negotiating http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9711/all en-US 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-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/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-2 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-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-care-reform-good-for-people-like-me">Health Care Reform: Good for People Like Me</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/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</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-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/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</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/6-great-retirement-jobs">6 Great Retirement Jobs</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/protect-future-earnings-by-negotiating-the-right-starting-salary">Protect Future Earnings by Negotiating the Right Starting Salary</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-reasons-its-never-too-late-for-a-career-change">6 Reasons It&#039;s Never Too Late for a Career Change</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/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed">This Is How You Rent Your Place on Airbnb — and Succeed</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> <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-6"> <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/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt">4 Ways to Negotiate 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/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</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/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings">What&#039;s Better: Less Debt or More Savings?</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/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> </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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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> <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/how-to-use-the-holiday-quiet-time-to-boost-your-career">How to Use the Holiday Quiet Time to Boost Your Career</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> <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-12"> <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-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/should-you-buy-your-leased-car">Should You Buy Your Leased Car?</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 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-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-8"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</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-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> <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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</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-9"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</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-your-money-can-support-your-values">4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values</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 8 Negotiating Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_88219469_LARGE.jpg" alt="mastering negotiating skills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There was a time when a bit of haggling was expected in nearly every transaction &mdash; from the price of shoes to the cost of a loaf of bread. Sadly, negotiating is usually reserved for home-buying, the purchase of car, and used items these days. Still, knowing how to negotiate effectively can save you (and make you!) big bucks over a lifetime. Here are eight negotiating skills everyone should master.</p> <h2>1. Confidence</h2> <p>The relationship between buyers and sellers has been rigidly established from years of training and a culture where the price tag is almost always the last word. It takes a bit of fortitude to enter a conversation with someone over price, and try to get a better deal. If your confidence is shaky, start with low-stakes purchases at garage sales and flea markets, then work your way up to more significant purchases like cars or a house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-with-confidence-and-strike-the-best-deal?ref=seealso">How to Negotiate With Confidence and Strike the Best Deal</a>).</p> <h2>2. Speed</h2> <p>Sellers want to move merchandise and they often embrace a &quot;bird in the hand&quot; philosophy to making a deal. With that in mind, sometimes simply being first is all the advantage you need. Keeping your ear to the ground, combing the classifieds, and being the first in line puts you in a position to beat the competition and walk away with great bargains.</p> <h2>3. Sociability</h2> <p>Great deals can be made between adversaries, but not between enemies. No matter what side of the negotiating table you're on, the ability to establish a rapport and keep things friendly and light will serve you well. Remember, negotiation is more of a dance than a death match. The best deals are those where both parties get to walk away relatively pleased.</p> <h2>4. The Poker Face</h2> <p>Imagine you've found the perfect antique hutch for a song at a local flea market. Congratulations. Now keep your emotions in check and start haggling. Remember, part of your leverage is not letting your enthusiasm show and subtly implying you have other options available. Admittedly, this is a fine line to walk and getting it right is more art than science. The key is to push just hard enough to sweeten the deal, but not so hard that it turns sour.</p> <h2>5. Patience</h2> <p>Negotiating can sometimes be awkward, especially for those new to the sport. Stay calm and try not to make the first offer. Why? Because if you're a seller, that price may be significantly less than the buyer was willing to pay. And if you're the buyer, that price may be significantly more than the seller was hoping for. I know, it sounds like a twisted game of chicken, but the person who throws out the first number is usually at a tactical disadvantage.