Is it possible to settle debt without hurting your credit score?

Is it possible to settle debt without hurting your credit score?

The simple answer would be a big “NO”

But there are certain aspects you may need to know first.

Most of your credit card debts and loans are directly reported to the 3 major credit bureaus every month. Each of your credit account statuses are regularly added on to your credit report showing whether you are late with your payments or whether the account is paid or closed.

When you settle your debts, the creditor would update your credit report with the status of “Settled” or “Paid as Settled.” The former status is naturally better than the later one, but any other payment status on the accounts except “Paid as agreed” or “Paid in full” may harm your credit score.

In debt settlement, you aren’t paying your dues full as you have agreed to the creditor. So, debt settlement will definitely have a negative impact on your credit score. Your credit score is dependent on a few factors, so the exact impact on your score may vary considering the other information on your credit report. However, it’s quite sure that debt settlement may have a significant effect on your credit score.

But is there any way you may settle your debts without hurting your credit score? Of Course… there are some options which may indirectly help you to settle your debts and get out of the situation. Let’s have a look at them closely.

How to settle the debt without damaging credit

One thing is sure, you need to create a fund or a reserve to pay off your debt. When you have saved enough money to pay off your debts, you may try to negotiate with the creditor for lowering the debt amount.

1. Choose which debt to handle first

If you have multiple credit cards, payday loans, medical bills, and other unsecured debts, then you should focus on settling one debt at a time. Use one of the following methods:

  • Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. This debt may cost you the most in interest, so settling it off first may save you money. You should make the minimum payments on all other credit cards and regular installments on loans. Once you pay that debt off, you may target the next account with the highest interest rate.
  • Pay off the account with the smallest debt balance. This may cost you more as you are ignoring the higher interest debts. However, this strategy might give you a positive momentum as you’ll be paying off an account sooner than you think. As you pay off one account, your confidence may get a boost.

If you want, you may negotiate with the creditor at any point in time.

2. Creating a budget

To settle your debts, you may need to live within your means. Basically, you must free up as much money as you could for contributing toward your debts. Take a deep breath and create a budget:

  • Make a list of fixed expenses. Normally these things may cost the same every month: rent/monthly mortgage payments, the premium for health insurance, car payment, food expenses, etc.
  • Add new variable expenses. They may change each month. Variable expenses are basically luxuries like dining out expenses, gym memberships, Netflix charges, etc.
  • Take measures to reduce your variable expenses as soon as possible and contribute the money saved towards debt payments.

3. Find a part-time job

Apart from lowering your expenses, you should also increase your income. Find a part-time job or try freelance work online. Don’t miss out any opportunity to explore new side hustles that may increase your income and help you to settle your debt on your own.

The money from side hustle may add up funds quickly. For example, you might get a job for $30 an hour. If you work 30 hours a week, you can earn an extra $900 before taxes. Over a period of 1 year, you will have gathered about $43,200.

4. Sell your unused goods

You can earn money by selling unused things that you own. In fact, you might be able to sell things that got you into debt. Search your home for such things and locate anything that you can find useless. Sell it on eBay or in a yard sale. Engage all the money to pay off your unsecured debts.

5. Ask for a lower interest rate

Once you have gathered enough money to pay off your debts, you might want to negotiate your interest rate with your creditor. You can’t reduce the principal amount at all, it’s the interest which can be settled. Although you aren’t entitled to a lower rate, there’s no harm to ask.

Call your creditor, introduce yourself, and tell them how long you have been a customer. Ask the creditor if he can offer you a lower interest rate, so that you can repay your debts asap. You can also negotiate to settle the debts by paying less than what you owe. But you need to convince them to report your account as “Paid as agreed”.

6. Don’t close your credit cards after paying off

As you pay off your credit cards, you might think of closing them so that you will never be tempted to incur huge balances on them again.
However, closing too many credit cards within a little time gap can create a red flag on your credit card report.
A better option would be waiting for a few months before closing each card. For example,6 months or so. Closing several credit cards, especially the older cards, in a short period of time, can give creditors the indication that you are having a financial hardship and can’t afford to maintain multiple credit cards. Apart from that, closing old cards also remove a good credit history from your credit report.
Closing one card and waiting a few months before you close another is usually a better strategy to protect your credit score.

