Personal Finance Archives

4 Ways to Get Through a Financial Emergency

canstockphoto6226763How do you get through a Financial Emergency? Just when you think you are on top of your finances and things are going smoothly, disaster strikes. It could be something as minor as getting a flat tire on your way to work or something big such as job loss or a medical emergency. If you plan ahead, you’ll get through it, even if you are going through hard times.

The purpose of creating a budget is to save money for the unexpected. Most financial gurus agree that everyone should have an emergency fund that will cover their expenses for at least six months. Even if you are doing well with your savings, it doesn’t mean that you should stop adding money to it.

Here are some tips on how to get through a Financial Emergency whether you think you are prepared or are in deep debt:

 

Review Your Budget

Although, you may have enough money in your emergency fund to pay for car repairs, you will still need to prepare yourself in case anything else happens. What if you or your loved ones are faced with a medical emergency that your insurance company won’t cover or what would you do if you were laid off from your job today? You will need to find ways to readjust your budget.

Reducing the amount of money that you spend on your cable bill is a great way to save money. If your contract has expired with your current provider, you can ask for a smaller plan or eliminate the service all together. You can also contact your cellular phone and internet service provider and ask for cheaper plans or find another company that has better deals.

Canceling magazine or newspaper subscriptions can also save you some money. There is a good chance that there are free online newspapers and websites where you will find the same information for free.

 

Earn Extra Money

If you are currently without a job, there are still ways you can earn some extra cash. You can provide a cleaning service, wash cars or provide a dog walking service for your neighbors. If you would like to make money in your pajamas, there are easy ways you can make money online. If you have items in your home that’s no longer in use, sell it on eBay. There is a good chance that someone is looking for that item as long as it’s in good condition.

You can even use your skills to make money as a freelancer. Check out places such as taskrabbit, fiverr, eLance and oDesk.

 

What if you don’t have enough money to cover the expenses?

Negotiate the Payments

If you are faced with high credit card bills or are behind on your mortgage, contact the company as soon as possible. Ask if there is a way that you can pay a lower monthly payment until your financial situation improve. Most companies will work with you, especially if you have a good history of making your payments on time.

If you had a medical emergency that’s not covered by your health insurance company, contact the financial department of the medical facility and ask if there is a way you can pay in monthly installments until it’s paid off. However, if the payment is more than you can afford, find out if there is a way you can send a lower amount.

 

Ask for Help

If you are going through hard times, swallow your pride and ask for help. Find out if there are charities in your area that donate food and clothing. If you have a disability, visit the Social Security Administration to sign up for SSI and food stamps. This will help out with your household expenses until you are able to get back on your feet.

 

These are a few ways to get you through a Financial Emergency. It may seem impossible at first, but if you follow these tips, you will become debt free before you know it.

What are the Costs of Having a Baby?

canstockphoto18071332If you are planning to have a baby in the near future, there are some things you will need to plan for. Making the decision to have a child is a major step in your life. Having a new born will change every aspect of your life, especially when it comes to your finances. In fact, it will get very expensive. The examples below will give you an idea of the Costs of Having a Baby.

 

Babies will need formula (if you choose not to breastfeed) and diapers. These two items are expensive. Your infant will need to be fed and changed continuously. Once your baby become a toddler, he or she will begin to eat table food. This will add more to the grocery bill, especially if you buy jarred baby food.

Clothing is another expense that you will have to consider. Babies grow very fast and will require you to buy them in a bigger size sooner than you realize. Clothes can be purchased at thrift stores to minimize the costs. It is not unusual for children to grow three or four sizes or even more within the first year. The price of clothing will get more expensive as children get older.

Do you have insurance? Medical insurance is needed to cover the expenses of  your pregnancy and the birth of your child. Typical pregnancies require between twelve and fifteen visits, depending on your doctor’s requests and the development of your pregnancy. If you have a high risk pregnancy, you will need to see a doctor more often which leads to more expenses.

