Manage Your Debts and Improve Your Credit with These Financial Tips

Whether you have accounts past due or pay all your bills on time, most of us have some level of debt. The key to keeping debt from becoming your enemy and ruining your credit is to learn how to manage it. Learn to manage debts of any size and it will become easier to keep up with payments, get rid of negative marks, and most importantly improve or maintain your credit score (for those who already have a good credit rating).  Not to mention the amount of unnecessary stress it lifts from your shoulders.

Get a Grand Total

It can be scary to imagine how much debt you may have accumulated. A mortgage, student loans, credit card bills, and even medical bills can add up leaving an unfavorable impression on your credit report. The only way to effectively manage your debt and improve your credit score is to know exactly what you owe and to whom. Tally up all of your debts and don’t be afraid to look at that grand total. Sure, it may be scary, but knowledge is power.

Get a Look at Your Credit History

You now know how much money you owe your creditors, but what’s your current credit health? Is your credit score declining, increasing, or has it remained the same? Look at your credit report to see what’s going on. Many consumers aren’t even aware of how much is reported on their credit history – and verify the facts because some of it may not be accurate.

If you find negative line items that don’t belong or old accounts that should have been erased from your history it may be necessary to contact a credit lawyer. They can help you resolve inaccuracies and clean your credit report which will most likely improve your credit score.

Create Repayment Plans

You are making progress. Now you know how much you owe, you know who you owe it to, and you know how these debts are positively or negatively impacting your credit rating. The next step is to reduce your debt to income ratio by setting up repayment plans. If you’re in good standing with your debts then start by paying off more than the minimum each month.

On the other hand if you have a lot of accounts and large amounts of debt it is most likely time to get serious about tackling them. Start by contacting your creditors and arranging a payment plan that works within your budget. Be sure that you can stick to the payment plan, as creditors may not be willing to work with you in the future if you break an arrangement. As you pay off the debt your credit score will improve.

Create a Budget

You’ve likely heard this a million times, and yes, the term budget does sound a lot like restriction. Be that as it may, when you properly budget you can improve your credit and your finances. A budget helps to ensure that you have enough income to pay the monthly bills. It also helps to minimize unnecessary spending which can free up cash. To eliminate your debt you will use that excess cash to pay off your bills.

Go Back to Cash

If your credit history is in dire straights your credit card may be to blame. If credit cards have gotten you into trouble with debt stop using them and revert to a cash based system that will keep you accountable. Using cash helps to curb those impulse buys. You will no longer need to worry about charging something that you cannot pay back later. Your credit rating cannot fall any farther and you will prevent yourself from further destroying your credit score. Using cash will help you gain a better understanding of your credit card debt and help improve your credit rating.

No one said that managing your debt and improving your credit would be easy, but, once you get over the learning curve, managing your finances becomes second nature. Simply watch what you spend, keep track of income and expenses, and maintain or build a positive credit rating. If you’ve tried these tips with no such luck, consider talking with a credit counselor who can help you get your finances back on track.

June 22, 2017 at 8:33 PM Leave a comment

4 Tips for a DIY Wedding on a Budget

Are you a couple on a tight wedding budget? Do you feel as if you’ll never have enough money to pay for the wedding of your dreams? Luckily, DIY is in this year and has been for quite awhile now. The two things you don’t want to skimp on, of course, are the rings and the wedding dress. However, once you have chosen the perfect custom engagement ring like those at Diamonds Forever in San Diego, there are quite a few tips to help you through the perfect wedding DIY style on the budget you have set for yourselves. Read on below for a few of those tips to help you get started.

Do Your Own Wedding Day Hair

If you are the type of girl who has played around with different hairstyles since she was old enough to hold a brush, then doing your own hair the day of the wedding isn’t that much of a stretch. Skipping a stylist and even a makeup artist on your wedding day is a great way to save a ton of money. If you are a whiz at makeup and hair, then you might not need to pay someone to do the job for you. If you aren’t that comfortable doing it yourself, see if you have a friend or bridesmaid that can help. Every girl has a friend that is a whiz in the hair and makeup department. Have them do it for you and save your money for the wedding flowers and food.

