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Archive for June, 2012

Overpriced Products That We Keep Buying

Written by Toi Williams on Jun 30th, 2012 | Filed under: mindset

Companies have become experts at encouraging people to purchase overpriced items on a regular basis.  These products are much more expensive than it has any reason to be and generally contribute heavily to the company’s bottom line.  Here are some ridiculously overpriced products that we continue to purchase regularly, providing the companies that sell these products with billions of dollars in profit every year.

Greeting Cards

How much did the last greeting card you purchased cost?  Most consumers fork over between $2 and $4 for these colorful pieces of paper decorated with a pretty picture on the front and a few clever words inside.  Companies have made greeting card giving into a cultural tradition, with birthday greetings and holiday greetings topping the list, so that consumers will have an excuse to purchase more of the cards.  Instead of purchasing an expensive greeting card from a retail store, you may want to consider creating your own card, writing a letter, or calling by phone to have a personal conversation.

Brand Name Clothing

The name on the label of your clothing can cost you a lot while providing you with nothing additional.  Brand name clothing can be priced 500% to 1,000% higher than similar off-brand items and the difference in quality rarely justifies the higher price.  Being fashionable is not worth draining your bank account or going into debt, especially since fashion changes every season.  Your clothing should be purchased for fit and comfort and the name on the label can easily be ignored.

Movie Theater Popcorn

Did you know that the $6 medium-sized bag of popcorn you purchased at a movie theater could be purchased in the grocery store for $3 and you get two additional medium sized bags?  Consumers have been conditioned by repeated advertisements to believe that you should have some popcorn to make the movie watching experience complete.  This results in many moviegoers purchasing popcorn every time they see a movie in a theater.  A healthier snack brought from home, or even some chewing gum, may be a better option for your wallet and your health.


Smart Loan Tips That Anyone Can Use

Written by Toi Williams on Jun 29th, 2012 | Filed under: loans

Obtaining the best loans for your needs and managing those loans effectively can be a complicated endeavor.  Knowing some smart tips about loans and how they work will make the process easier and prevent you from making some costly mistakes.  Here are some things to consider when thinking about your loans.

Consider Consolidating Your Loans

In many cases, consolidating your loans can be a good thing.  While the total amount of the loans will not change, you may be able to get a lower interest rate for the new loan, which will lower your payments by a considerable amount.  Consolidating your loans into a single loan will also make it easier for you to make your payment, as you will only have one payment date to remember and one check to write.

Refinance If It Makes Sense

Some people avoid refinancing their loans because of the perceived hassle of the process and the additional costs of securing a new loan.  However, if refinancing the loan is going to provide you with considerable benefits, it makes sense to take the time to go through the refinancing process.  The benefits of refinancing may include a shorter repayment period, a considerably lower interest rate, or lower monthly payments.  Examine all of your options before making a decision to ensure you are making the best choice for your financial situation.

Avoid Home Equity Lines Of Credit

Home equity lines of credit are one of the quickest ways to put your home at risk.  Home equity lines of credit use your home as the collateral for the line of credit, so if something happens and you are unable to repay the debt, your home can be taken from you.  There are many other ways that you may be able to get the money that you need, so explore all of your options and do your research before making a final decision on which type of loan or credit to obtain.


Debt and Budgeting

Written by Toi Williams on Jun 28th, 2012 | Filed under: mindset

The amount of individuals in debt continues to increase each month and as the credit crunch continues and the national economy slows, more and more people will find themselves facing this situation.  Some people have been depending on their credit cards or securing a home equity loan to bridge the gap between what they were making and what they have been spending, but now they are in the trap of owing a great deal of money to creditors and banks are not extending home equity loans like they did in the past, even if the value of the home is not underwater.

Living solely on what they bring home in each paycheck may be difficult for these people, but in the times that we are living in being able adapt and decrease the amount of money that is spent each month is key to financial survival during the downturn in the economy.  To keep themselves from spiraling further into debt, the individual must create a strict budget detailing their monthly expenditures and how much they bring home in their paycheck.  Then the person must stick to this budget so they are not spending more than they can afford each month.

Calculating Expenses

The first step for making a budget that you can stick to is figuring out how much is spent each month on necessities and extra items.  For between one and three months, everything that you spend money on should be tracked and all receipts kept so that you can see exactly where your money is going each month.  This gives you a complete picture of your financial situation without you having to attempt to remember each thing that you have spent money on during the month and how much each item has cost.

