Savings

Questions That Money- Savvy People Ask Before Taking Out Credit

Debt can be tricky, even those who are usually smart and thoughtful can fall prey to borrowing too much, becoming over committed and ruining their credit score. Whether it’s due to unfortunate circumstances or simply not thinking things through properly, debt can sneak up on you and once it’s got you in it’s grip it can be very hard to get out of. To avoid getting yourself into this mess, before borrowing you should ask yourself the following questions.

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Do I Need Credit?

First and foremost, why are you taking out credit? If it’s because you can’t be bothered to save or want instant access to cash for luxuries, think twice. If you can save up and buy things up front you will save yourself money in the long run. Credit shouldn’t be used to buy things you can’t afford, since this is a quick way to end up in a pickle. Sometimes borrowing can be positive though, perhaps you want to borrow money to buy a house, a car which will open you up to better job opportunities or maybe you need money instantly for dental or medical reasons. Make sure you can justify taking out the money, and consider saving instead if you are able to.

What’s My Credit Score?

Knowing your credit score puts you in the best position when it comes to borrowing money. There are places you can check your report for free, so find out what you currently have stored on your file. If your credit score is poor with previous missed payments and CCJs, if you need to borrow money you will need to consider an unsecured loan by a company specialising in poor credit lending. That way you’re not applying for lots of credit and being rejected, since many searches and applications on your file will bring your score down even further. If your credit score is good, you know that you can apply with confidence with the main high street banks and lenders.

Am I Getting The Best Deal?

Once you know what kind of companies you’re likely to get accepted with based on your credit score, make sure you shop around for deals. Different rates mean the amount you pay back will vary significantly. Use a price comparison site to check, and if the company offers a ‘soft search’ to see if you’re likely to get accepted then go for it. These soft searches don’t show to lenders and won’t bring down your credit score. Look carefully at the interest rates, what your monthly payments will be (and whether you can afford them) and how much you will pay back overall.


How to go about saving more on holidays

The great economic downturn may have left a strong impact on your spending habits. Americans have again started buying holiday gifts in the last few years. However, the recent buying trends project their habit of setting a budget for the New Year shopping
season.

Image via pixabay

Tips to plan shopping during the festive season:

Don’t Indulge in Overspending

Before you set out on shopping, you must determine what you actually need to spend on. Credit cards ought to be used efficiently, lest you become a victim of overspending. Credit counseling agencies have been witnessing several instances of overspending ahead of the festive season. You must set a specific amount for shopping after analyzing your financial obligations carefully.

Gain Control over Income and Expenses

Cutting down more on your grocery or utility bills can actually keep you from spending unnecessarily. You may opt for a part-time job or save a certain amount out of your current family budget just to have enough funds for holiday shopping. Saving as low as $100 and curbing your family budget by $100 can create an extra provision of $200 to be used for shopping.

Check Out Discount Stores

You may consider visiting few of the discount stores in town for achieving quality products at lower rates. You’re likely to save much of your hard-earned money by not agreeing to pay the entire amount printed on your choicest products. You may even be able to save a few hundred dollars out of all great shopping deals that you find online.

Cash in on Your Reward Points

You may accumulate reward points while booking your movies tickets, booking a trip or shopping at retail outlets. However, it will depend on the nature of the card that you’re using. The Platinum Card® from American Express yields 5X membership reward points on an eligible flight or hotel booking. You may check out more of such benefits with Amex Travel.

Gift Memorable Experiences

Your partner will certainly find a joyous and romantic experience more enjoyable than that of a traditional gift item. She’s more likely to remember a fun-filled moment of togetherness for more years than that of cherishing any expensive gift. Alternatively, you may consider sharing a cozy twosome cooking experience with her to make it worth remembering. Checking a few hot delicacies at a remote corner of your local restaurant, going out on long drives, and enjoying your favorite movie are a few other options to consider.

List Your Shopping Priorities

Determining your shopping needs is truly important before you even step inside your favorite shopping mall. Instead of picking items aimlessly, you can actually save yourself the hassle of visiting various retail outlets and spending unnecessarily. The more you get tempted to add items to your shopping cart, the more you’re likely to go overboard during the holidays.