Food and Drinks for the Reception

Having a wedding reception catered can be very expensive. The best way to ensure that you stay within budget is to prepare your own food and drinks. Make sure to enlist the help of friends and family and don’t overwhelm yourself making complicated food. Remember, the most expensive part of the reception is usually the alcohol. Try finding a wedding venue that will let you bring your own refreshments to lower the amount you spend on food and drinks to a manageable level.

Provide Your Own Decorations

The best thing about a DIY wedding is being able to get creative with the decorations you use for the wedding and reception. Once you choose a theme for the wedding and reception, everything else should fall into place pretty quickly. There are so many DIY wedding themes out there, from rustic barn to fairy tale weddings that it may be hard to choose the one that’s right for you. Go with your heart, but make sure to stay within your budget.

Provide Your Own Music

Rather than paying expensive DJs and bands consider hiring a new band that is just starting out, a student musician, or even getting a friend to DJ the reception. This will save you quite a bit of money so that you won’t be stressed when the big day rolls around.

These are just a few of the top tips to help you save some money. Throw a DIY wedding and cut back on unnecessary expenses. The majority of your budget can then be spent on the perfect custom engagement ring and wedding dress. Provide your own music, style your own hair and prepare your own food and you’ll quickly throw the DIY wedding of your dreams, without an astronomical price tag.

June 21, 2017 at 7:32 PM Leave a comment

Why Using a Payday Loan is Not a Wise Decision at All

Payday loans have garnered wide recognition for helping borrowers get money fast. Life throws lots of lemons our way and you simply never know when a terrible phase of life will leave you looking for money. Unfortunately, payday loans can lead to a never-ending cycle of debt.

These loans may temporarily solve your problem, but without caution they may introduce new and larger financial hurdles for you. Be cautious before applying for a payday loan. Look for other sources of money before signing on the dotted line and consider payday loans alternative to meet your instant cash demands.

Here Are Some of the Top Reasons to Avoid Payday Loans

  • Too Expensive

Payday loans often carry high payback costs. The lending companies typically offer money easily, but charge a hefty interest rate. Interest rates can reach as high as 400%. When an emergency financial situation arises you don’t have much time to think about sources of income and money, but tread carefully so you don’t spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort trying to pay the loan back.

  • Creates Dependency

Payday loan cycles are just like any other bad habit that can get a hold of you. You start with the intention of using a payday loan “for the first and last time” but you suddenly find yourself depending on the money and unable to break free from the cycle of it. When the money comes so easily you may be tempted to sign up for payday loans more frequently. Payday loans can lure you into risky behavior as you begin to think of them as your back up plan to financial messes. Instead, opt for payday loans alternative to get money in an uncomplicated and stress free way.

  • Too Easy/ No Time to Review Agreement

Most payday loans provide money quite quickly, but to get the money so fast you may compromise on reading over the paperwork and signing agreements you don’t fully understand. Many times representatives ask you to sign papers even when you may be unsure or unready to sign them. If you are hesitant do not proceed. There may be a lot of hidden charges that you are unaware of. Payday loan representatives know you need money quickly. They also know that those in dire need will quickly sign paperwork without reading it.

  • Less Time for Repayment

Payday loans typically require fast repayment. In fact, this may be the biggest disadvantage of all. Will you be able to pay back the loan within a month’s time? If not, you may want to look for alternatives. If you don’t have money right now are you certain that you will have money within such a short period of time? The vicious cycle of payday loans occurs when the total becomes due but you cannot pay it. Keep yourself out of this loop by searching for payday loan alternatives instead.

June 21, 2017 at 11:33 AM Leave a comment

Tips For Curbing Those Unexpected Moving Costs

You might already know that you are going to have to spend a tad bit of money in order to completely relocate yourself and your family. However, it is important to know that there are often unexpected costs associated with moving that many people do not know about until they are in the middle of it all. By being prepared for those costs, if at all possible, you are sure to have a much easier time moving and it might turn out to not be as stressful as you thought it was going to be.

