How You Can Get Rid Of Debt Before Christmas - 4 Tips

How You Can Get Rid Of Debt Before Christmas – 4 Tips

Although it may look like an impossible task to get out of debt before Christmas, but it isn’t so actually especially when you owe less than $10,000 to creditors. If you read this post and follow the tips mentioned here, then I’m sure you’ll be able to enjoy delicious foods and friendly banters with family without any debt problems or stress. So without wasting any time or words, here’s how to have a debt-free Christmas.

1. Take up a second job:

The thought of doing a second job after a tiring day might not be appealing to you but it can fetch you a good amount of money. Instead of watching Netflix in the evening, you can use that time to make money. Simple jobs like pizza delivery and writing articles can help you to get extra cash. Use it to pay off your debts. Focus on those jobs that give you a minimum of $200 – $400 per week.

2. Give a garage sale:

Take an inventory of what you have and throw a garage sale. I’m not saying that you should sell everything. What I’m suggesting is, sell the items that you don’t need. Try to pick up those items that have decent value in the market. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make a big amount of money. You can also choose items that you can’t sell on eBay due to shipping problems.

3. Settle your credit cards:

One of the fastest ways to get out of debt before Christmas is to settle credit cards since that allows you to pay less than what you owe. But for that, you need to save money first.

Create a budget to see how much you earn and how much you keep in your bank account. Thereafter, think about the ways to reduce your expenses so that you can keep more money in your bank account. You can use this money to settle your credit cards since creditors would expect a lump sum payment. See also: Is it possible to settle debt without hurting your credit score?

4. Opt for a balance transfer card:

A balance transfer card can help to reduce your debt load instantly. You can take out a 0% interest balance transfer card and pay off your outstanding balance on other cards instantly. Thereafter, pay off the new debt at a low-interest rate in the next 12 months. Check out – How to do the best credit card balance transfer to avoid mistakes!

What else you can do

Thousands of people are getting into debt at Christmas. Last night, when I was writing this article, I decided to check how many people go in debt for Christmas on Google. The results startled me. Nearly, 74% of Americans couldn’t budget properly for the festive season and incurred an average of $1054 of debt in 2017. As per the financial experts, if consumers make only the minimum monthly payment, then they won’t be debt-free before 2023. Adding fuel to the fire, consumers would end up paying $500 interest during the tenure.

It’s high time to stop going into debt for Christmas because that affects the overall financial planning in the next year. Remember, recession can hit the country at any time. So you should start taking steps to build a recession-proof financial life now on. And, the first step is to get out of debt before Xmas.

Do you feel that what I said is wrong from any angle? If so, then feel free to post your feedback in the comment section.

Have any ideas on how to pay off debt before Christmas? Share them with us too.

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10 Financial milestones you should hit by the age of 30

10 Financial milestones you should hit by the age of 30

“Life begins at 30” – This statement does not apply when it comes to financial planning. If you are at the age of 30, you should have achieved some financial milestones by now. Otherwise, you may not be able to live a good financial life.
If you have not yet started to plan your personal finances, you should better start over now.
You may regret at the older age about not saving enough money earlier.

So, you are now charged enough after reading the introduction of this article and want to know which financial milestones to aim at the age of 30.

Here you go:

1. A proper financial goal

Well, to achieve something, you should make the plan mindfully. If you work hard without knowing what to achieve, then your effort can go into the vain. Thus, while managing money, it is important to set goals. This helps in achieving a financial milestone easily.

2. A well-planned frugal budget

One of the most important things which are to be included in your financial planning is frugal budgeting. This helps you to save more than what you usually do and it helps you to stay within your limits. Setting a personal budget is the first step to achieve important financial milestones. So, you should formulate a budget. If you don’t have time to formulate budget on your own, you can use any of the online budgeting tools.

