Friday, May 31, 2013

Combine saving and debt relief for a lasting debt freedom

If you really want a lasting debt freedom, the best way to achieve that is by combining your chosen debt relief program with saving. Choosing between the two is not really an option. Both are equally important to take care of immediately.

We don’t have to go into details when it comes to debt payments. The bottom line is, if you refuse to pay off your debts immediately, your debts will grow because of the interest rates and other penalties that will be imposed on you. This is probably why people are opting to prioritize this over their savings.

Well that is where they are wrong. In order for them to solidify their quest for debt freedom, they need to combine savings with any debt relief effort that they will use. The thing about saving is it will keep you from incurring more debts.

Here’s how it works. When you are in a debt relief program, the chances of you putting all your extra money into your debt payment is very likely. You only use your income for the basic necessities so you can maximize your contributions towards your debt.

But what if something happens that requires immediate financing? It can be the car suddenly breaking down or it can be a busted AC. It can also come in form of a health issue. Where will you get your funds? Since your expenses are down to the bare necessity, you may have to use the money set aside for your debt payments. But if you have your savings, you don’t have to sacrifice any of your usual expenses. You only have to dip into your savings, pay off the immediate expense and work on replacing what you got in your own time. You don’t even have to put yourself further in debt anymore.

Another situation wherein your savings will come in handy is when your main source of income is suddenly gone. It can be due to job loss or you are not well enough to keep on working. Your savings can help provide for your family and debt payments for the next few months as you go and look for another source of income.

Of course, the importance of saving is easy to understand - it is the actual “saving” that is hard to do. If you are in debt, the chances that you are living on a limited income is very high. The technique to having enough to send towards debt payments and save at the same time is to choose debt relief option that will free some of your limited funds. Debt consolidation loans, debt management, debt settlement, balance transfer - any of these will help you achieve this.

You can also combine it with a frugal budget. You may be hesitant because of the harsh restrictions but it is only until you have grown your savings. Once you have enough on your reserve fund, then you can loosen your budget.

Earning more is also an option. There are many legitimate work at home opportunities that you can use to achieve this. Get a second source of income that will not burn your out. That way, you have more to allot for your savings and even a little extra for your entertainment needs.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Simple truths to effective debt relief

There are many ways to get out of debt. The obvious solution is to pay off what you owe. However, some people need help doing that so they opt for debt relief programs that will make the whole ordeal easier.

Unfortunately, there are people who go through debt relief but do not come out victorious. If you want to avoid being part of this statistic, you may want to consider three simple truths about debt relief.

First truth is that you need to know the right debt relief for your unique financial situation. There is no one formula to get out of debt and if you really want to be successful in the endeavor, you may want to choose the perfect solution. There are two considerations in making this choice: the type of debt that you owe and your capabilities in paying it off.

If you are looking for professional advice to help give light to your debt situation, credit counseling is a great place to start. However, this is only for those who have enough income to cover the minimum of your debts.

If you want to organize your credits into a single payment, then debt consolidation loan is the right program for you. You will benefit from a lower and single monthly payment plan - at least if you got a low interest loan.

If you have a bad credit score or no collateral to get that type of loan, debt management is also another option for you. You will work with a debt professional who will help manage your debts.

These three will not reduce your debts so you need a steady income. Also, know that debt management usually works best for credit cards, medical bills, and other unsecured loans. Debt consolidation loans and credit counseling can accommodate both secured and unsecured loans.

If you need a bigger reduction on your debt because your income hardly has enough for debt payments, you may want to opt for debt settlement. This is only good for unsecured loans, credit card debt and medical bills. This involves convincing your creditor that you are in a financial crisis so they will allow you to pay only a portion of your debt and have the rest forgiven.

If you have trouble getting an income and your can barely keep up with your basic expenses, you may want to consider declaring yourself bankrupt instead. Here you will either have your debts discharged or paid off through a low repayment plan that the court will impose.