If you are without medical insurance, the visits to the doctor’s office will add up to a lot of your out of pocket expenses. Medical insurance is also highly recommended for the birth of your child. Having good medical coverage will ensure that most of the expenses are covered.

After the baby is born, there will be several visits to the doctor to ensure that your baby is developing well. Most medical insurance companies will fully cover the visits to the pediatrician. If the insurance company won’t cover 100% of the costs, then you will just have to pay a small out-of-pocket co-pay. If you don’t have insurance, the visits are not covered and you are responsible for all of the procedures and the vaccinations that’s given to your child.

If you and your spouse or partner both have jobs, then you will need to pay for child care expenses. The price of a day care is almost as expensive as making monthly car payments. You can cut your expenses by working opposite work shifts.

 

Making the decision to have a child should be taken seriously. Many people are not aware of the Costs of Having a Baby and what it will take to raise a child. When you have a baby, you will have to put his or her needs before your own. Talk to friends and family members who have small children to prepare yourself for the physical, emotional and financial expenses that may lie ahead for you.

canstockphoto4510251You are so excited about your upcoming wedding. There are a list of things to do such as the catering, fitting of the wedding dress, tuxedo, rehearsals, invitations and so on. When you are planning for your wedding, the last thing you would like to think about is what should happen in case of a divorce.

As people are going into marriages these days with almost the same income levels, it is best to be honest with one another and have a discussion on how they would like their financial situation to be in case they decide to get a divorce.

Marriage is often the most significant financial decision to make. There may be some major changes depending on how the bills will be split and the assets that you will build together. Of course, the topic of Prenuptial Agreements is scary for both parties. However, if you’ve accumulated assets prior to the marriage, you should consider protecting what you worked so hard for.

Negotiating a Prenuptial Agreement  is the most common way for a couple to make a decision on how they would want to proceed financially in the event of a divorce. A Prenup is a legally binding contract that’s signed by both parties. It is always a good idea for each future spouse to have their own attorney to represent their best interests when the contract is drawn up.

There are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re considering a Prenup. The first thing to do is to make sure that all financial assets and property be disclosed and addressed in the agreement. There have been many cases where the courts refused to enforce a Prenuptial Agreement because one party failed to list a major asset.

Furthermore, the agreement can’t be entirely one-sided or unreasonable. For instance, there have been examples where a court decided to dismiss it on the grounds that the contract was unfair to one of the parties in the marriage. If the arrangement in the Prenuptial Agreement will leave one spouse empty handed after the divorce, then there is a good chance that it won’t be upheld in a court of law.

Some issues are not in the contract. Custody and visitation rights of children that were born during the marriage cannot be decided by a Prenup.  A Family Court judge will make a decision based on which party should get custody based on the best interest of the children.

Getting a Prenuptial Agreement has it’s pros and cons:

 

Pros:

-It can help each party maintain any financial assets that was accrued before the marriage.

-The spouse who becomes a full-time homemaker is entitled to alimony to rebuild his or her life once the divorce is final.

-It can make the divorce process go much quickly and reduce the emotional toll on both spouses.

 

Cons:

-It can be uncomfortable to bring up the topic in the months leading up to the wedding.

-Having this discussion could create animosity and distrust between the future spouses.

 

It is difficult to discuss the topic of a Prenuptial Agreement right in the middle of planning your wedding. You should keep in mind that unexpected issues may come up in your marriage that’s beyond your control that sometimes will lead to a divorce. It shouldn’t be viewed as a solution that will cover every issue that may arise during the divorce proceeding. In many cases, it can be a great way to protect both parties in case the unthinkable should happen.

 

 

canstockphoto2014300You have all that Loose Change sitting at the bottom of your purse, in your pants pocket or even find them between the seats of your sofa. What do you do with all of these coins? Do you save it or toss it aside? Saving change may not seem like much. After all, it’s just a few extra pennies here and there. But if you were to collect all of the change and add it up, you might be surprised at how much money will be saved up . It could be enough to take your friend out to lunch or buy yourself something special.

It won’t feel like it cost anything since this money was just sitting and not included in your budget.

