3 Simple Ways to Crush Your Debt in the New Year

Throughout the New Year hundreds of thousands of people make resolutions, yet only a small portion will keep their resolutions beyond January. Many people even joke about how unlikely they are to maintain their good habits. Two of the top resolutions in recent years have been to lose weight, and get out of debt. However, despite its popularity, reducing debt is also one of the least kept resolutions. It can certainly be a difficult task, which requires financial discipline and planning. But with these three easy tips, you can easily crush your debt and be one of the few to see your resolution to the end.

Crush Your Debt

[Read: Paying off Debts – How to Get Started]

1. Make a list of what you owe

– Compile a list of every debt

– Include the amount and the interest rate

– Write down even small loans (e.g. from family or friends)

How can you get started crushing your debt without first knowing what you are faced with? This step is key since it provides you with an overview of everything you owe, all in one place. For some, this can be a little daunting, but it is important if you truly want to succeed. This should include all major loans you are paying off, such as mortgages, car payments, and student loans. Along with these make sure to list the interest rate on each of these loans. For many people, another main source of debt is credit card debt. Any unpaid balance on each card should be recorded. Also, check the fees and interest rates associated with each card, and include these in the list as well. Finally, list any other sources of outstanding debt. While not everyone has loans to include here, it is important to consider even small loans that you may not even think of often. These can be as simple as $50 from a friend. However, in order to truly crush your debt, you must take care of all sources, so all should be listed.

Try not to be alarmed if you end up with a lengthy list. Seeing an overview is an important step in the debt reduction process. With this first step completed you are well on your way to crushing your debt.

2. Pick One Debt to Crush First, and Focus on It

Now that you have compiled your list, you can easily see which debt you would like to conquer first. There are two common strategies to choose from:

  • Lowest debt first
  • Highest interest debt first

Trying to pay down the entirety of your debt all at once would be an incredibly difficult task. Instead, it is helpful to choose one of the debts from the list you created, and focus on that first. However, even experts disagree on how to choose the first debt. The first strategy to choosing these is to pay your lowest debt first. The main benefit to this strategy is motivation; it feels good to cross something off your list. The lowest amount is often something you are able to pay off quickly, and therefore give yourself an immediate confidence boost to begin your debt crushing journey. However, the con to this strategy is that dealing with the lowest debt first may not give you the greatest financial benefit in the long run. The second strategy involves paying off the debt with the highest interest first. Since this has a high interest rate, this will accumulate quickly, and cost you the most money in the long run. While you may not be able to pay this debt down instantly, like the lowest amount, you are ultimately saving yourself more money, making it easier to crush your debt thouroughly.

3. Finally, snowball the rest of your debt

– Use momentum from the first payment

– Focus on the second debt, based on your strategy

Now that you have paid off one debt, you can use the money that you were paying towards this debt to pay for the second debt you decide to pay off. Choose the second debt to pay off based on the strategy you chose in step two. With the momentum you have from not needing to pay your first debt, you can crush your second debt even quicker. Continue to use this snowball effect as you pay of your third debt, fourth debt, etc. You will be amazed by how quickly the effects add up and let you eliminate your debt faster and faster.

[Read: Tips for Debt Repayment]

Time to Celebrate

With these steps, some financial discipline, and a little time, you can easily make your debt reduction goals a reality. The day you are finally debt-free is truly an accomplishment you can celebrate. Check out this inspiring video of someone who proves this dream can become a reality.

Get a Great Deal with These Tips

Everything is a negotiation, or at least that is what most people think. However, though there are those who are looking get a great deal on everything, there are just as many who feel as though every price they see is going to be set in stone. In fact, a Consumer Reports study found that around 48% of those who are spending money attempt to bargain for the item or the service that they are wanting to purchase. For those who are ready to ensure that they are able to receive the best deal out there for the product they want, then they are going to find that these tips are going to help in negotiating the best deal out there.

get a great deal

[Read: The Simple Yet Best Ways to Stretch $10]

Get Appliances and Electronics for a Lower Price

Appliances and electronics are a huge product that are must haves for many people. And they can take a huge chunk of money from your budget. If you go to the store and look at the product, there is no reason that you should be paying the sticker price for the product. Instead, consider these tips to help in lowering the price of these products:

  • Ask about the floor model, as these are often sold at a huge discount
  • Look at returned items that they may have repaired but have to sell used
  • Overstock items can be greatly reduced as companies need that storage space and want these products out of the way
  • Look for scratch and dent sales in which these products may have some cosmetic issues, but they are still going to work properly
  • Bundle purchases, for example, buy a washer and dryer combination to save the most money

Don’t be afraid to ask about these options. Stores are wanting to make a sale to you, rather than letting you go to the competitor, so you do have some leverage to use with the company.