</p> <h2>6. Creativity</h2> <p>Amazing bargains come in all shapes, so don't get hung up on just one way of striking a deal. Try bundling multiple items together for a better value or bartering goods for services and vice versa. Effective negotiation is a creative enterprise, so look for novel ways to make a great deal happen.</p> <h2>7. Preparedness</h2> <p>Successful negotiators may seem casual about it, but they're anything but. They've done their homework, know what an item is worth, know what they're willing pay and &mdash; most importantly &mdash; have cash in-hand to make a deal.</p> <p>If you're negotiating the price of a gently used dining room set for example, avoid dropping this infamous line: &quot;Sounds good, but I didn't bring any cash with me. Can I stop back tomorrow?&quot; An unprepared buyer is simply being a flirt &mdash; one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiating-101-the-5-buyers-you-meet-in-hell">worst types of buyers</a> for serious sellers. Usually, not being able to pull the trigger on a deal means all other potential offers are still in play (and you've wasted your time and the seller's time).</p> <h2>8. Determination</h2> <p>Negotiating can sometimes be a drawn-out process, so a little determination goes a long way. As long as both parties are engaged, keep the conversation going and try to find a middle ground that works for both parties.</p> <p>A recent deal my mom made illustrates this point perfectly. In the market for a larger and more comfortable car, my 78-year-old mother negotiated at a local dealership for six full hours (seriously... the sales staff ordered lunch for her). Ultimately, she got the deal she wanted. Remember, if the terms aren't right, be willing to walk away (or in the case of my mom, stay for lunch, get your second wind, and keep on tryin').</p> <p><em>Are you a skilled negotiator? What's the very best deal you've scored? Share your story!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">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-5"> <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/this-simple-negotiating-trick-puts-money-in-your-pocket">This Simple Negotiating Trick Puts Money in Your Pocket</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-negotiation-mistakes-that-will-destroy-your-deal">10 Negotiation Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Deal</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/12-fun-facts-about-valentines-day-spending">12 Fun Facts About Valentine&#039;s Day Spending</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/the-same-actions-will-produce-the-same-results-ten-tenets-for-arranging-your-rich-part-2">The Same Actions Will Produce The Same Results (Ten Tenets for Arranging Your Rich: Part 2)</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/help-end-hunger-get-kindled-and-3-more-positive-web-tips-you-should-know-about">Help End Hunger, Get Kindled, and 3 More Positive Web Tips You Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks General Tips communication skills life hacks life skills money negotiating negotiating skills negotiation saving money Tue, 19 Jul 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1754818 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_bag_83996573.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to convince store clerk to give her a deal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The time and effort required to &quot;extreme coupon&quot; is something that many of us&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">would rather pass on</a>. Instead, learn the right questions to ask store employees to score the best deal possible. Sometimes they'll pass along an exclusive coupon, and sometimes they'll drop clues on the best day of the week to shop, or the products they can mark down for you. By knowing the right questions to ask, you can easily maximize your savings on your next shopping trip. Here's what you need to know.</p> <h2>1. Ask About Markdown Days</h2> <p>Most retailers, both small and large, have specific days of the week when they do their internal store markdowns. Whether it's adding new items to the clearance section, or reducing the price on already reduced clearance products, if you know the &quot;markdown&quot; day, you can shop when the selection is the greatest and actually save some money. Alternatively, if you shop on the day before they do their markdowns, you'll find the clearance section picked over and will offer little of value. Avoid that day if you can by asking when the store does their markdowns.</p> <p>For example, a Macy's employee told me to shop on a Tuesday as they have all their markdowns done by then. Also, if you're a Kohl's shopper, I was told to shop on the 2nd and 4th Saturday every month. The bottom-line is to have the conversation at your favorite store as the information can really help you shop when the clearance section is stacked with fresh deals. I have found that most employees are very open to share this information if you have a friendly chat with them.</p> <h2>2. Ask About Floor Models and Imperfect Items</h2> <p>When I worked at The Home Depot, floor employees were given the authority to markdown imperfect items, scratch and dents, and floor models in order to clear them out of the store quickly. This included marking down damaged packaging that did not affect the quality of the actual product.</p> <p>I can remember having regular customers who would ask me specifically if we had any such items that they could get a deal on. I'd then happily point to them the products I could mark down for them and they often got stuff for 25%&ndash;30% off the original retail price. Start asking employees at stores like The Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy, and Walmart about deals on floor items and imperfect stuff. If you can't find any specific items to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">ask for a discount</a>, then just ask an employee, &quot;Do you have any screaming deals on floor models or scratch and dents?&quot; Then just follow them to the real deals in the store.