Conclusion

You must remember that the prime target of debt settlement is to wipe out some of your debts which you can’t afford to pay in full. That means you need to sacrifice your credit score for the time being, especially if you’re not going to apply for a big loan right now.
Once you’ve settled the balances, you must focus on rebuilding your credit score again. Since credit is depending on your borrowing, you’ll have to use credit cards responsibly for incurring more credit balances and take out loans to rebuild your credit. Paying your monthly payments is another important thing to remember. You’ll should become an ideal borrower by making on-time payments for loans and pay your credit card bills within every billing cycle. This way you may achieve a good credit score, and can avoid incurring more debts.

Living paycheck to paycheck - 8 Sure shot ways to break the cycle

Living paycheck to paycheck – 8 Sure shot ways to break the cycle

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? If yes, then you are already in a financial crisis. Living paycheck to paycheck reflects that you are not able to manage your monthly financial obligations.
However, don’t be scared. You just need to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
There are more than one ways to get rid of the distressed finances every month.

The person who is living paycheck to paycheck is either spendthrift or a low earner.
So, to break the cycle, you have to learn to live on less and increase your income simultaneously.
Here’s how you can do it

1. Start following a budget right now

To stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to start following a budget as soon as possible. It will help you to keep a close watch on your monthly income and your expenses. Most people in the US hate to follow a budget as this puts a restraint on their spending ability. But most of them are not aware of the fact that budgeting is the secret to financial freedom.

2. Keep household budget in order

Once you create a budget system according to your financial ability, you can manage emergencies, save money for the future, and make some additional expenses. A budget also teaches how to overcome the bad financial phase as well. Once you start following a suitable budget, you’ll be able to know the amount you spend and the amount you save. Thus, you can save more after meeting your daily necessities.

3. Take advantage of free budgeting tools and apps to form a budget

Budgeting is not so scary as many people think. Many budgeting tools and apps are available online. If budgeting sounds dull, then install the free app on your smartphone and start using it. Soon you can see the positive result in your personal financial health.

4. Restrict the usage of credit cards

By restricting the usage of your multiple credit cards, you can easily restrict yourself from incurring further debt. The more you buy things with credit, the more you’ll dig yourself deeper into the credit card bill. Keep your card at home so that you don’t get the temptation of using it. Instead of credit, use cash so that you can stop shopping as soon as your cash is exhausted.
Also, pay the credit card bills in full and within time. Try not to incur credit card debt. Otherwise, you will not be able to save money on your paycheck.

5. Cut down extra costs

To save money, you need to cut down unnecessary expenses. To stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to save at least 10% of what you make each month. To do so, you have to cut down unnecessary expenses.
For example:

Avoid spending money on fast fashion

Go to a small store rather than a large one to buy your clothes. Instead of following the latest trend, make your own fashion statement. Buy jeans and T-shirts of bold color and use them for casual wear. You can also buy a black evening gown as this color never goes out of fashion. Keep a close look at the offers and discounts at your nearest stores and grab the opportunity of buying clothes at a cheaper cost.

Cut down on entertainment expenses

Curtail your entertainment expenses like the cable bill, movies, and expensive magazines, and save a royal share of your hard earned money. Try to be a little creative and find entertainment in flying kites, playing soccer, and going for an evening walk. You can also spend time with your friends and family at home along with some delicious snacks.

Cut down extra food cost

Try to change your food habits and save some amount of food. It is advisable to carry lunch at work instead of having food from outside. A sandwich can cost you around $20. So, if you carry lunch from your house, you can save $20 a day, which means $600 a month. Shop your groceries from small stores rather than large ones and keep an eye on offers and discounts. Also, gather discounts coupons and carry them along while going for shopping.

