• Lower your monthly payments
  • Reduce stress and live your life
  • Avoid personal bankruptcy court

Don’t Hold Yourself Back With These Money Lies?

There is always a time in life you plan to do something, which never goes quite as planned. Ever happened with you? We all have that time were reality comes crashing down on us and reminds you to have a precise look at your savings and not believe the money lies you hear. It maybe that you are getting ready to purchase a home or a car, but it’s not until you don’t set eyes on your savings you really know whether you can or not. After this, you usually go about fixing your finances, which means you may:

• Set up your budget

• Revise your budget

No matter how perfect your budget is, it may be that you are still unable to save any money. In such situations, you need to take a better look at things and see whether it’s actually the money or the money lies you are getting caught up in. you will usually get the answer that it is you lying to yourself.

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Turn A New Leaf

In this situation, you usually have to turn a new leaf and be more honest with yourself and stop falling into the money lies. Lying to oneself is something the majority of us do so we do not feel bad about shortcomings. However, the danger of this is there does actually come a point where we begin to believe these lies and stop improving. So, if you truly wish to turn your life around, it is time to have a good look at what you’re doing and stop doing this. Some of the most common money lies you will come across are listed below.

One To Five Money Lies

• I won’t retire so don’t need to save

• I will begin to save from tomorrow

• I don’t understand investing and it is too risky

• Unless I buy a car or home, my credit score is not significant

• I won’t have kids or get married, which means I don’t need to save for them

The first of the money lies is telling yourself you will not retire, because the truth is, you will. You may love your job at the moment and may think you can easily work till 70, but the truth is that the job is not in your control. Anything can happen, which causes people to leave work where they are unable to work anymore. The second lie is when you tell yourself you will begin to save from tomorrow. The reality behind this is that tomorrow never comes, which means there will always be things that prevent you from saving. You may think investing is a risky option, but the truth is you never have to read complicated books and papers for this. Keeping your money in a bank account that is safe is all you need to do. In regards to the credit score, many think this is insignificant unless they are purchasing a car or home. This is not the case, as the credit score has found its way into many financial areas, such as:

• Utilities

• Rental companies

• Insurance

The fifth of the lies relate to you stating you will never get married. This means you do not have to save for a wedding. You need to accept the reality, which is even if you do not want to get married; another life event may come up. Alternatively, you may just fall in love and even decide to have a baby as it is life and anything exciting and surprising can happen.

Six To Ten Money Lies

• Renting is wasting money, so I should buy a house

• I don’t get paid enough so cannot save enough

• If I am approved with a specific loan, that means I can handle it

• If I make a budget I am unable to have a social life

• I am healthy therefore do not need health insurance

If you are currently renting and think you are wasting money, you need to know that purchasing a home is not always a good idea. This is because renting is much better than buying in some cities. One of the well-known money lies is saying you cannot save as you do not get paid much. Regardless whether it is $1 or even $100, a saver will always save, even if it’s only a little. If you are in the misconception of thinking you can handle a loan merely because the bank is letting you have it, you are making a big mistake. One thing you must know is that banks love it when you are in debt so make sure you don’t let them take advantage of you. If you think you have to sacrifice with the social life once you start to make a budget, you will be surprised to know that are budgets are actually life savers. You will never have to worry about affording something if you are always aware of the answer. You should never fall into the money lies that insurance is for sick people. Accidents usually happen unexpectedly and if you happened to suffer from one, what would you do?

Eleven To Fourteen Money Lies

• I don’t need savings as I will get Medicare and Social Security

• I am set in life as long as I have a college degree

• To build wealth, I need to be rich

• During retirement, my expenses will be much less

One thing you must understand is that Social Security is never enough to cover all your needs. You are never set in life with a college degree as this also includes a massive student loan, which needs to be paid off. A degree in no way guarantees you a job. You do not need money to make money, as you can always opt for freelance. Your expense may decrease in retirement, but there will be a whole lot of new expenses.

2014’s Top 10 Franchises

We can never designate one way to determine which franchise businesses are the strongest and best in the market, but looking at the top franchises of 2014, analysts have a close look at a few attributes that quickly identify a fast-growing, powerful franchise.  Before going over the top franchises of 2014, we’ll look at some of these qualities.

  • Proven affordable business model: clear proof that the franchise knows how to make money doing what they’re doing.
  • Start-up support: when franchisers (the original owners) help their new owners (franchisees) with their branches, especially through site selection, lease negotiation, financing, and other guiding help, it shows how competent the company is in expanding their interests.
  • Branding and marketing: a company that can get its name spread across the nation is naturally going to be more successful than those with much less marketing prowess.  Using TV, radio, traditional mail, and other methods like marketing collateral and digital ads, these franchises can expand at a much greater rate.