The Bottom Line

The holidays come with loads of new opportunities to spend much on your loved ones. You must determine the real purpose of shopping and set your budget accordingly. It will help you get past a hefty bill when you proceed to pay at the counter. Identifying things you actually wish to buy will help you compare sales offers pertaining to the right products. Your festive shopping could be a real success when you opt out of impulsive shopping.


Personal Finance Lessons From The Rock

There aren’t many guys out there quite like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Not only has he had a fruitful wrestling career (the one that gave him his nickname) he branched out into acting, and has done things behind the scenes that many of us could only dream of. He started from extremely humble beginnings too, ending a football career in his younger days with only $7 in his pocket. It’s fair to assume that his personal finances would be in order now too – a man like The Rock doesn’t squander his money. You can just tell (it’s in the eyes).

If you want to make sure your personal finances are on track, then take these lessons from The Rock himself:

Choose a financial professional

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Never Put All Of Your Eggs In One Basket

The first lesson from The Rock: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Just taking a look at this guy’s life, you’ll see that he’s a perfect example of this statement. He has had careers in football, wrestling, and acting, and has even been in reality shows, including Ballers.  

The estimated $190 million of his net worth comes from his movie roles, but The Rock still knows how important it is to diversify. All the investors out there, this advice is even more important!  

Johnson never wanted to be pigeonholed as an actor that could only do one genre, or was only cast as a certain type of character. He recommends you capitalize on your other talents so you have as many revenue streams as possible – not to mention loads of fun and excitement in the process. You don’t have to become an actor like him – simply try getting a side gig doing something you enjoy, or start a part time business. You may even be able to say goodbye to the 9-5 rat race eventually!  

He explains that success isn’t about greatness, it’s about consistency. Providing you’re consistent with your efforts, you will achieve greatness along the way. Wise words from Johnson!

Create Passive Sources of Income

While The Rock definitely loves acting and getting paid for it, he also loves creating passive sources of income that he can enjoy when he’s chilling out in his fluffy dressing gown and bunny slippers. He gets an impressive source of income from the WWE, earning 7% on sales, pay per view earnings, and much more.

How can you create passive sources of income? If you’re knowledgeable in a certain subject, you could write an e-book, or start a blog (although becoming recognised in your niche takes time, and as aforementioned, consistency). You can even invest your money, although you’ll want to start small and assess your risk level before you decide on the type of investments to make. They take a while to pay off, but they can be worth it.

Negotiate More Than Your Salary

The Rock is a great negotiator. He believes that we should all negotiate more than a salary with whoever it is we’re working for or creating a contract with. This means maybe getting a reduction on a health plan, a refund on professional certifications, a bonus in company shares, or something else that makes sense for you.

Get Life Insurance

If you’ve got any dependents, then life insurance is a must. The Rock knows this. If you’re going to be the breadwinner of your household, then life insurance is imperative. Nobody wants to sit and think about their own mortality for too long, however, you need to think about your family in the event something should happen to you. We just don’t know what’s around the corner.

If the majority of the mortgage payment is down to you, then what will your family do if something was to happen to you? Maybe something happens and you can’t work anymore, or worse. Bear in mind that your family will also need to take over your debt when you’re gone, so keep that under control! Develop a rock-solid plan (get it?) and get your finances under control, paying off your debts and getting the correct insurance in place. You could risk going without any type of insurance, but then you’ll need to come up with the funds all at once if something does happen to you, like an accident or injury. Whatever you do, just be sure you don’t pay a personal injury lawyer upfront! You should only get charged when your lawyer has proven they will be able to get a result for you.

Don’t go for the cheapest insurance plan if you decide to take this route. Go for the one that suits your situation!

Listen To More Professionals

Listening to and hiring professionals to help you is going to be invaluable. There are so many things in life we can find boring or too difficult. You don’t want to pay your taxes yourself, as this is time consuming and confusing. You don’t want to have to execute an entire will by yourself either – what if you word something wrong, or forget something?

Sometimes, if you want things done, then you do need to do them yourself. Other times, delegating and outsourcing is the right way to go about it. Your time is valuable too, you know! Not only will you get things right the first time when you speak to the pros, you’ll also avoid any financial damage that could be done in the event of mistakes.  

