’t pay. Which means that they really NEED donations to help keep them running. After all they do have to pay the electric bill no matter what.

One of the employees of Turbine (makers of Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Asheron’s Call) has a team on Extra Life that is collecting donations.

They are putting up a few incentives for folks to donate. You could see a picture of him with his beard dyed some really funky colors.

There are some in game (LOTRO) prizes too. Titles and steeds mostly. One person will win a lifetime subscription to Lord of the Rings Online. If you were interested in trying it out then make a donation. The minimum to qualify for the prize is $5.

They have almost reached the latest goal but are trying to get as many donations as possible by November 2.

Remember this money will be going to Boston Children’s Hospital to help pay for treatment for children suffering from nasty stuff like cancer and cystic fibrosis and the hospital also does research to try to find better treatments.

It is a great cause! Please check out the fundraising page and make a donation!

Raising Money For Medical Bills On GiveForward

GiveForward is a crowd-funding site where you can set up a fund raiser for friends or family with medical needs.

I found it through a link on Facebook where a lady was raising money to help get a wheelchair for a dog.

So you can use it for veterinarian bills too. Actually I haven’t seen anything on there that says you can’t use it for just about anything…but most of the fundraisers seem to be for medical bills.

My husband is in need of Dental care and since he has no insurance and because we are still trying to pay off the bill for getting my teeth fixed I set up a fundraiser for him.

His teeth have been getting worse for years. I tried to talk him into going to the dentist before but he was always afraid it was going to cost an arm and a leg. He was right about that.

He wouldn’t have gone to the dentist now either except his teeth are starting to hurt and he doesn’t deal with pain very well at all. When he is hurting he wants to go somewhere and hide and he gets really grumpy.

He wanted to just have a couple of teeth pulled but the dentist insisted on doing some x-rays which cost a hundred bucks just for those! It was a good thing they did because they don’t think the ones my hubby wanted to pull are what’s making him hurt so much. I guess it is hard to tell.

Anyway they want to pull them all and get him some dentures and it will cost an arm and a leg. We don’t have the money. They do have “options” for making payments.  We will do that if we have to but would really rather not because it will end up costing a whole lot more in the long run (paying interest sucks).

So would you please check out GiveForward  and share this post!

You can also share using the widget in my sidebar.


That Rebate Sure Went Fast

We did get a small refund on our State taxes this year. It has already come in and been spent.

We got my hubby a couple of  McDavid wrist supports and a couple of books about small engine repair. One for really small engines (weed-whackers) and one for larger engines (lawn mowers).

McDavid Wrist Support.

The Federal tax hasn’t come in yet and I have no idea what we will do with it. So far as I know right now there isn’t anything we actually NEED…except to pay bills. So that is probably where it will go.

This year was the first time I ever did our taxes myself. My mom used to do them but she decided this year that it would easier and probably cheaper to just take them to a professional.

Ours were pretty easy. We qualified to use the free online programs you can get to from the IRS site.

I picked the Turbo Tax one because it did both Federal and State and because it is supposed to be pretty easy.

It did turn out to be pretty easy. It guides you through it one step at a time.

It also went pretty quick. The only time consuming part was typing in the information. So I’ll probably do the same thing next year. If we don’t qualify for the free program then I’ll use the paid one. It doesn’t cost all that much and is worth it to get it out of the way so we don’t have to worry about it any more.

Which is a heck of a relief. Not to mention spending the money is fun!

Have you got your refund yet? What did you do with it? If you spent it…what did you buy?

Prompts are fun

Monetize Your Blog By Writing Sponsored Posts For Social Spark

Monetize Your Blog By Writing Sponsored Posts For Social Spark

set your price start getting paid with social spark

Edit : Social Spark is Now Izea Marketplace, and you can now make money off several of your social media accounts there, including Twitter and Facebook, as well as your blog.

Social Spark is one of the few programs that I have actually made money with.  I have reached the payout amount once so far amd I’m almost there again.

I like Social Spark for several reasons. One is that they use no follow links ins all their posts. That means you can’t get in trouble with Google! So if you are trying to get higher page rank this program won’t hurt you. They also include a disclosure statement at the bottom of each post.

It also works for Blogger and several other platforms as well as for self hosted wordpress blogs.

Another good thing is that you can set your own price. If you don’t want to bother with writing posts for less than $10 then you can set that in your account settings. You can negotiate the price of deals too if you would like more than they are offering.

They also have pretty good customer service. The only two times I have had to use it they got back to me within a day about my problem.

They only thing I didn’t really like was that you write your posts on their site and you have to give them permission to post to your blog. So you need to set up a special account for that. Just create an author account and give them the log in info for that.

In order to sign up you must have your own blog  that is written in english or spanish. Your blog  must contain original content, and must be at least 90 days old and have 20 posts that were writting in the last 90 days.

It also can’t have anything illegal, excessive profanity, adult content, or advocate anything illegal.

Their interface is pretty easy to use. If you do sign up for Social Spark I would appreciate you using my link! And holler at me if you have any questions.


Winter Wonder Week

Winter Wonder Week


Welcome to Winter Wonder Week!

100 bloggers have pulled together to offer some great prizes to help you celebrate the holidays this Winter! Up for grabs are:

  • $500.00 CASH paid via PayPal from all of the participating blogs
  • Epson Artisan 837 all in one
  • $100 Gift Card from Howard Computers
  • 3pc. Gaming Bundle from Newbie Technology
  • Kindle from Jolly Savers
  • iPad 2 from a Super Secret Sponsor (they’re a nonprofit who have asked to remain anonymous – they just ask you remember the pets this holiday)

As you visit the different blogs you’ll find some may have a secret image. That image shows you have earned an extra  5 entries! Without further ado, let the wonder begin!


Problogger Secrets To Blogging Your Way To A Six Figure Income Giveaway

Problogger Secrets To Blogging Your Way To A Six Figure Income Giveaway

Problogger secrets for blogging your way to a six figure income I’m giving away my used copy of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

It has a lot of tips for Bloggers who want to make some money with their blogs.

It is a used book and the cover has a bit of wear but it is still in good condition.

You can go read the book review I did a while back if you want to know more about the book.

This is limited to folks in the U.S. because I have to ship it myself. I have another international giveaway coming up in a few days though!

Read More

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