negotiating http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9711/all en-US 4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_with_a_piggy_bank_1.jpg" alt="Young woman with a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It feels great to make New Year&rsquo;s resolutions &mdash; but following through on them is much more difficult. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of New Year&rsquo;s resolutions fail by February.</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t have to be this way, particularly if you want to improve your financial life in the coming year. Just front load a little bit of work right around January 1, and you&rsquo;ll be able to conquer the following money resolutions without having to lift a finger over the rest of the year.</p> <h2>Resolution: Build an emergency fund</h2> <p>You know that you should have a savings cushion to protect yourself in case of an emergency, but putting aside the money for an emergency fund never seems to make it to the top of your to-do list. No matter how many times you&rsquo;ve resolved to cut out the lattés and bank the savings, it never seems to happen.</p> <h3>Do it now: Adjust your withholding</h3> <p>If you regularly get a large tax refund each year to the tune of thousands of dollars, you can effortlessly build your emergency fund without having to quit your latté habit. Just imagine how quickly you could build up your emergency fund if that extra money went into your savings account instead of taking a trip to the IRS and back.</p> <p>While you&rsquo;re feeling resolved and virtuous, adjust your withholding to do just that. Start by visiting the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator" target="_blank">IRS withholding calculator</a> to determine how many withholding allowances you may take. Remember that the withholding allowances you claim do not determine your tax bill, only how much you pay in taxes per paycheck, so your answers on the calculator can be approximate.</p> <p>Once you have figured out your allowances, request and fill out a W-4 form from your employer's human resources department. At the same time, set up an automatic transfer of the difference into your emergency fund. You can do this either through your bank&rsquo;s website, or with a direct deposit from your employer.</p> <p>And just like that, with an afternoon&rsquo;s worth of paperwork, your resolution will work for you throughout the year without you thinking about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <h2>Resolution: Pay off debt</h2> <p>According to <em>The Motley Fool</em>, the average American household owed $6,183 in credit card debt, $10,397 in student loan debt, and $9,206 in auto loans as of the fourth quarter of 2016. Resolving to get those balances paid off in the new year will not only free up more money each month, but will save you thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loans. But finding extra money in your budget to send to your creditors is just as difficult as finding spare cash for an emergency fund. So how can you fulfill this resolution without feeling the pinch?</p> <h3>Do it now: Set up weekly or bi-weekly payments</h3> <p>Whether you are looking to pay off credit card, student loan, auto loan, or even mortgage debt, you can channel the power of your calendar to help you reach that goal. Many creditors will allow you to send partial payments on a bi-weekly or weekly basis. Instead of making one monthly payment, you can break it in half or quarters and pay it bi-weekly or weekly instead.</p> <p>Not only will this allow you to send in more payments, but it can also save you interest on your credit card debt because you are generally charged interest on a daily basis. The best part is that your payments will feel basically the same to you, while they are working harder to eliminate what you owe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Resolution: Increase your retirement savings</h2> <p>Retirement is so far away that it&rsquo;s hard to even take the prospect seriously. But you <em>know</em> that you should be saving more for retirement, and you really do mean to look into contributing up to your employer match in your 401(k) &mdash; you just never get around to actually doing it. Enough is enough: This will be the year that you actually increase your retirement savings and get on top of planning for your future.</p> <h3>Do it now: Have 1 percent automatically transferred to your retirement account</h3> <p>A quick trip to your human resources department can help you get this resolution working for you throughout the year. First, determine how much you need to contribute to your 401(k) to receive the employer matching amount. Even if there is no way you can afford to contribute up to the match, start by having an additional 1 percent transferred to your account.</p> <p>While you&rsquo;re there, set up an automatic increase of your contribution by an additional 1 percent in three months, another 1 percent for six months down the road, and another 1 percent for nine months from now. These automatic bump-ups will make sure you are contributing to your retirement without having to think about it, and the changes will be gradual enough for you to easily weather them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a>)</p> <h2>Resolution: Spend less</h2> <p>You make a good living, but it just seems like there&rsquo;s not enough money at the end of your month. The problem is that resolving to spend less money usually results in living like a monk for the month of January, then going on a shopping binge the minute those Presidents Day sales are announced. But just how can you spend less money without resorting to these sorts of yo-yo money diets?</p> <h3>Do it now: Negotiate your bills</h3> <p>Take an afternoon to call your service providers and ask for a better price. There is no better place to spend less money than on your regular bills, since those are predictable and can make a big difference in your budget. While it may feel a little odd negotiating with service providers, the results can range from modest to impressive &mdash; and it certainly can&rsquo;t hurt you to ask.</p> <p>Consider calling your cellphone and internet service providers first, as they are often open to negotiation to keep loyal customers. It costs them far more money to woo a new customer than it does for them keep you happy. Make sure you do the research to know competitive prices &mdash; both among other providers, as well as the new customer pricing with your current provider &mdash; so you have some leverage for your request. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate</a>)</p> <p>You can also potentially negotiate your rent payment with your landlord, especially if you are a reliable tenant who is planning on staying put for a while. You could ask your landlord for a longer-term lease in exchange for a lower monthly rental payment, which can be a win-win for you both.</p> <h2>Resolutions don&rsquo;t have to be daily chores</h2> <p>Though New Year&rsquo;s resolutions are often about changing your daily habits, making the most of your financial life doesn&rsquo;t necessarily require such diligence. Instead, take a little time right now to set automatic financial decisions in place that will take care of you all year.</p> <p>Then all you have to do is sit back, relax, and watch your resolutions handle themselves.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Money%2520Resolutions%2520Anyone%2520Can%2520Conquer.jpg&amp;description=4%20Money%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Conquer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Money%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Conquer.jpg" alt="4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer">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-1"> <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/5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1">5 Brilliant Money Moves You Should Make on January 1</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/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</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/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</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/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills debt emergency funds money goals negotiating New Year's resolutions retirement saving money withholdings Fri, 22 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2074068 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/halloween_is_here.jpg" alt="Halloween is here" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My kids love the holidays. They plan their Halloween costumes as early as March; they ask to help make pumpkin pie the moment there's even a hint of chill in the air; and they have Hanukkah wish lists going nearly year-round.</p> <p>My husband and I get a kick out of their enthusiasm. It helps us remember the holiday magic we felt as children. But in addition to being fun and meaningful traditions, holidays also offer parents the opportunity to teach their kids about money.</p> <p>Before this year's holiday season kicks into high gear, consider using the occasions to teach your kids the following lessons about managing money:</p> <h2>Halloween</h2> <p>Your kids' favorite candy-based holiday provides you with several ways to teach important money management skills.</p> <h3>Costume budgeting</h3> <p>Whether you are footing the bill for your child's costume or you are asking them to use their own money, start by setting a dollar limit on the amount they can spend and offer to help them shop around. These limits will help your child understand the trade-offs they will have to make to stay within a budget.</p> <p>For instance, your daughter might find that the Wonder Woman costume at the local party store would blow her budget &mdash; but she could save money by stenciling Diana Prince's WW logo on a red T-shirt she already owns and adding white star stickers to a pair of blue shorts or a blue skirt. Recognizing that she could spend either money or time is an important part of learning to budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-cheap-halloween-costumes-for-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">20 Simple and Cheap Halloween Costumes for Kids</a>)</p> <h3>Candy negotiations</h3> <p>Not every candy in your child's trick-or-treat bag can be a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or a Snickers. There's bound to be some candy corn, Good &amp; Plenty, or even just Dum Dums that your kids aren't particularly interested in. You can help them to learn the value of negotiation by fostering candy exchanges.</p> <p>After they've finished with trick-or-treating, encourage your kids to trade with each other. These candy swaps can help your kids figure out just how much they value coveted candy. Is another Mars Bar worth three Twizzlers? Just how many Tootsie Rolls are equivalent to a Blow Pop? This kind of negotiation can help your kids learn how to compromise and determine what they value.</p> <h2>Thanksgiving</h2> <p>Thanksgiving is a time for family, but it can also provide your kids with an excellent opportunity to learn about the importance of tracking your expenses.</p> <h3>Track spending</h3> <p>The average household spent $342 over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. You can involve your kids in your Thanksgiving expenditures by asking them to keep a running tally of your spending for the holiday.</p> <p>Save your receipts from any Thanksgiving-related expenditures &mdash; everything from your purchase of pumpkin pie fixings, to the gas station fill-up on the way to Grandma's house, to the 75 percent off fitness tracker you bought for Aunt Sue on Black Friday. Hand over the receipts to your child so they can keep careful track of just how much Thanksgiving will cost you this year.</p> <p>Not only will this exercise in tracking your household spending help your kids to practice their math skills, but it will also help them see just how quickly expenses can add up.</p> <h2>Christmas and Hanukkah</h2> <p>Kids get understandably excited about the gift aspect of Christmas and Hanukkah, but these holidays are also a perfect opportunity to teach them how to manage their money.</p> <h3>Gift budgeting</h3> <p>It's so easy to go overboard when buying gifts for loved ones, and it's important for children to learn that you can give presents without breaking the bank. Even very young children can help you to create a list of everyone you want to give a present to. From there, decide on the amount of money you can afford to spend per person. Older children who will be buying their own presents for family can make this decision themselves, with your help. Younger kids can help by writing down the dollar amount you can spend.</p> <p>You can then start brainstorming gift possibilities. Have your kids comparison shop for prices or figure out alternatives if certain gifts aren't in the budget. This exercise can help your kids understand that generosity and spending too much aren't synonymous.</p> <h3>Wants and needs</h3> <p>Holidays can often be a time of excess, which means it can be tough for kids to recognize the difference between their wants and their needs. One way parents can help their kids learn those differences is to institute the Four Gift Rule. With this rule, each child receives:</p> <ol style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> <p>Something they want.</p> </li> <li> <p>Something they need.</p> </li> <li> <p>Something to wear.</p> </li> <li> <p>Something to read.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Limiting your children's wish lists to four distinct categories helps your kids focus on the things that they truly need and the wants that they value most. You can make it clear to your kids that they can put more than one item in each category, but that they will only receive one present from each category.</p> <p>Not only will this system help save you money and time, but it will help your kids keep their gift expectations reasonable.</p> <h2>Holidays, with a side of money management</h2> <p>Enjoying the holiday season with your children is a perfect time to teach them some of the finer points of budgeting, negotiation, money management, and managing expectations.