Avoid going to expensive restaurants

Most of the people love to eat out in fancy restaurants. But, too much eating out can be unhealthy for your wallet. A lavish dinner/lunch at an expensive restaurant can cost you nearly $2,000 a year. Instead, you can enjoy the homemade meal to save money. If you can restrain yourself from eating out at an expensive restaurant, you can save thousands of dollars a year.

6. Ask for a raise or do a part-time job

If you’re working hard and performing well in your workplace, then this is the right time to ask for a raise. Approach your employer in a right way to get paid according to your capability. You can also consider a side hustle to boost your income. Go online to get ample of ideas.
You can also boost your income by doing a side hustle. It will help you to earn more.

7. “Saving money” should be the only goal

Save, save, and save. No matter what amount, but consistency is required. Try to start small. It will help you to balance other mandatory expenses. With time you will be able to save enough money.

8. Be positive

Following a budget and saving money require some lifestyle changes. So, you need to keep patience and stay motivated while making changes in life. It is better for you to set a goal and try to achieve that. If you set a goal, you will always have that working in your mind, and you will constantly strive to achieve that. Once you are able to achieve the goal, you can reward yourself.

Lastly, there is no such rule or “Mantra” for breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Living on less, changing lifestyle, and following a budget makes a difference over time. If you lose your patience while breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle, talk to a financial advisor for support and motivation. Remember, with determination, you can start saving and the financial difficulties that you always had at the end of the month will go away.

How can you make a perfect budget when you are jobless

How can you make a perfect budget when you are jobless?

In case you are laid off from a job and have to make ends meet, every financial decision that you make would be extremely crucial and important. This is not the time to make a decision in haste. You need to maintain a particularly positive outlook until you get your next job. Proper management of finances become tough when you don’t have a job. This is indeed a very tough situation when you might find yourself in a very helpless position. However, don’t worry, money management is tricky when you are jobless but not impossible.
Remember, budgeting after job loss can help you to manage your daily expenses. However, you should know the proper ways to formulate a budget to manage your finances in this hard time.
Here you go:

Tips to formulate a budget when you are jobless

Budgeting after job loss is difficult but important. If designed correctly, budgeting can help you get rid of the stress of your financial life. If you have adequate funds in your pocket, you would not have to be concerned about how to pay off your bills. With a proper budget in place, you have answers to these questions. Even when you don’t have a steady income, a budget can help you to manage living costs properly. A budget can help you pinpoint where to cut back your expenses. And, it also helps to manage your monthly bills.
Here’s how you can consider budgeting after job loss to manage your money.

At first, download the budget worksheet. You can also take a print out of the spreadsheet.
List down all your income. When you are jobless, your income is your existing savings. In this step, you need to list down all your expenses including your monthly bills like rent, mortgage payment, property taxes, electricity bills, medical costs and all other expenses that you incur on a regular basis. If the allocated amount for your monthly budget is negative, you need to think of ways to reduce your expenses.
In this way, by keeping a proper and realistic budget in place, you can manage your finances being a jobless person.

Below are some tips you should follow when you are laid off and have to create a budget:

Make a plan

Job loss is overwhelming, but you should stay calm so that you can make a solid plan for the crisis period. Talk to your family members regarding this crisis and seek their help. Request them to support you during this period.

Cut down unnecessary expenses

Before formulating a budget, you have to eradicate all the unnecessary expenses so that you can manage basic expenses within your small budget. You should budget your funds to buy daily necessities like groceries, food items, and necessary medicine. You need to stick to the budget strictly so that you can sustain your family as well as manage your debts (If any).

Prioritize your bills

When you don’t have a job, you need to prioritize your bills and decide which one to pay first. This is something that would always help you manage your finances. Start paying off with the most important bill. It is suggested that you pay for food and medical expenses first followed by the mortgage bills and then the car/gas bills.

Avoid expensive buys

When you do not have a job, it would be completely unwise to go for impulsive buys. You need to understand that your financial situation would not allow you to go for exorbitant buys. You should also request your family members to not buy expensive thing during this crisis period.