No business is ever guaranteed to do well as a franchise, but these 10 have shown great growth as they spread.

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Anytime Fitness, LLC

This co-ed, 24-hour franchise of gyms and fitness facilities counts heavily on proprietary software, security, and surveillance to help their owners keep their fitness clubs safe without having to hire unnecessary personnel.  The owners greatly benefit from the growth of fitness in society and active lifestyles, as well as health insurance and corporate wellness initiatives.  Startup costs range from $71.6K to $353.9K.

Supercuts

The full service salon offers shampooing and conditioning, coloring, blow drying, styling, waxing beard trimming, as well as normal cuts—the works.  Like many family-business barber shops, they keep their franchisees around closely, but also gain a corporate edge by stocking professional hair care products for their customers to take home.  This cash flow creates an easy choice for one of the top franchises of 2014, with startup costs between $113.8K and $233.6K.

Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems

This business, named by many as “recession-resistant,” offers an invaluable service:  cleanliness in the workplace.  As such, it’s no surprise that this profitable industry has fostered one of the top franchises of 2014, and it also boasts a $48 billion industry value—with startup costs very low, from $3.3K to $49.9K.

Cruise Planners (American Express Travel)

Americans love to vacation, especially on cruises.  If you’re looking to become a franchisee but have a somewhat tight budget, becoming a cruise agent may be the way for you.  Requiring little to no travel experience, it can also allow you to work from home—not only one of the top franchises of 2014, but a very attractive and popular one too!  Avoid, retail space and construction, keep your own schedule, and as a bonus you’ll only spend $1.9K to $10K on a startup.

7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven is a huge franchise with almost 53,000 locations.  The global adoration of the idea of convenience has spurred the market, bringing great profits to stores like these.  Using a turnkey approach where the parent company provides the franchisee all that he or she needs to start operation for a lowered cost as well as a POS scanning system for very easy stocking, 7-Eleven offers a big potential business for a startup of as low as $50K.

Kumon Math & Reading Centers

Toru Kumon, a Japanese math teacher, created the principles now used at Kumon over half a century ago and their influence has spread from his second-grade son to children all over the world.  With over 23,475 franchise units, the model relies on daily work and advancement based around individual pace for math and reading.  Toll-free phones, Internet sources, and newsletters plus meetings make sure that franchisees stay connected with the mother company, and this communication lands Kumon a spot in the top franchises of 2014.  Startup costs are between $72.2K and $149.3K.

The UPS Store

The largest postal franchisor, this company has 30 years of experience to ensure that its franchisees get the best possible experience (and profits).  New programs knock $10,000 off the licensing costs and 50% off the application fee to veterans and military spouses, so this may be the spot for you!  Startup costs range from $150.2K to $420.3K.

Liberty Tax Service

Businesses like this have blossomed because of their seasonal cycles for franchisees.  The new owner can work hard for four months, and then does whatever they want with their new profits—usually further investment and business opportunities—for the other eight.  Now with over 4,400 offices in only 17 years, this and other top franchises of 2014 don’t need prior experience for you to start today, but it’s a big help.  Startup costs begin at $57.8K.

Edible Arrangements

These fresh fruit bouquets and other arrangements are a bit of a niche, but with 700 franchisees in 12 different countries, it’s hard to deny this franchise’s success in 2014.  Startup costs are between $154.3K and $279.3K.

Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware Corporation has ruled the retail hardware market for a decade, and they’re looking for new franchisees to expand even further rom their Chicago roots in 1924.  With a boom in the DIY market and no slowing in sight, startup costs from $400K could start you with your own Ace Hardware.

From a few thousand to hundreds of thousands, there are now franchise opportunities for everyone.  This list should point you in the right direction towards some great franchises.

Manage Your Debt Most Wisely

Even if you’ve only got the tiniest inklings of debt, you want to do whatever it takes to manage that debt with responsibility and tact. This means keeping up with your payments, paying your bills in full whenever you can and making sure your debts don’t spiral out of control. Transversely, when you’ve got too much debt, you have to put a lot more effort and hard work into managing your payments and spreading your resources as evenly as you can without causing too much suffering in other important areas of your life. If you’re looking for tips that will help you better manage your debt, you’ve come to the right place! Keep following along for advice and things to remember when trying to properly manage your debt.