</p> <h2>3. Ask for a Coupon</h2> <p>Many retailers arm their employees with special coupons and discounts to freely hand out to customers in an effort to build store loyalty and goodwill. So if you're shopping in-store, and you can't find a coupon via your smartphone, start a polite conversation with an employee and ask if they might have a coupon to use. You have absolutely nothing to lose and significant savings to gain. JCPenney, Macy's, Old Navy, Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, and Cost Plus are a few of the stores where this has been known to work effectively.</p> <h2>4. Expired Coupon? Use It Anyway</h2> <p>Have you ever been on a shopping trip and pulled a coupon out of your purse or wallet only to realize it expired last week? For a frugal shopper, it can be a sickening feeling. Next time this happens, still try to use the expired coupon as often the cashier will say, &quot;Oh sorry, this one is expired. But I have one here by the register that you can use.&quot; They'll then scan it for you and you'll save some cash. Stores where I have used this strategy successfully include Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabric, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Harbor Freight Tools.</p> <h2>5. Find Out Which Items You Can Negotiate</h2> <p>It's no secret that retailers have certain products that offer a larger profit margin than others. I recently had a Best Buy employee tell me that products with a bigger profit margin are the items they can negotiate a lower price on. He went on to say that high-end TVs often have more wiggle room in price than those in the $250&ndash;$500 range.</p> <p>Use this information to your advantage and try to politely negotiate a lower price on higher end electronics. If you're worried about looking cheap, try the &quot;bundling&quot; technique. This is when you bundle a TV with a Blu-ray player and ask for a 15% discount if you buy both on the spot. This will also often work at big-box home improvement stores. Think things like a lawn mower purchased with a weed eater, or chain saw with a carrying case and new chain.</p> <h2>6. Ask About Upcoming Sales</h2> <p>When I worked retail, I always had some insider knowledge on upcoming sales events or exclusive coupons and rebates. Most floor employees at big-box retailers have an idea of when prices will probably get better. So ask them when they recommend you should buy to maximize your savings. They'll often tell you to come back on a specific day or weekend as everything will be on sale or when there will be a great coupon available. In either case, just by asking, you can easily get some insider knowledge that'll save you some money.</p> <p><em>What outside-the-box tricks do you use to score a great deal?</em></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/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">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/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</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-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</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/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</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-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping bargains buying coupons discounts negotiating retail saving money strategy Mon, 20 Jun 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Kyle James 1732053 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_dad_000071538069.jpg" alt="Little girl learning personal finance skills everyone should master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was happy to see that my son signed up to take a personal finance class in high school next year. I think mastering basic personal finance skills is one of the most important things you can do to improve your happiness and quality of life. But you're a full-fledged adult. If you haven't already, the earlier you start developing and using personal finance skills, the more time you have to reap the benefits.</p> <p>Here is my list of personal finance skills every frugal person should master.</p> <h2>1. Budgeting</h2> <p>Setting and following a budget is probably the most basic personal finance skill, yet only about one-third of people actually have a detailed budget. I went for years without an accurate budget, using my checking account balance as a rough gauge of how much money I had available to spend. Eventually, I realized this was a terrible way to run my personal finances. A detailed budget is necessary to get a handle on where your money is going and to start deciding where you <em>want </em>your money to go &mdash; instead of just watching it go away!</p> <p>Writing out a list of all of your income and expenses is only the first step toward becoming skilled at budgeting. You need to monitor spending and work to stay on track every month. Sometimes unexpected expenses will pop up, and it takes skill to find ways to spend less in other areas to recover and stay on budget.</p> <p>You can get a real budget started by looking at your bank statements and credit card bills from last month and adding up spending by category. I used colored highlighters to mark up my spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc.</p> <p>Food expenses are especially challenging for me, since food cost varies so much depending on what you decide to eat. In my household, we use a money envelope as a tool to help us stay on our food budget. Every payday, I take out cash for the budgeted amount for food spending, both groceries and dining out. All food spending comes out of the money envelope, so we always know how much is left to spend on food.</p> <h2>2. Negotiation</h2> <p>Negotiation is a key skill to master to get the best deal when buying or selling something, or even getting the best salary and benefits when accepting a job offer. Most people do not like to negotiate. It is easiest to pay the asking price, or accept the amount offered from a buyer or employer. But if you become skilled at negotiation, you can end up with lots more dollars in your pocket instead of in the other guy's pocket!