4 Reasons You Should Use a VPN in 2018

According to 2017 Identity Fraud Study, as much as $16 billion was stolen from over 15 million US consumers in 2016. In 2015, some $15.3 billion was stolen from 13.1 million consumers. Online thieves stole $1 billion more in 2016 than 2015.

The report also revealed that identity thieves have stolen $107 billion from millions of people in last 6 years.

Things would become worse in 2017, 2018, and beyond unless internet users start taking their online security seriously.

Statistics like these generated a new buzzword – VPN. It is no more a buzzword instead a need. If you aren’t using a VPN, you could be the next victim.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is private network that enables you to send and receive data securely. A VPN does two things:

  1. It encrypts all the data you send and receive from your device thus making you safe.
  2. It will change your IP address as if you’re coming from a different location.

Here are 4 reasons why this is the right time to encrypt your data and manipulate your IP address via a VPN connection.

  1. Browse securely an safely

Not every website that you visit is safe. While most of the websites use HTTPS which means your connection with the website is fully secured and encrypted but majority of the sites aren’t secured.

For instance, if you’re reading an article on your favorite blog, your connection might not be secured. Anyone can access your machine and/or your information.

In fact, the moment you connect with the internet without a VPN, you’re exposed to millions of threats. Things become worse when you enter your personal information or financial information on a website over an unsecured connection.

A VPN lets you browse the internet without any fear of getting exposed to malware and hackers. You can access any website, social network, your email, or pretty much anything without any fear.

  1. Access restricted content

If you happen to be a frequent flier, I’m sure you know how it feels when you cannot access a specific website when you’re not in your home country. Not all the content is freely available throughout the world. For instance, Google Docs, Gmail, and several other Google products are blocked in China.

Similarly, brands use different versions of their website, content, and products in different locations. This is where a VPN service like CyberGhost discount can be of great help.

Since it hides and manipulates your IP address so you can access restricted content easily irrespective of your current location.

For instance, if you’re in China and need to access Google Docs, you can easily do so via a VPN.

  1. Use public Wi-Fi freely

One of the biggest threats to your security are public Wi-Fi such as those in your hotel, airports, universities, and other public areas.

Since anyone can use a free public Wi-Fi, therefore, using one without a VPN is a big mistake.

If you’ve a VPN, you can use any public Wi-Fi without any fear.

  1. Communicate privately with friends and peers

The use of messaging apps, social networks, and video calls has increased enormously in recent times. We are always connected with our friends, family, and peers whether we are at work, home, or traveling.

Guess what, anyone can access your communication easily because it is not encrypted.

A VPN helps you keep your personal information that you share with your friends and family over the internet absolutely safe.

Conclusion

Don’t take the risk of exposing yourself to thieves, hackers, and scammers who are always looking for new victims. Start using a VPN now.

Don’t take any chances because there isn’t anything more important than your security.

September 17, 2017 at 4:50 PM 1 comment

Video hosting pros rejoice: Vimeo Pro now available at a deep discount!

Hosting video on your small business website? Perhaps you are a photographer or videographer and your business actually IS video. Either way you’re probably taking up much of your precious hosting space with huge video files. There’s actually a better way that thousands have already figured out.

Vimeo has been around for over 10 years and their service has gotten better and better each year. At this point you can share crystal clear HD video at half the cost of competitor services with built in analytics, customized call-to-actions and privacy protection (which stops people from embedding your video on their website or blog). Take advantage and save with a Vimeo discount code

What’s more is that when you embed on your website you can customize all the aspects from the color, available button options and the thumbnail image. You can also add subtitles to your videos and utilize the impressive SEO features that includes built in schema markup for Google’s website crawlers.

While you may have been thinking about video for a while or this could be the first time you’ve heard about it — either way it’s a great way to get started with Vimeo no matter if you are a novice or video pro!

August 24, 2017 at 12:52 AM Leave a comment

4 Practical Ways to Protect Your Vacant Property

Owning real estate is one of the best investments you may ever make. The good news is your property can appreciate in value and may end up being worth more than you originally paid for it. However, if you’re away for any length of time or own a rental beach house that isn’t being occupied, this can be concerning. It’s in your best interest to do some things that will help protect your property when you aren’t there.

Put in a security system

There’s no doubt that having a modern security system can be helpful in increasing your peace of mind when your home is vacant. This can alert the right officials in your area if you have a person entering your property and you aren’t there.

