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

Six Steps To A Better Business Budget

Everyone wants a better business budget however, not everyone knows exactly how to do that. If you are one of many who are looking for some simple steps that make all the difference you have come to the right place. Here are some simple steps to a better business budget that anyone can apply.

Often the simplest advice goes a long way. To start use a sheet of paper and write down the exact money you have coming in versus the money you have going out. This will help you visualize what needs priority and what does not.


Step One: Adding Up Income

It’s very important to add up your after taxable income. For some of us this is no easy task because our income varies from month to month. In this case you can add up your income over a couple of months to give yourself a general idea of the money you have coming in. Do not however add any kind of bonuses you “may” receive. A better business budget starts with being very smart about your finances and adding bonuses that you may receive cannot be applied because you cannot be certain you will be getting them.

Step Two: How Much Are You Spending?

For this you will want to make a list of all your re-occurring monthly spending. Draw up a list that includes; rent, mortgage, childcare expenses, utilities, car note payment, gas, groceries, etc. You want to add everything that you pay out even entertainment costs. This can also include, credit card payments, past due medical bills, and vehicle upkeep. Remember, A better business budget starts with you being honest with yourself about your finances.

Step Three: Everything Adds Up

Remember that everything adds up and often it is hard to think of all the things you may be spending money on. These kinds of “smaller expenses” can include, money you withdraw from the ATM on a daily basis. Everyone has from time to time taken “a few bucks” from the ATM. These smaller expenses cost money. If you do not use a bank machine you are being charged a withdrawal fee. If you drive to work and are required to pay a toll this is an expense that needs to be calculated. Some of us opt to take public transit to work and though this is a small fee, it is still important to add this to your smaller expense list because everyday these fees add up. Include in your better business budget even parking, drink stops, basically everything you are spending. This will show you exactly where the money is going and let you know if you have more going out than is coming in.

Step Four: Unforeseen Expenses

Unforeseen expenses can be the downfall of a better business budget. Birthdays, Holidays, a new pet, pet expenses, even a death in the family can certainly cause a hardship when trying to boost your budget. These are things that often can not be avoided so, it is important to give yourself a little extra when creating your budget and your out of pocket year end expenses.

Step Five: What To Cut Back On

We all have extras in our budget that we could and can cut back on. This could include buying different cloths that cost less. Buying a different cut of meat that you can save a few bucks on. If you have high entertainment costs like, movies, golf, go carts, etc. You can cut these out or not go out for these types of entertainment as often. You would be amazed how these cuts can affect a better business budget and get you on track to making more money and spending less.

Step Six: Look For A Free Virtual Financial Assistant

Sometimes the mere thought of a better business budget can scare many of us into thinking we can not possibly do this ourselves however, that is not true. You can “hire” yourself a virtual assistant for FREE. There are many programs on the market that you can use to help keep track of your finances right down to the very cent. There are even apps for your smart phone that allow you to track your spending and even the money you have coming in. Apps such as My Money Tracker, Mint Finance, or even Webexpenses are all worth downloading to give you a one-up on your finances. You don’t have to hire out an accountant to keep your money in check.

In general, any expense you can live without is a good expense to cut completely or cut back on. Having a better business budget does not mean you have to live in an expense free bubble. What it means is you control your money and not the other way around. It means you have the freedom to make financial decisions for the better of your future and stop living from paycheck to paycheck. If you are smart about your finances and use these six steps to a better business budget in time you will find your business portfolio has a little more room for comfort.

Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card

When you have an American Express card, it doesn’t really matter what flavor it is. Whether it’s Gold or Platinum, there’s a sense of prestige and assurance instantly available to the card’s holder. The temptation of credit is evident with these cards, but not so much the debt, so what’s the big deal about AmEx cards, and when you measure the Gold vs. the Platinum AmEx card, how does each stack up? Most importantly, how do you tell which is the credit card for you?

Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card

Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card

Here are some things to consider when comparing Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Cards:

  • Yearly cards and fees
  • Point systems
  • Insurance options provided and types of protection available
  • Benefits

In the Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card decision, it has to be understood that both cards have fees. This includes an annual fee of over a hundred dollars, the Platinum card is actually just under $500. It can’t be ignored that those prices add up over time. When choosing one of these cards, the best one will ultimately end up being the one with the most attractive features attached, so that these fees are worth their price.

With the Gold AmEx, there is no fee the first year, but every year following, you’ll have to pay $125. Certain points are acquired for your commitment, however. Both cards earn you points depending on how much you spend and whenever you book through the AmEx website. So, the more you spend, the more you win.