Lower Interest Rates

Interest rates are super high on credit cards, and this is where the majority of money that you spend is going. But, the good news is that you can lower your interest rate on credit cards, loans or whatnot. Consider these steps to ensure that you get a great deal on these cards and loans:

  1. Consider refinancing those high interest loans that you may hold. Several companies out there are looking for those who want to refinance, regardless of what the credit score of that person is. You simply have to ask and do your research.
  2. Call your credit card companies and see if they will lower your interest rate. This is going to be more successful for those who have a flawless history with that company, such as never going over the balance, paying their bills on time and the like.
  3. Look at the loan fees that you may be paying and see if you can get these reduced or taken away altogether. There are several companies who will do this in order to ensure that you are not refinancing with another company and they are losing your business.

Save Money with Groceries

You can get great deal with groceries when you shop sales and utilize coupons at the same time. This is a known tactic for many people who use this on a weekly basis. However, you will also find that you can negotiate prices on some groceries that you purchase. For example:

  • The deli counter may give a discount on meats and cheeses that are less than one pound since they know no one is going to order this amount of product. You may find that you can get 50% off the total cost of these products if you negotiate properly
  • For dented canned items, you may find that you can get a price reduction. Though the product tis not affected, there are those stores that can give up to 50% off for these dented cans.
  • At farmer’s markets, at the end of the day farmers are more likely to give deep discounts on the produce they have, as they do not want to have to pack this back up and take it home. This is when you can get great produce that is fresh, while still saving money.

Save on your Medical Debt

Many people have gotten bills in the mail from their doctor or pharmacy with huge amounts that they need to pay. Most people think that they have to pay these no matter what, however, you will find that taking the time to go over your bill can save you some money. Medical billing errors is common and if you are not careful, the extra money that you pay is actually paying for an error that was made by someone else.

[Read: Unknown Credit Card Benefits]

For those who are ready to get a great deal, then they are going to find that these tips will help them to do so. You can change your entire life, through integrating these tips into your life.

Learn How Volunteering Can Save You Money

It is hard to believe, but volunteering can save you money in the long run. This is what most people are excited to learn, as they may feel that they should be volunteering more, yet never can find the time. However, when there is the ability to save you money, most people are ready to volunteer whatever they can. When a person volunteers they are putting someone else’s needs and wants above their own, and it often makes people feel amazing for this decision. Whether you are volunteering your time, or your money, you are making a difference in someone’s life!

volunteering can save you money

[Read: The Best and Worst States to Save Money]

Avoid Gym Fees While Still Improving Your Health

One of the biggest ways in which you can save money through volunteering is through avoiding those high gym memberships. One of the biggest reasons that people feel that they never have any time for volunteering is due to the amount of time that they may spend in the gym, trying to get fit. However, there are several volunteering projects out there that are going to keep you fit and be even better than the gym. For example:

  • Volunteer with a group that builds and repairs houses, as this is physical labor that is going to work every muscle in your body.
  • Help your elderly neighbors by shoveling their driveways in the winter, and doing their yardwork in the summer, both of which will keep you in shape.
  • Offer to walk dogs for your local shelter and play with these dogs to help ensure they are ready to go to their forever home.

These are just a few ways in which volunteering can save you money when it comes to your gym fees. All the while, you are going to find that you are working out in a different way, which is still reaping the health benefits that you get while visiting the gym. There have also been studies that show just how volunteering can benefit your health in ways that a gym could never begin to touch. For example:

  • Lower mortality rates are seen among those who volunteer
  • Lower rates of depression are seen in volunteers
  • Helps to ensure that social and physical activities are strong even as you age
  • Great functional abilities are shown

Travel for Free or at a Reduced Price

volunteering can save you money

One of the goals of many throughout the world is to travel. And this can be expensive, however, this is where your volunteer service can actually save you money, or completely reduce the cost of traveling. There are several organizations throughout the world that will pay a person with room and board to travel with the organization in order to do some volunteer work throughout the world. For example, there are those who travel to foreign countries to help with vaccinating children, while others may travel to other states within the United States to help those who are in need due to natural disasters. Though the organization may pay for your room and board, you may still have to find a way to the destination, which could mean paying for a flight or renting a car. However, this is still saving you money, as room and board can cost quite a bit when traveling.