Many people often treat Loose Change like it’s not real money. After all, what difference can a few cents make? As a result, it usually end up in the hands of the kids, on the counter or you allow the cashier to keep it. Collecting your change can add up quickly and pay for some extras that aren’t included in your budget.

Think about how much change that you collect in a month, or over a year. Even a few pennies here and there can make a difference and will add up in several months. If you find a way to start saving all of your coins, you could always put some aside for something fun such as a family outing.

The downside to this is your loose change will take time to count, depending on how much you’ve accumulated and it takes up a lot of room. You can easily solve these problems by counting it on your day off from work and by creating a designated place to keep it. Get a big jar and place the change in it until there is enough money to spend on groceries or whatever purchases that you would like to make.

You are probably not the only person in your household who’s spending money and carrying loose change in your pockets. There is a good chance that your spouse and kids have it too. You can increase your savings even more by getting everyone together to participate by placing their coins in the change jar. Place the jar where everyone can find it and put their left over change in the jar each day. You can add it up altogether as a family and plan what to do with it when the jar is full.

Set aside time each week or month to roll the coins that you already have. That way it won’t become a tedious task once the jar is full. Rolling your coins will help you keep track of how much money that you’ve saved.

You will have enough to spend on fun things like going to an amusement park . On the other hand, you can save it for a trip, use it to purchase Christmas gifts or donate to your favorite charity. If your family have a big goal to save for, you should tape a photo of it on the front of the jar to remind everyone to stay on track.

What if you don’t want to spend it? You can choose to let it sit or add it to your savings. Some banks will charge you a small fee for adding pennies or will accept it in limited quantities. Contact them first to find out their policy on depositing change into your account.

Saving your Loose Change will allow you to save up enough money for family outings, vacations and make big and small purchases. The next time you see coins lying around the house, put it in the jar and watch those pennies turn into dollars in no time.

 

 

 

canstockphoto3417830In today’s economy, it is important for moms to look for ways to make their dollars stretch. Being frugal is an excellent way to control your spending habits. Many people mistake frugality for giving up all things that they enjoy the most for the sake of saving a dollar. This is not the case. It actually allows you to look for ways to prevent overspending. There are several methods you can use to save money on your favorite things whether you’re shopping at the supermarket or for clothing.

 

Here are Five Money Saving Tips For Moms to stay on top of their budget:

 

Cook Dinner at Home. Preparing your own home-cooked meals instead of eating out is an excellent way to save you money. The food at restaurants are often overpriced and the portion sizes are not worth the money spent. For example, the price of one adult meal can possibly feed your family for two nights.

 

Clip Coupons. Clipping coupons is an important money saving strategy that will minimize the amount of money that you spend at the grocery store. Perusing flyers, preparing dinner by what’s on sale and using coupons can maximize your savings. Clipping coupons will help lower the cost at the cash register. Many supermarkets also double the face value of coupons up to 99 cents.

 

Pack Your Children’s Lunch. You should pack your children’s lunch rather than have them spend money buying school lunch or at the vending machine. The food and drinks in the vending machine are loaded with sodium and sugar. You will be better off packing their lunch with healthy snacks and avoid the prices of school lunch which have been steadily increasing over the last few years.

 

Make Your Own Coffee. Making your own morning cup of coffee instead of going to the café will add up, especially if you consume it on a daily basis. If your husband has a job and you’re a stay-at-home mom, prepare a travel mug for him as he is getting ready for work instead of spending money for coffee day after day.

 

Shop at Thrift Shops and Close Out Sales For Clothing. Most of the clothing at the thrift stores are gently used. Typically, worn out clothing is not accepted by thrift shop owners. It is possible that you will find brand name clothes at a small fraction of the regular price.

Another way for you to save money on clothing is by looking for close out sales. Find out if there are clothing shops that are going out of business in your area. They often have products at rock bottom prices to get rid of all of the items before they close their shop for good. You can even look for items at places like Walmart and Sears/Kmart on the clearance racks.  Shopping at back to school sales and on major holidays such as labor day and  black out sales will save you money on your favorite designer clothes.