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Use%2520the%2520Holidays%2520to%2520Teach%2520Kids%2520About%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Use%20the%20Holidays%20to%20Teach%20Kids%20About%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Use%20the%20Holidays%20to%20Teach%20Kids%20About%20Money.jpg" alt="How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">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-1"> <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/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</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/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</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/7-money-conversations-parents-should-have-with-their-adult-kids">7 Money Conversations Parents Should Have With Their Adult Kids</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/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family budgeting children Christmas gift giving Halloween hanukkah Holidays kids money lessons negotiating Thanksgiving tracking Mon, 09 Oct 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2031775 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fired_from_work.jpg" alt="Fired from work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life happens. Sometimes, life can throw a sudden job loss or drop in income your way. Beyond saving up an emergency fund, you'll need to make a few key moves while you stay afloat. These steps will help minimize the damage and stabilize your finances, quickly.</p> <h2>Alert the people who need to know</h2> <p>There are some exceptions to this rule, but it usually pays to be proactive and honest about your financial situation. If you make the first move and have an honest talk with your landlord, for example, you might be able to negotiate a reduced rent for a few months, set up a split payment agreement, or mutually decide on a later due date for the payment. If you wait until the rent is overdue, and your landlord's patience is already stretched thin, those negotiations might not go so well.</p> <p>It can be intimidating to initiate these conversations; there's no guarantee they'll go your way, and it's humbling to admit that you're struggling financially. However, it's worth the effort. The worst you'll get is a, &quot;No.&quot; In the best case scenario, you may gain some extra time, waive some late fees, or find a much-needed reduction in what you have to pay.</p> <h2>Put payments on hold</h2> <p>If you have automatic payments, particularly large ones, call your bank and put them on hold. While your income is low, you need to assess and prioritize each payment you make, rather than let things flow automatically. You'll also avoid potential overdraft fees by holding those automatic transfers or payments.</p> <p>Some banks charge a fee for putting payments on hold; if that's the case, see if you can put the payment on hold from the payee-side of things rather than through the bank. In other words, if you have an automatic payment scheduled to your insurance provider, for example, and the bank will charge you to put a hold on that auto payment, call your insurance provider and cancel the automatic payment plan until you're ready to reinstate it.</p> <p>Be sure that you keep a spreadsheet or other record of all the payments you put on hold; they still need to be paid. You're just going to manually send those payments according to the best timing for each one. Don't lose track of the payments that need to be sent: Note the amount, the payee information, and the due date for each payment.</p> <p>If you know you'll be late on a bill or payment, call ahead. You may be able to negotiate a temporary, reduced payment plan for credit card debt, car payments, or other bills. Most companies would rather have some money than no money and will work with you, at least to some extent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>Reduce your expenses</h2> <p>Take a good look at your budget and cut out all but the essentials. This usually means that you're paying bills and handling necessary expenses such as food and fuel in the car. Every other expense goes on hold: clothing, travel, entertainment, and so on need to wait. You can &mdash; and should &mdash; still have fun, but now is the time to opt for free activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</a>)</p> <p>For the time being, pay for your expenses in cash. First, you'll stay more aware of what you're spending if you're handing over a stack of bills. Second, you won't be buying things you can't really afford if you're paying cash. You either have the cash, or you don't; no cash, you don't buy it. This is a very simple way to reduce your expenses to the essentials, only.</p> <p>Remember that this is a temporary state of being. It's stressful to deal with income loss, and having to do without your favorite luxuries can make it even more difficult. However, reducing your expenses is key to getting your finances under control. Splurge on free experiences that help you relax and enjoy the moment, such as watching the sunset, taking a walk, meditating, listening to music, or volunteering.</p> <h2>Get money coming in</h2> <p>Now is the time to polish up all your side-hustle skills. You may not be able to get back to your original income level, but you can definitely pay some bills. There are numerous ideas for side gigs; you might start by offering your professional skills within your network. You can tutor, write, advise, consult, pick up a weekend job, do yardwork, become a virtual assistant, or any combination of those. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs for Fast Cash</a>)</p> <p>Side work will help your mentality; it's important to keep working and be active rather than sink into helplessness. And more importantly, side work will bring in some money.</p> <h2>Don't panic</h2> <p>Last, but certainly not least: Don't panic. It's scary to watch your income plummet and your savings dwindle. But a sudden loss of income is not a reflection of your value as a person. It does not define you, and it does not limit your potential or your future. Many people have walked through the financial fire before and come out stronger than ever on the other side. By taking some of these smart steps now, you can start moving along that path yourself.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Handle%2520a%2520Sudden%2520Loss%2520of%2520Income.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Handle%20a%20Sudden%20Loss%20of%20Income"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Handle%20a%20Sudden%20Loss%20of%20Income.jpg" alt="How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">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/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</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/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</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/4-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018</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/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018">6 Things You Need to Do if You&#039;re Retiring in 2018</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/4-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer">4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting cutting costs expenses job loss loss of income negotiating payments side jobs Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 2003785 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Worried young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Facing debt can be stressful and overwhelming. But it's important to remember that no matter how much you might feel that you're in over your head, debt is a hole you can climb out of. You can absolutely do this. Here are the first steps you need to take.</p> <h2>1. Figure out how much you owe</h2> <p>The first step can be the most painful. It's time to get an overview of your debt, which means you need to add up everything you owe and take a good look at your total. That, my friends, can be a difficult moment. But that difficult moment will also provide you with the clarity you need to start taking back power over your financial future.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Gather your financial statements or log in to the online portal for each account you owe on: your credit cards, mortgage, student loan, car loan, lines of credit, home equity loan, etc. Create a simple spreadsheet with four columns: one to identify each debt (&quot;Student Loan&quot;), one for the amount owed, one for the minimum monthly payment, and one for the interest rate. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report" target="_blank">Pull your credit report</a> to search for outstanding debts, and compare the information against what you have in your own records.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>2. Sort and prioritize the debt list</h2> <p>Now it's time to start sorting out your spreadsheet entries so you can come up with the best possible plan to get out of debt.</p> <p>You might think that the most important debt to pay off is the biggest one; however, it's often a good idea to identify the debt with the highest interest rate and knock that out first. This is known as the avalanche method of debt repayment. Higher interest rates lead to faster debt accumulation and result in you paying a higher amount over the course of your debt repayment. The faster you can get rid of high-interest debts, the better.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Sort your spreadsheet by the fourth column, the one for the interest rate. You might see anything from a 4 percent interest rate (for example, on a student loan) to a whopping 22 percent interest rate on, say, a credit card. You may owe more principal on your student loan, but relatively speaking, you're wasting more in interest every month on that credit card. The credit card is therefore the higher priority for complete repayment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Add up your minimum payments</h2> <p>You don't get to stop making payments on the lower-interest debts, even though they're not the highest priority. Instead, you need to continue making the minimum monthly payments on all lower-interest debts while making bigger payments on your debt with the highest interest rate. Once you knock one high-interest debt out completely, you prioritize the debt with the next-highest interest rate and continue paying minimums on everything else.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Add up the monthly minimum payments for <em>all</em> the debts on your list, including the highest-interest debt. This is the total, bare minimum debt repayment amount that needs to fit into your current budget. This can be a nerve wracking step, especially if you don't have enough income to comfortably afford that total monthly minimum amount. You may need to take steps to cut expenses elsewhere, or bring in sources of additional income.<strong> </strong></p> <h2>4. Determine your needed overage payment</h2> <p>Now it's time to calculate the payment you need to get that highest-interest debt paid off as quickly as possible. If you keep making only the minimum payment on it, you'll keep accumulating interest charges and it will take much longer to pay it off. Instead, think of a target timeline (maybe six months or a year) for paying off the highest-interest debt, and calculate an ideal amount you can pay above the minimum payment to achieve that goal.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Use an online <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">credit card payoff calculator</a>. Enter the information for your highest-interest debt: total amount owed, interest rate, and the minimum payment. You'll see how long it will take to pay off the debt if you only make the minimum payments. Now, instead of minimum payments, enter how many months you'd like to have it paid off in. The result will show you the monthly amount you need to pay in order to clear the debt within your target timeline.</p> <h2>5. Give yourself the best possible conditions</h2> <p>You have the essential numbers that you need. They may be painful, but knowledge is power. The next step is to find ways to reduce the financial impact that these debts have while you repay them. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">Debt consolidation</a> may be the best way to do this; however, you may also be able to lower your interest rates and negotiate better payment plans on individual debts, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>This takes some time, depending on the number of debts you have. Call each creditor and ask how you can reduce your interest rate. You may be able to refinance a home mortgage or car loan for a lower rate, for example. If you have a good repayment history, ask credit card companies to consider your reliable record and give you a better interest rate. If you're able to take out a low-interest loan, such as a line of credit or home equity loan with your bank, you may be able to use it to pay off your high-interest debt and consolidate at least some of your debts into a single, lower-interest loan.</p> <h2>6. Protect your credit and your finances</h2> <p>If you're late on a payment, being proactive can save you from accumulating fees and damaging your credit score. For example, if you call the credit card company and explain that you can't make the full minimum payment on time, they may work with you to split the payment in half for the month so you can avoid late fees. Many times, a phone call and a courteous conversation can reduce or remove a fee, extend a deadline, or result in a more manageable payment plan.</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>Set up alerts or schedule automatic minimum monthly payments so you don't miss due dates. If you know you won't have the money on time for a particular payment, call in advance to negotiate an extended deadline or set up a split payment plan. Additionally, you may want to keep an eye on changes in your credit report.