Hire Professional Movers

When you hire professional movers, one such example is Allied Movers, you will find that you are able to save yourself from many potentially expensive situations. Sure, it costs money to hire them, but considering that they are going to absorb the liability for the move, it is money well spent. For example, your personal belongings are protected under their insurance. They are also responsible for driving the extra-large truck, maintaining it, and keeping plenty of fuel in it.

Packing Supplies

Most people are fine with the idea of paying for all of the packing supplies that they need. However, the cost of those supplies tends to be much more than they expected. After all, it’s just cardboard and plastic, right? Well, it can add up to be a lot of money and once you are in the packing stage, you really cannot stop. You have to keep going. But, instead of paying an arm and a leg for all of your packing supplies, you might be able to get them for free or for a cheaper price than what you would pay in the standard packing supply store.

Start by talking with the manager at your local grocery, hardware, home improvement, department, and dollar stores. Ask them if you can have their empty boxes after they are done unpacking them from their weekly shipments. You might even be able to score some bubble wrap or foam blocks or peanuts to help secure your valuable belongings. Of course, you might also want to consider using this as a time to sort through some of your things and donate the things you do not want or need anymore. That can reduce the amount of stuff you have to move.

You Won’t Injure Yourself

By allowing the professional movers to move your heavy furniture, appliances, and boxes you will not be at risk for major injury that would require surgery or chiropractic care. This is important because not only will such injury cause you pain and discomfort, it can cost you money to be seen by professionals for treatment. The skilled movers will have plenty of experience, which means they know how to properly move things that could otherwise hurt them. They will also have the proper equipment and back braces. They will also be able to get the stuff moved in and out of the truck much quicker than you might be able to do on your own, which means you will be able to start unpacking and enjoying your new place much sooner.

The more you think about it, the more likely it is that you are going to find the true value that you receive and the money you can save by making use of the moving tips you are given. Remember, just because moving is going to cost you some money, it does not have to cost you all of your money!

June 16, 2017 at 8:42 PM Leave a comment

Creating User Stories to Ensure Successful Software

There may be times when a software development team finds it difficult to plan out the list of tasks required to meet technical requirements. The life cycle of software requires a lot of up front planning and it is important to understand all functional requirements and needs long before coding begins. It is often helpful to create user stories that explain the technical needs. If you spend the time upfront on these stories and their associated tasks you can better ensure a successful project that addresses the requirements in a timely manner.

Value of User Stories

User stories are written by the business and technical teams. It is a way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone understands the problem at hand and the best way to solve it. If you want to change functionality you will need to write a user story that addresses that change. The development team will be responsible for making the required software alterations. It is also their responsibility to track down defects, find proper ways to fix those errors and make all changes as quickly as possible.

User Stories And Technical Tasks

There is an established relationship between user stories and technical task. User stories must talk about the requirements from the system. They are often told from the standpoint of an end user who is attempt to accomplish a particular task using the software being implemented. User stories must be read and understood before being implemented. It is up to the development team to look for the best technical solution to accomplish the task at hand. they will determine how long it will take to complete a story and will provide an estimation to the project manager.

Understanding the Task

In order for software to be built correctly the first time it is important for all stake holders to sign off on the user stories and for all those involved to understand the necessity of this change and/or feature. Sometimes the business and development teams do not agree on priorities. Ranking and estimating user stories ensures that everyone is on the same page with technical changes. Through the use of user stories product owners and developers can discuss the upcoming changes, understand the need for the those changes and evaluate the cost and value of it.

Long Term Benefits

User stories help everyone understand the priorities of your software project. Technical tasks are made visible to the business owners and both technical and business teams become aware of the efforts required to make changes and fix bugs. It is important to make certain that everyone on the team is on the same page. If you don’t pay attention along the way your software can fall into disrepair. Paying attention throughout the process ensures that you don’t end up over your head with bugs and errors. In that regard software and financial states are similar. When it comes to money you want to keep a watchful eye on your income and expenses. You want to make certain that everyone in a family understands how to use credit cards and how not to dig a hole that they cannot climb out of. If you do get in over your head you’ll need to figure out how to get out of credit card debt. Keep a watchful eye on your progress and figure out ways that everyone can prioritize their wants and desires while still being mindful of their expenses.