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Know Who You Owe and How Much You Owe

Get serious with yourself and write down a list of all your debts including the creditor, the total amount you owe, monthly payments and the due dates. Your credit report can serve as a useful tool when going through this process because it will confirm what you already know and if there are any discrepancies, you can get them squared away as soon as possible. Keep this list as a record and when you pay bills you can check in on your progresses.

As the month’s progress and your debt amounts begin to drop, you should update your list as necessary to reflect those changes. When you manage your debt with a system in place, it feels less like a hassle or annoyance.

Pay your bills on time each month as long as you can help it. Late payments will make it harder to drop your debt amounts when you constantly have late fees getting tacked right back on to your balance. You want to manage your debt most efficiently so that you don’t incur fees that end up turning into higher interest rates and charges if you miss consecutive payments.

Use calendars in multiple places–like on your desk and in your smartphone–to make sure that you have constant, visible reminders when bills come due. If you miss a payment, you want to be sure to get it in as soon as possible: don’t make it a habit to wait until the next bill comes through! If you know you’re going to be late a few days on a payment, contact your lender and detail the situation. You might be able to set a payment arrangement or get an extra day or so without being charged a late fee.

Utilizing a bill payment calendar can help you decide which bills you want to pay with certain paychecks. Write down each bill’s payment amount next to whatever day it’s due. Then write in the days of each paycheck you receive. If you get paid the same days each month, you can use the same calendar from month to month. If you don’t, making a new calendar each month will be helpful to manage your debt.

Make the Best Payments You Can Make

If you can’t afford to make anything more than the minimum payment, at least do that. In truth, settling the minimum payment on your bills doesn’t help you make any real progress, but it does keep your debt from growing further. Missing payments altogether will make it more difficult to catch up and your accounts could go into default and that’s the last thing you need.

  • To manage your debt with your best foot forward, the credit cards you owe on should be first priority. Whichever credit card you have that holds the highest interest rate should be repaid first because it will cost you the most. Use that debt list you compiled to rank your debts from top priority to least important as a good plan of attack. Choosing to pay off debts with low balances might also be a great place to start so you can simply get them out of the way.
  • When you’re limited on funds to manage your debt, your focus should fall on keeping positive accounts in good standing. The ones that have already been sent to collections won’t do much to help your credit unless you pay them in full. Instead, pay attention to those past due accounts and handle them when you have the money to. Collections efforts will continue as long as you have outstanding balances.
  • A monthly budget will be most helpful when detailing just how much you can spend and where it can be spent. You always want to be sure you have the funds to afford your monthly expenses, and a budget can help you be sure of that. If you can plan far enough in advance, you’ll be able to tackle those instances when money is coming up short and if you ever have some extra, you can put that towards bills to pay down your debts faster.

For People Tired of Overspending on School Supplies

With the end of summer fast approaching, everyone is getting ready for school. That means a trip to the store to begin stocking up on school supplies. Before you start spending your money, make sure you know what is needed for school supplies, and how much you are going to be spending. Huffington Post shared a stat about the average cost that is spent on school supplies for students in grades k-12, in the 2014 school year, and that number reached $634.78 per child, and for college students it is higher. Here are some simple things that could help you save money this school year.

Overspending on School Supplies

Make A Budget

With the tons of crayons and rows of paper it is easy to feel dumbfounded. To help combat the unnecessary costs go to the store with a plan of what you need to purchase, and with how much you want to spend. By putting a plan and budget in place before heading out, you will have an easier time sticking to your budget.

Most schools and classes give a supply list out before the school year begins. Read over the list with a pen in hand and check off which items are the most important and which ones are secondary. Once you have that, set out a limit that you want to spend on each item or category. A big cost is school clothes, so set out a budget right from the start so you don’t spend more than you want on new clothing.

Ask Yourself The Following Questions:

  • What do I feel is a reasonable and comfortable amount to spend on the item?
  • Can I purchase this at a different store at a lower cost?
  • Is this an essential item?

Explore the Different Options Available To You

Shopping at different stores can save money. It may not be as easy as doing all of your shopping in one place, but the money you save makes it worth it. Even small savings can add up to big money. When shopping at a one stop gets all type of store, it is important to understand that you are paying the price for convenience. That means it is your responsibility to consider the difference between cost and time if you decide to visit different stores. A good way to accomplish making the choice follow some these ideas.

Use the Dollar Stores

One item that is always needed is notebooks, and even the cheapest ones are expensive. The dollar stores save you money by carrying off brand or off color school supplies at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, dollar stores are great for stockpiling essentials such as pens and pencils

Reach Out To Your Network

Get together with other families and see what can be passed down to other kids, or shared between your kids. Uniforms can be passed on to other kids when your kids have moved on. Another added bonus of discussing school supplies with other families is you could discover new ways to save or places to shop from the others.