</p> <h2>7. Protect your financial future</h2> <p>As difficult as it seems to save money when you're trying to pay down debt, it's so important. You need an emergency fund for those unpredictable expenses that will happen. Building an emergency fund will keep you from having to add to your debt when the car breaks down or you don't get that bonus you were counting on. In other words, it's the essential tool that keeps you climbing out of that debt pit, even when life happens. Without it, one setback can set off a downward spiral deeper into debt. You don't want that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>How to do it</h3> <p>If your budget is absolutely maxed out, you can pick up a side hustle or employ another short-term strategy &mdash; such as selling off a few high-value items, or taking on seasonal work &mdash; to quickly build up an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Easy%2520First%2520Steps%2520to%2520Paying%2520Off%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Easy%20First%20Steps%20to%20Paying%20Off%20Debt.jpg" alt="7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">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-1"> <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/never-do-these-5-things-when-youre-in-debt">Never Do These 5 Things When You&#039;re in Debt</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/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</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/7-ways-being-debt-free-can-cost-you">7 Ways Being Debt Free Can Cost You</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/5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1">5 Brilliant Money Moves You Should Make on January 1</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/how-to-use-a-credit-card-for-an-emergency-without-drowning-in-debt">How to Use a Credit Card for an Emergency Without Drowning In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method budgeting credit report credit score emergency funds interest rates minimum payments negotiating principal repayment Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2001479 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_hold_credit_card_a_toy_car_and_a_stack.jpg" alt="Businesswoman hold credit card, a toy car and a stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While most people rely on cash or bank financing to buy a car, it may be possible to make all or part of your vehicle purchase with a credit card instead. This might seem like a risky proposition, but there are real, tangible benefits that can come from using this payment method if you're careful.</p> <p>With the right credit card strategy, you could earn rewards for your car purchase, save money on interest, and potentially pay your car off faster. Obviously, there are also a lot of things that can go wrong with this strategy. If you can't afford a car and are looking at a credit card as your way to finance it because you have no other options, forget it. You'll end up worse off if you can't make payments on your credit card.</p> <p>Even if you can afford the car, you'll need to answer a few questions. Let's talk about whether charging it makes sense &mdash; and when it's possible.</p> <h2>Is it possible to buy a car with a credit card?</h2> <p>First, you need to determine whether the dealership or car lot you're buying from will allow it. There are instances when a car lot may let you&nbsp;pay for your entire car purchase with credit, but those situations are rare.</p> <p>More likely, if a dealership lets you pay with a credit card at all, it will cap the amount at, say, $5,000. The main reason dealerships hesitate to let you charge tens of thousands of dollars to your card is that, like other merchants, they pay interchange fees to accept credit cards. These fees are usually around 2 percent, sometimes higher. So, if you charge a $30,000 car, your dealership could be on the hook for at least $600 in processing costs.</p> <p>The other thing you need to note is your available balance. Obviously, you can't charge more than your credit limit, so you'll need to be aware of that limit.</p> <h2>Earning rewards with a car purchase</h2> <p>While there is more than one way charging your car to a credit card can leave you ahead, the most intriguing opportunity is the rewards you could earn. You can get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards</a>. You might even want to use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-buypower-get-your-dream-gm-car?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded car credit card</a> (yes, they exist!). This can provide you a hefty discount when you are ready for your next car.</p> <p>Obviously, this strategy is only worth pursuing if you have the cash in the bank to pay your card off right away. While the cards with the most lucrative rewards programs help you earn &quot;free money&quot; on large purchases, the interest rates they offer tend to be higher than average. If you put $30,000 on a credit card that charges 15 percent and it took you five years to pay your loan off, you would fork over $12,822 in interest alone.</p> <h2>Saving interest on a car purchase with a 0% APR card</h2> <p>This leads to the second reason some people may choose to charge their car purchase &mdash; to save money on interest. While many rewards cards charge higher interest rates than most, an array of cards charge <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR for new purchases</a> for 12&ndash;21 months.</p> <p>The key to making a 0% APR card work in this scenario is making sure you can pay the balance in full before your introductory offer ends. Once it's over your rate will reset to a regular credit card interest rate, which is almost certainly higher than the rate you'd get on a car loan.</p> <p>Before you pick a 0% APR card for your car purchase, make sure you can pay the balance in full before the introductory offer ends. That way, you can truly save money on interest &mdash; and not end up potentially paying more in interest than if you'd just gone with a loan.</p> <h2>Buying a car with a credit card</h2> <p>If you're dead set on charging your car to a credit card, it's important to think through several important scenarios first. Here are four tips that can help you get the most out of the situation.</p> <h3>1. Don't talk about payment until you've negotiated a price</h3> <p>While there's nothing wrong with using credit for a car, your car salesman may want to make up for their fees by charging you a higher sales price. That's why you should never reveal that you intend to pay with credit until you've negotiated the terms of the sale. By slow-rolling your credit card payment plan, you can get the best price possible while also gaining the benefits of using a card.</p> <h3>2. Make sure you're getting the best deal possible</h3> <p>As with any car purchase, you should research the cars you're interested in online before you ever step into a dealership. Websites like&nbsp;Kelley Blue Book&nbsp;can help you figure out exactly what a car is worth based on its make, model, and condition. If the dealership wants you to pay more than a car is truly worth, the rewards you're earning probably won't be worth it, especially if they decide to tack on a fee for using a credit card.</p> <h3>3. Do the math before you buy</h3> <p>While getting 0% APR on your car purchase can pay off, it's important to do the math if you don't think you'll pay off the entire purchase before the introductory offer ends. If you need several years to pay your car loan in full, for example, you will be better off with bank or dealership financing &mdash; even if the ongoing APR seems high.</p> <h3>4. Decide what you want &mdash; 0% APR&nbsp;or&nbsp;rewards</h3> <p>While a slew of popular credit cards offer rewards or 0% APR for a limited time, few cards offer the best of both. Before you charge your car to a credit card, make sure you have defined goals and a plan to reach them. And if you don't have the right credit card to meet your needs for this purchase, explore your card options and apply for a new card before you step into a dealership.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fshould-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FShould%2520You%2520Buy%2520a%2520Car%2520With%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card-.jpg&amp;description=Should%20You%20Buy%20a%20Car%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Should%20You%20Buy%20a%20Car%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card-.jpg" alt="Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card">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-1"> <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/10-new-car-costs-the-dealer-is-hiding-from-you">10 New Car Costs the Dealer Is Hiding From 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/5-times-you-can-score-a-great-deal-on-a-new-car">5 Times You Can Score a Great Deal on a New Car</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/10-magic-words-to-say-to-get-the-best-new-car-price">10 Magic Words to Say to Get the Best New Car Price</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/8-secrets-to-a-higher-car-trade-in-value">8 Secrets to a Higher Car Trade-In Value</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/cutting-your-car-payment-is-easier-than-you-think">Cutting Your Car Payment Is Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation APR dealerships fees financing interest rates negotiating new car rewards vehicles Wed, 05 Jul 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Holly Johnson 1974820 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Smart Money Challenges You Can Totally Do http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-challenges-you-can-totally-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-smart-money-challenges-you-can-totally-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pumping_fists_celebrates_success_under_money_rain.jpg" alt="7 Smart Money Challenges You Can Totally Do" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you up for a money challenge? How about several?</p> <p>Make no mistake, some of the savings challenges below are tough. Some may even drive you a little bonkers. But they are all achievable if you put your mind to it, and can leave you with more money for your financial goals &mdash; in some cases, considerably more. They may even leave you healthier and happier.</p> <p>So, if you think you have what it takes, here are seven money challenges. Which ones will you take on?</p> <h2>1. Use thrift stores whenever possible</h2> <p>Of course, there are necessities you can't get at a thrift store, like groceries. But for clothing, household items, electronics, and a whole host of other products, thrift stores are a gold mine.</p> <p>Thrift store clothing is usually in excellent condition, and sold for a fraction of the price you'd pay at a retail store. Simply pop the garment in the wash when you get home, or get it dry cleaned, and you're good to go. Thrift stores also have special offer days &mdash; Goodwill runs 99-cent tag days every week. You can actually pick up a winter coat, a great watch, or a coffee maker for less than a buck. Do this challenge for one year, and see how much you save.</p> <h2>2. Do the 52-week savings plan</h2> <p>Often known as the &quot;52-week money challenge&quot; or &quot;a dollar extra every week,&quot; the plan eases you into saving a substantial sum of money over the course of one year. It's simple enough, and very easy to stick to, at least at first.</p> <p>In January, at the end of week one, you'll put $1 into your savings account (or jar). At the end of week two, you pop in $2. Week three, $3. And so on for the whole year. By the time you reach the end of December, you'll have saved almost $1,400.</p> <p>The only drawback to this plan is that the amounts get larger and larger as the year goes on, and they're the most expensive during the December holidays. But stick with it, and you'll have a nice chunk of money to celebrate with. Even if you bail at the end of November, you'll have collected over $1,100. That could pay for a lot of those gifts and special events.</p> <h2>3. Cancel Amazon Prime</h2> <p>Look, we all know how good Amazon Prime is: free two-day shipping, a massive library of free movies and TV shows, and some great prices on thousands of items. <em>But</em>, and this is a big but, for some people it can become addictive. Having instant (or almost instant) gratification is incredibly satisfying. Admit it, how many times have you casually hit the &quot;Buy now with 1-Click&quot; button when you saw something you liked?</p> <p>The website and app are designed to make impulse buying easier. One woman recently documented how she spent over <a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/spendingandborrowing/a-woman-who-spent-dollar41000-on-amazon-highlights-a-critical-money-lesson/ar-BBBzSX8" target="_blank">$41,000 on Amazon Prime</a> from 2008 to 2016. In 2015, she bought 427 items &mdash; more than there are days in a year. And not only did she find it very easy to do, she was at a loss as to what most of these items were.</p> <p>So if you feel like you are too often tempted by Amazon Prime, then try giving it a miss for a while. See how much you save. You may find it is a temptation that sucks money away from you.</p> <h2>4. Stop eating out, and no more fast food</h2> <p>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, the average American family spent over $3,000 on takeout and dining out. That's $250 every month!</p> <p>That same year, the average family spent just $4,015 on groceries. And the gap between those figures continues to narrow. As a nation, we're addicted to quick and easy meals and it's really hurting our wallets.</p> <p>So, make a pledge right now to give it up for a month or two. No more restaurants. No more quick stops at the drive-thru. For at least two months, give up the notion of getting food from anywhere but your own home. Bring lunches to work. Pack lunches for the kids. Plan meals for every night of the week, and get creative with leftovers. You will miss the quick fix and the ease of eating out, but you will save hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, you will not be eating all those preservatives, fats, and chemicals that come with fast food. You'll be healthier <em>and </em>richer.</p> <h2>5. Do your shopping on just one day of the week</h2> <p>When I was growing up, Friday was grocery shopping day. My parents would take us all to the local supermarket with a list of things to buy, and that's what we bought. That would have to last us for the week, and there were no exceptions. If we ran out of fruit or cereal, we'd find substitutions. If we wanted candy or soda, and we ate what we had by Tuesday, then we had to wait to get more.</p> <p>This taught my sister and I that we had to ration what we had, and that we could not simply rely on an endless supply of whatever we wanted. Plus, every time you pop into a grocery store, even if it's just for bread or milk, you inevitably get caught up in special offers and eye-catching deals, and come back with more than you need. So, set a day of the week to shop, even if it's done via a home delivery service, and stick with it. What's more, this challenge makes it much easier to budget for the month.</p> <h2>6. Spend one month haggling over as much as you can</h2> <p>This one is tough for people who don't like confrontations or talking to customer service. However, if you persevere, you will come out of it saving a whole lot of money.</p> <p>Spend the first week haggling with every service provider you have. Your cable, internet, and phone providers have something called a customer retention department. Their role is simply to keep you as a customer, and they have some significant discounts to offer just to keep you on board. All you have to do is call and say you want to cancel, and you will be offered rebates and lower rates almost immediately.</p> <p>Next, hit up your credit card and banking providers. Can they <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate" target="_blank">lower your interest rates</a>?