By choosing the right debt relief program, you get to maximize your resources to get faster debt freedom.

The second truth that you may want to remember is knowing what you are up against. Education is your best defense against debt. This is true for both debt and personal finance management. You have to research the laws that are protecting you as a consumer. Among the laws that you need to know include the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR - for those opting to hire debt professionals) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA - to protect against abusive collectors. Knowing your rights and what the government mandated debt relief companies to implement will protect you from being scammed out of your limited money.

The last truth that you have to know and apply in your life are the habits that will keep you from debt in the future. It is one thing to pay off your debts. It is a different ballgame that involves developing the right habits. It all boils down to proper financial management - something that you have to do while you are undergoing debt relief. You need to learn how to save, budget your money and make smarter spending choices. All of these will help you live within your means and thus minimize the chances of your landing in debt once more.

Know all these so you can enjoy a successful debt relief program and thus achieve a lasting debt freedom.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Is It Possible To Use Debt Consolidation To Solve Student Debt?

Wondering if debt consolidation can help solve student debt? Of course it can. However, it will not be the same as the options of mortgage, credit card and other personal loans.

Putting yourself in debt for your education is a smart move but only if you are certain that you can afford to pay it off. While saving up for it is still a better option, there are certain programs that can help you get out of debt if things get too tough.

Student debt is a fast rising problem for everyone. Not only is it causing much distress to students and graduates, the retiring generation (baby boomers) find themselves in a deep fix because they are still not done paying this off. Also, it is scaring off high school students into pursuing a college education. We want to solve this as much as possible by letting people know that there are ways to make student debt payments more manageable.

We are of course, talking about debt consolidation. As mentioned it is a bit different from other types of consumer debt.

Your option will be more like debt consolidation loans. You will apply for it and when you are qualified, the Department of Education will buy your loan and you will end up paying them. The great thing about this is you will be paying a fixed interest rate from now on - much like in mortgage payments. This is another type of refinancing. Those paying off their student debt in this manner will enjoy a much lower payment requirement every month. Unlike in private debt companies, the Department of Education will not charge any fees for this transfer of debt. It gives consumers a higher chance of completing their payments because a bigger percentage of their monthly contribution will be sent towards the principal loan amount.

And if you are not qualified for this federal assistance, you can still use debt consolidation - however, it will not be a direct help to your student loans. If you have other debts that qualify for debt consolidation, enroll them in the program. It will allow you to make smaller monthly payments and thus free up some funds for student loans. If not to increase your debt payment fund you should use it to put money into your savings account. Growing your reserve fund will help ensure that any unexpected expense will not compromise your debt payments - especially those towards your student loan.

If you combine them, you will find more funds are freed that will keep your budget from being too restrictive. While the temptation to spend it may be great, try not to give in and grow your savings instead. Practice smart spending habits and put all your extra money into your savings. That will not only help you get out of debt but also out of debt.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Life Changing Decisions That Will Keep You Debt Free

Putting yourself in debt and getting yourself out of it both requires some serious decisions. You cannot accomplish it on a come-what-may attitude. You have to think about everything that you will do because it could land you deeper in debt or successfully out of it.

What you need to realize is that you should take charge of your debt because that is your personal responsibility. Despite external factors that seem to have made things worse, it all roots from certain decisions that you made in the past that affected your financial situation today. For instance, not saving in the past forced you to borrow money just so you can afford the sudden expenses required by your broken car.

So to help you keep a debt free life, here are some decisions that you may want to consider implementing.

First of all, you need to make a decision to save. Regardless of your financial condition, this will help you achieve financial freedom - or more specifically debt freedom. When you save, you are putting aside money that can finance unexpected purchases or expenses that you may have to make. These can be repairs for the house, your car or even that medication or treatment that is needed to cure an illness. Your reserve fund can literally save you - in the sense that it will keep you from the need to borrow and thus waste money on interest rates. Not only that, your savings will also help you purchase items or avail of services that would have otherwise forced you to use your credit card. It allows you to keep your luxury expenses without compromising the priority costs on your list.

