Discover Debt Freedom!

Get Out of Debt and into Wealth

Archive for February, 2013

Avoid Getting Ripped Off By Credit Card Companies

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 27th, 2013 | Filed under: credit cards

There are a ton of methods being used by sneaky credit card companies to pry more money out of their card holders.  Some are using sneaky additional charges while some others are selling nearly worthless add on products.  Some companies are even using bait and switch offers to increase their profits.  To avoid becoming a victim to these practices, you will need to be vigilant.  Here are some things that you can do to avoid getting ripped off by credit card companies.

Don’t Add On Additional Features

Many of the additional features offered by the credit card companies as add on products are not worth the price that you end up paying for them.  Fees for payment protection products and additional insurance are added to the balance of the credit card on a monthly basis, adding to the amount that is subject to interest charges and financing fees if the balance is not paid in full every month.  Because the credit card account holders receive little in return for these automatic payments, it is better to refrain from signing up for the additional products in the first place.

Review The Charges On Your Bill

One big mistake that many credit card holders make is not carefully reviewing their credit card statement each time that it comes in the mail.  Many people just pay the amount owed or as much as they can afford at the time and mail off the check assuming that all of the charges on the statement are correct.  Some are horrified to find that they have been paying a recurring charge for a service or product that they are not using for months before they become aware of the situation.  Over time, these recurring charges can add up to hundreds of dollars paid to the credit card companies.  Reviewing your bill will alert you to these charges so you can cancel them immediately.

Products That Can Help You With Your Finances

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 25th, 2013 | Filed under: Uncategorized

There are many things that you could be doing with your finances, but there is something stopping you from realizing your full financial potential.  In many cases, it is because managing your finances can be difficult and time consuming.  Luckily, there are a number of products available on the market that can help you manage your finances better with less hassle.  Here are some financial products that can make financial management easier.

Mobile Banking Apps

Many people are now using there smartphones for a wide variety of different tasks.  Because these devices are so versatile, many companies are creating apps that consumers can use to access their products and services.  Banks are jumping on the bandwagon as well, creating numerous apps that can help you manage your finances on the go.  These apps can show you your deposits and balances, allow you to transfer money between accounts, or allow you to send money to a third party.  Different banks have different app features, so explore the one for your bank to see what it does.

Automatic Bill Payments

Automatic bill payment is quickly becoming a popular way for consumers to pay their bills.  Instead of waiting for each bill to arrive, writing checks for each one, and mailing them separately in individual envelopes, you can enter the payment information once into the automatic bill payment section of your banking website and have your bank pay your bills for you directly out of your account.  The amounts and accounts can be adjusted at any time, but you do not need to think about the bills you have scheduled unless there are changes that need to be made.

Credit Card Rewards Programs

If you are using a credit card to make purchases, you should be getting something back for your purchasing power.  Many credit card companies now offer rewards programs that account holders can use to earn cash back or points that can be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards.  Use a single credit card for the majority of your purchases to rack up the rewards as quickly as possible.  Be careful not to overspend though, as many people have gotten in over their heads racking up debt to earn rewards points.

Increase Your Savings By Making These Changes

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 23rd, 2013 | Filed under: saving

Are you interested in saving more money this year?  Most people are and are actively looking for ways to increase the amount of money that they have for saving as much as they possibly can.  Luckily, there are literally thousands of ways that can be used to reduce your expenses and increase your savings.  Here are some simple changes that you can make in your life that will allow you to save more money.

Downgrade Your Brand Loyalty

Many people pay more for their groceries and clothing because they are loyal to particular brands of products that cost more than the others available.  However, switching to a less expensive brand or a store brand item could save them as much as 33% off the total price of their purchases.  In most cases, the store branded item is of a similar quality to the name brand item and is manufactured under the same rules.  The main difference is the advertising of the product and the packaging that the product is contained in.

