Financial Future: How Can a Loan Affect Your Credit Rating?

Your credit rating is an extremely important part of your financial freedom. Having a good credit score unlocks better deals for you in terms of mortgages, credit cards and loans. You can get better rates and therefore borrow more money, with less interest to pay

Of course your credit is affected by many different factors, and will usually be moving either up or down depending on your financial habits. One of the factors that affects your rating are loans and loan applications.

With more and more people turning to personal loans, it’s important that you understand how a loan can affect your credit rating. Let’s take a look.

The Application Process

Simply applying for a loan is enough to affect your credit score. When you apply for a loan your credit file is accessed and checked by lenders. This is because a small part of your credit score is calculated based on how many credit applications you make. As a loan application is the same as a credit application, your score will take a slight hit when applying.

The bad news is this can mean a bigger hit to your credit score if you try multiple applications in a short time. The reason for this is if lenders see multiple applications in a short time, they will think you’re in a bad financial position and really need the money.

On the other hand, some type of loan applications give you a grace period. During this time you can shop around with other providers without taking any further hits to your credit. These types of loan include auto loans and mortgages, as it’s expected you would want to shop for the best rates in these situations.

Reviewers such as LoanReviewHQ.com can help to provide information on specific lenders for the application process. It’s a good idea to use this information so that you aren’t applying for loans which you won’t get anyway. After all, there’s no point taking a hit on your credit rating for no reason.

Making Payments

Keeping on track with your payments is probably the biggest way to help your credit score. Timely payments will keep the score increasing, whilst late or missed payments will cause it to fall. Missing payments can also lead to a downward spiral as late fees and interest are charged, plus you still have to make up the payment before getting back on schedule with future payments too. This can be a big ask!

Your score might also need you to make a lot of timely payments just to undo the damage of one missed payment.

Loan Balances

The final way a loan hits your credit score is determined by how much you owe. Owing a large balance compared to your income will hit your credit a lot more than owing a small amount. Your debt-to-income ratio needs to be kept as low as possible if you want to help your credit score, so those who are already in debt will have the toughest time getting attractive loan rates.

By combining the above factors you see the most attractive borrowers owe less, have a good payment history, and aren’t too eager to get a loan. This may sound contradictory, yet obviously a borrower with bad history, who owes a lot and is desperate for a loan sounds like a risky proposition for many reasons, so it’s easy to see why these things affect your credit score.

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How to Transform Your Bathroom into a Haven of Comfort on a Budget

Remodeling a bathroom is not a project that would be considered cheap. If you do not have a stash somewhere, you will most likely not just wake up one morning and yell out, “Bathroom redecoration!” The cost of the whole project is the first thing on your mind.

Nevertheless, you can save some money and still have the bathroom of your dreams…or close to it. All you need to do is figure out how to cut costs. Take a look at the following tips that will help you along:

  1. Plan

There is almost nothing that can be done without a plan. Always have a plan. For your bathroom project, make a plan in the form of a budget and don’t deviate from it. When you have an idea of how much money you will spend, you will be able to allocate funds to the various aspects of your project. Cover all the details of your project. Avoid using an estimate for the overall cost to avoid any costing shocks when the project is either finished or well underway.

  1. What can you do yourself?

There must be some bits of the remodeling that you can DIY. For instance, mirrors. You cannot have a bathroom without a mirror or three and you can make them. All you need to do is:

  • Buy an industrial-grade mirror from the store.
  • Hang it.
  • Frame it with moldings.

Just like that, you have a mirror at almost no cost! You can even make it to your desired specifications.

  1. Thrift shopping

You can come across items that you can use for other purposes. For instance, a dresser can be turned into shelving or a mirror. Use your creativeness or search for remodeling ideas from the internet. Searching for something like the best bathroom renovation company in the GTA can help you with thrifting ideas.

  1. Paint

Here is something else you can do yourself! Give your bathroom a fresh coat of paint. You do not even have to pay for it. All you have to do is buy the paint you want in the shade you prefer and get down to work. Be sure to follow instructions to the letter so that you do not end up with a ‘botched’ bathroom!

  1. Update your toilet

Most likely your toilet is in good condition and needs no replacing. All you might be required to do is to refresh it. It may be that all you need to do is to replace the lid or seat. You will then save on labor costs as well as the cost of purchasing a new toilet. If you do need a new toilet, however, go for it.

  1. Leave the plumbing be

Most bathroom renovation expenses go to moving the plumbing. We are talking about moving the showers, sinks, and toilets. For one, a professional is needed for the task and professionals don’t come cheap. You will not be able to use your bathroom for days. Unless it is absolutely necessary, let your plumbing stay as it is.

Get as much information as you can from sites that discuss bathroom renovating at length like the best bathroom renovation company in the GTA and others that can even give you hints on the companies to approach for your project needs.

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Protecting Your Pocket: 3 Things to Watch for When Choosing a Medical Insurance Plan

 

Choosing the right insurance plan for your particular needs can be a bit tricky, especially if you have no idea where to begin. To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a short guide on how to choose a medical insurance plan you’re likely going to be satisfied with. So without any further ado, here 3 crucial things to look out for:

 

  1. Out-of-pocket costs

 

As you browse medicare plans, they should all list all out of pocket expenses you can expect to incur, and do so in a clear and organized manner. A general rule of thumb is that the higher-end plans demand less out of pocket expenses, while the reverse applies to lower-end plans.

