Monthly Archives: November 2018

Personal Finance Tips

Personal management of finances is not always easy. In fact, many people are having a hard time taking charge over money-matters and some even end up spending more than what they earn despite having a budget plan. What can you do to manage your finances more effectively? The right strategies are essential in order to make things work. Consider the following finance tips from the experts:

Set a definite goal. What would you like to achieve within the next 3 or 6 months or year? Setting a definite goal is important in order to create a suitable plan. For example, if you currently have unpaid debts with multiple creditors, then debt repayment should be your top priority. On the other hand, if you don’t have outstanding debts to pay, perhaps you want to work on building up your savings account. Other goals to consider is saving up money to improve the house, buy a home or car, start a small business, etc. The type of financial plan you need will depend on what you want to achieve.

Be ready to give up some things. In an effort to cut down your expenses, you should be prepared to give up some things that you may want, but not really need. Self-discipline is always necessary to make a budget plan work. For instance, if you have been used to going out to the movies or partying with your friends every weekends, perhaps you may consider doing it only once or twice a month to save money. Little sacrifices will go a long way and you just have to recognize the more important things from the not so important ones.

Monitor your spending for the next 2 months. Creating a suitable budget plan is a challenge in itself because financial situations and capabilities vary from one person to another. You might need to observe your own spending habits for the next month or two. Be sure to write down all your expenses, from big purchases down to the smallest cents. Making a list of your expenditures is the best way to see where your money goes. You might be surprised to discover later on that many items on your list are not really that important in your life, but eating up a large portion of your earnings. Based on your list, you will be able to make some adjustments and changes where needed.

Collaborate with your family members. If you are living with your family, it’s important to discuss your budgeting plan with everyone, especially with your children, so that everyone can do his/her own share to make the plan a success. Talking money-matters with the family is healthy because the children will be able to see the importance of following a budget plan and the why it’s important to save money.

Eliminate extra fees from your bills. If you can avoid the interest rate charges from your credit cards as well as late penalty fees on all your bills, you will be able to save a significant amount of money in a year. You can eliminate unnecessary fees by paying your monthly credit card balance in full and paying all your creditors on or before your due date. This might sound like an obvious strategy but many consumers are prone to paying late fees and interest rates which is a complete waste of money.

Home Finance Tip

This weeks home finance tip deals with saving. For more than 25% of Americans, a savings account is non-existent in their lives. Although saving for a rainy day isn’t something we like to do, it is one of the most essential financial activities to safeguard our future.

Financial advisors differ on how much money we need in our emergency funds but they seem to agree on a 6 to 10 month range. How do you calculate that? First you have to know how much you spend each month. You will always estimate low so get your bank and credit card statements out and add it all up. Take that number and multiply it by 8 months (or somewhere in that 6 to 10 range) and that’s your goal. Once you’re there, keep it in a savings account. It can’t be tied up in a CD and you can’t risk losing it in the stock market. (By the way, I strongly suggest that you add disability insurance to your monthly expenses. It’s cheap and if you became sick or hurt, the monthly bills will be out of your mind)

Now that we know how much you should save, you brain might be in overdrive thinking about how you will fund your savings account. It’s going to take discipline but here’s a fun way that will put some big money in your savings account over time. You can think of it as my Chick-fil-a method. I love Chick fil a in part because the food is good (hey chick fil a, are you reading?) but also because they give out coupons all the time. I would have gone to Chick Fil a and paid full price without the coupon but with it, I saved $4. That $4 goes in to my savings account. Because I put everything on my credit card and pay it off at the end of the month, I get rewards points. I always buy $50 gift certificates with those points. Guess where that $50 goes? Let’s take it a little further. Rather than going to Chick Fil a and getting a chicken sandwich and waffle fries and a diet coke for $9, I go to the grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken breasts and a couple of potatoes and drink water. First, I’m saving calories but I also saved $5 by not eating out. I ironed my own shirt rather than taking it to the dry cleaner, $2. So let’s see; in this article alone I saved $70 and have a sizeable amount for my savings account.

