Creating Surplus Cash For Savings and Investments

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Living below your means is more a matter of self-discipline. A few adjustments here and there could be all it takes to have the necessary funds available for saving and investing.

Saving, investing, money, debt, spending less, credit cards

You know you need to be saving money but you never seem to have enough at the end of the month or worse, you are further in debt.

Living below your means is more a matter of self-discipline. A few adjustments here and there could be all it takes to have the necessary funds available for saving and investing.

Some mutual funds can be opened up for as little as $200 with minimum contributions around $50.

Here’s a list of ways to save money by spending less.

*Open up bank accounts that have little or no service fees. Keep a cushion to avoid accidental bounced checks. These can eat you alive. Be sure to maintain your minimum balance to avoid service charges.

*Try to avoid banks that charge you a transaction fee for using their debit cards. If you have no choice, plan how much money you will need in a given period and then withdraw it all at once to avoid too many transaction fees.

*Compare credit cards. Look for the ones that have little or no annual fees. It’s not too hard to find those with no annual fee.

*Avoid specialty store charge cards as they often have interest rates six or seven points higher than major credit cards.

*Never choose a card based solely on incentives or reward programs. These include auto reward points and air travel miles. These cards may lead you to spend more money over time than you can afford.

*Most importantly, avoid unnecessary interest charges by paying off the complete monthly balance. You can avoid hundreds of dollars in interest expenses on an annual basis.

*When you buy a car, consider buying one that is one to three years old. A one-year old car will be about 20% to 30% less than a new car. A three-year old car is a good buy because it could be around half the price of a new car. A car depreciates the most in its first three years. After that the depreciation levels off and it will lose less of its value.

*Another good saving when buying a used car is you will pay less for the insurance.

*When going on vacation, consider staying in your home state instead of long distance trips or even international travel. It’s often cheaper to travel within your own borders, that way, you avoid visa and passport costs, border hassles, currency exchanges, tropical shots, medication, and additional health insurance. Frequently, people travel thousands of miles to see sights not nearly as spectacular as what’s next door.

*You should consider off-season vacations. Travel at a time when everyone else is at work or school, and the staff will actually be glad to see you. You may also save 50% or more on the usual travel expenses.

*Avoid large cities and tourist traps; you’ll save a ton by avoiding these places, where you pay more to eat, drink, sleep, and travel. If you do decide to visit a big city, consider accommodations in a smaller town close by.

*If you have a lot of credit card debt at high rates, look into consolidating your debt at a lower rate.

*Refrain from making impulse purchases. Exercise self-discipline.

*Refinance your mortgage or debt at a lower rate.

*Refinance your car loan at a lower rate.

*Shop around for cheaper car insurance rates. There can be a big difference.

*Lower your phone bill by using self-control on long distance calling.

*Use a phone card for long distance or international calls.

*Use coupons when you shop.

*Don’t buy things just because they are on sale.

*Wait for things to go on sale before buying them. Keep a record of when things go on sale. Some items will seasonally go on sale. Ask stores when certain things will go on sale.

*Buy generic, or non-name brand merchandise. Most times the quality is just as good.

*Stop smoking. This habit is extremely expensive.

*Contribute the maximum each year to your 401K or to an IRA.

*Remember, paying down debt is also a way to save money. If you can make extra payments on your mortgage or go for a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year mortgage. The savings are enormous.

*Reduce the number of times you eat out. Oftentimes eating out at a restaurant involves paying a lot of money for over-priced and over-sized meals. For healthy meals and to save money, eat at home.

*Watch videos or DVDs at home instead of going to the movies. Pop your own popcorn instead of paying a lot for theater popcorn.

*Evaluate your entertainment and recreational activities. Many are very expensive to participate in. There are many others that are just as fun and entertaining that are at the fraction of the cost.

*Don’t try to compete with your friends and neighbors. Sometimes, an apparent prosperous lifestyle can be an illusion. Those illusions come with a lot of debt. It’s much better to have peace of mind.

Be alert. There are always ways to save money. Soon you will yourself with money you never knew you had. The key is to put that money to work for you instead of spending it.