Choose a financial professional that you resonate with and you’ll be able to work together in the long term. Make sure you do plenty of research, read reviews, ask for recommendations from friends, and maybe even meet with those you like the sound of.

There you have them – the personal finance lessons from The Rock. These lessons can work for just about anybody, with any goal. Will you start using these smart personal finance lessons from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, or do you think you have things down already? Leave your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!


Save your hard-earned dollars even after being a single parent – Few tips

Save money

Majority of the single parents face the challenge of maintaining a budget and sticking by it. Cutting down your expenses can be a herculean task for anyone who is the sole bread-earner of a family but once you get to know about the several cost-curbing steps, you’ll be taken aback. What if you got a noteworthy chink of money? How would you use that money? Would you use it for an emergency fund or for a vacation? Being a single parent is tough as you have to bear all sorts of financial liabilities alone. This is why we’ve come up with the few best tips for a single parent to save their hard-earned dollars in the best way possible.

• Balance the checkbook

This is one of the simplest tips to be followed but at the same time it is most overlooked tip as well. Being able to balance your checkbook is definitely the best way to track whatever you’re spending. Though this will take some patience and time and might be you’ll also need a calculator yet slipping into the habit of balancing your checkbook will let you get more responsible with your income and expenses.

• Devise a budget for monthly expenses

Do you have a clear idea of where exactly your expenses are going every month? Well, perhaps the best way of actually managing your spending habits is by committing yourself to a spending budget for a month. This should be like a guideline which will let you spend on all sorts of expenses like food, transportation, childcare and even more. You can seek help of a budget calculator which are especially designed for single parents.

• Ensure paying all your bills on time

Create a worthy system which will let you pay off your bills on the right time and help you avoid late fees. Automate your accounts so that your mortgage payments automatically reach out to your lender. For every credit card as well, automate the payments and don’t aim for paying only the minimum amount as this will make you fall in debt for a longer time. Keep a close track of your bills and mark those that you’ve completed paying so that you can move on to the next ones.

• Compare prices before buying things

Slip into the habit of shopping around for grabbing the best price so that you can buy the best thing at the most competitive price. There are different price comparison sites which you can use to learn the names of the retailers who are offering the least price with the best product. You can also watch out for coupon codes and enter the code in order to save your dollars.

As we see, leading the life of a single parent is always tough as you have to bear all responsibilities on your own, especially the liabilities of your child. So, follow the above mentioned tips in order to stay on top of your finances despite being a single parent.

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Finding Advice To Climb Out Of A Financial Hole

When you’re in a spot of bother, and somehow you cannot seem to climb out of debt, you can feel like you’re on your own. However, this is simply not the case, and although it’s easy to feel this way, there are many resources you can dip into, to find a way back into a balanced lifestyle. Mounting bills and fees can become too much to handle, which results in a lot of mental stress. Being in a state flummox for a long period of time can have detrimental effects on your physical health. Good financial management is the only remedy to finances that are out of control. Many people aren’t so readily schooled on how they should go about this because generally, financial advice is somewhat of a gray area. It’s either passed down from family and friends, or you simply have to go searching for yourself. If you’re having trouble finding the correct resources, there are a few places and people you should be listening to, that will guide you.

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Local authority

Financial advice isn’t generally given out to the masses because there are simply too many avenues with several different options that all lead to the same destination. However, as an extended body of the government, it’s the responsibility of your local authority such as a council or mayor’s office to give you the opportunity to make an appointment. At the appointment, you’ll be meeting with an advisor that can help with domestic issues you may have. However they won’t be experts in these particular fields. Rather, they will give you proper information about who and what you should be contacting to get the financial planning advice you need. It may be about your home, vehicles, taxes and benefit entitlements, that you will be directed to investigate further into.

Source – Max Pixel

Listen to experts

Journalists and industry analysts are some of the best people you can get financial planning advice from. More than likely, they’ll have a degree in their chosen area of expertise and have insider knowledge that can greatly improve your living standard. Analysts like Chris Pivik are a great source of information as you can read their articles completely free of charge and get some of the best advice out there. They’ll help you to understand your problem on a deeper level and form a human connection with the cause. You can also read the newspaper, watch online videos and listen to radio shows that have financial and economic professors and other data analysts appearing, who can also point you in the right direction. Search online for these shows, and you may find helpful information comes in the form of a downloadable podcast.

