Debt Negotiation Services

August 21, 2013

When you decide that you are ready for debt negotiation, it should be a situation that is only one step away from bankruptcy. This means you are on the edge, but no yet ready to declare bankruptcy. This type of service gives a person one last chance to avoid bankruptcy and avoid all of the consequences that filing for bankruptcy entails. Basically, a representative will contact your creditors and attempt to negotiate lower payments and a schedule that will enable you to pay back most of your debt and avoid defaulting. Sometimes a negotiator will be able to get a creditor to eliminate late fees that have piled up making it impossible to stay current. A negotiator may be able to reset the payment schedule, so you can start fresh with no back payments due until the end of the loan. A negotiator may also be able to reduce interest rates to lower the monthly payments.

When you should use a debt negotiating service?

If you tally up all of your obligations for debt as well as expenses for a typical month and you have enough income to meet these payments, then you need to forget about debt negotiation. If it is close, you should first look at any assets you can sell to apply to your debt and bring down the monthly amount owed. Also, you need to look at any monthly expenses that can be reduced. In short, you need to attempt to lower your cost of living. If this is not enough and you only need a little relief, debt negotiation may be the financial relief you need and a way to avoid bankruptcy.

How to avoid a scam

Although there are many legitimate debt settlement companies to choose from, unfortunately, there are also a great many scams that you need to avoid. Many people are desperate when they reach out for help with debt, and con artists seem to be able to sense this and are attracted to it. There are, however, steps you can take to avoid being ripped off. The most important is to simply avoid any business that makes wild and exaggerated claims about debt settlement. A true debt settlement firm will be able to reduce debt from 15 to 25 percent. This is an average and they may be belt to do better, but to be honest, sometimes they can’t reduce your debt at all. It depends upon your financial circumstances and the type of debt you have.

When shopping for a good debt settlement firm you can check with the better business bureau to see if there have been any complaints. You can also check reviews, but this can be tricky because you can never know if the reviews are from actual customers are ones that have been paid for by a debt settlement company. Often the best choice is a debt settlement company that is headed by an attorney. All attorneys must have a license to practice and be in good standing. A creditor is more likely to listen to an attorney because they have a better understanding of a debtor’s rights and can take legal action when appropriate.

Moving Home to Get to Debt Free

August 21, 2013

One of the best ways to settle your debts faster is to move back home. Hopefully you are still welcome there. Moving home is a smart move to repairing financial health. If you’re already are home stay as long as you can and save, save, save!

Depending on the family dynamics living at home can be fun or quite a challenge. Never put your mental health of yourself at risk. If living at home is truly making you miserable you should develop your escape plan and save as much as you can before you leave. It may not be the ideal situation for a grown adult but living at home for a few months or even a few years can help you get out of debt quicker.

Some people already living at home or coming back are not charged anything for being there. You should take advantage of this but also be grateful. If you are living at home you should be working on something, whether it is a job or a project. Don’t sit on the couch all day watching TV; make your time at home count. Go to work, save and pay down your debts. The quicker you do the faster you’ll be able to be independent again.

Help out while at home, do the dishes, mop the floor or do whatever you did as a child. A positive living arrangement will make the opportunity to save and paying down debts all that more enjoyable. Laying around and accomplishing nothing is not the goal while living at home. Make your time at home count.

If you are living at home for free and working at the same time you should be able to save a tremendous amount of money. This could be used for your first car, down payment for a house or to pay off the large amount of credit card debt you’ve accumulated while away from home.

Why lie? Sometimes living at home is going to be very difficult and be very depressing. If that’s the case you need to make clear goals and have a plan of action in place. When you set goals and work toward them every day you can achieve them. Try not to get too frustrated or depressed. Nothing in life last forever. For every bad situation a good one will eventually come. Focus on that! Living at home to pay down your debts is just temporary situation.

Whether you are living at home or moving home the opportunity to save is there. Set a monthly savings goal and see if you can stick with it and even surpass it. You may even have the opportunity to save family relationships that a sinking when you’re at home. Maybe things didn’t go well in the past and now you have the opportunity to start over on a clean slate.

If you’re at home stay there as long as possible and are welcome there. If you need to move back home just try and keep it positive and focus on replenishing your bank account. If your sanity starts to diminish you may have to make alternative plans and find a new place to live. Maybe a close friend or relative can offer you a place to stay for a reasonable amount while you get back on your feet.

Living with family or relatives who are willing to love and support you while you work your way out of debt is one of the best ways to get out of debt.  So don’t be ashamed if you are living at home or planning to move home. It may seem like the end of the world but it really isn’t. Once you get your financial life back in order you’ll be out and about in the world on your own again—debt free!