2006 Economy: How to Avoid Overextending Yourself

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The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and is moving into its fifth year of expansion. The biggest risk is the housing market which is expected to slow this year and potentially drag the economy down with it. Many people are betting that the housing market will avoid a major crash but instead will plateau leaving prices stagnant. The resulting rise in interest rates could put a lot of families under financial stress.

finance, housing, credit card, economy, 2006

The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and is moving into its fifth year of expansion. The biggest risk is the housing market which is expected to slow this year and potentially drag the economy down with it. Many people are betting that the housing market will avoid a major crash but instead will plateau leaving prices stagnant. The resulting rise in interest rates could put a lot of families under financial stress.

A housing market that is not growing quickly turns into a buyer’s market. People will have a number of houses to choose from which will block any increasing value for current home owners. To most home owners this will not be a problem because they have conventional fixed-rate mortgages and only need to wait until the market improves. People who have unconventional 5-year arms and interest only loans may be seriously hurt; especially if interest rates rise.

“I think one of the principal risks is whether or not home prices decline and the impact that that will have in terms of influencing the savings rate and personal consumption growth as we have already seen in the U.K. and Australia?said David Rosenberg a U.S. economist at Merrill Lynch (Wolk, 2005).

A bigger problem is people’s personal savings rates. Because debt is so easy today and most families are at a maximum borrowing limit many people who will see a jump in their interest payments may begin to default. This default raises the interest rate even further due to increased risks associated with lending money. In the end many people will not have money to spend or save which could have serious consequences for the economy as a whole.

The best measure to avoid such pit falls is to put a larger sum down on your house during purchase which gives you a cushion to work with incase you need to sell your house quickly. The second measure is to avoid all credit card balances, home equity loans and charge cards. Finally, only engage in fixed-rate mortgages.

8 Money Myths

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8 Myths about money that harm our financial lives.

Personal Finance

8 Myths About Money
I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. My family had always worked hard for their money, and as a result, I always equated working hard with making money, with no idea that my beliefs could not have been further from truth. As I educated myself on human behavior and financial strategies, I learned that it’s actually the people who make their money work hard for them, rather than the people who work hard for their money, who end up with more of it. Since creating my millionaire-making program, I’ve learned that I was not alone. There are many people who shared this same myth.

Much like our views about many things — people, relationships, food, and health to name a few — our beliefs came from our parents, our teachers, and other adults in our lives. And it goes back even further, beyond them, back to the circumstances through which they lived, or what they learned from their parents, what their parents learned from their parents, and so on. These beliefs are ingrained, and because they’re usually subconscious, the cycles are continuous — until someone breaks them. You can break the cycle. Beliefs about money are many and varied, but in my research, I’ve discovered that there are a few that predominate.

Money is scarce. Several of us have parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, an era that rooted an entire generation in a scarcity mindset. These people passed onto their children the idea that money was in short supply and that when it did surface, spending had to be limited and saving was imperative. If any of the following ever crossed your mind?A penny saved is a penny earned,?”Don’t dip into savings,?or “We can’t afford it?– then you have this perspective and rainy days loom ominously. Money doesn’t grow on trees. These threats create a fearful relationship with money.

Money is evil, dirty, or bad. Several of us have parents or grandparents who believe that the road to bad places is lined with green. They’ve only ever seen the drawbacks of the rat race, the downside of the money chase, and the audacity and indulgence of those with too much money. Some even believe that wealthy people are bad people. Novels and films often highlight the idea that it’s the crooked ones who make the money. The meek shall inherit the earth. Such prophecies create a hands-off relationship with money.

Money comes monthly. The most common way to make a living is to be employed, either with a company or as a skilled professional, with a weekly wage or an annual salary. Historically, this provided the safe, sure thing required by heads of households. Yet, that level of risk was usually balanced with an equal level of reward — low and low. For most, even those who do very well, working for a company or as a skilled professional is a constrained opportunity. Except for the outrageous exceptions, the average CEO of the average company making six figures a year will still experience only a small increase in salary during his or her lifetime. Slow and steady wins the race. Such fables create a cautious relationship to money.

Money is not for me. Some people feel that they don’t deserve to be wealthy or that there is only so much of the millionaire pie to go around. Creating wealth and financial freedom is available to everyone. It is our right to be wealthy, and my hope is that people take their space and know they deserve it. By making money, you are not taking it from someone else; this isn’t Bonnie and Clyde Go to the Bank. By making money, you create a greater capacity to contribute, and it’s your duty to do this. Better them than me. Such adages create a defeated relationship to money.