Use Online Marketplaces Such As Craigslist.

Craigslist is a used goods haven for shoppers, and you can even find school supplies! Since kids grow so quickly, things like clothing and backpacks need to be replaced and buying this items used can save you a lot of money. Some other sites for online shopping include ebay or recycler.

Repurpose or Reuse Materials

Getting rid of excess stuff is important but be careful when it comes to ditching school supplies. Be on the watch for supplies that can be reused the next school year. To help you stay organized keep a box for storing new and used school supplies in so that you can always take a quick inventory of what you have.

Buy Second Hand Books or E-Versions

One of the most expensive things that college students have to buy is textbooks. In a single semester students face a cost of $200 or more for each textbook they need to purchase. Students should consider whether or not their schedule and field of study would allow for using an older version of the text since these are cheaper than new texts. Some great online sites for buying used textbooks are Chegg and AbeBooks. Additionally when you are finished with your textbooks you can turn them into money by selling them on these same sites.

Finally Prioritizing Quality

There are items that will be well used up by the end of the school year. This is where prioritizing the quality of an item comes in. For example by spending more on something like a backpack that will last 4 years is a better choice than buying a cheaper backpack that is low in quality and will need to be replaced year after year.

4 Ways You Can Negotiate With Creditors

Credit cards have always been fickle things – you use one for a bit, try to make your payments on time, and soon realize that between rising interest returns and annual fees you’re shelling out more than it looks like is worth it. The bank is the one with the money: you feel powerless. On one hand, it’s only natural to feel weak in the face of a far more powerful body (a bank), but on the other hand you have to remember that you are the consumer. It might not feel it, but you have power, you have rights – and sure enough, you can bring this straight to the bank and negotiate with creditors to try and make your life a little easier.

Negotiate With Creditors

Remember that banks are not unfeeling machines; when you reach out to make contact you’re often speaking to people who can sympathize with you and have probably, at some point or another in life, felt what you’re going through. You can negotiate with creditors by talking to people and keeping yourself well informed on what a bank will and will not change to keep you as a customer.

So just what can you bring up to try and cut back on costs? Well…

Change Your Payment Date

Your paycheck is late, you’ve had an emergency and aren’t sure if you’ll be able to make this payment on time, or maybe you want to change your payment date to a time of the month that’s better for you and not for your bank. This is one of those things you can take to negotiate with creditors, and it’s one of the easiest. Try and do this right after you’ve made a payment on your card so that you have funds on hand to make a payment if you have to, and so that you aren’t already in waiting for a payment that might make them think twice. One of the best cards you can have up your sleeve when negotiating with creditors is the one where you’re a responsible card user.

Change Your Interest Rate

The worst part of a credit card is the interest rate – and unfortunately, it’s what makes credit cards valuable for banks. Without it we just wouldn’t have a credit card! But how does that help you? Maybe you got a card that started with a high interest rate and things have changed, maybe you missed a payment a few months back and your interest went up – and maybe you want to change that. Give your credit card company a call and make a bluff (or maybe you don’t have to bluff at all). Credit companies are in a constant competition to get more consumers from one another and tend to offer low interest cards left and right. Chances are you have an offer for a low interest credit card already – if you do, don’t be afraid to tell the bank that you have an offer on the table, and you want to negotiate with creditors for a lower rate of interest.

Trying to Reduce Your Debt

Debt reduction is a trickier one – because it comes with a downside. Something might have happened in life that sucked up a lot of funds, or maybe something is happening now (a divorce, you’re sending a child to school, you’re going back to school yourself) that’s taking up most of your finances. You can try to negotiate with your creditors to get your debt completely reduced – you pay off a portion of it and are forgiven the rest. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

… well — it has a huge downside. The credit company obviously won’t enjoy that you aren’t paying back all of your debt, and that will reflect on your credit score. This is one of the tricks you want to avoid when negotiating with creditors.

Getting a Suspension of Payment

This isn’t as bad as the previous, but it’s still not your first option. You can speak to your bank or creditor in an attempt to get them to suspend payments for a few months while you get everything in check: if you normally make enough money to make your payments on time with some to spare, you might consider this. The downside is that your interest will still accrue on the balance for the time the payments are suspended, so you’ll be paying even more when they reactivate – and while you can keep negotiating with creditors, this is not the sort of thing you want to make a habit of doing.