Keeping the receipts for everything that is purchased during the time period will also allow you to see how much money you are wasting each month on things that you do not need.  Most people make many needless purchases during the month that they do not think about when they have discretionary income because there is no concern about the cost of the items.  When you have a great deal of debt hanging over your head, these unnecessary purchases should be the first things that are eliminated from your spending so that the money saved can be used for paying down debt.

Creating The Budget

Once you determine what necessary expenditures you have each month, it is time to create the monthly budget.  The task is to create a scenario where less money is being spent each month than is coming in from your paycheck. The bigger the gap between what you make and what you spend, the better it will be because any additional money can be used to pay down any debt that has been incurred.  By detailing expenditures that must be paid each month and the cost of the expense, you will be able to create a complete budget that includes all of your monthly spending.

Refinance Where Possible

An easy way to help make your budget work is to refinance your existing debt by looking for loans deals. You may be able to reshop your existing consumer debt, whether it be on a credit card or a car loan at a lower interest rate.


Invoice Factoring Options

Written by admin on Jun 26th, 2012 | Filed under: debt relief

These days it can be much more difficult to take out a loan due to the fragile state of the economy. Many businesses have great ideas of how to expand their businesses but simply don’t have the capital to make it happen. Several years ago it may have been as simple as walking in to a bank and applying for a loan that would be approved in minutes. With loan approval rates being much lower these days, what can a business do to help themselves expand without taking out a loan? Well for one, many businesses are starting to consider invoice factoring.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, invoice factoring is almost like a loan, except with your invoices or accounts receivable being used as collateral. Most factors (the institution that will be providing the “loan”) operate in a very similar fashion. You will “sell” your invoices or accounts receivable to the factor at a discount. The factor will then give financing to the seller in the form of a cash advance. This is usually 70 – 85% of the of the purchase price of the accounts. The balance of the purchase price, net of the factor’s discount fee (also known as a commission) and other charges will be paid upon collection.
Businesses that have chosen to use an invoice finance solution have been able to benefit greatly from this as it is a huge cash advance for them depending on what is in their accounts receivable. Often times after considering the interest rates of a loan the amount that they will receive is similar to what they might lose in commission to the factor by using a service like this. Even better, they don’t have to pay any money back as the money is coming from funds that are already owed to them. Depending on the situation of the business, this can be a highly preferable solution, even if they are eligible for a loan.
So if you have a great idea for your business that you just don’t have the money to execute with, take a look at your options for invoice factoring. After running the numbers you may just find out that you have enough there in your accounts receivable to make it all work. Since the money is coming from within your business itself, just a bit early, you may never even notice that you are spending money to expand.


Obtaining An Accurate Credit Score

Written by Toi Williams on Jun 26th, 2012 | Filed under: credit score

Your credit score is an important part of your finances that affects many different areas of your life, including the type of home you can buy, the job you will be offered, and the interest rate you will be charged for loans.  This is why many people pay companies to view their credit score on a regular basis.  Because of the many different places to obtain your credit score and the different calculations used by some companies, the credit scores for a single individual can cover a range of numbers, creating confusion over the accuracy of the score.  These tips will help you figure out which credit scores are worth paying for.

Choose A Reputable Company

Consumers can obtain their credit score from nearly 20 different companies, some affiliated with the three major credit-reporting bureaus.  This number has increased around 400% from just a few years ago.  These 20 companies have  seven different scoring methods they can use to calculate the credit score that they are selling to you.  The best companies for obtaining your credit score are the ones that will sell you your actual FICO credit score, the credit score used by more than 90% of lenders in the nation.

Watch Out For Disclaimers

Companies selling you something other than your FICO credit score must disclose this in a disclaimer listed prominently on the website of the company.  Phrases like “not currently sold to lenders”, “for education purposes only”, “proprietary scoring system”, or “has no value in the marketplace” are good indications that the credit score you are receiving is not your FICO credit score.  Legally, if the disclaimer is present and the person pays for the credit score anyway, there is no recourse available for getting your money back when you discover that the credit score purchased is not the one used by lenders.


Who Needs Business Insurance?

Written by admin on Jun 26th, 2012 | Filed under: saving

If you own a business, or are self-employed, you will probably need some form of business insurance to protect you and your business against things like being sued by someone who trips on your premises, or who claims that you have breached a contract.

Even if you own just a small business, or a start-up business, it’s still important to protect yourself against liabilities that could potentially ruin your venture and possibly deprive you of all your personal assets too – including your home.