Avoid those Costly Mixers and Build your Resume for Free

Getting ahead in the world of business is a difficult task for money. In order to do this, they may attend those mixers that are held that are very expensive to attend. However, when you volunteer you are saving money that you would normally have to spend on these events in order to meet new people, since you will be meeting new people each and every day that you are volunteering. And you never know who you are going to meet! There are tons of volunteers out there who are involved in business and can be just the connection that you need in order to get ahead. In addition, volunteering is one way to showcase just how dedicated of a person that you may be, as many employers look at volunteering as a great show of the character of a person.

Mixers can be very expensive programs to attend that are going to cost a person quite a bit in order to attend. And chances are this money is going to be money that you could have spent on other things in your life. In addition, there are several resume builders out there that cost money, when truly all you need is your volunteer experience. Imagine volunteer experience can offer several different items that you can put onto your resume including work experience, connections, skills that you have learned and the like.

[Read: Save Money On Your Electricity Bill]

For those who are serious about looking for ways in which they can still get benefits to their life, yet avoid paying extra money, they are going to find that volunteering can save you money.

How to Get Richer without Getting a Raise

You can live the life you always wanted without working full-time. Tim Ferriss, an angel investor, entrepreneur, author and public speaker encourage people to stroll the less trodden path to attain massive success.

Get Richer without Raise

[Read: Destroy Debt and Live a Rich Life]

Tim Ferriss is a renowned GOBankingRates 2015 finalist in a hackathon sponsored by Ally Bank. As part of competition, top finance gurus were asked to predict 2016 ultimate money tips. Ferriss’s advice in its entirety, advocate that you live the life you desire; choose. The net value of every dollar is typically determined by your subsequent control of two different currencies: mobility and time.

Ferriss argues that mobility and time are the new world currency; the New Rich. The New Rich is populated by people who use these currencies to get a grip on their lives. They escape the usual 40-hour per week schedule, without having to give up their lifestyles. Here are tips towards living luxurious without working yourself to wreck.

How to Make More Money without Working More

According to Ferriss’ FourHourWorkWeek.com site, he elaborates how one can separate time and work by effective application of DEAL principles. This averages four hours per week work, amounting to $40,000 monthly earnings. By so doing, he earned himself the rare opportunity to enjoy and have fun with loved ones.

He gradually transitioned from an average of 14-hours to 4-hours per week and made approximately $40,000 in a single month. He writes eloquently on how the separation of income from time, allowed him to craft a new lifestyle which allows him to tour the world, enjoying nature’s incredible offers. In fact, the magic behind the rapid transformation is DEAL (Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation) principled.

A Gallup survey identified that since the average workload spans 47 hours, you may experience difficulties whittling your schedule to 4 hours. However, by utilizing Ferriss’ techniques, you may end up doing more work in shorter durations, consequently boosting your monthly earnings.

1. Define What You Want.

All that Ferriss suggests is that you need to identify your ideal lifestyle for you to get richer without raise. Know of how and what you want to achieve and how much you will sacrifice for that lifestyle. This might seem easier to many while said than done. From a 2015 University of Phoenix research, it was discovered that nearly 60 percent of the working population wish to switch careers; however, 40 percent of people haven’t decided on what other professions to take. Participants reported various hindrances to change such as lack of education, financial security, and worries about the outcome, for instance when starting a business.

Seeking volunteer opportunities can act as a great benchmark for you to sample a new occupation before making a change. A mentor in the profession you’re interested in can also help you get new opportunities and to know the requirements. Free online courses like Saylor.org or university websites can further assist you to discover your interests.

2. Eliminate Time-Consuming Activities

Elimination is the next phase to focus on, once you recognize your interests. This entails removing the static that hinders your ideal lifestyle. Among the key things you need to get rid of is information addiction, particularly the urge to checking emails always.

To reduce excessive back and forth, you can use an autoresponder to inform people that you only check emails twice or once a day. This will make those reaching out to you via email for assistance more solution oriented. Another way to eliminate interruptions and allow you to use your time more effectively is by putting away your phone and establishing a fixed time to respond to emails.