Money is a man thing. There was a time that men made and managed the household money. That time was not so long ago, and some of you may have grown up with such conditioning. Though there are gender tendencies, for example, men tend to carry more money in their pocket than women and are more likely to invest than women, the reasons behind this are not genetic; they are realities falsely fabricated from years of conditioning. Women and men need to understand that money knows no gender. One of my programs that really resonates with up and coming wealth builders is “Wealth Diva: A Man Is Not a Plan.?This is a must-do seminar for every man and woman, and the daughters and sons they love. Let him bring home the bacon. Such perceptions create an apathetic relationship to money.

Money is good medicine. For some people, retail therapy goes a long way; there’s no difficulty a new blouse can’t cure. At the moment, we live in a culture of consumerism, and many of us use money to fill the unsatisfying holes in our lives. Some people grew up with a sense of entitlement about money, assuming their parents or a trust fund would always pay for everything, and in the process, they became careless about what they had. This is a vicious and unproductive cycle. The new car gets old, the closet fills up with clothes, and the toys pile up in the playroom. This is notto say there aren’t wonderful things to buy and spend our money on; after all, money should be fun. But as with overeating, too much spending on the wrong things can get any of us feeling sluggish and sad. Shop till you drop. Such bombarding messages create a disrespectful or nonchalant relationship to money.

Money is always a menace. For too many of us, money was always a problem. Bills were a hassle, keeping up with the Joneses was exhausting, entrepreneurs were considered nuts, and one’s station in life was, well, stationary. And getting rich would be worse. Money can be such a burden, not to mention all that paperwork and responsibility. These views of money create a perspective that money is actually a problem, not a solution. It’s hard enough just to survive, let alone thrive. Such pessimism creates a negative relationship to money.

Money talk is taboo. Many of us have been brought up to believe that conversations about money are in bad taste. Money and financial success, and failures, are considered personal subjects that shouldn’t be discussed and certainly shouldn’t be taught. Few of us asked our parents how much money they made, and even now, there are people who don’t know their spouse’s salaries. The results have unintended consequences and have created a world where very few people are having real conversations about money and finances, the very conversations they need to learn and succeed. These things are not discussed in polite society, dear. Such a scolding creates an ignorant relationship to money.

In each of these examples, it’s clear that unless your parents made a conscious choice to think and act differently, they conditioned you to have the same mindset as them. If you make a decision to break this cycle, you will have the opportunity to teach your children to have more productive beliefs about, and a more profitable relationship to,money. As you come to understand the beliefs you hold, you will work to change them. Through the action steps in this process, and with the help of mentors and respected friends, you will change your behavior. By sharing your desire for new beliefs and asking your mentors and respected friends to help you spot the subconscious limitations you may be putting on yourself, you will teach your brain to follow your behavior. Begin now by restating your beliefs. For example, if you’ve discovered that you hold any of the above examples as beliefs, you will

1. Change “money is scarce?to “money is abundant?and support a courageous relationship to money.

2. Change “money is evil, dirty, or bad?to “money is good and acceptable?and create a hands-on relationship to money.

3. Change “money comes monthly?to “money comes from a range of sources?and create an opportunistic relationship to money.

4. Change “money is not for me?to “who better than me for money to come to?and create an empowered relationship to money.

5. Change “money is a man thing?to “I can and will know about and understand money,?and create a thoughtful relationship to money.

6. Change “money is good medicine?to “money is a tool to help make my life better?and create a respectful and concerned relationship to money.

7. Change “money is a menace?to “money is a solution?and create a positive relationship to money.

8. Change “money talk is taboo?to “money talk is vital?and create a knowledgeable relationship to money.

You can see how much better it is to be courageous, hands-on, opportunistic, empowered, thoughtful, respectful and concerned, positive, and knowledgeable than to be fearful, hands-off, cautious, defeated, apathetic, disrespectful and nonchalant, negative, and ignorant. The choice is yours and it looks like you’re well on your way. You’ve already taken a huge step by deciding to actually take the first step. By making the decision to start right now, you have created the opportunity to raise your financial consciousness and change your life.

Copyright ?2006 Loral Langmeier from the book The Millionaire Maker McGraw-Hill; December 2005;$24.95US/$00.00CAN; 0071466150

Loral Langemeier is a master coach, financial strategist, and team-made multimillionaire who reaches thousands of individuals each year. She is the founder of Live Out Loud, a coaching and seminar company that teaches her trademarked program Wealth Cycles.