 

It’s a good idea to go for a higher-end plan if you know you’re going to be visiting a physician often. The same applies if you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition or if there is another reason that makes you think you’re going to be needing lots of medical care in the near future (like having a baby or having to undergo a series of surgeries).

 

  1. The provider network

 

If you visit a doctor that’s part of the network the insurance deal covers, you’re going to pay less for their services. Of course, you can also visit a doctor that’s not a part of it, but this rarely makes sense due to the increased costs associated with making such a move.

 

For this reason, if you’ve already chosen a doctor you prefer to be working with, make sure they are a part of the provider’s network. If you don’t have any preferences at the moment, your best bet is to go for the largest network; that way, more of the options will remain open to you. The proximity of the doctor in question is also something to factor into consideration.

 

  1. The benefits

 

This is probably the final step that will help you determine the best provider. The benefits that you’re going to get with them will help tip the scale in either one or the other direction.

 

Just ask yourself the following question: what would you benefit from the most? Free physical therapy sessions or mental health care? And if you can’t decide and are in need of both, the costs of which one would you rather cover on your own?

 

The good news is that you don’t have to make the conclusion yourself. If you call them and explain your situation, they are likely to give you some great advice and help you choose the best medical insurance plan for your needs. If you’re thinking about going in this direction, it’s a good idea to prepare your questions in advance.

 

Conclusion

 

Based on the considerations outlined above, you should now be able to make a good choice, especially if you’ve taken the extra time to make an in-depth research into the provider you’re considering. You should take as long as you believe is needed; after all, an insurance plan is a hefty financial investment, so it’s important to get it right from the get go to avoid trouble later on.

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Fixing the mess: How do you choose a debt relief plan

The financial strain that you may feel when carrying high debt balances can be intense. In addition to worrying about how you will manage to reduce the debt in a reasonable period of time, you may also be struggling to make ends meet partially because of the high monthly debt payments. Saving money regularly may seem like an impossible dream at this point. You need to find a debt relief solution that will work for you so that you can get back on track, but remember that each financial situation is unique. There is not a catch-all debt relief plan that works for everyone. When you are preparing to create your debt relief plan that is customized specifically to benefit you, focus your attention on these important steps to get started.

 

Understand Your Monthly Financial Abilities

Through the process of debt relief, you will essentially transfer debt from high interest rate accounts to one or more accounts with a lower interest rate. In some cases, the new account will have a fixed term as well. A fixed term with a lower interest rate enables faster debt reduction and establishes a firm debt elimination date, so this may be the best option for many people to consider when creating a debt relief plan. Because you are setting up your debts on one or more new accounts, you need to understand what your financial abilities are each month. Consider what monthly debt payment you can comfortably afford to make. Ideally, this new payment will be low enough to decrease your financial stress and to help you to manage your expenses comfortably. However, it will not be so low that it takes an unnecessarily long period of time to eliminate outstanding balances.

 

List the Accounts to Include in a Debt Relief Plan

After you have determined an affordable monthly payment for the new debt account that you can manage well, you need to review the accounts that you want to include in your debt relief plan. In some cases, it may not be advisable to roll accounts that have a very low outstanding balance or a reasonable interest rate into the plan. List all outstanding balances, monthly payments and current interest rates so that you can make an informed decision. If you can reasonably pay a debt off within a short period of time in its current arrangement, it may not be necessary or advisable to roll it into your debt relief plan. Consider closing most or all debt accounts after transferring balances.

 

Improve Your Budgeting and Financial Management Efforts

Through the creation of a customized debt relief plan, you can decrease a substantial amount of financial stress, but this is not a stopping point. Many people who have high debt balances have at least one poor money management habit that has contributed to the debt problem. Take a closer look at your budget, and look for ways to scale back so that you can live more comfortably on less money. Analyze your savings habits and the amount of money in your savings account. Make a regular effort to contribute at least a small amount of money to this account regularly. Try to save for large purchases rather than enjoy instant gratification by charging the expenses to a credit card.

 

Your finances may currently be a mess, but it is never too late to clean house. Establishing your debts on a debt relief plan is a great starting point, and this step can provide immediate stress relief. However, you also need to take additional steps to improve your finances so that you do not continue to accumulate debt going forward.

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Frugal Lifestyle: 5 Ways of Saving Money When Living on a Shoestring Budget

It would be great if we had all the money we wanted but for many of us, it’s hard to make ends meet. Bills need to be paid each month, we need to eat, and cars need gas. Then we need to save a little something each month for either long-term goals or emergencies. You know emergencies tend to pop up when we can least afford them. Thankfully, there are ways to save even when you don’t make a lot. Here are five.

Keep your pocket change.

Those nickels and dimes that you typically cast aside can add up to a lot if you store them. Put them in a clear container so you can watch your savings grow. It helps if you set a savings target or particular purpose for the funds. When you can, throw in a small bill to further boost your bounty.

Buy second-hand.

Whatever you need, there’s probably an almost new or gently used version out there for sale. From major purchases like cars to clothing and house décor, you can save a lot if you don’t insist on only having brand new items. Flea markets, garage sales, car boot sales and thrift and consignment stores are all places to look. Just be sure to examine the items carefully to be sure they are indeed worth it.

Grow your own food.

Food is, of course, one of the major expenses for most people. Try to grow as much of what you eat as you can. If you don’t have access to a large plot of land, look for ways to use pots, vertical gardens or even window spaces to grow vegetables.  The only thing limiting you is your imagination. You can also rope a few of your neighbors into starting a community garden for a wider range of crops and some help with planting, watering, and reaping.

Monitor how much you spend on the little things.