3. Automate Tasks

Ferriss suggests that you should automate and outsource daily errands, for instance making appointments and doing research. Some of the services he recommends for one to get assistance in putting various life aspects on autopilot are GetFriday, Elance.com, and DoMyStuff.
He further emphasizes that you need not to be a Fortune 500 business to outsource tasks. Moreover, it can get the work done at a reduced cost saving you money and more time to concentrate on tasks that will generate you more cash.

4. Liberate Yourself.

This is the phase that mobility comes into action in Ferriss’ equation for living your desired life. Liberation is never about making cheap trips; it all concerns breaking of bonds that forever restrict you to a single geo-geographical location. Mobility and freedom are always about how you utilize your valuable time.

One of the solutions to liberate yourself from your 9-to-5 hours a day work in an office is to work as a freelancer from the comfort of your home. According to research performed by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, nearly a third of the American working population does freelance work.

[Read: Growing Rich: The Keys to Millionaire Status]

Other than mere focusing on improving output to receive better pay, you can utilize your mobility and time as an added advantage towards a comfortable lifestyle. Ferriss contemplates in his blog, the possibility of using DEAL techniques to magnify income, reduce working hours by half or even you’re your vacation time. To get richer without raise is most definitely possible through commitment and discipline.

How to Boost Your Financial Success

Your Thoughts Power Your Actions

Let’s face it we all could use some financial boosting. Even if you think you’re doing great we could always do better.

Often times in life we allow ourselves to get into sticky situations. We know we’ve made a bad choice but we can’t see the way out. This happens often with our finances.  We don’t even think about our financial situation until we are looking to buy a new car, home, or a big finance that needs good credit. Which leads us to be negative and you tell yourself “ I’ll never be able to get that house, car, etc.”

Financial Success

[Read: Five Habits for Financial Success]

To fix this you must first change your state of mind. “I will get this house, car etc.” You would be amazed at how much your state of mind affects your daily life and choices. You have to choose to see the positive in a negative situation. Then you have to make your plan of attack.

Change it for the Better

If you’re in debt it can be hard to see yourself being debt free. If you don’t believe you can be debt free then you never will be. Why would you take the steps to be debt free if you don’t believe you can be debt free?  When deciding to take the steps to improve your finances you have to change your state of mind first.

Then realize you need the support to change this. Rather it comes from a spouse, friend, or relative it helps to have someone in your corner. If you don’t, then join a financial support group like http://financial.supportgroups.com

Learn to be Happy with Cut Backs

This is often the hard part of it all. You have to analyze yourself and your spending habits. Is it a want or a need? We often confuse this.  We are never happy with what we have. We always want more and more. How many shoes do you really need? How many televisions do you really need?

If you sit back and look at what you have with a fresh pair of eyes, you will then learn to be content. Try this; walk into your home as if you were a friend coming over to visit. If you look at your home thru someone else’s eyes you then realize you have everything you need. Now you can see what you can cut back on. Then draw out your plan with these steps.

  • Need or want
  • Set a realistic goal
  • Accept you don’t need materialistic things
  • Make a list of the things you have that your thankful for

This is where you save for things like your retirement, that house, or car.

Now you can boost your financial situation thru contentment.

Good Risk, Bad Risk

Should you take a loan for that business, home, car, or going back to school?

You know the difference between a wise decision and a bad one. If it’s going to bankrupt you or even put you close to that category, it’s a bad one.

You know yourself better than anyone and if you’re teetering on a decision that could be a risk, always ask someone who is financially set for advice. Guaranteed they’ve had to make a decision like yours before.  It’s ok to ask someone and if you don’t know anyone to ask seek out a financial advisor.

Discipline and Dedication

We all know someone who changed their situation by going back to school or getting that degree or even changed their whole career. Even though everyone else thought they were crazy, they changed their circumstances. It came from the choice to change and the dedication to the change.

Discipline takes dedication and time. You must take the time to learn new skills. Keep your mind open to learning new things and give yourself time to learn them. This will open the door to new financial opportunities that you never thought was possible.  Never settle for where you are in life. Know that you are always learning and you have the power to learn anything you want.  Remember knowledge is power, the more knowledge you have the more money you can make. You will be amazed at the power a new skill has over your finances.

This is a big financial booster.

The Only Person stopping you is YOU.

We often blame everyone else for our circumstances. It’s so much easier than taking the blame ourselves.  Ask yourself what’s stopping me?  Am I making excuses for my financial failures? Did anyone ever really stop you from being successful?

No the only thing stopping you is your mind.

Don’t let your past determine your future. You can’t fix what has already been done, but you can change the future. The power of your own mind can change your future.