401(k) Participants Turn to Pros For Help Managing Their Money

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You’re a computer engineer, or a nurse, or a graphic designer. Just keeping current in your own specialty is an effort. So what happens to your 401(k) retirement plan while you’re off doing what you do?

401(k) Participants Turn to Pros For Help Managing Their Money

You’re a computer engineer, or a nurse, or a graphic designer. Just keeping current in your own specialty is an effort. So what happens to your 401(k) retirement plan while you’re off doing what you do?

Does it just languish, forgotten, in some dusty corner of your mind? Are you, among millions of others, crossing your fingers and hoping your portfolio will provide?

Thanks to changes in the industry, investors now can get more help managing their 401(k) accounts. In the past, to prevent conflicts of interest, defined contribution plan providers could make only general asset class recommendations. But regulations now allow financial service companies to hire independent, third-party financial advisers like Ibbotson Associates to manage individual investors’ 401(k) accounts.

Those who choose professional help will find that the money in their portfolio will be allocated appropriately to funds in their existing plan, rebalanced regularly and adjusted over time to meet changing life circumstances. And these programs are catching on.

Ibbotson is the independent third-party advisor for 401(k) managed account programs run by AIG VALIC, Fidelity, Great-West Retirement Services, Merrill Lynch, the Principal Financial Group and TIAA-CREF. Although 401(k) managed accounts are only two years old, participation in such programs is increasing rapidly. Currently there is over $10 billion in 401(k) managed account programs, and that number is expected to reach $300 billion in 2010, according to industry research firm TowerGroup.

A major reason for the growth is that many employees don’t know how to manage their retirement plans. Human resources firm Hewitt Associates found that only 16 percent of 401(k) plan participants made any changes to their accounts in 2004. The study also found that, while some employees were not aggressive enough with their investments, others took on too much risk. For example, participants concentrated about 27 percent of their 401(k) assets in their company stock.

Consumers Bear Brunt Of Cold Winter

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Even though Americans are feeling some relief at the gas pump from last fall’s record prices, their checkbooks are still likely to take a hit this winter as natural gas and heating oil prices continue to soar.

Consumers Bear Brunt Of Cold Winter

Even though Americans are feeling some relief at the gas pump from last fall’s record prices, their checkbooks are still likely to take a hit this winter as natural gas and heating oil prices continue to soar.

In fact, the Energy Department predicts that those using natural gas to heat their homes can expect to see their monthly bills rise 48 percent from last year. If it’s an especially cold winter, the cost will be even greater.

This can be a difficult thing for consumers to contemplate – especially when most homeowners already average $4,100 per year for energy.

While it is not always easy to understand the geopolitics and economics of energy, rising prices always indicate that there is too much demand, and for years there has not been enough domestic supply. Consequently, America has had to rely on foreign sources for its natural gas, due in large part to the fact that prices are so much cheaper.

In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the price of natural gas is 75 cents per million Btu, and in Kuwait, it is $1.25 per million Btu. Compare this with the U.S. price of almost $13 per million Btu and it is easy to see why America opts to import its gas.

But companies like Mammoth Resource Partners Inc., a Kentucky-based oil and gas exploration company, are beginning to put a dent in skyrocketing natural gas prices by tapping into the gas-rich Appalachian Basin.

“The Appalachian Basin, in my opinion, is the largest opportunity in North America to reduce America’s dependence on foreign gas,” said Mammoth President Dr. Roger L. Cory, a frequent guest speaker on the topic of “peak oil.”

Much of the rise in heating oil and natural gas prices can be attributed to last fall’s hurricanes, which disabled refineries and terminals in the Gulf Coast. Until hurricane Katrina, many did not understand that gas from overseas is liquefied and shipped to the Gulf Coast for offloading and re-gasifying, whereas domestic supply, such as that explored by Mammoth Resource Partners, can safely pass through inland pipelines directly to domestic markets for use in America’s homes.

Getting A Credit Card With Bad Or No Credit

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So you have decided that you want to get a credit card only you may have credit that is not so hot or even no credit history what so ever.

Getting A Credit Card With Bad Or No Credit

So you have decided that you want to get a credit card only you may have credit that is not so hot or even no credit history what so ever. Many consumers wonder how it is possible to build a credit history with no credit or credit that might not be so swell. Surprisingly enough it is very possible for consumers finding themselves in these two particular situations to begin building a solid credit history without having to have a traditional credit card.