</p> <p>After that, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-better-prices-on-these-6-grocery-store-buys" target="_blank">start haggling in stores</a>. If you go grocery shopping in the evening, you will be able to make the manager some offers on food that is about to expire. Sometimes, perfectly good food destined for the garbage can be acquired for pennies on the dollar.</p> <p>Be brave. Aim high, and if you get nothing, guess what? You've lost nothing. But chances are, you'll come out on top most of the time.</p> <h2>7. Clear out the pantry and fridge once a month</h2> <p>Take a look in your fridge, freezer, and pantry when you finish reading this article. You will probably be amazed at what you find in there. For a start, many of the items at the back of the pantry and fridge will be expired. That is cash in the trash. You will also find things you completely forgot you bought, and perhaps a few items that should never have been in there in the first place.</p> <p>Sort through everything and then stick to using up everything in the pantry and fridge for one week. Don't go to the store. Don't eat out. Get creative! You will come up with all sorts of weird food concoctions, but that's half the fun. You can also search recipe sites, input what ingredients you have available, and receive recipe suggestions that use those ingredients. Some people do this religiously, and it leaves them with a well-organized kitchen and very little food waste each month.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-smart-money-challenges-you-can-totally-do&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Smart%2520Money%2520Challenges%2520You%2520Can%2520Totally%2520Do.jpg&amp;description=7%20Smart%20Money%20Challenges%20You%20Can%20Totally%20Do"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Smart%20Money%20Challenges%20You%20Can%20Totally%20Do.jpg" alt="7 Smart Money Challenges You Can Totally Do" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-challenges-you-can-totally-do">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-1"> <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/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</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/boost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system">Boost Your Savings With This Easy Budgeting System</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/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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/4-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer">4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance amazon prime food costs games groceries haggling money challenges negotiating saving money shopping thrift stores Mon, 03 Jul 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1971280 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-466332486.jpg" alt="Learning how to handle a surprise medical bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Have you noticed that your neck appears swollen?&quot; That's what the nurse practitioner asked about halfway through what I had assumed was a routine office visit.</p> <p>Soon after, I was swiftly catapulted into a long series of office visits that were anything but routine. There were ultrasounds, biopsies, consults with specialists, an invasive surgery, an overnight stay in the hospital, and eventually, the ok from my docs to go about living a normal life.</p> <p>That's when the medical bills started rolling in.</p> <p>Turns out I could kick thyroid cancer to the curb, but it wouldn't be cheap. Medical care is expensive, not just for me, but also for the one in four American adults under age 65 who have past-due medical bills, according to a recent study released by the Urban Institute.</p> <p>Still, knowledge is power. At least, it is according to the same Urban Institute study, which reported, &quot;Adults with greater financial knowledge are less likely to have <a href="http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/why-do-larger-share-millennials-and-gen-x-have-past-due-medical-debt-older-americans?utm_source=twitter&amp;amp;utm_campaign=organic&amp;amp;utm_medium=social&amp;amp;utm_term=millennial_genx_medical_debt&amp;amp;utm_content=urban_" target="_blank">past-due medical debt</a>.&quot;</p> <p>That's good news for Wise Bread readers, who are keenly interested in the fate of their financial futures. Even so, a surprise bill, particularly a large one, can take even the most educated saver by surprise. The silver lining here is that there are several specific steps you can take to help minimize the pain that often comes with the arrival of an unexpected medical expense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-hit-with-a-huge-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You're Hit With a Huge Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h2>1. Scrutinize your bill</h2> <p>According to various sources, as many as eight in 10 medical bills contain some sort of error &mdash; sometimes even multiple errors. I'm not surprised. Mine sure did.</p> <p>When that first hospital bill arrived, it was for more than my annual deductible. A lot more. After suffering what felt like a small panic attack, I called my insurance company. As it turned out, they hadn't received a bill from the hospital. Instead, the hospital had billed me directly.</p> <p>It took a few frustrating phone calls, but the hospital ultimately fixed the mistake. Still, had the bill been for a less egregious amount, I may have overlooked the error and just paid it. I mean, how many of us scour the line items of those bills?</p> <p>Turns out, we should.</p> <p>&quot;Sometimes, insurance companies or doctors' offices make mistakes that they don't realize,&quot; says financial coach Maggie Germano. &quot;They may have simply miscoded something. It's up to you to follow up and make sure they aren't charging you when they shouldn't be.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Negotiate with your health care provider</h2> <p>Looking over an itemized hospital bill is not for the weak of heart. Mine included shocking over-the-top expenses, like $27,000 for three hours in the operating room, $15,000 for an overnight stay in a recovery room, and $108 for a single dose of calcium.</p> <p>Those inflated fees are all part of an elaborate dance between health care providers and insurance giants. Insurance companies don't often pay the amount that gets printed on those statements. Instead, they use it as a jumping off point for reimbursement negotiations. Sadly, it's those without health care coverage who often get stuck in this line of medical bill crossfire.</p> <p>&quot;Hospitals are always complaining that they're not reimbursed enough money from the health insurance companies, and therefore increase fees as high as possible,&quot; says Adria Gross, founder of MedWise Insurance Advocacy.</p> <p>Uninsured or underinsured patients typically don't have anyone behind the scenes who can negotiate those fees on their behalf. Instead, they have to advocate for themselves.</p> <p>According to money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, health care providers are not likely to negotiate costs if you have health insurance. But if you're uninsured, you may be able to talk your bill down by 10 to 20 percent. That's why it never hurts to get connected with the customer service department &mdash; no matter how long the wait or arduous the phone tree &mdash; and ask for a break. Woroch notes that some centers will even give a discount if you offer to pay in cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-negotiate-medical-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Negotiate Medical Bills</a>)</p> <h2>3. Get smart about the actual cost of your procedure</h2> <p>Still, negotiating a medical bill isn't as easy as &quot;ask and ye shall receive.&quot; It helps to come to the table prepared with &quot;the usual, reasonable, and customary charges&quot; for your particular medical procedure, says Gross. The first step is to track down the procedure code for the service you've been billed for. A quick internet search should do the trick. Then, check out an online database to start searching for the fair fee associated with your procedure. (Gross recommends <a href="https://fairhealthconsumer.org/" target="_blank">Fair Health Consumer</a> and <a href="https://healthcarebluebook.com/" target="_blank">Healthcare Bluebook</a>.)</p> <p>Gross says that finding that number &mdash; before you call &mdash; can help you determine whether you've been overbilled so you can fight to correct the charges.</p> <h2>4. Request a payment plan</h2> <p>If you still can't afford the bill, Germano suggests asking your doctor to set up a payment plan. &quot;Most medical centers just want to get paid eventually, so they should work with you to make it easier for you to pay,&quot; she says.</p> <p>The key to this strategy is figuring out how much of the bill you can afford to pay each month. You'll likely be paying it for a while, so make sure you can commit to this amount for the long-term.</p> <p>&quot;Get the agreement in writing, and make sure they send you a confirmation email or letter whenever you make a payment,&quot; warns Germano. Then, keep careful track of your payments along the way. &quot;That will prevent them from accusing you of not paying what you owe,&quot; she adds.</p> <p>It will also ensure that the bill doesn't get sent to collections, which will damage your credit score.</p> <h2>5. Plan for the future</h2> <p>Medical surprises happen, no matter how healthy you think you are. (Trust me on this one. No one was more surprised by my diagnosis than me.) Keeping a stash of cash on reserve in your Health Savings Account (HSA) or emergency savings may just save your future self from a couple of missed mortgage payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <p>As Ben Franklin once wisely said, &quot;An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.&quot; That adage applies to your health, but also to what's in your pocketbook.</p> <p>Start planning now, so you'll be prepared when the unexpected strikes. And if it doesn't? Well, it never hurts to have a few extra bucks in the bank.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill">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-1"> <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-to-afford-your-kids-braces-or-expensive-dental-care">How to Afford Your Kid&#039;s Braces or Expensive Dental Care</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/why-i-heart-my-high-deductible-health-insurance-plan">Why I (Heart) My High Deductible Health Insurance Plan</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/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</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/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</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/how-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline">How to Get Health Insurance If You Missed the Open Enrollment Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty doctors health care health insurance medical bills negotiating payment plans surprise bills unexpected costs Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1938309 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Earn More Money — Without Working More Hours http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-earn-more-money-without-working-more-hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-earn-more-money-without-working-more-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-491697654.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways to earn more money without working more" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're tired of a job that doesn't pay enough, it may be time for a change. The good news is, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to work endless hours. Here's how to flip your work-to-earnings ratio.</p> <h2>1. Take less desirable shifts</h2> <p>Some jobs offer financial incentives either for working overtime or for working undesirable shifts, such as overnights, or during weekends or holidays. Shift differentials are particularly common in manufacturing, customer service, information technology, and health care. Sometimes you can earn time-and-a-half (1.5x your base pay) for signing up for these shifts.</p> <p>You'll be doing the same work as always, but earning something extra for your trouble. Conversely, if you're looking to work fewer hours in the future, some jobs will allow you to bank the overtime hours you put in. Ask your boss about these options.</p> <h2>2. Set up passive revenue streams</h2> <p>For those who have online content businesses, setting up a passive revenue stream is an excellent way to earn more without putting in endless work hours. A passive revenue stream will require some setup work, but then it has the potential to continue earning for you without continued maintenance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <p>For example, you may have a blog that's gained a nice following. You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-money-by-starting-a-blog?ref=internal" target="_blank">earn money on the blog</a> by selling advertising or creating links for affiliate marketing, which can easily be set up with online retailers such as Amazon. <a href="http://patflynn.com/" target="_blank">Pat Flynn</a> is at the forefront of this movement. His model mostly involves creating websites with valuable content, such as a niche e-books, podcasts, or online training courses.</p> <p>The key to earning money is generating traffic, which is why it's critical to select the right content niche using keyword research. Once you've created the content, you'll need to market it to your audience via social media or email lists.</p> <p>If you've got a popular YouTube channel, it can also generate a passive revenue stream. It usually takes a while to grow an audience and have your videos rank well, but if you turn on monetization (meaning, you allow YouTube to show ads on your videos), you could start earning a nice side income from your most viewed videos. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a>)</p> <h2>3. Get paid to do what you love</h2> <p>It doesn't feel like work if you love doing it, right? You might not even call it work.</p> <p>If you love to make jewelry, pottery, sew, knit, or do other kinds of crafts, you can sell your wares on websites such as eBay or Etsy, or face-to-face at craft fairs. Gardeners can make money by opening a booth at a local farmers market. