Friday, March 29, 2013

How To Be Smart With Your Debt Relief Choice

Choosing the debt relief program that you will use to eliminate your credit card debt has to be done smartly. More than paying off what you owe, you should remember that it is just just half the battle. To really win your war against your debts, you have to start being smart about your financial choices so you will never be placed in a financial crisis once more.

Having an overview of your debt situation is a good place to start developing smart habits. It will tell you how much you need to pay off and if you can afford it. This is done by creating a budget plan that will allocate your limited income into your diverse expenses. The key is to make sure that you are not leaving your expenses to chance. Take control of where your money goes to. This is the only way to fund the important expenses so that you never fall short on anything.

This step will help you make the right choice in what debt relief program will be the best option to use. There are programs that will require more payments than the others. Some will put you through lower monthly payment dues in exchange for a longer term. These should be selected depending on your current finances.

As you pay off your debts, you need to exert every effort to make sure nothing adds up to your credit balance. This is where your smart spending habits will have to be practiced. Choose the expenses that you will spend on. If it is not important and necessary for your survival, then think twice before buying it. If it is a service that you know your can do on your own, skip the paid service and do it yourself. Learning smart spending habits will be something that you can apply even after you have paid off what you owe. It is one of the effective ways to stay out of debt.

Together with controlling your spending is making more money. One way to keep you from the temptation of spending is to allot more time for work. It doesn’t mean you should not relax. The benefit of increasing your income is you have more funds to put aside for debt payments. It can be through a hobby that you can earn from. This will also allow you to grow your reserve fund further - which is another smart move that you should make.

Growing your savings will not only give you relief from financial stress, it will also keep you from putting yourself in debt when there is an unexpected expense that has to be made. Make sure you allot a portion of your money to grow this. A safe amount should be 6 times of your monthly expenses. If you need $5,000 every month, you need to save at least $30,000 on your emergency fund.

Use your debt as a motivation to put all your finances in order. It pays to be prepared now so you do not put your future self in a compromised situation

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Dangers of Compulsive Buying Habits

Compulsive buying habits refer to the uncontrollable urges that you have to purchase things that you do not really need. It is a habit that is in direct contrast to any effort that you may have to practice proper financial management. In essence it  is like an addiction. If you know the term shopaholics, you will understand that having this condition will really put you in danger of debt.

If alcoholism has alcohol, the tool that help in compulsive buying is your credit cards. It allows you to purchase things that you cannot afford at the moment. The buying capability that cards provide will justify the purchases that are in fact, unnecessary.

The good news is, there is a way for you to get rid of this compulsion. It will be very difficult but just like an alcoholic can get sober, you can also deal with this addiction. If you acknowledge that you have this condition, it could already be too late and you may be under a pile of debts. But do not worry. You can overcome any problem as long as you are committed to it.

Getting out of debt is tough as it is. That will be made harder if you got in that situation because of your impulsive buying habits. Regardless of your choice in terms of debt relief, you should understand that it will be better if you have the determination to see your plans through.

Begin by making it hard to buy things. Make the commitment to buy things in cash. You will notice that making cash purchases will be a lot harder. There is a more emotional connection to actual money and you will feel that it is more painful to part with it - as compared to buying things through your card.

It is also helpful to make a budget to create an overview of what you can really spend. If anything, it will allow you set aside the percentage of your income for the important expenses like your basic necessities and your debt payments. If there is anything left of your income, it is advised that you put it aside for your savings.

If you are trying to cure your compulsive buying habits, making smart spending choices is your ticket to do just that. That is the habit that you need to develop. Literally think twice before you buy anything. Ask yourself if this is a necessary expense that you cannot live without.

Lastly, choose a debt relief program that will allow you to set your finances in order so you can maximize what you have. You can also enrol in a debt counseling program that will allow you to correct your bad spending practices. Make a plan and stick to it so you can achieve freedom from your compulsive buying habits.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Signs Your Debts Are Getting Out Of Hand

The average American is currently buried in debt. If you want to find out if your debts are getting out of hand, you need to look for certain signs.

First of all, when your credit cards are being declined by the machines, that is a good sign that you have more debt than you can actually handle. A maxed out card means you have let your debts and the respective interest and fees go for long without any payment. Or you could be meeting the minimum payment requirement but it is still being overrun by your card purchases. Either way, your maxed out card means you have to start paying a significant percentage of your balance.

