8 Best Websites to Earn Money With Online Surveys

Are you looking for a side hustle? Companies often conduct surveys to do market research and measure brand awareness, find new markets, understand their customers, among other things. 

online surveys

They are easy and don’t take too much time to complete, it can be an excellent way to monetize your spare time.

However, you should stay away from companies that pay too little money, ask for a fee, or have no ratings.

 Here are the eight best websites to earn money with online surveys. 

1) Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of the most known survey websites. It’s been around for almost 15 years and has an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau. You can earn anywhere from $0.40-$2 per survey, they pay via PayPal or cash gifts.

2) LifePoints

This company was founded in 1946 and has over 5 million members. The survey’s subjects vary from technology to automobiles and others. LifePoints pays $0.50 – $1 per survey, and they pay via PayPal and gift cards. 

3) PrizeRebel

Signing up for Prize Rebel is quick and easy. They pay anywhere from $0.40 to $0.60 per approved survey. The minimum threshold to withdraw your funds is only $5, and their payment methods are Paypal, Dwolla Cash, or gift cards.

4) American Consumer Opinion

American Consumer Opinion has a great rating on BBB and has been around for more than 41 years. You can earn anywhere from $0.05 – $0.50 per survey, and you can withdraw your funds via PayPal cash, Hyperwallet, or a charitable donation.

5) Opinion Outpost 

To be a member, you’ll first need to complete a preliminary screening, and answer personal information like your education level, number of children and your profession. Opinion Outpost is rated 4/5 on TrustPilot. You can earn anywhere from $0.30 – $3 per survey. You can get paid via PayPal, Amazon gift cards, Apple App Store and iTunes gift cards.

6) Inbox Dollars

This company was founded in 2006, and has already paid over 59 million dollars to its users. Inbox Dollars requires at least $30 to cash out and pays via Gift cards, prepaid Visa card, or a check in the mail.

7) Survey Junkie

With more than 10 million users, Survey Junkie has been in business since 2011. You can earn money by taking paid surveys, testing products, participating in online or in-person focus groups, among other things. It has a good rating on BBB, B+. You’ll need at least $10 to withdraw your funds, and you can earn $0.50 – $3 per survey.

8) MyPoints

MyPoints has been in business since 1996 and has paid over $236 million to its 10 million users. You can earn money by taking surveys, watching videos, playing games, shopping online and in-store, printing and redeeming coupons, among other things. The minimum to cash out is $10, and you can get paid anywhere from $0.35 – $0.55 per completed survey. 

 

How to Protect Yourself on Social Media

For better or for worse, social media has changed the way we connect to each other. We only need a few clicks to share our information, and one mistake can ruin your career or even your life, or it can also make you a target for cybertheft. Here are six tips to protect yourself on social media:

protect yourself social media

Create a Safe Password

Is your password “password1” or “12345678”? One of the most important things to pay attention to when using social media is to create a safe password so that your account doesn’t get hacked into. Safe passwords are at least eight characters long, has a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

Review Your Privacy Settings

Social media networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, have privacy settings where you can control what you want to share and with whom. For instance, on Facebook, you can choose who can see your posts and your friends list, who can message you or see your phone number and email address. It is a good idea to only share your personal information with your friends and family.

Disable Geotagging

One of the most dangerous social media features is geotagging. Showing your exact location, which includes even the latitude and longitude, and where you are at the moment, might make you susceptible to criminals knowing where you live and planning to rob you when you’re not home.

Only Add People You Know and Trust

It is important to only add friends and family to your personal social media profile. Since anyone can easily create a fake profile and pretend to be someone else, scammers use the Internet and social media to blackmail you or commit other crimes. If you need to use social media for work, it is a good idea to have a separate profile where you don’t share important personal information online.

Disable Automatic Login

If you want to be extra securel, it is advisable to disable automatic login so that people can’t access your social media profile if someone steals your device or if you step out for a moment and leave your computer unlocked.

Be Careful With What You Post

Anything you share can be on the Internet forever and can be used against you in one way or another. Apart from your telephone number, home address, and social security number, it is not appropriate to share strong political opinions online, or polemic topics, or even revealing photos. One good rule of thumb is not to share anything your grandma wouldn’t want to see.

 

6 Apps That Make Budgeting Easy

Do you find it hard to create a budget and stick to it? A budget is essential to control your spending and have a healthier financial life. You could use excel spreadsheets, or even the good old pen and paper, but apps make it so much easier to control where your money is going, without much effort. Here are the six best budgeting apps:

apps budgeting

1) You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Have you ever heard of the envelope budgeting method? YNAB makes it easier for you to do it. Its aim is to help users stop living paycheck to paycheck and build their emergency fund. It costs $11.99 per month or $83.99 per year, and it comes with a 34-day trial.

2) Mint

Mint is one of the most popular and consolidated budgeting apps in the market. With Mint you can check your credit score for free, and examine where you’re spending your money, filtered by category, so that you can decide where to make cuts and how to make better use it. This application is free, and it can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices.

3) Every Dollar 

Every Dollar was created by the financial specialist Dave Ramsey. Dave created Baby Steps in which people have to follow to be financially healthy. It is based on a strategy called zero-based budgeting, which is similar to the envelope system. This app will help you assign your dollars to each appropriate category, this way you’re more aware where your money is going. It is free but it has a premium version that costs $99/year.   

4) Wally

Wally is free for Android and iOS and does its job well when it comes to budgeting. Its aim is to monitor your income so that you know where each buck is going and why. It sends reminders when you reached a goal or when a bill is due, so it’s great for people who forget to pay their balances on time.

5) Trim

One of the most important things for people that want to organize their personal finance, and worry less about money, is to create an emergency fund. This app is awesome for that since it automates weekly transfers into a savings account. Bill negotiation is another great feature this app offers. It can help you have money on bills like car insurance, cable, Internet services, and others. Trim also has a debt pay off plan to assist you to take back control of your budget. 

6) Mvelopes

Mvelopes offers three different plans for its users, with different features: the basic costs 6 dollars per month; plus that costs $19 per month; and complete, that costs $59 per month. The best thing about this app is the live support, on which you can talk to a financial personal trainer. Some other features include digital envelope budgeting, account balance monitoring, interactive reports, and one-on-one help.

7 Best Freelance Resources

Being a freelance worker is not as easy as it seems. It requires lots of discipline, effort, and time management skills. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available online for only a few bucks, or even for free, so that you don’t have to struggle anymore. Here are the seven best freelance resources:

1) Google Apps

If you can’t pay for expensive software to work, you will probably find Google Apps very useful. You can get Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs without having to pay a single penny. You can also sync the apps with all your devices, and share them with your colleagues or clients.

2) Slife

Time is money, which makes managing time wisely is crucial for every freelancer. Slife is a software that will tell you how much time you are spending on each application, and how productive you are being during the day. By analyzing it, you can start making better choices.

3) Freshbooks

It is very important for freelancers to keep their finances organized, and Freshbooks makes accounting simple. For a mere $15 per month, you can bill up to 5 clients, or if you need more it will cost you $50 monthly to bill up to 500 clients. 

4) Udemy

With the Internet, it’s not necessary to pay for an expensive degree to get access to learn new abilities and get new information anymore. With only a few dollars you can choose from 80,000+ of courses, in a big variety of subjects, that can range from photography to languages, and computer programming.

5) Skillshare

Skillshare is one of the Udemy’s biggest competitors. With Skillshare, you can also find affordable courses, on which you can learn new skills for your job, but you’ll also be able to find courses to help you price your work as a freelancer. The main difference between Udemy and Skillshare is that you’ll pay a fixed price of $15/month for a premium membership that will give you access to unlimited classes, whereas on Udemy you’ll need to buy each course individually.

6) Trello

Are you looking for a tool to help you manage your projects and deadlines? Then Trello might be an excellent choice for you. On there, you’ll find a simple but effective dashboard to visualize and organize your next and past actions as well as interact and contact other team members. Trello has a free version for unlimited dashboards and up to 10MB of space.

7) Notion

Notion.so is a powerful creative annotation tool, where you can organize your documents, notes, tasks, projects, spreadsheets and databases, all in one place. This application is free for up to 5MB file uploads, and 1,000 blocks or you can pay $4 per month to have unlimited file uploads and blocks.

How to Lose Weight and Save Money

If you ask around what people’s goals are, most of them will say they want to save more money and lose weight. However, it’s a common misconception to think that you need to spend lots of money on diet food and expensive gym memberships. In reality, you can change a few simple habits and live a healthier, lighter life without that much effort and spend even less money. 

lose weight and save money

Cut Your Costs By Meal Prep

Most people give the excuse that they can’t eat healthy because they don’t have time for it. Eating out and ordering takeout can genuinely hurt your budget, and it will also make you eat more unhealthy processed foods. By meal prepping, you can buy ingredients from the supermarket or a farmer’s market cheaply, and prepare the food in a few hours and have it ready for the whole week.

Consider Canceling Your Gym Membership

How often do you go to the gym? Do you enjoy going there, or do you just go out of necessity? If you hate gyms, it might be a good idea for you to find cheap or free activities to burn calories instead of paying for membership – that can cost up to $700 a year – and invest this money instead.

Eat Less Red Meat 

Eating steak every day can not only be expensive but also unhealthy. You do not need to become a vegetarian or vegan, but you can reduce your meat intake. It is estimated that you can save up to $800 per year by going vegetarian. There are many cheap proteins you can start eating, such as beans, eggplants, and eggs.