</p> <p>Here are some skills that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">successful negotiators master</a>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Be willing to walk</strong>. Successful negotiators are willing to walk away if they can't get a good deal. Willingness to walk away gives you the confidence to ask for what you really want and drive a hard bargain. Often, you'll learn things in deals that don't work out that help you get a better deal in the future.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be reasonable.</strong> Good negotiators understand the market value of what they are negotiating and can understand the deal from the other party's perspective. If you seek an unreasonable deal, you are likely wasting everyone's time and won't end up with anything.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be perceptive</strong>. They pick up clues from the other party to determine what kind of offer they would accept and use this information to negotiate the best deal possible.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Separating Needs vs. Wants</h2> <p>Do I need a new computer? My kids say that I do. I am using the same computer they used to play games on way back when George W. Bush was in office. I sometimes use my cellphone to look things up while my computer slowly loads a webpage. But I don't need new computer. I can still get everything done with my old computer, including paying bills, updating my budget spreadsheet, and even writing books and articles for extra income.</p> <p>Separating needs from wants is a key personal finance skill. There is almost no limit to bigger, better, and newer stuff that you could decide to buy. The best way to make spending decisions is to become disciplined at distinguishing needs from wants.</p> <p>I like to think about the consequences of not buying something as a tool to distinguish needs from wants. For example, if I don't buy the new shoes I am considering, will I not be able to go to work? Will I miss events for my kids because I don't have any shoes that are acceptable to wear? Will I not be able to exercise safely? At some point new shoes can become a need, but if your old shoes are still doing everything you need your shoes to do, then new shoes are a want.</p> <h2>4. Driving Down Interest Rates</h2> <p>A lot of people carry debt &mdash; the total credit card debt for Americans is set to hit $1 trillion dollars this year. Of course, your best move is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay off debt as quickly as possible</a> to reduce your interest payments and to free up your money to invest or pursue other opportunities. But while you are paying off debt, it is worth putting in some effort to keep your interest rates as low as possible.</p> <p>The average credit card interest rate is nearly 15%. If you have credit card debt and don't keep an eye on the interest rate, you could easily end up paying 15% or more. Shopping around can almost always result in a better deal. If you have a good credit rating, you can likely find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-balance-transfer-credit-card-is-the-best-for-you?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">a balance transfer offer</a> that will allow you to pay a balance transfer fee of about 3% and 0% interest for a year or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>I count maintaining favorable interest rates as a personal finance skill because you have to keep track of interest rates on your accounts and continuously find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">good deals on balance transfers</a>. This skill can save you thousands of dollars per year on interest.</p> <h2>5. Continuous Investment</h2> <p>People who are financially successful do more than reduce spending and save money. They take the next step and invest money that they free up through smart spending decisions.</p> <p>This investment mentality is what allows the small amount of money you avoid spending to grow into real wealth that can change your lifestyle and allow you the freedom to pursue your interests. Regular saving over time adds up &mdash; even with small investment amounts.</p> <p>Continuous investment requires discipline to keep investing money for the future rather than spending it now. Savvy investors assess what kind of investments to buy and manage their investment portfolio based on economic trends and the performance of their investments.</p> <p>The most important factor in being a successful investor is to make regular investments over the long term and let your wealth grow.</p> <h2>6. Bargain Hunting</h2> <p>Frugal people are known for having good bargain hunting skills. Making a purchase is a challenge to find the way to spend the least amount of money to get what is needed. Bargain hunting usually involves using coupons and shopping around to find the best price.</p> <p>Sometimes buying a used item rather than a new item is the best bargain &mdash; you can save 50% or more buying used instead of new. Items such as tools or vehicles that are useful for years make good used purchases, but technology products often become obsolete so fast that buying new can be the best deal.</p> <p>Buying at the right time can be a key to finding bargains. I am always shocked at how cheap winter clothes and coats sell for in March at clearance sales. I bought most of my winter clothes for 90% off! Keep an eye out for bargains at store closing sales and clearance sales for items you know you will use later.</p> <p>An important part of bargain hunting is deciding on the best item to buy. If you can figure out the least expensive item that meets your needs, and then find the best price on that item, you are on your way to mastering bargain hunting skills.</p> <h2>7. Reuse</h2> <p>There is an old saying &quot;Waste not, want not&quot; that summarizes the personal finance skill of reuse well. If you don't waste anything, you will have plenty and not want for anything. I recently got into a conversation with my father about the oldest clothing item that we are still wearing. I mentioned that I still wear a lot of my 20-year-old clothes I got back in college. My father mentioned that he was currently wearing a shirt that is nearly 40 years old!