Ask for a severance package

In case you have been laid off, you need to make a sincere effort to negotiate a particular severance package with your employer before you officially leave your workplace. No matter how small the severance package is, it would be beneficial for your financial needs.

Finally, try to get a job. You can even do a part-time job when you have been laid off. The job might not be as good as the one that you had but at least some money inflow would always help you manage your finances. It’s better to have a little amount than not having anything at all. Remember, a budget would be your best friend when you have no job. To manage all the mandatory costs, you have to create a shoestring budget. If you feel difficulties in creating a budget after job loss, seek help from a financial advisor. Professional advice can help you to manage finances in a better way. In this way, you can also get back an optimistic attitude to life.

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How seniors can easily pay off credit card debt?

How seniors can easily pay off credit card debt?

Debt among seniors has increased significantly in the last decade (83%), as per the data given by the Federal Reserve. Due to this debt burden seniors may feel a huge financial pressure upon them. That pressure may force them to do more work even after retirement.
Despite having a decent income and social security, many senior citizens have to use credit cards to pay their basic daily expenses. The situation is getting worse day by day, as the cost of living is getting high whereas the income is static. As a result, seniors are getting more inclined to credit card usage. But the harsh truth is, paying off high-interest credit card debts will likely be impossible for them.

What options do seniors have for managing their debt?

When seniors come face-to-face with a huge pile of credit card debt, they may experience severe stress and anxiety. This situation may summon serious medical conditions and their life may be at stake.
There is one more small issue. Seniors might also feel embarrassed to talk about their debt problems with their family members and friends. They also hesitate to take help from professionals.
So, their problem remains unattended. They start to lose hope in this case and do nothing about it. Finally, they face abusive collection calls or file for bankruptcy.
But practically, if they look closely, few solutions are there to help. Let’s look at them closely.

a. Getting help from your close ones

While some seniors may feel embarrassed about discussing their credit card debt problems, many of them may try to share the issue with their family and friends. Often, just talking about the problem may open new ways to solve it, and alleviate stress and anxiety. If you are having a similar situation being a senior citizen, one of your family members, a friend, or any other special person, having good financial knowledge, may guide you to solve your credit card debt problems.
Sometimes, just a little help with budgeting and money management can be a big considerable help. Some family members may help you to pay off your debts by providing monetary help or extend loans with 0% interest. Alternatively, they might also negotiate with your creditors or collection agents if accounts have gone into collection.

b. Apply for a reverse mortgage

A reverse mortgage allows seniors (62 and older) to borrow money against the equity in their home. Seniors can opt for monthly installments instead of having a lump sum amount from the bank. The lender receives the money after the borrower sells off the home and pays back the loan. The same thing happens when the borrower moves out to another home or dies.
Seniors should own the home entirely, or have significant part of home equity before opting for a reverse mortgage. The home should be their primary residence. Reverse mortgages can be written on owner-occupied single family homes, multi-family homes and condos, and manufactured homes that are HUD approved and meet the requirements of the FHA. The money taken out from a reverse mortgage can be used for paying off debts, especially credit card debts.
There are certain criteria to get the loan. The title should be in the name of the borrower. Real estate taxes should be paid timely and at the time of taking out the loan, it should be updated. The house should be in good condition, else the lender or bank may call off the loan.
There are several types of reverse mortgages available to seniors, so they should find the right reverse mortgage that fits with the financial requirement of them.

c. Refinance your existing mortgage

Seniors may also refinance their current mortgage with a low-interest loan if they have a good amount of equity and a steady source of income. This way they can encash their ownership a.k.a the home equity when they need urgent money.
However, if they have owned the home for a long time and the mortgage is about to be paid off, then refinancing the entire home again with a new loan will be unwise. Considering their current age and the life span, logically seniors may not carry a 30-year mortgage for another 30 years.
It means they can never become free from the mortgage burden. It may sound harsh but it is true. Apart from that, they may have to pay much more interest over the life of their mortgage.
Refinancing your current mortgage and using the money to pay off credit cards may give you a temporary solution. But remember, being a senior it doesn’t give you total relief from debts. Converting your unsecured debt (credit card debt) into a secured debt (home mortgage) probably isn’t the best idea to become debt free.
But still, if you are in need of urgent big amount of money, you may try this option.