Stop drinking soft drinks

Fizzy beverages don’t seem expensive at first, but it can add up. They also contain a considerable amount of sugar, which is unhealthy and can make you gain a lot of weight. You can potentially save up to $1,000 a year and lose a few pounds by quitting this habit. You can always drink water and refill your bottle whenever you get a chance.

Grow a Garden

By growing your own garden at home, you can not only eat fresh produce, but it will also help you save cash. There are many easy things to grow, such as tomatoes, green beans, herbs, and cucumbers. Since gardening can be physical work, it is also a great way to burn a few calories.

 

How to Save Money on Dental Implants

U.S. health care costs have been increasingly rising over the years. That can be worse if you need dental work. The standard health insurance plan does not always cover implants, and they can cost up to $1,500 in the United States. Here are some ways to save money on dental implants:

Dental Schools

Dental Schools are good options for people who don’t have much money and who are looking for a way to pay less for dental implants. You can have it done for half of the price you would have paid at a normal clinic. The service will be provided by a student, but do not be worried, since they are always under the supervision of more experienced dentists. However, you should be aware that there may be a waiting list. 

Travel to Another Country

Have you ever heard of medical tourism? Since dental work is very expensive in the US, thousands of Americans travel abroad to get it done for a quarter of a price. Countries like Turkey, India, and Brazil have cheaper dental implants, mostly due to the currency exchange. Don’t be concerned about the quality of the dental implant, since most professionals are qualified and work in private clinics.

Dental Insurance

If your health insurance policy doesn’t cover dental care, you might need to find a separate dental insurance plan. Among the best options are Delta Dental, Humana, and Care Credit. Humana, for example, has several dental plan options, like Dental Loyalty Plus, Dental Value, Dental Preventative Plus, Dental Savings Plus, and Complete Dental. The best plan is the one that fits your needs and budget, therefore it’s important to do your research to consider all the products that are available.

Dental Discount Plans

Have you ever heard of dental discount plans? It is a great and cheaper alternative to standard insurance. They are essentially a network of dentists who offer discounts to plan members. This way, you can save up to 60% on dental procedures such as dental implants, root canals, or bridges.  

Do Your Research

It’s always a good idea to negotiate with your dentist before getting this procedure. You might be able to get a large discount or a good payment plan that fits your budget. If you’re not satisfied with the price, you can always find another dentist. Another option is to find a dedicated implant clinic because they might be able to offer you a better deal than others.

7 Best Money Saving Tips For Retirees

You finally reached retirement, a period of the life that many people consider as “golden years”. However, if you’re not careful, you might end up having money problems if you don’t manage your income well. Here are seven money-saving tips for retirees:

1) Stay Healthy

Staying healthy is an important matter for all of us, but even more so for seniors, because that way you are less likely to spend your money on drugs and expensive health care. This is why you should make an effort to have a balanced diet, rest well, get vaccinated, take your vitamins and exercise. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also save lots of money. 

2) Use Public Transportation

Since you don’t necessarily have to work, there’s no reason why you should drive everywhere. Maintaining a car and buying gasoline every week is not cheap. So why not start taking the bus or the subway? You can also use transportation services like Lyft or Uber, which can be cheaper than driving, depending on your habits.

3) Use Senior Discounts

Did you know that as a senior, you can get access to a good variety of discounts? You can get reduced prices in certain restaurants like Applebees, Dunkin Donuts, IHOP and Subway; even retail stores, travel agencies, and phone plans. You can check some options HERE.

4) Housing

If you have a spare room you’re not using, it might be a good idea to rent it out, and add some extra bucks in your budget. In order to find new roommates, you can place an ad on websites like Airbnb, Facebook or even ask for it to be displayed at churches, schools or volunteer groups.

5) Manage Your Debt Wisely

Debt interest rates can be very expensive, and it can prevent your retirement money from lasting longer. For that reason, it is crucial to create a plan to pay your credit card off, or any other debt that is causing you financial trouble. It’s also a good idea to have savings in case you need an emergency fund.

6) Travel Wisely

Traveling in the summer, or during holidays can be much more expensive. As a retiree, you have a lot more options, since you can travel whenever you want. You can also rent a bedroom or even a whole house on websites like VacationRentals, VRBO or Airbnb instead of getting an expensive hotel room. Another benefit of these types of accommodations is that you can often cook your own food because you have access to a kitchen, allowing you to save even more money during your travels.

7) Reconsider Your Insurance Policies

Insurance plans can be very costly. Therefore, by reevaluating your needs, you might realize that it is not necessary to pay for life insurance anymore if you don’t have kids or if they’ve already grown up and don’t depend on you anymore. 

5 Effective Ways to Protect Yourself Against Cybertheft

The Internet made our life so much easier, especially when it comes to financial transactions. By using your bank app, you can, for example, transfer money to someone else without going to the bank. On the other hand, you might also be subject to cybercrime and have fraudulent transactions made with your account, or even lose all your money. Here are five effective ways to protect yourself against these infractions:

1) Be Careful With What You Share on Social Media

Be mindful of what you share on social media. For instance, you should not share the details of your next vacation, your personal address, your precise location, geotagged images, images of credit cards or even your bank statements. The reason why is that some criminals can use these to commit fraud or steal your money.

2) Enable Security Alerts

Most social media networks, email accounts, and even bank apps have certain security features that enable the user to know if there is a suspicious activity on your account. For instance, someone trying to access it from another device or from a completely different location. You might get a notification on your phone, receive an SMS or even an email if something like this happens. For that reason, it is important to keep it active so that you decrease the chances of cybertheft happening to you.

3) Create Strong Passwords

Certainly, a password with your name and birthday is easy to remember, but that might also be easy to crack. Stay away from common words as well. Therefore, if you want to keep your information safe, you should create a password that is at least 12 characters long, has numbers, symbols, capital cases, and lower-case letters. When creating or changing a password, most websites give you a good guide as to what is expected and will not let you proceed until they believe it’s a secure password. Remember to change your password every few months. You can also enable the two-factor authentication to increase your data safety even more.

4) Don’t Open Suspicious Emails

This tip might seem obvious, but cybercriminals are getting much smarter each day. They often send emails asking for information, or maybe they might require you to download a file with malware or even enter a fake website that looks very real. However, there are some signs you can look for to tell if an email is authentic, like checking the email address. If the domain (name after the @ sign) is not used by the organization that’s contacting you, it’s a fake email made to defraud you. You can also check if there are spelling mistakes, weird requests like your PIN or credit card number, among other things. If you’re suspicious, just delete it.

5) Install Antivirus Software

There are many antivirus softwares you can download that will scan your computer files and browser to see if there is a potential threat before they hack your device. The most well known ones are AVG, McAfee, and Norton, and they come with free basic versions, which means you don’t necessarily have to pay for protection. Keep in mind that you should always keep the software updated as criminals often find ways to exploit loopholes. Updating the software allows these loopholes to be patched.

10 Easy Ways to Make Money During Retirement

Being retired does not mean you can’t work anymore. There are many fun jobs you can do to earn extra income each month, without that much effort in the comfort of your own home. Here are ten easy ways to make money during retirement: 

1) Pet Sitter

Who doesn’t love cute pets? Now imagine if you get to earn extra money to take care of them while their owners are busy or out of town. By doing that, you can earn up to $1,000/month. You can also choose your own prices and schedule. All you need to do is create a profile at Rover.com, accept requests, and get paid two days after completing a service.

2) Rent a Room

Do you have a spare bedroom or even a sofa in your living room? You can meet new people and make new friends while also earning some cash. There are many websites you can choose to offer this service, but the most known one is Airbnb. The amount of money you can earn can vary depending on the location, but it can be up to $800 or more.

3) Sell Crafts Online

Do you knit, create jewelry, or paint? Selling your art online might be a good option to make some extra bucks. Most artisans sell their work at Etsy.com. Etsy charges $0.20 to list an item for four months or until it sells plus 3.5% of the final purchase price. It’s very important that you take good pictures of your items, write excellent descriptions and tags so that your products get found.

4) Teach English to Foreigners

If you’re a native English speaker, you might be qualified to teach the language to foreigners. It is crucial that you have a good Internet connection, a microphone, and a webcam and a quiet room to work in. There are some companies like Cambly, SayABC, Tutoring Lab, Magic Ears, Qkids and Open English that don’t require for you to have a degree to apply.

5) Tour Guide

Do you know your city like no one? By being a tour guide you can learn more about your city, the history, meet new people and share your knowledge with them. If you’re charismatic and intellectual, it’ll play a big part in your success as a tour guide. To get involved, you can look for work on sites like Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, Craigslist, and ZipRecruiter. You could also apply to your local museums and art galleries. On average, you can earn around $12 per hour.

6) Rent Your Car

If you have a car, but you hardly ever use it or perhaps even have a second car, you might be able to rent your car. That’s where websites like Turo come into play. Turo has been referred to as the Airbnb for car rentals. It’s a great alternative to traditional car rentals that are growing in popularity. Depending on which car you have, its availability and your location, you could make up to $1000 per month or more. Turo only takes 25% from the daily rate which includes insurance and protection. Listing your car is a quick and easy process. 

