carrying cash http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12338/all en-US Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5928728030_a5cdca2890_z.jpg" alt="writing check" title="writing check" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Why is it so easy to get into debt and so hard to get out? I think the answer lies somewhere in the machinery of our consumer culture. We&rsquo;re constantly encouraged to buy things whether we can afford them or not. There are creditors lining up to finance whatever they&rsquo;ve convinced us that we not only need, but rightfully deserve. And what happens when we find ourselves on that predictable but precarious ledge &mdash; teetering on the edge of financial ruin? There are more products and services to buy that can help us solve our financial problems. And (surprise!) not only do we need these essential tools, we deserve them!</p> <p>If you see the sick cycle here, you&rsquo;re not alone. More and more folks are waking up and realizing that taming debt just takes a bit of planning, some conscious choices, and some very hard work. Let&rsquo;s explore a few strategies to tackle your debt and empower your financial future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today">How to Start Fighting Debt &mdash; Today</a>)</p> <h3>Face How Much You Owe</h3> <p>The first step to any successful debt repayment plan is to get an accurate idea of exactly what you&rsquo;re up against. Avoidance is not your friend; organize your statements, make calls, and determine exactly how much you owe to each creditor. It&rsquo;ll inform the rest of your strategy and help prepare you for the next essential steps.</p> <h3>Go Cash-Only</h3> <p>I was tempted to make this the first step, but people tend to be much more motivated to adopt a cash-only life when they see how much they owe. Consciously choosing to spurn all but the most essential (read: life-and-death) debt is a vital piece of the puzzle. Put your credit cards on ice and resolve to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-green-how-to-live-a-nearly-cash-only-life">pay with cash only</a>. Consider rudimentary cash management systems like envelope budgeting to keep your spending in-check. Withdraw all the cash you'll need at the beginning of the month and divide it between envelopes that are labeled by expense. Force yourself to spend only within the parameters of each envelope's available cash. Nothing saps motivation like hammering down one debt while another one pops up somewhere else.</p> <h3>Chart It Out</h3> <p>Equipped with your figures, create a spreadsheet of what you owe. This doesn&rsquo;t have to be fancy. Whether you use a computer and budgeting software or poster-board and a Sharpie, just take the information out of the abstract and make it visual. Keep your chart prominent and easily accessible to encourage updates maintain laser-like focus. Use it to track progress, make notes, document your successes, and motivate yourself along the way.</p> <h3>Start Communicating</h3> <p>Once you know how much you owe and can see the challenge ahead, it&rsquo;s time to start communicating (if you haven&rsquo;t already done so). Start a discourse between yourself and your creditors. Explain your situation &mdash; share the circumstances that helped create this debt and stress your motivation to pay. Ask if there&rsquo;s any opportunity to lower your interest rates, have penalties waived, or set up a payment plan that will prevent interest from accumulating. Create a list of important <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">customer service</a> numbers to keep the communication channels open during the entire repayment process. This active communication does two things. First, it demystifies the debt and tames it in your mind. Second, it establishes a history of communication and positive interactions that often allow creditors be more flexible with terms.</p> <h3>Attach a Source of Income for Each Debt or Debt Category</h3> <p>Depending on your employment situation and time obligations, consider servicing each debt or debt category through a part-time job. For example, could you work in a coffee shop on weekends and direct everything you make to your car loan? What about tutoring students during the evenings and splitting the income between all your credit card debts? Though it may sound extreme, if your financial resources are already stretched paper-thin, this tactic creates a brand-new money stream that&rsquo;s earmarked solely for debt repayment. It&rsquo;s a powerful tool that can often tame debt faster than budgeting and re-budgeting a single source of income.</p> <h3>Pay Off the Small Debts First...and Fast</h3> <p>I know it goes against most number-crunching advice, but I&rsquo;m still a fan of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0">paying off the smallest debts first</a>. Of course, every situation is unique and there may be extenuating circumstances that make this approach impossible. But if there are no immediate financial disasters looming, (i.e., foreclosure/eviction, repossession, wage garnishments, etc), consider making the smaller debts top priority and taking care of them quickly. This approach gives you a bit of breathing room to focus on the &quot;big kahuna&quot; debts, creates some positive reinforcement, and gives you that most essential tool of all &mdash; the encouragement to do it again.</p> <p>More than likely, when that last payment is made you&rsquo;ll experience some sort of natural exhilaration. You&rsquo;ll look at that scrawled chart and all your notes and inadvertently find your motivation for the very last step, the one that goes almost without saying &mdash; stay debt-free.</p> <p><em>Do you have a debt-defeating story? What methods did you use to tame your debt and start fresh?