It’s also important to delve into what kinds of insurance is available when considering Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Card. Each card covers a certain amount a damage or loss when concerning rental cars. They also insure hundreds of thousand dollars in accidents when you’re traveling, so that means more perks for you can receive, like baggage replacement as well as hotel room security. These features fall into place as extra coverage, so you can travel with no problems. This protection also extends to purchases made with the AmEx cards. It’s best to compare the extent of coverage and also, the length of time that certain coverage plans extend until when choosing which in Gold vs. Platinum AmEx Cards. If you’re willing to pay more, the benefits will greatly increase.

More Benefits with Platinum 

While the cards are fairly the same in terms of protection, only varying in the amount of coverage, there are some very prominent differences between the Gold vs. Platinum AmEx cards. Highlighting the Platinum card for a bit, it’s worth note that with this card, there’s traveling benefits that are exclusive to its members. For instance, the lack of any airline fee up to $200 as well as the the access to Delta’s private lounge within the airport. These cardholders also are allowed the option of Priority Pass to lounges in airports all over the world. To obtain these perks with a Gold AmEx card, it’d cost you a pretty penny, so it’s vital to really weigh your options to see if these benefits ends up paying for themselves with the cards’ fees or if you come out ahead in some way.

If you find yourself in another country, the Platinum AmEx card doesn’t charge you an additional foreign transaction interest fee. Also, depending on where you travel, there’s free wireless through Boingo with the Platinum card purchase and through a partnership with the government, Platinum cards offer something called Global Entry. This allows Platinum AmEx cardholders a speedy screening and even offer reimbursements for signing up for this feature. If you’re someone that travels internationally quite a bit, it seems like an even choice when stacking up Gold vs. Platinum AmEx cards.

Along with these amazing benefits, there’s also corresponding enrollment with the Starwood Hotel’s Preferred Guest- Gold status, so the Platinum cardholders get a 5-star treatment with little hassle involved. Like this elevated status in hotels, Platinum membership also gets you an elevated access to private events, like Super Bowl and California vacations. Cardholders get million dollar perks. They can live lavishly on vacation, even when they’re not on vacation, because Platinum AmEx offers a heightened lifestyle with discounts on private jets, limo rentals, and aid when placing reservations at the best restaurants around the globe.

The Negatives

The points don’t add up. If you’re the person that equates value to the point rewarding system, it really doesn’t matter which card you choose. Gold and Platinum cards offer points per dollar amount of purchase, however, they don’t offer many point, and it seems to take forever for them to accumulate to something of value.

The American Express Gold card with upgraded features is the one you might be looking for if you want to build on the points system. In fact, it’s designed to work for points and focuses on reward card management. It is more expensive than the standard Gold AmEx, but it gives you many more points and offers better  discounts when you make a lot of gas and grocery expenses.

When it comes down to it, you have to seriously evaluate your needs and what benefit works for your lifestyle. American Express cards could be worth their fees in their many benefits and the prestige of being one of their cardholders.

Three Keys to a Successful Budget

Most things that are considered worthwhile are anything but easy. Take making a budget, for example. Not only do you have to limit your spending but creating a budget that works for months or years is no easy task. That being said, discovering the keys to a successful budget is a venture that will benefit you enormously in today’s economy and save you from commonly encountered money problems out in the world for years to come.

Not sure where to start? These 3 time-proven elements are considered essential keys to a successful budget.

1. Choosing the Best Tool for the Job

It seems like every week a new program comes out that pledges to make it ridiculously easy to develop and maintain a budget. But how do you decide which one is right for you? Here are a few different options!

·         Cash-Only

Known as the ‘squirreling away’ method, a cash-only system leaves nothing to chance. People who employ this method want to be extra-sure that their money spent on their budget, rather than splurging on things unnecessarily. This method can be as simple as taking an envelope and depositing a set amount of money into it for bills and savings each paycheck or keeping a piggy bank. The downside? Your money won’t gain any interest and it’s easier to lose in the event of a burglary or home invasion.

·         Electronic

Many   people see using completely electronically automated services as the key to a successful budget. Debit cards specifically designated for using on your bills can be convenient, particularly if they’re set up to pay automatically each month. Several people also report that using spreadsheets and graphs is helpful for developing their budget, seeing which expenses they can cut down on, and is much more flexible and less hassle than using traditional record-keeping. The downside? Forgetting to back up your files safely can cause them to be lost. Also, depending on what financial information you have stored electronically, hackers and identity thieves have a chance of making off with your hard-earned dollars.