7) Be a Virtual Assistant

Are you familiar with working in an office? You might be able to do that at home as a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is someone who provides services to businesses or entrepreneurs remotely. You could be at home, in a coffee shop or even on Copacabana beach, drinking a Caipirinha. There are a number of things that a virtual assistant could be expected to do, including managing appointments, calendars, and emails; digital marketing tasks; booking hotels and restaurants; event management and social media management. Although you may not be there in person, your work would play a vital part in the success of the business or entrepreneur. Virtual assistants, on average, can make between $15 and $30 per hour. 

8) Become a Freelance Translator

Do you speak more than one language? Use this as an opportunity to earn more money. You can earn around $30 per hour, depending on the language combination. Both Arabic and Chinese, being the most sought after, have the highest average hourly rates at around $80 per hour while romance languages are on the lower end. There are a number of websites from which you can find freelance translation work, such as Fiverr, UpWork, Gengo, or PeoplePerHour.

9) Write an Online Book

Nowadays, you don’t have to be a professional writer to publish your own book. Publishing your own print book, as an independent author, can be quite expensive, and thus infeasible for most. Ebooks are, however, much more feasible, as they have a lower cost of entry and are free to post on most popular ebook platforms, namely Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s as easy as follows: write a book using Google Docs, Word or Pages; convert the document into an ePub; set up an account on Amazon KDP; upload your book; set your price and go live on Amazon. You will earn up to 70% of the set price in royalties. 

10) Babysitter/Caretaker

Do you like kids? Have you raised children of your own? Being a babysitter or a caretaker might be a great opportunity for you. Your responsibilities would depend greatly on what you and the parents would be comfortable with doing but may include: dropping off and picking up children from school, helping with homework, making dinner or putting kids to bed. $12 is the average hourly rate, but it varies depending on the responsibilities. To get started, have a look through online job marketplaces, such as Urbansitter.com, Sittercity.com, and Care.com. There’s also a company called Rent a Grandma that specializes in matching caring women with deep life experiences with families that require nannies, babysitters, and in-home care providers.

How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance

Buying a car is a goal many people have, but it can be more expensive than you think. Not only will you have to pay for the financing costs, taxes, and maintenance, but also car insurance. Having insurance is not only important in case you’re involved in an accident, but it’s also mandatory in some U.S. states. Thankfully, there are ways in which you can save some money on it and get much better rates. Here are six ways to get cheaper car insurance:

cheaper car insurance

1) Improve Your Credit Score

One of the many benefits of having a good credit score is that you often get better auto insurance rates. But if that isn’t your case, don’t worry. According to Experian, there are many ways in which you can boost your credit score. Some of them are paying your bills on time, keeping a low debt-to-income ratio, not applying for too much credit in a short period of time, and not closing unused credit cards. 

2) Compare Rates

A great idea to save on insurance is by comparing rates before buying your car since they can vary a lot depending on the vehicle you purchase. There is a wide variety of car insurers you can choose from, small, big, local, or national. Therefore you should not choose the first option you get if you want to save money. Shop around and compare prices before buying auto insurance for your car – get at least three quotes from different places.

3) See If You Can Get Discounts

Since insurers want you to have business with them, they might offer certain promotions and discounts. For example, you might find discounts for being a student or retiree, or if you pay it in full, and many more. You can also get group insurance and that way you can get much cheaper car insurance. It’s always a good idea to see if you qualify for them.

4) Have a Clean Driver Record

Needless to say that irresponsible drivers offer more risks to insurers; that’s why these people often pay more for coverage. Therefore, you should try and become a better driver by using the appropriate speed, not using your phone while driving, and paying attention to the road to keep your auto insurance costs down.

5) Avoid Rates

Rates can make your insurance policy cost a lot more than it needs. Fortunately, some of them are easily avoidable. For instance, if you request to receive your paperwork online, it might be much less expensive. You can also have your insurance payments taken automatically out of your bank account, which will be cheaper and more convenient for you.

6) Consider PPM Insurance

It is clear that different people might have different needs. For example, are you a casual driver? There are some cheaper insurance options for people who don’t drive as much. With pay-per-mile insurance, you will only have to pay for your usage. This can be beneficial for people who only drive up to 10,000 miles per year. 

 

7 Signs You Have Too Much Debt

Is money on your mind all day every day? There’s a high chance it’s because you carry too much debt on things like loans, credit cards, and car payments. Most people do, but some way more than others. This condition might destroy your mental health if you don’t start acting on it right now. However, it’s possible to change that and live a healthier financial life if you plan your expenses and have discipline. Here are seven signs you have too much debt:

signs you have too much debt

1) You Don’t Know How Much You Owe

Are you the type of person who knows you have debt, but avoids even thinking about how much you owe? Hiding it from yourself won’t make the problem go away. It is the first step you need to take if you want to be debt-free. You can do that by reading your statements and listing all of your debt so that you can create an action plan to get rid of it. 

2) You Pay Most of Your Bills Late

The bills come, and you feel lost and anxious because you don’t have enough money to pay for everything. As a result, you leave them unpaid for a long time or just start making minimum payments. You end up paying a lot of interest in the end and might end up with even more debt than you initially had. A get strategy you can use to solve this is by using the Snowball Method.

3) Money Causes You Anxiety

Debt is always at the back of your head and causes you a lot of stress. You can’t sleep well, and you’re always anxious. This is a sign this situation has gotten out of hand. You need to create a plan of action to solve this problem, so you get rid of it as soon as possible. 

4) You Don’t Have Any Savings

If you lose your job, get ill, have an accident or anything else, you don’t have anything backing you up because you spend everything you earn. Most people think that they need to pay all of their debt first before having an emergency fund, which is not true. Thinking like that might make you end up in even more debt. Therefore you should consider saving at least 10% of your income in a high-yield savings account. 

5) You Leave Outside Your Means

You’re very familiar with the concept of living paycheck to paycheck because you do it every time. You buy things because you “worked hard for it”. However, you need to change this mentality to become financially independent. Having a budget is crucial if you don’t want to owe even more money, and it will also give you peace of mind. You can still do the things you like to do and have fun, as long as it’s planned and within your resources.

6) You’re Afraid of Phone Calls 

You avoid answering your phone because you think it might be collectors asking you to meet your obligations. However, you can’t avoid them forever, since they might sue you and seize your property or even your money as soon as it reaches your bank account.

7) You Hide Your Spending From Your Friends and Family

Most people in this situation are embarrassed and feel bad about being in debt. They start emotional shopping to feel better, even if it’s a temporary relief, regret later and hide or don’t tell their loved ones about it. Don’t be afraid of admitting you have a problem and ask for help.

 

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

Buying a house is quite a responsibility, which can be frightening to many people, especially if you are new to this. There are so many things to consider before making the final decision, such as the location, if there are any convenience stores nearby, and how long the commute to work is. If you are not prepared, you might come across a lot of headaches later, and the problems will be a lot harder to overcome. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before buying a home:

buying a home

1) Do you have money saved?

Purchasing a property might be more expensive than you think. It involves the payment of fees, services and taxes. You might even have to furnish it, which can cost a lot of money. Having an emergency fund is crucial if you don’t want to struggle in the process, or end up in a lot of debt. 

2) Can you afford the mortgage?

Many people buy the home of their dreams, but not the one that truly meets their budget. It would be best if you did not do this because you might not be able to pay the mortgage later. For that reason, you should find a home that fits your budget before making the final decision to buy it. Financial specialists usually advise that less than 30% of your salary should go towards your mortgage.

3) How long will you be living there?

Unless you’re buying this house to have tenants later, you should think about how long you will be living there. Experts recommend that you stay three to five years in your new property, if that’s not your case, it might be best for you to rent and wait so that you can make a larger down payment in the future and save on interest rates.

4) Do you understand the process?

The process of purchasing a new property can be confusing to new home buyers. However, it is crucial for you to be prepared for it if you do not want to be in trouble later. You will come across things attorney approvals, bank appraisals, mortgage commitments, a huge variety of fees, and taxes. If you don’t want to deal with these matters, you should consider hiring a trustworthy real estate agent to help you with the process. Don’t forget to interview them to see if they meet your needs.

5) Did you inspect the house?

Even though it might be a bit pricey, a house inspection is a crucial part of the purchasing process. This type of service will prevent you from having to deal with things like unexpected repairs in the future. Things like exterior evaluation, structural elements, roofs and attics, plumbing, water heaters, and even appliances like dishwashers are usually included in the inspection. 

5 Credit Card Habits You Should Break in 2020

Credit cards are great – you can take advantage of benefits like travel points, free airport lounge access, cash back, and much more. However, if you use them wrong, you might end up ruining your credit score, or end up in a massive pile of debt. Here are five credit card habits you should break in 2020 in order to have a great financial life:

1) Opening and Closing Credit Cards Frequently

Do you like getting new credit cards for the airline miles or the low interest rate promotions? Many people do this, it is called credit card churning. It is an excellent tactic if you are strategic about it. However, you should be cautious and find as much information as you can. It’s not recommended for people who have bad credit since too many credit card applications can damage your credit even more. 

2) Not Reading Your Statements

Being aware of where your money goes is crucial for a healthy financial life. Most people find it tedious or time-consuming, but you should read your credit card statements as soon as they arrive. You might discover unauthorized purchases or mistakes. It’s also a way for you to see which things you can stop buying, or subscriptions you’re not using anymore and save money. 