3. Done with unnecessary expenditures

As you budget, you are required to list all of your expenditures – fixed and variable. So, you may be able to find out if there are any unnecessary expenditures. If there is any such expenditure or any other ones that you think you can do without, better cut down on those. In addition, try to lower the usage of credit cards as this helps a lot in lowering your expenditures. Remember, to achieve something, you need to sacrifice something. Hitting financial milestones is not easy. You have to practice to save money so that you can achieve financial milestones easily.

4. Have savings in a high yield savings account

It is important to start a savings account where you can put money. Try to put money into the account each month and avoid drawing the saved money. You should follow a formula of 30:50:20 (30% of income for saving, 50% of income for necessary expenses, and 20% of income for entertainment) while saving money in a savings account.

5. Established a loaded emergency fund

Only saving money into a savings account is not enough. By the age of 30, you should have a loaded emergency fund to manage emergency expenses like job loss, accident, natural calamities, and prolong illness. If you don’t save for rainy days, you may have to take out money from your other savings including retirement fund, which can be fatal for your post-retirement financial days. So, to safeguard all your savings, you should save enough money in an emergency fund. Try to save at least 6-9 months of savings in an emergency fund: if possible, save more than that.

6. You are debt free

You should try to get out of your current debts as soon as possible. If you are in huge credit card debts, then try to get out of them. You can repay your debts on your own by following the debt avalanche or debt snowball method. You can also consolidate your debt. Remember, having a huge debt can hurt your credit score, which can bar you from taking out loans at good rates and terms. Thus, you should repay your debts to maintain your credit health. Also, once you are debt- free, you can concentrate on achieving other important financial milestones before reaching 30.

7. Have one -year’s worth of salary in retirement fund

I am not telling you to build a fully loaded retirement account when you hit the age of 30. But, you should have at least one year’s worth of salary into a retirement fund so that you can manage post-retirement costs well. Remember, when it comes to building a nest egg, the sooner you start, the better. So, if your employment has the facility of 401(k) account, then start contributing money into it. You can also save 15%-20% of your income into any retirement account.

8. Done with some wise investments

Don’t start investing unless you have ample money for them. However, if you are earning well, then you can think about the investment even before reaching the age of 30. Just check out which investment options are more lucrative and easier to understand. Ask your peer group or have a chat with an expert regarding this matter. You can also start an investment portfolio when you become an expert in it. You can invest in stocks, shares that’ll help you get income and bonds which act as a hedge against inflation and that applies for gold too. You can also go for real estate investment when you become a seasoned investor.

9. Have a good credit score

You should try to build a good credit score at the age of 30. A good credit score plays a vital role in your financial life. As I have mentioned earlier that good credit score helps to get loans at favorable terms and rates. You can also prove yourself as a responsible person towards financial matters.

10. Have a mindset to build wealth

If you have your own property, you can take out a refinance mortgage so that you can easily pay back the loan and also build the equity on your home. You can use the money to make positive improvements on your home so that you get better resale value on selling off your property after 10 or 15 years. Later you can also go for equity withdrawal, which means you can withdraw from the equity of your house that has been built. But don’t try to do it and keep your house as it is for you need to sell the house at a better price in the future.

Well, there are many other financial milestones that you can achieve by the age of 30. It depends on how much money you earn and how you prioritize your goals. However, the key is to be a financially responsible person at the very beginning of your career to achieve these important financial milestones when you hit the age of 30. Otherwise, you will not be able to establish a secured financial life for yourself.

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8 Things to learn before your first paycheck arrives after graduation

8 Things to learn before your first paycheck arrives after graduation

So, you have completed your graduation; no more classes, exams, and grades. Now you are a sincere employee of a good firm who is working hard to shine. And, you are finally ready to make your own money. So, what’s your plan to do with your first salary? The first paycheck can make you feel like the richest person in the world. However, you shouldn’t spend the entire money! Being extravagant at the beginning of your career can create financial troubles. You should understand the value of your hard-earned money.

Look at the things you can do before your first paycheck arrives to do justice with it.