A secured credit card would be quite simple for someone with no credit or less then perfect credit to be able to qualify for and receive. All you need to do is complete the application for the secured credit card and make the required security deposit. After those two steps are completed you are well on your way to building a solid credit history. Just keep in mind that you need to apply for a secured credit card that will report all of your credit activities to all three of the major credit reporting agencies.

Department Stores such as Sears and Macy’s will often take a chance on someone who may not have any credit and give them a credit card. So if your luck hasn’t been great in applying for traditional credit cards try your luck in applying for a department store card to use as a tool to start a solid credit history foundation.

Many gas stations will allow people with tarnished credit or no credit history to have a gas station credit card. If you are in either of these situations try applying for a card at your local gas station to begin building a credit history.

These are just a few suggestions of steps that you can take to start building a credit history if your credit record may not be so good (or non existent). With a little creative thought and research you will be well on the way to getting the credit and the credit cards that you deserve.

Forecasting the Future Value of Your IRA

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Curious about how much money you’ll accumulate in your individual retirement account (IRA)? Just use Microsoft Excel to calculate a pretty good estimate says author and CPA Stephen L. Nelson.

IRA, individual retirement account, retirement, investing

If you’ve got Microsoft Excel (or just about any other popular spreadsheet program) running on your computer, you can use its FV function to forecast the future value of your IRA account.

The FV function calculates the future value of an investment given its interest rate,
the number of payments, the payment, the present value of the investment, and,
optionally, the type-of-annuity switch. (More about the type-of-annuity switch a little later.)

The function uses the following syntax:

=FV(rate,nper,pmt,pv,type)

This little pretty complicated, I grant you. But suppose you want to calculate the future value of an IRA account that’s already got $10,000 in it and to which you’re contributing $200-a-month. Further suppose that you want to know the account balance-its future value-in 25 years and that you expect to earn 10% annual interest.

To calculate the future value of the IRA account in this case using the FV function, you enter the following into a worksheet cell:

=FV(10%/12,25*12,-200,-10000,0)

The function returns the value 385936.13-roughly $386,000 dollars.

A handful of things to note: To convert the 10% annual interest to a monthly interest rate, the formula divides the annual interest rate by 12. Similarly, to convert the 25-year term to a term in months, the formula multiplies 25 by 12.

Also, notice that the monthly payment and initial present values show as negative amounts because they represent cash outflows. And the function returns the future value amount as a positive value because it reflects a cash inflow the investor ultimately receives.

That 0 at the end of the function is the type-of-annuity switch. If you set the type-of-annuity switch to 1, Excel assumes payments occur at the beginning of the period (month in this case), following the annuity due convention. If you set the annuity switch to 0 or you omit the argument, Excel assumes payments occur at the end of the period following the ordinary annuity convention.

Debt Settlement — Why the Critics Are Wrong

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Explains why critics of debt settlement are wrong about this alternative to bankruptcy. Discusses the three main criticisms of debt settlement as well as the positives associated with this method of debt reduction.

bankruptcy alternatives, debt settlement, debt consolidation, credit score

A lot more people are becoming interested in debt settlement as an alternative to bankruptcy. That’s because a new bankruptcy law was enacted on October 17, 2005, which means a rude awakening for many consumers seeking a fresh start in bankruptcy court.

It used to be that 7 out of 10 people filing personal bankruptcy were granted Chapter 7 status, where the unsecured debts are totally wiped away. That has changed under the new rules. If your income is above the median for your state, or you can pay back at least $100 per month toward your debts, then you’ll be turned down for Chapter 7. Instead, you’ll be shifted into Chapter 13, where you pay back a portion of the debt over 3-5 years.

It gets worse. When the court calculates your allowable living expenses, it will use the approved IRS schedules, not your actual documented expenses. So even if you don’t think you can pay $100 a month or more, the judge will probably disagree. Instead of a fresh start, many people will be faced with the grim reality of a harsh 5-year plan, on a court-mandated budget that forces them to adopt a much lower standard of living. That’s where debt settlement starts to look pretty attractive.

Yes, I know debt settlement has its critics. I’ve criticized aspects of the industry myself. But what the critics don’t seem to understand is that this approach is for people who would otherwise go bankrupt! Let’s examine the three main complaints against debt settlement and see where the critics are missing the mark.