3) Paying Your Bill Late

Blowing off your credit card due date is a dangerous habit. Not only will you have to pay interest fees, which sometimes can be as much as $35 even if you’re only one day late, but it can ruin your credit score. If you simply forget to pay it on time, you can always schedule your payment in advance, and you won’t have to worry about it. 

4) Getting Cash Advances

Do you have the habit of taking out cash advances? Sure, they are convenient, but they are one of the most expensive types of credit card transactions you can make. It is estimated that the average interest rate is about 23.68%, and you will start paying interest immediately, with no grace period. Instead of getting cash advances, you should try to build an emergency fund, so that you’re prepared for unexpected expenses.

5) Impulse Purchases

If you frequently buy things you don’t need and regret the purchase later, you’re likely an impulse buyer. This a very dangerous credit card habit since you can’t physically see your money being spent. In case you have this problem, you should start using cash and leave your credit card only for emergencies. You can also tell yourself you will buy the item you think you need tomorrow; there’s a high chance you might not want to purchase it the next day.  

7 Best Health Insurance Companies for 2020

The best health insurance plan for you will depend on your coverage needs and budget. You should also take into consideration if they have good customer service, policy offerings, and other benefits. Here are the best health insurance companies for 2020:

best health insurance

1) Aetna

Aetna is a healthcare insurance company based in Connecticut, founded in 1853. It sells various products, such as dental insurance, health insurance, and Medicaid insurance nationwide. They have excellent customer service while also offering affordable options that fit your needs. For more information, you can visit https://www.aetna.com/ or call 1-800-872-3862.

2) Anthem

This trusted health insurance company was created in 2004, and it’s one of the largest in the market today. They offer businesses, individuals and families, and short-term insurance plans. Things like prescription drugs, outpatient surgery, preventive care, maternity care, immediate medical attention, and many other things are included.

3) Cigna Health

If you’re a resident of one of the 12 states Cigna Health operates in, this may be a good choice for you. They have one of the best customer satisfaction rates and excellent coverage options. Among its products are individual and family health insurance, dental and vision insurance, nationwide pharmacy plans, short-term health insurance, and global individual and group plans. 

4) Humana

Humana has been in business since 1961, and is now one of the biggest health providers in the United States. They offer dental, medicare, business and vision insurance. Humana is contracted with the federal government, allowing them to provide and administer Medicare plans through the Medicare program.

5) United Health Care

United Healthcare is a provider that’s present in all 50 states, serving millions of people from infants to retirees. Consumers can buy a variety of products, such as individual health insurance, health savings accounts, dental and vision insurance, corporate health insurance and medicare advantage plus. They strive to deliver high quality care catering for the needs of each individual while providing this care affordably. 

6) Kaiser Permanente

Consumers that purchase Kaiser Permanente’s products will not only get access to a health insurance policy but also receive medical care from one of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and medical centers. It has high customer satisfaction ratings in customer service and claims handling. For more information, you can visit their website or call 1-800-245-3181.

7) Blue Cross Blue Shield

More than 106 million Americans are insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield, making it one of the most known healthcare providers in the U.S. It is available in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Not only are they the most known healthcare providers in the U.S., but they are also recognized as one of the largest care networks in the world. They also provide a range of healthcare solutions for those who live, work and travel internationally. 

7 Best Apps to Sell Used Stuff Online

Do you have some things you don’t use lying around your house and need a way to make some extra cash? You can sell these used items and make some money online. With these apps, you can sell your items safely, locally, and without that much effort. Here are the seven best apps to sell stuff online:

apps to sell stuff

1) LetGo

From used smartphones to used cars, you can find almost anything in this app. It is pretty safe to use since you won’t have to give out your personal information. Keep in mind, however, that transactions are made in person, so it’s better to invite a friend to go with you to meet the buyer in a public place.

2) Poshmark

Poshmark is a great place to sell used clothes and accessories online. They charge a commission of $2.95% on sales under $15, 20% on sales $15 or more. When you’ve sold something, they will provide you with a pre-paid and pre-addressed label, for your convenience, which is ready to put on your package. It can then either be collected from your home for free or dropped off at a USPS mailbox. 

3) Mercari

With Mercari you can sell a huge variety of things, without having to worry about meeting the buyer in person. Listing an item is free and only takes a few minutes to set up. Take a few pictures, add a description and enter your price. Piece of cake! Once you sold your item, you can take advantage of the Mercari and UPS partnership by bringing your item to a UPS where an associate will prepare and ship your package. There is a flat 10% selling fee which is only charged once the sale has been completed. 

4) Tradesy

This app was created by Tracy DiNunzio in 2012. Its main goal is to simplify the process with a simple “snap and upload”. Be aware that Tradesy is more suited for those who wish to sell authentic, high-quality items with minimal wear. For worn out clothes and unbranded items, you should use something else. They charge a fixed $7.50 fee for items that cost less than $50, and a 19.8% rate for stuff that costs $50 or more. Earnings can be withdrawn from the Tradesy app via PayPal, debit card or ACH transfer. 

5) Decluttr

Mobile apps like Decluttr can help you sell used tech items more easily. You can sell things like smartphones, tablets, DVDs and more. If you are selling your smartphone, select the make, model and condition of it and it’ll give you a price instantly. For CDs, DVDs and games, simply enter the barcode. Once your order has been completed, pack your box and attach the free shipping label onto the box. There are then four super easy ways to ship your box through a UPS Store, UPS Customer Center, Authorized Retail Outlet or a UPS Driver. Once the item is received at their warehouse, it will be processed and you’ll receive your payment the day after.

6) 5miles

5miles is great because it connects buyers and sellers that live around your neighborhood and does this by using your phone’s GPS. To sell an item, you simply take a photo and enter a brief description. This listing will be seen by thousands of potential buys who can make an offer by sending a text message. 

7) Chairish

Are you looking for a place to sell home decorating and design products? Chairish is a great marketplace for sellers that want to sell things like vintage decor, furniture, art, and others. The great thing about Chairish is that sellers can arrange in-person pickup. There is however a minimum listing price of $25. You can withdraw the money via PayPal after the 48-hour return guarantee has passed.

 

5 Budgeting Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Budgeting is not only for people who make too much money or are in debt. On the contrary, it’s a habit everyone should have, instead of always worrying about money and living from paycheck to paycheck. There are many types of budgeting methods, and you should test to find the one that works best for you. Many people, however, give up or never even start it, because of the many misconceptions that they have. Here are five budgeting myths you need to stop believing:

budget myths

1) Budgeting is too restrictive

Most people think that budgeting means depriving oneself. However, this couldn’t be further away from the truth. Budgeting is a habit to help you to manage your finances better, while still doing and having nice things. You should always plan for the things you like in advance. For example, if you can’t live without going out on weekends, you should assign the amount of money needed for such in your budget, without going over it.  

2) Budgets are too time-consuming

If you get overwhelmed with even the thought of having to deal with lots of numbers and Excel spreadsheets to manage your money, not to worry. Budgeting does not have to be complicated. You can find many free apps online, like Mint or Personal Capital, which facilitate this process by linking your accounts and having your budget made automatically and effortlessly. These apps also offer cool features like free credit score checks, an all-in-one financial dashboard, investments, and goals. 

3) You think you can work it out in your head

Even if you have a great memory or are a numbers person and know all your expenses by heart, you should never entirely rely on it alone to budget. You might forget something. Moreover, having it on paper or in an app will make it so much easier to keep track of. For example, you might see you’re spending money on something you’re not using, or be able to substitute expensive things for more affordable ones.

4) You can never go over your budget

Sometimes we create a set budget for something, and then you come across an unexpected expense. Contrary to popular belief, budgets should always be flexible. For example, if you need to spend more money in one category, you can always take from another category.

5) You can’t budget because your income changes continuously 

If your income is rarely the same each month, it shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to plan your expenses. In order to have a budget, you’ll need to set yourself a “base” income, which can be done by calculating your average earnings, at a level you hardly ever go under.

How to Save Money for Your Goals in 2020

Are you one of those people who say they wish they could do something if only they could afford it? Even though something may seem impossible to achieve, if you create financial goals, plan accordingly, and are disciplined, you are very likely to get almost everything you wish for without getting in a pile of debt. It’s also a good idea to have various plans with different money requirements and time periods. 

Determine What Your Goals Are

Do you want to get married, buy a house or travel abroad? Having a financial goal is essential to get you to save money. It will help you stay motivated, and give you a direction to take. Most people fail in this step, and end up procrastinating. To create an effective goal you will need it to be S-M-A-R-T, which is an acronym for Significant, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Calculate How Much You Will Need to Spend Each Month

Now you will need to plan and set a weekly or monthly saving target. The simplest budgeting rule you can use is the 50/30/20, where you save 20% of your income to your financial future, 30% towards your wants, and 50% to your needs. You can use certain apps to keep track of your spending, such as Mint.

Live Below Your Means and Get a Side Hustle

Start cutting expenses you don’t need such as memberships, subscriptions, and takeouts. It’s also a good idea to get a credit card with no annual fee and cash back rewards. You will also need to get extra cash if you want to achieve your goal faster. See if you can get extra shifts in your regular job, or even work part-time in a restaurant, or get a freelance job online, for example. One way to make it easier to save money is by having a separate account for your goal.

