Category Archives: Personal Finance

Tips for Borrowing Money Intelligently

It would be lovely if we always had enough money for the things we need, but that is not always the case. Whether it is for a home, a new car, a large purchase or to pay for education, most of us will need to borrow money from time to time. This could be as little as a few dollars for groceries, or up to thousands of dollars for a larger purchase.

However, you need to tread lightly when borrowing, and only do so after some careful consideration. You should always borrow money affordably and from a lender you can trust. In an effort to help you out, here are some helpful tips to make sure you are borrowing intelligently.

Know the Available Options

The first key to borrowing money intelligently is to make sure you know the options you have. The good news is that you have a lot of choices. When it comes to loans, you can choose from secured loans, title loans for bad credit, or standard unsecured personal loans. The right choice depends on your unique situation. Some people might prefer getting a secured loan for the cheaper rate, while others might not be comfortable putting up collateral that they could potentially lose.

In general, you want to go with an option that costs you as little as possible. The lower the rate and more friendly the terms, the better. Of course, if you ever go with a secured option like a title loan or a home equity loan, be sure to make the necessary payments on time and in full. If you don’t, you could end up losing what you put up for collateral.

Shop Around

Next, you want to be sure to shop around and consider different lenders. If you simply go with the first lender you find, you may be leaving better offers on the table elsewhere. When it comes to how you compare one offering to another, you generally want to look at the interest rates and terms. The lower the rate, the more affordable the loan will be over time.

In addition to rates, be sure to shop around based on things such as lender reputation, loan term, lender experience and how comfortable you are with a particular lender. Sure, this search can add time to the process, but is generally worth it to get a better deal. There will likely be several lenders in your local area, so be sure to reach out to as many as you need to until you find one you are comfortable with. Also, don’t forget about online lenders. They can provide a variety of benefits as well, and are quickly becoming a popular option.

Only Borrow What You Need

While there are several financial mistakes you can make, one of the biggest is to borrow more money than you need. You should know exactly what amount you need to borrow, and that is all you should borrow. With rates low, the temptation can certainly be there to borrow more for other things you may want. However, this is almost always a poor decision.

The more you borrow, the more you will be required to pay back (plus interest). Also, be sure to figure out the repayment amounts for the amount you borrow. The last thing you want is to borrow an amount that leads to payments you can hardly keep up with. If you borrow too much, paying it back can be an expensive and potentially long process, and can make saving money or reaching other financial goals nearly impossible.

Ensure You Are Aware of All the Fees

Another tip is to make sure that you are aware of any and all fees associated with your loan. While not every loan will come with a lot of fees, some will. This could be a prepayment fee, a late payment fee, an origination fee and even an application fee. While these might be small individually, they can be significant if enough of them are added on. 

Many of these fees will only be mentioned in the fine print of your loan agreement or application, so be sure to be thorough when reading any contract before you sign. While some might be required, you could enquire about potentially waiving some of the fees, too.

Know What to Do If You Take On Too Much Debt

While no one wants to find themselves in trouble with debt, it happens to more people than you might think. Part of borrowing money intelligently is knowing what to do if you find yourself in over your head. This can involve reducing spending, and focusing your attention on the debt with the highest interest rate.

Some people can eventually work themselves out of trouble with this strategy and by being diligent with their spending, while others may require some assistance. If you are struggling to get out of debt, consider debt consolidation, debt settlement or another program where a professional can lend you a bit of assistance.

Keep Your Credit in Good Standing

While a lot goes into a lender’s decision on whether or not to lend money to a borrower, one of the most important things is your credit. If you have good credit and a high credit score, it gives confidence to lenders as it shows you have been responsible with borrowed money in the past. In addition to being able to borrow from a greater selection of lenders, having a good credit score can help you get more favorable terms.

Those with good credit will enjoy better rates, and are often able to borrow more than those with poor credit. Be sure to check out your credit report every now and then to make sure your credit is where you think it should be, and ensure that there are no errors.

Getting You the Money You Require

Borrowing money is something most of us will do at one time or another, but it needs to be done intelligently. By only borrowing what you need, shopping around and being knowledgeable of the available options, you can ensure that you are borrowing money as wisely as possible.

Tips for Budgeting Your Money to Achieve Financial Freedom

Making wise decisions regarding your money will encourage personal financial growth and stability. A budget gives you financial freedom. It helps you identify where your money goes, which results in better financial decisions. Here’s how to get started and stick to it.

A Plan of Action

In short, a budget provides the tools for personal wealth. Using one helps you refrain from making poor decisions regarding your money. With a clear view of your debt and your income, you can achieve financial goals. You learn how to pay down your debt and keep more of your money for personal gain.

