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How You Could Be Burning Through Money Quickly

Friday, April 6, 2018

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While sure it’s great to have a garage full of nice cars, but if it means living beyond your means and spending more than you can afford, is it really worth putting yourself in that sort of financial hole?  You know when you’re actually ahead with your finances is when you have built up an emergency fund, you’re out of debt, and are maximizing contributions to retirement.  If you’re struggling to free up any extra money, you can look to some of money wastes first to try and avoid.

Not Keeping Up with Your Credit Score

While you may not think about credit score having to do with wasting money but think about what lenders look to when approving for a mortgage, loan, credit card, even a job these days, and that’s credit score.  In order to take advantage of the best interest rates on the market you need to have excellent credit, so any short of that then you need to pull your report to make sure accounts are accurate and up to date, while monitoring your score on a monthly basis on credit card statements to make sure it’s climbing.

Paying Credit Card Interest

Speaking of interest rates, probably the highest you have in your name now comes with your credit card, which depending on the card, could be upwards of 16% APR, which once a balance starts to accumulate, paying the minimum is no longer an option if you’re looking to rid yourself the balance.  The best way to handle a credit card responsibly is to charge what you’re able to pay off when the statement balance comes due, as otherwise overspending will send you straight into debt and can take years to get out of, so it’s best to avoid going down that road now.

Missing Out on Free Money

If you are able to handle credit card spending, then using the right credit card is important to make sure you take advantage of the best deals out there, which can be in the form of rewards.  By making the purchases that you were going to be making anyways with a debit or another credit card, you can earn points and cashback that you would otherwise not be receiving.  On a larger scale when it comes to free money has to do with retirement and making sure you check at work to see if you’re taking full advantage of any company-matching contributions as otherwise that could add up to huge amounts you are missing out on.

Paying Extra Fees

Life experiences are important when it comes to keeping a sane mind, but you can pay plenty of extra fees if you’re not careful.  Taking buying tickets for instance.  By the time you buy the face value ticket, say $40, you can expect at least $15 in service charges, plus processing fee, could turn a $40 into over $60, when if you just go to the box office you can have your pick of tickets without service charges, you’ll just have to plan in advance on getting there when they go on sale if it’s a popular event.

Ways You Can Get Ahead with Your Finances

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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While sure, you could make extra money by giving a csl plasma card a shot, but it might be a better idea to take a look at all of your finances and look to make improvements from there.  We know how quickly life goes by, so you want to make sure you’re minimizing spending and maximizing saving for your future.  With a few changes in your current money behavior can go a long way in setting you up for success in getting ahead with your finances.

Check Your Credit Report

I’m not sure about you, but twice in the last year I’ve received texts from my Citi credit card giving me a heads up of fraudulent charges, which turned out to be accurate, so it’s a good idea to review your credit report to make sure all of the accounts are up to date and accurate.  With the credit bureaus offering a free copy of your report once a year, and monthly card statements now showing your credit score, you should have all the tools available to you to make sure your credit continues in the right direction.

Build an Emergency Fund

Much like what happens to your credit information being out of your control, sometimes life gives you unexpected charges that you need to be prepared for, whether it’s medical bills, auto repair, or an out of nowhere job loss.  If you can put a few months’ worth of expenses into an account, you can give yourself a much-needed cushion to prepare yourself, instead of putting on a credit card and risk going into debt as you continue to pay back, with interest, throwing your monthly budget out of whack and tying your up your limited leftover money after bills and expenses.

Use a Credit Card Wisely

Credit cards may have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but if used right, it can actually make sense to use a card for every purchase, provided you can use correctly.  As you charge throughout the month you have to be sure that by the time you receive the statement, you are able to pay the full statement balance by the due date, or you will begin to pay interest, which depending on the rate and balance on the card, the lower the monthly payment you make will do little to chip away at the balance.

Don’t Miss Out on Free Money

Probably the best reason to use a credit card for all purchases are the rewards that come along with making the purchases you were going to be making anyways, but instead earning points or cashback on those purchases.  When it comes to more free money, take a look at work to make sure you’re taking advantage of the maximum company-matching retirement contributions, as if ignored, would be a significant amount of money to leave on the table if you figure how much the balance can grow over the next few decades until you reach retirement age and being to draw as you finally walk away from work.