Get the Best Place For Your Money

Make interest work for you, instead of against you. Find an investment that fits your needs. Is your goal for short or long term? For short term, it may be best if you left your money in high-yield savings accounts, or in short-term CDs. For longer periods of time you can invest your money in longer-term CDs, funds or bonds or even stocks and peer-to-peer loans. It may be a good idea to consult a financial advisor.

6 Legit Passive Income Ideas For 2020

Are you tired of working a 9-5 job and want to have more freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want it? Getting paid repeatedly for work you did once is a dream many people have, but only a few of them achieve it. Passive income takes discipline and patience to build, but once you have multiple streams of money, you will have a lot more freedom. Here are six legit passive income ideas for 2020:

passive income ideas

1) Sell Stock Photos

You don’t need to be a professional photographer or have an expensive DSLR camera to sell your photos online. There are many sites you can use, such as Shutterstock, Dreamstime, and iStockPhoto. In order to start earning money with stock photography, you will need to build a portfolio with photos that sell. Some of the best niches for photography are travel, people, and nature.

2) Print on Demand

Did you know that you can design products like coffee mugs, stickers, and t-shirts and have the production and shipping handled by a third party? This business model is called print on demand. You can have your own website on Shopify and have your products fulfilled by Printful, and you will be in charge of marketing, or submit your work to companies like Redbubble and Zazzle and they will handle everything, but you will often need to have a high volume of designs to make a good amount of money.

3) Start a blog

Many people think that starting a blog is difficult and expensive, but it’s not. You can start one for free on websites like Blogger or Wix. You can even make your own. All you will need is a domain, which is your URL; a host for your website and WordPress to edit your blog. You can write about any topic you want. It’s also important to study Search Engine Optimization, so that your blog can be found on Google, and to learn how to promote it effectively on social media, such as Pinterest and Instagram.

4) Create a Youtube Channel

Anyone can create a YouTube channel and have a video become viral overnight, however, that’s highly unlikely to happen so easily. You will need to create a lot of interesting content and upload videos frequently to grow their audience. There are some ways in which you can earn money from this platform, such as Adsense, once you reach 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 video watch hours; affiliate marketing, recommending products to the viewers and earning a commission and crowdfunding.

5) Write an eBook

Before the Internet, being an author wasn’t an easy task. You’d have to send your manuscript to a publisher or an agent to get it approved. Now, anyone can self-publish a book. The most known place is KDP – Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. You can write about any subject you’d like, but it would be best to study your competitors before you start writing. Don’t forget that you will also need to create an interesting book cover to induce people into buying your work, and help promote on social media.

6) Create an Online Course

Are you good at languages, programming, design, or something else? You can create a course and publish it to money passively online. It may require a lot of time investment to make good content, but many people get a lot of income just by selling these. There are many sites you can sell your courses, such as Teachable and Udemy.

 

Alternative Investments to Make Money in 2020

As a rule of thumb, you should always diversify your income streams and investments since all of them carry some level of risk. On one hand, there are the more widely known investments like bonds, stocks, and mutual funds, but on the other, there’s a world of possibilities that can bring a lot more profit and entertainment to investors.

alternative investments

1) Investing in Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that have gained a lot of fame over the years. Now they’re being regulated by governments all over the world, and becoming even more safer. The first and most known one was Bitcoin. After Bitcoin, many other digital currencies were created such as Ethereum and Ripple. With the massive volatility of these currencies, you can earn a lot of money. If you have a high-risk tolerance, this investment is for you. 

2) Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-Peer Lending, or P2P, is a way people can lend money directly to other individuals without a bank. Depending on the risk of the borrower, you can earn up to 27% interest. There’s a really low entry barrier, as low as $25 dollars. The most famous websites for these types of investments are Lending Club, Prosper, and Upstart.

3) Invest in Real Estate Without Buying Property

Do you want to start investing in real estate but don’t have enough money to buy a property? You have to consider that real estate is not passive, because you’d have to maintain and manage your properties. There are two leading companies for crowdfunding real estate, Fundrise and Realty Mogul.

4) Invest in Startup Companies

Did you know that you don’t have to be wealthy to invest in new companies? Since many companies fail, it’s important to remember that this is a high-risk investment, but it can bring you huge returns. They don’t ask much to start, and you only need $10. There are a few options to choose from, like Seedfunder, WeFunder, or Microventures.

5) Collectibles and Antiques

People love collecting stuff like comic books, magazines, coins, and art, which can be sold for a lot of money. If you have a good eye for this type of thing, you can attend garage sales, flea markets and on sites like eBay to hunt for products with low prices and sell for a high price. 

6) Wine

People have been producing wine for thousands of years and it’s still popular all over the world to this day. A bottle of wine can go from $1.99 up to $188,336. That being said, wine enthusiasts have been buying wine with the intention of gaining a profit, since it can increase its value over time.

7) Vending Machines

Investing in vending machines has been growing in popularity because of its low start-up costs, flexibility, the potential for growth, and passive income. Start by considering which product you want to sell, then you’ll need to decide where your vending machine will be located – airports, hospitals, shopping malls, schools. You can start small by buying a few machines to test and learn about the market, and grow over time.

How to Make the Most of Your Money in 2020

The way you manage your money is crucial for your personal finance. Understanding how to save and spend money will help you build a more comfortable and less stressful life. 

make the most of your money

The most important step you can take is asking yourself if you really need or want to buy something, and if you can afford it. And also, always have a budget and look for ways to spend less. Here are incredible shopping and saving tactics to make the most out of your money in 2020:

1) Avoid Impulse Shopping

Impulse shopping can deeply hurt your budget and potentially lead you to debt. There are a few things you can do to avoid this bad habit, such as creating a list before shopping with the things you really need and sticking to it. If you come across something that makes you want to buy that is not on your list, tell yourself that you will come the next day, and more often than not, you will give up the purchase.

2) Find a High-Interest Savings Account

Everyone should save money and deposit it in an emergency fund. High-interest savings accounts are one of the easiest ways to save money. It virtually has zero risks since it’s insured by the Federal Insurance Corporation on up to $250,000.

3) Always Compare Prices Before Purchasing

You should always do a price comparison before buying something if you want to make the most out of your money. There is a huge variety of apps and websites you can use to find low product prices and save money, such as Skyscanner for airline tickets, RedLaser for products, and The Grocery Exchange for groceries.

4) Buy Used

Are you on a tight budget? Second-hand items are not only good for the environment and sustainability but also good to save money. If you have the patience to shop around, you´ll find products in excellent conditions at a much cheaper price. Consider going to thrift shops, pawnshops, flea markets or even buy online on sites like Craigslist or eBay.

5) Overcome Addictions

Addictions are not only bad for your health, but they’re also very expensive. For instance, smokers spend on average $2,292 dollars per year to fund this habit. For that reason, you need to get over your addictions in order to save money in 2020.

6) Join Newsletters

This is a trick that you should use carefully if you think you’re an impulse shopper. The majority of shops have opt-ins for newsletters or push notifications to broadcast sales, coupons, and promotions for their customers. Therefore, it’s an excellent way to find great deals.

7) Use Credit Cards on Your Purchases to Earn Points

Did you know that you can be rewarded for using your credit card to make purchases? If you have a good credit score you will be able to get up to 5% cash back on qualified purchases. You can also have some other benefits like free airport lounge entrance, travel insurance, cash bonuses, special discounts, and many other things.

 

5 Top Checking Accounts for 2020

Checking accounts are essential assets that most people are often required to have since they’re where their personal financial life will be centered.  With them, you can pay your bills safely and make most of your monetary transactions. 

It’s also possible to withdraw money on an ATM or write checks. You can open a checking account in a bank or a financial union. The best account should have little to no fees, a great variety of free ATMs, excellent customer service, and the possibility of earning an APY on your balance.

We’ve selected and created a list with the top checking accounts for 2020. Check them out below.

1) FNBO Online Checking Account

With the FBNO Online Checking Account, you can earn a reasonable interest rate on your balance, which is now at 0.65% APY. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s more than the national average. 

Opening an account is easy, and it takes as little as one dollar. In addition to the interest rates, they also offer free online bill pay and an optional low regular APR Visa debit card. There are no monthly service fees. 

You can also benefit from free incoming wires, and stop payments. There are over two million ATM locations nationwide where you can withdraw money from without having to pay fees.  The First National Bank of Omaha is the largest privately held bank in the U.S. and has been in business for over 150 years.

2) Discover Checking Account

Discover is one of the few banks that offer the benefit of 1% cash back on debit purchases (on up to $3,000 monthly) to checking account holders. 

On top of that, they don’t charge maintenance fees or fees on card replacements, standard check, stop payment orders, insufficient funds, deposited item returned, account closure and many other services. In addition to that, it also offers free access to over 60,000 ATMs all over the U.S.

Keep in mind that you will have to do most of your transactions online since there is only one physical  branch in Delaware.

3) Axos Rewards Checking

Axos Bank doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, overdraft, or non-sufficient fees on their rewards checking account. 

There are no monthly balance requirements, but you have to have a minimum of 50 dollars to open a new account.

You can also earn up to 1.25% APY on your account balance. Clients can use their app to deposit checks and manage their accounts online. 

Applying is easy and quick; all you’ll only need is a valid ID and your social security number.

4) Simple Checking Account

Simple offers a free checking account and online bill pay. With this account, you won’t need to worry about minimum balance requirements, since there are none. It’s also ensured by the FDIC.

You’ll also get a free debit card, access to a network of 40,000 ATMs. With the Simple Protected Goals account, you can set automatic transfers to avoid accidental spending and earn up to 2.15 APY, depending on how much money you deposited.

