Where Should You Really Cut Back on Your Budget?

We post a lot of material about budgeting and more. There’s a lot out there. But, we think this post will really hit that sweet spot. This is literally going to explain what you have to do to feel comfortable and satisfied on a budget. You don’t have to cut out every single one of those things you like and then feel miserable. This is one of the reasons why so many budgets fail. Too much traditional savings advice focuses too strictly on removing all of the things an individual might love! Why not consider what motivates you as a way to cut your budget. Now, this works, and it has been proven. When you cut your budget to save for future things you have been long for, you have a reason for slashing your budget.

Just keep in mind that if you always feel deprived or dissatisfied due to your current budget model it isn’t going to last. There’s no way you can stick to something that makes you feel miserable all the time. However, if you look to the future and think of those things that really mean a lot to you, but which require cutting your budget you will do so. Let’s take this a bit further and dig in.

You Can Live Happy on a Budget

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You can definitely live healthy and happy on a budget, there’s no reason why you can’t. You can still spend on things you enjoy too–there’s no reason to go without those, as long as you stick to a conservative budget. We all should do this and then there might be more personality when we venture out in public! You know what we mean. Those sour faces and poor personalities are often due to financial issues and budget concerns. The tips we are going to share with you now should change that.

What do you spend weekly on food? Consider a food budget!

12.5% of a budget often goes to food, but you can shave back here. Even if you choose to eat healthier, you can shop smarter. It’s important to establish a weekly spending amount on your consumables. Remember the rule: waste not want not–and this is more true than what you might think. There is too much wasteful spending at the grocery and specialty store.

Trim back on your energy costs and try to integrate green living habits!

Energy saving practices can ensure you and your family save a lot of money. Leaving lights on, not turning the faucet off properly, leaks in windows, long showers–all of these and more can impact your energy bill and cost quite a substantial amount annually. The Department of Energy states that simply unplugging devices that aren’t in constant use can potentially lower your energy costs by 10%. Getting into a habit of lowering your energy costs by being more responsible and carrying out home improvements can really add up in savings annually, versus losing money annually.

Cut back on luxury items you just never need or forget about

We’ve all done it, especially women…you’re out shopping and you see a new facial cleanser, or age complex lotion, or a perfume and immediately want it.  However, you end up not liking it and rarely using it. This is a waste. The best bet is to stick with those things you know you like, or at the very least, sample a product before buying it. If you can cut back in this category alone you can really save a lot of cash.

 Do your own housekeeping and weekly tasks on your own
Instead of going through the automated car wash that can cost upwards of $10 and more–wash your own car. You can put on the armor all yourself, though it might take more time, it gives you exercise too! We’ve become to dependent on convenience, and it costs us more than just unnecessary spending. Clean your own house, learn home improvement and more. You’ll be amazed at the extra funds you’ll have the end of the year!

Canadian Spring Break Budgeting Tips

As spring break creeps closer and closer there are more Canadians planning on getting away from it all. It’s traditional for most, and this is the time numerous Canadian families plan their vacations. For college students, the break is an alleviation from the chaos of college classes and other stress. For adult Canadians, it is a must needed break from the day to day hum-drum of the 9 to 5, but there are always considerations to be made before a trip like this. If you don’t properly plan it can certainly take some of the fun away. For instance, you want to make certain you’ve been budgeting and planning for a spring break trip for a few months before venturing off away from home!

Don’t forget to plan a strategic budget, and stick to it. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying for vacation on the day of. Save money and prepare way ahead of time if you’re truly going to enjoy yourself. This goes for anyone at any age. If you have to worry about money on vacation it’s really going to take the fun out of it. The following tips we are going to share should ensure you stay on track and every detail goes smoothly. The most important areas that Canadians should focus on (anyone going on Spring vacation from anywhere, really) are:

  • transportation
  • dining arrangements (eating out or cooking in)
  • what attractions are on the itinerary
  • how much shopping
  • what forms of entertainment
  • what kind of accommodations

Don’t be one of those who is seen scrambling for cash at the end of your vacation–that is bad and defeats the whole purpose of the getaway. The best thing to do is to plan to have a minimum of 5% of your funds remaining at the end of your vacation. It will greatly ease stress and clearly keep you prepared. You never know what unexpected expenses might arise, so stay on your toes. Now, let’s begin examine how to prepare for all of these areas previously mentioned.