3 Ways to Save Money at Home

July 17, 2013

When working your way out of debt it is important that you start saving. Money saved can be used to pay down your debt and for unexpected emergencies. Here are three easy ways to save money at home:

Learn to invest in every day life.

When people usually think of the word “investment,” they visualize a Wall Street banker and stocks of some sort. However, investment applies to every aspect of your everyday life. Investment simply means that you spend money now to save money later.

Ways to save money at homeFor instance, if you invest in a coffeemaker instead of going to a retail coffee shop for your daily cup, you can save about $1200 over the course of the year. You also receive better coffee, because you will be able to purchase the grocery store versions of your favorite fast food coffee brands for much less money.

Buy items of necessity in bulk.

If you do not have a membership to a warehouse store, it is time to invest in one. The main advantage to these stores is that they have items that are necessary in every household in bulk. You can get more of these items without having to pay as much money, which gives you much more expendable income to put towards luxuries and savings accounts.

If you are purchasing things such as rice, flour, bread, butter and undergarments at grocery stores, you are paying retail price for items that are used up quickly and have to be purchased again and again. This can actually cost you more than $2500 per year.

Purchasing items in bulk not only saves you money on the actual purchase, but it also saves you money in gas on the trips to the store. You also save the time that you would normally take to go to the store to purchase these items again and again. This is time and gas money that can be put towards an investment or savings account to help build your wealth.

Make a budget for the long-term and stick to it.

A big reason that people find themselves short every month is because of small impulse purchases that add up. Buying that magazine in line at the grocery store or going out to that restaurant because you did not budget for a full trip to the grocery store that week adds up over time.

You can keep yourself from making impulse purchases by setting a budget for yourself every month, at the beginning of the month. Only give yourself the money that is necessary to make the purchases that you absolutely need – put the rest of the money away in a savings account.

No matter what your financial situation don’t be discouraged. There are many ways to save money at home so you can get out of debt faster—these were just a few! So get creative and start saving today!

Great Ways To Invest Money

July 7, 2013

Once you get out of debt and able to start saving you’ll want to look for ways to grow your money and give yourself financial stability. Once debts are settled you should consider investing your money. On average, you can double your money every decade with most investments. However, before you invest, you need to know where to invest money and how to invest money.

Where You Should Invest Money

Where do you want to put your money so that it will grow for you in the long term and the short term? Well, among your investment options are to invest in government securities like CD’s and savings bonds, or you can put your money into stocks of your favorite company.

Good Investment Strategies

Some things to consider whenever you invest are whether or not the company had done well in the last 52 weeks, whether or not the company has any new contracts in the works and what sector the company is in. For example if a finance company is something you are interested in investing in, you should consider the state of the money sector and how much working capital it has. Also make sure that you diversify your investments. Look into mutual funds and invest in many different sectors.

Whenever you are investing, make sure that you ride out the market and look for the long term. You don’t want to bail out simply because of a single bad day. To smooth over any potential dips in the market, consider investing in gold, or other tangible assets.

The Process of Investing

To actually make an investment, you can go to a broker, or use an online brokerage to trade yourself. You can go to a bank as well to get set up with a savings bond, or with a CD. Wherever you go, you are going to need to make sure you have proper ID and will most likely have to sign a statement saying that you are who you say you are and will not commit any type of fraud with your accounts.

Investing money is something that you should seriously look into if looking for long term financial stability. Just make sure that you have the right mix of stocks and other investments to keep your overall portfolio as rich as possible. You never know when the market could dip, or a particular stock could take a tumble.

Ways to Save Money on Groceries

June 2, 2013

When you make an effort to save money on groceries you will improve your cash position, increase savings and be able to live a debt free life. Try some of these easy tips so you can start saving money on your food budget:

Keep a running grocery list

Keeping an eye on what inventory is available and what inventory is needed has helped stores, restaurants, and businesses make money for thousands of years. This is a good practice to start in the home. Create a list that shows what is needed to keep the household pantry stocked. When shopping, buy only what is on the list and nothing more. This will go a long way to keeping the grocery budget in check.

Clip Coupons

The idea of extreme couponing has taken hold in the American psyche during these turbulent times. This is because clipping coupons can save a lot of money. Search out the weekly circulars most newspapers offer, find the coupon guides that are at every grocery store. Look for coupons online that can be printed out. These are great ways to help bring about a manageable grocery budget.