1. Learn how to formulate a personal budget

It may sound boring. But budgeting doesn’t have to be a boring subject. Because it is the key to manage your first paychecks like a pro. Without a budget, you can’t manage your monthly income and expenses. A budget helps to achieve your financial goals in the long run.

How to budget your paycheck

Think about your expenses and write down in a spreadsheet. Deduct your total expenses from your monthly income. The expense shouldn’t be greater than your income. Make sure you have money in hand after meeting your basic expenses. The extra money is your future savings. You can use online budgeting software or spreadsheet to create a budget.

2.Learn the importance of paying credit card bills on time

Before you start earning money, you should learn how to manage credit cards properly. Credit cards are important; they help to build a credit score. But, you shouldn’t use them randomly.
Also, many people think credit cards are free money, which is wrong. Remember, credit cards are not free, you should pay the bills in full and within time. Otherwise, you will start accumulating a higher interest rate. Thus, you can fall into credit card debts. If you still ignore the debt, you will get collection calls for the outstanding debt. So, you should use the credit card when you know that you can afford the bill.

3. Take an oath to remain current with your monthly bill payments

Not only credit cards, but you should also pay all your monthly bills on time. So, you should try to stay current with your payments. If you’re unable to manage your expenses, then at least make a minimum payment so that you can avoid debts in the near future. These factors will help you to avoid spending the entire paycheck.

4. Learn how to spend less than what you earn

Once you start earning, you may feel like you can get anything you want. But, you shouldn’t think like that. Your paycheck shouldn’t be only for your luxurious spending. You should save money to achieve other important financial goals. Thus, try to understand the difference between need and want. It will help you to manage your first paycheck.

5. Create your own financial priority list

You can’t meet every financial goal with your first paycheck. Thus, you should create a financial priority list or financial goal list. It will help you to make progress on the goal while managing other necessary expenses using your paycheck.

For example

  • Saving a certain amount for emergency expenses in a high-yield savings account.
  • Opening a 401(k) account to save for retirement.
  • Saving money for a downpayment of home or car
  • Paying off student loan debt

6. Remember your due dates

Make it a habit to remember the due dates on your multiple credit card accounts. If you tend to forget, make sure you create some alerts in your mailbox or your cell phone so that you can see and remember that it’s time to make your minimum monthly payments. If you fail to make your payments within the due dates, you’ll most likely accrue late fees and penalties that will unnecessarily boost your monthly payments.

7. Choose a good bank

These days, you will get different types of credit cards for different purposes. For example, you can buy a travel credit card to get the benefit or you can purchase a gas credit card. Gift card, a payroll card, and store cards are also useful to earn reward and benefit.
Yes, credit cards are convenient tools; they help in many ways. But to get benefit from multiple credit cards, you have to manage them properly.
Also, you have to choose the right bank for purchasing the card that you need most.

8. Become financially educated

Understanding money is important since it has a great impact on your life. Financial literacy is understanding how to manage finances properly. Financial knowledge helps you to use money responsibly. You can learn how to budget your paycheck. It also helps you to make the right decision about spending, taxes, banking, savings, and investments.

Lastly, getting the first paycheck after completing studies can be exciting. You deserve to be pampered using your own money. However, you should be responsible when it comes to handling money even if it is your own. Once you get your first paycheck, you can pay yourself a certain amount so that you can enjoy in a way you like. After that, you should use your financial wisdom so that you can maximize every paycheck you earn.

What are ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards

If you only want to get cash back from your credit cards and believe that it is the best reward option for you, then think again!

It is all about your preferences. You should opt for the best reward cards after verifying all the benefits, and as per your choices. This is the most common way to get credit card benefits.

To get the best out of credit card rewards, you need to follow multiple steps. A good credit card will give you rewards for making payments on various things, such as traveling, dining at an expensive restaurant, or shopping. Starting from the cash back, you might be offered discounts, reward points, free travel points, and lots of other benefits from a reward credit card.

To make sure that you don’t miss out on the best rewards, here is a list of ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards.