Finding the right advice is almost like looking for a needle in a haystack. The world of finances is so incredibly vast and complicated, there isn’t one ultimate source of information you can dip into. You have to search specifically for expert knowledge and constantly read articles that are relevant to your concerns. There’s no shame in extending your hand and asking for help from your local authority either as they’re obligated by law to direct you in the right direction.


Paperwork Problems? Here’s What To Store, Shred & Save Online

Save Online

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Over the years, you can often find yourself jam-packed with paperwork. Even when you’re vigilant, and you try not to hold onto things for any longer than you need to, the paperwork can pile up. But when you have work and business, personal and private paperwork to deal with, it’s not surprising that you can find yourself swimming in it. But, you can often find yourself thinking enough is enough and wondering if you really need it all. In short, the answer will be no, you don’t. Not all of it anyway. 

Receipts: Store

Not everyone will keep their receipts, and there isn’t always a reason for you to do this. However, if you are self-employed or run your own business, holding on to your receipts may only be natural. But, after a while, you may find that you just don’t need them. Especially if they aren’t business related or you no longer have the item you purchased. You should definitely look to store any business receipts, even for up to six years, or receipts for big purchases that you have a guarantee with.

Banking Information: Shred

Years ago, you would have felt the need to keep every piece of banking information that you have. But nowadays, that isn’t always necessary. In fact, you may not even get sent much paperwork anymore. You may want to keep any tax, investment, or pension information stored safely somewhere, but anything else can be shredded. If you should need statements or any information in the future, you will find that you can request it from the bank. It’s often safer this way.

Investment

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ID Documentation: Store & Save Online

Then you’ve also got some of the more sensitive and definitely important information to cover off too. When it comes to your ID documentation, it definitely needs to be kept safe. But you can do this in person and only. Whether it’s your driver’s license, passport, or even ID card, keep everything safe. You can also do an Aadhar card download should you need to keep it safe. Try to keep these pieces of information under lock and key if you can.

Household Bills: Store & Shred

When it comes to your household bills, as with your financial information, you may feel inclined to keep it all for years to come. Some things you may need to, especially if you need a record that you’ve paid. But anything else you can shred – especially if it’s years old. Then, you should look into ways to organize your bills to keep everything safe, neat, and tidy going forwards.

Education & Work: Store

And finally, there’s also your education or work information too. Whether it’s detailed on employment or school work, or even transcripts, this is the kind of stuff that you may want to store. When you want to look back at your work or projects over years to come, you’ll be glad you kept it. So find somewhere safe to store it all away.


Investing; How To, And Where To

investment game

Getting into the investment game can be life changing. If you’re able to play it well you’re going to make a lot of money, but if you’re not then you’re going to lose a lot, so you have to use your head as much as you can! There are loads of different places where you can make money, some more higher risk but more profitable than others, so let’s dive in and find out about them!

Foreign Exchange

The riskiest, but most rewarding out all the 3 things we’re going to cover here is foreign exchange. This is the exchange of currencies from one to another, and there is a lot of money to be made off this, but how? Well, if you’re able to predict the rise in a currency’s value, you can exchange loads of your currency for it, meaning you will have lots of it when your prediction comes true! However this is often a game that you cannot predict, and you’re going to need some assistance with it as doing it manually is ridiculously difficult. Websites like https://www.connectfx.org/ allow you to do all of your currency exchange within their platform so it’s definitely worth getting your hands on something like this to enable you to react quicker to market changes!

Gold

Gold is something that has been valuable to humanity since before we have records of; it’s not only attractive to look at, but it’s very hard to get and is incredibly useful in the 21st century for technological appliances. Because of this, it’s something worth investing in. Buying gold is a relatively safe market because the gold reserves in the world are drying up which means that it’s only becoming more and more rare, which means the prices are only going to go up! This is why you should invest in gold because it’s a very safe market that is going to make you returns, you just might be waiting a few years for it!