Another sign that your debt is getting out of hand is when you find yourself relying on your credit cards for even the most basic of expenses. If your credit card bill comes in to display your grocery purchases, then ask yourself why you do not have the cash to pay for food. Maybe too much of it is going to your debt payments? Or maybe you have been spending it on unnecessary things.

You are also in trouble with your debt when you don’t even know how much you owe. Whether you are ignoring it on purpose or it is simply too many to monitor, you have to recognize that your debts have gone out of hand.

If you have been late on your bill payments because you are waiting for the next paycheck to have the funds to pay it off, then your finances are surely in disarray. You should think about where your money is going and make sure it is allotted to where you intend it to be.

Yet another sign that your debts are a problem is when you refuse to answer your calls because you are afraid it is the collector asking you to pay off what you owe. If this is your reaction every time the phone rings, then your debts should be getting more of your attention.

If your reserve fund is also depleted because you are using it to pay off your debts, that is another indication that your debts are on a downward spiral. This is getting serious because not having enough to pay off your debts and having no savings will leave you with nothing when an emergency strikes.

You can also look at changes in you to find hints that your debts are more than you can handle. This includes losing sleep over your financial troubles, not being able to focus on your work or you have turned to smoking or alcohol to help deal with your money problems. These are all dead giveaways that your debts are starting to be a big problem.

If you have one or more of these signs, then it means you should start paying more attention to your debts. That means creating a budget to help you control where your money is going. It also means looking for a debt relief program that can assist in paying off what you owe. You can choose between debt settlement, debt consolidation or debt management. Regardless of your choice, make sure you make a commitment to get your finances in order.

Monday, March 18, 2013

When Is It Okay To Be In Debt

Believe it or not, there are instances wherein it is okay to go into debt. Ideally, it is still best to pay for things in cash. But if you really have to, there are only three debts that can be considered to be beneficial for you. These debts, in general, can still lead to your financial ruin if you do not take care of them but nevertheless, these are the only ones that can contribute to your personal growth.

The first debt that makes sense are student loans. Anything that will contribute to your skills and your ability to make more money can be considered as a good debt. Having your degree will definitely put you at an advantage when it comes to employment opportunities. You can earn twice more than high school graduates if you got the right education. That alone makes student loans worthwhile. But before you apply for one, make sure that your future career has the potential to earn enough money to help you pay off what you owe.

Another debt that is okay to get is a home loan. As you pay off this kind of debt, it builds up the equity of your home. If the market conditions are okay, you can even sell it after a couple of years and earn yourself profit. Or you can start a business that involves buying and selling of properties. You can buy an old home, renovate it a bit and then sell it at a higher price than when you got it. Of course, you may have to coordinate with your lender as they have liens on that property.

The third and final debt that makes sense are business loans. Using a debt to grow your income potential is a smart way of getting debt. But just like in student loans, you need to make sure that your business has the ability to pay off what you owe. Before you can apply for a business start up loan, the lender or investor will require you to submit a business plan that will tell them your financial goals. This will help them decide if your business is worth investing in.

Despite the potential that these debts will give, you still have to analyze if this is a debt that you really want to be in. Debts can have the power to tie you down and limit your spending capacity. It can even dictate how you will live your life in the next few years.

Also, regardless of the potential of your debt investment, things can still go bad. Build up your reserve fund so you have a backup plan - in case your main income falls short or stops altogether. And if things get out of hand, know that there are debt relief options that can help you get out of your debt problems.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Should You Involve Your Kids When You Are In Debt?

This is a troubling question for parents who are in debt. Is it right for you to involve your children in your debt problems?

While we all want to shield our children from the harsh realities of life, you have to understand that your debt will affect them in one way or the other. You cannot keep that from happening so it is best for you to explain to your kids the real scenario. If anything, it will help them understand why you cannot buy them the same luxurious items as before.

Debt is an important lesson that you can give your kids. You are never too young to practice proper financial management. As soon as someone is old enough to understand the concept of buying things with money, they can be taught how to use their money wisely.

Young children are not expected to help you earn money to pay off what you owe. But they are expected to do their share to help make things easier. For instance, as one of the parents work longer hours to increase income, they can help more around the house. If you have arts and crafts or baking projects that you want to sell in the weekend market, you can ask your children to help. This can be a great bonding activity for the family.

They can also help you out by spending less. They will understand if you lower their allowance and have them pack their lunch to school. Or if you have to take the public transportation to get them to school, they will know why. It will also, hopefully, keep them from asking you to buy things that they do not need. Like those gadgets that their friends have. You can teach them early on about wise spending habits.

