Archive for August 2017

4 Ways to Eliminate Debt on a Variable Income

4 Ways to Eliminate Debt on a Variable Income

4 Ways to Eliminate Debt on a Variable IncomeWhen it comes to personal finance, there is nothing that you can do which will be more important than eliminating debt.

Saving is great, but it isn?t going to do you as much good as simply wiping out your debts as quickly as possible. If you currently have any degree of debt, your first objective should be to get rid of that debt right away.

Of course, this is something which is far easier said than done. You may already know that you should be getting rid of your debts, but you might not know how to do it. This is especially true if you live on a variable income, which is true for many people in today?s ?gig? economy. To help you get on the right track, we have assembled?some tips to help you eliminate debt on a variable income.

Build It Into Your Budget

Debt payments should not be seen as an optional part of your budget. For many people, paying down their debt is something that they do when there is a bit of ?extra? money laying around at the end of the month.

That is a poor way to look at this topic. Instead, you should be prioritizing debt, as carrying that debt is actively costing you money on an ongoing basis. While planning your spending for the month, build in debt payments and view them as fixed rather than optional.

Have a Savings Buffer

Because your income varies somewhat from month to month, one of the best things you can do is save up a ?cash cushion? that you can leave in your savings account for protection. This doesn?t have to be a huge amount of money, but it should be enough to help get you through those thin months when you don?t have as much income to pay your bills.

Even if you have just a couple thousand dollars available in cash, that reserve will make you feel more comfortable about committing money to your debts.

Tighten Your Spending

There is no way around it ? you are going to be able to pay off your debts faster if you stop spending so much each month. If you take a careful look at the money you spent in the last 30 days, it is almost certain that you have spent some money which could have been saved instead.

Put the emphasis on saving instead of spending in your day to day life and you will have more funds available to eradicate your debt.

Go Cash Only

You are never going to get rid of your debt if you are adding to it at the same time that you are trying to pay it off. If you can?t afford to pay cash for something, it is better that you don?t purchase it at all. Learning to have the discipline to only purchase things which you can afford at the time will go a long way toward helping you get back on track from a financial perspective.


Do you have a variable income? How are you paying off debt?


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4 Ways to Make Saving Money Easy

4 Ways to Make Saving Money Easy

4 Ways to Make Saving Money Easy?Saving for a rainy day? is a phrase you?ll often hear when people refer?to the importance of saving money.

Though saving for a rainy day sounds easy, saving money can be a challenge.

With high consumer and student loan debt plaguing many in the United States, saving those extra cents becomes an all too rare event.

But, the truth is, saving money doesn?t have to be dramatic or difficult. It can even become automatic.

Here are a few ways to make saving money?easy, or at least easier than you think.

Set up an Automatic Transfer to Savings

Pay yourself first and you?ll thank yourself later. By setting up an automatic transfer you won?t notice that the money’s not there. Create your budget based off the amount of money you have after the automatic savings transfer.

The same goes for your retirement?contributions. Set those up automatically so you even see the money coming into, or coming out of, your account.

Move Your Savings Account to a Different Bank

Having two banks may seem a tad complicated, but it does help if you find yourself often tempted to dip into your savings.

With your savings account being held?at another bank it makes it harder for you to float by moving savings to checking and spending it.

You can still set up an automatic deposit to savings and not mess with physically going to two separate banks to make deposits. You may also be able to switch to a bank with a higher interest rate on savings, like Discover Bank, or at least move away from a bank that charges high fees.

Start a Retirement Savings Account

The numbers are staggering for how many Americans don?t have a savings account, let alone savings for retirement. If you are self-employed, a Roth IRA is a good option for a retirement account. Setting up an automatic deposit to your retirement account makes it easy to save for the future.

Set up a Savings Transfer on all Purchases

Does your bank offer an automatic savings program that puts your “spare change” into your savings account? Mine does! It means every time I swipe my debit card, the change is put into my saving account.

For example, if I spend $3.01 on coffee, $0.99 is automatically put into my savings account.

It?s like putting your spare change in a jar. It’s only a few cents here and there. But, over time, that amount adds up.