Oil

Oil investment works by buying units worth of 1000 barrels in it’s crude form. Crude oil is the most useful form of oil because it’s what companies buy to turn into all kinds of other fuels as they don’t naturally occur. The oil market is relatively stable but is prone to fluctuations so you’re going to have to be a bit more careful with this than you would be with gold! Buying crude oil is simpler than it seems, so if you’re looking for a medium risk investment then this is for you.

All of these different markets cover different risk zones, so it’s up to you to decide what you want to do! Are you going to go for the high risk but high reward foreign exchange market, or are you going to go for the more calm and stable gold market? Or maybe you want something in between that’s a mixture of both, in which case going into the oil market would suit you. Of course you can invest in stocks too but it hasn’t been covered here, so check this out to know what they are and how to use them.


Tips for landlords to reduce their out-of-pocket business costs and save money

Tips for landlords to reduce their out-of-pocket business costs and save money

Landlords are indeed basking in the glory of a buoyant period when both demand and yields at a high level. Despite being so, it is still vital to make cost savings whenever you can. As landlords, you should be saving money not just by purchasing properties which can easily generate revenue but also by taking a look at the different ways in which you could be reducing your out-of-pocket costs. While there are some of the strategies taken by landlords that go against the grain, there are some others which may work well.

Apart from the common personal saving strategies adopted by the landlords, there are also some other strategies which you can follow as per your rental portfolio, your local market for real estate and where you reside. Here are few strategies to save money if you’re a landlord.

• Reduce turnover by keeping rents low

If you keep the rates of properties slightly lower than the other competitors, you will always remain 100% occupied, have numerous applications whenever there is a vacancy and also save money along the way. Whenever someone moves, it costs the landlords a pretty big amount as they not only have to clean the carpets but they also require emptying the property until someone else moves in. This can even mean a month with no rent. Both in terms of money and time, it can be pretty costly to market a property for rent.

• Smaller real estate properties are easy to repair and upgrade

Smaller rental properties are cost-effective and when they’re within 1000 square feet size, you will be easily acquainted with the costs of the carpet, the size of the furnace and the size of the roof. If you don’t want to pay for huge repairs, it is always better to go for a smaller real estate property. You don’t have to pay for bigger items and bigger repairs and the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs will also be lower.

• Avert using any property manager

Property managers usually reduces the stress which is associated with being a landlord as they usually promote and endorse your rental and take good care of vetting potential tenants. They even meet with renters, collect the payments and deal with other issues regarding tenants. It is however sad to note that these services usually come at a very hefty cost. So, if you want to save money, you have to chuck off the services of a property manager. This way you can keep more profits to yourself.

• Be specific about flooring and paint colors

Expert real estate investors use a simple trick to streamline the entire vacancy process. Landlords usually use the same interior style and paint for their rental properties. When you do this, you can buy the same paint color in bulk and this even saves your time during turnovers. You can save up to $250 to $500 every time in painting.
Therefore, if you’re a landlord who is reading this post, make sure you follow the above mentioned points to save money on your rental real estate property.

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Family Money Woes Of The 21st Century

make our lives easie

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You would have thought that now we are well and truly in the 21st Century, life would be a whole lot easier, right? After all, there have been so many tech advances that make our lives easier and bring us closer to each other, most everyday problems are now not as big as what they once were. However, that’s not the case with money, especially for families. Tech hasn’t solved some problems and has even brought along some new ones.

So, which financial problems and woes are the big concerns for families in the 21st Century? Here are a few of the main ones and what you can do to ease them for you and your family!

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A Shrinking Income

Sometimes, we experience money problems that are a result of factors outside our control. One of these that quite a few families face right now is a shrinking income. Since the economy crashed way back in 2007, markets have slowly picked up. However, some industries still aren’t doing quite as well as they should be and inflation is still quite low. And that has a direct effect on wages. Over the past decade, wages have been rising – but only extremely slowly. Some industries and sectors, especially the public sector, have even had their wages frozen. That means workers have not had a pay rise, and therefore their wages are no longer in line with inflation. If you are a family that has been hit hard by these low wages, you are probably wondering what you can do. Firstly, you might want to see if you can find a second income; something you can do alongside your regular job. For instance, many people now turn to blogging as a regular income. Secondly, it’s worth asking for a pay rise. After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get! If that doesn’t work, you might find that it is worth switching jobs and moving to a better-established company that pays a fairer wage.