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-sites-to-sell-your-arts-and-crafts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Sites to Sell Your Arts and Crafts</a>)</p> <p>A friend of mine who is an amazing photographer recently started selling calendars to friends and family with some of her most beautiful prints. She earns $20 of profit on every calendar that she sells, and she hasn't had to invest much extra time to get the calendars made. She gets her customers through word-of-mouth referrals and social media. You may be pleasantly surprised how much reach you can have with social media marketing.</p> <p>The same is true if you have a particular skill that is in demand. You can start your own consulting business, either online or in-person, and start charging clients to do what you love. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-more-money-in-under-10-hours-a-week?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Make More Money in Under 10 Hours a Week</a>)</p> <h2>4. Earn money for the driving you already do</h2> <p>If you have a car and spend a lot of time commuting to work or school, or driving around for other purposes, companies will pay you to use your car for advertising space. It might sound tacky at first, but chances are you can think of a good use for the extra $100 a month that you stand to earn, without any extra cost to you.</p> <p>If you're earning a bit of extra cash by driving, you may not have to pick up that extra overtime shift or work through holidays. Opt for reliable companies such as <a href="http://www.carvertise.com/" target="_blank">Carvertise</a> and, as always, be aware of potential scams. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a>)</p> <h2>5. Rent your space</h2> <p>By now, Airbnb is a household name, but there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=internal" target="_blank">other short-term rental platforms</a>, too. You can use these platforms to earn a bit of extra cash if you have a spare room, a second home, or other type of property. Airbnb includes free rental insurance for hosts and, depending on where you live and how often you rent your property, you can earn $1,000 a month and up.</p> <p>If you love it, you might consider investing in a property just for renting out through Airbnb. If you get the right deal on the right property, you could earn a lot more than leasing the place out. But be sure to check your local laws. Some municipalities restrict short-term rentals because they tend to drive up rent for local residents. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This Is How You Rent Your Place on Airbnb</a>)</p> <h2>6. Renegotiate your contract</h2> <p>If you're feeling in a rut with your job or you're ready to start a new contract, there are some unconventional work agreements that may help you to make more money. For instance, a friend of mine who works in marketing recently negotiated a new contract that allows her to work at the office about 20 hours a week. Outside of that, she's free to decide how much she wants to work, and she can do it from home.</p> <p>She will receive a lower base salary per month than she did through her old full-time arrangement, but she will earn commissions on the sales that she makes. That makes it a good deal for both her employer and for her. If she works less, she will earn less, but she has the flexibility to decide. She also has the option to use some of her time outside the office to take up one of the other jobs listed above.</p> <p>Of course, you can also go the traditional route and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-say-to-your-boss-to-get-a-promotion-or-raise?ref=internal" target="_blank">ask for a raise</a> if you've been in the same position for about a year and you have compelling evidence to support your request. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times You Should Demand a Raise</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-earn-more-money-without-working-more-hours">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/17-ways-your-house-can-earn-a-paycheck">17 Ways Your House Can Earn a Paycheck</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/5-costly-pitfalls-of-hosting-on-airbnb">5 Costly Pitfalls of Hosting on Airbnb</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/6-great-retirement-jobs">6 Great Retirement Jobs</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/5-downsides-to-a-bigger-paycheck">5 Downsides to a Bigger Paycheck</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/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Extra Income AirBnb extra hours flexibility jobs making more money negotiating part time pay raise side gigs Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1925375 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Handle Credit Card Debt When You're Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503543640.jpg" alt="handle credit card debt while unemployed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As if unemployment isn't a big enough blow on its own, dealing with debt while out of work can make things even worse. You might be able to catch a break from federal student loans and even some private loans through temporary deferment and forbearance &mdash; but what about credit card debt?</p> <p>See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-debt-while-unemployed?ref=seealso2" target="_blank"> How to Manage Debt While Unemployed</a></p> <h2>Call your creditors</h2> <p>While your unemployment status might want to make you hide from the world, it is best to deal with the situation head on and right away. Call your creditors first thing and explain the situation. See what they can offer in terms of assistance. Even if they can allow you to skip a month of payments without penalty, it will help.</p> <h2>See if you qualify for a 0 percent balance transfer card</h2> <p>If your credit score is strong, you could qualify for a credit card with a promotional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0 percent balance transfer</a> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">o</a>f<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">f</a>e<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">r</a>. Transferring your credit card debt can help you save money on your monthly credit card payments by avoiding interest charges. Just know that there are a couple of catches. First, you will usually have to pay a balance transfer fee (3 percent is typical). Secondly, if you do not pay off the transferred balance during the promotional period, you'll be subject to an interest rate that's usually higher than average on the remaining balance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When to Pay Off Credit Card Debt With a Balance Transfer</a>)</p> <h2>Put your budget in emergency mode</h2> <p>Even if you don't plan on being unemployed for long, it is still a good idea to put your budget in emergency mode until you have secured another position. Cut everything but the basic necessities. This includes all of your cable or TV streaming options, fast food and dining out, and any unnecessary shopping. Live as if you only have enough money for basic groceries and utilities.</p> <h2>Don't fall for quick fixes</h2> <p>When money is tight, people get desperate. Don't fall for quick money fixes that will only mess up your finances further. Payday loans and cash advances might seem like promising solutions, but they come at a grave price. You don't want to waste money or ruin your credit during this time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</a>)</p> <p>Also avoid racking up more credit card debt to cover your living expenses. While a new credit card might make one month of living easier, it will certainly make balancing your finances harder in the future.</p> <h2>Get creative about cash flow</h2> <p>While your paycheck might be cut off, you can still bring in a few hundred dollars through creative means. What side jobs can you do while you are looking for new work? Can you take on a few hours of lawn work or babysitting each week? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a>)</p> <p>Also, don't underestimate the value of the clutter lying around your home. Deep clean your house and find all of the stuff you no longer use or like. Sort into three piles: an eBay pile, a Craigslist pile, and a garage sale pile. Everything small and with a resale value of more than $5&ndash;$10 can be listed on eBay (think designer clothing, tech gadgets, and profitable character items or collectibles). Anything large with a decent resale value can be listed on Craigslist (think furniture). And finally, everything else can be sold at a garage sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a>)</p> <p>The process can bring in about $500&ndash;$1,000 extra cash, depending on what you have to sell. You will be surprised by what types of things sell on eBay, so be sure to look items up before deeming them unsellable.</p> <h2>Save drastic measures for last</h2> <p>Hopefully your unemployment will be short-term, but in case it isn't, have a backup plan. Here are a few things to discuss with your family and to consider further. They might not be desirable, but they can keep you financially stable in the face of your debt burden:</p> <ul> <li>Expanding your job search geographically</li> <li>Moving in with relatives for a short duration</li> <li>Renting out a room in your home or renting out your whole house</li> <li>Selling a vehicle</li> <li>Downsizing your home and moving to a more affordable area</li> </ul> <p>Dealing with credit card debt on top of unemployment is hard, but you have options. Don't take your situation lying down and don't be ashamed to tell people, especially your creditors who may be able to offer temporary relief.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Handle%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Debt%2520When%2520Youre%2520Unemployed.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Handle%20Credit%20Card%20Debt%20When%20Youre%20Unemployed"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Handle%20Credit%20Card%20Debt%20When%20Youre%20Unemployed.jpg" alt="How to Handle Credit Card Debt When You're Unemployed" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed">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-to-manage-debt-while-unemployed">How to Manage Debt While Unemployed</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/never-do-these-5-things-when-youre-in-debt">Never Do These 5 Things When You&#039;re in Debt</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/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</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/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt">4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt</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/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management budgeting credit card debt emergency money negotiating out of work selling side jobs unemployed Mon, 03 Apr 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1919579 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Negotiating Trick Puts Money in Your Pocket http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-negotiating-trick-puts-money-in-your-pocket <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-negotiating-trick-puts-money-in-your-pocket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-513381684.jpg" alt="Man using negotiating trick to keep money in his pocket" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you hear the word &quot;anchoring,&quot; what comes to mind? No doubt something that involves a ship dropping anchor, or perhaps fixing something to a wall or floor. But it's also a known technique used in sales and negotiations that helps people get what they want.</p> <p>The basic premise is not unlike that ship dropping its anchor, only instead of keeping the vessel in one place, it keeps your mind there. Whether it's a price, a salary, a sale, or a goal, this technique anchors your mind at a certain level. Then, all decision-making is based on that first piece of information you were given.</p> <p>Let's take a look at how it can be used to help you get what you want, save money, and even achieve a lot more around the house.</p> <h2>Negotiate a Bigger Raise or Starting Salary</h2> <p>Many people foolishly wait for the other person to make the first move when it comes to salary negotiations. The thinking here is that you don't want to show any of your cards too soon. Well, that's the complete opposite of what you should actually do. Using the anchoring technique, you can choose a salary that sets the starting point for the negotiations.</p> <p>If you're an employer, throw out a figure that is way too low. If you're an employee, raise the bar higher than you'd expect to hit. If you ask for a $180,000 salary, and the actual salary on offer is $120,000, you may actually get a little more than what they originally intended to pay. It's much harder to come down to $120k from $180k than it is from $130k. Similarly, giving an employee an offer of $70,000 for a job you'd be willing to pay $120,000 is just as effective.</p> <h2>Sell a Product or Service for More Money</h2> <p>You don't have to be in a big business to use this effectively. It can work online, at a market stall, or even a garage sale. Here, you will use anchoring as a comparison tool.</p> <p>For instance, let's say you're selling vinyl records, which are very popular these days. Set a few vinyls on the table and mark them way above the price you actually want. Then, further back, put a larger selection of vinyls set at a price slightly above what you would like, but much lower than the other, more expensive records. When the patron comes to peruse the stock, they'll initially get sticker shock. But then, they see a vast drop off. That initial price of $20 per vinyl just dropped to $8. These $8 vinyls seem like a bargain. However, if they had all been marked at $8, or some cheaper ones had been placed first, that initial anchor price would have set the standard. Try it out. You'll be amazed at the results.</p> <h2>Get More Done at Home or at Work</h2> <p>If you're having trouble getting all of your tasks done, either at home or at the office, you can use anchoring as a way to be more productive. In this case, it can be overwhelming to have 20 different things to do when you get home. You are anchored to a task list so large that you simply don't do any of them.</p> <p>Instead of 20, anchor yourself at a more manageable number. How about five? Divide those 20 tasks into five groups of four, and attack them that way. For example, instead of organizing the fridge, doing the dishes, cleaning the stove, and wiping the counters, your task instead becomes &quot;clean the kitchen.&quot; By grouping your activities, and creating a smaller list of tasks, you are anchoring yourself at a much more achievable goal. At the office, it's the same thing. Don't give yourself a massive list of tasks. Instead, divide and conquer.