Shop Around

Every grocery store has different sales on unique items. This is a good reason to shop around when buying groceries. Create a grocery-shopping day that is just devoted to shopping. This will help when going from store to store and finding good deals. Knowing what is on sale beforehand will help make the trip that much faster. Combine these sales with coupons and there is much money to be saved.

Start a Garden

Not all groceries have to be purchased. Gardening is a practice that is rapidly gaining popularity again. A little work and a few packages of seeds can grow a bounty for the kitchen. The downside is that gardening is a learned skill; it takes time and practice to cultivate a green thumb. Just remember that not all plants can be grown at all times of the year.

Use Discount Stores

The various dollar and drug stores that have popped up all over the land shouldn’t be ignored. These businesses often have items that are for sale at drastic discounts. There are bigger discount chains that can be utilized that will cut down a grocery bill. Shop around and see what prices these chains have on their food and other times compared to the name brand stores.

Stockpile Sale items

Every house has specific items that are used all the time. When such an item goes on sale at one of the various stores, make sure to stock up on it. There is no telling when this item will be as cheap in the future, so it is a good idea to grab it while the sale lasts. Make sure not to buy so many items that it blows a budget, and don’t stock easily spoiled items too far in advance.

Save money on foodDon’t throw away leftovers

Leftovers should be used not thrown away. These bits of meals have a rightful place in the life of any budget conscious individual. Leftovers can be used repurposed in to another meal, or used in a brown bag for lunch. New items can be tossed n to the leftovers to make a brand new item. Using leftovers will help save money.

3 Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

May 30, 2013

The economy isn’t exactly in a full-blown recovery. Because of this, many people across the nation are learning how to live on a budget. This means not spending the money that comes in and cutting out the frivolous. When money is tight, there are several ways to help stretch what is available. These include simple steps that, if implemented, will help money go farther and help you stay out of debt.

Stop using services that aren’t necessary

Living in the modern world means that we have access to a variety of subscription-based services. These include Cable, phones, music, internet, and magazines. During times of financial difficulties, one of the first steps to making money go farther is to cut the subscription cord. If the internet isn’t needed for school or work, this can be cut as well. It isn’t a popular choice but a person can live without being on line. If you can’t do without the internet considering the subscription you might be paying for music or movies. If you are on a tight budget you need to improve your cash flow and that means making sacrifices.

Family on a tight budgetA family on a budget can also look for cheaper alternatives for services they desire. A contract-based phone can be jettisoned and replaced with a monthly alternative. These phones will allow a person to add time when necessary. This can be a good alternative to a landline as well. Internet Service Providers often have basic cable as part of the package. Take a look at what the ISP provides and make a decision based on budgetary needs.

Bring brown-bag lunches

Prepare lunch at home before you go out for the day is a great way to stretch money. Often there is food left over from previous meals, this can be brought to work for lunch. This can also lead to eating healthier and becoming more accustomed to food that isn’t from a restaurant.

Cutting back on eating out is a great way to save money as well. It is nice to get together and make a meal with the family and it will cost you less than going out. Plan for special times to go to a restaurant and don’t eat out on other days. Reserving that special restaurant for special occasions and brown-bagging lunch will save a good amount of money.

Buy everything used

That brand new shiny 50 inch Television isn’t necessary for survival. Although the picture is great and it looks nice, a person can get by with a used or refurbished television. These products can be picked up at thrift stores and yard sales across the nation. Keep an eye out for used items that are needed, such as that television. The internet is great for grabbing good deals on products other people don’t want any longer. Used goods aren’t necessarily bad items and will go a long way to helping a family stay within the budgetary restraints. Some refurbished electronics even come with a manufacturer warranty so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the product.

If you are on a tight budget, implementing and following these three simple steps will improve your cash flow and help you enjoy debt free living.

3 Tips to Help Reduce Spending

May 10, 2013

The less you spend the more you’ll be able to save. Money in savings will come in handy on a rainy day or during an emergency. Follow these easy tips to spend less and remain debt free:

Tip #1: Create and Follow a Budget

One of the most important steps to saving money at home is to create and follow a budget. A budget provides a clear view of where money in the household goes each month. To create a budget, keep careful track of all household spending for at least three months. Categorize everything into areas such as savings, household bills, groceries, clothing, toiletries, and entertainment. Once a budget based on current spending has been established, examine each category carefully to see where spending can be eliminated. For households that have not been monitoring a budget, expenses can creep up without anyone realizing it. In those cases, finding a way to cut spending is as easy as realizing that a trip to your favorite coffee shop every morning adds up to a significant amount of money by the end of the month. Cutting back to only two or three mornings a week can easily reduce that cost with little effort, thus reducing the overall amount spent on entertainment. Other expense categories, such as rent or mortgage, will be more difficult to reduce, but a variety of ways to cut spending can often be found in the categories of groceries, clothing, and entertainment. Make an effort to track every penny that goes out each month so you can find out where to spend less. You can do this by writing in a small note book, there are even apps available on your phone to help track spending.

