Personal Finance: Tips for Reducing Expenses and Regaining Control of Your Money

Have you lost control over personal finance? Do you find yourself reaching for credit cards to pay for daily living expenses? Are debt collectors hounding you day and night? If you have more month than money, it is time to engage in financial soul searching. Regaining control over personal finance is rewarding and empowering. Regardless … Continue reading “Personal Finance: Tips for Reducing Expenses and Regaining Control of Your Money”

Have you lost control over personal finance? Do you find yourself reaching for credit cards to pay for daily living expenses? Are debt collectors hounding you day and night? If you have more month than money, it is time to engage in financial soul searching.

Regaining control over personal finance is rewarding and empowering. Regardless of the severity of your financial situation realize there is always a solution. In order to be successful, you must be willing to thoroughly review where you are spending money and where expenses can be reduced.

Many people become overwhelmed by the thought of creating a household budget. Budgeting is actually quite easy to do and only requires an hour or two of your time. The first step involves creating a list of recurring expenses such as mortgage payments or rent, car payments, utilities, insurance premiums, cell phone, gasoline or transportation costs, groceries and daycare.

The second step of budgeting involves tallying up your total household income and subtracting expenses. If expenses are higher than income, it is time to make budget cuts or find ways to increase monthly income.

The beautiful thing about budgeting is it doesn’t cost a dime. All you need is a piece of paper and pencil, along with a commitment to become hyper-aware of spending activities and determination to stick to the financial plan.

Some people prefer to use budgeting software or create spreadsheets to help them track expenses. Others utilize budgeting tools offered through their bank or credit card provider. It does not matter which method is used. However, it is best to choose a method which you can easily use on a daily basis.

Many people do not realize they can slash expenses by making phone calls to service providers. Most utility providers offer monthly budget plans which allow consumers to pay the same amount each month. Enrolling in utility budget plans can be especially beneficial during summer and winter months when utility costs can soar. Gas, electric and water utilities often offer budget plan enrollment via their website; making it easy for consumers to enroll during non-business hours.

Consumers can sometimes negotiate the cost of cable and internet services by contacting their service provider. Consumers should spend time conducting research to determine competitor prices. Be certain to compare rates for individual services and bundled packages and make note of each.

Contact your service provider by phone and explain that their competitor offers a reduced rate over the package you are currently subscribed to. Most cable and internet providers offer discounts to new subscribers and those who bundle two or more services, such as phone, internet service and digital TV.

Cable providers will often reduce monthly service fees to retain your business. If they aren’t willing to provide a discount, consider switching to reduced price plan or obtain service through a different provider.

One of the biggest expenses many families have is groceries. If you have never used manufacturer coupons, now is the time to start. The Internet provides easy access to grocery coupons which can be printed in the comfort of your home. Several websites are dedicated to providing coupons and most food purveyors offer coupons and rebates via company websites.

The only way to get out of debt is to track every penny being spent. Take time to record expenses on a piece of paper so you can quickly determine which items are draining your bank account. Most people are unaware of how much money they waste on unnecessary items.

If debts have spiraled out of control and you rely on credit cards to get you through the month, consider obtaining credit counseling. Many credit counseling agencies provide low- or no-cost services to help consumers regain control of personal finance. Credit counseling can take place in person, over the phone or online.

Tips and Tricks to Repair Your Bad Credit Standing

In these economically hard times, your one chance for survival is to have some decent savings in the bank. That way, should you lose your job because of the recession that is going on, you will have something to fall back to, some money that will help tide you over until you get another job. If you don’t have this, your only alternative is to get a loan. But what if you have a bad credit standing? How can you repair bad credit?

A bad credit standing is achieved if you have managed to not take care of your finances and loans. People with bad credit scores are those that have not had any payments for their loans for years or those that have not managed to even pay half of their credit card debts. If you have a couple of bank loans and a few credit cards that you have not yet fully paid in years and with interest already growing, chances are you have a bad credit standing.

Although it is quite easy to get a bad credit standing, it is hard to repair your reputation with the banks and redeem yourself. However, it is not saying that it is some impossible task. You can repair your bad credit by following some of these tips and tricks.

1. Consolidate your debt
Most people who have multiple debts will be asked to make one huge loan to pay for all the other debts so that you will only need to worry about just one loan. Before you do this, make sure that you have checked with all the banks and have managed to get the lowest interest rates for the loan. This way, you can save much especially if the interest of the new loan is significantly smaller than the interests of the loans that you are paying for.

2. Get a Credit counseling
Admitting that you have a problem and seeking help is the first sign that you are willing to change your ways. For banks and financial companies, this is a good sign. It means that you are willing to make changes in your life and you are willing to face the consequences of your actions. Credit counseling will provide you with sound advice on how to manage you debt and how to make small payments until you finish paying for the debt. It will even give tips on how to save money and on how to quell your shopping addiction.