Relying on ADT monitoring is one of the more efficient ways to worry less about a home that sits empty for weeks or even months for that matter. Some of the benefits of selecting this system are listed below:

1.  Affordable – For only a few dollars a week, you can ensure your home is being monitored at all times.

2.  Around the clock monitoring – You never know when a break-in can happen and this provider will watch your home 24/7.

3.  Dispatch – Getting emergency help to your home when you need it is important and having this type of security system will dispatch the right people to your property fast.

Maintain the property

It’s important to do the usual things any homeowner would do that is living full-time on the property even when you aren’t there. You should work with a landscaping company to ensure your lawn is mowed at least every couple weeks. Failing to do this could result in others quickly knowing the home is vacant.  HomeAdvisor states the average cost to mow and maintain your lawn is $150.

Other things you can do include leaving lights on that can be scheduled to go on and off when necessary. This can help it look like there are people residing in the home daily.

Keep it secure

Taking time to install new deadbolts on your doors can be one of the ideal ways for you to prevent a break-in from occurring if you aren’t there. Working to ensure your home is secure can be one of the most efficient ways for you to avoid some issues that may occur if your property isn’t being occupied.

Other things you will want to do includes checking to make sure the windows are locked. This can make it much more challenging to get inside of your home and is an efficient way for you to prevent thief.

Join a community support group

It’s a very good idea to work with your neighbors and create a community watch group. This can allow others to help monitor your property and alert you if any suspicious activity occurs.

This can be especially helpful if your home is empty for a long time and you’re concerned about it. Be sure to give your contact information to your neighbors in order to get any alerts about activity on your property when you’re gone.

It’s essential to do all you can for your peace of mind if you have a piece of real estate that isn’t be lived in for the short or long term. There are varying times in life when this may occur, and the last thing you want to do is endure damage or thief to your home.  By being proactive and working to avoid this, you can feel secure about your property even when you aren’t there!

August 23, 2017 at 9:16 AM Leave a comment

Saving Money with Online Coupon Codes

Onlіnе shopping is the оrdеr оf thе dау wіth аlmоѕt еvеrуthіng under thе ѕun bеіng mаdе аvаіlаblе through оnlіnе ѕhорѕ. Tо attract more аnd mоrе consumers and іnсrеаѕе thеіr ѕаlеѕ, оnlіnе merchants or rеtаіlеrѕ оffеr promotional codes, whісh аrе dіѕсоunt соuроnѕ. Thе ѕhорреrѕ оbtаіn attractive discounts оn thеіr рurсhаѕеѕ frоm оnlіnе shops can uѕе thеѕе соuроn соdеѕ. To gеt thе promotional соdеѕ, аll thаt уоu nееd tо dо іѕ tо brоwѕе the Internet and fіnd a rеlіаblе соuроn website where thе оnlіnе ѕhорѕ and mеrсhаntѕ ѕubmіt thеm fоr use bу customers.

Coupons used tо be available juѕt іn рареrѕ but with thе grоwіng рорulаrіtу of online ѕhорріng соdеѕ also еmеrgе tо promote nоt only оnlіnе savings but also mіllіоnѕ of online рrоduсtѕ.

Thе Advаntаgеѕ оf Cоuроn Code tо Shорреrѕ

Onе оf thе bеnеfіtѕ of using coupon соdе aside from thе dіѕсоunt on thе product іtѕеlf іѕ dіѕсоuntеd or ѕоmеtіmеѕ еvеn frее ѕhірріng. Thіѕ іѕ whаt mоѕt online ѕhорреrѕ look for whеn a retailer willing to рrоvіdе frее ѕhірріng. Thіѕ іѕ hіghlу convenient fоr аll оnlіnе shopper, and mаnу оnlіnе retailers оffеr this tуре оf service dіѕсоunt.

Anоthеr аdvаntаgе оf using соuроn code іѕ it allows уоu tо shop whеnеvеr is most соnvеnіеnt fоr уоu. Mоѕt соuроnѕ lаѕt fоr wееkѕ еvеn a mоnth bеfоrе they expire this wіll gіvе you time tо find thе bеѕt deal аnd buу the product уоu nееd whеn уоu hаvе thе money.