Tip #2: Use Cash

Once a household budget has been established, using cash is often the best way to stick with it. Credit and debit cards are easy to use, but it is not as easy to keep track of spending with them. Furthermore, these cards make it too simple to overspend the allotted amount within a given category. Many families find success with using a cash envelope system, where a different envelope is created for each budget category. At the beginning of each month or pay period, the allotted amount of cash is placed in each envelope, and then used to pay for expenses in that category until the envelopes are restocked. Once the money in an envelope is gone, spending for that category ends. Because there is a limited amount of funds available, consumers think more about purchases, ultimately making fewer impulse purchases and saving money. You can get creative and using different colored envelopes for different categories—like green for groceries. If you have children get them involved by having them decorate these envelopes so they can start learning about budgeting.

Tip #3: Save Small Bills and Change

Paying cash whenever possible not only reduces spending, but also offers a creative way to save for a large purchase, a vacation, or an emergency fund. Decide on a specific denomination, such as a five dollar bill. Each time this bill is received as change, place it immediately into an envelope or bank designated for savings. Because it is removed from circulation, there is no temptation to spend it, and a small amount a little at a time is less likely to be missed in the overall budget. For households on smaller budgets, this can work effectively with a one dollar bill or even a quarter, while households with more ample budgets may want to consider a larger bill. Either way, the household savings account will grow, eventually providing for that next big project. By getting everyone involved in this simple system you’ll have a nice amount in savings in no time.

A debt free life with money in savings will contribute to your overall happiness and provide stress-free living. These are just three simple ways to reduce your spending but there are many more available. Regardless of the method you and your family have the power to reduce your spending and start saving—all you have to do is start making and effort and smart spending will become a positive habit for the rest of your life.

Use Credit Cards Wisely and Stay Out of Debt

May 9, 2013

Credit cards offer consumers the opportunity to make a purchase without having to pay the entire price up front. The cost of the item or service is paid for by the issuing company, and the consumer repays the credit card company over time. A purchase made with a credit card results in a balance due, and this balance will accrue interest unless paid off within a specific period of time. One of the problems that millions of consumers experience is the accrual of interest. Each and every month that a balance remains on the consumer’s account, interest is added to the principal. Over the period of a year, interest accrued on the account can equal or exceed the principal owed.

Before Opening A Credit Card Account

You may be offered a line of revolving credit, or you may apply for a credit card online or through the mail. It is vitally important to read all the information about annual fees, interest charges and grace periods before opening an account. Many credit card accounts carry an annual fee that may be as high as $80. This fee is added directly to the balance owed.

The interest rate charged for purchases varies widely from one credit card to another. Interest is charged if the entire balance on the card is not paid within a certain time frame, usually on the same day each and every month. If an account carries a 20 percent interest rate, this means that 20 percent of the balance will be added to the amount payable each and every month. If you have a $100 balance on purchases made, the interest added on the next month will be $20. If you pay only five percent of this new total the following month, the payment will be only $6. This leaves you with a new balance of $114. After several more purchases and several more interest charges, the amount owed begins to increase dramatically. This is because the interest charged is more than the minimum payment due. Always pay as much on your credit card as possible, each and every month.

Late Fees And Your Credit Score

Most people open a credit card account believing that this is a good way to establish an excellent credit rating. This is true only if you pay off your balance in full. If the balance on your card account increases each month and eventually reaches your credit limit, the credit bureaus will take notice and actually reduce your credit score.

All it takes is two or three late payments to adversely affect your credit rating. Late payments on credit card accounts nearly always result in a late fee issued by the account provider. These fees can be as high as $25 after a short grace period is exceeded.

Changes To Credit Card Accounts

One of the easiest ways to get into trouble with a credit card account is to ignore the updated information sent to you from the account provider. This is why keeping your address and email information up-to-date is important. Your account will probably be accessible online, with notifications sent to a special inbox. You can alter your account settings to have notifications sent directly to your regular email address. This way you will know immediately if the company is implementing any changes to your account such as a new interest rate or a higher minimum payment.