1. Choose the right credit card

Practically, there’s no best reward credit cards out there. Every consumer has his/her own choices for benefits. The best cards you may choose after considering your spending habits, your personal preferences, and your credit score.

a. Spending habits

If you have a big family and spend a lot each month on gas, phone bills, and groceries, it might be a good idea to grab a reward credit card like the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card. This card may offer you bonus rewards on your heavy purchases.
On the other hand, you won’t need that card if you are a single person with a low grocery bill, and do not shop much, or don’t have a car.

b. Personal preferences

You may need to make big decisions by considering your own preferences. While choosing between travel rewards or cash back rewards, if you select travel rewards, then you’ll again need to decide if you want a general travel card or an airline or hotel card. This is one of the easiest ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards.

You’ll also need to decide whether you want flat-rate rewards or the option to earn bonus rewards.

c. Credit score

You can not achieve all credit card rewards in a single card. Different credit cards have different rewards or benefits. You must have a good or excellent credit score to get the most out of your reward credit cards.

Normally, a 700 credit score is enough to get most of the rewards credit cards.

If possible, you should use two or three rewards credit cards to get the benefits of their different rewards programs.

For example, you may select the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card while doing travel purchases, the Discover it® Cash Back card to get the benefit of its cash back program, and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card for other purposes.

2. Use your credit cards for making payments

To get the best out of your credit card rewards, The more you use your credit cards, the easier it will be to earn maximum rewards. It’s like a push to use your credit card instead of cash or a debit card whenever it is possible to you.
But remember it doesn’t recommend impulse buying or overspending.

Look for the options in which you can use your credit cards instead of using another payment mode. But if your credit card company charges a fee to use the card, calculate to see if you’re paying more in fees than you’d earn enough credit card rewards.

If the fees are higher than the rewards, it’s not worth it.

3. Find out what doesn’t earn you rewards

It’s easy to use your credit card for every purchase you are making. But don’t use your card in such items which don’t give you any rewards at all. For most credit cards, this includes cash advances and balance transfers.

Both of these financial activities may require fees. You won’t have any grace period with cash advances, so interest will start accruing immediately.

4. Pay off your due balances in full

Paying interest for your rewards credit card will be the worst thing you can imagine. It will lower the benefit value you get from the card, or even make it nil.

If you want to avoid carrying a balance on the best rewards credit cards, you should follow a proper budget, and pay off your credit card bills entirely each month.

5. Redeem your credit card rewards properly

You have the best rewards credit cards in your wallet, but you think that the best redemption option is only cash. This is wrong. For example, the Discover it® Cash Back offers a $5 as a bonus if you use your rewards to get gift cards on over 100 brands.

If you earn travel rewards on your credit card, you’ll have the opportunity to maximize the rewards.

If it’s a general travel card, you can find the cheapest hotels and flights for your trip. And if it’s a hotel or airline card, you can book your trip when your points or miles may give you the most benefit.

Conclusion

There are multiple ways to get the best reward out of your credit cards. But it will require some hard work and common sense to get the most out of your credit cards. If you do your math and use your credit card rewards properly, you may earn hundreds of dollars or worth rewards every year.

Debt consolidation: Pros and cons that you should be aware of

If you are struggling to repay your credit card bills, medical bills, or monthly bills, then you should apply the right debt relief strategy. Ignoring debt can create more financial trouble in the future.
You can seek many debt solutions to get out of unsecured debts. But, when you are struggling with multiple debts or bills, you can consider debt consolidation process.
In this process, you can either combine all your outstanding balance under a single card or obtain a loan at a lower rate of interest to pay off all your unsecured debts. You can also enroll with a debt consolidation company to consolidate your debt. Once you enroll in the program, the debt counselor will negotiate with your creditors to lower the interest rate on your debts. They will club all your outstanding debt obligations into a single low monthly payment plan. You just need to make one single monthly payment for a certain time to become debt free.

What are the benefits of considering debt consolidation process?