Cоuроn соdеѕ аrе also еlеmеntаrу tо fіnd. You juѕt gо оnlіnе and type іn promo соdе оr соuроn соdе, and уоu will ѕее hundrеdѕ of sites оffеrіng them. Yоu саn аlѕо ѕіgn-uр for a mаіlіng lіѕt оf уоur fаvоrіtе online ѕhорріng ѕіtе. They wіll рrоvіdе уоu promo codes аnd other dіѕсоunt information оnсе іt іѕ available. Yоu dоn’t nееd tо buу a nеwѕрареr оr сut іt out іn ѕоmе mаgаzіnе or саlеndаr. Yоu саn fіnd codes оn affiliate ѕіtеѕ or еvеn оn the rеtаіlеr’ѕ website. There are many available соuроn соdеѕ not only for grосеrіеѕ and RTW еvеn for trаvеl, hotel accommodations уоu just hаvе to lооk for thеm bеfоrе buуіng or рауіng fоr any services. Thеrе аrе even printable соuроn codes уоu соuld uѕе for your оfflіnе ѕhорріng оn your fаvоrіtе rеtаіl stores frоm a website like CоuроnGrіnd.соm.

Hоw tо Rеdееm a Соuроn Cоdе

CоuроnGrind іѕ аn еxсеllеnt way to ѕаvе, аnd it’s convenient and еаѕу tо fіnd. It’ѕ also vеrу easy to rеdееm a соuроn соdе уоu wіll just hаvе tо lоg іn to CouponGrind аnd rеtаіlеr wеbѕіtе and gо tо ѕhорріng саrt there іѕ аn орtіоn to рut thе code thеrе, оr іt соuld bе оn the review раgе before the checkout. Eіthеr wау, уоu dоn’t hаvе tо be соmрutеr savvy tо rеdееm the coupon соdе. You wіll knоw thе code wоrkѕ once thе раgе shows the оrіgіnаl рrісе of thе іtеm аnd thеn thе dіѕсоunt you аrе gоіng tо get. It will арреаr on the оrdеr раgе. If thе dіѕсоunt dіdn’t ѕhоw do nоt рlасе the order, the соdе might bе еxріrеd, оr уоu mіght nееd tо rеtуре іt. Mаkе ѕurе that the соuроn соdе you аrе using саmе frоm reputable аffіlіаtе рrоgrаmѕ wеbѕіtе or оnlіnе rеtаіlеr ѕіtе lіkе CоuроnGrіnd.

Where to Gеt a Rерutаblе Cоuроn Code

A ѕmаrt ѕhорреr аlwауѕ trіеѕ tо find thе bеѕt dеаl and available discounts that are being offered by rеtаіlеrѕ. It’s a gооd way tо ѕаvе аnd hеlр mіnіmіzе your еxреnѕеѕ оnlіnе. We’ve been using coupongrind.com as their interface is easy to use and they don’t require a fee or your information to get the coupons you’re looking for.

July 30, 2017 at 9:42 AM 1 comment

Cost-Effective Approaches to Entertainment and Other Forms of Enjoyment

If your budget is tight and you really don’t want to spend excessively on an evening out, or even your vacation, there are many things you can still do, with little or no out-of-pocket expense.

Community calendar

If you’re like many people, you are trying to budget and spend each dollar wisely. The good news is that you can still enjoy doing things while you get your finances under control. You can go online to your town or city and pull up their calendar of upcoming events. Most of them are free and even the ones that cost money to attend are generally just a few dollars. You can plan a day trip to your community pool or the local beach, visit the library or museums, pack up a picnic lunch and grab a radio, a blanket and sunscreen, and enjoy a relaxing day at a park. Many communities also hold concerts at parks a few times throughout the year.

Date night or family night at home

Instead of spending a lot of money for an expensive dinner out for a date night with your spouse or a family outing at the local restaurant, opt to stay home. You can plan a dinner, include all your little helpers and do it together. After you enjoy your meal, you can play some board games or host a movie night from the comfort of your home. Many cable companies like DIRECTV have a wide range of movies and events that you can enjoy commercial free. You can select from one of the many DIRECTV packages that suit your personal needs. Many also have music channels that you can use as a background for your romantic dinner for two.

Stay vacations

With tight pockets and the need for relaxation, many families are now opting to have Stay Vacations. This gives you a way to enjoy your time off without racking up a lot of expenses. You can do small things around town like going to the movies, a water or amusement park, bowling and other local attractions without the large hotel and travel expense. Plus, as an added bonus you don’t have to pack. If you want to make this experience seem like a vacation, you should clean your home ahead of time and plan something to do for each day, just as you would if you weren’t at home. These types of vacations are becoming popular because they cost a lot less and you don’t lose a day to packing and possible flight delays.