</p> <p>Reusing things that most people would throw away is a key skill to save money and live well with less. When I was younger, I would always prefer to have new clothes rather than wear old clothes. Now I find comfort from the familiarity of wearing clothes with lots of memories attached to them. It seems like older stuff was constructed better than newer items, anyway.</p> <p>I think a lot of people are in the habit of throwing old things away just because they are old. Learn to keep reusing items until they no longer work, and then use them for something else. When my t-shirts start wearing out, I get sunburned through the holes in the fabric. Is it time to throw the shirt away? No! I use it for a rag.</p> <h2>8. Food Preparation</h2> <p>It is amazing how much restaurant food, fast food, and prepared food items from the grocery store people are buying these days. It does take some planning and work to prepare your own food at home, but you can save a ton of money and eat healthier, too.</p> <p>In addition to having basic cooking skills and equipment, having a plan is key to mastering the skill of preparing your own food at home. I know it works best at my house when we make a list of meals and the buy groceries with these meals in mind. Sometimes we even write on the calendar what is for dinner to avoid not coming up with something and ending up with expensive restaurant food.</p> <h2>9. Do It Yourself (DIY)</h2> <p>It seems like everyone that comes to my house to do something charges about $60 to $100 per hour. I try to minimize paying people to come over and try to take care of maintenance and repairs myself instead to save money. I learned to do basic plumbing repairs and installation, including sweating copper pipes with a torch. I can do basic electrical wiring and repairs. Some people in my neighborhood have landscaping companies take care of mowing and weed control, but not me. The more things you can do for yourself, the more money you can save.</p> <p>Develop skills to do work for yourself instead of paying others to do it for you. You'll save money and get a great feeling of satisfaction when you can do the work yourself.</p> <h2>10. Saying No</h2> <p>Saying &quot;no&quot; is often the key to saving time and money. Would you like to subscribe to a magazine you don't want in order to help your neighbor's kid meet a fundraising goal? How about &quot;no.&quot; Would you like to volunteer to drive 20 miles each way to participate in a committee meeting on your day off? Again, &quot;no&quot; works well here. There are times when you might want to contribute your time and money to a worthy cause, but there are many times you feel pressured into taking on something you don't really want to do.</p> <p>Learning to say &quot;no&quot; and not feel bad about it can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation.</p> <h2>11. Efficiency</h2> <p>Efficiency is the skill of doing as much as possible with the least amount of resources. Efficiency can mean making a single trip to do all of your shopping instead of taking multiple trips. Efficiency can mean driving a smaller vehicle that costs less and uses less fuel every day.</p> <p>Often, efficiency keeps paying back over time. For example, the efficient choice to live in a smaller house results in a lower mortgage payment and lower utility bills year after year.</p> <p>Energy savings is another example of efficiency in action. I spent a few hours and a few dollars to upgrade most of my light bulbs to LED. Due to this efficiency, I save money every month since lighting my house now costs almost nothing.</p> <p>Another form of efficiency is simply having less stuff. Do you really need eight different kinds of cleaning products under your kitchen sink? Having less stuff not only costs less, but less stuff takes less space as well. With fewer things around, it is easier to keep things organized and find what you need.</p> <h2>12. Contentment</h2> <p>I am sure that you can live with less, but can you be happy with less?</p> <p>Contentment is living with a positive attitude and being satisfied for all of the things you have instead of wishing that you had blingy stuff. I drive an 11-year-old car that runs well. It even has leather seats and all wheel drive. What more do I need?</p> <p>People might not get a sense of status from the vehicle I drive, but I am clearly beyond worrying about that. Part of being content with what you have is to stop caring about what other people think. People who know me respect my work and my accomplishments, and I am not really concerned about what strangers think about my car.</p> <p>Contentment means setting your own standard for happiness. This can be difficult to achieve as you look at the photos of expensive vacations, recreational vehicles, and new cars that your friends post on Facebook. It is hard not to want expensive stuff when it seems like everyone else is buying it.</p> <p>But the problem with pursuing happiness by buying expensive stuff is that there is always something else you'll need to buy in order to be happy. As soon as you get back from vacation, it is time to start thinking about where to go for the next one. After your new car isn't the newest on the block anymore, the excitement is gone. Buying happiness is like chasing a mirage. You can't really reach happiness through buying things, but you can spend a lot of money trying!</p> <p>Contentment is about finding happiness in the life you have right now, not the life you could have if only you had more money.</p> <p><em>Which personal finance skills would you master to improve your life the most?