Cash Back Rewards on Credit Cards

Now don?t get it into your mind that a credit card can solve your money problems. Cash back rewards only work if you don?t carry a balance on your card and pay your bill in full every month.

But, if you use cash back credit cards responsibly, they can be a good way to save money. Instead of putting your rewards toward your monthly bill, have it transferred directly into your saving account.

Saving your money is easy, especially with the ease of online banking and automation. Whether you are saving a little, or a lot, it all adds up over time.

You don’t have to start big. Set small goals and work your up from there.?You can make saving money easy and hassle free with these tips.


What easy methods do you use to save money? How do you make saving money easy?


Photo courtesy of: Ramberto Cumagun

4 Sneaky Ways Advertising Gets Us to Spend More

4 Sneaky Ways Advertising Gets Us to Spend More

4 Sneaky Ways Advertising Gets Us to Spend MoreIn the modern world, we are all subjected to nearly constant advertising on a day to day basis.

Watching TV? You are going to see ads.

Browsing the web on your computer, or on your phone? Again, more ads.

Driving down the street in your home town? Ads, ads, ads, all along the side of the road.

No matter where you turn, there is a business vying for your attention.

Most of us think that this constant stream of advertising is unsuccessful ? that the businesses paying for the ads are wasting their money. We are wrong.

Advertising is highly effective, which is why so many billions of dollars are spent in this arena every year. Even if you don?t notice on a conscious level, you are just as susceptible to advertising as everyone else.

Of course, these ads can have an impact on your monthly budget if you aren?t careful. The following list includes four ways in which advertising gets us to spend more money than we would have otherwise.

Emphasizing Premium Models/Packages/Products

When you see an ad, you are rarely going to see the cheapest product option available from a company. The automotive industry is the perfect example of this technique.

When you see a TV commercial for a new car with amazing features, do you think those features come with the base model? Of course not. However, the price stated on the screen will represent the base model, even though that was not the car you just saw on the commercial. If you head to the dealership to look into this vehicle, the price you are quoted will be something entirely different.

The Upsell

This is a classic advertising and marketing technique, and it works incredibly well.

For instance, when you pull up to the drive-thru at your local fast food restaurant, there will be a menu board which is essentially advertising all of the food available. In addition, there will be ?extra? offers, such as increasing the size of your fries and drink for a small price.

Those upsells can have a huge impact on the bottom line of an organization, and they can damage your wallet as well.

Creating Peer Pressure

If you think that peer pressure is something which went away after you left high school, you can think again. Advertising frequently uses peer pressure as a way to get into your bank account.

Clothing companies are particularly adept at giving you the impression that you need to have certain types of clothes in order to keep up with your neighbors. To stay on budget as the months go by, you need to be able to ignore this type of advertising.

Playing to Your Kindness

Those who have kids know what this is all about. When a company pictures a family playing together happily thanks to a given product, they are trying to make you feel bad for not giving your family that same experience. Don?t fall for this trick ? there are plenty of ways to have a great time with your kids without pulling out your credit card for an unnecessary purchase.


Have you fallen for any of these sneaky advertising tricks?


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5 Things You Never Thought a Low Credit Score Could Ruin

5 Things You Never Thought a Low Credit Score Could Ruin

5 Things You Never Thought a Low Credit Score Could RuinCredit is a term that has been around for the past few decades. Your credit score affects everything you do and want to do, especially when it comes to big purchases such as a house or car.

We all know the higher the credit the better. We also know that if we have a low score we need to get it higher. But, why is that?

A low credit score deems you a risky borrower. Low credit scores can hurt you in more ways than you think. Here are some things you might not have known a low credit score could ruin.

1. Your Relationship

Money and kids are two of the biggest factors that can drive couples apart. If you hide your low credit score from your spouse, it can come back to bite you when you apply for a house loan, buy a car and even look at renting an apartment.

When you apply for a house loan, the mortgage company runs both your credit to see how reliable you are. If?your shady score pops up, the lender will most likely give you higher interest rates and raise the minimum down payment to make sure you won?t default on your mortgage. If this is also how your spouse finds out your credit score, things won?t be so good. Be open and honest and together you can work to improve your score.