Simple affirmations can help you on your daily journey to boost your finances. Everyday take the time to remind yourself how well you’ve done and where you’re at financially.

Every morning try this:

Wake up and say “I have all the money I need to meet my needs.”

[Read: Long Term Real Financial Success]

At the end of everyday celebrate what you changed. Reflect on your daily choices and remind yourself how good you did. Try this for 1 week and commit yourself to it, I promise you will see the difference.  Think positively and you can boost your financial success.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards to Consider for 2016

If you are looking into a way to pay off all your debt for good your best option could be to check out one of the best balance transfer credit cards to consider for 2016. This New Year you can get rid of debt by using a balance transfer card. So many make our New Year’s resolution to get out of debt and then never do, or get out of it just to plunge right back in the bucket.

balance transfer credit cards to consider for 2016

[Read: Top Credit Cards for Balance Transfers]

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Scenario

  • If you have say $5000 owing on a card that has an APR of 19% and make monthly payments of $150 on the card
  • Transfer your balance to a card with an APR of 0% on balance transfers for a year with a 19% APR after the intro period and no annual fee and a 3% balance transfer fee
  • With the above you would end up paying off your card over 39 months and would save interest payments  of $1,278.84

Isn’t that a lot of savings? And just with a simple balance transfer. This is just one scenario and one example of how you can save with some of the balance transfer credit cards to consider for 2016. Imagine if you find a card that allows you a 0% for a longer period and trust me you can with some up to 21 months.

Balance Transfer Credit Cards to Consider for 2016 and Their Flaws

Yes a balance transfer card can be your solution but they have their downsides as well. Even with a 0% standard APR on balance transfer bear in mind that this often has a limit. After the introductory period the percentage will go up and in some cases it can be very high. If you don’t do the transfer right after you get the card then you may lose the benefit of the introductory APR. If you are late with your payment over 60 days then you introductory APR can be revoked as well. So you really need to know the rules and ensure you play by them. Find below the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards to Consider for 2016.

  • Chase’s Slate Card – This credit card comes with a 15 month initial period of no interest on your balance transfer. If you transfer your balance within the first 60 days that you receive your card then you won’t pay a transfer fee either. Typically balance transfer fees are around 3% of the balance being transferred. This card features no annual fee with APR’s after the introductory period at a minimum of 12.99%. If you can transfer your balance quickly and pay it off within 15 months this is the best of the balance transfer credit cards to consider for 2016.
  • QuicksilverOne Rewards from Capital One Card – This credit card comes with a 9 month introductory period and no transfer fee ever. It does however have an annual fee of $39. This is ideal for a balance that you can pay off within a 9 month period to get the best deal.
  • Diamond Preferred from Citi Card – This card has an introductory period of 21 months – the longest one on the market currently. It has a transfer fee of $5 or 3% of your balance, whichever is greater. With no annual fee this is the best of the balance transfer credit cards to Consider for 2016 if you have a large balance or can only make small payments. This card gives you almost two years to pay off your balance and if you are still carrying a balance after the introductory period the APR you are charged could be as small as 11.9%.
  • Discover it – this card has an introductory period of 12 months and a balance transfer fee of 3%. There is however no annual fee and the APR after the first 12 months offer the lowest possible at 10.99%. Double this card with the offer from Discover to double your cash back earned on the card in your first year and you have a sweet deal!

There is no one size fits all when it comes to choosing a balance transfer credit card. Of course some will offer better benefits than others but it is really all based on your current situation. Your ability to pay, the amount of your balance and how quickly you can pay it off are all large determining factors that will help you figure out which balance transfer card is best for you. Then there is always the fine print.

[Read: Considering the Pros and Cons of Balance Transfers]

Before making your decision on which of the balance transfer credit cards to consider for 2016 you will be choosing, you should sit down and crunch the numbers. You don’t have to be an accountant or work in a bank to figure out with a calculator which card will offer you the best deal. It just will take a little time. A little time spent prior to choosing your balance transfer card could make a major difference in how much you spend or how much you save so take the time and choose wisely.

When Is The Best Time To Make Credit Card Payments?

Many articles, and advisers have a single piece of advice, “Don’t pay late!” This, however, isn’t much help if you are trying to build your credit back up, or have a job that don’t allow you to pay the full balance on one paycheck. So when should you pay, or is there a real difference?

make credit card payment

[Read: How to Find the Best Rewards for Credit Cards]

First of all, call your card issuer, and find out two dates, other than the date the bill is due. This will help you make a plan to make credit card payment history that looks the best for you. Then, take a look forward, and see if your score might need a slight, temporary bump.