There are several types of business insurance on the market, the most common of which is perhaps public liability insurance.  This is something your business would need if you come into contact with any member of the public (including sales reps, contractors or customers).  If any such person were to be injured on your premises, or as a result of your work then they could sue you for compensation.  The same could result could arise if you damaged their property (e.g. if you are an IT specialist, you could be liable to pay compensation if you were to introduce a virus into your client’s computer).

Of course, by ensuring that your premises are checked regularly for hazards and that your staff are adequately trained (and carrying out risk assessments to reduce the chances of something untoward happening) you should hopefully never need to claim against your public liability insurance.  But it’s better to have it in place anyway because if you were sued you could be faced with legal bills running into the tens of thousands, not to mention the amount of compensation you may be required to pay.  That type of money, particularly for start-ups or small businesses, could force you to cease trading and might even mean that you have to use your own money to pay the costs of the legal case.

You can pick and choose the type of business insurance you want, or you can usually find bundles or packages that can offer public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance (which you must have by law if you have any employees at all) and other types of insurance that you may need.  If you buy more than one policy from an insurer, you may be given a discount, so it’s worth enquiring.

It’s worth shopping around for the right cover, to find the right sort of cover at the right price.  Check the details of the policy or policies you’re thinking of buying to check that there are no exclusions that would mean that you couldn’t claim (for example, some insurers won’t insure certain trades or business types).  If you take out public liability insurance, make sure it’s for an adequate amount – you’ll need at least £5m, though some of your clients may require that you have an even greater amount covered.

It may seem like a lot of hassle to choose the right insurance policy but it will be worth it in the long run.  Leave yourself without insurance and you leave your business and your own assets at risk.

 


Web Development Tools that Make Life Easier for Web Developers

Written by admin on Jun 26th, 2012 | Filed under: saving

We development is the process of creating and combining components into a web page or website that is accessed through the internet. Web server configuration, web design, web content development are among the aspects of development serviced designed for the web. The processes comprises the development of a page including plain text to a full-blown page that may need complex applications to be implemented. There are numerous web-based tools on the market and of varying types that go into making a website perfect. Web service providers work alongside a team of experts who specialise in this field and have advanced knowledge of the tools which are used to create websites. They also implement them.

Using the appropriate tools for accurate website development helps to achieve the required results quickly. There are numerous tools available for obtaining a quality outcome. The debugging and testing is considerably reduced which results in faster development speed as more of a quality result. Below and some of the numerous tools which developers can use to help in developing their sites more efficiently.

CSS Grid Builder

A web-based graphic user interface, used to customise YUI which is a CSS and JavaScript framework. This CSS-based tool allows a web page to be rapidly generated in compliance with web standards. It is easy to generate both HTML and linking code with CSS Grid Builder.

Firebug

This debugs scripts with the three major parts including he second part if a debugger which is able to highlight any show any errors of JavaScript source. The third part is an inspector that allows the page’s DOM to be navigated.

HTML Validator

This validates any pages visited by the user. It further helps with identification of errors.

Extension

This helps with validating XHTML quickly. It further helps with finding JavaScript/CSS errors as well as inspecting information relating to HTTP headers and assists with numerous other tasks.

CSS Editor

This is a tool which effectively edits page style sheets. It is also possible to obtain context information about the style sheets.

The web has become immensely popular to find out information relating to products and services. With this level of popularity, web development has evolved into being a service sought after by various organisations. The appropriate tools are required in order to perform web based services effectively and they are available only with the more reputable of service providers.

These tools are just a small selection of those that have enabled web developers to make the internet the accessible and convenient medium that it is today. It has made life easier for millions of people whether consumers or businesses. It has helped to create trading platforms for firms such as Cantor Index, for example, allowing investors to trade in the comfort of their own homes. In this situation both Cantor Index and the consumer have benefited as have millions of other internet users who access other platforms in their own sectors. You can even try your own free spread betting demo account with them as see how much you can make out of it.


The Most Common Loan Mistakes People Make

Written by Toi Williams on Jun 20th, 2012 | Filed under: loans

Managing a loan effectively can be difficult and making mistakes with a loan can be a costly problem that can take a lot of time and energy to fix.  There are a number of things to be cautious about when dealing with different types of loans but most people make the same mistakes and have the same problems with their loans.  Here are some of the most commonly made loan mistakes and how to avoid them.