d. Take out a home equity line of credit

If being a senior you have owned the home for a long time, or owe much less than the house is worth of, you may take out a loan against the home’s equity. It is called a home equity line of credit (HELOC). By using this option, a homeowner may use his/her home equity and take out a line of credit when needed. Generally, HELOC comes with a low-interest rate, which is much lesser than a credit card. So, paying off credit card debt with the help of HELOC sounds like a good plan.
There’s a catch. Like refinancing mortgage, you are also putting your home equity in danger. Turning unsecured debt into a secured one is not good. This could affect the total liquid assets of the estate in a negative way. If things go wrong, your house may fall into the depths of foreclosure. Losing a home being a senior and due to foreclosure is a devastating situation.

e. Selling your assets

Sometimes, selling off their valuable possessions or assets can help senior citizens to pay off debt. But it should be a last resort to manage their financial problems. Imagine you are selling your house, car, boat, or any other valuable possessions just for making debt payments, how would you feel? Being a senior citizen you might have an emotional bonding with your assets. So, when you need to sell them off, the impact on you can be traumatic.
So, carefully consider all the probable situations before making any decision. Paying off unsecured debts such as credit cards isn’t always the best choice if it pushes you into a financial black hole. It is always better to consult your situation with a professional financial planner.

f. Taking help from a debt relief company

Seniors can take the help of a debt relief company to tackle credit card debts. Debt relief companies can negotiate with credit card companies and lower the total balance owed. Generally, the debt relief companies handle all the communications with the credit card companies, which can remove a lot of the stress and anxiety involved.

So, there are many options available for seniors to handle the burden of credit card debt. Getting out of debt is not easy. But it is possible even for seniors who live on a fixed income. Seniors, sometimes with help from family, should consider all possibilities and do their due diligence to find the right solution.

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Credit card debt is a way of life for Americans: Why so?

Credit card debt is a way of life for Americans: Why so?

“Credit card debt is a way of life for people in America” This statement is true.
According to the survey conducted by the CreditCards.com, 39 million credit card holders are carrying a balance from the year 2017. Well, this is the cruel gift of having credit cards. Because most of the people don’t manage their credit cards properly.

It is true that credit cards are the most convenient tools for purchasing items. People are using their credit cards to buy daily necessities. They also use credit cards to purchase things that they can’t afford in cash. Whereas, the credit cards should be used for emergency purposes or for buying an expensive item.
Though this statement is not fully justified. Because, if a person manages the credit card properly, then the card can be used for buying necessities and expensive items too.
Credit cards are convenient for buying daily goods as carrying cash can be dangerous and using a debit card is not secured.
But more important is repaying the credit card bill in full and on time, which most people don’t do and fall into credit card debt easily.

According to the survey of wallethub, the average credit card debt in America is $1.03 trillion. 6 in 10 young people in America have admitted that they make frivolous purchases with their credit cards and this would be the reason for their debt.
On the other hand, nearly 2/3 of Americans who are in debt, have said that they racked up debts to manage emergency expenses like car repairs or medical bills.

The survey also showed us some facts: “People are now more easy with their debt.”
As per the survey, 43% of people have said that credit card debt feels normal. Though, 46% of people have agreed that their credit card debt makes them feel stressed.

So, now, this is also true that for most of the people in America, credit card debt is a way of life.

Why are people getting trapped into the credit card debt?

Surprisingly, some people said that they never missed any payment, but still they are in credit card debt. They said that they know it will take years to finish paying down the debt. Why so?