There Are Certain Things You Shouldn’t Skimp On

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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While sure it’s important to check is lyft for uber cheaper in order to save money on your responsible rides when needed, so you can skimp on price for whatever is cheaper, but when it comes to other areas, you probably should choose quality over price.  If you can reduce unnecessary expenses and build up an emergency fund you can have the available cash on hand when needed for the necessary items and they won’t break the bank, or even worse have to put on a credit card and pay back, with interest, over time.

Home & Auto Repairs

I’ve had friends over the years that would leave the check engine light on, but to me I would always freak out and take the car in right away to ensure there is nothing wrong.  Now maybe that is one extreme to the other, but when it comes to auto repairs, fixing things when they come up, not to mention normal maintenance such as regular oil changes, rotating the tires, and changing the breaks when needed can extend the life of your car.  Same goes for your home, by replacing the air filter every few months can keep your furnace working efficiently for years.

Insurance

Much like needing to check your credit report at least once a year to make sure your information is up to date and accurate, needing a cushion of a few months’ worth of reserves, same goes for insurance, as you never know what life will throw at you that is out of your control, so the best you can do is be as prepared as you can.  When it comes to insurance, having the adequate home, auto, health, and even life insurance can keep you covered if the unexpected should happen, with hopefully not having mounds of bills come afterwards with just paying your deductible and co-pays.

Mattress

Sure, you can buy a mattress anywhere in between being firm or soft, from different brands and versions of quality, but it can be hard to justify spending a thousand or two on a new mattress if you are in need of replacing your aging one.  Think of it this way, let’s say you get the needed 8 hours of sleep per day and there are 24 hours a day, you’re essentially spending a third of your life on your mattress, so why not make it a premium mattress so you can get a good night’s sleep, not to mention saving your back for potential issues down the road.  With a good night’s sleep, you can guarantee peak performance in your work and personal life, without dragging from being tired all of the time.

Toilet Paper & Paper Towel

You’ve often heard that you get what you pay for, and that is particularly true when it comes to toilet paper and paper towel.  When you buy cheap, you will often use more of it, so it really serves no benefit to go cheap, especially when you want to avoid the sandpaper feel of cheap toilet paper.

Tips for Memorable Family Reunions

Thursday, March 1, 2018

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Have you been charged with organizing a family reunion? The thought of reconnecting with distant relatives is no doubt appealing. The responsibility of planning such a large event may well evoke stress and unsettled nerves. The success of every large event can be attributed to systematic advanced planning. Follow these recommendations from the professional event planner to ensure your family reunion is a huge success.

If you’re anticipating a very large number of family members to participate, one option is to recruit several co-hosts to spread out the work of planning the event. After the hosts have been identified, the first steps are to set a budget and confirm a date. Large family reunions can take place in the afternoon, evening, or even span an entire weekend. When family members are travelling in from out of town, take advantage of the group rates many hotels offer. One simple option is to create a social media page with updates on transportation, times, locations and costs of events.

Once the hosts, dates and budget have been defined, send out save the date eVites to the attendees. Many websites offer free eVites with a dashboard that will keep track of responses. The next step is to secure a venue. Options will be dictated by your budget. If your guests are predominantly local, a pot luck, where everyone brings a dish, will keep costs relatively low.

Consider entertainment options for the event. There are several inexpensive ways to commemorate the occasion. One option is to have t-shirts printed for all family members to wear at the event. Another option is to take advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and snag a Vimeo coupon. A commemorative video of the event is a keepsake that can be enjoyed by all members for generations to come. Because there will no doubt be several generations in attendance, be sure to have a variety of activities planned that are appropriate for multiple age groups.

Once the venue, date and costs have been identified, send out final eVites. In addition, create a social media page that can provide updates and options for group rates on lodgings and transportation. Be sure to take plenty of photos to commemorate the occasion for generations to come!

Ways You Can Wreck Your Credit, Costing You Money

Friday, February 16, 2018

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While you can hope for a lowes build and grow for money to come out of nowhere, but it takes good financial planning, not to mention limiting spending in order to free up extra money and get out of debt, more importantly staying out of debt.  These are important financial decisions and the same goes for your credit, equally important, as that affects the interest rates you get on huge monthly payments such as your mortgage, any loans, and credit cards.  If you’re not careful you could be wrecking your credit, putting you further and further behind from getting the best rates on the market.

