house hunting tips

5 Easy Tips For Smart and Successful House Hunting

Looking for a new home, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned veteran, can be a very exciting event in life. It can also be quite stressful, especially if you aren’t sure what you want out of a home. When you’re looking to buy a home, you wan to make sure that it’s not just a home that you love. You also want to ensure that it won’t elicit buyer’s remorse, whether it’s a bit too pricey or has certain features that wind up frustrating you. After all, it’s the largest and probably the most important investment that you will make in your life!

If you aren’t sure where to begin with your house hunting adventures, consult with these 5 quick tips below!

Nail Down a Budget (and Stick With It!) – Before you even think about heading over to a realtor’s website to look at the homes for sale, sit down and look at your income and expenses. What can you comfortably afford? Keep in mind that your monthly mortgage payments should be no more than 30% of your income. Determine your price range that matches your budget well and start looking! This helps prevent a lot of heartache in the future.

Keep Extra Costs In Mind – You might have enough money for monthly mortgage payments and a hefty down payment, but there will be other expenses that you will need to pay for as well! You will need to account for upfront closing and moving costs, property taxes, home insurance, and more. It’s also wise to keep some money back in the event that you need some money for improvements or repairs before you move in.

Keep Your Must-Haves Brief – Do you really need a granite countertop in order to function? Probably not. You do, however, need a certain amount of bedrooms and square footage in order to live comfortably, though. Keep these sorts of “must-haves” in mind when you begin looking for a house. Try to pare down the luxurious items (walk-in closets, spa showers, etc.) and think about how big your yard needs to be, how many bedrooms you need, and the location of the property. Keep a list of 3-5 must-haves so that you can recognize deal-breakers much more quickly.

Scope Out the Neighborhood – Found a home you love (and that you can afford)? Check out the neighborhood! Don’t just go after you get off work. Scope it out on a Saturday night, in the middle of the day, and at night as well. The idea is to learn about what the neighborhood is like during all times of the day. You can see what traffic is like or if there are any rowdy or noisy neighbors. Remember, you’ll won’t just have to love the home you buy; you’ll have to love the neighborhood, too!

Zero In On the Inspection – Now it’s time to get an inspection of your house-to-be. Inspections can help you identify red flags and potential issues that could become costly in your future home, so make sure that you pay special attention to the assessments that the professionals make. If at all possible, tag along for the inspection. You will gain quite a bit of insight regarding the building itself, allowing you to better protect yourself.

We hope that these tips will help you have a successful house hunt and that you will wind up finding the perfect home for you! Once you have that home, make sure that you protect it with the right policy. Talk to us here at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started right away!

emergency funds

6 Simple Ways to Boost Your Emergency Funds

Life can be unpredictable and as we know, anything can happen. That is why it’s good to have emergency funds that you can rely on when the unexpected happens. Now the question is: how do you build up those funds? Here are a few easy ways you can boost your emergency fund savings, which require little adjustment to your lifestyle.

Cut Back on Your Coffee Runs – Making your own at home is significantly cheaper than buying it from your favorite coffee shop. Cutting back your daily coffee shop visits to once or twice a week can save you big bucks in the long run.

Turn Down the Heat – With the fall season quickly approaching, people will soon be turning on the heat. Be more energy efficient and save money by lowering the temperature of your thermostat a few degrees when no one is home. Also, by keeping the thermostat a little lower while you are home, you can better embrace all the cozy fall clothing!

Utilize Automatic Transfers – Automatically designate a certain portion of your checking funds or paychecks to go into your savings every month. Even the smallest transfers can make a big difference in your emergency funds.

Buy in Bulk – Start buying your household staples in bulk. Warehouse clubs offer memberships for a yearly fee but end up paying for themselves and saving you a lot of money in the end.

Cancel Unnecessary Memberships – Are you really using that gym membership? If you’re only using it occasionally, ditch it. Try doing yoga in your living room. Also, fall weather is perfect for hiking, biking, and running, and, best of all, it’s free!