Investing in a motor home

If you would rather escape the confines of your home and experience new things in other states, purchasing a motor home may be a wise investment. It eliminates the need for a hotel, which can be one of the biggest traveling expenses, and it also lets you remain in control. With a motor home, you can change your plans as they come and decide to spend an extra day in one place or opt to change the plans altogether and drive to a new destination. It gives you the freedom to enjoy new adventures on your time table. You can pack up all your supplies and cook most of your meals to save even more money on your trip.

There are many things to do in your own town or city that costs little or no money. Instead of spending money that you don’t have, enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Take a walk on the beach or a nature walk in the park. Enjoy a sleigh ride or a carriage ride through the city. Visit the museums and then head for ice cream and take in the school play productions that cost a few dollars and help raise funds for the school. Life’s full of wonderful things that are fun, educational and mostly free. Learn to enjoy the simple things that bring your family closer together and create fond memories.

July 26, 2017 at 9:39 AM 1 comment

4 Tips You Need to Effectively Manage Your Student Finances

As a student, your sources of income may include funds from your parents, student loans, and bursaries as well as income from part time summer jobs. This money must be stretched out to pay for a semester’s worth of financial needs, which is tough to do when the majority of it will be spent on tuition and other costs associated with your education. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your educational expenses you should know that you are not alone. A national survey found that roughly 72% of all college students feel stressed about their finances. Moreover, 32% of students reported neglecting their studies at times, because of the money they owed.

While effectively managing your finances in college is difficult without full-time income, it’s certainly not impossible. Students are advised to learn how to properly manage their resources during school semesters. Such skills are not only beneficial in school but will also come in handy later in life. The tips below will improve your finances and provide life long lessons that will serve you well beyond your college years.

1. Make a budget.

It sounds cliché, but to manage your finances you’ll need to create a budget and religiously adhere to it. A good budget helps you keep track of your income streams and spending. It also helps you live within your means. A budget provides a clear picture of what you can and cannot afford. When making a budget, prioritize the things that are crucial for your education and survival such as meals and funding for your class project. Keep your spending on fun and luxury items as low as possible. Remember that while you want to have fun you do not want to get out of college with mounds of debt.

When unbudgeted things pop up and trust me they will, you need to ask yourself a few questions before deciding whether to fund them or not. Ask yourself, “Can I afford this?” “Is it that necessary?” and “Can I purchase the same item elsewhere at a cheaper price?” Think carefully about how you answer those questions and think twice before committing your scarce resources to the project.

2. Cut your phone bills.

Phone bills can quickly soar to prohibitive levels. As a student, your finances are limited and a great way to manage them would be to cut your phone bill. “How can I do that?” you may ask. Well, the first thing would be to ditch your expensive service provider for a cheaper one. Republic Wireless is widely regarded as one of the least expensive service providers in the industry. The company offers plans starting at just $15 a month.

You can also reduce the instances with which you make phone calls and instead opt for free calls on Skype. To make calls on Skype all you need is a Skype account, your PC or smartphone, and internet access.

3. Avoid credit as much as possible.

You may have a student loan that will require payment upon graduation. It will be tough enough to pay that bill after college so be careful not to add more debt to your repayment schedule. Your student loan is sufficient to see you through your years in college and you should avoid the temptation to acquire other loans or advancements from other lenders.
When you find yourself in a financial stalemate, seek help and advice from your campus finance director rather than opting for soft loans from unauthorized lenders. Such loans usually carry high interest rates and you may end up getting yourself into more financial trouble when you opt for them.

4. Keep luxuries to a minimum.

As mentioned earlier, you are in school to get an education and all your energy and finances should be directed to your studies. Avoid luxuries as much as possible. For your living quarters, consider campus housing, but if you must take up private accommodation, avoid luxuries such as a cable TV and fancy sofa sets.

In Conclusion

Life on campus can be extremely difficult with all of the tests, projects and assignments you have to attend to. It becomes significantly harder when you have to worry about balancing your budget between funding your schooling and affording life necessities. Luckily, utilizing these four tips will help you keep your spending under control so that you can keep your mind focused on your studies and not on your debt.

