Tag Archive for Debt

4 Simple Ways to Start Paying Off Debt

paying off debt

start paying off debtNobody likes to be in debt. It is hard to think about anything else when you know that your bills are piling up and you have no way to start paying off debt in a timely manner.

Not only will you spend a fortune in interest charges while trying to get out of debt, but you will also rack up late fees and do damage to your credit score as well. If you want to keep your financial future on track, one of the first things you need to do is get out of debt promptly.

Despite what you might currently believe, you don?t actually have to do anything ?crazy? in order to start paying off?debt. In fact, the best way to resolve this situation is to take a collection of little steps that all add up to a big move in the right direction. Here are?four simple steps that you can take to start paying off debt sooner rather than later.

Never Pay Only the Minimum

Hopefully you are already following this tip, but it not, now is the time to start. When it comes to things like credit card debt, you want to avoid paying just the minimum balance due when you make your monthly payment.

If you only pay the minimum, you will barely be making any progress at all on your debt ? so the problem will be with you to stay. Instead, try to at least pay a few dollars over the minimum, if not more. Of course, you need to balance how much you are paying with the rest of your budget for the month, but do your best to increase your payments gradually to take bigger chunks out of the total debt load.

Skip One Dinner Out

This might seem like a basic point, but it is incredible how effective it can be to help you start paying off debt. If you are willing to skip one dinner out per month and put that money toward your debt load instead, you could add $50 or $75 to your debt payments every month.

That doesn?t sound like much to you? Well, it is somewhere between $600 – $1,000 per year, which is certainly significant in the big scheme of your financial life.

Move Debt Up Your Priority List

Maintaining a family budget is all about priorities. Rather than prioritizing things like movies, meals out, vacations, and more, start making your debt payments a top priority. Of course, that doesn?t sound like much fun in the short run, but it will pay big dividends over the long term. Making short term sacrifices for long term gains is what paying off debt is all about.

Consolidate Debts

If possible, look into consolidating your debts into a single payment with a lower interest rate. By piling all of your various debts together into one monthly payment, you can simplify the process and possibly save yourself large amounts of interest along the way. It is the interest on these accounts that makes them so difficult to pay off, so work to bring them all together and your pay off date may come into focus much sooner. There are many options to consolidate your debt, such as Lightstream, that can significantly cut down the amount of interest you have to pay and become debt free quicker.

 

Can you think of other ways to start paying off debt? Did you use any of these tips to help you get started?

 

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3 Ways to Save on Your Next Car Loan

car loan

car loanMost people need to take out a loan when purchasing a car. There is no shame in that, of course ? cars cost tens of thousands of dollars, and very few of us have that kind of money just laying around. Fortunately, car loans usually come with very reasonable terms and a relatively short repayment time frame. If you care for your car properly, you should be able to continue driving it long after the loan has been satisfied, hopefully giving you time to save up money for you next car so you can avoid taking out a car loan next time.

Of course, even though car loans are fairly affordable in terms of interest rates and terms, you still want to save as much money as possible when making this large purchase. Keep these three tips in mind before you walk onto the dealership lot ready to make a deal on your next car loan.

Skip Some Options

You don?t need to buy a ?fully loaded? vehicle in order to be happy with your purchase. Many of the base model modern cars still include everything you need, such as automatic windows and locks, automatic transmission, safety features and more. As you move up into the higher end options, you can start to spend a lot of money on things like upgraded upholstery, a fancy stereo, and other technology.

In order to pick out the right car and right package for you, focus more on your budget than the options you have in front of you at the lot. Establish a price range for your purchase before you ever head out to buy the vehicle, and keep the final sale within that range no matter what. This can save you thousands on your car loan. But don’t skip features if they are truly important to you. For instance, you could get a car GPS?from China to save money and still have that feature in your vehicle.

Save for a Down Payment

The math is simple ? any money that you are able to put down on the purchase of your vehicle is money that won?t have to be borrowed in your car loan. If you can save up prior to making the purchase in order to have a significant down payment available, you will be able to greatly reduce the size of your car loan, and reduce the amount of interest you pay over the long run.

It is often possible to buy a vehicle with a very small down payment, or even no down payment at all, but you should try to avoid this strategy if possible.

Shop Around in Advance

Before you even head out to shop for a new vehicle, do some work on finding your financing ahead of time. You can likely apply for a car loan approval through your bank before you go shopping, which will give you a great idea of what you can afford and what your monthly payments are going to look like based on the interest rate and loan size.

While you might end up financing the purchase of your car through the dealership rather than your bank, it is nice to have that approval in your back pocket when it comes time to negotiate. If the dealer won?t give you terms that you like, you can always point to your bank offer as another financing option.

 

Have you ever taken out a car loan? Do you have any other tips to help save on a car loan?

 

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3 Ways to Pay Off Student Loans Quicker

student loans

pay off student loansGetting a college degree is a great way to start off your adult life. People who hold degrees tend to make significantly more money over the course of a lifetime than do people with only a high school education.

Of course, in many cases, some of those extra earnings are directed toward student loans which have been racked up in order to pay for college. If you have a significant amount of student loan debt that you would like to get off of your shoulders, consider these three tips?to help you pay off student loans quicker.

Make Them a Priority

Simply put, you can pay off your student loans faster if you decide to move them up in your budget ?priority list.’

Everyone has to make budget choices on a day to day basis, so keeping your student loans near the front of your mind can go a long way toward paying them off sooner.

For example, instead of going out for dinner tonight, you could choose to eat at home and use the $20 you saved to pay down your loans. While that might not seem like much, it can quickly add up in a big way. If you make that choice once per week for an entire year, you will have saved more than $1,000 that could be used toward your student loans. These decisions might not be fun in the short-term, but they will feel great in the long run when you are able to work your way out from under the debt you accrued.