Some advantages of debt consolidation process are as follows:

You need to pay a single monthly payment

If you opt for debt consolidation process, you would not have to bother about making multiple monthly payments to your creditors. Just by making a single payment every month, you can pay off all your debts after a certain time. You do not have to pay any extra fees. Only you will have to pay the consolidation services fees if you enroll with a debt relief company to opt for the consolidation service.

It helps to lower the interest rates on debts

You can reduce the interest rate on your debts through debt consolidation. By putting all debts under one card, you will be able to get a lower rate of interest.
In case you are taking out a consolidation loan to pay off your credit card debts, then you will surely get the loan at a lower interest rate.
If you are getting help from a debt consolidation company, the company will negotiate lower rates of interest with your creditors. Thus, you need to pay a much smaller amount than what you were supposed to pay.

You need to pay to a single creditor

When you consolidate your debts, you just need to pay only a single creditor.
If you take out a debt consolidation loan, you will have to pay only the bank or the lender who has provided you that loan. Thus, you do not have to take the trouble of paying multiple creditors.

If you get help from a debt consolidation company, then they will assess your financial situation and decide on a single monthly payment. You need to pay this amount to the company and they further distribute this money among your creditors. Thus, you do not have to pay multiple creditors.

You will get a lower monthly payment

If you consider a debt consolidation program, the debt counselor will negotiate with your creditors to lower down the rate of interest on the debts that you owe. This, in turn, lowers down your single monthly payment amount. It is easy for you to pay a lower single monthly payment plan.

You will get back your peace of mind

When you have too many credit card bills to pay, you will get several credit card bills in the mail. This can turn into a very stressful experience for you. When you consolidate your credit card debts, you will get only a single credit card statement. Thus, you can feel relaxed, which is very important for you to plan your finances better and live a good life.

You can avoid bankruptcy

Ignoring debt can create more trouble. You will start getting debt collection calls. If you don’t respond, then the creditors or debt collectors can sue you for the due payments. You may have to file bankruptcy to pay off the debt collectors. In bankruptcy, you may lose your assets. So, considering debt consolidation can help you to avoid bankruptcy.

Raises your credit score

Debt consolidation program does not hurt your credit score. Since you are paying off all the debts, it will not hurt your credit score. Rather, if you make regular monthly payments, your credit score gets a boost.

Disadvantages of debt consolidation process

Nothing is flawless, debt consolidation has some flaws as well.

Here you go:

  • In debt consolidation process, you can’t reduce the amount of debt. You can reduce the interest rate on your debts, but you have to pay the total debt.
  • The debt consolidation process can be expensive in the long run. If you take out a consolidation loan to pay off your debts, then you have to make monthly payments on the new loan (Consolidation loan). It takes a longer time to pay off the new loan. So, you end up paying more on the interest rate.
  • If your credit score is not good, then you won’t get better rates on your new loan (Consolidation loan). You will be charged a high advance fee. If your credit score is not good, then you can get help from a debt consolidation company to consolidate your debt.

Lastly, you shouldn’t miss the debt payments for your new consolidation loan. So, make sure you follow a budget to make monthly debt payments on time.
If you decide to enroll in a debt consolidation program, then make sure the company is good. Check the rating with BBB before signing the agreement. A good debt consolidation company provides free debt counseling. So, you can be benefited by the debt counseling session. The counselor will help you to learn better money management and budgeting skills.

How to handle your secured credit card application denial

How to handle your secured credit card application denial

People with a poor credit score or having a zero credit history, have very little chance of getting a credit card. In that case, they can apply for a secured credit card so that they can manage their own expenses. The secured credit card may also help them to build a credit score.
But a secured credit card isn’t available free of cost. A consumer must provide a cash deposit as collateral for the credit card account. Technically, the credit limit of this card is equal to the amount of security deposit. Sounds neat, right?
But do you have any idea that credit card companies also may deny your secured credit card application? I guess not.