Michael Benson is the lead bankruptcy attorney at A Bankruptcy Law Firm, LLC. He currently holds a CPA license, a Series 7 license, and a license to practice law. Michael utilizes his knowledge and expertise to help individuals in St. Louis and Southern, IL repair their finances.

July 24, 2017 at 12:08 PM Leave a comment

Financial Tips for Recently Graduated College Students

Remember the “broke college student” life you used to live when you were in college? It doesn’t have to be the same when you’ve graduated. Of course, some students don’t leave college and walk right into a full-time job in their field after graduation, so money may still be pretty tight.

However, there are several financial tips and tricks that can work for you if you need to stretch your money a little while longer or if you already have a job and just need a refresher on money smarts.

  1. Look for places where utilities are included in rent costs.
    • Rent by itself is expensive already (especially when you live in a big city). Save yourself the money and stress by looking for apartments that offer utility costs included in the rent.
  2. Using public transportation to get to and from work? Buy a monthly pass.
    • This is especially useful if you don’t have a car. If you use public transportation for the majority of how you get around town, you’ll save yourself some money in the end by investing in a monthly pass.
  3. Break down the entertainment category into subcategories to get a more detailed look at your expenses and spending habits.
    • Allocate your money to movies, festivals, theme parks, concerts, and any other entertainment things you enjoy so you can see exactly where your money is going.
  4. Don’t forget those one-time expenses.
    • Forgetting a friend’s birthday is even worse when you don’t have the money to buy them a gift or even a card. Allocate a part of your budget to holidays and gifts so the money is there when you need it.
  5. Keep your savings goal specific.
    • Saving “whatever money you have left” may not always work and may not always be consistent. If you want to save $10 a week or $100 a month, those goals are specific enough to where you know exactly how much and how often you want to contribute to your savings.
  6. Modified 50-30-20 rule.
    • 50% for expenses, 20% for savings and debt, 20% for wants, 10% for generosity. If you still have the luxury of living at home when you’ve graduated, you may not have that many expenses. So, allocate some of your paycheck to paying off your student loans or any other debt you may have.
  7. Cut your spending habits
    • This is an obvious one if you don’t have money coming in everyday. However, this tip is often overlooked or given up on within a short period of time. Cutting your spending habits on things you KNOW you don’t need and things that don’t contribute to making you feel good or satisfied can definitely help in the long run. It’s better to discipline yourself now than drown in debt later.
  8. Aim for paying off your student loans in 10 years or less with the standard payment plan.
    • Some graduates go into teaching or into the Peace Corps, so their loans are forgiven within a certain period of time. If you are not going into either of these fields, stick with the default payment plan that is given to you, which is the standard plan. And if you can, try to pay more than the minimum payment. You’ll be able to knock out those loans quicker.
  9. Monitor and check your credit score regularly.
    • Maintaining a good credit score can help save you thousands of dollars over time. People with lower credit scores often pay more for car loans and have higher interest rates on large purchases. Using your credit card for purchases you can afford to pay off right then and paying off your credit card will help boost your credit score.
  10. Live within (honestly, under is best) your means.
    • You know that person who is always going out or traveling or buying the latest technology everytime something new comes out? Don’t try to keep up or compete with them! You know how much you earn and how many expenses you have. Keep that in mind when you see them on social media, posting about their latest purchase. It’ll save you money in the long run.

Brad Botes has been practicing as a bankruptcy lawyer at Bond & Botes, P.C. for 30 years. He is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Illinois.

July 14, 2017 at 12:47 PM Leave a comment

3 Simple But Effective Tips for Dealing with Student Loans

College education costs a great deal of money – whether college is worth the cost is another debate entirely. You’ll most likely have some amount of student loan debts unless you have rich parents (willing to foot the bill), rich (like Zuckerberg who recently graduated from Harvard), or you win a scholarship covering your tuition. Student loans can be a huge burden on your finances especially if you don’t land your dream job.

In fact, if you don’t make smart financial decisions, student loan debt can weigh down your credit score and the pool of loans that you can access will be greatly reduced. However, you don’t need to bury your head in the sand because you have student loan debt. This piece provides three insights on how you can take proactive steps to reduce your student loan burden.

  1. Refinancing your student loans is a great idea

Student loan repayments tend to be one of the biggest monthly expenses and you’ll struggle financially if your expenses are more than your income. However, you can reduce the strain that student loans place on your finances by reducing your student loan interest rate and monthly payments. Student loan refinancing is the smartest way to reduce the interest rate and monthly payment you make on your student loans.