A Few Final Tips…

  • Know when you should negotiate. Timing is a big part of it: you want some leverage one way or the other, whether that’s from normally on-time payments to absolute financial hardship.
  • Remember you need to talk to the right people: while customer service can do some things, you’ll want to speak to a manager for interest rates or debt reduction.
  • Know that you, as a customer, have rights.
  • Finally, know when you need to get help, and how to get it. If you seriously are looking at debt reduction, consider hiring a lawyer; but always be careful, and always look for federally approved counsel if you do go this route.

Do You Know the Truth about Payday Loans?

Have you ever been in that situation where you really need money? Many of us would answer yes to this, as the need for money can sometimes arrive unexpectedly. The reason behind this may be a check that bounced, an emergency car repair, or a bill that has to be paid no matter what. The list is just endless, but before you consider a payday loan, it is important you ask yourself whether you know the truth about payday loans.

Truth about Payday Loans

What It Is

A payday loan is given out for a short period for a small amount of money, which is usually less than $1,000. The idea behind one of these loans is also referred to as a check loan or a cash advance. The loan gives the person some money to tide you over whilst you are waiting for the next payday. It is important you know the truth about payday loans before you consider one. A payday loan will usually need access to your checking account. This is to:

  • Deposit the loan
  • Access the repayments funds

With a payday loan, you can easily get funds in the case of an emergency, but the truth about payday loans is that they are not a good financial decision to make.

Consider the Cost

When it comes to the truth about payday loans, the first point you are usually unaware of are the costs. The yearly percentage rate for these loans can go to as high as 2100 percent. When it comes to borrowing, it is vital you borrow from the source with the lower yearly percentage rate as possible. Another truth about payday loans involves the amount of interest you are paying. This is not always clear due to the fact the percentage rate is calculated annually.

How It Works

  • You firstly pay a fee for borrowing money.
  • For every $100 loan, the fee is between $15 and $30.
  • When the payday comes around and you have the money, you then pay this.
  • However, if you cannot afford to pay this, you can roll over it for another fee.
  • This way the consumer faces an increase in expenses.
  • A big truth about payday loans has to be their enterprise, which is to make lots of money.

The worst truth about payday loans is regarding the individual’s bank account number. When the consumer gives this to the lender, the lender can make automatic withdrawal.

Legal Dangers

A further truth about payday loans involves the loopholes. These are many, providing only little protection to the consumer, with a number of states setting limits for loan rollovers. However, they do not limit opening a new loan the same day the previous loan is paid off. Other states have a 24-hour waiting period for the new loans, with others having no restriction whatsoever.

Alternatives to Payday Loans

The truth about payday loans usually raises more awareness and results in individuals looking for alternatives. Well, we have you covered! Even though you can get instant cash with a payday loan, you really do not want to take the risk. The advertisement of payday loans shows how it can build your credit, but in reality, it is a route that is both risky and expensive to take. Prior to taking out this loan, it is important one is able to afford expenses with their current paycheck. If you are finding it difficult to do this, you may want to consider one of the alternatives below:

  • Credit card interest rates – these tend to be lower than what you would have to pay with a payday loan. If you have access to credit card cash advances or credit, you should choose these resources instead of a payday loan. You may be able to increase your limits on the current card or open a new credit card.
  • Obtain a small loan from a credit union or a bank – short term and small loans are very common as credit unions and banks offer substitutes to payday loans to their clients.
  • Go for a second job or sell some belongings – you may consider babysitting even if it is for a night to tide you over!
  • Make a budget- if you find it difficult to make your money last up until the next paycheck, you should create a budget, which will help decrease your expenditures.
  • Emergency fund – if you already have an emergency fund in place, this will always prevent you from taking out loans in the need of an emergency.
  • Overdraft protection – if you currently have a payday loan, maybe it is time to get overdraft protection on your bank account.

The Bottom Line

The process of borrowing payday loans can be expensive, which is very tough to break. The payday loan industry takes advantage of individuals who have limited resources. If you are finding it very hard to make ends meet and are in debt, you may want to think about financial counseling as a way of coming free from your struggling situation.

Five Prepaid Debit Card Pitfalls to Avoid

If a debit card is prepaid, it is often pitched as a cheaper substitute to checking accounts. With a prepaid card, you should expect normal fees as well as some pitfalls. Be sure to have a read of the prepaid debit card pitfalls below and do your level best to avoid these.

Lack of FDIC Coverage

Robust consumer protections such as insurance coverage and fraud protection come with conventional checking accounts. However, holders of the prepaid debit cards do not get these protections. They do not need to provide FDIC insurance, which is why only some prepaid debit cards have deposit insurance, whereas others do not. This is not such a big worry, until the time you run into financial trouble. Funds that are loaded on the prepaid debit card could be put in jeopardy, which is one of the prepaid debit card pitfalls.