Instead of shielding your kids, it may prove to be more beneficial if you let them peek at common adult problems that they may face in the future. More importantly, show them how you intend on overcoming these problems.

When you sit down to talk to them, make sure to point out the mistakes that you made. Own up to what you did wrong and assure them that you will do everything to get the family out of the debt situation. You can even explain the debt relief program that you plan to use. They may not be able to understand it easily but you should let them adjust to the new lifestyle that they will have to live from now on. The important thing is you told them why it had to happen.

You may also be surprised at how mature they can be. Some of them can be very supportive. In the end, they will appreciate if you kept them in the loop as it signifies your belief in them and their opinions. After all, debt involves a team effort. Do not assume that age prohibits anyone from making smart contributions to the rest of the family.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How To Use Your Hobby To Get Out Of Debt

There are many methods to achieve financial freedom and the great thing about it is you can choose the one that is best suited for your personality. Of course, your financial capabilities will also play an important role but your ability to finish the program will spell the success of your efforts. Any financial expert will tell you that debt relief is more reliant on one’s attitude than the actual process. Regardless of how effective the program is, if you are not committed to it, then failure is not impossible to happen.

Most of the time, debt relief requires an effort to increase one’s income. Given the idea presented above, you can assume that choosing an income generating source that you enjoy doing is more likely to give you success.

There are many hobbies that can increase your income significantly. Since it is something that you love doing, you won’t feel like you are working longer hours for it. That is a win-win situation for you.

Here are some hobbies that can be great income generators.

Photography. If you have a great camera and you can take beautiful snapshots, you can use this hobby to earn extra income. If you perceive yourself to be an expert, you can offer to cover intimate events. If you are an amateur, you can take random photos and sell your images online. There are photo sharing websites where you can post your pictures. Earning will be in the form of selling the rights so your photos can be used by the purchaser.

Graphic Designer. In the same way that photos can be sold, your designs can be too. If you are the creative type, you can come up with images, post it on photo sharing sites or you can create your own website to act as your portfolio. Apart from selling the rights to the images and artworks, you may be able to get clients who will ask you to make unique designs from them.

Writing. Writers are needed both online and offline. Copies, articles, stories and various text pieces are needed by companies to help sell their products. If you love to write, you can join outsourcing communities and sites that will help connect you to clients. You can even create your own blogsite and earn from advertisements.

Cooking/Baking. If you love hanging out in the kitchen (hopefully not to eat!), then you can use your talents to earn. Offer to bake cakes for family and friends. You can also sell cookies, pastries and other delicacies and sell them to your neighbors or in the weekend market. Market yourself to friends in the office and offer to cook for them when there are intimate gatherings. Make extra sandwiches for colleagues and earn by bringing them lunch in the office.

These are only a couple of what you can do to
earn extra income for your debt payments. As long as you are creative and passionate about your hobby, you can find a way to capitalize on it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Signs That Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Is The Right Debt Relief

When you are thinking about getting out of debt, one of the first things that may come to mind is to file for bankruptcy. This is the hands down, the fastest and easiest way to get rid of your credit obligations. However, it is also the one that leaves so much mess that if could take a decade to completely remove the stain on your credit report.

In the past, bankruptcy meant liquidating your assets, distributing the proceeds to your different creditors and being free of debt in a matter of months. While that is still true, this is only applicable to Chapter 7. A means test was put into place to separate those who has a salary that is within or higher than the average median income of the State where they chose to file bankruptcy. If they have a high salary, they will be asked to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which usually involves a repayment plan that is similar to debt settlement. You are tasked by the court to pay a percentage of your debt and once you have completed the payment, the rest of what you owe will be forgiven.

Between the two options, Chapter 7 seems like the better choice. If you have to deal with the dreaded stain on bankruptcy, then you may want to stay away from the one that requires you to shell out an amount via the repayment plan. You want to be free from your debt with the least amount of money spent on payments.

However, you need to consider first if it is really the only option that you have. There are bankruptcy alternatives that does not have the same credit damaging effects but can still help you get out of debt easily.

To help you decide, here are the signs that Chapter 7 is the best alternative.

First of all, you should have a very small income. If you want to enjoy the no debt payment benefit of Chapter 7, then you need to have no or very little income every month. If your salary is within the median range, then you may be subjected to the payment plan. If that is the case, you may be better off with debt settlement.