</p> <h2>Get a Better Price on a Car or a House</h2> <p>Car dealerships use anchoring all the time to get you to pay more for a vehicle. The sticker says $18,000, but in reality, they're willing to go as low as $13,000; they just never tell you that. It's time to turn the tables on them.</p> <p>When you go into the dealership, never tell them what you are prepared to pay for the car. Instead, set your price way lower. If you're ready to spend $20,000, tell them the most you can pay is $15,000. It's your hard stop. No more. The salesperson will now be anchored at that lower price, and will do whatever he or she can to get you to go past it by a few thousand dollars. This is good news for you, because in reality, you're going to spend a few thousand less than you actually wanted to pay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">17 Things Car Salesmen Don't Want You to Know</a>)</p> <p>The same goes for buying a house. Your initial offer should be low. Not low enough to price yourself out of a bidding war, but low enough to set the expectations of the seller. And as an aside, if you're selling the home, go high. When you list the home at $300,000 and sell it for $280,000, the buyer thinks they saved $20,000. However, you may well have wanted $270,000 for the house. You just made an extra $10,000 and the buyer is happy with the deal.</p> <h2>Use Your Knowledge of Anchoring to Beat the Sales Staff</h2> <p>Whether you're buying a car, a bag of apples, a new set of wireless headphones, or a few books, anchoring will often come into play. Trained sales staff know how to use anchoring to get what they want. But, if you're prepared, you can become &quot;anchorproof&quot; and pay less. Here are a few techniques at your disposal.</p> <p>First, you can simply ignore their anchor, especially if it's ridiculously high or low. Now, you don't want to say &quot;No way,&quot; as this halts the process. Instead, use language like &quot;I see, that's not quite what I had in mind, let's look at this at a different way and find something we can both be comfortable with.&quot;</p> <p>If you don't want to do that, try an anchor that negates theirs. For example, at a car dealership, when the salesperson gives you the old &quot;We can take $3,000 off this car,&quot; you can reply &quot;Wow, that still puts it $3,000 above my maximum price.&quot;</p> <p>You can also deflect an anchor by offering one from a different company. At that same dealership, you can say &quot;That's a great discount, but it's still $2,000 more than the same vehicle on offer at ABC Dealership.&quot; Of course, to do this you have to have done your research. Make sure you know exactly what the prices are at competitors, and be ready to back it up.</p> <p>So, armed with all of this, you should now be ready to use anchoring to make and earn more money, and save money every time you have to negotiate a price. Go get 'em.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-negotiating-trick-puts-money-in-your-pocket">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-3"> <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/5-jobs-that-pay-over-50k-and-dont-require-a-bachelors-degree">5 Jobs That Pay Over $50K and Don&#039;t Require a Bachelor&#039;s Degree</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/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate a Lower Price</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/ask-these-8-questions-to-get-a-better-price">Ask These 8 Questions to Get a Better Price</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/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">8 Negotiating Skills Everyone Should Master</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/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance">The 7 Best Free Tools to Improve Your Work Performance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Career Building deals goals negotiating productivity raises salaries sales saving money selling strategy Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:30:19 +0000 Paul Michael 1907105 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_credit_card_507799950.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways to negotiate credit card debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you having trouble keeping up with credit card payments? Do you wonder if you'll ever pay off your balances? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>Perhaps you've heard you can negotiate and settle your credit card debt. But how does that work? Do you need professional help or can you manage it all on your own?</p> <p>Learn about four ways to negotiate and settle credit card debt.</p> <h2>1. Enter a Credit Card Hardship Program</h2> <p>If your debt woes are attributable to a significant change in your life's circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a hardship repayment or forbearance program.</p> <p>Donna Holmes, financial counselor with <a href="https://www.safefed.org/">SAFE Federal Credit Union</a> says, &quot;Financial hardship can be caused by several unfortunate life events, such as a divorce, job loss, furloughs, layoffs, moving, or a death of a loved one. Positive events such as the birth of a child can also create financial hardships at times too, especially if there are unexpected medical complications.&quot;</p> <p>In addition, &quot;simply being financially overextended&quot; could classify you as experiencing hardship, says Thomas Nitzsche, credit educator with <a href="http://www.clearpoint.org/">Clearpoint</a>, a nonprofit agency that provides credit counseling.</p> <p>Entering a hardship program could give you a lower APR and fee reductions. Nitzsche says &quot;With credit card hardship programs, you are typically given a reduced interest rate at a fixed payment and term.&quot; As a result, you may pay less in interest. In addition, you may be able to get fees waived.</p> <p>To pursue this course of action, Holmes says to ask your lender if it has a program to assist with financial hardship. In addition, you may be able to locate your card issuer's hardship department on your card company's website or your monthly statement.</p> <h2>2. Negotiate a Modified Payment Plan</h2> <p>The types of programs available to a credit card borrower in trouble may vary by personal situation and financial institution. If you're unable to qualify for a hardship program, you may be able to <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0145-settling-credit-card-debt">negotiate a modified payment plan</a> or work out an arrangement with your credit card company.</p> <p>Such a plan could reduce your monthly payment. A lower monthly payment could enable you to make payments on time without becoming overextended in other areas.</p> <p>Before making a call, consider reviewing your finances, developing a budget, and determining how much you can pay monthly on your card balance. You may be able to prepare yourself to negotiate a lower monthly payment along with possible concessions, such as fee waivers similar to those available through a hardship program.</p> <p>Find the phone number to call on your credit card or card statement. Be aware that you may need to make several calls before finding a representative or manager who is agreeable and authorized to assist you.</p> <p>With a modified payment program, Holmes says that sometimes the rate is increased &quot;even though the payment has been reduced.&quot; Nitzsche says a delinquent amount may be tacked onto the balance or the repayment period. As a result, though a modified payment may mesh better with your budget, you could <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/examinations/credit_card/ch9.html#3sub23">pay more overall</a>, depending on how the deal is structured.</p> <h2>3. Settle Debts for Less Than You Owe</h2> <p>Debt settlement involves offering a lump-sum payment to receive forgiveness of your outstanding credit card balances.</p> <p>With this approach, you offer this lump-sum to the card company in exchange for erasing or settling your debt. Building this balance may involve setting aside money in a dedicated savings account over a long period of time; selling items that you no longer need, or using a windfall from an employment bonus, tax refund, inheritance, or other source.</p> <p>To explore the possibility of settling debt, you may plead your case to your credit card company on your own, or you might hire a debt settlement company to negotiate on your behalf. The FTC offers guidelines on <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0145-settling-credit-card-debt">choosing a debt settlement company</a>.</p> <p>If you work with a debt settlement company, you may be asked to stop making credit card payments and default on your debt. This process could allow you to accumulate funds and, at the same time, induce the card company to accept a settlement.</p> <p>Generally, your debt must have been charged off as a loss before you can negotiate a settlement with your credit card company. Nitzsche says that creditors are not motivated to cut a deal if they are still receiving a minimum monthly payment.</p> <p>However, defaulting on credit card debt can cause problems. Failing to make payments could have a negative impact on your credit report, lead to calls from creditors and debt collectors, and result in late fees and penalties that increase your indebtedness.</p> <p>Nitzsche says an exception to getting a settlement only after debt has been written off may occur &quot;if you can prove to the creditor that you are at a high risk of default, but have a lump sum available to settle the debt for less than is owed.&quot; For example, if you have a severance check from a recent layoff, you may be able to settle without going into default.</p> <h2>4. Enroll in a Debt Management Plan</h2> <p>Credit counseling agencies offer debt management plans (DMPs) to help consumers pay off credit card balances. With a DMP, you make monthly payments to the counseling organization, which in turn pays your credit card bills. The agency may also negotiate more favorable terms such as a lower APR, more manageable payment schedule, or fee waivers with your credit card issuer.</p> <p>A certified credit counselor should review your financial situation and offer customized money-management advice before enrolling you in a DMP. For example, Nitzsche says Clearpoint identifies and addresses reasons for financial difficulties first. Counselors may help clients create a household budget, outline financial goals, and address financial concerns in addition to developing a DMP to deal with debt.</p> <p>Consider examining the DMP to make sure you understand and agree to its details. You may want to confirm that credit card payments are scheduled according to your due dates in order to avoid late fees. Nitzsche says you can contact creditors to adjust due dates if needed.</p> <p>The FTC offers guidance on checking the credentials of <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0153-choosing-credit-counselor">credit counseling agencies</a> and verifying that a DMP may work for you. In addition, consider asking for a schedule of fees so you'll know what services you may receive and how much they cost.</p> <p>Consider getting documentation of any deals in writing. In this way, you'll be able to confirm your understanding of agreements.</p> <h2>The Downsides of Negotiating and Settling Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Having a plan to eliminate credit card debt can be rewarding. But there can be downsides to negotiating and settling this debt. They may include:</p> <ul> <li>Your credit card accounts may be closed. As a result, you won't be able to continue using your cards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=internal">credit score may drop</a>. This drop may result from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal">increased credit utilization</a> or other reasons.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You may owe taxes on debt that's forgiven.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You may pay more than originally scheduled. While you could save money on fees and interest, there's also the possibility that you'll pay more interest over a longer time frame.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You could incur costs from fees to companies that help you with debt management and debt settlement. These expenses could increase your debt load, rather than eliminating balances.</li> </ul> <p>If you're overwhelmed by credit card debt, negotiating a new agreement or settling your balances for less than you owe may sound attractive. Determine the best course of action by evaluating your finances on your own or finding qualified counselors who can help you. Understand the benefits and consequences of negotiating or settling your debt before getting started.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Ways%2520to%2520Negotiate%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=4%20Ways%20to%20Negotiate%20Credit%20Card%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Ways%20to%20Negotiate%20Credit%20Card%20Debt.jpg" alt="4 Ways to Negotiate Credit Card Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt">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-1"> <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/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit 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/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</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/how-to-handle-credit-card-debt-when-youre-unemployed">How to Handle Credit Card Debt When You&#039;re Unemployed</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/dealing-with-post-holiday-credit-card-debt">Dealing with Post-Holiday Credit Card Debt</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/6-ways-debt-settlement-can-leave-you-deeper-in-debt-even-with-trustworthy-companies">6 Ways Debt Settlement Can Leave You Deeper in Debt (Even With Trustworthy Companies)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management credit card debt debt management plan dmp hardship programs modified payment plan negotiating Mon, 12 Dec 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Julie Rains 1849993 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Secrets to a Higher Car Trade-In Value http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-higher-car-trade-in-value <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-secrets-to-a-higher-car-trade-in-value" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_car_money_33988744.jpg" alt="Learning secrets to a higher trade-in value" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not many of us relish the idea of spending time haggling over the price of a car. When it comes to your trade-in, it's the classic battle of wills; you want as much as possible for it, and the dealer wants to give you as little as they can. How do you win? What does it take to squeeze the most money out of the car you're handing over? Here's what you need to know, and do.