5) Charles Schwab

With the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, you will get 0.15% APY on your balance, without having to pay monthly fees and with no minimum amount to open. 

You’ll also be given a free Visa debit card that you can use internationally with zero transaction fees and free standard checks. Your money is safe in this account since the FDIC insures this account on up to $250,000.

 

6 Easy Steps to Decrease Your Debt in 2020

If you’re in debt, you’re not alone. Most Americans have some type of debt, which is now estimated at around 13.7 trillion dollars in total. There are many downsides to it, like being more emotionally unstable and nervous, stress, and even relationship problems. Did you know that money is one of the biggest reasons why couples file for divorce?

decrease your debt

Having debt is also very expensive compared to being financially healthy since you will have to pay interest on the money you owe. 

It also keeps you further from that any goal you have, such as owning your own home or traveling overseas.

Decreasing debt is one of the most common new year’s resolutions that people make, and it’s very possible to achieve. And it doesn’t matter how much you owe, as long as you’re focused and disciplined. 

Here are six easy steps to decrease your debt in 2020:

Stop Overspending

The first step is to change your spending habits and avoid making even more debt. Do you feel like a lack of control and end up overspending your money? 

There are many great tactics you can try is to incorporate into your financial life. 

One of them is Dave Ramsay’s envelope system. The idea behind this method is defining a budget and having an envelope to each category like groceries, utilities, leisure, gas, etc. Then you can only spend what you’ve put in each envelope. Its main goal is to give people discipline and control.

The second method you can use is the classic 50/30/20 budgeting rule. It says that 50% of your budget should go to needs like rent, food, and utilities; 30% to wants like entertainment; 20% to savings and loan repayment.

Be Aware Of How Much You Owe

You’d be surprised to find out that most people don’t actually know how much their debt is. If that’s also your case, you should check your bank account, credit cards, and credit report and put everything down on paper. List absolutely everything. It would be best if you had every penny accounted for. You can also use some apps like Mint that keep track of your money.

Cut Expenses

Now that you know what your expenses are and how you’re spending your money, start cutting costs and making replacements. Is there anything cheaper or for free? Do you need to have five different subscriptions to the same type of service? Are you going to the gym you’re paying monthly? Find new hobbies that won’t make you spend more money, start cooking more at home.

Consider Consolidating Your Debt

Debt consolidation is, in simple words, replacing significant high-interest debt into just one. It is usually a lot cheaper than the initial amount you owed, and it helps you stay on track. Depending on the type of debt you have and how good your credit score is, it might be a good option for you.

Have an Emergency Fund

Having a safe investment, preferably on a high-yield bank account, with six months of expenses saved up, is crucial in order not to get into more debt. This fund is aimed at a car or home repairs, unemployment, or any other expense that you weren’t expecting. 

Most people think that they should wait to start saving for an emergency fund after they paid their debt, but you should start it as soon as possible.

Make More Money

Making extra money will certainly help you decrease your debt faster, and possibly start investing and grow your wealth.

You can start making extra cash by selling used clothes online on social media like Instagram, or in a thrift store in your city.

There are many side-hustles you can also try on the Internet, such as being a pet sitter, or renting a room at Airbnb, or even freelancing as a writer, photographer, or designer.

 

7 Top Highest-Yielding Bank Accounts for 2020

Personal finance experts often recommend that everyone should have money reserved for emergencies like an unexpected car or home repair, medical bills, or job loss. High-yielding bank accounts are perfect for that since they’re investments with little to no risk, and you can cash out the money immediately.

highest-yielding bank accounts

While most bank accounts pay an average of 0.09% APY, these banks below pay anywhere from 1.25 to 2.15% APY. Check out our selection of the top highest-yielding bank accounts for 2020:

1) Simple Protected Goals Account

With Simple, you can earn up to 2.15% APY; but, you will need to have at least $2,000 in the account; otherwise, you’ll only get 0.01% APY. You can withdraw your money on one of the free 40,000 ATMs nationwide. Since this is a checking account, that means you don’t have a limit on how many withdrawals you can make monthly. Their app makes saving simpler since you can create a digital envelope system to help you accomplish your financial goals. The FDIC insures this account on up to $250,000 per depositor.

2) Connexus Credit Union Xtraordinary Checking

Connexus Credit Union offers a rate of up to 1.75% APY on its Xtraordinary Checking account, but you will have to meet some requirements to get this rate, like 15 debit card purchases or $400 in debit spending and e-statements. There are no monthly fees to maintain the account, and you can withdraw your money on one of the 4,000 free ATMs available throughout the country.

3) First Tech Federal Credit Union Dividend Rewards Checking

First Tech was recognized as one of the best banks in the states of Oregon and California, and a pioneer in mobile banking. This bank offers up to 2% APY on balances (terms apply). You can also use one of the 30,000 ATMs to withdraw money for free and go to one of the over 5,000 branches. There are no monthly fees, and they don’t require a minimum deposit to open a checking account.

4) Axos Bank Rewards Checking

Axos has a 1.25% APY rate for its Rewards Checking account holders, which is still above the national average. For that rate, you’ll have to meet certain requirements, such as receiving monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more, using your debit card 15 times per month. They don’t charge monthly fees to maintain an account, or other charges like overdrafts, and non-sufficient funds fees.

5) Capital One Savings Account

Capital One Online Savings Account has an APY of 1.70% APY. You won’t have to pay any fees to open and maintain your money there. This account is also insured on up to 150,000 dollars by the FDIC. You can deposit checks online using their app. However, if you want to withdraw the money, you can’t do that in an ATM unless you transfer it to a checking account.

6) HSBC Bank Direct Savings Account

With HSBC, you will earn a total of 2.05% APY on your Direct Savings Account. Their minimum opening deposit is pretty low – only one dollar. Since it’s an online account, you won’t have to pay any monthly maintenance fees. Keep in mind that it doesn’t come with a debit card; therefore, you will have to transfer it to another account to withdraw the money.

7) Vio Bank Savings Account

Vio Bank will pay you a 2.02% APY rate for your money on your savings account, no matter what balance you keep there. To open a new account, you will only need a minimum deposit of 100 dollars. Be aware that there is a $5 dormant account fee, and the $10 fee per transaction after six each month, which are easily avoidable.

How to Save Money While Traveling

You don’t have to be rich to travel; it doesn’t matter if you’re visiting your own country or going abroad. Traveling can be expensive, but with a few tips and planning, you can save a lot of money and still have fun. Here are ten easy tips on how you can save money while you’re traveling:

how to save money while traveling

1) Find Free Tourist Attractions

If you’re not careful, you might end up spending a lot of money on tourist attractions, and those are usually pretty expensive. Choose one or two must-see paid attractions and alternate with other free activities. Most museums have a free day when there are no entrance fees. You can also visit churches, parks, municipal markets. Some cities also offer free walking tours and meetups.

2) Don’t carry a lot of luggage

Have you ever noticed that when you pack a lot of stuff, most of the time, you don’t even use even half of them? You can save a lot of money on airline baggage fees if you use a carry-on suitcase to pack your essential items. You won’t need to wait for your luggage after leaving the airplane and won’t carry around a lot of weight during your trip.

3) Buy a Refillable Water Bottle

There’s already too much plastic in the world. A refillable water bottle is not only sustainable but also for your wallet. You can refill anywhere, like at the airport, hotel, or hostel. There’s also the option of buying iodide tablets for situations when you’re not sure if the water is clean.

4) Use Public Transportation and Walk as Much as Possible

There’s no reason why you should spend a lot of money on taxis and car rentals. Do like the locals and use public transportation. It’s cheaper, and you’ll get to know more about the city. You might find walking in your city boring, but when you’re traveling, you’ll get distracted with the novelty of the place and won’t even realize you’re walking. 

5) Use a Credit Card that Doesn’t Charge for Foreign Transaction Fees

Did you know that some credit card issuers charge 2-3% foreign transaction fees on each international purchase? Therefore, it’s essential to look for a credit card that doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees to save money on your trip. 

Also Read: 13 Types of Credit Card Fees and How to Avoid Them

6) Eat Street Food / Cook / Buy Food at Supermarkets

If you’re not careful, you’ll end up spending a lot of money on food. One option to eat cheaply while also trying local food is by eating street food. If your accommodation has a kitchen, you can also cook at your Airbnb or hostel. Pre-made supermarket food, like sandwiches and salads, are also usually cheap, and a good alternative.

7) Plan Your Trip in Advance

It’s a known fact that booking in advance will get you a much better deal. But it’s also essential to know where you’re going so that you can find better rates on expenses, such as city cards, that offer discounts on museums and transportation.

8) Look for Discounts in Accommodation

There are many ways in which you can save in accommodation, depending on the type of traveler you are. You can stay for free at locals’ houses through Couchsurfing, exchange your work for accommodation at Worldpackers.com or even rent a room at Airbnb.com. If you prefer to stay at a hotel, you can use the Hotels.com Rewards program and win free complimentary nights.

9) Always Have Snacks With You

Restaurants in touristic places and airports are usually really expensive. So it’s a good idea to have foods like peanuts, protein bars, or dried food with you. That way, you won’t feel the urge to spend a lot of money on food.

