New Years Resolutions

With the start of a new year, we have the opportunity to develop new habits and right old wrongs. Many people use this opportunity to set resolutions but according to a 2012 University of Scranton study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only eight percent of all people who set resolutions for themselves actually apply them, so let’s start by trying to get into that hallowed eight percent.

Here are a few basic tips for setting resolutions:

  • ID-10056825Set realistic financial goals. It is well and good to aim high but we would be better served playing to our restrictions. If you’re stuck with credit card debt or are in the market for a house, look into areas which can do with a little waist tightening. And adjust only so much as you can sustain for the entire year. It does no good to set impossible goals, unless you have specific action steps attached in how you will attain those goals. Confucius said, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
  • Manage your credit card spending. You will only accumulate more debt if you are not attentive. Exploit credit cards to your own advantage by signing up for rewards programs which give you points which can be used on your next holiday shopping spree. Look for discounts for cardholders. Also, make it a rule to [click to continue…]


Are you so deep in debt that you are having trouble paying your bills and creditors are sending you notices? In such severe cases, you may need to resort to debt relief. Most individuals face financial crisis at some point in their life. It may be caused by overspending, illness or unemployment. A debt ridden situation can be stressful and difficult to handle. The approach, which you should take for debt relief largely depends on your level of debt. By adopting an effective debt relief approach, you can improve your credit score.

Manage debt wisely

ID-100146099Several effective steps to manage your debt:

  • The first step, which you can take, is to develop a budget, You can use computer tools or a simple paper system. Either way It will help you analyze your spending patterns and see where your money is going.
  • If you are finding it difficult to manage debt you can contact your creditors. They may be able to create a payment plan that will reduce payments till they are more manageable.
  • There are two types of debt, either secured or unsecured. Secured debts are linked with assets which serve as collateral such as a mortgage.  If you fail to make payments on secured debt your home may get foreclosed or lenders may take possession of your car. Thus, it is important to manage home and auto loans effectively for debt relief.

How credit counseling helps

Credit counseling plays a vital role as a debt relief service.

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Christmas ShoppingJust like Santa, you should be checking your list more than once to see what you should really be buying this holiday season. With all the hype of Christmas, it is really easy to get carried away in the spending department without tight purse strings and conviction to save. Even the most frugal shoppers can let themselves get caught up in the love and joy of spending money on Christmas presents, so how can you save money when shopping for Christmas presents?

  • Make A List Of People You Are Buying For – Make a list of each person you are buying for this year and set price limits for each person that reflects a realistic budget. If you have $200 to spend and 10 people to buy for, that is $20 per person. Think of the people on your list, do you need to buy them something or could you craft something up at home instead?
  • Prioritize Your List – If you are buying for the kids, co-workers, or extended family, [click to continue…]


Buying property is an important decision, it involves a huge amount of money (perhaps the biggest purchase of your life). Usually this means, you need to apply for a loan. Once you get your loan preapproval, there are many things that you need to keep in mind. The following  article highlights those important points.

Key1So, read on… Congratulations, you have got your loan preapproval! Finally, your dream of buying a house or investing in real estate has turned into a reality. Arranging for financing is one of the most important tasks that every property buyer wishes to complete without any hurdles. But, once you get loan preapproval, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind as a preapproval letter mentions that if any major changes occur in your finances, this can have an impact on your final preapproval status. Hence, to avoid any problems don’t do anything that could adversely affect your credit rating. [click to continue…]


Simple calculations suggest that it’s better to repay debt before saving for an emergency fund or retirement. When the savings rate that you earn is 1% and you owe credit card debt at 18% interest, money is certainly better spent in repaying your debt obligations. Nevertheless, making the best personal finance decisions is not so simple and this might not be the right choice for everybody. You might feel content by throwing the Starbucks reminders (or coupons)  into Save money while paying down debtthe trash can but will that step reduce your debt?

Debt, unless you attend to it and take some rock solid steps against it, will never stop irritating you.  We all wish debt was out of our lives but very few of us can pay it down with enough determination to get the job done. If you’re serious about debt-fighting here are the steps that you need to take  in order to repay debt while saving money:

  1. Pay off more than the minimums: You should first eliminate the habit of paying only the minimum required every month. Although the banks and the credit card issuing companies only ask you to pay the minimum, this is nothing but a strategy that they use to keep you forever paying but never getting out of debt.
  2. In this case [click to continue…]


Relocating to a new city is stressful enough. When you add packing, moving and unpacking on top of it, it’s easy to understand why you’re feeling so crazed. According to experts, moving is the third most stressful thing in life, following death and divorce. No matter how organized you are, there are emotions involved in any move. You are sad, you’re anxious and you’re worried about fitting into your neighborhood, your new job and your new life.