Not Paying Attention to Credit Report

These days you never know who has your information anymore, as you often hear about those that get their card information stolen, whether a glance occurs at a gas pump or if you leave it out too long when paying the tab at a restaurant, even worse have a store you shopped at getting compromised.  Even the credit bureaus that been hacked.  It’s a good idea to get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus at least once a year to verify all your info and accounts are up to date and accurate.

Careless Payments

One of the largest factors of your credit score has to do with payment history.  While even being a day late will cost you a late fee and even an interest rate bump, but it’s when you get to be thirty days late is when your credit will take a hit, and even if it’s a mistake, it will stay on your credit report for up to seven years, making it all more important to either set up automated payments, or at least set reminders to pay on or before the due date.

Racking Up Debt

Just as important as payment history when it comes to your credit score has to do with the amount of debt compared to the available credit.  The closer you reach your credit limit and your credit utilization is used up, the lower your credit score will go, so if you are using a card for spending each month, at least try and make sure the full balance is paid off by the statement due date, not only to avoid interest, but to keep the balance as low as you can for when that account is reported to credit.

Closing Existing Credit Card Accounts

While you should be applauded for getting out of debt, but one mistake people make when they finally do see that zero balance is to close the account so they don’t risk going on another spending spree, but this can actually lower your score because you are taking away this available credit and if there is a balance on another card, it would increase your utilization.  If you want to avoid using the card, just cut it up, but leave the account open so that available credit stays with you every month, even if you’re not using the account.

3 Quick and Easy Fixes to Raise Your Credit Score Fast

Friday, February 9, 2018

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Building a solid credit score can benefit you financially in more ways than one. Not only can a good credit score make getting approved for loans or lines of credit less difficult, it can also help you to secure loans at favorable interest rates. But what do you do when your score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be.

You could pay for credit repair services but there’s a less expensive (and potentially faster) way to make a difference in your score. These simple tips could help raise your score in 90 days or less.

  1. Start with checking your credit

There’s a lot of confusion about credit scores. For example, you may be wondering what the difference is between a FICO score vs. credit score. (A credit score is a three-digit number that gauges your financial health; a FICO score is a specific type of credit scoring model, developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation.)

Your credit scores — and yes, you have more than one — are based on what’s in your credit report. That includes things like your payment history for your various credit accounts, your debt balances and credit limits, how old your credit accounts are, what kind of credit you’re using and how often you’ve applied for credit.

You can get your free credit report and your free credit score instantly through Credit Sesame. From there, you can look at factors are doing the most good, or the most harm for your score. For example, paying late hurts your score significantly.

  1. Consider opening a new credit card account

Payment history is the most significant factor in credit score calculations, but your credit utilization is also important. This is the ratio between your total credit limit and your credit balances. Ideally, you should be using 30% or less of your total credit line for the best credit score results.

One way to raise your score practically overnight is to open a new credit card account. Having more available credit can lower your utilization ratio and potentially drive your score up. Just keep in mind that this is only effective if you’re not adding to your debt.

You can also achieve the same effect by raising the limits on your existing credit card accounts. If your accounts are in good standing and your creditors agree, you may want to consider this before opening a new card, since applying for a new account can trim a few points off your score.

  1. Make use of inactive accounts

If you’ve got older credit card accounts on your credit history, letting them go dormant can backfire. You might not be charging debt on those cards but if you leave them alone for too long, your creditor might close them down for inactivity.

If you have a card you haven’t used in a while, consider making one small purchase and then paying it off. This updates the card’s activity and gives you another month of positive payment history, which could give your score a lift.

Track your progress

Credit scores can change quickly from one month to the next. Remember to check your score and report regularly to see how you’re doing and focus on developing habits — such as paying on time and keeping credit card balances low — that can lead to a stronger score over time.