</em></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%2F12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F12%2520Personal%2520Finance%2520Skills%2520Everyone%2520Should%2520Master.jpg&amp;description=12%20Personal%20Finance%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master"></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/u5180/12%20Personal%20Finance%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master.jpg" alt="12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master" 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/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">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-5"> <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/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year">8 Smart Money Moves to Make in the New 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/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</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/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-dave-ramsey">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Dave Ramsey</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-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living advice budgeting investments needs negotiating saving money skills wants wisdom Wed, 15 Jun 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1731280 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_contract_000082844775.jpg" alt="Woman finding companies she should be negotiating a lower bill with" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Opening and paying the monthly bills is usually something we dread. This is especially true if you feel you&rsquo;re being gouged by your cable, phone, or wireless provider. But with just a little bit of knowledge on the proper way to call and negotiate a lower bill, you can easily save hundreds of dollars per year. Here are six telecom companies notorious for working with customers to lower their bill, along with some insider negotiation tips for each.</p> <h2>1. DirecTV</h2> <p>When it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill with DirecTV, the first thing you have to do is analyze the competition, namely Dish Network. DirecTV is typically more expensive than Dish, which makes the &ldquo;competition is cheaper&rdquo; card great ammunition when making the phone call to DirecTV customer service. Find out what current specials Dish is offering and use those when explaining why you&rsquo;re considering leaving DirecTV. This will typically only work when you&rsquo;re not under contract, as they can&rsquo;t do much for you when you&rsquo;re locked into a specific rate for a set period of time.</p> <p>When making the call, tell the first person you speak with that you&rsquo;d like to cancel your service as it&rsquo;s more than you can afford right now. They&rsquo;ll then transfer you to the retention department, who are the folks who have the authority to actually lower your bill. Then explain why you&rsquo;re considering switching to Dish Network and be as specific as possible. In other words, tell them exactly what Dish is offering new customers and ask if they can meet it, or at the very least get close to it. Be polite and conversational in tone, and you&rsquo;ll be pleasantly surprised with the result of a lower monthly bill, in most cases.</p> <h2>2. Dish Network</h2> <p>Same drill with Dish Network. Tell the first person you speak with that you want to cancel your service, and they&rsquo;ll get you to the customer loyalty or retention department. When it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill with Dish, it&rsquo;s important to understand that they&rsquo;re already lower in price than DirecTV. This means that in most cases, you can&rsquo;t say you&rsquo;re switching to DirecTV, because they&rsquo;re already cheaper.</p> <p>Instead, you should tell them you&rsquo;re considering <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans">cutting the cord entirely</a> by switching to an over-the-air HD antennae and cheap streaming options like Netflix and Hulu. These &ldquo;other&rdquo; options serve as excellent ammunition when talking to Dish. Stick to the facts, don&rsquo;t get emotionally involved, and remember that you can simply call back later if the person is having a bad day and not willing to work with you.</p> <p>Once you&lsquo;ve told them why you want to leave, they should offer you something to stay on as a loyal customer. You can also take the bull by the horns and start the conversation by asking for $15&ndash;$25 off your monthly bill depending on what package you subscribe to. You can also ask for a few free movie channels if that means more to you. Remember that they&rsquo;ve invested a lot to get and keep you as a customer, and are willing to throw you a bone to keep your business. Always be willing to take your business elsewhere if they can&rsquo;t come close to what you want. If you actually don&rsquo;t want to leave and they won&rsquo;t budge, you can always say you want to reconsider other options before canceling.</p> <h2>3. Comcast</h2> <p>I recently had an anonymous Comcast retention employee give me the scoop on what to say to get your bill lowered. She told me that the worst thing you can do is tell the rep that you&rsquo;re switching to a competitor. Instead, she said to tell them you want to stay with Comcast but can&rsquo;t afford your monthly bill and will have to switch to a streaming service if the bill can&rsquo;t be lowered. She even said that Sling TV was the best streaming option to use as ammunition. She said that in most cases this will work and get you up to 20% off your monthly bill, as that percentage is the biggest discount they can offer.</p> <p>Lastly, she told me not to ask to speak to a supervisor as that will typically only get you a call-back request that rarely happens. Plus, they are authorized to offer the same discounts as the retention employee, so it&rsquo;s not worth your time.</p> <h2>4. Verizon</h2> <p>Verizon can be a tricky company to convince to lower your bill. They have created a coverage map that beats the competition and they know that many customers are bluffing when playing the &ldquo;cancel card&rdquo; to try and negotiate a lower bill. Because of this, it&rsquo;s important that you do ample research on the competition before making the call. What are Republic Wireless, T-Mobile, and Straight Talk currently offering, and how long will it take you to recoup your money, in terms of savings, if you have to pay to get out of your Verizon contract?