 

Clipping coupons, cooking home-cooked meals for your family, preparing lunch for your children, making your own coffee and shopping at thrift shops are five best Money Saving Tips For Moms. Take these ideas and roll with them. It won’t be long before you will find other ways to save money on your purchases. Your budget will thank you for it.

canstockphoto6563031Are you constantly looking for ways to save money? One of the best ways to keep money in your pockets is by getting Free Samples of everyday items. Many big name companies offer free samples in order to attract customers. Once they get positive feedback from their products, it will tempt the consumers to purchase the full-sized item on a regular basis. There are many places to get samples of household goods, books and even free items from fast food restaurants if you know where to look.

Companies are always developing new products to their line. However, they cannot attract potential customers to make purchases without some type of incentive. For this reason they offer discount coupons and in most cases Free Samples.

 

Here are Four Best  Places to Find Free Samples that will save you money:

 

Visit the website of the manufacturer. If you would like to sign up to receive samples, one of the best ways to do this is by visiting the company’s website. You may be required to fill out a survey to give them information on your daily needs and the type of products that you’re interested in. These surveys are tailored so that you won’t receive samples of items that you won’t use.

Most free products are in small sizes, meaning that it will not last very long. However, it is a good way for you to try the item to see if it meets your needs. That way you nor the company won’t be out of money for the full-sized version if it’s something that you don’t like.

 

Freemania.net  This website is constantly updated with either buy one get one free coupons and free samples. It lists all of the offers on the front page, then redirect you to the surveys to fill out the requests for free products. The items are tailored to your possible use and it does not list any maximum amount of free items that you can receive. You have the option to print the coupons or use your mobile device.

Justfreestuff.com is another website where you can find great selections. You can sign up for their newsletter to receive updates on free and discounted products. There are sweepstakes on the front page of the website that you can enter to win high ticket items such as $500 Gift Cards.

All-Free-Samples.com offer free samples of a wide variety of products. If you find something that you like, all you have to do is click “Get It” and it will redirect you to the company’s website. Some companies require you to login to their website while others don’t. If you would like to stay on top of the latest deals, sign up for their newsletter for the updates.

Beware of sites that are designed to scam consumers. If they ask you to pay for a free sample stay away for them. Free samples are- FREE. If you come across any websites that asks you for your credit card information, move on to the next one. You will be putting yourself at risk of identity theft by giving them your credit card number.

Finding Free Samples online is very easy if you know where to look. Sign up for their newsletters and fill out their surveys to take advantage of their deals so you will enjoy your favorite things free of charge.

Money Management Lesson For Newlyweds

canstockphoto14516096Congratulations on finding that special person that you want to spend your life with. Now that the honeymoon is over, it’s time for you to learn how to adjust to your new life together. It’s time to set yourselves up for a long and successful marriage. Unfortunately, being lovey dovey isn’t enough to keep a marriage together. Having a financial plan should be your top priority when starting your lives together. After all, money problems are the number one cause of divorce for many couples. There are steps you can take to avoid financial conflicts.

Below are some Money Management Tips to get you on track:

 

Set Up a Budget

Sit down together and list all of your household bills along with your weekly expenses. This will give you an idea of where your money is going and things you will need to cut back on. You can write all of this on a sheet of paper or use budgeting software programs such as Quicken Organize Your Money and Quicken Deluxe. There are even budget planners available that will help you stay on top of your finances. If you accumulated debt prior to getting married, you may want to consolidate this debt and pay it off as quickly as possible.

 

Avoid Using Credit Cards

Many people fall into the trap of using their credit cards for nearly everything right down to their morning latte. Although, credit cards are a convenient way to pay bills and everyday purchases, it can also put you in a lot of debt if you are not careful. You should avoid using credit cards since the interest will be charged to your card each month. Keep the card with the lowest interest rate in your wallet to be used in case of an emergency.