3. Make a commitment
Going to the bank and assuring them that you will be paying your loan will give the impression that you are a man of your word and that you are not afraid to face them. When you do this, it will be more likely for the banks to give you a loan again especially

4. Making payments
You also need to show that you are going to pay for your loans and you can do this by making regular payments to the account. It does not matter if you cannot pay the whole amount or that you are only paying a small portion of the total loan. What is important is you are paying the loan
if you need them in an emergency. After all, you were man enough to repair your badly-shaped credit rating. How can they not trust you?

Tips to Teaching Personal Finance

Now more than ever it is vital that we begin teaching personal finance so our youth are prepared for the financial realities of the real world.

Teaching money management skills that are focused on a ‘practical’ financial education will help to reduce debt, increase savings and ensure the financial security of millions around the world.

In today’s age, it is more important than ever that parents start teaching money management skills to their children. Teaching personal finance is not done in most schools due to budget restrictions and other red tape. Schools have a lot of other required coursework they must teach due to the ‘No Child Left Behind’ and teaching financial literacy is not part of that bill.

Looking at the statistics it is apparent the majority of parents do not have enough knowledge to teach financial literacy to their children. In fact, many parents today are experiencing financial troubles and wish they had someone that was skilled in teaching them personal finance matters.

Teaching money management skills in today’s age is critical. There simple way you can begin teaching personal finance to your children so they are prepared for the real world! Even if you have made financial errors yourself there are teaching financial literacy resources available to help give your family a big advantage.

Three Tips to Teaching Money Management Skills Teaching personal finance will help your children to achieve financial security and can give them an advantage that they will benefit them throughout their life. Check out the list below to discover the top ways to teaching money management skills.

1) Financial Literacy Lesson Plans – Today there are financial literacy lesson plans available that help parents that want to be teaching money management skills to their children. Make sure the personal finance curriculum plans you choose have been designed by a team of experienced professionals. Teaching financial literacy is much more effective when the financial literacy lesson plans were developed by a team of financially successful entrepreneurs and teachers that have a track record of financial literacy lesson plan development experience. Teaching personal finance curriculum that combines top teachers with business leaders will put you immediately on the right track.

2) Communication – The backbone to teaching personal finance effectively starts with communication. Today’s youth are not focused on just “money”. It’s what money ‘allows them to do’ that motivates our children to learn about personal finance. When you teaching financial literacy be sure to ask about their personal dreams and find out how they want to live their day-to-day life. Then relate their aspirations to how having a solid understanding of money can help them reach their goals faster. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many youth want to learn about money when it your teaching money management skills that focuses on lifestyle.

3) Entertaining – By the time the average student graduates from high school they may have been in over 10,000 classes. That is why it is important that you are teaching personal finance in a way that makes you stand out from the thousands of presentations. Teaching money management skills in a way that engages the students will keep their interest. Teaching financial literacy in a fun, entertaining way will help them internalize financial literacy lesson plans so they benefit from this knowledge throughout their life.

These three tips lay the financial foundation that will make truely make a difference in the life of your children. Of course, it is important to be teaching personal finance on an ongoing basis so your children continue to have the advantage of a financial education as they enter the real world.

By teaching pesonal finance to your children they get a ‘head start’ on life and are prepared to meet its challenges. Teaching money management skills can help your child achieve financial independence at a young age and avoid many of the financial pitfalls many of their peers will find themselves in.

Money Tips – beat That Quote Scams Disclosed

Within these credit crunch times where most of us are finding it difficult to pay bills or worried about our jobs and possible redundancy, most people will be trying to find the most competitive deals they can find for gas, electricity energy supplier and auto or house insurance as well as lowering our weekly, monthly and yearly service costs and our other purchases.

Where do all of us Brits look? where do we know where to look? The majority of people see daily adverts on on freeview or tv and the majority try the site bing advertised. Unfortunately 99% of people don’t know about the hidden COSTS that is carried out on the comparison site itself. In 99% of every Quotation the buyer can make much better savings by following a few simple steps.

It’s a fact the UK comparison sites (ie. moneysupermarket make in excess of 30 million pounds plus a year from this what I call the ‘comparison site scam’. Every purchase earns them between 40 and 100 pounds every time someone buys an gas policy via there site? This is money that you can get direct instead of it going into the pockets of the comparison site.

Let us take an example and look at ‘which Switch’ they had well over one million customers last year, so take that number and an average of a minimum 10% of people get their GasSupplier through this comparison site that would give 100,000 hidden payments to the website owner at between 40-100 UK pounds. Let take an average of 50 pounds as a round number..

This gives them a profit of at least 15 million pounds alone from car insurance. This number will be much higher in reality.

Imaging though if the person in the street
like you and me can get this undercover cash for ourselves.

Imaging claiming this payment on your other house insurance and electric energy bills as well..