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Increased Family Expenses

Unfortunately, everyday expenses and outgoings haven’t behaved in the same way as wages over the past ten years. They have been affected in the complete opposite way and have slowly been growing! Because of this, lots of families now complain that they feel a pinch in their budget. They don’t have as much money to spend on things like the groceries, car repairs, and energy bills. But these are things that they can’t live without. So, how do people manage to get by? More and more families are resorting to taking out loans to ensure they can survive until payday. If you feel you need to get some extra cash in this way to cover yourself, there are some safer options. For example, it’s not a good idea to take out a payday loan as they often come with very high interest. However, you’ll be fine taking out a specialist loan, such as affordable title loans to help cover car expenses. Just make sure you are totally able to repay this money once repayments start. Otherwise, you could end up in some bother!

No Investment

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No Investments

If you do have some money left over at the end of the month, you will no doubt want to put it to one side for a rainy day. However, it’s no good just leaving it in your savings account. Interest rates haven’t been too high over the past few years, and the interest on the majority of bank accounts isn’t enough to help your money beat inflation. If you want to make sure your money grows at a steady rate and beats inflation you need to place it in investments. There are various things you can invest in, from property and stocks and shares to gold and funds. These often make much higher returns than money that is just left in bank accounts. Even high-interest saving accounts are no match to other investments! However, you need to be aware that some investments are a lot riskier than others and every single investment comes with the possibility that you might lose some money. For instance, stocks, shares, and funds will go up and down over time depending on how the economy is doing. But, if you leave your money in for long enough, it should increase. So, you just need to be aware that investing isn’t completely risk-free. But to get the biggest returns, you can’t play it safe with money!

Hopefully, this blog post has given you all the info you need to end these 21st Century money woes!


Save your dollars on car repairs – Secret tips to take care of your heard-earned dollars

save your money from car repair

Majority of us drive our vehicles on a daily basis and we use our cars to drive from home to work or back to home again. But something we don’t take into account is to take time to think of the maintenance of our vehicles. As long as we can start the car and it has got fuel within it, we think that it’s running fine. Only when something starts sounding funny, we take note of it and it is then that we realize that our car might need an immediate repair. Whenever our vehicle gives us warning signs, we understand that it needs a repair as soon as possible.

But did you know that the auto repair companies are all waiting to squeeze money from your wallets ? If you didn’t, you should know that this is their trick that they use. Here are few ways in which you can avoid saving money on your auto repair.

  • Read the manual of the owner

In case you’ve still not read anything else, you should acquaint yourself at least with the Scheduled Maintenance Guide as this informs you about what is suggested by the manufacturer. If you’re clever and wise enough to pay focus on this and read it with case, you will know how to spend your dollars in the best possible way, without spending too much unnecessarily.

  • Find a trustworthy car repairing shop

Ask your colleagues, family and friends whether or not they have a mechanic or a car repair shop which they trust. Watch out for local shops which specialize in your specific make of car, pickup truck or van. Remember that a good automotive repair shop will always have certified and expert staff and technicians. They will definitely be certified in more than 1 among the 8 car repair classifications. ASE or Automotive Service Excellence will give these certifications. Make sure you ask queries about the quality of the staff.

  • Preventive maintenance is a must

Did you know that a very good way of testing the auto repair shop which you always believe to be reputable is to visit them during an oil filter or an oil change? This is the most necessary step which you need to take as preventive maintenance. This also offers an opportunity to ask questions which are prompted by manual reading.

  • Know the charges for repairing a car in your locality

There are few helpful websites which offer estimates for few common car repairing jobs on your type of car. They also offer you a range of price values in your zip code. The fair price lies somewhere between the lowest price and half way to the upper price and this is the most accurate price.

Your car will always give you few warning signs when it is in dire need of a repair and hence you have to pay heed to such warning signs so that you don’t end up being late in taking your car to the auto repair shop.

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