Keep a 1 week journal and see what you can do to pay yourself. It’s fun, it’s a challenge, and you will feel better about getting closer to your financial goal. We are not in an economy where we can count on having a job tomorrow. Economists predict that 1 out of every 10 working Americans will not be working before this recession is over. Don’t forget about this week’s home finance tip. If you need it, you will be grateful that you have it.

Financing Tips For Buying a Used Car

While buying a used car you can not only save thousands of dollars in depreciation, taxes and factory costs, but also wind up spending more on your financing. As new car manufacturers lure buyers with 0% interest rates and no-money-down offers, it’s hard to find a better deal when you’re purchasing a used vehicle.

If you’re planning to buy a used car, keep reading for some financing tips that will save you money.

1. Shop Around for a Better Rate

If you need to obtain financing for your used car purchase, try shopping around for the best rate. While the dealership may often offer you a good financing option, you should to check with your bank and other lending institutions to see if they can do better.

Other car financing options that may get you a better rate include a line of credit, which can sometimes be as low as 5%, or simply offer a low-interest home equity line of credit loan from your lending institution.

A slight drop in the interest rate can save hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars over the life of the loan, so this is a worthwhile investigation.

2. Be Ready to Walk

If you’re obtaining financing directly through the used car dealership and you’re not happy with the offered rate, be ready to politely walk away from the deal. Most dealerships would rather lower their interest rate by a half point or full point than see a potential sale walk through the exit door – especially in tough economic times like today when gasoline prices are so high and car sales are low.

Additionally, if you are able to wait until the end of a month to buy from a dealer, you may have some additional leverage with salesmen who are under pressure to meet a monthly or quarterly quota.

3. Pay in Cash

The best way to save on financing costs is to avoid financing and credit all together. If you can do it, pay in cash.

Let’s say you’re buying a five-year-old Civic for about $10,000 – that can be saved up in a year at a rate of about $833 per month or two years at $416 per month. Rather than taking out a car loan, put that money in a high interest-yielding savings account and you’ll reach your goal even faster.

4. Pay it Off Fast

If you can afford to do it, the faster you pay off your car, the less you pay in interest and financing costs. While it would be unwise to stretch your family budget too tight in an effort to pay off your vehicle, you should avoid long-term financing that drags on for four or five years.

5. Refinance Down the Road

Let’s say you need a new used car this year but you’ve just put money in the house, perhaps had a baby, had a dip in your credit rating and money is tight. Well, you might accept a higher interest rate now, but in a year – once things improve – you should investigate the prospect of refinancing that loan with another lending institution that can offer you a lower interest rate.

First Home Financing Tips

When buying a home for the first time most people will not know how the process works and what is necessary to complete the process. Buying and financing a new home is a long and involved process and having a few first home financing tips could help make the process go a bit smoother. These could also ease a lot of stress.

A first time buyer is someone who has never bought a home before. A realtor is an asset because their job is help buyers through this process. They have been through the buying and financing process many times and will be a wealth of knowledge on how to get through the process smoothly and how to make sure you are able to get financing.

Your credit score will be a vital number in determining if you can get financing or not. A credit score is based on many different factors such as type of credit, balances on in checking and savings accounts as well as credit cards and your payment history. The cleaner your history, the better the chance for a good outcome when it comes to financing.

A credit score will determine whether or not you can even get financed. If you number is too low, you may be denied. The interest rate of your loan will be based on your credit score. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate because the risk is not as great.

Even if you are financing a home, money will be needed. There are going to be many different costs that will need to be paid upfront. Earnest money will need to be put down. This is money will let the sellers know that you are serious about purchasing the home. The majority of homes will need a home inspection. This will have to be paid for at the time the inspection is done. These only cost a few hundred dollars but some new buyers do not know this is needed.

A down payment may be needed. It is hard to get a mortgage that will cover 100% of the loan price. Twenty percent is the recommended amount needed to be put down on a home but this number can vary by lender.

When trying to finance a new home, it is not as simple as calling a bank and asking for the money. Many factors will go into determining whether or not someone will qualify for a home loan. To prepare, have a clean credit history and have some money saved.