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">How Much Does Your Credit Card Debt Cost You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you">Snowballs or Avalanches: Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt-repayment-is-not-an-expense">Debt repayment is not an expense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ways-to-track-debt-0">Ways to Track Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management carrying cash debt reduction side income tracking debt Fri, 03 Aug 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Kentin Waits 947047 at http://www.wisebread.com Travel and Money: How to Get and Carry Cash Safely and Securely http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IMG_4929_1.JPG" alt="traveling safely as a tourist" title="traveling safely as a tourist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Traveling safely and managing your money along the way is an exercise in balancing multiple risks: theft, loss, high surcharges, and confusing discrepancies. This <strong>Travel and Money series </strong>discusses various ways to address money and security issues while you are abroad. </em></p> <p>Today we&rsquo;ll address getting and carrying cash safely and securely while you&rsquo;re actively traveling on the road. Depending on where you go, it&rsquo;s easy to be labeled as a tourist, which automatically makes you a target for theft and robbery. And in some countries, pick-pocketing is a finely attuned art form. In other places, full-on muggings are common occurrences. So it pays to be judicious about how you carry your cash so you aren&rsquo;t left stranded.</p> <h2>Where to Get Cash</h2> <p>You have a few options for where to get your cash if you are in a country with a different currency:</p> <ul> <li>You can convert funds at your home bank and bring foreign currency abroad with you. If the currency conversion rates are fairly stable or at a particularly favorable rate before you leave, this could be a good plan. But think hard about how much cash you want to convert and carry at the onset; if you covert all your spending money right away and carry it with you throughout your trip, you have no recourse if the cash is lost or stolen.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You could carry home currency and convert it periodically while abroad. However again you leave yourself at the risk of loss or theft of all your coffers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lastly is my preferred method, which is to use ATMs abroad. You may be subject to a few different fees, but they&rsquo;re not exorbitant and are often comparable to what you would pay to exchange money along the way. You also have the added protection of not having to carry all your cash with you all the time. For some tips on how to manage fees and make effective cash withdrawals, check out this article on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">using your debit card on the road</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>Cash Conversion Tips</h2> <p>If you bring cash from home and plan to convert it along the way (or if you are visiting multiple countries and need to convert as you cross borders), take heed of the following tips:</p> <ul> <li>Don&rsquo;t convert your cash at the airport. The currency exchange booths have clued in to how easy it is for us lazy tourists to simply convert our funds at the airport (or other transportation hub), so they jack up the conversion rates and commission fees. Instead, wait until you get into town and find a bank or exchange booth there. If you need money right away (to pay for an airport bus for example), consider using an ATM instead (see tips above), or charging the expense to your credit card.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Beware of friendly locals offering to exchange money for you. There&rsquo;s a reason they&rsquo;re offering up this service, and it isn&rsquo;t sheer benevolence. Even if it&rsquo;s not a full-on scam, they&rsquo;re getting something for playing the middle-man, and it&rsquo;s coming out of your pocket.</li> </ul> <h2>How to Carry Your Cash Securely: Diversify!</h2> <p>Carrying all your cash in one place (usually a wallet) puts you at the biggest risk of losing the whole enchilada if somebody lifts (or if you lose) your wallet. In addition, when you whip out your wallet to pay for something and are sifting through large amounts of money, you will immediately become a formidable target for theft.</p> <p>So carry your cash in a few different places. Put the day&rsquo;s spending money in your wallet (this can also be an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">effective budgeting</a> technique), and then stash some cash in a few other places which you don&rsquo;t access in public; maybe a money belt, lock some in your luggage (an unlikely place like with your dirty clothes is good), and/or put a few emergency bills in your shoe (underneath the insole is great).</p> <p>I tend to carry emergency cash in a special pocket underneath my clothing, so if I lose everything, I still have some cash to get me out of whatever bind I may have found myself in.</p> <h2>Using Cash to Your Advantage while Traveling</h2> <p>Although it&rsquo;s no secret that I am a fan of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">using credit cards on the road</a>, there are some instances when you can use cash to your advantage. When you are looking at making a purchase (regardless of whether you are in a country where haggling is the norm), ask the vendor if they will give you a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-discount-every-time">discount</a> if you pay with cash. Vendors often have to pay a premium for customers who use credit and debit cards, so if they know you're paying with cash, they could cut you a deal. I&rsquo;ve had great luck with this at home too; especially with service providers like auto mechanics.</p> <p>Stay tuned for many more articles in this <strong><em>Travel and Money series</em></strong>, helping you to travel safely, securely, and effectively.</p> <h3>Other articles in this <em>Travel and Money Series</em>:</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road" target="_blank">Using your Debit Card on the Road</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road" target="_blank">Using Your Credit Card on the Road</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-passport-carrying-tips">Travel and Money: Passport Carrying Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets">Travel and Money: Carrying Decoy Wallets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-well-do-you-know-your-facebook-friends-precautions-for-travelers">How Well Do You Know Your Facebook Friends? Precautions for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-rentals-with-these-10-easy-hacks">Save on Car Rentals With These 10 Easy Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel carrying cash safe travel travel and money traveling securely Thu, 22 Jul 2010 13:00:04 +0000 Nora Dunn 184616 at http://www.wisebread.com