When confronted with a necessary major expense, you may be tempted to find an instant loan. This can give you a quick cash injection but its’ often at a high interest rate. If it’s not a genuine emergency, you may be better off monitoring your spending and cutting back on unnecessary purchases. Do you drive or pay to take public transportation when you can walk instead? How much do you spend on candy, or lottery tickets? All these little $1 purchases add up.

Carefully assess your energy and utility costs.

Leaking pipes and faucets, inadequate insulation and old appliances can all be costing you more than they should. Have a professional visit your home to ensure that you aren’t spending more on utilizes and energy because of inefficiency. Turn off your lights when you’re not using them and unplug appliances since even small bits of energy usage accumulate. Make sure all members of your family are on board.

It can seem almost impossible to save when your budget is tight. The good news is that you can still put something aside if you think creatively and commit to the task. If you have a family, bringing everyone on board makes it even easier to achieve your savings goals.

 

 

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Funding the Future: 5 Reasons a Specialized Fannie Mae Mortgage May be the Best Choice for Your Family

The number of new home buyers dropped precipitously in the late 2000s. That was about the time the housing bubble burst. Moreover, many mortgage companies took advantage of first-time homebuyers, so these families left the market in droves.

 

But today, the number of first-time homebuyers is rising again. These buyers account for over a third of the market.

 

Statistically, first-time homebuyers have a much lower income than repeat buyers. So, a home purchase is a much greater financial commitment. Moreover, first-time buyers are much younger than repeat buyers, so they may be less sophisticated real estate customers.

 

The Fannie Mae HomePath program may be a very good option for first-time buyers. There are some drawbacks to this program, such as a purchase mortgage insurance requirement and interest rates slightly above market levels. But in exchange, homebuyers get a wealth of benefits.

 

Lower Priced Homes

 

Fannie Mae’s HomePath inventory consists largely of post-foreclosure homes. As a result, Fannie Mae is not really looking to make money on the mortgage. Instead, the company usually just wants to reduce the previous owner’s debt. That sometimes means a starter-home price for a mid-sized value property.

 

The money you save on the purchase price almost always offsets the slightly higher rate. In other words, a HomePath property means more home for your money.

 

Lower Down Payment

 

HomePath loans usually have a 3 percent down payment. That’s even lower than FHA. For families that struggle to save money leading up to a home purchase, the low down payment is an extremely attractive feature.

 

Moreover, Fannie Mae is more lenient in terms of the down payment’s source. In most traditional mortgages, the company insists that the buyer provide all the down payment funds. But in a HomePath purchase, the down payment funds can be a gift or an inheritance.

 

Variable Income Allowance

 

These more flexible income rules extend to other parts of the qualification process. Some mortgage companies do not include items like renters or boarders. In many cases, the extra few hundred dollars a month can be the difference between getting the loan or being denied.

 

HomePath accepts these types of income, as well as other types of non-traditional income. Since the house is a post-foreclosure, the bank needs someone in it in a hurry. So, the bank is willing to bend some of the rules.

 

Seller Contributions

 

Fannie Mae is a motivated seller with regard to HomePath properties. Usually, buyers must pay all closing costs, and that cost sharing arrangement is completely non-negotiable. But the motivation once again helps buyers.

 

In a HomePath purchase, the buyer can contribute up to 6 percent of your inspection fees, title insurance, loan origination fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. That can mean thousands of dollars.

 

Investment Property

 

Many other mortgage banks offer similar programs which connect first-time homebuyers with post-foreclosure properties. One big difference is that other banks limit these initiatives to people who will use the property as a primary residence.

 

But at Fannie Mae, the HomePath incentives are available to buyers who will use the house as an investment property. You may be paying less, but you can still charge market rental rates. That means higher profits.

 

To take advantage of this program before Fannie Mae ends it, reach out to a provider today.

 

 

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Last Minute Lessons: When Your Savings Simply Aren’t Enough

You wake up on a Sunday morning and the car won’t start – problem with the transmission in your car. Your mechanic says it will cost a minimum of $700 to have the problem fixed. It is early in the month; no salary in sight, and no savings to turn to! It’s definitely an emergency. You must get to work the following day with this very car. What do you do?

Such tight spots occur all the time, and they simply never announce when they are going to happen. While such emergencies can instantly turn your day from good to awful, there is always a way out. You just need to know where to look.

Online loans: your quick way out of emergency

With the rise of online loans such as Northcash installment loans, it is much easier now to raise the money you need to get you out of an emergency. Most online lenders are keen to make the loan application and acquisition process easy and stress-free. Oftentimes, they’ll require you to fill up only a few details on a loan application form to access the funds you need. This is usually a short and secure form that you can complete in a matter of seconds – and you’ll be on your way to getting the desired pre-approval for your loan application.

Normally, the lender reaches out to you to confirm that all the details you have provided are correct. After the confirmation, you can expect to receive your money the next business day. Everything is done online, meaning that you can apply for your loan anyplace, even on the road.

Being able to have money deposited in your bank account within as little as 24 hours can be a lifesaver. Interestingly, you’ll only need as little as five minutes to complete the entire application process.

Convenient loan application process

When it comes to online loans, there is no booking an appointment with a loan officer for you to initiate the process. Neither do you need to call the lender several times to be able to access the cash. You can send your loan application from the convenience of your home, car or office. You can apply for the loan using your phone or PC, without any restriction. Additionally, unlike traditional loans that involve several back and forth meetings with a loan officer, online loans typically get pre-approved after a single instance of application.