The most important thing to remember when opening a new credit card account is to pay the balance in full whenever you can. This increases your credit score and keeps interest charges to a minimum. If you don’t pay it your debt will increase each month making it harder to pay. Live a debt free life by using credit cards wisely!

How to Choose a Bank

May 7, 2013

It is common for an individual to develop a decades-long relationship with their bank. Many will start a relationship with a bank first by opening up a checking account or savings account, although some will begin a relationship with a bank by opening up a loan or other type of account first. There is often convenience as well as savings associated with continuing to use the same bank for all of your financial needs, as many banks offer special discounts, savings rates and more for those who show loyalty to their bank. So while you may only want to open a single account today, you may benefit over the long run by taking a closer look at all of the bank’s services and features. Choosing the right bank initially can help you to establish a relationship that is truly beneficial to you for years to come.

Interest Rates

One of the key factors you should review when choosing a bank is the interest rates on various types of accounts. The best banks offer the lowest rates on borrowed money. Borrowed money may be from credit card accounts, car loans, home mortgages, personal loans and more. While you want to find a bank that offers affordable lending rates, you also want to find a bank that offers the highest interest rates on savings accounts. You can compare interest rates easily online.

Bank Fees

Many banks offer lower fees on checking accounts, savings accounts and more for those customers who have multiple accounts open or who have a significant amount of money saved at their financial institution. Bank fees will cost you money each month, just as your cable bill, car payment and more will. Because of this, you want to consider regular bank fees as an addition to your monthly expenses in your budget. With this in mind, you can see that it is in your interest to shop for a bank with no monthly fees or very low monthly fees.

Special Features

Some banks create a user experience that is truly beneficial for financial planning, investments and more. Consider your need for special features like online bill pay, online funds transfers, mobile banking, the ability to deposit checks with a phone app and more. You may not have a need for some of these features, but others may be truly beneficial to you. The best bank is one that allows to bank conveniently and to budget and plan effectively. Further, some banks offer these and other features to you for free, and others may charge you for the convenience of using these features.

When you choose to work with the best bank, you will enjoy the benefits of maximizing the growth of your money and minimizing the cost of borrowing money. More than that, the best bank also offers you a full range of financial tools and features that help you to handle personal finance matters more effectively and conveniently. If you are looking for the best bank to work with, consider these points carefully as you make a decision that is best suited for you.

Credit Card Debt Settlement

April 3, 2013

Debt settlement is the process of negotiating debt owed to a creditor and paying less than the current balance on the account. It gives a peace of mind and stops the account from being turned over to a collection agency or being charged off. You can negotiate a credit card debt settlement plan or hire someone else to make the deal.

Many creditors are willing to settle debt with consumers, but are not required. People in debt may think that the negotiation process is easy with creditors that they are willing to settle for the first offer. However, creditors want the full amount and will push for an offer close to the balance of the account.

Debt is something that should not be ignored because it can ruin your credit history. It also prevents you from obtaining loans and getting considered for jobs. Many people make the mistake of using credit cards to pay for items that leave quickly, such as vacations and meals. If you are unable to pay off the expense within a month to two months, then you should avoid paying with credit.

You can save on interest charges by saving in advance when wanting something expensive or to get a certain item. It is common for people to fall prey to the easy money attraction of credit cards, but hard to get out of debt. Some people ignore the balance and pay the minimum monthly fee. However, this is a dangerous approach because of paying more money over time and the debt will continue to grow.

Debt is not good when trying to build a good credit history and brings down the credit score. Lending institutions use ratio formulas to determine the creditworthiness of a client. If your debt is 25% of your monthly income, then your credit score is going to decrease.

Credit card debt is the main way that credit bureaus keep track of payment history. On the other hand, lenders use this information to decide on whether to approve someone for a loan. They can consider an applicant too risky when the person has multiple credit cards and missed payments.

People who want to raise their scores can start by paying off their revolving accounts. It helps to start with the smallest amount until getting rid of your loans. Making steps to pay off debt establish a good credit history and increases your credit score.

The main way to settle a debt is to negotiate with someone in charge with making decisions. You can offer to pay a lump sum or to make a series of monthly payments. The purpose of negotiating is getting the creditor to settle for a lower amount.

It is important to get the settlement offer in writing before making any payments. The settlement letter should state that the creditor is accepting the amount as payment in full for the outstanding balance. Correspondence with the creditor should be sent by certified mail. Other ways to settle debt are getting monthly payments lower, consolidating multiple credit cards or getting a second job to pay off outstanding accounts. It also helps to talk to a financial planner or expert to help with improving your finances.