“Debt settlement has a negative impact on your credit score.”

Wow. Big deal! Pretend it’s two years from now. Would you rather have an A+ credit rating or be totally free of debt? Pick one please, because you can’t have both. All debt reduction programs have a negative impact on credit scores. That’s why only people who truly can’t keep up with their bills should go into one of these programs. But it’s pointless to worry about your credit while you’re being crushed with debt. That’s like worrying about how the yard looks after your house has burned down.

“You might have to pay taxes on the canceled portion of the debt.”

I’ve always been amazed at how frequently this lame criticism is repeated in article after article. Yes, it’s possible that you may need to pay taxes on forgiven debt balances, but the odds are against it. That’s because the IRS allows insolvent taxpayers to exclude canceled debts. So unless you have a positive net worth, you probably won’t need to pay taxes on your settlements. And even if you did, so what? You’d be paying taxes because you saved a bunch of money off your debts! And this is a problem?

“Collection activity will continue and you might get sued.”

Yes, if you fall behind on your bills, your creditors will most certainly continue attempts to collect what’s owed, and one or more of those creditors might sue you in civil court. But again, this criticism totally misses the mark. Collection activity is already a function of being in debt trouble. At least debt settlement allows the consumer to use the collection process to eliminate debt through negotiated compromises. Even lawsuits need not be cause for panic, since they can often be settled out of court. The only reason to allow a legal action to proceed to the point of wage garnishment, property lien, or bank levy is lack of financial resources with which to settle. And if that’s the case, the debtor should be talking to a bankruptcy attorney anyway.

In contrast, let’s look at some of the positives of debt settlement.

1. You can save $1,000s versus any other method of debt elimination (except for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is much more difficult to accomplish now that the new law is in effect).

2. You can get out of debt in 2-3 years, and much faster if there is some available home equity to work with. This is a lot better than 5 years in the financial boot camp of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or 5-9 years in a credit counseling program.

3. You keep control over the process more than with any other approach.

4. You maintain personal privacy. With bankruptcy, your case file becomes a matter of public record, easily located via Internet search by future employers, landlords, or creditors.

5. You retain your dignity while working through your financial problems. Bankruptcy still feels like failure to a lot of people. Debt settlement represents an honest and ethical alternative to that extreme solution.

6. You can adjust your monthly funding into the settlement program up or down depending on real-world conditions in your financial life. If your income fluctuates from one month to the next, or you get hit with an unexpected expense, it won’t torpedo the whole program. The built-in flexibility of debt settlement gives it a huge advantage over other options, all of which require a fixed monthly payment.

Once you’re made the determination that debt settlement makes sense for your situation, you’ll need to decide whether to go it alone or seek professional assistance. For people who aren’t easily intimidated, there’s no question that the do-it-yourself approach is the way to go. For others who can’t handle the least bit of pressure or just want to focus their time and energy elsewhere, hiring a professional settlement company may be the correct choice.

If you do decide to take the do-it-yourself approach, follow these tips:

* Use a privacy manager on your telephone service to screen creditor calls so that you only speak to creditors when you’re ready.

* Make sure you have a solid game plan for building up money to settle with, and set the funds aside in a separate bank account.

* Do not send settlement funds until you have the deal in writing. No exceptions!

* After paying the settlement, follow up to obtain a zero balance letter from the creditor, so you don’t have bogus collection problems later on.

* Know your rights as a consumer by reading the free resource articles on debt, credit, and collections at the Federal Trade Commission website: www.ftc.gov

* Don’t be intimidated or pressured into accepting a settlement deal that you can’t handle.

Remember, thousands of people settle their own debts every year, without the need for lawyers or bankruptcy. You can do it too if you’re disciplined, determined, and prepared to ignore some of the crazy stuff that bill collectors say. When you’re finally debt-free, you’ll feel a lot better about having worked it out on your own. Good luck on your road to debt freedom!

10 Quick Tips To Save Money

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Money, according to a classical definition, is what money does. And truth, as they say, is like a rubber band. Stretch it and it can do wonders. So if we can really make money in order to do whatever we want, there is nothing like that.

save money

Money, according to a classical definition, is what money does. And truth, as they say, is like a rubber band. Stretch it and it can do wonders. So if we can really make money in order to do whatever we want, there is nothing like that.