It is because of this level of convenience that many people find online loans a great alternative when it comes to addressing an emergency situation. Notice however that these types of loans should be taken out only for emergencies and not as a regular source of financing.

Caveat: in case of high-interest loans, make sure you can pay back the loan on time so that the debt does not affect your credit profile. Not everyone pays back their loans on time, but evidence shows that a good many people are able to repay their online loans without issues.

Conclusion

There are lots of situations that require instant money to address, and since you won’t always know when the next emergency situation will strike, it helps to have a place from where you can raise the money at an instance.

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Last Minute Expenses: Three Ways to Cover the Unexpected Events in Life

At some point in time, everyone faces unexpected expenses. When that happens, there are several options available to cover those expenses.

Pawn Shops

Often depicted as seedy and unethical, pawn shops are actually the opposite. They are subject to numerous state and federal laws and closely monitored.  Further, the National Pawnbrokers Association maintains a strict Code of Ethics its members must follow.  Created about 3,000 years ago in China, working with a pawn shop is quite simple. A customer brings an item or items, and the pawnbroker offers a loan on that item with a certain term of repayment. The terms depend on the amount of the loan and other variables. The pawnbroker keeps the item as collateral to secure repayment. The customer can repay the loan and reclaim the property, or not repay and let the shop keep it. There is no penalty. Sometimes a pawnshop will buy property, but the strong preference is to make the short-term loan.  Often the terms of the loan can be renegotiated for a longer term for an additional fee.

Personal Sales

For those who don’t own—or don’t want to part with—the type of items that would interest a pawn shop, there is also the personal sale alternative.  There are consignment shops you can use to sell clothing, furniture, and antiques on a commission basis. If the goods don’t sell or don’t meet the seller’s required minimum, they are returned to the owner. The tag sale is also a good alternative.  It is offered in many different forms; garage sale, rummage sale, flea market… but the object is always the same: sell items you no longer need or want in order to earn money.  Local communities often have restrictions that apply to how the sale items can be displayed, for how long, etc., so be certain to understand any and all regulations.  Websites like Realsimple.com   offer tips to have the best chance of success.  One final piece of advice, if you think some items might be worth more than a couple of dollars, have them appraised first.

Short-term Loans

Another alternative is the short-term loan. Short-term loans differ from mortgages and traditional long-term loans in several ways. First, there is no collateral. The borrower does not have to put up any type of collateral to qualify for the loan. Second, most short-term loans have less stringent credit requirements, although in turn that does significantly increase the amount of interest rate charged. Third, there is a very quick turn-around, often in as little as 48 hours.  This type of loan should be used for emergencies only.  All short-term loan providers are subject to many federal and local regulations. As with any industry, it is important to investigate different lenders to see how they work and the benefits they offer.  An important consideration is whether or not they offer flexibility in case there is a problem like repaying the loan in the original time frame. Learn more at www.MoneyBoat.co.UK

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Is It Worth the Cost: 3 Things to Consider When Determining if an Extended Warranty is Right for You

An extended warranty can be a very worthwhile investment for those who are purchasing a vehicle. A factory warranty can ensure that mechanical issues that come up will be repaired without any additional costs to the vehicle owner. You never know what can happen when you buy a vehicle. Mechanical issues can come up even if you purchase a relatively new vehicle. That’s why having a warranty is always important.

 

An extended warranty offers even more coverage and security than a standard warranty. Extended warranties offer extra protection. You should definitely explore the cost benefit analysis of a Audi extended warranty when you’re purchasing an Audi to determine if the extended warranty is right for you. You should also consider the following three things when making your warranty decision:

 

 

The age of the vehicle

 

Older vehicles are more likely to experience mechanical problems than newer vehicles. As such, you might want to consider extended warranty coverage that is available to you in particular if you are purchasing an older Audi.

 

While older vehicles are more likely to experience breakdowns than newer vehicles, it’s always possible for a newer vehicle to experience unexpected issues with key components like the engine or transmission that require costly repairs without warranty coverage.

 

When you’re purchasing an Audi with a factory warranty, it’s good to evaluate the age of your vehicle in deciding whether or not you want to take advantage of any extended warranty option that is offered to you.

 

 

The mileage on the vehicle

The more miles there are on a vehicle you purchase, the more wear and tear you can expect on the vehicle you purchase. An extended warranty is important on a vehicle with high mileage.

 

If you’re purchasing a high mileage vehicle and an extended warranty is offered, it’s probably in your best interest to purchase it. High mileage vehicles tend to be especially risky for the buyer, but buyers can protect themselves with warranty coverage where possible.

 

 

What mechanical components the warranty covers

 

Any time you’re considering any type of warranty coverage, you want to consider what exactly the warranty is covering. The mechanical components you want to focus on are drive train components like the engine and the transmission. Additionally, you might want to look into exhaust system coverage if you live in an area where you need to have your vehicle pass an emissions inspection each year.

 

It’s important to analyse all of these factors to figure out if an extended warranty is a good idea for you if you buy an Audi. Investing in an extended warranty is probably a good idea for you if you want the greatest possible security in owning your vehicle.

 

You need to know that you will have a vehicle that is mechanically sound. If you have to pay for mechanical repairs, the costs could be very high without warranty coverage. Learn more about warranty coverage options to find the most value and quality in the repairs you can take advantage of should the need come up.

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Lessons about Money for Kids

Did you know that only 24% of millennials have basic financial literacy?  Well, that’s what the latest survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education reported.  Something must be going really wrong if 76% of people born in the 80s and 90s don’t have a clue when it comes to money matters, and, although it is not the be all and end all of life, money does indeed matter.