Eliminating Wasteful Spending

Most people will admit that they waste money. You may do so without noticing. Habits you develop, such as buying coffee on the way to the office or ordering meals out a few times a week, are normal occurrences. Unfortunately, they are sapping your extra cash, leaving you short financially for the things you need. You can afford to spend money on products that benefit your personal hygiene and health, like Konjac sponges and an electric toothbrush.

Reuse Instead Using Once Then Tossing Away

The good news is there are dozens of ways to spend less on the things you need. For example, you use traditional paper towels once and toss them away. Instead, consider replacing disposables with items you can reuse. Bamboo paper towels and cotton cloths are two examples that will save you money and help reduce waste in landfills and toxins in the air. Travel mugs and water filters eliminate the need for disposable cups and plastic water bottles. You get the idea.

Pay Your Bills on Time

Paying your bills on time eliminates accrued interest and late fees. It also helps you increase your credit score, a three-digit number that can work in your favor or against you. A poor credit score can cost you dearly. It can prevent you from buying a home, a car, or sending children to private schools and colleges. It can also make it harder to get into an apartment and cause you to pay a security deposit on utilities. On the other hand, a good credit score opens the door to the lowest interest rates on large purchases, saving you a ton of money over the term of the loan. It also gives you access to the best insurance companies and can make you a desirable candidate when searching for a job. 

Smart Shopping

Before making any purchase, it’s always best financially to shop around to make sure you get the best price. Food shopping costs the average family over $200.00 weekly. Comparing the weekly fliers of the local supermarkets and using coupons for the things you need can shave $20.00 or more off the bill weekly. That’s $80.00 or more a month and nearly a thousand dollars a year in savings. Shopping on certain days and after a holiday can provide a savings of 40, 50, or even 60-percent off a product’s original sticker price.

Establish Savings

Unexpected expenses will happen. However, if you have money in a savings account for these moments, they become more like non-events. Unfortunately, without savings, any small hiccup that requires money can quickly become a financial disaster. 

Allocate Funds to Several Places

When you have a budget, you set aside funds for the things you want. You can allocate money for a down payment on a home or to purchase a new car. You can also set aside money to fund your child’s education and to enjoy financial comfort in your retirement. 

Budgeting your money doesn’t mean that you live life without. In fact, it provides the opposite, financial freedom. Use a household budget to achieve these goals and enjoy a better quality of life. 

How to Determine What Job You Are Suited To

The fact that many people end up in a completely different line of business than what they initially wanted should tell you something. No one is ever born with a clear plan of what they should do in life. Our preferences, likes, dislikes, abilities, and skills form the path of reaching the perfect job for us. There are hundreds of different tests and quizzes out there that “help” you establish the perfect job for you.

However, the truth is that the job you are cut out to do is almost always different than what you had in mind for yourself. There are many factors to take into account to help in this decision-making process, and here are a few that determine what job you are most suited to.

It’s Not Always About Passion

Whether you are just starting out in your career or have worked in many positions that just didn’t feel right for you, you need to know that you are not alone. A recent study has revealed that nearly a third of Americans are stuck in jobs they don’t care about just to get by. We are often tempted to think of our passions as the perfect career choices for us; however, this isn’t always true. Following your passion doesn’t always secure you the amount of money needed to lead a comfortable and stable life; therefore, passion isn’t the only factor to consider. Instead, consider what is the right fit for you. You need to think about your personality, preferences, principles, the work environment you want to be in, and the amount of money you want to make.

Assess Your Skills

Finding a suitable career for you depends merely on what you are good at. Are you good at working with your hands or do you prefer a mind-stimulating job? Are you good at math? Do you prefer a routine and specific schedule, or do you want a more flexible position? All these questions and more should be answered until you reach the right fit for the skills you have. For example, if you have high intellectual abilities, analytical skills, and good communication, then you might begin to consider a career in investment banking, especially if you are a nimble thinker that can differentiate between good opportunities and things you should dismiss. Assessing your skills will help you greatly in determining what you can and can’t do which will narrow down your search pool.

Ask Experts

After assessing your skills, identifying your likes and dislikes, and determining what you need to excel in your career, it will be easier to limit your search to a few career choices you are contemplating. At this moment, it’s better to seek help from experts in the fields you are interested in. Ask questions about what you need to know and start eliminating what is unsuitable.

Going on a job hunt is never easy. This doesn’t only refer to the crazy maze of searching, applying, and going to interviews; deciding on whether a certain job is suitable for you, to begin with, can be safely deemed the hardest part. If you are unsure about what career path you should go for, then you need to take some time to assess all your wants and needs until you reach the right decision for you.

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