 

Open a Savings Account

Opening a savings account should be a top priority on your to do list. This will get you both in the habit of putting money away for vacations, making large purchases and saving up for your retirement. If you are currently in debt, start placing a small amount of money in your account each pay period until it’s paid in full. This will create your nest egg, which will allow you to buy a house, start a family and to pay for activities that you enjoy as a couple. A savings account will also prevent you from accumulating credit card debt.

 

Pay For Your Purchases In Cash

Paying for your purchases in cash will do two things for you:  First, you will find out how far your money really goes. Secondly, you will more than likely avoid making unnecessary purchases. When you are out shopping, carry just enough cash in your wallet for items that you plan to purchase. The less cash you take with you, the less money you will be able to spend. This will allow you to add more to your savings and retirement account.

 

It is common to have some financial difficulties, especially in the beginning of your marriage. By having a budget plan in place and utilizing the Money Management tips above, this will avoid financial conflicts down the road. Living debt free will allow to you enjoy fun things together and grow your nest egg much sooner than you imagined.

 

 

canstockphoto0423929Have you always wanted to be your own boss? Starting your own business will allow you to set your own rules and build wealth at the same time. Starting a Business can be expensive, especially if it’s an offline company. The good news is there are ways you can build your start-up without emptying your wallet. Some will require small capital and others will allow you to use other people’s money. Here are five tips that work:

 

Start Your Business From Home

Starting your business from the comfort of your home is an excellent way to save money on rental space. If you have extra room in your house, you should consider turning that space into a home office. However, some areas have restrictions depending on the type of business you will be running. For example, if you will be having your customers visiting your home, there may be issues with complaints from your neighbors concerning parking space. Make sure that you check with your county office to find out the requirements of starting a home-based business.

 

Borrow Money From Friends and Family

Borrowing money from your friends and family can be one of the best ways to raise money for your start-up business. On the other hand, if you fail to repay their money, this can also cause problems with the relationship of people that you care about the most. You can avoid this by having an agreement in writing on the amount that you owe and when it will be repaid.

 

Get  a Loan

If you don’t have anyone you can ask for money, apply for a small business loan. You will have to show that your company is profitable and have good credit in order to qualify. What if your business is not profitable? Oftentimes, having a good credit history is still enough to help you qualify for the loan.

You can improve your chances of getting accepted by using your personal assets as collateral. For instance, if you have a car that’s worth the amount of the loan, use that to secure it. This will possibly increase your odds of getting the financing.

 

Search For an Investor

There are plenty of places to find them locally or by searching online. Get out and start networking with other business professionals and attend Chamber of Commerce meetings. You should also find yourself a business mentor. They are more familiar with people that are looking to invest their money in small businesses in exchange for a share of the profits.

You must have a business plan to convince them to invest their money in your business. Be very honest since it will leave a negative impression with the investor if you give them information that’s misleading.

Start Out Small

Taking out an equity loan on your home and emptying your savings account is very risky. You can start advertising your business by creating your own flyers if you have a printer. Go door to door and introduce yourself to your potential customers. If you give excellent service, then your customers will recommend your business to others.

 

These are a few of many ways you can Start a Business on a shoestring budget. Using these ideas to your advantage is a great start to building your business empire.

 

6 Ways to Save on Child Care Costs

canstockphoto8769872If you have small children, they need to be watched constantly. Working parents often have to worry about finding someone that’s trustworthy of caring for their little ones. Finding good quality child care without breaking the bank can be a challenge. With the rising cost of child care it is not unusual for parents to spend almost their entire paycheck on child care expenses. This will often cause frustration and leave them wondering what to do next.

There are creative ways for you to save money on Child Care Costs if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some methods to help you get ahead of the game and will also give you a peace of mind knowing that your child is getting the best possible care.

 

Hire a Family Member

Having reliable relatives that are willing to care for your children is one of the best ways to save on Child Care Costs. If grandma and grandpa is retired, ask them if they can care for the children while you’re at work. Paying them a fraction of what you were paying the child care facility and providing food and other necessities will help them out, especially if they are on a fixed income.