Speaking or credit cards, this is another decision that you have to work on. Most of the time, people get into trouble with these plastic cards because they do not know how to use them. You need to make smart spending choices and that does not include making purchases on credit. If you cannot control your spending, you need to make a decision to stick to cash purchases. If not, you could rack up a significant credit card debt amount that can spiral out of control if you cannot pay for it immediately. The downside of this is the high interest rate and the many finance charges that can quickly grow your debt balance.

If you stop using credit to pay off your expenses, you may have a fighting chance to be successful in living within your means - which is another decision that you will have to make. For some people, this can mean a complete lifestyle change. If you got yourself in debt, that could mean you are spending more than what you are earning. You need to change this by making sure that you will stick to what your cash inflow can afford. Not only that, you need to remember to live below your means so that you have enough extra for your savings.

There are other decisions that can be as simple as buying that shirt or something more grand like downgrading your living conditions. Whatever decision you have to make, ensure that it will be smart and will keep you from incurring debts at present or in the future.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Know What Your Credit Card Spending Is Robbing From You

It feels great to be able to purchase expensive items on credit but there are consequences to this luxury. We feel empowered and good about ourselves that we are able to afford that new HDTV or that new car model just by signing papers. But all of these will come back to haunt us in the very near future. This is a reality we all face with credit card spending if we fail to understand that impulse buying now is actually taking away more than what we are getting.

Think of the new shiny items you bought with credit as Dr. Jekyll and the interest payments as Mr. Hyde. It is the undesirable effect of advancing income to purchase items now. Also, every time you make payments to interest, think of the 20-5-20 theory. If you put $20 in a 5% earning instrument for 20 years, it could net you $8,000. What if you can put in double or triple that amount? This is one thing lost to credit card payment.

Another side effect of credit card debt is it prohibits you from getting that bigger house for a bigger family or better health or insurance coverage for your loved ones. The monthly payments make you think twice and could force you to pass up on better opportunities for your loved ones. Until such time that you could pay up your credit card payments, you have to put these dreams on hold.

This could also spill over to your dreams of getting higher education because you still have a big credit card payment. Again, it forces you to reconsider more spending even if it means advancement in your education. These payments also prohibit you from taking either a well deserved break for yourself or even with your family. You would rather make the payments over to your debt rather than use it for a vacation.

One serious downside to accumulating credit card debt is it s adverse effect on your dreams of early retirement. Instead of having enough in your savings to support your lifestyle, you are forced to make payments for your credit card over a longer period of time thus, delaying your retirement. Or worse, you might even be forced to come out of retirement so you can continue making payments on your debt.

There are people who are able to switch careers because they have a different calling or simply because they can afford to gamble on it. With credit card debt, your ability to gamble and look for a higher paying job is limited. This is because you need to have a steady stream of income to meet your payment deadlines. You might be forced to stay in your current job even if you do not like it anymore.

Credit card debts and the stress of meeting your monthly payments can trigger health issues. Anxiety, migraines and even depression are some of the effects of credit card debts. Some could even result to heart ailments. Worst part is that with these known side effects, you might even be exposed to high medical bills because you opted to forego health insurance in favor of credit card debts.

So the next time you decide to purchase an item using your credit card, weigh the value of the item you are buying on credit against the things you will have to let go in the future.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Things That Credit Card Companies Tell You That You Should Not Follow