Pull the Plug – You may have heard it before, but unplugging any unnecessary electronics when they aren’t in use can help lower your energy bill by 5-10%. That’s money that could be in your pocket. So when you’re not using those computers, TVs, microwaves, coffee makers, and lamps, pull the plug.

Having an emergency fund is important, but growing it doesn’t have to be hard. Take these tips to boost your emergency fund savings, and contact us at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC or check us out online at www.madisonmutual.com to see how you can be better prepared for the unexpected.

organize your life

3 Easy Tips to Help You Better Organize Your Life

We all have busy lives and busy schedules. Between school, work, extra curricular activities, and housework, it can be a bit overwhelming to juggle it all. That’s why organization is key to keeping it together and keeping your sanity!

Here are 3 clever tips and tricks to help you stay organized and to simplify those tasks that can become more complicated that we’d like:

Create a family command center. You can use a big dry erase board where the whole family can write notes or reminders for the current week. This can include schedule changes, practices, or meeting times. Use a calendar to write and color coordinate everyone’s events and schedules.

Keep an activities kit in your car. This kit can include tissues, towels, wet wipes, first aid kit, plastic bags for smelly or dirty uniforms, and an umbrella. Having these in your car at all times will allow you to be prepared at all times for any type of weather or incidents that may come your way.

Download an app to your phone to help organize your life. One example of an app that is great for organization is the Cozi mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app allows you to manage your calendar, set reminders, and add appointments. When each of your family members creates an account on their device, it allows them to see every appointment, meeting, and practice so there are no more double bookings! You can also create to-do lists, create a journal, or even drum up a shopping list.

We all know that keeping your life organized is the best way to remain stress-free and in control. Utilizing the above tips can help you organize your schedule and your family’s schedule as school activities and the holidays quickly approach us. Everyone has a different organization style, but by trying these tips you will be sure to find a system that works for both you and your family.

Disher Insurance

Wow, It’s Been One Wonderful Year In Wisconsin!

It’s been just over one year since we’ve expanded into the beautiful state of Wisconsin, and what a year it’s been! We have appointed several agents to attend to all of the needs of policyholders and have partnered with many agencies throughout the state.

Expanding into this gorgeous state has given us the opportunity to grow and diversify our business even more. Currently, we have over 20 offices and sub-offices in Wisconsin, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!

One agency that we wish to highlight on our first anniversary of being in Wisconsin is Disher Insurance Services, which is located in the heart of the state in Stevens Point. This is one of our charter agencies in Wisconsin, which was opened on October 1, 1997 by Mike and Debbie Disher. Along with bringing over 30 years of experience to the agency, Mike has made the agency a family agency. Mike and Debbie’s sons, Matthew, Andrew, and Michael II, are part of the agency, along with CSA’s Heather Cousineau and Lydia Daniels. The agency prides itself on providing reliable customer service and superiors product knowledge to their many wonderful clients. The agency writes all lines of insurance including personal, business, disability, health, and life insurance policies.

Here is our current agency listing – find the nearest agent near you!

Castle Insurance, Eau Claire and Spooner, WI (CHARTER AGENCY) (l-r): Warren Busjahn, Joan Busjahn, Stefanie Jorgensen, Agency Principal Roberta Mayer, Sheila Wall, Shannon Ross, Dan Ekblad, Not pictured:Melinda Duncan

Castle Insurance, Eau Claire and Spooner, WI (CHARTER AGENCY)
(l-r): Warren Busjahn, Joan Busjahn, Stefanie Jorgensen, Agency Principal Roberta Mayer, Sheila Wall, Shannon Ross, Dan Ekblad,
Not pictured:Melinda Duncan


Allegiance/Gary Pallen Insurance Agency, LLC
10125 W. North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
(414) 475-9141

Castle Insurance
1717 Birney St.
Eau Claire, WI 54701
(715) 835-1000

Castle Insurance (sub-office)
1640 S. River St.
Spooner, WI 54801
(715) 635-3885

Geyer Insurance Agency, Lacrosse, Wisconsin (Charter Agency) Principal:  Paul Geyer