Unfortunately, they don’t teach ‘money’ in our schools, so parents must educate their children about these issues.  The good news is that you don’t need a university degree in accounting to do this.  Rather, you can start training your kids to be responsible with money as soon as they can count by teaching some fundamental habits and lessons that, although simple, will definitely benefit them throughout their lives.

 

 

Where money comes from

 

For many kids, it does seem like money grows on trees.  After all, ATM machines look like endless fountains of dollar bills to the eyes of a child.  It’s important, then, that they understand that mom and dad’s credit cards are not magical sources of never-ending funds, but there is a process of earning, saving and spending.

Rather than have your children help you do your tax returns, learning about this can be fun with role-play games, especially for toddlers.  For example, your little one can set up a pretend restaurant. Help them make and menu and decide on the prices.  You can then order something, and pay them in monopoly money or raisins, and then they can decide what to do with the cash they’ve earned.

 

 

Working within a budget and saving 

 

Saving and working within budgets are crucial financial skills that even toddlers can start learning.  It is important that you guard your kids against the dangers of impulse buying and instant gratification, as these can transfer into huge credit card debts when they grow up. We recommend, therefore, that they get a small amount of pocket money regularly and be encouraged to save.  If they want that $100 Lego set, they’ve got to pay for it themselves and thus save up for it.

Start with a classic ‘piggy bank’ for their coins, and then get them a real bank account as soon as they’re old enough.  No loans or advances though; they shouldn’t get accustomed to spending what they don’t have.

It is also a good idea for kids to practice dividing their money to different purposes.  For example, they can have one pile for saving, one for daily spending and one for charity. This way, they can practice allocating reasonable amounts to each need.

 

 

Learning to earn

 

Give your kids a kick-start into learning to earn through the sweat and effort by paying them small amounts for household chores like vacuuming, cleaning the yard, or washing the car.  Also, next time you have a yard sale, get your kids involved and give them some responsibility, if appropriate.

Approaches like this are not only great for helping your child learn to contribute to the household, but they will have to get to grips with the lifelong fact that no one earns anything without putting some effort in.

 

 

Teaching generosity 

 

We want our kids know the value of saving, but we don’t want them to be selfish hoarders like Scrooge McDuck and his tower full of coins.  Children should learn of the joy that comes with generosity.  Encourage them to use some of the money they are saving to buy presents for others and donate to charity.

You can really lead by example here; for example, next time you have a birthday present to buy, why not involve your child?  Let them help you set a budget, pick the present and wrap it.  Furthermore, next time you want to make a donation to a worthy cause, why not let your kids decide who?

 

 

Give them freedom to make mistakes

 

 

While your children are young, we recommend giving them the freedom to spend their money as they like and the space to make mistakes, thus learning that their actions have consequences, sometimes negative.  If they’ve made a bad purchase, talk it through and help them understand why it wasn’t a good idea, discussing how they can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

While its always sad to see them disappointed, these mistakes will help them make wiser financial decisions in the future.  Plus, it’s better to learn such lessons by wasting a few dollars when young rather than hundreds or thousands of dollars when they are older.

 

 

Learning to be financially responsible is a lifelong process which evolves and varies with growth and changing circumstances.  By giving your kids a firm foundation in learning to save, budget and learn from their mistakes, you’ll be setting them down the right path to become financially responsible and reliable adults.

 

 

 

 Matt Morrisey, Contributor

 

Matt Morrisey is a former teacher who has travelled all over the world teaching children English, from China to the UK Matt is well known. Matt’s parents are teachers and his only brother works for a children’s charity in UK.

Matt currently writes for buzzparent.com and loves to write about parenting topics ranging from kids’ toys, activities for kids, parenting hacks and lifestyle. He loves remote-control drones and can’t wait until he opens his window to allow a drone to enter with an Amazon package. Not long now.

His work has been read by readers all over the world and features on blogs and websites all over the world. Matt recently decided to go back to university to do his PhD where he looks to continue his career.

 

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Big Spender: A Guide To The World Of Online Shopping

The internet has had a huge impact on the way that people shop ever since it was first introduced to the public. In the modern age, more spending is done through computers and mobile phones than anywhere else, with these options being much easier than traveling to a store or sending a form in the mail. The introduction of a new system like this can have a knock on effect, altering the way the people live their lives. Of course, though, with this change, you also get a whole new set of rules. Following these will be fundamental to your success online, and this post will be exploring some of the key areas to give you a good start in the pursuit of a good deal.

     

(Image Source)

The Types Of Store

With ecommerce becoming popular, marketing experts haven’t wasted time in creating a wide array of different sales methods which are use across the web. The way that you buy a product will impact the way that you feel about a purchase, giving businesses the power to use psychology when learning about their customers. Below, you can find some examples of the most common types of store found across the web.

Regular Retail: Despite a lot of large companies using alternatives to the traditional shop experience, you will still find loads of retail websites which aren’t dissimilar to pre-internet stores. This is the most basic form of online sales, and it is easy to understand the kind of deal you’re

getting. Of course, though, some sites like this will offer finance on products, making it hard to avoid spending money you don’t have.

Marketplace: Some businesses have found ways to make their lives much cheaper than regular retail sites. Amazon, as the largest example, isn’t a collection of one store’s products. Instead, loads of sellers come together, all working on moving their own goods, creating a marketplace which is filled with good prices. This is one of the most popular shopping experiences out there, as you will get a very good selection of the items you’re looking for.