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Card Loss or Theft

The funds of holders of the prepaid debit card are more prone to being lost or stolen. This is another one of the prepaid debit card pitfalls, which is why you must ensure your debit card is registered and attached to your date of birth, social security card, or name. The registration process is very straightforward and helps to prove you are actually you. You should register the card as soon as you purchase it. The registration can be carried out online or you can get in touch with the provider via phone. If you currently own an unregistered card, make sure you avoid this one of the prepaid debit card pitfalls by registering and requesting a replacement card as soon as possible.

Inactivity Fees and Deactivation

With a prepaid debit card, it is important that you use this. Providers of the prepaid card make money via the swipe of fees the dealer pays the bank to process the debit transaction. The company will not be making any money until you do not swipe. This explains why a survey found 29 percent of prepaid cards with some kind of inactivity fee. The fee gradually slows down the balance of the cardholder after some time.

If you are intending to use the card as a replacement for a checking account, then this is not such a big deal for you. However, if you will be using it occasionally, then the fees can add up quickly and are another one of the prepaid debit card pitfalls that you should avoid. If you will be using the card a lot, then it is important you select it in a way that it does not turn out to be a punishment.

Credit Score Atrophy

The main reason to why the demand for prepaid credit cards has exploded is that there is no need to undergo a credit check in order to get one. Regardless of what you do with the prepaid debit card, there is less chance that it will negatively affect your score. Regardless of your credit history, you will always get a prepaid card. This is because with these, you do not have to go through credit writing and neither need do you need to report to credit agencies.

No matter how good this may sound, it may also turn out to be one of the prepaid debit card pitfalls, as it can also work the other way. A credit score measures how well a person uses credit. If you are looking for ways to improve your credit score, you may find it time-consuming to achieve your goal, as the progress with one of these cards can be slow. If you are after a method to help you boost your credit, then you are better of using a credit card that is secured.

Fees for Overdraft Protection

If you are considering a prepaid debit card thinking you can easily get past overdraft fees, then it is time you think again. Overdraft protection may be offered with some prepaid debit cards, which can lead to Deja vu for a user who escaped straight checking accounts over flowing overdraft fees.

The scheme behind using the prepaid cards is that the user puts their money in first, and then spends what they have. The primary concern that consumers have is making very small overdrafts and experiencing a major amount of fees. When the providers of the debt card add on the overdraft, the value is very undermined by the user, which is another one of the prepaid debit card pitfalls.

If you wish to avoid coming face to face with overdraft fees, it is important you run through the terms and conditions of the prepaid debit card and ensure it does not allow overdrafts. If you find that it does, then it is best that you save yourself from all the prepaid debit card pitfalls and move on.

Getting Married? Ways on How to Save Money on Weddings

Weddings can prove to be quite nerve wrecking when planning them and more so, when funding them! You of course, want a great wedding but nowadays, you have to devise a plan on how you can save money on weddings because if it is coming out of your pocket, it is more than likely that you will have to kiss your whole savings goodbye.

So how do you keep from spending more than you have to?

Well, let us discuss the ways.

Save Money on Weddings

1) Getting married outdoors

Look for a beautiful area in your community to hold your wedding. There are a lot of parks that are in abundance of nature’s beauty where you can have the ceremony, especially in the summer. You can have your neighborhood workshop build a nice, temporary gazebo that will not cost you much. Later on you can have it decorated with ribbons and anything that will give it the ‘wedding glow.’

A little creativity will go a long way. Create scenery that is breathtaking and magical. It is going to cost you nothing.

2) Get your buddies and family to help with the wedding

This is a great way to save money, for both you and your family. You can:-

  • Ask one of your relatives to plan the entire wedding for less than an actual wedding planner would charge you. A wedding planner is very expensive and this can help to save money on weddings.
  • Recruit your younger nephews or nieces, cousins to decorate, under your supervision.
  • Find out if one of your friends can sing or DJ in the wedding, instead of bringing in the professional costly ones. Of course, they have to be good.
  • Have friends drive you to and from the wedding, instead of hiring a chauffeur.

3) Hold the wedding in one place

For both the exchanging of vows and reception, have them all in one venue. This is cost effective. There are many places that offer that kind of arrangement with an attractive discount. It is an ideal way to save money on weddings.

If you by chance, do not like the one venue idea, then get a restaurant that will give you a great deal. Some restaurants even go to great lengths to decorate the place for you, at no extra cost.