Stay Away From Payday Loans

Payday loans are some of the worst financial products available and should be avoided at all costs.  Many of the borrowers that take out a payday loan get trapped in an endless cycle of debt because they do not make enough money to pay back the money borrowed with the payday loan within the short time period allowed, causing them to take out another payday loan to cover the cost of the first one.  The effective interest rate for a payday loan can be as high as 800% when you factor in all of the fees that must be paid to obtain the payday loan and the short amount of time available for repayment.

Do Your Homework Before Taking Out A Loan

One of the worst financial moves that you can make is to take out some time of loan without doing your homework on the type of loan or the lender.  Many people have found themselves facing financial distress because they took out a loan that they did not understand or trusted a lender that ultimately proved to be untrustworthy.  Before signing any paperwork for a loan, make sure that you understand the loan completely and that you are dealing with a well-known lender with a good reputation.  Your cautiousness will save you a great deal of money and heartache over the life of your loan.

Shop Around For An Auto Loan

Many people make the mistake of trusting the auto dealership to provide them with the loan that they need to purchase the vehicle that they want.  They forget that the dealership is out to make as much money as possible on the deal and that includes making money on the financing of the vehicle.  To get a better deal, talk to your local bank and other lenders about obtaining a loan to purchase the car and negotiate a reasonable interest rate for the loan.


Understanding Business Insurance

Written by admin on Jun 19th, 2012 | Filed under: debt relief

Insurance is always a hot topic among people as everyone has a slightly different idea as to whether or not insurance is a necessity. While most states will require you to have car insurance and most people couldn’t imagine not having health insurance, many businesses still do not have business insurance. Even more alarming is the fact that many business owners do not even have any idea what business insurance actually is. The easiest way to think about it though is that business insurance protects the assets of a business as opposed to an individual as regular insurance does.

Business interruption insurance is probably the most common type of insurance in the genre. The term encompasses a wide variety of different insurance packages that will cover a custom combination of risks that may someday happen to a particular business. This is useful because most other policies will not cover any indirect costs that are involved with losses. For example if a business is to suffer water damage due to a flood, they will be helped out in terms of damages to the building itself but not in terms of lost income during the time that they are forced to close. Business interruption insurance is useful for covering costs during that time to compensate for the difference between normal income and the income during a forced shutdown. Tax records from the prior year are generally used to determine the amount that will be paid out.

Business opportunity plans are another type of insurance that businesses will frequently take out to protect themselves. These plans usually feature a package that also covers a custom combination of risks that pertain to a particular business. Different than business interruption insurance however, the plan doesn’t cover lost income. Instead the plan usually covers basic property coverage for things like computers and other office equipment as well as liability for work-related accidents. Some types of business opportunity plans may also come with business interruption insurance included as well though.

So if you are the owner of a business, no matter how big or small, you are really playing with fire by not insuring yourself. With all of the different variable and things that could happen to your business you owe it to yourself to sleep better at night knowing that you will be protected in an emergency. That is what insurance is all about anyways – peace of mind.


What factors should businesses think about when using trade finance

Written by admin on Jun 18th, 2012 | Filed under: saving

When looking into trade finance there are many different things that businesses need to think about. For starters, trade finance is a term that relates to international trade. Oftentimes when people are doing business with the transfer of goods from one country to another or with different currencies, trade finance comes into play. This helps to reduce the risk on both sides that something bad will happen regarding either the payment or the shipment of goods. Often this process can be made simpler through trade finance brokers who have dealt with these situations before.

When preparing things, it is a good idea that the seller (also referred to as the exporter) will get together a document outlining all of the things that will be sent. This helps to keep everything more organized as well as giving an outline for everything that should be in the shipment once it arrives. Banks have also been known to help with this process and the importer’s bank may even provide a letter of credit to the exporter which will provide payment upon the presentation of certain documents like the bill of lading.

Really, the best tip that you can use when it comes to trade finance is to always know exactly what you are buying, as well as how many. This alone can stop most problems from occurring because you have already done the required research.

There are also some countries in the world where trade finance is supported by quasi-governmental agencies that are known as export credit agencies. They work in unison with the commercial banks as well as other financial institutions to make sure that everything goes over smoothly. Knowing that the agencies helping you are affiliated with the government can be a big help to making people feel more comfortable depending on their opinion of that country’s government.

Of course the safest tactic that you can implement is to not get involved with any sort of trade that sounds shady. Trade finance will definitely help you protect yourself and your assets in the event that something bad happens but it will still be much more difficult than only dealing with reputable people. There are many trade finance brokers out there that will be more than willing to talk you through all the steps involved if you still have any questions. Their services can be extremely valuable especially for people that are just getting started.