·         Traditional

All of us have probably seen our grandparents poring over old receipts and check stubs as they balanced their ledgers and got ready for a new year of financial planning. Although it takes considerably more effort than the previous ways mentioned, many people have found that the traditional way is still one of the best keys to a successful budget and your money maintenance. Ledgers and keeping constant records of your financial transactions can lead you to actively search for ways to save money, reveal your spending habits, and provide an accurate budget each and every month. The main downfall of using this tool for planning your budget is in the time spent having to double-check your figures and keeping an eye on unexpected or numerous expenses.

2. Realizing That Life Happens and Planning Ahead

Flexibility in your finances is one of the keys to a successful budget. Although you will always have fixed expenses, such as car payments, insurance, and rent, there are many variable expenses that can pop a hole in a budget very quickly. Put simply, life happens and so do problems. Whether you’re having unexpected car trouble, accidentally ruined your work clothes, or broke your leg and ended up in the emergency room, this is where expenses can really make or break budgets. Include a section into your budget each month as an emergency fund. Most experts agree that a minimum of $500 is a good cushion for emergencies although creating a financial nest egg equal to your expenses for six months is a smart and achievable goal. Even if nothing happens one month, resist the urge to ignore that part of your budget and add the money into your ‘rainy day’ fund. You’ll be glad you did.

3. Having Patience and Staying Motivated

Although this may seem odd to add as one of the keys to a successful budget, not having enough patience and getting discouraged with your finances is one of the main reasons that even carefully planned budgets can fail. Remember that a budget is a way to build wealth and ease your financial burdens over time, not overnight. If you owe money, this waiting game can be especially frustrating but the important thing to remember is that even if it’s just a little, you are slowly pulling yourself out of debt whereas by doing nothing you would only be sinking further into it.

So, if patience is the key to a successful budget, where does motivation come in? By keeping you excited about your budget! Track your project and celebrate with rewards for each milestone. Set short and long-term goals so that you have something to work towards or make your budget into a game where you can see how much you save each week.

How To Quickly Boost Your Credit Score

Business person climb better credit scoreThe Debt Advisor on Bankrate.com had a question about boosting a low credit score. I thought he had some really good suggestions. He pointed out that if you have a low credit score of 500 or less, you’ll find it difficult to get new credit. And if you are able to get new credit it will likely come with a very high interest rate. For that matter, a low credit score can even mean you’ll pay more for your auto insurance.

Stay away from those credit repair services

The article went on to point out that the Internet is full of companies that promise to boost your credit score. He said don’t fall for their blandishments. There is really nothing they can do to help with your credit that you can’t do yourself. The difference is that they’ll charge you to do something you can do free. In fact, here are five things you could do yourself to improve your credit score.

First, get your credit reports

Of course, the first thing he suggested you do is get your credit reports from the three credit reporting bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can get all three simultaneously at the website www.annualcreditreport.com. Or you can contact each of the three credit bureaus and get your reports from them.

Dispute incorrect items

When you get your credit report and find you have debts that have been charged off, unpaid or delinquent accounts, there is nothing you can do about this. As he put it, the damage has already been done. However, the credit bureaus process literally thousands of items a day. This leaves room for error. If you find that some of the negative items are erroneous, you can dispute them. You will need to write a letter to the appropriate credit bureau disputing the item. The credit bureau will then contact the company that reported the item and ask that it be verified. If the company cannot verify it or fails to respond to the credit bureau in 30 days, the item will be removed from your credit report, which could help somewhat.

Pay off past due accounts that haven’t been charged off

He advised you to pay off any accounts that are past due but that haven’t been charged off yet. This will make the accounts up-to-date and will start to generate some positive information on your credit report. While the negative information will still be there, it should soon be overshadowed by positive information.

Pay balances dues

If you have balances due on any charged-off or collection accounts, he advised you to be sure to pay them. This won’t make an immediate difference but will show potential lenders that you at least paid what you owed – even if you were late.

Pay down your credit card account balances

Another good idea is to pay down the balances on your credit card accounts. If possible you should get those balances down to 30% of your credit limits. If you can’t pay them down that much, you should at least try to pay them down to 50% of your total credit limits. This will give you a better debt-to-credit ratio, which will help improve your credit score. Once you do this, you should pay off all your balances each month thereafter.

Open some new accounts

There is another factor or component in your credit score called Types of Credit used. He pointed out that you can improve this by opening credit accounts in different categories. This will show that you can manage both credit card payments and fixed payment loans. For example, you might take out a small personal loan or an installment loan to buy furniture as this will help add to your credit profile.

The bottom line

The bottom line, according to the Debt Advisor, is don’t fall for those credit repair ads. Credit repair can be both risky and expensive. Plus, these services can’t really do anything that you couldn’t do yourself – and when you do it, it’s free.

You can read the complete Bankrate.com article by clicking here.