4) Search for great hotel deals

To save money on weddings, you have to look for hotel deals that will accommodate the relatives that may be coming out of town.

i.            Also, you can save a bundle by doing makeup and dressing up at your own place or at a friend’s house.

ii.            Instead of hiring a hair and makeup artist, do your own hair and makeup.

5) Go for ‘second hand’ shopping

Not everything good is considered brand new. There are a lot of items for the wedding you would find in vintage shops or thrift shops and are lots cheaper.

Consider taking a stroll down a long line of shops that sell wedding items and you might find a decoration or table that might suit with your idea of the theme that has been selected for the wedding, by you and your significant other. It is another great way to save money on weddings.

6) Stay ‘well connected’

Prior to the wedding, make sure you have connections with various places so that when it comes to negotiating price, they already know who you are.

To save money on weddings, Refer people to catering services, card printing services, or you would cunningly work for a printing service that will give you the lowest discount rates when you print out your wedding invitations.

7) Invite minimal Guests

I know, you would want to invite each and everyone that knows you, but if you don’t want to see a dent in your pocket, then minimal guests will do. Invite those that are necessary to invite and don’t feel bad if you leave some out.

After all, not all 500 guests are close friends. Save money on Weddings by cutting the guest list in half. As a matter of fact, smaller crowds are easier to control.

Putting money in the bank all year round is the way to go.

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

All in all, the best way to save money on weddings is to SAVE. When you finally decide to say ‘I do’, from then henceforth, start saving your money in every way you can. Open up a savings account that will only fund your wedding, to make the challenge more interesting and motivating. It may prove to be hard at times, but hey, you got to try.

Always keep in mind that the main focus is the wedding. Even if you want to save, don’t jeopardize a good wedding just because of money.

 

The Four Most Common Ways Aggressive Debt Collectors Get You to Pay

Universally disliked, debt collection agencies may use harassing, criminal tactics do serve a legitimate economical purpose; this aggression has colored perception of the entire industry. But how debt collectors misbehave matters less than the successful routine, vetted tactics they use. Aggressive debt collectors have limited options in getting legitimate debts paid, especially given the financial straits of those in debt and most attempts are avoided by debtors.

Aggressive debt collectors

The Collection Confrontation

Every attempt to reach a debtor—phone or mail—is an unpleasant reminder of debt and everyone reacts differently. These “collection confrontations” cause stress, a tool used by aggressive debt collectors who are seeking at least commitment to pay with every attempt.

Even unanswered, the barrage of calls is a stressor; sometimes people answer and commit to pay just to stop them.

  • Generally, and certainly with multiple collection accounts, that’s not how to approach accounts in collection. However, aggressive debt collectors are mostly assigned a single account and disregard others. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is their mantra.

What’s said on either end of the line during a call often increases pressure; some aggressive debt collectors say the full balance must be paid that day.

  • Occasionally, how something is said, is another tactic and usually the greatest an aggressive debt collector’s disposal in a call center. The most successful collectors all know that.

Former collector Jared Strauss compared modern tactics with those he used: “Back when I was in the…industry we had a term called ‘burning’ accounts. What that means is the…collector would become overly aggressive and…alienate the consumer. It’s a foolish approach that generally didn’t benefit anyone.”

Debt Discounting & Reduced Payments

Agencies usually start calling after a few months’ delinquency and the process goes in stages. The common first is offering a discount on a debt due to budgetary constraints. Discounts will differ on person-specific circumstances but even aggressive debt collectors tend to be flexible nowadays once aware of these constraints.

  • Sometimes discounted debts are the best option to guarantee payment for the collectors, but any offer should only be accepted if it’s affordable. Also, aggressive debt collectors are not the only option; agencies usually understand and allow for you to negotiate with your debt collectors.
  • One discounted payment is the preferred way to satisfy any debt but monthly installment plans, sometimes the only affordable discounted option, are also available.
  • Obtain written copies of agreements and make certain that the agreed-upon payment is not too expensive; settlement discounts are almost always revoked if payments are missed.

Smart Debt Collectors

Tech-savvy aggressive debt collectors use technological developments to increase their business and target those who can afford it using access up-to-the-minute credit reports, which can predict the success of any attempt.

  • Those current with other bills—mortgage, car payments, etc.—are targeted over those with a single current but multiple delinquent accounts

Some of the most-used programs determine a “collection score” based on all available information, including the average income of a specific residential area.

  • High scores draw more attention than lower scores, but scores can change; once a short-term financial crisis is resolved, the score may go up and bring collectors.