2. Your Chance to Buy a Home

As stated above, a low credit score can block you from getting certain mortgages, low interest rates and a lower down payment. If your credit is very low you may not be able to buy a home. This is a major hindrance, especially if you found your dream home.

If you are considering buying a house, go talk with your lender and see where you are at. They can help you make a plan to get that score up so you can buy the home of your dreams.

3. Approval for an Apartment

Believe it or not your low credit score could make it hard for you to rent. Landlords do run credit checks to see how reliable of a renter you would be. If your credit history shows a lack of consistent payments or even paying off of debt, that could mean you won?t pay your rent on time and therefore not a good renter.

4. Your Dream Job

This one can really hurt you and can come out of the blue. You could be the perfect fit for the company, aced your interview then not get the job because you didn?t pass their credit check. Most employers will run a credit check as well as a background check. A low score could be a red flag for the potential of embezzlement, untrustworthiness and reliability.

5. Starting Your Own Business

Should the entrepreneurial bug bite you, a low credit score could mean not securing the business loan or line of credit to operate. As businesses start out they rely on the owner?s line of credit to get started and then build its own as the business grows. Low credit score means higher interest rates and a harder time securing the proper financial channels for your business.

These are milestones that have a major effect on your life. The good news is that it?s possible to raise your score. It does take time and creating better financial habits, but it can be done. Discuss your situation with a financial planner, lender, or a financially responsible friend and they will help you find where to start and how to go about getting that score up.


Do you have a low credit score? How has it affected your life? What have you done to correct it?


Photo courtesy of: albertoadan

Pros and Cons of Declaring Bankruptcy

Pros and Cons of Declaring Bankruptcy

Pros and Cons of Declaring BankruptcyObviously, no one wants it to come to this. If you are even thinking about declaring bankruptcy, you are already in a difficult financial position.

While it would be easy to feel sorry for yourself at this point, those feelings aren?t going to do anything to get your life back on track. Instead, the best thing you can do is to simply make the best possible choice moving forward.

Should you declare bankruptcy, or should you keep working to get out from under your debts? There are pros and cons involved with each option.

The information below should help you take a rational approach to your next move.

Pro: Wipe Away Debt

This is the main reason that you will consider filing for bankruptcy. Many of your debts will be forgiven when you go through a successful bankruptcy process, meaning you won?t have to find a way to pay them back.

For the individual who is too far in debt to ever think about getting out, bankruptcy may offer a future where there wasn?t one previously.

Con: Long-Term Credit Damage

Your credit history is going to be severely damaged by the presence of a bankruptcy filing. This is a long-lasting effect, and you will very likely have significant trouble getting a loan anytime soon. When you are able to get a loan, you can expect to pay much higher rates than those with a clean track record in the area of credit.

This is why you should think carefully about filing bankruptcy and only proceed if you feel like it is your only viable option ? the damage that will be done to your credit should not be taken for granted.

Pro: Stop the Calls

If you are way behind on debt payments, you no doubt have been receiving plenty of phone calls from creditors demanding money. Those calls can be stressful, to say the least.

Fortunately, filing for bankruptcy can put a stop to the constant harassment. Once an automatic stay has been issued by the court, it will no longer be legal for your creditors to contact you in search of a payment.

Con: Costs

Ironically, filing for bankruptcy is going to cost you even more money ? which is money you don?t have, of course. There are a variety of fees related to the bankruptcy process, and they can add up in a hurry. Included in those costs are attorney fees, credit counseling fees, filing fees, and more.

As you are already struggling to pay your bills, it won?t feel good to add even more expenses onto your plate.

Pro: A Fresh Start

At the end of the day, this is really what bankruptcy is all about. If you have made a series of financial mistakes in your past, or if you have suffered a hardship which put your finances under stress, you may just be looking for a way to ?start over?.

Bankruptcy isn?t exactly that, since your credit is going to be damaged, but you will at least have the chance to get your head above water.


Have you ever thought about filing bankruptcy? Why or why not?


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