</p> <h2>1. Never Mention Your Trade-In</h2> <p>The biggest mistake people make when they buy a new car is letting the salesperson know about their trade-in. It's one of the first things you'll be asked, too. &quot;So, what are you planning to trade-in today?&quot; is thrown your way, and most of us automatically point to the car we're in, or mention it in some other way. Before you know it, the dealer is looking around your car, umming and ahhing, and writing all sorts of things down.</p> <p>But what he or she is actually doing is figuring out how to deal with your trade-in and the new car as a package deal. When the paperwork comes out, it can suddenly get very confusing, and the price of your trade-in can fluctuate as the salesperson tries to get you to pay as much as possible for the new car, while giving you as little as they can for your trade.</p> <p>So, don't mention it. Don't even acknowledge it. Simply say that you want to negotiate the price of the new car, and only when that has been set in stone should you bring up the trade. That way, you know exactly what you're paying for the new car, and just what you're getting back from the trade-in.</p> <h2>2. Know the Going Rate for Your Car</h2> <p>This is not the 1970s. You have a wealth of information available at your fingertips (quite literally with smartphones) and you can arm yourself with every piece of financial data that will help your case. Dig around. Find out what your exact year, make, and model is going for, accounting for the mileage and condition. If you see that the average price for your trade-in (not private sale) is $7,200, and the dealer offers you $5,600, then you know you're being lowballed.</p> <p>Have the evidence with you. Use sites like <a href="http://www.kbb.com/">KBB</a>, <a href="http://www.nadaguides.com/">NADA</a> and <a href="http://www.searchtempest.com/">Search Tempest</a>. Bring printouts that you can show, highlighting the sales that support your asking price. But, be realistic, too. If sales of your particular make and model are sluggish (which happened to gas-guzzling vehicles when the price of gas skyrocketed), you can't expect the dealer to pay top dollar for something that will spend months on the lot.</p> <h2>3. Get Your Car Detailed</h2> <p>Whether you put the time in yourself, or pay a professional to do it, you must get your vehicle detailed before showing up at the dealership. At the very least, running it through a car wash can add several hundred dollars to the value. However, the cleaner and fresher you can make the car, inside and out, the more you will get for it. So do a thorough job, which includes cleaning and polishing the wheels and adding tire shine, cleaning all the windows, shining the leather or vinyl, removing any stains from fabric, shampooing the mats and carpet, and even spraying a little &quot;new car smell&quot; aerosol inside. Make it look as new as possible.</p> <h2>4. Fix What Can Be Fixed</h2> <p>This can be a tough call. If your car needs thousands of dollars in repairs, but doing them all puts you in the red based on the trade-in value, then don't do it. You have to recoup more than your investment. But if a few small items can be fixed at minimal cost, go ahead and get them done. Superficial things like broken wipers or missing valve stem caps make the car look like it wasn't cared for. Definitely change broken lights, including any in the cabin or trunk, and do what you can to mend tears and scrapes.</p> <h2>5. Get Rid of Any Dents, Dings, Scratches, and Holes</h2> <p>The bodywork on a car is the first thing anyone notices. Even if the car is in superb shape mechanically, the sight of scrapes, dents, and rust holes is incredibly off-putting to a buyer, and the dealership knows this. They will have to get all of that fixed, and so they will offer you less than the car is worth. However, it can be very affordable to get bodywork spruced up, and there are also tools available, starting at as little as $10, that can bring out dents and smaller scratches. When you're done with all that, a few coats of wax buffed to a high shine will really help boost the price.</p> <h2>6. Choose the Right Time of Year</h2> <p>For some cars, it may not make much of a difference. But on 4x4s, AWDs, convertibles, sports cars, and gas-guzzlers, <em>when </em>you choose to trade it in can have a huge impact on the price you'll get for it. For instance, when the winter months hit, there is much greater demand for used 4x4 and AWD vehicles. When there is greater demand, the prices go up, and as such, the price you will get can also go up. In the summer, the demand is not as great, so prices drop. Conversely, sports cars and convertibles are much more desirable when the sun is shining and the roads are dry. You will get more money for those cars if you sell them in summer. By the time winter comes around, the benefits of those cars are hampered by the weather.</p> <h2>7. Bring as Much Documentation as Possible</h2> <p>Cars are a lot like works of art; the more history you have on them, the more they're worth. In the art world, that's called provenance. With vehicles, it's things like service repair bills, oil changes, upgrades, and anything else that accurately documents how you have taken care of the car. It's all very well to say &quot;Oh yeah, this car has been cared for like royalty&quot; but without proof, it's not going to go very far. With a detailed service history or logbook, you offer proof of the car's history. That gives the dealer a selling point, and it means the car can fetch a higher price.</p> <h2>8. Come With Offers From Other Dealerships</h2> <p>Nothing motivates a salesperson to negotiate quite like the threat of going somewhere else. So, before you step foot on a lot, use the Internet and your phone to get quotes from other dealerships. You may have to take the car to them to get an accurate appraisal. When you have four or five offers in hand, use them to haggle and raise the offer price. When you have the best one you think you can get, go to the dealership that has the new car you want, armed with the offer from their rival. If they say the car is worth $3,500, and you have an offer of $4,200 from the dealership down the road, they will quickly re-asses their own offer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-higher-car-trade-in-value">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-1"> <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/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card">Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?</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/should-you-buy-your-leased-car">Should You Buy Your Leased Car?</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/10-magic-words-to-say-to-get-the-best-new-car-price">10 Magic Words to Say to Get the Best New Car Price</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-to-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off">How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Ripped Off</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/10-new-car-costs-the-dealer-is-hiding-from-you">10 New Car Costs the Dealer Is Hiding From You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation bargaining dealerships detailing kelley blue book negotiating new car trade in value Tue, 15 Nov 2016 10:30:29 +0000 Paul Michael 1833140 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_phone_90400295.jpg" alt="Woman finding painless ways to lower her cellphone bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The smartphone has become a necessity for many of us as we use them for work, to communicate with our kids, and to keep our lives organized. Unfortunately, with this amazing technology often comes an expensive monthly bill. But with just a little bit of effort, you can easily lower your cell phone bill to a more budgetable amount. Here are some important steps to get you moving in the right direction.</p> <h2>1. Find Cheaper Companies That Access the Same Towers</h2> <p>Are you aware that discount cell carriers like Republic Wireless and Straight Talk Wireless access the same cell towers as Verizon, AT&amp;T, and Sprint? As a matter of fact, the big carriers actually own the cell towers and sell access to the smaller players at a highly discounted rate and pass the savings along to you. For example, Republic Wireless uses T-Mobile towers, and Straight Talk taps into Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.</p> <p>Use this information to your advantage when deciding if one of the discount cell carriers is for you. Before you decide, be sure to analyze the cell coverage in your region before switching. For example, if your area has poor coverage with T-Mobile, but good with Verizon and Sprint, then Straight Talk might be a better option than Republic. You can save a lot of money every month if you do switch. For example, Straight Talk offers unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of data at 4G speed for only $45 per month. The same plan with Verizon will cost you over $70.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Negotiate a Deal</h2> <p>If you're happy with the carrier you currently have, but don't like how much you pay every month, consider calling them up to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">negotiate a better rate</a>. This is especially true if you're month-to-month with your carrier and aren't under a contract. Start by doing a few minutes of homework and check out what the competition is offering. Take note of plans similar to yours that are cheaper. Those less expensive plans are going to be your negotiating ammunition.</p> <p>When you call customer service, tell the first person you speak with that you want to cancel your service as it's too expensive. Without fail, they'll transfer you to the customer loyalty or retention department. These are the folks who have the authority to lower your bill. Keep in mind that cell companies spend a lot of money on new customer acquisition and are often willing to throw you a bone to keep you on as a loyal customer. Immediately tell them about your research and the cell carrier you're considering switching too.</p> <p>At this point, the retention specialist will either offer you a discount to stay on as a customer, or tell you they can't meet the competitor's lower rate. In my experience, it's typically the former. At the very least, most company reps can help you dissect your bill in order to cut out any add-on services you might pay for, but rarely use.</p> <h2>3. Always Look for Employer Discounts</h2> <p>Many employers work with cell phone companies to provide their employee with a discounted rate. Some of the more popular jobs that often qualify include teachers, state and local government jobs, military, and many corporate jobs. Each provider offers a little different discount so your best bet is to check the big four linked below to see if you're eligible for a discount. Most discounts are in the 10%&ndash;25% range. For example, my wife is a public school teacher and she gets a 15% monthly discount from Verizon. All she had to do to get her discount was walk into a Verizon Store and show them proof of her employment.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://mysprint.sprint.com/verify/?ECID=vanity:verify">Sprint</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/employee/eleuLanding.jsp">Verizon</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1001048">AT&amp;T</a></li> <li><a href="https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-4791">T-Mobile</a></li> </ul> <h2>4. Analyze Your Monthly Usage</h2> <p>It's easy to fall into the trap of being happy with your cell phone service and ignore the small details. Like if you actually need everything on your plan that you pay for month-after-month. Pull out your bill and examine it with a fine tooth comb. Are you being charged for things like enhanced voicemail, a 411 service, phone insurance, or roadside assistance? If you don't need it, or rarely use it, cut it out of your plan and save some easy money on your monthly bill.</p> <p>Also, be sure to look for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-family-plans-can-save-you-tons">family share plans</a> that many cell phone providers offer these days. While not heavily advertised, they provide an excellent way to save if you need multiple lines. The more lines you add, the less you pay for each additional line.</p> <h2>5. Verizon Users: Deal Solely With Authorized Sellers</h2> <p>I recently had a former authorized Verizon seller inform me that unlike &quot;Verizon Store&quot; employees, they were not paid a commission when they increase a customer's data plan. She worked at a Verizon kiosk at Costco and she said it's the best place to go to get help understanding your bill and possibly get it lowered. They'll go through it with you, look for spots to save, and let you know about any special discounts they might have available. Actual Verizon Store employees? Not so much.</p> <p>While this is not necessarily a tip that will get your bill lowered, it's good information for Verizon loyalists. Always visit the authorized seller locations as they have employees who don't get paid for raising your bill.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">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-1"> <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/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time</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/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</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/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</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/12-surprising-things-you-didnt-know-you-should-be-negotiating">12 Surprising Things You Didn&#039;t Know You Should Be Negotiating</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology authorized sellers bills cell phones cell providers data deals discounts negotiating smart phones Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:31:19 +0000 Kyle James 1812052 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Everyday Money Tasks You've Been Doing Wrong http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_blindfold_cash_89353583.jpg" alt="Man learning money tasks he&#039;s been doing wrong" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You handle a lot of routine money tasks, and like most people, you probably haven't thought much about that routine. But these &quot;routine&quot; tasks are repeated over and over and can result in a lot of wasted money if not done efficiently. Here are some everyday money tasks that might be tripping you up:</p> <h2>1. You Pay Your Bills Before You Pay You</h2> <p>What's wrong with paying your bills first? If you pay your bills first, you only get to keep whatever is left for yourself &mdash; which may be little or nothing. If <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">you pay yourself first</a>, you can ensure that you save and invest enough meet your goals, and then pay everyone else. What's the difference? First of all, putting money in savings first means it's a priority, and that's a powerful reminder that you are in control of your financial destiny. Second, leaving the money that doesn't go toward bills in easily accessible accounts let's you feel as if you have &quot;extra&quot; funds in your budget to spend on small purchases. When you save it first, you don't see it, so you won't spend it. Out of sight, out of mind works for saving instead of spending, too.