Auction Site: Alongside marketplaces, a breed very similar websites are also lurking around the web. eBay, while it shares similar qualities to sites like Amazon, is an auction site designed to help users sell their old goods. A lot of great deals can be found on this platform, though it can also be a challenge to make sure that you’re not overspending or tricking yourself into thinking an option is better than it actually is.

Penny Auction Site: This next version of ecommerce is one of the oddest of the bunch. Instead of buying products right away, users make paid bids on them, slowly increasing the price. Like a normal auction, sites like DealDash will always sell to the bidder at the end of the lot, but the price will be a lot lower. It’s possible to get great deals on this sort of platform. Of course, though, you’re more likely to spend a lot on bids without winning much at all, and you have to be careful.

Subscriptions: With a lot of people living incredibly busy lives, subscription products can often be a great way to satisfy your shopping needs without having to spend any time looking around. By choosing an option which matches your interests, you will be able to start a monthly order which will bring products to your door. Websites like Loot Crate have been doing this for a very long time.

The Way They Advertise

When you’re thinking about online spending, you can’t stop with the way that companies are selling things, and need to look deeper to get a better understanding of the cogs in motion. Marketing is a complex area, and it has been changing loads over the last few years. Below, you can find some of the most popular ways businesses like to advertise to their customers. Most people don’t realise quite how different this field is compared to the past.

If you’ve browsed the web before, then you’ve probably seen adverts which seem to be following you around. By displaying things which users have previously searched for, companies hope to be able to target things you are considering buying, making their attempts to sway you more likely to succeed. They are able to do this thanks to little pieces of data called cookies. This data is stored at your end, and you are able to delete it or turn it off if you want to, though this could impact things like logins on certain sites.

Over time, direct approaches to marketing have diversified a lot, and much of this work is now

done away from advert spots and placements. Instead, using social media, companies are able to spread the word about their work for a fraction of their old costs. In a lot of cases, this will be done through regular users with a large following. This is a large part of influencer marketing, which has been taking the world of online retail by storm over the last few years.

Researching Your Purchases

Having an idea of the methods businesses will be using to persuade you to spend money with them will be a big help when you’re trying to avoid needless spending. With the ability to identify a sales technique, you will always be able to tell whether or not you’re acting on your own desires, or simply doing something because you’ve been told to. Once you have this in place, though, you still won’t be able to avoid every purchase. For those which have to be made, the right kind of research has to be done.

This will begin with figuring out exactly which options you have, and how much each of them will cost you. When you find something you want to buy, websites like Amazon will be the first place you should go, as these will often offer the most options in one place. Along with this, there are loads of review sites out there which will curate their posts to make them nice and easy to find. With each product which is within your price range in mind, you will be able to start comparing them.

To do this, a lot of people will find it most useful to create a table, filled with all of the features the different options have. Using this as your guide, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which has the best balance between costs and benefits. It’s not often best to go for the very cheapest option, as this cost force you to spend more money down the line, and might not give you want you want. Along with this work, it will be a good idea to read some reviews at this stage of the purchasing journey.

Finally, with a couple of key options outlined, you will be ready to begin the process of choosing the best one for you. At this stage, there will be several features at play which all impact your purchase. The largest of these will be the price of an item. There are loads of different websites out there which are designed to help users to find the best prices for the products there are looking for, and this will be a great way to ensure that you have everything you need for a confident start in the world of online shopping.

     

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Buck The Spend Trend

Over the last few years, marketing has quickly moved from being something which companies use to get people to buy things which they need, and into a field devoted to giving people what they want. In a lot of cases, the things being played upon don’t even impact the end user on a level which is obvious to them. Psychology, mind games, and all sorts of other tricks are employed to may an item more appealing. This makes it very hard for customers to know when they are actually choosing to buy something.

Of course, though, the issues with online shopping don’t stop there. With influencers being used all the time, and methods which have adverts beamed directly to you becoming a thing of the past, it’s easy to see that the future has arrived quickly for this field. Most customers simply aren’t ready to have so much choice thrown their way, and will make poor spending decisions as a result of this freedom. Along with this, as it becomes more popular to spend money, people’s natural need to be fashionable are becoming more important than acting logically.

Hopefully, with all of this in mind, it will start to get a lot easier to handle the online shopping you have in your life. A lot of people find it hard to keep their spending to a minimum in this sort of environment. Of course, while you might not understand it all, you still have full control of your money, and this gives you the last say in any purchase situation.

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Moving Into a Retirement Village: Tips on How to Get Started

You know, some people shy away from the topic of retirement. Most think that retirement consists only of staying at home, watching overly dramatic daytime television shows, and eating lots of prunes. But to tell you the truth, retirement can be an opportunity for some of us to enjoy doing activities we were not able to do because of work and family. So putting off retirement plans is not going to make it any less real, so you should prepare for it.

 

There are a lot of options out there for retirement living, but the best option would be choosing a retirement village.

 

Benefits of living in a retirement village

One of the best features of retirement villages are its exceptional facilities and amenities. For instance the Lendlease retirement villages across NSW offer game rooms, function rooms, cafes, social activities and clubs, fitness centres, and even hair salons.

 

Being in a retirement village also gives you access to 24/7 help, from maintenance issues like clogged piping to more urgent ones like medication delivery. A retirement village is designed to make sure that living in the retirement flat will be even more convenient as your years advance further. It has wide hallways and lifts to make it easy for you to come home to your flat, as well as well-maintained outdoor areas for a leisurely walk every day.