Budgeting Tips To Ensure a Great Spring Break

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Remember, to start, create and establish a budget. We said this in the beginning.  It’s a critical piece of the puzzle. Also, make sure that you include items such as: baggage charges, hotel taxes, taxis and more. Also, keep all of the following in mind:

  • You should always shop around and seek out the best deals and packages online. If you visit travel websites you might find discounts for car rentals and lodgings. Research is important so don’t just dive in. Review budget, price and plan around all of that.
  • Do a road trip for your spring vacation and save a ton of money. Some find this idea more fun and definitely more exciting. You’ll be able to visit more than one place and enjoy yourself far more. The goal is to not be limited by prices and more. You can have adventures you didn’t plan on and still save more money.
  • If you know exactly where you’re going and where you’re staying, call directly to try and get a reservation discount and other free services. Sometimes this pays off, rather than booking something online.

These tips ensure Canadian college students and families in general have a well mapped out spring vacation and are on top of all financial matters at the same time. Don’t go over-budget, and do get in some down time to regroup and enjoy your break away! Rest and relaxation is the most important part of a break. Sleep in. Walk leisurely, and just breathe!

 

Talking to Bill Collectors: What Can You Do?

Too many Canadians run from their debt and try to bury their head in the sand. It’s not because they are losers–it’s simply because they just don’t know what to do. They think by not communicating and not answering those letters the debt will somehow just disappear, but that isn’t going to happen. One of the worst things that a debtor can do when a debt collector calls is to avoid the phone, or trash the letters. It leads to a very bad place–especially with regard to credit worthiness. The truth is, it’s very important to speak to your creditors as soon as possible. If you make an initiative to work through your credit problems your creditors or more likely to work through your financial difficulties with you. You simply have to take action and do something about your problems.

So, just how should you talk to collectors when you do answer that phone? It depends on what kind of outcome you want to achieve!

Talking to Bill Collectors the Right Way

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We all want to be talked to with a level of respect and understanding, no matter what the situation might be. When you’re talking to bill collectors, no matter how frustrated you feel, keep this in mind. Think about how you want to be treated. Your positive attitude will get you the results you want far faster than being confrontational. Even though the bill collector will test those waters, keep your cool. Let’s take a look at a few tips.

  • No matter what you can’t lose your temper as it won’t get you what you want
  • Don’t just tell the bill collector you don’t have time for them. Arrange a new time to call and talk
  • You need to be ready to ask questions and answer theirs as well
  • If anything seems inaccurate bring it up in an intelligent manner, not belligerently
  • Have a defined plan on how you’ll catch your debt up and stay on top of it
  • Be willing to follow the advice of the collector
  • If you’re having a bad experience with a collector ask to speak to a supervisor, and request a new collector to speak with. Explain exactly why. No matter what, you still have consumer rights.

 Work Out a Feasible Plan With the Collector if You Owe Some Money

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Even if you don’t owe all of the debt, but some of it, you need to work out a plan that is right for you. You have to negotiate. Most will want something upfront to show you are sincere, and then devise a plan following a first payment. So, if you know for a fact that you’re liable for some of the debt owed then you should:

  • Be honest with the collector and own up to some of the debt, but make it very clear you’re disputing a portion of it
  • If you’re disputing a portion of debt then you need to pay what you owe immediately. However, if it is a substantial amount most collectors will arrange to have payments made
  • It is wise to write to your original creditor and explain why you are disputing some of the debt
  • Always keep copies of any correspondence
  • When paying on a portion of a debt always include your account number, the amount and the current balance

Honesty is always the best policy, and when Canadians are upfront with collectors there is more flexibility provided. The benefit of the doubt is actually given. Once you get on top of your debt you need to stay on top of it and don’t make the same mistakes. Develop a well thought out financial plan and stick to it to avoid those same pitfalls.

 

 

 

 

Tips To Overcome Poor Credit

It would be amazing if we could pay for everything we want and need with cash, right? We could avoid credit disputes and poor decision making. Unfortunately, we can’t always pay with cash. But, when you have poor credit this makes things far worse. When you’re short on cash, and have poor credit you’re placed into a burdening financial dilemma, because you have nothing you can lean on when something unpredictable comes up. This is bad. However, you don’t need to let your poor credit control your life. You can overcome it and recover.

Mistakes are made by everyone–no one is perfect and very few have perfect credit. If you’re recovering from a credit catastrophe, wait for the dust to settle before you panic. And if you’re still dealing with outstanding delinquencies, set up a payment plan and stick to it. Consider ways you can begin growing your credit worthiness again once you begin credit recovery.