Expenses to Reduce to Free Up Extra Money

Friday, February 2, 2018

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When it comes to freeing up extra money each month you have a couple options.  First, you can come up with passive income ideas in order to have money generating in.  Second, you can reduce expenses, anywhere from your monthly bills, to what you spend on food, gas, and entertainment.  If you take a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can see exactly where every dollar is going.  Next, coming up with a budget is a great way to ensure you are on the right track once you figured out how much you should allot to each area.

Cut the Cable Cord

While it may sound terrible and a huge shock to what you’re used to, but think about how much time you spend watching TV.  How many of the endless number of channels that you get to pick from do you watch, and of those, how many have commercials when you flip to them.  If you are like most these days that either watch from your DVR or on streaming services, you may not actually not miss cable at all and you can gain that extra hundred or two a month that you have been spending up to this point.

Avoid Going Out to Eat

Sure, it’s nice to be able to pick out a restaurant of your choosing, order what you want, have it cooked, served, and not to mention, cleaned up after you, but that comes at a premium price.  If you pick up lunch while at work, carryout for dinner on the way home, or even taking the family out to dinner, that can add up quickly.  Even stopping for coffee each morning on the way to work, even though it may only be a couple dollars, can add up pretty quickly over the course of a month.  If you can opt to go grocery shopping instead and prepare your meals at home, even brew your coffee to be ready by the time you’re ready to walk out the door for work, you can see hundreds of dollars a month add up pretty quickly.

Check Your Credit Report

You never who has your information these days as you always hear info being taken at the gas pump or even restaurants and department stores having their computers hacked with customer data going into their hands, so it’s a good idea to at least check your credit report once a year free from the major credit bureaus to ensure that all of the information is accurate, and that you can get the best interest rates on the market for mortgages, loans, etc.

Stop Paying as Much Interest

Speaking of paying interest, for those existing accounts, let’s say you’ve been carrying a balance on a 16% APR credit card, you’re probably not chipping away much at the balance.  If you can get a balance transfer promo for 0% for say, 18 months or so, you can pay off that full balance within that time a lot faster than your other card, especially since you won’t be wasting money on interest every month.

Getting Ready for University

Thursday, February 1, 2018

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For more teenagers than ever, starting this year means getting ready for university. It’s likely the most dramatic change any of them have gone through and it can be an intimidating time.

This January, we’re presenting this short guide to the preparations you need to make before September. Applications should already be in hand, so we’re looking at some more practical tips.

Accommodation

Picking somewhere to live is one of the biggest choices you can make prior to starting your studies. It’s almost certain that you won’t know the town that well, and will find it difficult to make an informed choice.

Asking current students will give you some idea of where you’ll fit in best, be it in halls of residence, or private rented accommodation.

Your budget is obviously a deciding factor here, and if you find you can’t accommodate everything you’ve brought with you in your rented room, it’s worth looking in byStored student storage deals to keep everything safe until you can retrieve it and give it a home.

Reading Lists

One of the big expenses for students are reading lists. Some textbooks, especially for law or medicine can run into hundreds of pounds. Buying them all could put a huge dent in your budget for the term.

Research can help you out here. Speaking to students who are already at the university, doing the course you will be studying will reveal which books are essentials you will refer to every day and which you only use sparingly – this cuts down the number of books you need to buy and which you can consult in the library.

That’s not the only way other students can help you out. Many will sell on their old textbooks after they’re finished with them: this is a great way to save money as long as you don’t mind having second hand books. You might even find some of the older student’s marginalia is useful to your own studies!

Before you go down this path make sure you check the reading list for your course. If your tutor has updated to a new edition of a key textbook and you don’t notice, you’ll have wasted money on the old version and be at a disadvantage compared to other students!

Where Can You Actually Use Bitcoin?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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Bitcoin has been in the headlines even more than usual in the past few months, largely as a result of its inflated value. While the cryptocurrency’s jump up to more than $19,000 in worth near the end of 2017 has so far proven unsustainable, it’s still trading over $10,000, where a year ago it was right around $1,000. This has largely made people take it more seriously as a commodity. However, it’s also still usable as a currency. But where can you actually spend it?

This is an important question to answer if you’re interested in the convenience and security of digital currency, or if you buy into the idea that we’ll be using it more and more in the coming years. At this stage, bitcoin is still something of a niche option where day-to-day transactions are concerned. But there are some places to put it to use, and more are emerging on a semi-regular basis.