Credit card companies are in it for the business so you need to be careful about what they say you should do with your credit card. Keep in mind that they want you to be in debt to them because that is how they will extract profit from you. There are many things that you should be cautious and vigilant about.
First of all, when you find yourself under a pile of credit card debt, you should not believe how your creditors want you to pay it off. We are talking of minimum payments of course. If you think that this particular method will get you by, then you are wrong. It will keep you from late payments - yes that is true. However, you will stay in debt for a really long time! And your creditors want that because the longer you stay in debt, the more interest you will end up paying for. That means more profit for them. So what you should do is to pay more than the minimum. If you cannot afford it, there are debt relief companies who can help make your payments more manageable so your limited income can accommodate all payments that has to be funded. Of course, another option apart from debt relief is to simply increase your income. That way, you have more funds for your debt payments without sacrificing your basic expenses.
Another popular creditor suggestion that you should ignore is getting a higher credit limit. This will put you in a deeper credit card debt pit so it is best for you to just say no. We all have the tendency to max out our cards without really thinking about how much we can really afford. If you know that you will be in danger of using your card up to its limit, then you need to make sure that the limit something that you can afford to pay off. That is your short term goal. However, your long term goal should be to remove that dependence on credit cards altogether. Develop the right habits that will help you live within your means. Paying for things in cash is not bad and when combined with budgeting habits, it will keep you from spending too much.
When you are convinced that you need to have at least one credit card to your name, make sure that you understand it completely. Know every fee, charge and penalty that can be imposed on you. Most importantly, you should understand the rules when it comes to your interest rates. It is confusing but you have to take time to learn it. You can call the customer support and ask them to explain it to you. Sometimes, credit card companies suddenly raise their rates and you want to make sure that you know about your rights when they do. For instance, the Credit Card Act states that creditors should send a notice before raising their rates. That way, card holders can pay off their balance before the new rate takes effect. Know these and you should be able to avoid wasting money on high interest amounts.

All in all, knowledge is your best defense when it comes to debt so read about it so you can make better judgments and decisions when it comes to getting yourself out of debt.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Don't Let Medical Debt Cripple You: Save For Your Health

Did you know that you can make all the right spending choices all your life, pay your dues diligently, live within your means and use cash for most purchases and still end up in debt? Some people fail to realize that above all of these habits, you need one thing to guarantee that you will never be placed in a debt situation. That important habit is saving.

Not everyone have spending problems. Some of them are quite responsible with their day to day financial transactions but because of lack of savings, one emergency can quickly turn their world upside down.

Even if you are following a frugal lifestyle, you can still end up in debt - especially when it involves a medical emergency. Due to the rising cost of medical treatment, professional fees and medicines, people are finding themselves buried in medical debt. To keep yourself from joining this statistic, you need start mapping out a plan to get yourself out of it. Yes, that is a must even when you feel like you are in the best of health conditions. This is not being pessimistic. You are merely being cautious and realistic.

First of all, you can forego the need for medical debt when you have adequate savings. That is actually the best option. By growing your reserve fund, you are creating a security net that will eliminate the need to borrow money just to pay for any medical treatment. Instead of adding the “borrowing” part into your worries, you can focus on getting well - or taking care of a loved one who got sick. Stress can aggravate any medical condition and make it turn for the worse. Eliminate this stress so you or a loved one can get better quickly.

Make sure this reserve fund is strictly for emergencies only. You can set a definition as to what constitutes an emergency. Is it for medical emergencies only? Or can you include anything that break down in your house or car.

The great thing about saving is in case you will not need it for an emergency, it can go to your retirement fund. That additional money can push your retirement to an earlier date. That is like hitting two birds with one stone.

You should also consider looking for a reliable health insurance. This can prove to be a big help in getting discounts on your medical bill. Not only that, you can escape all the high interest rates associated with medical debt - especially when you used your credit card to pay it off. Research on the different health insurance policies and take into consideration any illness that is in your family history. You should get a coverage that will help you deal with any future health condition that you may be subjected to.

Saving, is probably the wisest habit that you can develop to help put your finances in order. Do not handle your finances with a “come what may” attitude. If there is anything that you have to be very organized and meticulous about, it is your money. Always be prepared for any incident by growing your savings. No one ever thought that saving is a waste of their time, effort and money.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How To Avoid Late Payment Fees On Your Credit Card

Late payment fees contribute greatly to the fast accumulation of credit card debt. Every month that you do not meet your deadline, $30 - $35 worth of fees are added into your balance. The interest amount added to your monthly payment is computed based on the sum of the balance from last month’s bill, finance charges and the late penalty fee. If you had been late even for just a day, this will automatically be a problem for you. When it accumulates, it might be too much for you to pay off.