When it comes to the energy bills SCAM what they do is worth even more money and you can also claim this up to 4 times a year very very easily and it only takes a few minutes

Imagine if you could also save on all your weekly shopping and add in vouchers and discounts for things such as books and laptops.

Imaging getting a excellent deal and as a consequence of following some additional simple steps you receive back an additional 10% off the price? This is what I personally do every single time I purchase anything.

At last! The whole unbiased truth about saving £1000s a Year exposed without the use of comparison sites.

A Personal Loan Company – 5 Tips to Help Your Search

What would you do if you wanted to go on a trip, pay off some bills or improve your home and you didn’t have the money? Deciding that a personal loan would be the answer is easy. Choosing where to go for the loan might not be so simple. Consider these five things when looking at companies who offer personal loans.

1. This is business.

No matter where you get your loan—a bank or a finance company—that entity is out to make a buck (or many) off of you. While reputable businesses will be honest about the costs, as is required by law in most cases, they will not let you know whether you should go down the street to save a few hundred dollars.

Along those lines, you should definitely shop around when looking for a personal loan company. While most personal loans do not have the lengthy payback term that a mortgage does, this will still last for a chunk of your life, anywhere from several months to many years. You do not want to be a month into a five-year loan and realize you should have used another personal finance company.

Things to look for when shopping around:

– Interest rate. Personal loan interest rates can differ from 5% to 25%. Over the life of a loan, that’s a LOT of money. Make sure you’re getting the lowest rate possible.

– Fees. Most businesses make their money on a personal loan in the interest they charge. However, some companies may charge fees and you should be aware of these fees and why they’re being charged. Is it to reduce the interest rate, or is it the company just making more money off of you?

– Application processing. How long will it take to process your application? And who makes the decision? If you need money quickly, that will factor into which personal loan company you use.

This doesn’t cover everything, there are other things to take into consideration when searching for a personal loan company, but this gives you an initial idea.

2) What is the company’s reputation?

You do not want to deal with a fly-by-night operation that makes huge promises, gives you the money then starts charging all sorts of “fees” that have been written into the fine print. Nor do you want one that will mess with your credit. Some questions you should ask before signing with a personal loan company are:

– How long have they been in business? Just because a company is new does not mean it isn’t reputable, just as a company that has been in business thirty years isn’t necessarily reputable. However, most places that do poor business do not stay around for very long.

– Does the personal loan company have any recommendations on file? Perhaps the company has received some letters they can share from customers that have appreciated the business. While this may be a long shot, it may be worth asking.

– Better yet, do you have any friends that can recommend this company? If someone you know used the personal loan company and had a good experience, chances are you will do well with them too.

As before, this list can be added on to. It should get you thinking about the company’s worthiness to have your business. From there, you’ll come up with more questions on your own.

3) Does the personal loan company do secured or unsecured loans?

Do you know the difference between these two types of loans?

– A secured loan has some type of collateral that you pledge to give the personal finance company if you don’t pay back the loan. In other words, you’ve “secured” the company’s ability to make its money back if you stop making payments because you lose the collateral. In the case of a mortgage, the collateral is a house. With a car loan, you risk losing your car. With a personal loan, you may pledge a valuable piece of jewelry or a collection of some type.

– An unsecured loan is similar to credit card debt. If you do not adhere to the terms of the loan there is no collateral to protect the personal finance company’s investment. By the way, that doesn’t mean you get away with anything. The company will come after you for an unsecured loan as quickly as for a secured loan.

4) How will your credit standing affect the loan company’s desire to do business with you?

Do you have bad credit or no credit at all? Some personal finance companies may not want to even talk to you in this case. There are other companies who would delight in taking your business however, as you’re considered a risk, there is a chance they would also charge a ridiculous interest rate.

Another possibility is that the company may require you to have a cosigner on the loan. This is more likely if you’re young and have bad or no credit. What this means is that you won’t get the money on just your signature saying you’ll repay the loan. The cosigner also signs the loan documents—which are legally binding and can be used to collect in a court of law—and agrees to pay back the loan if you default. If a company requires you to have a cosigner, this could be a problem. Many people will not cosign a loan (or don’t have the credit necessary to do so), because of the financial responsibility.

5) Do you like them?

Okay, this one may seem silly, but if you dread stepping into the personal loan company’s offices, or cannot stand listening to your loan officer’s voice, this could cause problems at some point. Whether this is a gut instinct telling you to run away or is just something that happens for no apparent reason, you don’t want to deal with any company that makes you uncomfortable. Keep in mind, just because you like someone doesn’t mean they will do a good job for you. And someone you don’t like may do a great job for you. However, stressing over your interaction with the personal loan company may not be conducive to ensuring you’re getting the best deal possible or not being taken advantage of.

Unfortunately, there are no absolutes when dealing with life, and that includes getting a personal loan. However, if you keep these recommendations in mind, ask any questions you have (no matter how dumb they may seem) and verify every step you take, then getting the money you need should be relatively painless.