Seek Out Discounts

Some people make it their goal to never pay full price for anything.  They seek out discounts on everything from clothing to movie tickets to restaurant meals.  If you are really determined, you can find a discount on virtually any item you can think of.  Review the advertisements that are added to your local newspaper or mailed to your home to see which retailers are having a sale on the items that you need.  Seek out the clearance sections of your favorite stores to find deeply discounted items.  Use coupons whenever possible to reduce the price of your purchase.  Getting used to seeking out discounts is one of the single best things you can do to reduce your expenses and increase your savings.

Entertain At Home

While it always sounds fun to go out with friends, you and your friends could also have a good time in the comfort of your own home.  Instead of going to expensive bars and restaurants, invite everyone over for a cookout and have them bring their drinks and a dish to share.  Instead of shelling out $10 a head for movie tickets and even more on snacks to eat during the show, invite your friends to your home for a movie night and order a couple of pizzas to share.  You will be saving money and making your bond with your friends stronger at the same time.

Simple Ways To Lower Your Car Insurance Rate

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 7th, 2013 | Filed under: saving

Everyone is looking for ways to save more money, but sometimes the simplest ways to save are overlooked.  Take your car insurance rate for example.  There is a wide variety of ways to save money through reductions and discounts, but many people do not even know that these discounts exist.  Here are some of the most common ways used to reduce the amount that you will ultimately pay for your car insurance.

Raise Your Deductible

Raising your deductible is one of the easiest ways for you to lower your out of pocket cost for insurance. If you raise your deductible, the insurance company will lower your premium rates because you are assuming more of the financial risk in the event of an accident or incident. This discount varies depending on the deductible amount you choose.  However, you should be sure that you can cover the deductible before choosing this type of discount.

Schedule Electronic Payments

Scheduling your payments electronically with your insurance company is another way for you to save money on your car insurance.  For setting up a payment schedule for your premiums with a debit, credit, or banking account, many insurance companies will offer you additional savings.  Setting up your payment electronically will also save you time as you will no longer have to remember to make your car insurance payment, place the payment in the mail, or wonder if it is going to arrive on time.

Discounts For Safety Equipment

Buyers that purchase cars with superior safety features and ratings often qualify for an equipment discount on their policy. Safety features that can trigger this discount include front and side airbags, antilock brakes, backup cameras, and anti-theft devices. There are even some safety components that can be added aftermarket that can help you get this discount, if you do not already qualify.  When obtaining your insurance quote, the questionnaire or the representative will inquire if any of these safety features are on your car so that you can receive every discount you qualify for.

When Is A Good Time To Begin Learning About Managing Money?

Written by Toi Williams on Feb 3rd, 2013 | Filed under: mindset

People need to learn fundamental money lessons to help them navigate their finances when they become solely responsible for them.  Unfortunately, many people never receive this education, making it much more likely that they will make costly financial mistakes in the future.  Making financial mistakes frequently can destroy their financial future and make it harder to get a car, a job, or an apartment.

Many parents are worried about whether their children will be able to manage their money when they are living on their own.  There is a belief that the best place for individuals to learn about managing money is in their high school years.  Most students say that they desire more financial education and would rather learn about money management in the classroom than make financial mistakes in the real world.

High schools seem to be doing little to educate students about personal finance.  Many people leave high school having learned little about personal finance.  Most teens will graduate without having basic money lessons taught to them, including how to create a budget or write a check.  Most high schools do not require their students to take a personal-finance class to graduate.

State governments tend to focus on teaching core subjects, like math and English, so personal finance is often overlooked.  Many cash-strapped states lack the funding to institute personal-finance instruction in their schools.  According a survey released by the nonprofit Council for Economic Education, only 13 states currently require high school students to take a personal-finance class to graduate.

Many parents are uncomfortable teaching their kids about money management because they lack confidence in their own financial knowledge.  If the parents and teachers haven’t learned critical financial values themselves, teaching the teenagers may do more harm than good.  This can create a steep and difficult learning curve once they have entered the real world.

Taking personal finance and money management classes, either through the high school or from private instructors, can give these students a solid understanding of financial management before they are expected to tackle it on their own.  This will reduce the number of mistakes made and prevent many from ending up in debt for large amounts of money.