Collecting in the Courts

When agencies reach the last resort, legal action, they are more direct and impactful. Court-issued papers are served by process servers or sheriffs, making some wistful for nonstop phone calls or even conversations with aggressive debt collectors. Most agencies shy away from courts, save those who are “buy to sue” and a few lawsuit-happy banks. Aggressive debt collectors in those agencies will use the courts if repeated other attempts fail.

Filing a lawsuit over a debt is the pinnacle of “collection confirmation,” beyond methods both illegal and abusive, and can elicit a poor response.

  • It’s estimated that 90+% of lawsuits result in default judgment, usually due to a lack of response to summons.
  • A state-licensed attorney sending a collection notice is a good indicator of pending legal action. At this point, a payment plan is still an option as is settling the debt at a slightly-less discounted rate than aggressive debt collectors might offer.
  • Bankruptcy is an option available to a debtor who may be sued but cannot afford any more bills. It can prevent garnished wages, levies, or liens, though that may be state-dependent.

All these tactics are used by true collection agents daily, some with more success than others. While these are most common, many go too far. Learning what tactics some collectors use, but shouldn’t, and discerning what kind of debt collector is on the line can only help.

Whatever the reason you found yourself unable to keep up on bills, you have options and tools to confront collection accounts, and on your own terms, at virtually every turn.

5 Debts You Must Dump Before You Retire

Don’t take your debts with you into retirement.  Your retirement lifestyle must fit the income that you will have once all of your debts are gone.

Debt to Dump Before You Retire

Many people are not hopeful when it comes to retirement and feel like they are sinking into quicksand with consumer debt.  Declaring bankruptcy looks like an option for some folks.  The prospect of retirement forces us to think about the debts that remain and how to get rid of them once and for all.

Debt stops a lot of people in their tracks when it comes to retirement planning. Many baby boomers face debt problems in addition to the standard mortgage that needs to get paid off.  Now there are other debts that have been acquired.  For generations to come, the signs of being able to manage debts are not looking better.

Five types of debt, in particular, must be carefully avoided.   But if you cannot avoid them, then your top priority must be dumping these debts before you retire.  Here are those five debts and what you can do to get rid of them:
Do not cosign a loan for your grown child

If at all possible, avoid doing this completely.
By cosigning on a loan for your child, you put your credit score at risk and you stand to lose any kind of emergency fund that you may need to draw upon later.

If you have already cosigned for the loan, you might want to consider helping to pay down the balance of the loan to a level where the loan can be refinanced and you will no longer be responsible for it.

Do not borrow from your 401(k) or any other retirement account

Borrowing from your own 401(k) can come back to bite you pretty severely and it is not worth the risk.  If you quit your job or lose it, you will have to pay back the full borrowed amount immediately. There is a steady increase in people who are borrowing from their retirement accounts and getting themselves into financial trouble as a result. They often end up drawing from their emergency funds or going into credit card debt, making their situation even worse.

Do not pay off the student loan debt of your child

Let your child take responsibility for their student loans by handling them on their own.  You can advise them as they consider how much they can manageably afford to take out, but do not make yourself responsible for their loans.  Your children should know what they are getting themselves into when they take out their student loans.  They are the ones obligated to pay them back.  Your money needs to be going into retirement savings.  Paying off other loans is something you cannot afford to do if remaining debts are standing in the way of retirement.

Get a handle on real estate debt

Do not assume that the mortgage on your home can be offset with tax deductions.  Factors affecting these deductions are likely to change and may rid you of expected tax breaks you used to rely upon.  If you have a house, your first goal should be to own your home completely.  Do not delay paying off your home by taking out home equity loans and making home improvements.  Get your home paid off as quickly as possible.

Deal with unsecured debts such as credit cards and car loans before it is too late

You should not retire while still owing money.  Your retirement lifestyle needs to be compatible with the amount of income you will actually have once all debts are gone.  Start to live frugally if you have to.  Try to see what it would be like to live on your retirement income for a month or two and get a feel for the adjustments you will have to make.  Get an idea of what you will have and what you will actually be able to do.  By adjusting your lifestyle and changing some of your habits, you can begin to make your retirement a reality.  With the money you save before retirement, you can get rid of those lingering unsecured debts as well.

Dump any loan that you are cosigning right now before you retire.  Dump your real estate debt before you retire.  Avoid going into more credit card debt.  Avoid paying off loans that are not yours.  Think about your retirement and give it the priority that it deserves.  Take your money and dump it into your retirement accounts and create a storehouse for the future.  By living within your means, dumping your debts before you retire, and scaling back to accomplish these things, you can retire with the security of knowing that everything is going to be just fine.  The path to retirement may require some hard decisions but the path is relatively simple and straightforward.