Three  dates to know

The first date you need to be aware of is easy to find: the day your credit card payment is due. This is the date that you need to make credit card payment (or the total of the payments you can do) with no late fees or penalties. This is normally printed on your statement, and is a consistent date (the 16th of every month, for example). Making your credit card payment on this date is expected, and will have no penalties, extra fees, or other expenses added to your payment. If money is tight because of an emergency, make credit card payment of the minimum balance, even if you know this is going to cause you to use your card more for a short period of time.

The next date you should know is when the billing cycle ends. Your due date may fall at any point in this cycle, so to make credit card payment too early may show that you aren’t using the credit you’re offered, or show that you have a high balance every month. Depending on your personal needs, you should be aware of what this is showing about your spending habits. A higher balance, paid off every month, may show that you are a better credit risk.

make credit card payment

The third date you should know is when your bank reports credit usage. This is the date your bill is posted (which may require a call to find out). This date is the day that they officially record your credit usage, and the balance-which may be an average daily balance, or the highest balance on the card during the month. This date is important to know because you should keep your credit usage- especially when trying to establish credit – under 30% of your available credit. This shows that you are responsible, and not using your card for everyday expenses.

How these dates affect my credit score

This seems like a lot to keep track of, but once these numbers are figured in, you can plan to make credit card payment arrangements that will benefit you. Your spending habits can be shown in the best light, even with minor emergencies.

  • Pay at least the minimum balance by the due date. There is little long-term benefit to paying early.
  • Regardless of how many payments you need to make, plan to make credit card payment immediately after you are paid. This will avoid the financially-painful surprise of a missed payment.
  • If possible, pay early in the billing cycle. The less time that you have charges on your card, the smaller the finance fee. This is a great tip if you’ve needed to use your card more than usual, and you get paid frequently.
  • Remember, your score will be affected more by how often you use your credit, versus how often you pay. This seems odd, at first glance; but banks and other institutions have found it to be the best indicator.

Other things to think about

Knowing all of these things will allow you to plan when to make credit card payment, and make sure that you are presenting the best possible picture of yourself to the credit companies. You can show yourself to be a responsible person, as well as make plans for a larger purchase by having a low balance at the time of the purchase. This is very important: careful timing of the payments and reporting can show that you are a really good credit risk.

If your plans are something large, like a car, you can take advantage of paying before the due date to give yourself a slight, temporary bump in your credit utilization ratio. This figure is normally averaged over the last few months, so it will take some planning on your part to get any advantage. If your score is borderline, this may be a worthwhile opportunity.

[Read: The Best Cash Back Credit Cards]

Keep in mind, your credit is a history of your spending patterns. Following these rules, then using your card for everyday expenses will quickly show in your credit score. Make credit card payment on time, and keeping your use under 30% of your available credit is an exercise in self-discipline, but is worth it for your financial future.

Unknown Credit Card Benefits

Lets face it credit cards, whether you love them or hate them, they are here to stay, but did you know that there are hidden, often times unknown credit card benefits and perks that have been built in for you. You may think to yourself, why are the hidden or unknown, fair question, but one we may never know the answer to, but suffice it to say, these hidden gems are worth their weight in gold, or in at least money.

Credit Card Benefits

[Read: Credit Card Charge: Best and Worst (818)]

Factors to Consider

  • Protection
  • Convenience
  • Insurance
  • Warranties

How do these things or credit card benefits work and what are their advantages and disadvantages? Lets look as some of the perks that you may have on some or all of your cards right now that you may be unaware of. Some have been recent developments and some have been there since the beginning, but rest assured there are there and you should use them. Why let them go to waste, especially if you are paying for them in some way already.

Rental Insurance for Cars

When you travel you are probably using your card for most of the trip, if not all, why not check and see if your card offers car insurance. There may be caveats that you have to follow, such as you cannot get additional insurance offered through the rental company, or you can only rent certain types of cars and not others, and it most certainly will not cover exotic and top of the line rentals or other types of conveyances, such as boats or aircraft, or even off road vehicles.

Pre Order Purchases

Did you know that you may be able to get certain things before they go on sale to the general public if you use your credit card. This is especially true of concert tickets and pre sale accounts, you may be able to get them high demand tickets before everyone else if your card offers that perk, check, you may be surprised. You may need to go through a preferred offering company but, what the heck, if you want to almost guarantee a seat in the event without shopping with the common folks, go ahead and get on board.