June 13, 2017 at 4:09 PM 1 comment

Simple Ways To Manage Your Personal Debts

These days you can find a lot of information on the Internet about the negative aspects of debt, but the truth is that some things cannot be purchased outright. Perhaps you want to buy a home or attend college. While some of us receive inheritances for these purchases most of us have to secure a loan to pay for them. Before signing any loan documentation you should make certain that you understand the terms and conditions associated with it.

Understanding Your Debt

All debts must be repaid. That means you will eventually be responsible for paying back the entire loan amount plus the interest stipulated in your contract terms. Apart from that there can be a wide variety of terms and conditions depending on the type of debt you incur. When it comes to a home mortgage, the most important thing is the rate of interest, whether it is fixed or variable. If you see that the rate of interest is variable then you should understand when such changes occur. Ideally, the tenure for any standard mortgage loan will go up to 30 years with some variability.

The Monthly Payment

Apart from the tenure, you should also understand the monthly repayment schedule. Make sure you understand which part of your payment will go towards the principal, which portion pays the interest on the loan and which portion is kept aside for escrow. If you want to pay off your mortgage early then you should understand how to pay off excess principal. Do you need to include extra documentation with your loan payments or will all excess automatically be used to pay down the loan?

Terms For Credit Cards

These days most of us have a credit card or two. It’s a whole lot easier to carry a card in your wallet then it is to carry a wad of cash. If you have credit cards you should understand how to pay them off each month. If you do not pay them off in a timely manner you can quickly find yourself in debt. If your credit card debts are mounting you will need to know how to consolidate credit card debt. If you plan to consolidate your debts make certain that you understand the terms and penalties as well as the benefits of it. When you use credit cards and don’t pay off the minimum balance then high interest rates can compound over time. Eventually you end up paying much more than the original price of the item you coveted. If you cannot pay your credit card debt in full then you should limit its usage.

Use Some Caution

Be vary wary of the checks offered with credit cards. Sometimes these will arrive in your mail unexpectedly. These typically come with very high interest rates and should not be treated like checks from your checking account. When it comes to debt and your finances you can never be too cautious. Make certain you always understand the terms of any long term or short term loan you sign up for and do not sign any documentation until you are certain you understand the conditions being offered.

June 13, 2017 at 3:50 PM Leave a comment

Continually Assess Your Software to Minimize Future Problems

If you own a software development company then you know how important it is to continually review the code before it goes into production. It is important to keep an eye on quality standards and to ensure that problematic and bug ridden code does not make its way into functional software used by your clients. As with anything in life it is important to review software and processes throughout the life cycle on your system. You do not want to wait for a problem. Once the problem is in production you will have big problems on your hands.

Timely Reviews

Proper and timely assessments help you find errors in logic and reasoning well before they hit the production servers. The goal is to place clean, bug-free code into production. In the development phase you have plenty of time to fix issues and add new functionality. Once the bugs make their way into production you will find yourself racing against the clock to identify the problems and fix them. The goal is to put in work up front to ensure that each iteration of the code improves and that faulty code does not make its way into the hands of users and clients.

Prioritization Of Value

When you take the time to watch over your software practices and procedures you can ensure that problems do not arise unnecessarily. It is always important to keep an eye on the things in front of you and not to lose sight of the issues right under your nose. Sometimes you need to set priorities for what needs to be done and when you need to accomplish the tasks at hand. Prioritizing debts is similar. Look over your statements and consolidate credit card debt when necessary. Figure out which debts must be paid and the minimum balance on each account.  Learning about debt consolidation loans for bad credit is also very important. Even those with bad credit have repayment solutions. Check online and you will find the best way to correct your errors. Software is a repetitive process. You must review your code and often change functionality along the way. Keep an eye on your finances just as you keep an eye on your software.