Most of the firms who offer refinancing programs on student loans often have interest rates between 2.50% to 3.00% so your interest payments won’t be as much as the expected interest on federal government loans. You can also choose a variable or fixed interest rate and you have the liberty to choose the term of your loan for up to 20 years. However, the Federal government doesn’t offer an official refinancing offer but private lenders will be happy to help you refinance your student loans.

  1. Federal repayment plans MAY lead to loan forgiveness

The federal government understands that many Americans are struggling with student loans. In fact, about 44 million Americans are indebted up to $1.4 trillion in student loans. Some repayment programs being offered by the federal government won’t necessarily help you help get out of debt faster but they can help you secure loan forgiveness if you make consistent effort to repay your loan. You may also be eligible for public service student loan forgiveness if you are teacher or work as a public servant.

The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) program ties your monthly loan payments to the total amount borrowed, family size, and your income. Payment is capped at 10% of your income and you can get loan forgiveness after 20 years. The Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) program can help you cap your monthly payments at 10% of your discretionary income and you’ll be eligible for loan forgiveness after 20 years. You may also want to consider the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan in which your monthly payment tied to your income, family size, and total loan burden. Under IBR, you won’t be eligible for loan forgiveness until after 25 years.

  1. Extra payments are good if you can make the stretch

If you want to get out of student loan faster, your best bet is to make extra payments as much as possible. You can make extra payments in terms of extra monthly payments and you can make extra payments in terms of lump sums. The fact that student loans do not attract prepayment penalties means that you can may more each more without incurring fees. Of course, you’ll need to tell the loan servicer to apply the extras toward paying down your principal.

July 9, 2017 at 10:09 AM Leave a comment

This One Investment Saved Us Money on Family Vacations

My family and I love taking family vacations every year, but the costs are really starting to add up. With a quick look over my budget, I could see that we were spending close to $1,000 per person for hotel, flight, rental car, food, and entertainment. Although I would never put a price tag on my family’s happiness, I realized that we had to find a way to vacation without spending so much money.

I’d heard of things like booking in advance, traveling during the off season, booking package deals, and other basic tips on how to save on vacation, but even with these tips, we were spending a lot more money than we wanted to.

Ways Recreational Vehicles Save Money

Talking to some friends of mine who seem to always be on the road, we found out that renting or RV financing could save us quite a bit.

Cheaper Than Flying

In 2016, the average cost of an airline ticket was $340 per person (this is not including fees). A small recreational vehicle, however, would cost an average of $0.96 per mile. With these numbers, our family could travel 500 miles and still save more than the cost of airline travel for a family of four.

 No Need for a Hotel

A recreational vehicle is like a house on wheels. Depending on the size of the camper you invest in, your family could sleep while on the road. The average cost of a hotel stay in the US is $121 per night while the average cost of a campground fee is only $25 per night. This allowed us to save about $96 per night on sleeping accommodations.

Cook-in Instead of Eating Out

Of course, there are condos and hotel rooms with kitchenettes; however, they cost even more to book per night. With a recreational vehicle, however, the kitchen is wherever you are at no additional cost. Instead of going out to eat every night, which for a family of four could be an upwards of $60 per night, we went grocery shopping and spent about $150 for the week. This saved another $150 on a five-day vacation.

Factors to Consider When Investing in an RV to Save Money

As you can see, renting or financing a recreational vehicle can save a family of four on a five-day vacation approximately 30-40%. The money you save on basic expenditures like transportation, hotel stays, and dining out can go towards having more fun with the kids. If you’re thinking of investing in a recreational vehicle for your next family vacation, you’ll want to keep a few factors in mind:

  • Size – You want something big enough to accommodate your family.
  • Fuel-efficiency – Choose an RV that is good on fuel or else you could end up spending your savings in the gas tank.
  • New vs. Used – You don’t have to gut out on a new RV. You can buy a used RV with few miles on it for increased savings.

Don’t let the high cost of traveling keep you and your family from enjoying your down time. If you’ve tried traditional methods for planning a family vacation on a budget to no avail, you might consider invest in a recreational vehicle. As a “house on wheels” you’ve literally got everything you need on the road with you. You’ll have so much fun meeting other families on the road, charting new territory, and of course creating fun-filled family memories.

June 29, 2017 at 8:02 PM Leave a comment

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 1 comment

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