10) Visit Small Cities

Sure, bigger cities like London or New York are beautiful, but they’re super expensive. There are many advantages to visiting smaller cities: they’re not crowded, they’re cheaper, you’ll learn more about the country, meet the locals and their customs while also maybe learning a new language.

7 Personal Finance Habits Everyone Should Follow

According to a survey conducted by NFCC, 58% of Americans don’t have a budget and don’t know how much they spend each month. Most people say they’re too busy or simply don’t care.

personal finance habits

Living paycheck to paycheck is not a healthy way to live life. It can cause you a lot of anxiety, stress, and even ruin your personal relationships such as your marriage and friendships. 

Managing your money correctly can help you live debt-free and build your path to financial freedom, where you can live off of your savings/investments, not depending on work, even before retirement.

1) Pay Yourself First

This tip was taken out of the book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” and can also be found in the bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad. 

Most of us, after we receive our paychecks pay our expenses first (rent, food, utilities, etc.), and then we start thinking about saving what’s left. The problem is that we end up saving less money than we should or none at all. 

The “Pay Yourself First” method says we should do the reverse, and separate an amount that goes into our savings – at least 10% – and then pay our bills.

2) Track Your Expenses

If you want to manage your money well and stop worrying about debt, you must control your expenses. Do you know how much money you earn and how much you spend each week?

It may seem like a daunting task at first, but it really isn’t. There are many free tools available to help you with that.

The best one is the app Mint, and it will help you with your budget, bills, and credit monitoring.

3) Cook At Home Frequently

Cooking at home is not only good for your health – since you’ll often make better dietary decisions, but it’s also good for your budget. It can cost you as little as $20 per week. 

You can prepare everything ahead of time and put the food in the freezer in containers, this way you’ll be less tempted to order delivery.

4) Have an Emergency Fund

As adults, we’re constantly worried about having enough money to pay all of our bills on time. 

Unfortunately, we come across financial surprises like repairs, medical emergencies, and even job loss. We have to be prepared for those situations, and we can do that with an emergency fund.

An emergency fund consists of at least three months of your monthly expenses in a safe investment with high liquidity.

Related: 10 Reasons Why You Should Start an Emergency Fund

5) Live Below Your Means

If you want to pay your debt off and live a less stressful life, you should do your best to live below your means. 

This means not spending more than you earn. It’s perfectly possible to live a frugal life without feeling deprived. 

6) Plan Your Purchases

As humans, we tend to want immediacy, but that behavior can get us in a huge pile of debt. 

Do you want to travel overseas, take a cruise, buy a home or a car? Having financial goals can also keep you more disciplined.

Therefore, it’s crucial to plan how much money and time you need to save for your purchases. 

7) Make Substitutions

After you become aware of where you spend your money, start looking for things you can substitute for free or cheaper. Do you pay for a gym membership but never even go? Or maybe your phone bill is too expensive and you could maybe reduce it? 

Start looking for ways you can cut costs without disrupting your daily life.

How to Save Money On Groceries

Even a quick visit to your local grocery store can become pricey if you don’t watch out. Sometimes we walk around the store buying unnecessary items, just because we didn’t plan the shopping accordingly. This behavior can cost you thousands of dollars per year. Fortunately, there are a lot of tricks you can learn to save money on groceries. Check them out here:

how to save on groceries

1) Always Make a List

More often than not, we go grocery shopping and buy things we don’t need, or forget other things we needed to buy. Creating a list will maintain your focus, help you not to make impulse purchases, making you save money. If you’re also looking for a way of making healthier food choices, a list will also be helpful.

2) Don’t buy sliced fruit or prewashed salad

Pre-sliced or prewashed products usually cost three times more than the fruit or vegetable. Sure, it’s convenient, but it’s also expensive. You can slice them yourself, put on little containers and they will taste the same. 

3) Freeze Your Food

Certain types of food spoil quickly. Therefore freezing them will avoid waste, making them last longer. To freeze your meals, you’ll need to wait for them to cool down before putting them in your refrigerator. Here are some ideas of things you can freeze: grapes, bananas, cakes, loaves of bread, soup, cooked meats, and berries. 

4) Cook More Vegetarian Food

Did you know that eating vegetarian is cheaper than eating meat? Usually, the meat will be the most expensive item in your grocery list. Eating too much of it can also be unhealthy. Try to add some vegetarian dishes like beans, chickpeas, or lentils to your diet at least once a week.

5) Don’t Take Impulse Buyers With You

If you have children, you know that they often ask for junk food at the grocery store, and it’s hard to say no. However, sometimes the biggest spender is not even your child, but your spouse. Therefore, if you notice this, you should go shopping alone.

6) Going to the Store Hungry is a No-No

Always be smart about your food shopping if you don’t want to overspend. Plan to go after you’ve eaten something substantial and with enough time to compare prices. We tend to buy more things when our stomach is making our decisions for us.

7) Use Coupons 

Many stores offer discount coupons to attract more customers, and you should take advantage of that fact to save some bucks. If you don’t like carrying out paper, you also have the option of downloading their app. 

8) Buy In Bulk

Did you know that you can save anywhere from 20 up to 80% if you shop in bulk? For this tip to be worthwhile, you need to buy things like canned food, meat, pasta, and even toilet paper. In other words, non-perishable items that won’t expire that soon.

9) Eat Seasonally and Locally

Produce such as fruits and vegetables cost a lot less when they’re in season. That happens because there’s more supply than demand for these products. If you want to save even more money, you can go to the farmer’s market, which will often be cheaper and fresher than your grocery store.

10) Shop Online

Not only shopping online is convenient, but it’s also a way to avoid impulse purchases. So, if your local grocery store offers this service, it’s an excellent way to save money.

11) Have a garden

Why pay for herbs when you can have them for free? Create a small garden in your home. It doesn’t take that much effort, space, and time, and it’s also relaxing to take care of plants. Some ideas to include in your garden: parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, chamomile, and oregano. 

12) Give a chance to generic

Buying brand name products can become expensive in the long run. You can save up to $1,000 a year if you make some changes and buy more generic products. People usually think they’re not as tasty or nutritious, but that’s a myth. Give them a try, and you probably won’t even notice a difference.

13) Don’t waste food

Eating out can cost you a lot of money. Do you have leftovers from last night’s dinner? Why not take them to work the next day? This way you can avoid throwing food away and also save some bucks. You can also prevent waste by storing food in the right places. You shouldn’t put your bread and some types of fruit and vegetables in the fridge.

14) Set a budget

It’s very easy to get carried away when you don’t have a specific budget to stick to when grocery shopping. Limit the amount of money you can spend, and then use your calculator as you add the item to your cart.

15) Search around

Not a lot of people know this, but stores use science to trick you into buying more. The priciest products are always placed at eye level, and the cheaper ones are kind of hidden. Scan the shelf from top to bottom before making a decision. 

7 Bad Financial Habits That Keep You in Debt

Are you feeling like you’re living paycheck to paycheck and drowning in debt? We all like to purchase things to make our lives more comfortable and practical. The problem is when we, due to lack of knowledge or discipline, buy more than what we can afford and end up in a massive pile of debt. Here are seven financial habits that keep you in debt:

habits that keep you in debt

1) Buying on impulse

Who hasn’t ever felt happy about purchasing something new? Shopping can make us feel excited, and that feeling can become addicting. Did you know that many times we get more thrilled with the anticipation rather than with the product itself? One way to avoid impulse buying is by sleeping on it. For example, when you’re at the shopping mall, and you see something that you want to buy, come back the day later. Do you still feel that urge? You’ll be surprised that, more often than not, you won’t feel like buying the item anymore.

2) Only paying the minimum amount due

Missing your monthly minimum payment can deeply hurt your credit score. Credit card issuers will also charge a late fee and forfeit the promotional interest rate if you have a balance transfer credit card. A good recommendation is to pay your balance in full, but if you don’t have enough money, pay more than the minimum. By doing that you will pay fewer interest fees.

3) Buying to be happy

Emotions heavily influence our purchase decisions. Marketers know it quite well. We’re bombarded every day by emotion-based advertisements, that target our need for acceptance, self-worth, among other things. One way to change this habit is by identifying the trigger and finding other alternative activities to make you happy, such as dancing, baking, or even calling a friend. 

4) Not having an emergency fund

One of the biggest financial mistakes people make is not having an emergency fund. This money that you save up for unplanned expenses is super important if you want to get out of debt, because it will help with things like repairs or medical emergencies, and will help you avoid having to owe even more money. Having money for emergencies also reduces anxiety, since you will be prepared for the unknown. 

5) Living above your means

If you live above your means, it won’t matter if you earn a thousand, 100,000 or even 1 million dollars, you’ll always be in debt. To be financially stable, you have to list your expenses and start evaluating them. Eliminate what’s not necessary and save or invest at least 20% of your monthly income. 

6) Refusing to make financial sacrifices

Since creating a budget and sticking to it is not that easy, most people don’t even try. However, if you want to be financially stable and avoid getting buried in a pile of debt, it’s something you will have to do. You will also need to study how to invest your money to get a higher return rate.

7) Not knowing how much you owe

Most people tend to undervalue how much money they owe. It’s scary to put everything down on paper, but it’s a step you need to take to get out of debt. After you’ve done this, you can create your strategy to get out of this messy situation. Start by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. If you have a lot of credit card debt, you can also transfer your balance to a 0% intro APR card.

Saving vs Investing – Do you know the difference?