 

How to get started on moving into a retirement village

Even if you are not yet in your retiring age, it is best to make the necessary preparations while you still can do it on your own. Here are some tips on choosing and moving into a retirement village.

 

Make a list of what you want and need

This time, you do not just have to think about what you might need in your advance years, but also what accommodation you might want to indulge in. Create a list of these wants and needs and consult it from time to time. You will be shopping around for the best retirement village, so you might as well look for a place where everything they have on offer can cater to your every whim.

 

Make sure to also add what you might require when you become even older. This means you need to think ahead and consider how the village that you will choose can satisfy your needs once you require additional assistance from them.

 

Do research

Look up retirement villages in your area. Apart from reading up on their facilities and services, make sure that you get a tour of the place and its surrounding areas so you can inspect for yourself. Check whether they all that you want and need to maintain a comfortable and active lifestyle. You can even ask about social events that is usually held in the village and see if it appeals to you.

 

Stay long enough to observe daily life in the village and get a feel of the general mood of the place. If you can, do not just talk to management; interview some of the residents as well.

 

Don’t put it off for too long

Once you have reached the retirement age, it wouldn’t make sense to put off getting a property in a retirement village anymore. You have done your research and already have a short list of where you might want to stay. Just pick one that appeals to you and your spouse more, and then start securing your slot. Note that certain home styles and configurations have waiting lists, so there’s no space for hesitation.

 

 

 

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Everyday Money Advice for the Frugal Family

Being frugal does not mean that you have to sacrifice the things that you enjoy, it simply means getting creative and looking out for money saving offers and deals. Here are some great ways for families to save money while still spending quality time together and enjoying the things they love.

Save Money on Days Out with the Kids
Family days out do not need to be extravagant in order to be fun and memorable. Young children in particular tend to love spending time in nature and taking the kids for a walk in the countryside can be a great way to show them something different and encourage them to use their imagination. A number of museums, art galleries and other attractions offer free admission on certain days of the week as well as discounts on family tickets and it is a good idea to take the time to find special deals.

Date Nights for Less
As any couple knows, date nights form an important part of a relationship as they provide the chance to reconnect and enjoy a little alone time. Families who are trying to save money do not have to worry about skipping date nights if they get creative. Instead of spending money on a fancy restaurant, send the kids out on a play date so that you can spend the evening savouring a delicious home cooked meal and you can enjoy a bottle of your favourite wine for less with a Laithwaites discount voucher.

Second Hand Doesn’t Mean Second Best
Children’s clothes and shoes can be very expensive and if the little ones are growing quickly it may well be the case that they grow out of their clothes and shoes long before they have worn out. Local charity shops and jumble sales are great places to find second hand clothes, shoes and other items that the kids are sure to love and because the money usually goes to a good cause this is also a great way to give back to the community at the same time as saving money.

Plan Holidays in Advance
A family holiday doesn’t have to break the bank if you plan well in advance. Many airlines offer special low rate flights to various destinations at different times of the year, and families that are able to be a little bit flexible on their holiday times will be able to save a significant amount of money on the cost of flights, accommodation and even meals it they search for these hot offers book during the specified times.
https://www.moneydashboard.com/everyday-money-saving-tips

Shop Around for Great Deals
Many supermarkets and other shops offer special deals and discounts on certain product ranges. These deals are usually available for a limited period of time in order to introduce these products. Buy one get one free offers are a great way to save money if you have the space to store extra products that have a long shelf life, while it is also worth checking local newspapers for money saving coupons.

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Can You Get Out Of Debt When You Still Need To Spend?

When it comes to family life worries, being in debt is always going to be one of the worst. Apart
from a family member being sick, that is. You’ll often find that suffering from money woes is
tough. But it doesn’t have to be something that you get used to, or something that completely
spirals out of control. Instead, you just need to take control. So you may have made some
poor financial decisions in the past, but you can correct those moving forwards. The best part
of all is that this doesn’t have to feel like hard work, it’s something that you can realistically
achieve.


A lot of the time, people feel like they can’t reduce down their debt because life goes on and
they have bills to pay. But that’s not necessarily true. At the same time, you don’t have to cut
down on all of your luxuries and go cold turkey to do it either. Instead, you just need to be smart
and find a healthy balance that fits with your family life. To do this, you need to work on four
different areas. So, to help you get started and find your own rhythm with balancing your debts
and living your life, here’s what you need to do.


Getting To Know Your Debts


It’s never going to be easy to get out of debt when you don’t really know what debt you’re in. So
the first port of calling to making this happen, is getting to know your debt.


Write It All Down


This may sound like a long and complex way to get started, but it really is the best way to help
you figure out what to do. By getting all of the information you need together, and writing
down everything you owe, you’ll be able to get to know your debts better. You may not
want to see how deep the debt goes, but if you’re going to make a change, this is the best
way to do it.


Speak To Your Providers


From here, you’re going to want to take the first steps towards changing your situation.
And that’s trying to minimize the damage if you can. So speak to your credit card or loan
issuers. They will want to help you. Sometimes they can freeze interest and chargers
for you, or at least offer you a much better rate, just to help you out. You may even want
to consolidate what you have so it’s all in one play under one set rate.


Work Out Your Payments


Finally, you’re going to want to make sure you work out what you can start paying off.
Even if you’ve paid off bits here and there up until now, it’s time to come up with
a debt repayment plan. You need to work out how you’re going to pay it all off, with
set payments, and in what order you’re going to do it.