Credit Card Benefits

Extended Warranties

Just like car rentals, you can and often should decline the extended warranties offered by the retail outlet, because most cards, if you purchase the whole thing on the card will offer an extended warranty for one year on appliances and other purchases. But check with your card company there may be exclusions and time limits, and it may not cover routine wear and tear. Some cards are better than others so if you have a few of them, check and compare each before you use a card, and use the one with the best protection and warranties.

Cancellations and Returns

Some cards will offer protection for a canceled trip, if some emergency comes up or other travel reason, you can get protected if you purchase the whole trip, or ticket on your credit card, as opposed to the company you purchased the trip through, as they may not refund, or if they do will charge you a premium up front for that contingency plan.

Same too with returns on products, there is extended time frames for returns and if you use a credit card and nothing is ever shipped you have that company behind you when you dispute that charge, and more times than not the company will have its fraud team get to work on the vendor and recoup that money from them, so it is a good ideal to use a card when purchasing whether it be in store or online.

[Read: Finding the Best Cash Back Credit Cards]

In Conclusion

So, now that you are aware of the many secret credit card benefits that you can get, there seems to be less of a stigma attached to the use of those cards. Sure you are paying a high interest rate, and the terms are onerous, but with these baked in protections how can you really loose. To be honest though, these protections also protect the card companies too, they give them the option to and power over retailers and can make the purchase streamlined and easy. Many times these card companies have relationships with the sellers already, so the use of them in a particular store is a sure thing, but you would always want to read the fine print of your contract to make sure you fit into the specific categories. Guessing that and hoping for protection is a sure fire way to loose your purchase or your perk. Keep the factors in mind and look at the specific areas of protection to see where your cards fit the best, some may be good for one thing, and not the other.

Ways To Improve Your Finances In 2016

Watching the news the other day, I was distressed to see that most people have $1000 or less in savings.  These steps to improve your finances in 2016 should help.  Becoming aware of financial basics, and making sure that the entire family is on the same page financially is a great start, and will improve your confidence.

Starting fresh in the new year can be a great feeling, but only if you leave the bad habits behind, as well. Spend some time with your budget, and make sure you are still on track to having savings, debt payments, bills, and fun money out of your income. And looking forward, make sure all of your final arrangements are in place and current.

Improve Your Finances In 2016

[Read: Tips for Debt Repayment]

Looking at changes

One of the things to consider looking at is changing banks.  Many of the banks and credit unions have experienced a loss of customers, and are now offering incentives that can improve your finances in 2016.  They may be more willing to give you a lower fees, higher interest, or look over your investments. A financial expert can make sure that you have the right balance of investments and savings to reach your goals, but still have enough for emergencies.

Setting financial goals that are attainable is a real skill, and one that can improve your finances in 2016.  All you need to make sure that you can obtain the scales goals, and break them down into shorter term budget items. Planning on saving of $1000 in the next year means that you have to save $41.00 twice a month.  A lesson from the younger people:  use do it yourself projects  and gifts, as well as coupons, to save money.  Prioritize expenses that are important, but be sure to include some fun in your budget.

Using apps like designed to catch common errors, price comparison tools that may save you on everything from gas to a car,  one that keeps your loyalty cards digitally, or a simple budgeting tool to help you track daily expenses may improve your finances in 2016 by hundreds of dollars.  Also, be aware of how much you are spending on food that is thrown away, clothing that is not worn often, and luxuries on vacation you don’t use. Changing your habits here can save money you didn’t think possible.

Being aware

One of the things that could affect your finances without you even been aware of it: identity theft.  Making sure your phone, laptop, computer, and any other devices that may have sensitive information on them are not left in the open, or have saved information, is a good way to help avoid this. Someone who gets into the app for your favorite pizza stop could come away with one or more credit card numbers, if not your bank information.

Also, closing unused credit cards – carefully -and then keeping an eye on them may help avoid problems. Too many cards closed close together will hurt your credit score.

As parents get older, they may be less aware of changing interest rates, fraud attempts, or other money-management obstacles. Parents, and children, need to be alert that your online presence is available now-something that we may not be used to. Our spending , banking and browsing habits are tracked This can improve your finances in 2016, but may also hurt you. Be aware that nearly anything can end up public, or compromised.