</p> <p>By having these numbers at your disposal when making the call, the Verizon rep will sense your seriousness and often offer you a lower rate in return. I recently did this and was able to secure $10 off my bill for 12 months. Not a huge savings, but I really didn&rsquo;t want to leave Verizon as I live in a rural area where Verizon is my only coverage option.</p> <h2>5. AT&amp;T Wireless</h2> <p>While you may not be able to negotiate a lower rate with AT&amp;T the old-fashioned way, you can get rid of services you don&rsquo;t need and look for little-known discounts. Start by analyzing your bill very carefully as AT&amp;T is notorious for sneaking in add-on services like AT&amp;T Navigator, Family Map, enhanced voicemail, and smart limits. If you don&rsquo;t use them, get rid of them immediately. Also, check to see if you&rsquo;re <a href="https://www.wireless.att.com/business/enrollment/">eligible for an employer discount</a>. Many organizations work directly with AT&amp;T to offer their employees a pretty sweet discount so be sure you&rsquo;re not missing out.</p> <h2>6. Time Warner Cable</h2> <p>Time Warner is notorious for raising your rate without informing you as to why. So once you get a rate you&rsquo;re happy with, be sure to keep it by calling them every 12 months. Simply call their customer service line, be polite, and get straight to the point by telling them you want to keep your low rate for another 12 months. If the operator is unwilling to extend your rate for another year, simply hang up and try back later. Be persistent and you&rsquo;ll eventually get an employee willing to work with you and help you keep your low rate for another year.</p> <p><em>What bills, if any, do you consistently try to&nbsp;</em><em>negotiate a lower rate on?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate.jpg&amp;description=The%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate.jpg" alt="The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate" width="250" height="374" /></h2> <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/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">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/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of 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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living bills cable Internet negotiating service providers wireless Mon, 09 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Kyle James 1699777 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Buy Your Leased Car? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-your-leased-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-buy-your-leased-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_car_000085912661.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if she should buy her leased car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even after two or three years of driving a leased vehicle, you may find yourself wanting to stay attached to your &quot;rented&quot; car. The good news is that the relationship doesn't have to end.</p> <p>Leasing companies are happy to sell you the car for its residual value &mdash; what the leasing and finance companies determined at the start of the lease to be its expected value at the term's end. But before you make that commitment, there's some homework you should do first to make sure it's financially worthwhile. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-leasing-a-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car</a>)</p> <h2>How Much Is It?</h2> <p>Find the contract for your leased car and look for the &quot;purchase-option price&quot; or &quot;residual value.&quot; That's the price you'll have to pay to buy the car, along with a purchase-option fee of $300 to $600. Some leasing companies won't bargain with you on residual price when the lease is up, while others will negotiate. But before you can negotiate, you need to know the market value of the car, so you know whether it's worth buying your leased car at its residual value.</p> <p>For how much could you buy the car for from another dealer or from a private seller? That's the retail or market value. It may be lower than your car's residual value, giving you a great advantage in negotiating a lower buyout price.</p> <p>You also want to determine the car's wholesale value. That's the price the leasing company can get for it at auction, which is its only option if it doesn't sell the car to a dealer.</p> <p>You should be able to determine your car's value by searching online, such as at Kelley Blue Book or CarPrice.com. Unless your leased car was extremely popular, chances are its residual value is higher than the market value.</p> <h2>What Shape Is Your Car In?</h2> <p>You're responsible for the car's condition at the end of the lease term, and how many dings, scrapes, and miles you put on it will play a part in how much you pay to buy it. Even if you don't buy the car, you'll have to pay for those things, anyway.</p> <p>Leases only allow up to a certain number of miles per year &mdash; usually 12,000 &mdash; and going over that will cost you an extra amount per mile. The fee could be as high as 25 cents per extra mile, adding up to $250 for every 1,000 miles over the limit. You can avoid the fee by buying the car.</p> <p>Any dents and scratches on your leased car will result in a penalty fee from the leasing company. One way to avoid those penalties is to buy the car, though those dings are things you'll have to live with.</p> <h2>They'll Call You</h2> <p>If you've determined that the market value is more than the purchase-option price of your leased car, or you're happy with the residual value of the car and you want to buy it, don't make the first move.</p> <p>The company will probably call you one to two months before the lease ends to see if you're open to purchasing the leased car. If you call first, it could show that you're eager to buy the car and your negotiating power could drop. Before they call, you can get ahead of the game by shopping for a lease-buyout loan. Local banks, credit unions, and online lenders can offer you rates, which you can pitch to the leasing company if it wants to finance your buyback loan.