Bringing Down Your Expenses


You won’t always be able to throw every penny you have into paying off your debts.
Because in life, we all still have bills. So let’s take a look at what you can do to manage them better.


Cut & Control


The first step in this section is to go through everything that you pay out. And a lot of the time
, you’ll actually be surprised by what you’re paying out. When you’ve worked out what you have,
you can start to cut. And you’ll always be able to cut your monthly expenses in some way or
another. The best way is to remove everything that you don’t need so that you can get better
control of what goes out.


Shop Around


From here, you’re really going to want to make sure that you shop around for your bills – and
yes, this is definitely something you can do. You should look for better deals on your monthly
contracts and utilities, and be sure to compare prices for everything you buy, even groceries.


Buy On A Budget


Of course, as we’ve already established, you are still going to need to spend your money.
Going cold turkey won’t work for everyone, and it’s not always possible either. But you still want
to make sure, by using sites such as https://www.facebook.com/DealDash/, that you’re getting
the best price for what you need. Anything that you can get as a deal or with a coupon, is going
to be great for you here.



Sticking To A System


When you have a system in place to help you pay everything off, you’ll have a much better
chance of staying on track. So let’s take a look at exactly what this should involve.


Have Set Payment Dates


Your need to take this entire process seriously, and getting into a routine with it is the simplest
way to do that – and make sure that you stick to it. So this will mean that you should have set
payment dates or days that you pay money off. Whether it’s the first of the month, the last day
of the month, or every Friday, you should pay off your set amounts on these set days to stay
on track.


Only Buy What You’ve Budgeted For


On the flipside, when it comes to spending, you really need to make sure that you only
make planned purchases. To do this, you need to create a budget like
https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en/saving-budgeting/creating-a-budget.
By planning in your purchases, you’ll be making the most of your money, and ensure that
you don’t get into further debt.


Anything Else Is A Bonus


Then, you need to see any money that you have left over from your budget (in which your
debt payments should be included), you can then choose to use that to pay off more if you
like. Because if you can pay off your debts early, it will make you feel better.



Being Realistic


By this, we mean with just about everything. From how long this is going to take you to
how you live your life, here’s how to make sure you’re realistic.


With How Long It Will Take


When you realize just how much debt you have, or you’re just eager to get it paid off as soon
as you can, you could start to get unrealistic about what you’re dealing with. But it’s important
that you understand how long it will take you to pay everything off. Whether it’s months or
years, you need to work this out in your payment plan and know that it’s very real. From
there, you’ll then be able to leave it in the back of your mind and just work towards making it
happen.


With How Much You Spend


If you got into debt in the first place because of reckless spending, then you’re really going to
want to get realistic with your spending. You need to set those budgets and stick to them to
the tee. Tracking your spending and saving it all in a spreadsheet may help you here.


With Your Lifestyle Choices


Finally, you then need to do the same with the lifestyle choices that you make. Living within
your means is very important when it comes to both getting out of debt and then staying out of
debt too. If you need to change your lifestyle to make this happen, then this is a very real
decision that you will need to make. Because you can still spend money when you’re trying
to get out of debt, but you still have to be careful.
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Home Warranties: What Is Covered and Why You May Want to Consider It

Do you have enough money on hand today to replace your water heater? What about your air conditioning? If you’re like most of the population, you don’t. When these features begin to disintegrate or malfunction over time, we try to stay ahead of it by contracting smaller repairs, scrambling to save money just in case, or borrowing the money when it just stops working. Home warranties, however, make it a lot easier.

 

A Home Warranty Is Not an Insurance Policy

 

Homeowners are often required to get insurance for their houses. Insurance policies are intended to cover disasters and emergencies, like fires and damage from weather events. Home warranties are not required, but cover your systems and appliances, which aren’t designed to last a lifetime.

 

In short, you absolutely still need your insurance policy. Home warranties are there for times in which your insurance policy may not help.

 

How a home warranty works is pretty simple. Once you do some research, namely by checking out House Method home warranty reviews, you’ll choose the company that seems right for you. You pay a few to several hundred dollars annually for your warranty, all at once or in installments.

 

Most companies will offer different plans with which you can customize your coverage. A basic plan can cover everything from your plumbing to your doorbell. When and if these things need fixing thanks to normal use – not because you’ve broken them – you call your warranty provider, and they send a contractor. You don’t have to worry about finding the right person to do it.

 

Once it’s fixed, you may be on the hook for a service charge or a sum up to the deductible.

 

Who Needs a Home Warranty?

 

If your home is brand new, you probably don’t need a warranty, as normal wear and tear on systems and appliances hasn’t occurred at all yet. Those new appliances will also probably be under factory warranty. But if you buy an older home with aging appliances, a warranty may be just the solution you need.

 

In fact, many go for the warranty when they close on a pre-owned home, just so they won’t have to worry about things like the oven or washing machine breaking down on them at the same time they’re dealing with moving expenses. A warranty can also make your listing more attractive to buyers if you want to sell your home.

 

In addition, it’s good to consider a warranty if you care for and properly maintain your aging appliances. We all know that routine maintenance doesn’t mean it will work forever, and warranties usually only cover appliances and systems that broke down despite your decent treatment of them. This is especially important if your appliances are very expensive, and repairs and replacements are therefore costlier.

 

If you’re looking to a buy a pre-owned home, you should ask the seller if a warranty is included. If you’re already an owner who is experiencing anxiety over the potential loss or breakdown of essential appliances that are getting older, a warranty might also be in order. Just be sure to read that fine print and verify you have the kind of coverage you can use.

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