Geyer Insurance Agency, Lacrosse, Wisconsin (Charter Agency)
Principal: Paul Geyer


Compliance Insurance of Middleton
2413 Parmenter, Ste. 121
Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 836-1001

Corey- Burstad Insurance Agency
420 Main St.
Menomonie, WI 54751
(715) 235-6479

Corey – Burstad Insurance Agency (sub-office)
2396 Hallie Roaad, Ste. 5
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
(715) 723-0600

Corey – Burstad Insurance Agency (sub-office)
721 W. Maple St.
Medfor, WI 54451
(715) 748-6262

Corey – Burstad Insurance Agency (sub-office)
215 N. 2nd St., Ste. 110
River Falls, WI 54022
(715) 425-1382

Prairie View Insurance, Prairie du Chien, WI Principal: Rose Wright

Prairie View Insurance, Prairie du Chien, WI
Principal: Rose Wright


Delain Insurance Agency
23111 University Ave.
Green Bay, WI 54302
(920) 406-9030

Disher Insurance Services, Inc.
2916 Church St.
Stevens Point, WI 54481
(715) 344-8383

Geyer Insurance Agency
1825 Sunset Lane
La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 781-1122

Johnsen Central Agency, Inc.
402 Broadway
Baraboo, WI 53913
(608) 356-5515

Keuler Insurance Agency, Inc.
222 High Street
Mineral Point, WI 53565
(608) 987-2832

The Ramseier Agency of Cadott, WI  In back: Lenny Ramseier, Jamie Boulding Front: (L to R) Penny Nesvacil, Stephanie Burish

The Ramseier Agency of Cadott, WI
In back: Lenny Ramseier, Jamie Boulding
Front: (L to R) Penny Nesvacil, Stephanie Burish

Lundell Insurance
106 N. Iowa St.
Dodgeville, WI 53533
(608) 319-2033

Matthews, Jim Insurance
226 N. Main St.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 426-5292

Pine Hill Insurance Services, LLC
N. 8468 Pine Road
Beaver Dam, WI 53916
(920) 219-9046

Prairie View Insurance
227 E. Blackhawk Ave.
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821
(608) 326-4443

Ramseier Agency
108 McRae St.
Cadott, WI 54727
(715) 289-3891

Traynor Insurance Agency, LLC,  in Spring Valley and River Falls, WI Front: Shane Benoy Back: Kimberly Foslid, John Traynor

Traynor Insurance Agency, LLC, in Spring Valley and River Falls, WI
Front: Shane Benoy
Back: Kimberly Foslid, John Traynor


Schwarz Insurance Agency, Inc./Marshfield
1406 S. Central Ave.
Marshfield, WI 54449
(715) 387-1736

See Insurance Agency, LLC
7817 W. Brown Deer Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53223
(414) 355-5433

Stasiak, Ann Agency, Inc.
1507 S. Holmen Drive
Holmen, WI 54636
(608) 526-6789

Wallrich Agency, Inc., Shawano, WI (CHARTER AGENCY) (L to R):  Amy Vue, Chris Klemens, Agency Principal Cap Wallrich, Kathy Paddock, Virginia Jesse and Aaron Wallrich.

Wallrich Agency, Inc., Shawano, WI (CHARTER AGENCY)
(L to R): Amy Vue, Chris Klemens, Agency Principal Cap Wallrich, Kathy Paddock, Virginia Jesse and Aaron Wallrich.

Traynor Insurance Agency, LLC
S. 136 McKay Ave.
Spring Valley, WI 54767
(715) 778-5580

Traynor Insurance Agency, LLC (sub-office)
216 N. Main, Ste. A
River Falls, WI 54022
(715) 425-2600

Wallrich Agency, Inc.
300 E. Green Bay St.
Shawano, WI 54166
(715) 526-2156

We want to thank all of our wonderful Wisconsin agencies for all of the hard work and dedication that they have put forth this year, and we also want to thank all of our great policyholders for their support as well. We are so proud to be serving Wisconsin, and we are looking forward to expanding even further in the future, both in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the nation!

(Feature photo: Disher Insurance of Stevens Point, WI)