</p> <p>When the leasing company does call, don't immediately tell them that you want to buy the car. Tell them you don't like the residual value and ask if they'll knock down the purchase price. Can they give you a better deal on the loan or waive the purchase-option fee? If you know your car's market value, you're a step ahead in the negotiating process. All of this homework may look like a lot, but it's a lot less work than starting from scratch and shopping for a new car.</p> <p>After all, the car is already in your driveway and you've driven it for years. You know if it's a car you want to continue driving. Now all you have to do is get it at the best price you can.</p> <p><em>Have you ever purchased the car you leased?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-your-leased-car">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/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-2 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-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/the-6-best-ways-to-sell-your-car">The 6 Best Ways to Sell Your Car</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/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car">7 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying Their First Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation dealerships kelley blue book lease leased cars negotiating purchase price residual value Thu, 05 May 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1703005 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Manage Debt While Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-debt-while-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-debt-while-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_000050909676_Large.jpg" alt="trying to manage debt while unemployed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're unemployed, it can be harder than ever to manage your debt. But with the right strategy, you can stop worrying about debt and start focusing on finding a new job. Here's how to get a handle on your debt during unemployment:</p> <h2>Assess Your Assets</h2> <p>First consider all assets and possible sources of income available to you. Can you accept part-time work, sell belongings on eBay, or take a local babysitting gig to make a little extra cash for the necessities? This can make it easier to stay afloat and make your minimum monthly payments on-time. And if you haven't already done so, visit the <a href="http://www.dol.gov/">U.S. Department of Labor</a> to apply for unemployment benefits.</p> <h2>Create a Survival Budget</h2> <p>Determine what your basic living expenses are, such as food, mortgage, utilities, transportation, insurance, and medical costs. Create a budget that details every single dime you spend each month so that you can determine what can be cut during this time. Once you find new employment, try to stick to this survival budget so that you have extra funds available to pay down debt or invest in an emergency savings fund.</p> <p>Assess your remaining costs to determine if there is anything that can be cut. For instance, try reducing your credit card and cable bills, forego the land line, cancel any magazine subscriptions, cut back on entertainment expenses and streaming services, and reduce or eliminate costly habits (such as drinking, smoking, and eating out). Look for other creative ways to save money, such as relying on public transportation and finding easy ways to cut back on utilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-money-when-you-are-unemployed?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Save Money When You Are Unemployed</a>)</p> <h2>Set Priorities</h2> <p>Prioritize your debts. Determine which bills need to be paid first, once your basic living expenses are taken care of. Secured credit accounts, like credit cards, loans, and car payments should be paid next.</p> <p>The goal is to preserve your savings, so don't try paying off any debts early at this point. Make only the minimum payments on your credit cards and avoid using any sort of credit for as long as possible. Once you find new employment, you can start working on paying down your debts as quickly and efficiently as possible.</p> <p>If you have a federally-backed student loan, there are a number of payment options available during tough times. Often, the loans can be deferred until you find work again. Check with the <a href="http://www.ed.gov/">U.S. Department of Education</a> for more information.</p> <h2>Negotiate With Creditors</h2> <p>Speak with your mortgage lender and credit card issuers at the first sign of trouble. If you wait to contact them until after you've already missed a payment, it's less likely creditors will work with you to find a reasonable solution.</p> <p>Your creditors may be able to help you ease loan terms, reduce your monthly payments, or even put your payments on hold for a short period of time. While there are no guarantees that they will work out an arrangement with you, it's worth a shot.</p> <h2>Pursue Alternatives</h2> <p>There are alternative options, such as debt management, debt settlement, debt consolidation loans, and bankruptcy. Speaking with a <a href="https://www.nfcc.org/">credit counselor</a> can provide you with precise information on the options available to you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-steps-to-take-when-bankruptcy-is-your-only-option?ref=seealso">11 Steps to Take When Bankruptcy Is Your Only Option</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for dealing with debt when you're unemployed? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-debt-while-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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off 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-deal-with-collection-agencies">How to Deal With Collection Agencies</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/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Creditors negotiating out of work Paying Off Debt survival budget unemployed Mon, 02 May 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1700680 at http://www.wisebread.com