Another sign to proceed with bankruptcy is when you do not have assets to liquidate. Unless it is okay with you to lose the expensive assets that you have, you may be better off to aim for debt settlement or even Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Because of the repayment plan, Chapter 13 does not require asset liquidation.

Chapter 7 is also great for unsecured debts. These could be medical bills, personal loans and credit card debt. It cannot cover student loans, tax related debts and child support.

Ideally, a bankruptcy lawyer should be consulted to see if this is really the right path for you to get rid of your debts. The main basis is your finances - especially your debt payment capabilities. Listen to the expert and trust your gut instinct. More importantly, you have to make the commitment to finish your chosen debt relief program.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How Debt Management Keeps Debt Desperation Away

Debt desperation is a common condition that happens to people who have more credit obligations than what they are earning. It can be quite frustrating and it actually has the power to drive someone over the edge. Money problems can cause serious relationship problems and in the midst of that is debt. This article will help you avoid these devastating effects so you can work on getting out of debt with clarity and focus.

This type of desperation can sometimes lead you to make the wrong decisions so you need to avoid that feeling so you remain rational. It can sometimes force you to make drastic acts that are usually unnecessary. For instance, you may think that you need to sell your house when in fact, there are options that will not require that but still allow you to meet your debt payments.

There are several debt relief options that you can use to avoid debt desperation - or at least keep it at bay. One of them is debt management. This option allows the debtor to make lower monthly payments that will give them more funds for other expenses that are not debt related. The whole process is monitored by a debt counselor who will help you create a payment plan (referred to as the debt management plan or DMP). This payment plan shows how you will pay off your debt based on what you can afford.

While debt management can be done on your own, you may need the help of the debt professional to keep your sanity together. Desperation can be crippling and you need someone to help and guide you until you have your debt under control. The ease of having them take care of the details will allow you to concentrate on growing your income for debt payments.

Even if you have a lot of creditors to pay off, the debt counselor will help monitor your payments and distribute it to your different accounts. All you have to do is to send the total amount to them and they will take care of the rest. The key is to follow the DMP and make sure you based it on accurate financial details. Do not commit a high debt payment amount if you cannot afford it. That will lead to failure and given the situation, you do not want that to happen.

Ultimately, you need to change your perspective about your debts so you can curb the desperate feeling that comes with debt. The panic that it brings will not help you case so try to keep it on the wraps. What you need to hold on to is the fact that people have gone through debt relief and have successfully eliminated it from their lives. Just focus on the prize and work hard to pay off your debt so you can enjoy debt freedom once and for all.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Good Debts The Secret To Grow Your Wealth Through Debt

Did you know that you can actually grow your money by putting yourself in debt? In fact, most businesses (yes, even the successful ones) started out with a lot of debt on their account.

It is true that debt can be very destructive but if you think about it, you can also use it to help grow your wealth. If you find that hard to believe, then this article may be quite enlightening for you.

If you ask a financial or debt expert, they will tell you that there is no such thing as good or bad debt. Debt is simply a business transaction between the lender and the borrower. It only becomes destructive for some people because they got the loan for the wrong reasons and with the wrong approach.

What you need to understand is that your debts can actually help you grow your household or business wealth. The secret lies in what you plan to do with the debt money. If you intend on using it to finance things that will not contribute to your personal growth or investments, then it will end up destroying you. That is especially true if you know that you do not have the income to pay it back.

But if your purpose for getting the loan is to invest it on something that will help grow your wealth like a business or your education, then this particular debt will be good for you. Not only will that investment help pay for the loan on its own, you will most likely have extra money to help finance other expenses on your budget list.

Another secret to use your debt to grow your wealth is by being prepared for it. You can choose to put yourself in debt but you have to make sure that you created a plan to help pay for it. A debt ignored will never do you any good - even if you used it to grow your business or to develop your skills.

It all boils down to making wise financial and spending decisions. If you use your credit card, that puts you in debt so you have to make sure that you are spending it on something necessary and you have the cash to pay it once the bill comes in. That will keep you from paying more than what you have to because of interest rates and penalty charges.

Bottom line is to think before you make any debt commitments. While financial freedom is usually associated with debt elimination, it doesn’t have to be strictly that way. You can incur debts but make sure your repayment plan is solid and that you have a lot of savings to back up that loan. That is in case the future income that you planned on using falls short. Try not to be extravagant just for appearance sake. Think before you spend and always live within your means. If you have this type of financial perspective, you will never be scared of debt because you know that you have the appropriate plan to pay it off.