Some people make the mistake of focusing on the interest rate too much that they fail to recognize the dangers of late payment fees. More than the additional amount that will be put unto your current balance, any late payment will be reported to the major credit bureaus and that can lower your credit score. So just as important interest rates are important, you have to make sure you can avoid late payment fees as well. But the question is, how can you accomplish that? It is one

First of all, you need to create a budget plan so that you will keep track of where all your money should be going. In most cases, this is enough for debtors but some of them need a more specific payment plan. Feel free to create a unique plan that will help you stay on top of all your credit obligations. This will allow you to never miss your due dates.

You can also arrange for auto-debit payments from your savings account. This will also keep you from being late. However, you still have to be cautious and check the automatic payments made. Sometimes, credit card companies make mistakes in your statement. They may input purchases that  you never made.

Online payment transactions will also make payments convenient for you too. You can pay off your credit card even at night or during weekends. It sure beats having to fall in line in banks just to make sure you payments are made.

In case there is a problem with your funds and you need an extension, you can call your creditor about it. Ask for your due date to be extended or changed if need be. The date should be on a day that you will never forget. That will help you keep up with your payments.

It helps to subject yourself under a debt relief plan that will keep you from missing your payments too. Know how much you owe and find the best program that will help you get yourself out of debt.

Of course, the long term solution to this problem is to stop acquiring debts. When you do not have debt, you will never have to be in danger of late payment fees. Keep your credit card spending to a minimum or eliminate it altogether. Live within your means and start growing your savings. These are only a few of what you can do to keep yourself out of debt. Practice proper financial management and you can keep yourself from being buried in debt by late payment fees.

Friday, May 3, 2013

What Traits Can You Emulate From Debt Free People?

If you want to change your lifestyle for the better, you would naturally look for inspiration and guidance on people who are currently living it. So if you want to be debt free, it is only right that you look at the traits of debt free people and try to emulate them so you can achieve that same state in life.

You may be surprised that some of  the traits of financially independent people are quite common. In fact, it is possible that you already have some of them. However, you need to specifically apply these traits in your financial life for it to work with you on your debt relief efforts.

So what are the traits that you need to learn from debt free people?

First of all, they are self reliant. They dislike being in the mercy of someone else and thus will work at setting up backup plans for themselves. These people do not like borrowing from others just so they can get out of a tight spot. They will work hard to make sure that they are prepared for any incident that can compromise their income. Of course, that can be done through saving so you can expect that their self reliance dictates that they build up their reserve fund.

In line with being self reliant, debt free people are also self confident. They do not rely on material things to feel that they are successful in life. They are confident in their own capabilities and it is not based on their possessions.

Since a budget is necessary when you want to live a debt free life, financially independent people are also organized and loves to indulge in the details. Not everyone have this trait so you may want to work hard to get used to this. While there are people who are born to be organized, some people have to learn how. Simply use a budget plan to help you keep your finances on track. More importantly, make a commitment to follow through your budget and maintain it.

Debt free people are also patient. They do not see the need to use credit cards just so they can make instant purchases. They can wait a couple of weeks and months to save up for a purchase instead of borrowing money to pay for a product or service immediately.

Practicality is also a trait that you should emulate if you really want to achieve debt freedom. It prompts you to make smarter spending decisions because you automatically weigh if the purchase will do you good or not. Have a strong grasp of reality and know how much you can really afford. We all want to give our children everything that they want but the more practical approach is to teach them the value of money and smart spending.

Lastly, debt free people have a good sense of personal responsibility. This actually in line with being self reliant. They know that every decision that they make at present is their own accountability - regardless of who or what influenced them to make it. This prompts them to make smarter decisions in life that are rarely done impulsively.