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First-Time Homebuyer Grants

If you are a first-time homebuyer looking to make your entry into the real estate market, you might benefit from government grants that specifically assist new buyers. These first-time homebuyer grants are designed to financially assist those looking to make their first purchase or, within certain parameters, to make another purchase after a specific amount of time out of the market. First-time homebuyer grants help with the down payment, the maintenance or the repairs necessary on a primary residence. In Ohio, you can use the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s First-Time Homebuyer program to receive a tax credit of 40 percent of the home mortgage interest up to $2,000.

The type of assistance you can receive for your home purchase will depend upon variables such as your income, your credit history, your family status, your professional background and more. To apply for grants or loans for which you are eligible, you will have to contact your local Public Housing Authority (PHA), your county or state housing authorities, or the federal housing representatives at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as applicable for the specific program you seek.

Tips for Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace in Ohio

Navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace can be daunting. The best way to start exploring health care options is to determine which coverage levels and plans apply to your specific medical needs. Listed below are the coverage levels currently available in Ohio:

  • Bronze – Characterized by the lowest premiums and the highest deductibles. Recommended if you seldom need care and are only looking for a plan to help cover medical emergencies, as most of your routine care will need to be paid out of pocket.
  • Silver – You will pay a moderate premium with a moderate deductible, recommended if you qualify for “extra savings”.
  • Gold – Most of your medical expenses will be covered. You will have to pay a high monthly premium but will get a low deductible in exchange.
  • Platinum – Platinum level coverage has the highest premiums but also the lowest deductibles. If you require regular care from multiple physicians, this plan may be best for you, as it will cover almost all of your medical expenses.
  • Catastrophic – To qualify you must be younger than 30 years of age and meet the hardship exemption requirements. This plan has very low premiums but very high deductibles and minimal coverage.

After picking a coverage level, you will need to pick a plan under that category. Here are the plans currently available at most coverage levels:

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan – Limit your coverage by providing care from only doctors that work directly for them, and do not cover out-of-network care unless it is an emergency.
  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Plan – Managed care plans that will only cover services from doctors, specialists, and hospitals in their network. Medical emergencies are the only exception.
  • Point of Service (POS) Plan – You will need a referral to see doctors or specialists outside of your plan’s network and will have to pay extra, but will pay less for using doctors and hospitals within the POS’s network.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan – You pay less to see providers within the network, but you can use doctors, hospitals and specialists outside of the network without a referral.

What to Look for in Job Postings

Understanding what to look for in a job posting and how to best position yourself for an interview can help you reach a successful conclusion to your job search. Job postings tend to be generally similar in their content, with variations for industry and certain companies that take a different approach to hiring in order to match their company culture. A job posting typically has each of the following sections:

  • Job title: The job title should indicate the level of management and the general skills and experience required of a candidate.
  • Job requirements: These are the expectations of a candidate on a regular basis in this role. If you can at least match some of the requirements, and with a bit of work needed to meet the others, it is still worth your time to apply.
  • Desired skills: If you have these additional desired skills but lack some of the required skills, it is worth mentioning in your cover letter where you excel and can fulfill their additional skill requests.
  • Responsibilities: This section will offer insight into the daily tasks and annual expectations of the job. You should be able to gather enough information from this section to know whether or not this role suits you and meets your own professional needs and goals.
  • Company profile: This section might be fairly generic and even copied from the company website, but you can still glean information from these details that will help you determine whether or not this particular company and this specific role are right for you.
  • Pay and benefits: This section might be vague, but you should be able to decipher if the pay is hourly or salary, as well as the potential benefits or other compensation you could expect to receive.
  • How to apply: This is a critical detail for you to pay special attention to. Follow these application instructions carefully, noting to whom and how to submit your application, maximum length for a cover letter or resume, types of application documents to include and any other details.

Once you know how to read the job posting and how to discern the little nuances included via word choice and descriptions, you can better apply for the position using that information. Do your own research beyond the job posting to find out who will be reading your application documents so you can personalize your correspondence. These little changes in how you apply for a job can be the difference in successfully completing your job search.

How Coupons Can Save You Money

Basic couponing is a popular tactic you can use in many different situations, such as when shopping online or in brick-and-mortar retail stores. If you are wondering if you can benefit from couponing, the answer will almost always be yes. However, you must balance your needs and your available time against what you can gain from the process of couponing. To do that, you must fully understand the positive aspects of coupon deals. The most common benefits of couponing are listed below.

  • Coupons Can Allow Your To Try New Products: if you coupon on a regular basis, you will quickly notice that companies often release manufacturer coupons when they sell new products. Company executives want consumers like you to become acquainted with such products to quickly increase sales. Therefore, they are willing to sell new products at lower than desired prices for short periods of time.
  • You Can Combine Coupons With Other Sales For Extra Savings: Store sales can often be combined with manufacturer coupons, store coupons, rebates, and store loyalty perks. To make the most of combining all those deals, study how store coupon policies work.
  • Coupons Can Help You Stockpile Goods You Frequently Use: Buy items with long shelf lives or that are non-perishable (paper towels, toilet paper, soap, and canned goods) in bulk in order to save money and stay stocked with essentials.