Overcoming a History of Poor Credit

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Don’t let poor credit hold you back when there are ways to overcome it. Of course, it’s not the healthiest situation, but this can happen to anyone. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t feel like it is the end of the world. While it takes a great deal of time and determination to overcome a poor credit history–building a positive financial history can begin to help. There are a number of ways to push past these circumstances. If you have held a full-time job for a long while and have consistently paid utility bills on time–this looks good to creditors. Here we are going to give you some strategic advice and tips to put into play to get back on your feet again. Poor credit isn’t the end of the world, but if you keep making the same decisions that led you into it, you’ll never get out from under it.

Many Canadians with poor credit turn to a secured credit card as a means to begin turning things around, but it takes time. Just because it’s your own money your putting on the card and spending doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow traditional credit card requirements. For instance, you don’t want to spend more than 30% of your available balance and you do want to pay off the balance every month if possible. Over time this can begin to improve your credit and get you back on the right track. There are several other ways you can improve your credit profile!

Tips to Help You Recover from a Poor Credit History

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Canadians are probably more than aware of the importance of credit counseling to raise their credit score. You have to be wary here though because there are always scam artists just waiting to take advantage of someone. But, many people with burdening debt try to clean this up on their own and make mistakes doing so. Only a credit counselor can tell you what to work on, what to wait on and what to ignore. Too many Canadians work hard to improve their credit. They shouldn’t have to worry about doing it the wrong way, and they definitely shouldn’t have to worry about scam artists either.

The best advice to be given here is to do the best you can. Show creditors you’re trying to get on top of your debts and you’re working as much as possible to pay off debt too! From this moment on, always:

  • set up a plan and stick to it
  • pay bills on time
  • don’t overwhelm yourself
  • don’t make arrangements you can’t stick to
  • keep working to improving your credit worthiness despite possible slip ups
  • don’t have a higher debt to income ratio

 

Surviving Bankruptcy: Everything You Need to Know

Educate yourself and plan to avoid making the same mistakes again

 You might feel some relief once you file bankruptcy and your debts are consolidated into that one monthly payment, but do you realize how long this stays on your credit report? While the slate is clean, you still must deal with the crushing blow on your character. Not only can this impact your ability to buy what you want, it can hurt your chances of employment too. However, sometimes Chapter 7 is the only way Canadian families can get on their feet again. If you proceed wisely it can help you, but if not—this could be a big mistake. Let’s look at some steps that will ensure filing bankruptcy will get your debt to income ration in a balance. It’s important to understand what you can and cannot do when you take a step like this.

What You Can and Cannot Do When Filing Bankruptcy

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Understanding what debts bankruptcy will do away with and which will still be required for you to pay is extremely important. So, let’s be clear here. Not all debt is erased when you file bankruptcy.  Unfortunately, there are some creditors who can attempt to influence the court not to place a specific debt under bankruptcy protection. While it doesn’t seem fair, it happens more often than not. When you file for bankruptcy (whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) your debts are consolidated and separated into categories. Some debts will receive priority over others, and these happen to be the ones that can cause the most problems for those in debt. However, if you are hoping to get rid of medical debt and not be plagued by it—this is removed.

Medical bills are classified as unsecured debts, much like credit card debt. When you file bankruptcy they are gone forever and you can begin recovering from that overwhelming stress and anxiety you’ve been under. However, something such as an automobile loan is not as simple. This can still be repossessed if the loan company pursues it in court. Mortgages can be saved and no one can take your home when you file bankruptcy! Let’s learn how you can avoid ever filing bankruptcy again and getting your life stable and on track.

Don’t File Multiple Bankruptcies: Not Good for the Long-Term

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You really don’t want to have to go back and ever file another bankruptcy again, not after the first one. So, it is critical to understand what you’re getting into and what is going to happen. Too many are in the dark concerning what Chapter 13 does and what it really covers. To make it easy, filing bankruptcy can be a powerful option used correctly. It can:

  • Removes credit card debt and other unsecured debt
  • Eliminates very specific lien agreements
  • Stops collection activity and prevents harassing phone calls

But Bankruptcy cannot:

  • Secured creditors can repossess property, even with a bankruptcy in place
  • Bankruptcy cannot remove child support payments or alimony
  • Can’t eliminate most tax debt, but some is possible
  • Traffic tickets and other fines cannot be eliminated

While bankruptcy can help with a great deal make sure you’re filing it for the right reasons.  More importantly, make certain the debt you have can be taken care of when you file bankruptcy.  Know what it can and can’t do!