</p> <h2>2. You Are a Rebel Without a List</h2> <p>If you go shopping without a list, you are likely to forget to buy things you need, and you're also likely to buy things you <em>don't</em> need based on what is on sale or what looks good at the time. A shopping list is especially helpful for groceries so you can buy all of the ingredients for meals you plan to make during the week. Using a list saves extra trips to the store, or dining out when you find you don't have anything to eat at home.</p> <h2>3. You Check Your Balance to See if You Can &quot;Afford&quot; Something</h2> <p>Checking to see how much money you have in your checking account &mdash; or even worse, your available credit card balance &mdash; to see if you can afford to buy something is a recipe for disaster. You are almost certain to spend more than you can really afford. Using a budget to plan expenses is the right way to see if you can afford something. If you can't afford something right now, you can set up a budget to allow you to save up.</p> <h2>4. You Do the Minimum</h2> <p>Making minimum payments on credit cards and other loans is expensive. You will end up paying a lot of interest that provides no benefit to you. For example, making minimum payments on a $3,000 credit card debt could take you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">16 years to pay off</a> and cost over $3,600 in interest alone! Paying more than the minimum will allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">wipe out credit card debt</a> much faster and save you lots of money on interest that you can use to get ahead.</p> <h2>5. You Self Medicate With Retail Therapy</h2> <p>Some people go shopping as a fun activity or to help deal with depression or stress. &quot;Retail therapy&quot; is a very expensive way to achieve a short-term impact. Plus buying things you don't really need wastes the resources it took to manufacture and distribute the items, and the items take up space in your house. There are lots of constructive activities that are less expensive and avoid the problems that come with recreational shopping.</p> <h2>6. You Are Stuck With Checks</h2> <p>Writing checks is an inefficient way to pay for things. It takes time to write out a check, and you can make mistakes such as making it out to the wrong payee, misdating the check, or writing illegibly and having it rejected. Plus, you have to manually balance your checking account to keep track of checks you have written but have not yet cleared. Instead, use autoplay, electronic payments, and credit cards to make payments whenever possible.</p> <p>When I receive a check as payment, I use an electronic banking app on my phone to take a photograph of the check and deposit it instantly. This eliminates the possibility of losing the check and I avoid making a special trip to the bank.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Use Coupons Right</h2> <p>Some people think coupons are too much work and don't bother to use them at all. I take a low-impact approach to get the most benefit from coupons with the least time and effort. I hang on to coupons that will work on things I buy anyway. Coupons only work if you have them with you when you go shopping, so I put the good coupons in my wallet or in a small organizer that I keep in my car. You can get more impact from coupons by stacking them &mdash; use both a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on the same item to save even more.</p> <h2>8. You Are Overpaying</h2> <p>Lots of people overpay for things they buy every day. Buying snacks and drinks at a convenience store or vending machine is likely to be about twice as expensive as buying the same items at a grocery store. Buying coffee at a coffee shop instead of brewing it yourself costs about three times as much. With a little planning and effort, you can have the same items for much less money.</p> <h2>9. You Don't Match</h2> <p>I get this comment about my clothes a lot, but in this case I am talking about 401K matching funds. Many employers offer matching retirement investment funds. This means that for every dollar you put in, your employer will put in a dollar for free. If you are not getting the maximum company match, you are leaving free money on the table every payday.</p> <h2>10. You Aren't Bargaining Hard</h2> <p>There are a lot of situations where a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">little bit of bargaining</a> can go a long way. When purchasing vehicles or used items, there is often a lot of room to bring the price down if you are willing to risk having your offer rejected. Sometimes even prices at retail stores be negotiated&mdash; I have talked my way into using expired coupons or getting an additional discount if there is something that looks wrong with an item I am interested in. I have also taken items back to get a price adjustment after an item has gone on sale.</p> <h2>11. You Buy Stuff You Want</h2> <p>I guess buying stuff you want is better than buying stuff you don't want, but you should really focus on buying stuff you need. There are lots of things I have wanted to buy but avoided. For example, in recent years I really wanted to buy a recumbent bike, a new computer, and a stool for my wood shop. I decided to ride my old bike, keep using my old computer, and I found a free stool for my shop. These were all things I wanted but didn't need, and I saved a lot of money by not buying stuff I wanted.</p> <h2>12. You Are Buying Your Broker a Big Yacht</h2> <p>You may not realize that you are paying your stockbroker or investment company every day to manage your retirement funds and other investments. Over the years, the difference between a 1% annual fee for an actively managed fund vs. a 0.1% annual fee for an index fund adds up to a lot of money. Check the fees you are paying on your investment accounts and move to less expensive options that have significantly lower fees.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">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-3"> <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/boost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system">Boost Your Savings With This Easy Budgeting System</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/5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Shopping checks coupons fees minimum payments negotiating organization overspending paying bills saving money shopping list Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1796738 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clock_money_94923537.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to protect her money from inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in January 1980, when Jimmy Carter was President and Michael Jackson led the music charts with &quot;Rock with You,&quot; Americans were experiencing one of the periods of highest inflation in modern history. In January 1980, inflation was over 13.9% per year and peaked in April 1980 at 14.76%.</p> <p>With the consumer price index (CPI) at <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm">0.8% in July 2016</a>, many Americans have never experienced the dramatic increase in prices that other generations have. But even though inflation is low these days, it still eats away at your savings and investments. Let's review four (nearly) foolproof strategies and investments that will reduce the hit.</p> <h2>1. Invest in an S&amp;P 500 Index Fund</h2> <p>The average annual inflation rate since the U.S. government began tracking it in 1913 is <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Long_Term_Inflation.asp">about 3%</a>. To combat inflation's effect on your money, you need investments that provide greater average returns than the inflation rate.</p> <p>Since its inception in 1928, the S&amp;P 500 has provided an <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">average annual return of 11.25%</a> until 2015, making this stock market index a leading choice to protect yourself from inflation. For the greatest ease and cost-efficiency, invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that mirrors the S&amp;P 500's performance.</p> <p>Not only are the average returns of passively-managed S&amp;P 500 index funds higher than those of actively managed funds, but also the expense ratios of S&amp;P 500 index funds are lower than those of actively managed funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX">VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.16%, which is 84% lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings.</p> <p>Of course, this approach isn't actually foolproof, since both the rate of inflation and market returns vary from year to year. But when considering long-term averages, it's a fairly safe bet.</p> <h2>2. Increase Annual Contributions to Saving Accounts</h2> <p>Even when you leverage <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=internal">high-yield online savings accounts</a>, you'll only make between 0.75% and 1.05% per year, according to data from August 2016. With a July 2016 CPI of 0.8%, you're actually losing 0.05% and gaining only 0.25% per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review?ref=seealso">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a>)</p> <p>Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck or main checking account to your investment and saving accounts is a smart idea, but adjusting those contributions for inflation is an even better one. A good practice is to make an adjustment for inflation once a year. Check with your financial institution to find out if it offers the option of automatic adjustments for inflation to your contributions.</p> <h2>3. Seek Real Estate Income</h2> <p>While gold has a great reputation as an investment hedge against inflation, real estate income has proved to be a better hedge tool. A study from financial company Fidelity back-tested the performance of several assets against inflation on an annual basis during a 40-year period and found that gold and real estate income beat inflation 54% and 71% of the time, respectively. &quot;Real estate is regarded consistently as a <a href="https://www.reit.com/news/videos/wharton-professor-discusses-reits-inflation-hedging-benefits">good inflation hedge</a>, and it is&quot;, asserts Susan Wachter, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in a Home</a>)</p> <p>While most individual investors can only afford to buy their own home, all individual investors can gain exposure to real estate income from a wide variety of properties through real estate investment trusts (REITS). Some advantages of REITs are their requirement to maintain a dividend payout ratio of at least 90% and their liquidity because they trade on major stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, the 10-year annual average return of the Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VGSIX?ltr=1">VGSIX</a>] is 7.46%, as of June 30, 2016. In comparison, the 10-year annual average return of the S&amp;P 500 was 7.42% for the same period.</p> <p>Adding REITs provides you access to assets with inflation resistance and helps you protect against the negative of higher inflation. Still, REITs should only be a part of a well-diversified portfolio. Depending on your tolerance to risk, financial advisers suggest allocating from 5% up to 20% of your investment in portfolio in REITs. And of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Your Salary</h2> <p>If your salary were to consistently go up every year, you would not to worry about inflation to begin with! However, <a href="http://time.com/money/3657524/odds-of-getting-raise/">less than half of working Americans</a> ever even ask for a raise, and about 30% of them are uncomfortable negotiating salary.</p> <p>Start your career on the right foot by successfully negotiating the salary offer of your very first job. Three out of four U.S. employers typically have room to increase their first salary offers by 5% to 10% during negotiations, but only 38% of applicants negotiate those first salary offers. Let's imagine that your first salary offer was $38,000, that would mean that you have the potential of increasing that offer from $39,900 to $41,800. Given the historical inflation average of 3% per year, you have the potential of covering inflation for 40 months just by negotiating your first salary offer.</p> <p>And things only get better after that.</p> <p>By bumping up your salary from the start, you're increasing your chances of future raises. As your salary grows over time, so does your probability of getting a raise. For example, people making $40,000 to $50,000 have about a 40% chance of receiving that raise they requested and people making $60,000 to $70,000 have about a 50% chance.</p> <p>While there are other factors that may influence pay raises, the main one is the decision to request better compensation. From U.S. workers asking for a raise, 75% of them get something: 44% of them get what they asked for and 31% of them receive a smaller amount. Getting at least a small raise is a very smart strategy to protect yourself from inflation because inflation erodes the value of your dollars year after year.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to protect yourself from inflation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">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-1"> <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/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">Don&#039;t Be Fooled by an Investment&#039;s Rate of Return</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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</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/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</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/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you">8 Types of Investors — Which One Are You?</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/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment consumer price index Economy hedging inflation negotiating real estate REITs returns s&p 500 salary savings stocks Fri, 02 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1784422 at http://www.wisebread.com