To provide 10 quick tips to save money is almost like a first-aid approach to a very intricate problem perhaps faced by almost each of us. It is important to know how to manage money efficiently to ensure bulky savings. Whether to save some part of what we have to spend or whether to spend at all on a service or commodity should be the first question to be answered.

Firstly in case of large investments, the first step for a prospective buyer is to identify and correlate the valuable item or service with need or desire. It is better to test its utility first, for example, by borrowing it for a fixed time period. If you are satisfied and convinced about its necessity and think that you really need that, you may buy it. But to save money, you as a wise consumer must find the best seller in terms of comparative pricing, quality & market reputation.

For lower priced items, one has to shop for the lowest prices, also keeping an eye on the quality aspect. For example, if you take the instance of buying clothes, the best purchase is off-season discount sale, wherein you can get good clothes at cheap rates.

For financial investments, like the stock market, follow the golden rule of buying volatile stocks when the price of an item is down & sell it when it is at a high. The profit thus earned can be invested in the equity market for steady items.

Today’s Internet has provided the best opportunities to shop vigorously for the best price before you actually drop the money. Especially for insurance, loan facilities and financial management, one is spoilt for choices. Proper analysis of rates and amortization goes a long way in saving even hundreds of dollars in a year.

Change of plan in case of services like telephone, insurance, etc. can save you costly dollars provided you simply have the knowledge about the best existing plan.

Making a monthly budget for buying the essential items and regulating the number of luxury items can yield considerable savings.

Expensive weekends and extravagant outings should be replaced by reasonable excursion for wholesale entertainment.

Proper food planning and food habits result in better living, both financially and mentally. Stay healthy and you can save on medical bills. Having a proper food plan also prevents food from being wasted.

Paying the bills within due dates provides invaluable savings, because, in this case, as you have to pay, it is better to pay in time to avoid penalty.

If you are an employer, you should encourage flexible job responsibilities for your task force, making each one compatible with the work within a department. This will help in cutting down employees cost and help complete a task within time, even if someone is absent.

There are obviously several other ways to save money and lead a frugal life without tension. It is always told that money saved is money earned. Just keep it in mind and stay happy.

Don’t Trap Into A Credit Card Debt, It Too Costly!

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While swiping the credit card is a very effective way to pay without using any type of paper money, it has led many people into a debt trap. Read this article to find out how much your credit cards actually cost you.

credit card debt, credit card, debt, debt consolidation, pay off credit card, debt free, debt relief

While swiping the credit card is a very effective way to pay without using any type of paper money, it has led many people into a debt trap.

Majority of people simply look at whether or not they can afford their monthly repayment when using at their credit cards. Many of them don't even try to figure out how long it will take to pay them off and how much they are costing them over the long run.

For instance, $2,000 doesn't seem like a huge balance on a credit card. In that case at an 18% interest rate, your payment is only around $40 a month. Sounds pretty affordable at the moment, doesn't it?

Well, if you take a closer look at the number, approximately $30 of your payment goes towards interest. As a matter of fact only $10 is paid towards the $2,000 balance each month.

In case if you are only paying the minimum balance each month, it will take you over 30 years to pay off that $2000. Thirty years, that is too long. In addition you will have paid back $5,000 in interest in that time. Therefore your $2,000 credit card bill will really cost you $7,000 including interest in the long run.

The above payment does not include the extra payment incur in the case when you miss or delay your monthly repayment. In fact, many credit card companies are hoping you will miss your repayment so that they can charge you with extra interest and late payment fee and this would normally extend your payback period for the rest of your life.

There are many credit card debt calculators available on internet and you can use these calculators to calculate how long it will take you to pay off your current credit cards by using the minimum payment method. You will normally be shocked. And it is worth for you to put effort in finding ways to reduce and pay off your credit card debt.

If your credit card debts are reached to an unbearable stage; then, you may need to get service from a debt consolidation company to consolidate all your credit card debts. They are widely expert in dealing with creditors and help you to negotiate with your creditors for a better repayment plan. Follow the plan to pay off your credit card debts.

Credit cards have successfully minimized the use of paper money and become one of the most convenient ways to make payments for a shopping spree or while traveling. Though, if not used with restraint they may soon lead to a huge mountain of debt which leads you to a tizzy of financial woes. In simple terms credit cards are a really costly form of credit. If you must have one, paying off the balance in full each month so that you will not trap into a credit card debt.