Making only the minimum payments

Most of the people are making the minimum payments on their credit cards. But making only the minimum payments on your card is not enough. Because minimum payments make just a dent in the principal of the debt. You must repay the total balance with interest to the company. Carrying a balance means you will be in debt for a long time while racking up huge amount of interest.

Getting attracted to the credit card rewards

Remember, credit card rewards are marketing gimmicks. The credit card companies are trying to entice people by offering reward points or miles. But, these marketing tactics are actually forcing you to spend more (Paying 18% more to get 25% back in reward). Instead of spending more credit to get the rewards, you should concentrate on getting the reward for paying the bill in full.

How to avoid credit card debt

Here are some ways to avoid credit card debt to live a peaceful financial life.

Get a credit card with a lower interest rate

Don’t sign up for a credit card with a higher interest rate for some mere privileges like discounts, rewards, and mile. Also, some people signup for a balance transfer card. Make sure you get the card that doesn’t charge a transfer fee.
Usually, the balance transfer card offers 0% APR for the first 15-21 months (Introductory offer) with no annual fee and a low or zero balance transfer fee. Here you need to move the balance to this card to repay the debts easily. However, you should try to repay the balance within the offer period. Otherwise, the interest rate will be added up and you may end up paying even more.

Avoid using credit cards randomly

It is true that credit cards are safe as you can move cashless. But it is also true that it doesn’t let you feel that you are running out of affordability. Remember, you shouldn’t use a credit card to buy whatever you want. Because credit cards are not free money. Use a credit card to buy things when you are sure about your affordability. In short, don’t buy things with a card that you can’t afford with cash.

Build an emergency fund

Some emergencies can force you to use credit cards. In most cases, people don’t repay the bill in full and fall into the debt cycle. Thus, you have to build an emergency fund to avoid using credit cards all of a sudden. Try to build 3-9 months worth of savings in an emergency fund to manage emergencies like sudden illness, accident, job loss, and natural calamity.

Lastly, though it is true that accumulating credit card debt is becoming our habit. But you can still stay away from this debt by living life with less. If you practice frugal living, you can easily avoid the enticing living style that most of the people are living now.

How to become a smart shopper and avoid online shopping risks

It is easy to compare prices, save enough time, and also avoid the rush while shopping, as we have the internet at our fingertips. But online shopping is also a prime risk zone where people might become a victim of identity theft.

Recent studies show that nearly 51% of purchases are made online, and the number is still growing. This increase in online shopping has also made it easy for cybercriminals to harm common shoppers. Consumers are becoming victims just because more people are using the internet without knowing the potential risk and how to avoid such a threat.

So, before plunging into the internet, you must be aware of the do’s and don’ts of online shopping. This way you may protect your personal information and reduce the risk of an online scam or identity theft.

Dos:

Compare prices and discounts –

Most of the online shopping sites offer great discounts throughout the year, but you must make sure you are getting the best discount available for your product. You must compare similar products with the value of their offered discounts, prices, and delivery charges. Choose the best item with the maximum discount available, and make sure you apply the right coupon code for the product.

Check out reviews –

No matter what happens on the internet, no matter how much discount you are getting, always shop after checking out the reviews given by previous shoppers. You can use your PC or smartphone to check reviews at any point in time. It’s better to buy products that have mostly positive reviews.

Prepare a list –

Make a quick list of the products you need primarily. Make sure you prepare the list considering the best brands, best prices, maximum discounts, and quality of the products. Now you can arrange the order of buying based on requirement or price. If you find out some items in your list are on sale, you may buy them first.

Create a budget –

Buying items on discount through online shopping can’t help you save money. You should set a budget for every item you want to buy. Set up the budget based on what you can afford and for how long you’ll be using the item.

Read the fine print on every item –

Most online shopping sites monitor their visitors and offer discounts on the basis of their age, spending pattern, choice of products, selected brands, and other important factors. While buying some item, make sure to go through the terms and conditions a.k.a fine prints associated with the product. It is possible that a certain big discount is applicable to you only if you purchase worth a certain amount, or buy 1 get 1, or on certain brands only. You might also need to check the guarantee and return policy of that product.

