Browse Category: Budget

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The Ultimate Checklist to Get Out of Debt!

Getting into debt can be a rather intimidating situation to find yourself in. Sometimes, it can seem like you’ll never work your way back into the black. But not to worry, there are certain things that you can do to help yourself along the way. Here’s the ultimate checklist to work your way out of debt!

Check Your Credit Score

Surprisingly, there are many people who have never taken a look at their credit score! There are various reasons that you should keep an eye on yours. Firstly, it allows you to see where you stand in regards to your overall financial health. You can also keep your credit in good shape, and you will have a good idea as to whether your credit applications will be successful or not. Until recently, you’d have to sign up for an account, subscribing and paying to take a look at your personal credit rating. The good news is that nowadays there are various services that will allow you to check your personal credit score for free.

Consolidate Your Debts

Debt consolidation is essentially the act of negotiating a loan that will be used to pay off several existing loans. These usually include outstanding credit card balances. Now, there are various reasons that you may want to consider doing this. The first: to save money. When you’re trying to keep on top of numerous debts, you can often end up missing repayment dates and will land yourself with fees and fines. Your consolidation debt may also have a lower overall interest rate than your existing debts. Take a look at debt consolidation loans for bad credit to see what’s available to you.

Do a Balance Transfer

If you have more than one credit card, but the idea of a consolidation loan doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to consider a balance transfer. The process involves all of your debts from one credit card to another. Sure, this may seem pointless, but many cards offer interest-free balance transfers so you can save yourself from paying interest for an allotted period of time. This means you can focus on clearing your debts rather than simply meeting interest repayments.

Close Unused Accounts

As you start clearing your accounts, you’re likely to want to reduce your credit usage in general. If you want to ensure that you don’t continue to dip into your credit allowance again, you can always close your unused accounts. Simply phone up your issuer, they will be able to cancel things over the phone. If you do leave your account unused, your credit issuer may take matters into their own hands and close your accounts anyway.

Budget

We get into debt because we live beyond our means, or spend money that we simply don’t have. So as you begin to rectify the situation, it’s time to start budgeting! Find a complete guide to budgeting here.

These small steps can make all the difference when it comes to working your way out of debt. So get started today!

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How To Invest in Your 20s The Best Way

Imagine if you had a time machine to do just that; go back in time. What is one of the first things you would do? There may be situations that you’d want to stop from ever happening, as well as being able to witness world events, for instance. But for many people, it would be to give themselves advice. And what advice would the younger versions of ourself want to hear? One of the top ones has got to be the best things to do with your money, financial advice, and how best to spend your time.

You might feel like saying that you wish you knew what you know now, then. But sadly, the time machine doesn’t exist. And being able to put all your money on Google as soon as they went public isn’t going to be something that you can get a do-over for. So today, I’m going to share a quick few things that all people in their twenties should be looking to invest their money in, to help prepare for a good financial future. No time machine needed.

Invest To Clear Debt

When you’re this age, you can have debt from school loans, getting a home, and a car. But the worst kind to have is credit card debt. You can’t make proper plans or look to invest in your future when you have credit card payments that you need to make, hanging around your neck. Debt is a rather common roadblock that is keeping people from finding success in their lives. So go through your statements and look at what you owe and what the interest is, and make a plan to deal with it.

Invest Early

Though it might feel like you don’t have much money spare to invest, being able to invest in your twenties can be a really good thing; many people wish they had started sooner. After all, the sooner that you start, the sooner you can start getting rich, right? Even if you only invested a small amount in the stock market each year, for example, you could be a millionaire from it in around 25 years. Of course, it will depend on what stock you choose. So before you start, knowing the risks of different stocks like Lowes stock, for example, is a good idea before you trade. When you have a fairly ‘safe’ bet, then it can mean that it is much more likely to pay off.

Invest For Big Purchases

There are some things that you need to set aside money for. Things like a house or car could be just that. But when it comes to saving and having to physically set your hard earned cash aside, it will rarely happen. What you need to think about is automating your money so that it does it all for you. If it is left to you, you might forget to move it over to a savings account. But an automated bank transfer that does it all for you means it is much more likely to happen. The same for bills, and payments for things like credit cards. Then when you have money set aside, it is important to leave it alone, until you have money for the larger purchase that you want to make.