 

Get Help From Your Job

Dependent Child Care Spending is a program that allows employees to put some money aside to pay for their child care expenses. The money is deducted so you won’t notice it. This will enable you to budget the rest of your take home pay accordingly to meet your needs.

 

One Spouse Stays Home With The Kids

Although, being a stay-at-home mom or dad is a good option, it is not always possible. Talk it over with your spouse and work out a budget beforehand to see if it will work. The spouse that makes the most money will obviously continue to keep working while the other stay home and take care of the children. You should also have an understanding on who will do the majority of the household chores. This will allow the working spouse to work longer hours to bring home more money.

 

Share a Nanny

If you have close friends or relatives that are also looking for someone to care for their children, you can split the cost of hiring a nanny. She can watch children for both of you when needed. Nannies are a bit more expensive, but sharing the expenses will help you out a lot.

 

Make Extra Money

Nowadays, there are numerous ways to make some extra money online. What skills do you have? If you like to write, there are freelance websites like Elance.com, iWriter.com and Articlez.com where people will pay you to write articles for them. Elance also hire website designers, computer programmers and other countless positions. If you have collectibles and other items around the house that you no longer need, you can sell them on eBay. These jobs alone can possibly take care of the child care expenses.

 

Switch Work Shifts

It is great for both parents to work the shame shifts to enjoy family time in the evening, but this is not always possible. Working opposite shifts can minimize the amount of time that your children spend at day care. You can also ask your employer if your job can become a telecommuting position. Working from home a few times per week will help you out tremendously.

If you use one or more of these ideas to pay for your Child Care Cost, this will possibly save you at least $100 dollars per month while giving your children the best care.

canstockphoto8526950Whether you are young or old, there is a good chance that you had to visit the doctor or have been hospitalized for an illness at least once in your lifetime. Once the bill arrived, you asked yourself why is the bill so high and how are you going to pay it. You may be tempted to ignore the bill, but doing this can affect your credit. If you haven’t signed up for Obamacare or your insurance was cancelled for whatever reason, there are ways for you to consolidate your medical expenses.

Here are 7 Simple Ways to Pay Off Your Medical Bills.

 

1. When you first notice that you are going to have problems paying your medical debt, you should get on the phone right away. Contact the financial department of the medical facility and let them know your situation. Ask if there is a way that you can make monthly payments until it’s paid in full. If you already have a household budget in place, this will give you an idea on the amount that can go towards the medical expenses and when it will be paid off.

 

2. Check again with your insurance company if you were denied. You should review your policy to be sure what is covered and at what percentage. You have the right to appeal the decision while investigating other means of assistance. There may have been something that was overlooked or other mishaps that have taken place.

 

3. Most Doctor’s Offices are approachable for debt payments. You can avoid this altogether, by finding out their payment options before your visit. Many offer a credit program to their patients. Make sure you are clear on the amount you will have to pay if you’re qualified. However, if you are denied, then ask about other payment options.

4. Use your credit cards. This should be used with caution. Many credit card companies offer a no interest rate for the first twelve months. You can pay on the Medical Bills and use the first year to work out a plan for getting the credit card paid off before the interest rate is added.

5. Apply for a loan. A loan will help you do a couple of things: consolidate your debt and set up reasonable payments for you. Visit your bank or credit union and ask about their loan program. Credit Unions usually have lower interest rates than credit card companies and medical debt programs. You can decide which day of the month that your payment is due and also negotiate how long it will take to pay back the loan.

6. Seek Government Assistance. It is available to help repay medical debts. If you are unable to work based on a disability, apply for SSI at the Social Security Administration in your local area. If you are qualified, then any outstanding debts will possibly get repaid by Medicaid.

7. Contact a debt consolidation agency. This is a good choice if you have a busy schedule or unable do this on your own. Make sure that you speak with a medical debt counselor before signing any documents. You will be given a list of resources that’s based on your financial situation that can be helpful and it won’t cost you anything to participate.

Paying off your outstanding Medical Bills isn’t difficult. If you use one or more of these methods, this will avoid getting annoying phone calls from the bill collectors and keep your credit in good standing

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