Last Updated On:
February 25, 2014 13:11
Seems like no matter how hard we try it’s very hard to go through life without having to pay off some sort of debt. Making payments on cars, credit cards, mortgage or rent, etc. can sometimes get out of hand and can leave you wondering how you’ll pay it all off. Here are a few points to follow when looking to dig yourself out of a financial hole.
Make a budget
Writing down all of your expenses in detail will give you an overall picture of exactly where your money is going. Make note of all of your bills and when they’re due. Write down all of the extra expenses that take place as well, like eating out, buying a coffee before going to work, or buying those shoes you really like online. With all of these “extras” laid out on paper, you can really see where ALL your money is being spent and where you need to cut back the spending.
List all debts and start paying them down
Now that you have an idea where all of your money is going, it’s time to see if you can start to pay more on those debts you’ve accumulated. Start by paying more than the minimum amount due. Look at the interest rates or fees on your debts and if you can’t pay more than the minimum due on each account, focus on paying as much as you can on the account, or accounts, with the highest fees or interest rates. Paying the minimum amount due can take a long time to pay off most debts and with the interest fees charged on most loans and credit cards, your total debt could continue to rise. Instead, be sure to pay off debts in as little time as possible by paying more and focusing on reducing as much debt as possible on the account with the highest interest rates and fees.
Contact the credit card company to lower rates
Calling your credit card company and asking them to lower your interest rate is another way to help cut down on your debt. If you’ve been a loyal customer and have had good history with them most will grant your request, rather than risk losing your business to someone else. Simply lowering your interest rate could help save you hundreds of dollars.
Save, save, save
Once you’ve paid off most or all of your debts, it’s time to take some of that money you were using to pay them off and put it into a savings account. It’s always a good idea to have some sort of savings account for those unexpected expenses. The more you have saved up, the less stress you’ll feel when an emergency arises and the less debt you will have to re-incur.
Last Updated On:
February 07, 2014 14:37
Credit cards are definitely a convenient way to make a purchase. However, with that convenience sometimes comes more risk. Once a credit card is swiped or entered online, the data on that card is then transferred and/or stored electronically with computers. This transfer/storage of information, if not made thoroughly secure, can be accessed by hackers. Thus was the case back in November and December 2013 when Target reported a massive security breach at each of its 1,800 stores. So what can you do if you fall victim to credit card fraud? Here are some steps to follow that could help you if you ever fall victim to credit card fraud.
Update accounts that use your credit card information. When making purchases or paying bills online, many places store your credit card information in their database. If the bank or credit card company issues you a new credit or debit card, be sure to login and update your account with your new payment information to assure any scheduled bill payments you had setup on your card are still made to prevent another issue of late or missed payments.
Check your Credit Report. Even if you don’t notice fraudulent charges on your account, it’s still a good idea to check your Credit Report. Each credit-reporting agency (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) is required to give you one free credit report per year. You can request a different one about every 4 months to ensure you are staying on top of any questionable activity. If you do notice information on your report that is inaccurate, contact the credit-reporting agency right away to resolve the discrepancy. In addition to offering you a credit report, these reporting agencies also offer additional protection such as placing security freezes on your account and issuing fraud alerts.
Last Updated On:
January 13, 2014 16:46
1. Create a budget
Budgets are a great way to get a better handle on your finances. Having a budget will help you stay on track, plus show you an overall picture of all of your expenses. Seeing where all of your money is going can help you make necessary adjustments and avoid spending money where you don’t need to.
2. Set up an emergency fund
If you don’t have an emergency fund set up, then now is a good time to start! Having an emergency fund is very important because it’s there for those unexpected expenses. With each paycheck, set aside a certain percentage and deposit it into a separate savings account. Try to build up enough funding to cover 4 to 6 months worth of expenses. This will help when times get tough like when you need to fix your car after the transmission goes out or your child breaks their arm and needs surgery.
3. Invest in a 401K plan
Having a 401K plan is one of the best ways to save up for your retirement. Retirement should be a time to enjoy life and not a time to stress about making ends meet. If your employer offers a 401K plan, find out more about it. Often they will match whatever you contribute up to a certain percentage. Take full advantage of this “free money” as soon as you can. Generally the earlier you start, the faster your money grows, and the easier it can be to retire!
4. Make more meals at home
Making meals and eating at home is another great way to keep your finances healthy. Most items from a grocery store or supermarket are much more affordable to make a meal out of than the cost of eating out at a restaurant. For the price of eating out, you can easily prepare multiple servings and save them as leftovers for future meals. Meals prepared at home are also healthier for you. Many restaurants use excess sodium, sugars and fats in their foods. When you prepare meals at home, you control the amount of ingredients you put into each dish, as well as the portions.
5. Cut unnecessary expenses
Most all of our finances contain expenses for necessary items such as utilities, mortgage, rent, insurance, etc. However, there are many other expenses in our day-to-day lives that are unnecessary and could be eliminated from our budgets. Sometimes these expenses don’t seem like much but adding them up over a period of time can really have an impact on your overall finances. Evaluate your monthly cable bill, the channels you are actually watching, and see if there are cuts or adjustments that you can make to reduce that monthly bill. Check with your cable provider to see if you qualify for bundle savings as well. Brew your coffee at home and take it with you to work instead of stopping and grabbing one on your way. There are so many easy at-home brewing options now that you can even add some variety in your morning cup without the large expense, and additional time, to stop at a coffee shop. These are just a few examples, but there are many more. Find a few to eliminate out of your budget and you could notice some real savings.
Last Updated On:
December 05, 2013 15:46
1. Plan ahead and be prepared
The holidays come at the same time every year, but for some reason they always seem to sneak up on us. It can be very stressful during the holidays to figure out what to buy and how much to spend. The best way to overcome this is to make a budget and stick to it. Create a list of the family and friends you need to shop for. Decide how much you will spend on each one and write down some ideas for each. Then keep your eye out for coupons and sales.
With gifts, holiday décor, travel, and events, the expenses can add up. Take all of those factors into account when creating your budget. If you use credit cards for your spending, take advantage of promotional reward offers and balance transfers.
2. Remember to Relax
There is always so much do to and so little time. Don’t spread yourself too thin. If you love holiday baking, just choose a few of your favorites to make and don’t stress about the rest. There’s often more than plenty of treats, sweets, and good eats when everyone gets together. Also if you are not able to attend all the holiday events you want, choose the ones that are most important to you and don’t feel bad about missing the others.
Most importantly, remember to make time for yourself. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is easy to fall off your regular exercise routine, and that’s okay. If you can fit in a quick trip to the gym, great! But when you can’t, go sledding with your family or play a little backyard football game with the kids. These activities are not only great for making memories, but also for burning a few extra calories. It’s also important to stay well rested, so save those late night Christmas movies for the weekend!
3. Remember what’s important
The holidays are a time for family and friends. Worrying about the small things, things you can’t control, and things you’ll never have time to get done will only increase your stress level and cause you to miss out on what is really important. Prioritize what’s important and then take time to experience the holiday’s imperfections and all.
Last Updated On:
October 24, 2013 13:54
As we continually look into ways to save money, we've mentioned the advantage of reviewing your insurance coverage periodically. Just today, we saw a study come out stating that driver's with poor credit could pay up to 90 percent more on their auto insurance than drivers with excellent credit scores. The study even found that drivers with OK credit could pay up to 24 percent more than those with excellent credit.