6006802810_c9e2f265d1_nIf you’re moving into a new house, it’s not your house, you haven’t made it your own yet by personalizing it with your stuff. If that house was recently vacated by another family it may still retain their personality. One of the best things that you can do to calm yourself down is to make your new house your own as soon as possible. Forget unpacking and arranging furniture, use these tips to feel at home in your new space.

1. Clean

It doesn’t matter if the previous occupants scrubbed the house from top to bottom, you’ll still want to [click to continue…]


If you’ve seen the prices of airline flights lately, you won’t be surprised that 80 percent of travelers drive to their vacation destination. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average American family takes 4.5 trips per year, and most of them are shorter-distance road trips. Unfortunately, what families gain in savings and convenience puts them at risk for car accidents. If you’re on the road or out of state and you find yourself in a collision, it can turn your vacation upside down in a moment. It’s important to understand your rights when you’re far from home.

Understand the Local Traffic Laws

Car accident in the snowState regulations can vary on important road safety issues, and you need to know whether you or the person you were involved in an accident with was actually breaking the law. Some states have mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle drivers, but others don’t. Some states have primary seat belt laws, but not all. Drunk driving laws may be different. Cell phone laws can be different. Local police may not exactly be forgiving if you simply don’t know the law, which is why it’s important to learn these things beforehand. But if you were involved in an accident with someone exhibiting reckless or inebriated behavior, it’s smart to know the consequences they face. [click to continue…]


Investing in real estate isn’t the slam dunk that it was in the past. Television shows popularized the notion of house flipping, which involved buying a property at a low price, making a few changes and selling it for a bundle. When the bottom dropped out of the housing market, many of those flippers found themselves stuck with the homes, and even as the market rebounds, you need to keep a few things in mind before investing in any piece of property.

Not Every Feature Increases Value

Real EstateIf you hope to buy and flip a home, you should know that not every feature you add will increase the value of the property. A new kitchen with granite counters might look nice, but you need to ask yourself if shoppers really care about those features. Take into account the value of the house and the surrounding neighborhood before you start the renovation process. Do Home Improvements Add Value?

Be Wary of Cheap Property

Cash for home companies advertise online, on buses, and right on the side of the street “we buy houses!”, but you might not realize how those businesses work. Often these companies offer a low price for a home and prey on those in difficult situations. They often buy from people filing for bankruptcy, or in the middle of a divorce because they know they can get a lower price. These companies will often sweep in and buy up a large number of properties, making it harder for smaller investment companies to survive. Be wary of where you get your property from and make sure to do the proper homework before [click to continue…]


Saving On Travel Insurance

What Does a Good Travel Insurance Policy Cover?

Before you hastily click, ‘no travel insurance,’ on your travel itineraries, you may want to give it another thought. It’s instinctual to say no, but you may want to consider the protection especially if you have a particularly active or long trip ahead of you. If you’re traveling with your family, you have a dozen more reasons to get travel insurance. You don’t want to tempt fate or jinx yourself, but if you just so happen to need a life flight from the hike you were planning, you’ll be glad you spent a few more dollars to insure you don’t get a whopping medical bill to take home with the rest of your souvenirs.

airlinerTravel Insurance isn’t just for pessimists; it’s for people who aren’t willing to gamble with the real possibility that the safety nets we spend so much to provide ourselves with in the states won’t be available to us overseas. If you do decide to opt for travel insurance, make sure you look into what it will cover. Not all travel insurance packages are created equally, and if it’s being sold in a vending machine at the airport, you may want to be a little cautious. Instead, plan ahead and do your homework. You don’t want to pay for coverage you already have, and you want to make sure you do have what you’ll need for your specific trip. Here are some basics you’ll want to consider and make sure that you know how your travel insurance company is providing coverage.


Medical Coverage

Before you decide on travel insurance medical coverage:

Crossie's CrashAsk your current health insurance provider whether [click to continue…]

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As the housing market rebuilds, there are many investors buying up properties and there is even a housing shortage in some areas. Therefore, sellers are able to pick and choose their buyers, unlike in the past few years where buyers were able to pick and choose the sellers. In a sellers market, you will find rejected offers are more common. This is especially true for those making an offer with a “Loan Contingency” i.e. your offer is subject to you being approved for the loan, rather than being a “cash buyer”. But there are ways you can increase your chances of being approved regardless of whether or not you have cash in hand.

Get Pre-Approved, Not Pre-Qualified

for sale by ownerThey may sound similar, but to a seller the buyer with a pre-approval is more valuable than someone who has just pre-qualified for a loan. Pre-qualification just means that a lender has given you a rough estimate of how much you can borrow and has based all this on just your word (or even an internet application). Pre-approved means that they have looked at your credit report and are definitely willing to loan you money (as long as the house you choose to buy is worth it). Actually, as long as the house is worth the loan amount plus however much the bank requires as a down payment.

If you put yourself in [click to continue…]


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