Reduce The Risks

Refactoring code to fix defects can cost you a lot in terms of money, time and effort. This adversely affects your business and the implementation of future releases. Spend the time addressing issues up front. Taking the time to fix things during development will reduce the risks that bugs make their way into production.

Refactoring Is The Key

As you write software be aware that code will be modified time and time again. Newer libraries will be added and new functionality will be required. You must review and retest your software to ensure that larger problems do not arise in the future. Refactoring is a staple of the software development life cycle. Be prepared to write and rewrite functionality multiple times as your software completes various releases for bug fixes and new features.

June 13, 2017 at 2:33 PM Leave a comment

Pampers Baby Dry Review

We all know that it costs a ridiculous amount of money to raise a child. The latest estimates ring in at a whopping $233,610 between your child’s birth and the day he or she turns eighteen. Before the birth of your little bundle of joy you will inevitably spend time weighing the financial decisions impacting his arrival. You will think about the big-ticket items like doctor’s bills and hospital charges and furniture for the nursery, but you may also find yourself contemplating smaller purchases for just about every single item your baby will touch, eat or play with.

Do you spend extra money on organic products like sheets and bedding? Do you make your own baby food or buy it in a jar from the grocery store shelf? Do you purchase adorable new clothing or head to the thrift store for second-hand items that cost a fraction of the price?

Some items make a bigger impact on your wallet than others. For example: buying a minivan is a much bigger expense then your particular choice of crib sheets. Some purchases occur just once in a lifetime and others happen over and over again throughout your child’s life.

While it is important to consider the financial aspect of your decisions, it is often true that choosing the cheapest option is not the wisest choice. Take diapers for example. The cost of diapers can certainly add up throughout the first two or three years of your child’s life and while price is certainly a factor to consider when it comes to diapers there are other, more important considerations to make.

The most important aspect of diapers isn’t cost. It’s finding a brand of diapers that doesn’t leak. Let’s face it new moms and dads don’t get much sleep as it is. The last thing you want is a leaky diaper that consistently wakes your child from his or her sleep.

As a frugal fanatic I tried every inexpensive brand of diapers available, but after a few nights of wet crib sheets I gave up on those low-quality options in favor of Pampers. I wanted a trusted brand that would provide my son, husband and I with a good night’s sleep. When my second son was born over two years ago I didn’t bother with inferior diapers. I picked Pampers Baby Dry right off the shelf.

These diapers are made of safe and gentle materials that keep my son dry for up to 12 hours. When I put my son to sleep each night I know that a wet diaper will not wake him throughout the night. The Extra Absorb Channels pull moisture away from his skin and keep him dry until the next morning.

While thickness may not matter to an infant, who spends most of his time sitting or laying still, a toddler needs a thinner diaper that will allow him to walk, run, skip and jump. Pampers new Baby Dry diapers provide optimal absorbency without the cumbersome thickness. Since we started using this brand we haven’t experienced any leaks or blowouts.

I cannot say enough good things about the Pampers brand. I was provided with a free pack of Pampers New Baby Dry diapers for writing this post, but I can honestly say that Pampers Baby Dry has been my primary brand of diapers for more years than I can count and the latest modifications have just made them better than ever.

Pampers leak protection is superior to every other brand I’ve tried, including many other name brand options that continually leaked during both daytime and nighttime use.

On a side note: If you use Pampers or plan to use them in the future make sure you sign up for the Pampers Rewards Program. Simply enter the code found on participating packages of diapers and wipes on the Pampers Rewards website or iPhone app. It takes mere seconds to enter and you can earn rewards ranging from free photo prints and photo calendars to toy shopping carts, scooters and JCPenney gift cards. I’ve earned hundreds of dollars worth of products in the last three and a half years.

Note: I was provided with a free pack of Pampers New Baby Dry diapers for writing this post.

June 12, 2017 at 10:40 AM Leave a comment

What Can You Do With Disposable Income?

Having disposable income seems like a great advantage in life, but many people struggle to make the most of it, and end up frittering it away. There are, in fact, many options out there for those who have a regular surplus of money to potentially turn it into an effective form of making more money. Here are some of the options.