Use cash while making payments –

You’ll spend less when you purchase items with cash. Use cash while buying products from the store; you might get a good cash discount. Of course, it is easier to pay using a credit or debit card when you shop online. It that case, make sure you are paying back the card within 3 to 4 days after buying such products.

Verify the website’s security –

You must keep yourself away from the online shopping risks as much as possible. For that reason always shop from the website that is secured. How do you locate a secure website? Find websites with “https” in the URL, or look for a tiny padlock icon in your browser before you confirm the site as an authentic, secured website.

Keep tracking your statements –

Track your bank statements every month. If you ever notice a discrepancy, you may demand an explanation from the retailer. For example, if your credit card company overcharged you the interest on your credit card, you call the retailer and ask them to correct the error.

Don’ts:

Avoid impulse buying –

It’s wise to avoid impulse buying as much as possible. If it’s not on your list, make sure you don’t add it for the time being. Online shops may give you lucrative discounts on items you don’t need right now. But, you should avoid buying those stuff you didn’t plan to purchase. This way, you can tame your overspending habit and save a decent amount from your monthly budget.

Stop using cards –

Using a credit or debit card for online shopping can trigger the chances of online fraud and identity theft. Once you provide your card details into the online shopping site money transfer portal, there’s a chance that hackers may hack your login and fetch your personal data from there. So, to increase your online shopping security, make sure you do not save your card details on that website just to make “one-click easy” payments.

Do not purchase food items online –

It is quite difficult to visit the grocery store, again and again, only to buy fruits and veggies. But presently, many websites deliver the purest form of food products, especially organic food or health products at cheap rates.

But do not buy food or health products online. Fresh food items and health products should be purchased directly from stores to ensure authenticity. Moreover, health products should be bought from popular stores since there are many websites online where fake products are being sold.

Avoid social networking sites deals –

Do not trust such deals. Most of the URLs appearing in social ads are customized and will redirect you to social media sites. It means you might get redirected to a fraudulent website. You can view those deals as the reference but go directly to the retailer’s website for more details.

Avoid taking your friends with you –

It’s quite amazing to go shopping as a group, or with friends. But trust me…it’s also dangerous.
If you need to shop smartly, it is wise to go alone. This way you’ll get most of the good deals left only for you; with friends you might not get all the offers and discounts alone.
Also, people spend more than usual when they are accompanied by friends. They may engage in impulse buying most of the time when they are with friends. As a result, they fall into debt trap.

Don’t use wire money to pay for any product –

After buying a product from an online auction site, such as eBay, the seller might ask you to wire your payment. That is a mistake, don’t do it. Wiring money may push you into a fraud situation. You can’t get your money back if the item you ordered never arrives. Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you don’t receive your item.

Don’t forget to inspect your new product –

Notify your seller as soon as you get your package delivered. Check your product properly and call the seller if you have any issues. The seller may pick up your package and if the issue is genuine, you’ll get the replacement or the money will be refunded.

Don’t shop using public computers –

Online shopping will require your personal financial data, like credit card number, name, address, pin code, etc. So, if you are using a public network computer, like the one at a coffee shop or bookstore, stop it right now to avoid online shopping risk.

Hackers may access your private data by accessing your account through the public network. Those networks are pretty vulnerable to hackers and they can easily sneak in. Shared computer networks can be bugged with spyware or other malicious viruses. These viruses can harm your computer and report your credit card information to hackers. If you really need to use a public computer or network, try scanning it first with an antivirus, internet security software like Kaspersky, Bitdefender, Norton, Mcafee, or any other software. These softwares can even increase your online shopping security to the next level if you use them at home, in your personal PC, laptop, or phone.

Do’s and don’ts of online shopping can be controversial. So, without thinking much, just follow your instincts. When you create your list, try to follow the order and don’t buy anything that’s not there. If you are getting a better offer for your product, check them out. But whatever you do, keep patience.

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