Major Online Retailers

Clearly this is a broad category, but it’s just as well because it’s probably the most significant one also. While mobile phones can be used to conduct bitcoin transactions in person at brick-and-mortar locations (which we’ll get to below), the easiest benefit of digital currency is being able to use it while you’re already online. And if you take a look at major stores accepting bitcoin, you’ll see some of the largest online retailers in business today. These include Overstock, eGifter, Etsy, and even Microsoft, to name a few. Together these sites can account for a huge portion of your online shopping (or your shopping in general), and each of them makes it easy to pay for a purchase with bitcoin.

Restaurants & Cafés

Restaurants and cafés have been slower to adopt cryptocurrency, but as mentioned there are instances in which you can use a phone or another mobile device to access your bitcoin wallet and make a payment in person. There’s a handy site called SpendBitcoins that is actually designed to help you find brick-and-mortar locations that accept bitcoin, and it can give you an idea of where you might be able to eat and drink with digital currency. You may just find a few restaurants in your area.

Gaming Sites

Gaming has proven to be an interesting avenue for bitcoin payments. For a while Steam, perhaps the biggest online marketplace for conventional game downloads, accepted bitcoin, though it recently stopped due to high fees and price volatility. In casino gaming, however, bitcoin seems to have stuck. Numerous bitcoin-only or bitcoin-compatible casino platforms have sprung up in recent years, and more established gaming sites may well follow suit, particularly in the UK and Ireland, where bitcoin is essentially free from regulation. The Irish site SlotSource, a prominent gaming resource, shows that several platforms already accept PayPal so that users can feel secure in making online payments. The leap from there to accepting fully digital currency isn’t a big one, so it won’t be a surprise if this and similar sites are soon on the list of places you can spend bitcoin as well.

Travel Booking Platforms

Technically most travel booking platforms would actually fall back under the heading of major online retailers, but they serve such specific purposes it seems only fair to give them their own category. Expedia is probably the most commonly discussed travel booking site that accepts bitcoin, but it’s been joined by the likes of CheapAir.com, Virgin Galactic, ABitSky.com, and Berkeley Travel to name a few. These options have to be considered particularly interesting given the skyrocketing value of bitcoin, because they involve heftier purchases. At least psychologically, it might seem more natural to buy expensive plane tickets and/or hotel reservations with bitcoin than it seems to order new headphones or something of the like.

The Secrets of Hiring Executives

Sunday, January 28, 2018

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When you’re taking your start-up from the development stage into a fuller life on the corporate stage, it’s important to get some experienced executives involved. Your specialism is in the unique service you’re developing, managing your team of developers and technicians who are getting a minimum viable version of your product ready for the market and for investors. You need specialists in navigating the world of business, using their insight and contacts to maintain a reliable and plentiful stream of revenue, and reassure your investors that the business is getting advice from experienced professionals.

You need to make sure you get the right people though. If you make hasty hiring choices you might find that you’re losing your grip on the company you founded, and pushed to make decisions you may not agree with. On the other hand, if you don’t have an executive team who will challenge you and ask difficult questions, you run the risk of falling victim to a problem your limited perspective couldn’t foresee – being surrounded by yes-men is rarely a recipe for success.

Hiring the right people to see your business through these tricky growing pains is a challenge. A good place to begin is with your professional network –founders, entrepreneurs and other peers that you respect and have established contact with over the course of your career so far. They may well be able to recommend people who’d be a good fit for you, and a personal recommendation from someone who’s opinion you trust is worth a great deal, especially in the early stages when your hiring experience is limited.

It’s also worth consulting with specialist executive recruitment firms. Savannah Group is one such recruiter, that specialises in executive appointments, so you know they’ve spent years collectively cultivating a network of contacts from which they can draw the best possible candidates for your business.

When you’re making executive appointments, it’s important to find a recruiter who specialises in your niche, and make your needs very clear. They want to find the right candidates for you, to get a quick result, and possibly bring you back to them in future, so you should take the time and discussion necessary to make sure they have a full understanding of your situation. Think of this as a collaboration: you could be working with this firm over the course of years so building an understanding early on is vital and will help them find you the people you need to take your start-up to the next level.

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