Trade

Trading has become incredibly popular in recent years, perhaps because accessing global markets has never been easier for individuals. With so many different options to choose from, you can invest your money in markets which you think might be the most profitable.

It will take dedication to learn the necessary trade strategies which are necessary to become successful, but professional traders have been known to take home millions. You could, for example, trade currency on the forex market, which is nonstop and volatile in nature, or invest in gold, which is a known to be steadier and safer. Whichever market you choose, trading can be an exciting way to increase your income.

Save

For those who want a simple, risk averse option for investing disposable income, opening a savings account could be the answer. Setting aside some money each month is a great way of building capital for a future investment, such as a deposit for a house or a new car.

There are many different savings to choose from nowadays, so look around online to find one with the best interest rate and conditions for your budget. ISAs are one effective method of earning tax free interest, as long as the interest rate is decent.

Invest in a Business

This is probably one of the most difficult options, but could be worth consideration. If you have enough disposable income or savings, you could use it to start your own business. The cost of this will vary widely depending on the business itself, but successful entrepreneurs have been known to sell their enterprises for millions further down the line.

You could also invest in someone else’s business, either individually or through a venture capital fund. This would reduce some of the risk yet still prove to be a good investment if the business is successful.

These are just some of the ways you can be more creative with your disposable income, and you should do some more research to find out which options could be the most lucrative/useful to you. Everyone is different, so do not be afraid to explore some of the more unusual options if you believe they will work.

June 9, 2017 at 10:19 AM Leave a comment

4 Pitfalls that Bedevil Newbie Entrepreneurs and How to Avoid Them

Many individuals dream of quitting their jobs to become entrepreneurs. These people often feel caged and unsatisfied in their 9-to-5 jobs. Unfortunately, many don’t realize how difficult it can be to run an effective and profitable business. Owning a company is much more difficult than working in a standard 9-to-5 job.

Starting a business comes with added risk. More than 50% of new businesses fail in the first five years because of a mix of internal and external factors. If you want to become an entrepreneur you must be aware of the common business pitfalls that lead to failure. To maintain a profitable business you must keep the list below in mind.

  1. Starting a job and not a business

Most newbie entrepreneurs think that being your own boss at a business will afford you the freedom to control your working hours and create time for other important areas of your life. However, you need to understand that a “business” that requires your presence and hands-on input to run is not a business yet. At this point it is still a job – it only becomes a business when it runs and make money in your absence.

Of course, you might need to be involved in the hands-on operation at the start; however, you should always look for ways to grow your business into a money-making machine that runs effectively.

  1. Starting a business from scratch when there’s a better offer to buy

Newbie entrepreneurs are often disillusioned by the idea of creating a lasting business legacy – and they want to build it from scratch. In addition, starting a business from scratch seems like the cheaper way to go if you don’t have access to startup capital. However, starting a business from scratch will cost you a great deal time of money. It will also take you longer to build your business legacy.

If you want to go into business and you have the funds, it might be a smarter idea to look for an undervalued business that you can buy and re-imagine with your own vision. Of course, you’ll need to conduct due diligence to be sure that the core operations of the business are healthy and steady before you purchase it.

  1. Running out of money

As obvious as it sounds, running out of money is one of the deepest sinkholes that entrap newbie entrepreneurs. Some entrepreneurs run out of money because they didn’t allocate their startup capital properly. For instance, spending a huge part of your startup capital on getting the best office space outfitted with ping pong tables and game consoles without thinking about the cost of product development and marketing could lead your business into failure even before you start.

Research streams of business funding before you set out. These will ease your financial worries before you start.

  1. Making cheaper prices your USP

In order for your business to survive and thrive profitably you must have a unique selling point (USP). Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of competing with established businesses by offering cheaper prices. Offering cheaper prices will definitely get you clients faster but it could also get you out of business twice as fast.

For one, a new business doesn’t usually have the financial war chest to compete with established rivals on price. More so, competing on price and price alone will get you many customers but you won’t have decent profit margins.

June 6, 2017 at 8:55 AM Leave a comment

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