If you get benefits and work, including time off, make sure you take them.  Many Americans give up paid days off, thinking that this will help the company. In reality, having some time off helps you be more productive, which will improve your finances in 2016 .  Also, many other bills, like cell phones, may offer you a discount for your job -make sure you’re taking advantage of it. Insurance, in case of disability, may be less expensive through your employer than anywhere else. And a matching incentive for retirement is something to consider, as well-you can nearly double the amount that you save, leaving you money to improve your finances in 2016 in other ways.

[Read: Finding A Financial Advisor You Can Trust]

Fun ways to save time and money

Peer pressure can be a good thing! While helping you  improve your finances in 2016, these can improve your friendship, and give you more satisfaction in life, as well.

  • Sharing your financial goals withe family, friends, and even social media will give you the sense of responsibility to meet them.
  • Cut down on your gym membership costs: you and your friends challenge friends and family for fitness goals.
  • Unsubscribing from email lists that you do not want, ads from products you may have bought one time, or ads that tempt you to spend outside your budget.  Many online tools will help you unsubscribed to these.
  • A quick visit with an accountant may save you time on taxes.  With the changing laws you may be eligible for a different household status, and consider filing electronically.

Reasons for Denials of an Increase in Your Credit Limit

There are times in which you will want, or need an increase in your credit limit, but there are many reasons why that may be denied. Some reasons you may want or need an increase is if you are planning a big trip, and you want enough cushion in the card to cover any unexpected charges and expenses. Or you have a big purchase that you have to make, such as an emergency, like a new roof on your house or a major car repair.

Factors to Consider in Denials.

  • You have been late
  • You have to many open accounts
  • Your credit score is to low
  • You have major delinquencies on other accounts

Besides the important ones mentioned above, and discussed in detail below. There are other reasons that your request is denied, such as you have sought to many new accounts in to short a period of time, or your income has decreased and you cannot justify the increase in your credit limit, your monthly payments have been to low, or only the minimum. Another less obvious one is that you have many open cards with to much available credit, this could indicate that you are having a financial set back.

increase in your credit limit

[Read: Find Out About Credit Cards in Your Name]

1. You have been late

This may seem obvious, but lets talk about it, if you continue to show a pattern of late payments, not only on the card you are seeking an increase on, but on any other accounts that you have open, remember, the first place the company will check is your credit report, and the open accounts and their history, if there is a pattern of late payments, this will be the reason for your denial. One thing that most overlook is the importance of making payments by their due date, each and every month, regardless. The occasional late payment should not be the death nil, but a long term pattern will insure your denial.

2. You have to many open accounts

In the last couple of years you have applied and received new credit, or not received new credit, may be a big reason you are not getting a requested increase in an existing account. All these new account inquires will have a detrimental effect on your credit score and will be a causing factor in your denial of increase in your current credit limit. When applying for a credit card, ask them to do a soft pull, which may be a way to avoid the hit on your credit score. Not all companies will do this for you though, and you have to ask.

3. You credit score is to low

You may be denied for the basic reason that your score is just to low. You should explore options to increase your score, such as paying off debt that you can, consolidation, so that you do not have to many open account, and to many payments, which can lead to missed payments and late payments that can really impact your credit score, and keep it from increasing. Or you may want to consider a more permanent solution, and file bankruptcy, get a fresh start, and begin anew.

4. You have major delinquencies on other accounts

For example, if you have major late payments on a house, or car, or deficient balances on old cars that were repossessed, or homes that were foreclosed on, you can essentially guarantee that you will not get that increase requested. You should pull your credit report, once every year, but once before your request, to be sure all things are in order before you pick up that phone and ask for that increase in your credit limit, knowing first, will avoid the embarrassment and, will give you a chance to fix what may be lacking in your overall report.

[Read: Finding the Best Cash Back Credit Cards]

Conclusion

In sum, there are many small factors, and a few big ones that will effect your outcome on your request for an increase in your credit limit. Your card may be to new, to warrant an increase regardless of how good your credit is otherwise, or there was a recent increase already. Or your income is just to low. But the big ones mentioned above will have the greatest impact. You have to many late payments and a late history on all of your accounts. You have to many open accounts, with to much credit already available to you, or you credit score is just to low to justify the increase and lastly there may be some major delinquencies that need to be addressed and taken care of in some other means in order for your credit report and score to grow in step. Finding, and addressing these issues is of utmost importance and should be done before you make any applications for an increase in your credit limit.