*This post is contributed to Spicy Scribbler Blog

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The Closed-Door Corridor Of Post-Uni Life

The majority of us are told that, if we want a high-paying career, a university education is the way to get it. No one will take you seriously in your chosen field without it, or at least, that’s what you were told. So, you went off to study for three or more years, secure that you were doing everything possible to achieve your dream career. But, then you left the fold of university and realized that it wasn’t quite the golden key you were expecting. In fact, you no face all the same closed doors that your non-uni peers did. The only difference is, they’ve had the chance to open a few while you were studying. You, on the other hand, are staring down a whole corridor of closed opportunities. It’s not the stuff of your student dreams.

In truth, of course, a university education helps your prospects. But, it doesn’t necessarily make the path any easier for you to tread. That healthcare career still won’t fall into your lap. Depressing, we know. But, to help take the sting out of your uni come-down, we’re going to look at the doors you’ll face, and where to find the keys for each.

The dream career isn’t there

So, you left uni expecting the career door to be open already. After all, isn’t that what you put all the work in for? In truth, stumbling into a dream career isn’t a reality for students anymore. Once, a degree was all it took to catch the eye of the right people. Now, competition is fierce. Fresh uni-leavers don’t have anything on qualified applicants.

That said, the ‘unemployment’ myth isn’t quite what it seems. Despite scaremongering, only 2.5% of ex-students are unemployed. But, that doesn’t mean everyone’s doing what they studied for. In fact, many have to settle for menial retail or office work. The good news is, job experience in any field will count towards your cause. So, it may be that you have to accept a less than ideal role for six months or so. It’s not the end of the world, as long as you keep your eyes on the end-game. Don’t settle for that less than perfect job and stay there for five years. Set yourself a time scale, and keep applying for careers you want as you work. In many ways, the key to this door is a little sticky. You just have to work it a bit before it opens.

Your student loans are leaving you destitute

We couldn’t forget about student loans, could we? While the education was worth it, the debt it leaves you with can cripple you in those first years. This is especially true if you don’t stumble straight into a high paying job. You may struggle to keep up with payments. Homeownership and other life goals will undoubtedly be out of the question. Yet, those friends who didn’t go to uni have spent years saving, and are starting to look into mortgages. How is that fair?

In truth, it isn’t. But, there are things you can do. For one, make sure to develop a plan and pay your loan as soon as possible. It’s also worth considering which company you entrust your loan with. A recent lawsuit taken against Navient, the largest student loan lender in the U.S., shows that even ‘reliable’ companies don’t always have your best interests at heart. You can find out more about the case from this article by Forgiveness Processing. Needless to say, it’s essential to research the terms of your loan and ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. It’s also worth noting that, if you are affected by issues such as the Navient scandal, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness. Relief like this can go a considerable way towards easing the burden. While you won’t have a deposit-worthy sum overnight, this step will take you much closer.

You forget everything you learnt

We’ve already established that it isn’t the end of the world to take a career pitstop on your way to the main door. But, what happens when you finally get that key to work, only to find another door on the other side? That’s right; taking time out can cause you to forget everything you’ve learnt. This is especially an issue if you take a long break. Hence why you should only aim for a six-month limit. But, if you do end up waiting for longer than that, there’s no need to panic.

Keep returning to notes, and refreshing your brain. As well as keeping things fresh, this can help keep your passion alive. What better way to keep your eye on the goal? It’s also important to note that these things are often like riding a bike. Your first day may seem like a sheer panic of not knowing. But, once you get into your stride, stuff will come back to you that you thought was lost forever.

You feel unprepared

The last door, and perhaps the hardest to overcome, is the feeling of being unprepared. Those who went straight into a career after school will have faced this fear when they were young enough to make mistakes. Managers would’ve taken their age into account, and maybe even gone gently on them because of it. But, you’re in the same position now, only you’re in your mid-twenties, and no boss is going to baby you.

Feeling unprepared for the working world is never pleasant. But, like all the other doors, it’s easy to fit the key if you know how. For one, acknowledge that even those with experience feel unprepared in a new job. Bear in mind, too, that, while you don’t have work experience, you did gain life experience during your uni days. Despite popular belief, the workplace isn’t that different from the classroom. With that in mind, apply the knowledge you have, and face your fears head-on. Before long, you’ll see that you’re as prepared for this as anyone else.