Earn Extra Money Online

There are a number of ways to earn money online these days ? and you could choose to use one of those methods in order to make extra payments on your student loans. For instance, you could pick up some freelance work in a field in which you are trained, and you could set that money aside for student loan payments.

Even if you are only able to spend a little bit of time on this kind of work each day, you may be able to make a big dent after just a short period of time. Of course, there are a number of ?make money from home? scams around the web, so make sure you are pursuing a legitimate work from home opportunity. As a good rule of thumb, you shouldn?t have to invest any money upfront in order to work. If you are being asked for money, consider that a red flag that the ?opportunity? you have found is not a good one.

Save on Home and Car

If you aren?t yet locked into a mortgage or a big car payment, consider living in a smaller place or driving a cheaper car until you are able to pay off your loans. By keeping your expenses on these big items to a minimum, you should be able to clear our space in your budget for extra payments on your student loans.

Once your loans have been satisfied, you can then consider upgrading in one or both of these departments if you wish.

 

Have you done any of these things to help pay off student loans? What else can you do to help pay off student loans quicker?

 

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3 Ways You Can Go on Vacation While Paying Off Debt

vacation

pier-569314_640If you are focused on paying off the debt that you have accrued in years gone by, it is easy to think that you can?t spend even a single dollar on everything else. While getting out of debt is a great goal, you have to continue living at the same time. That means striking a nice balance between paying off your debt and saving up money for fun times with family and friends. Of course, one of the best ways to have some fun is to take a hard-earned vacation.

At this point, you are probably thinking that a vacation is a luxury you can?t afford at this time. You have been working hard to pay down debt, and a vacation would only serve to reverse the progress. However, there is a way to accomplish both goals at the same time. If you are smart in your planning, you can keep paying off debt while simultaneously going on a fun vacation. In fact, you might even be able to use travel as motivation to be careful with your money.

Stay Close to Home

It is the travel expense that leads to many vacations costing thousands of dollars. If you decide to vacation several states away from home, you will likely need to purchase costly airline tickets ? or at least put many gallons of gas into your car. By staying closer to home, you can greatly reduce that travel cost while still getting away from the daily grind.

Fortunately, there is a great chance that you will be able to find a suitable destination for a vacation within just a short drive of your house. You can check out Expedia for great rates?for places close to home that will save you money on your trip.

Mid-Week Travel

The lodging rates that you will find at hotels and other resorts tend to be dramatically lower during the week than they are on the weekends. If it is possible with your schedule, try to plan your trip during the middle of the week to cut down your overall cost for the trip. Another way to achieve the same effect is to travel during off times of year.

If you are willing to go when the weather might not be as nice, for example, you could get a great deal while still having fun. Again, you can use Expedia?to find hotels that have lower mid-week rates.

Affordable Activities

One of the most important elements of planning a vacation from a budget standpoint is making sure that your activities are going to be affordable. Taking a trip to a theme park, for instance, is not a good idea as the tickets alone will take a huge bite out of your budget.

On the other hand, going to ?natural? destinations like parks, beaches, trails, and more, will keep things under control financially. In the end, you might decide to have a blend of natural activities and more ?touristy? experiences to wind up with a well-rounded vacation that is fun for everyone. You would hate to get out on a vacation only to find that you can?t really afford to take part in many of the activities that are being offered in the area, so do your research in advance and come up with a detailed itinerary that is both enjoyable and budget-friendly.

 

Are you planning to travel while still paying off debt? How will you save on your vacation?

 

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3 Ways to Save on Your Car Loan

car loan

car-926834_640Purchasing a new (or used) car is an exciting time, but it comes with some pretty serious financial decisions. While we would all like to be able to walk away with the fanciest car on the lot, real life gets in the way of those dreams. Instead, you need to make smart decisions and leave the dealership with a car that you can actually afford. Most people will be taking out a car loan in order to make this purchase, so it is important that you understand how to get the best possible deal on this financing.

Great Down Payment

One of the best ways to save money on your car loan is simply to put down a larger down payment when you make the purchase. This will help in two ways ? first, it will make the overall amount of money that you are borrowing less than if you made a small down payment, meaning you will pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Also, you will possibly be able to negotiate better terms for your loan, since you will look like a strong borrower with a big down payment. Save up for at least a few months before buying a car so you can have enough money to make this payment on the date of purchase.

Sharpen Your Credit Rating

Take some time in advance of your car purchase to work on improving your credit rating as much as possible. By paying down other existing debts, challenging any late payments or other negative marks, and more, you can make sure your credit score looks as good as possible going into the dealership.

A better rating should mean a better loan rate, which will mean interest savings over the life of the loan. It is important that you know what your credit score is before you ever walk into a car dealership, and you should be ready to use that fact as leverage. Remember, if a particular dealer isn’t willing to give you a rate that is satisfactory, you can always walk out and head to another location.

Buy Less Car!

You probably don’t need to pay for a car with all of the bells and whistles in order to safely get yourself and your family around town. Think about what your needs are with this car purchase, and don’t buy anything that you don’t really need. There is no better way to save money on a loan than to simply not pay as much for the car in the first place.

There are certainly going to be plenty of shiny new models on the lot when you go to shop, but don’t let them distract you from the mission of making a choice that is the financially sound one based on your budget. This may mean buying a used car. The excitement of a new car will always fade away, but you will appreciate your reasonable car payment each month that it is deducted from your bank account.

 

Will you be buying a new car soon? What other ways can you think of to save money on a car loan?

 

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