If your secured credit card application gets denied, the first thing that’ll come to your mind is – Why your application was denied? You are ready to put a good amount as deposit, but still you are not getting approved. What would be the reason? Think wisely.

Your application might have been rejected due to several unforeseen circumstances that you didn’t know. So, if you want to make things right, first you have to find those reasons and take steps to change the scenario before you apply for the next card.

The reasons behind secured credit card application rejection

There are a few core reasons that your application for a secured credit card was denied. Here are a few of them:

1. History of default payments

If the credit card company notices that your credit report has a history of missed payments, they might hesitate to allow you even a secured card.

2. Too much outstanding debts

If you have too many outstanding debts, it might be an indication that you are financially unstable to pay off debts, which can be a red flag to a few credit card issuers.

3. Not enough income

Card issuers may check your affordability to pay off bills, even if you are applying for a secured credit card. If you don’t have enough income, they may doubt your ability.

4. Bad employment history

The situation is similar just like the previous issue. If you have a bad employment history, the lender might think that you may lose your job at any point in time. Due to that reason, you may also not be able to pay your bills.

5.Your application was missing something

Complete your credit card application properly if you deliberately skip a few information. Credit card companies need detailed information about you. So, if you hide anything important from them, your application might get rejected. In this case, you might have to reapply with all the details.
Don’t forget to check minor spelling error or a wrongly placed phone number. Always make sure all of your submitted data is correct before applying for a secure credit card.

6. Multiple inquiries

If you search for too many secured credit cards, multiple hard inquiries within a short period may hurt your score. This may decrease your credit score or lenders might think that you are depending on credit more than you should.

7. Bankruptcy

If you have filed bankruptcy previously, credit card providers may consider it as a sign that you are unable to pay bills and unable to take that risk.

How to find out why your application was denied

It is your legal right to know why your application was denied. You can know it within 7 to 10 days of your rejection. You will get an adverse action letter from the credit card company, where you have applied for a secured credit card. The letter should explain the reason behind your denial.

The next thing you must do is to check your credit reports with Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Get your credit report from each bureau per year absolutely free. Check credit reports and find out errors that may have caused your application to be rejected. As soon as possible, dispute the errors, and solve the issue with each credit agency.

It is important to improve your credit before you apply for a secured credit card.

Tips to improve credit before reapplying for a secured credit card

Building and maintaining a good credit score will be a never-ending process. It takes long term commitment, hard work, patience, proper financial planning, and a strong mindset to increase your score and build a decent credit. This is how you can get started:

Try to pay your bills on time –

Make on time payments for all of your bills. This may include secured credit cards, your utility bills, your phone bills, and others. Consumers normally apply for a secured credit card to improve their credit. But their credit score can be harmed if they do not pay the bills on time. If you miss your secured credit card payments, it will reduce your card’s security deposit. On the other hand, positive payment history may help you to increase your credit limit. Secured card lenders may increase a borrower’s credit limit if the borrower is regular on his/her payments.

Maintain a gap while applying for credit cards –

Applying for too many cards within a short time may reduce your credit score. As a result, your application gets rejected. So, wait for a few months and then work on your credit score. Soon you’ll be able to apply for a credit card.

Create a budget –

Creating a monthly budget will help you to categorize your money as per your different needs. It may also help you to keep track of the expenses and assist you to pay your bills on time. Budget can also help you to reduce the debt-to-income ratio and decrease your debts.

Pay off your debt burden –

Too much debt can decrease your credit score. You should pay off outstanding loans and other debts as soon as possible. It’ll definitely give a push so that you can build your credit score gradually.

Manage your credit report –

Some credit reporting bureaus will inform you if there’s a change in your report. These services would be helpful to maintain a healthy, error free credit profile. Apart from that, you must also manually fetch your credit report several times and check all the items listed there.

Conclusion

Once you are rejected for a secured credit card, you should wait for a few months before applying again. Most credit card companies would tell you to wait for six months. So, you must use that time to build your credit. Doing so can increase your chances at getting the best secured credit card possible.