It is widely believed that saving and investing are the same thing. They are not. The main differences lie in the purposes, risks, and returns. Most people stick to only saving because they get overwhelmed with the amount of information they need to do learn before starting to invest. Studying is crucial since some people fall under the “get-rich-quick scheme” and often end up losing all of their capital. However, you shouldn’t let it stop you from investing since there are plenty of free courses online. Investing will bring more interest on your money, and a better quality of life.

saving vs investing

Definition of saving

“Saving” can be defined as setting money aside for the near future, before or after spending an income. It usually has a short-term purpose, such as a trip, or buying a product or service. Saving has little to no risk, and you’ll have the money available when you need, rather than having to wait to cash it out. People who save money usually accumulate it in the form of cash holdings or deposit it into a savings or checking account.

Definition of investing

On the other hand, when you invest, you’re buying assets like properties, stocks, or bonds to make even more money. Unlike saving, you won’t have that much liquidity. In other words, you won’t be able to get your hands on the cash as fast as you would if you saved the money. There are many types of investments, and the best one will depend on how much risk you are willing to take. The higher the risk, the higher the return.

Which one should you choose?

Ideally, you should have a mix of both, depending on your life goals. Having money saved up can make you happier and less anxious. A survey conducted by Ally Bank reported that 38% of the people who had money in a savings account were happy or extremely happy. When you save you know there’s an emergency fund, therefore, you’re prepared for the unknown. It will also prevent you from accumulating debt, and as a consequence, raise your credit score. 

At the same time, investing will grow your capital, and can potentially make you wealthier, thanks to compound interest. If you have long term goals, such as buying your own home, or start a business from scratch, investing is better than saving. It is also great for people who want to retire early and enjoy their life without needing to work. 

To become financially independent, the first thing you need to do is understand your investor profile, which could be conservative, moderate, or aggressive. And you should be also looking into diversifying your portfolio. It should contain a mix of commodities, foreign fixed income, US stocks, and foreign stocks, US fixed income, among other investments, with high and low risks and liquidity. 

How Can You Get a Loan With Bad or No Credit?

You might find it more challenging to get approved for a loan or a credit card if you have bad or no credit.

But if due to a sudden emergency, like medical expenses or unplanned repairs, you need money as soon as possible, it’s not impossible to get one.

There are some simple actions you can take to increase your chances of borrowing money from a bank or institution – even with poor credit:

Analyze your credit reports

Did you know that 25% of U.S. consumers found mistakes on their credit reports? These errors can deeply hurt your score.

There are three major credit bureaus in the U.S. – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Check your credit records, and if you find any incorrect information, contact the company that made this mistake and ask them to correct it.

Boost your credit score

If you make at least a bit of effort to improve your credit score, you’ll increase your chances of getting a loan, and you will also get a better APR rate.

What’s a credit score?

It’s a three-digit number that is used to represent a person’s creditworthiness. A credit score measures how likely you’re going to pay your debt.

What’s your credit like?

  • 760-850 – Excellent
  • 700-759 – Very good
  • 660-699 – Fair
  • 620-659 – Poor
  • Scores under 620 – Extremely poor

See if you prequalify – Get started HERE

How can you improve your score?

According to Experian, there are some simple measures you can take to help to increase your credit score, such as:

  • Never forget to make your payments on time – even if it’s just the minimum amount.
  • Don’t close old accounts – if you close an old account, it will increase your credit utilization ratio
  • Have a good credit mix
  • Try to keep a low debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your income that goes to paying your debt
  • Don’t apply to many credit products in a short period of time

Compare the loan offers

You can apply to two types of loans. Unsecured loans, also known as personal loans – they’re mainly based on the person’s creditworthiness without any collaterals; and secured loans, which require a security deposit as guarantee.

It’s essential to learn about all the loan offers before actually applying for one. Check all the terms and conditions and interest rates first.

A good tip is to find a friend or family member to be your cosigner. With that, you will increase your chances of getting approved with a reasonable interest rate.

See if you prequalify – Get started HERE

5 Best Debt Consolidation Loans of 2019

Do you owe money and don’t know how to pay it off? A debt consolidation loan may be a good option for you. It combines all of your debt into one, more substantial debt. This way, you will pay fewer interest fees and will be more financially organized.

debt consolidation

Here are the five best debt consolidation loans:

1) OneMain Financial

OneMain is ideal for people who have bad credit. There is no minimum credit requirement, but there is a soft credit check. Customers describe it as a fast and easy process. The loan amounts range from $1,500 up to $30,000. The typical APR is 16.05%-35.99%, but secured loans usually have a minimum of 9.99%.

2) Discover

Discover helps people who have good credit pay off their debt by providing low-interest consolidation loans. The typical APR for this loan is 6.99% – 24.99%. You can ask for a loan from $2,500 up to $35,000, but it will require a minimum gross income of $25,000 per annum.

3) Avant

Do you have a low credit score and want to apply for a loan? Avant may be a good choice for you. They have flexible payment options with an APR ranging from 9.95% up to 35.99%. Customers can borrow up to $35,000.

4) Upgrade

Upgrade is one of the best choices if you want a personal loan to consolidate your debt. Repayments can be made monthly or over 3 or 5 years. To qualify, borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 620, minimum monthly free cash flow of at least $800, and a maximum of a debt-to-income ratio of 60%.

5) Best egg

Best Egg is an excellent choice for borrowers that have a good credit score. They have a low APR that ranges from 5.99%-29.99%. Applying for the loan is easy and fast; it only takes a few minutes to complete.

Advertorial Disclosure: The content of this post, which was created by our Ad Services team, has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any party mentioned herein.

7 Best Personal Finance Tips For 2019

Do you want to start 2019 off on the right foot? Learn more about personal finance and money management. Studies show that most Americans struggle with debt and saving money. This is because most people aren’t taught how to manage their money. Struggle no more, it’s simple to manage your money.

personal finance

Here are some personal finance tips for 2019:

1) Live below your means

This is the secret that sets apart the rich from the poor. You could be earning a million dollars a year and still have money problems. What better example of this principle than one of the wealthiest people in the world – Warren Buffet. Despite his wealth, Warren Buffet continues to live in a house he bought for $31k in the 1950s.

2) Learn to save money properly

Do you want to start saving money but don’t know how much you should be putting aside? Start by following the 50/30/20 rule. This budgeting tip states that you should set 50% of your earnings towards necessities, like living expenses; 30% for leisure, and the remaining 20% for your financial goals.

3) Record what you earn and how much you spend

In order to understand your financial position, you must know how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Keeping track of your expenses will help you understand where your money is going and help you identify where to curtail frivolous spending.

4) Have big financial goals

Do you want to buy a house, a car, or travel around the world? Maybe you want to pay off that lingering debt? Whatever your goals may be, having one will inspire and motivate you to make smarter financial decisions.

5) Learn how to use your credit card correctly

Using your credit card irresponsibly can cause you a lot of trouble in the future. Therefore, it is essential that you follow certain rules like always paying your balance in full and never missing a payment deadline. This way you will be less stressed and begin making concrete progress towards financial freedom.

6) Build an emergency fund

Unexpected events like accidents or emergency home repairs are a part of life and often happen when you can least afford it. However, your ability to manage these events could save or break you financially. Having some money saved – ideally three to six months of expenses – is essential if you want to avoid financial ruin.

7) Start Investing

Do you think investing is only for rich people? Think again. There are many investment options that don’t require a lot of capital to start. By investing you can save for retirement, grow your money, or maybe even start a new business and quit that 9 to 5 job you hate.

7 Simple Tips to Avoid Bad Credit

Having a good credit score can certainly make your life easier. People with good credit benefit by paying less for things like insurance and cars and have a greater chance of getting a good job. If you want these benefits it’s necessary to maintain a good credit rating, and there are many ways you can do that.

Here are seven simple and easy tips to avoid bad credit:

1) Pay your bills on time each month

If you frequently pay your bills late you increase your chances of losing points on your credit score, and lenders and credit card companies will start seeing you as a risky borrower. To avoid this outcome, you must be responsible and make an effort to pay your bills on time.

2) Identify which companies report to the credit bureaus

Emergencies happen, and when they do, they can ruin your budget, affecting your ability to pay your bills. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t pay your bills on time, find out which of the companies that you owe report to the credit bureaus and prioritize these bills over the ones that don’t report to credit bureaus.

3) Don’t take on too much debt

We all know how difficult it is to restrain yourself from buying everything you want, particularly if you have a credit card. But remember that you will have to pay later, and you might not have enough money if you purchase things irresponsibly. The amount you owe can significantly affect your credit score. Try to keep your credit utilization rate low and pay your balances on time to reduce your debt.

4) Manage your money well

Set a monthly budget that fits your wage and make sure you stick to it! Draw up a budget on paper or use an app and take notice of the money coming in and out. By doing this, you will have a clearer idea of how much you can spend and make wiser spending choices.

5) Think before you take on new expenses

Are you an impulse shopper? There’s a simple tip you can implement in your life called the ten-second rule. Stop and think whether that item you want is essential. Is it going to be useful to you? Take some time, go for a walk or shop around. If you still feel the urge to buy the item you can always go back to the store and purchase it, but, more often than not, the impulse to buy the item will disappear.

6) Don’t apply for too many credit cards

Each time you apply for a new credit card, there is a review of your credit profile. Each review shaves points off your score. An effective way to avoid bad credit is to avoid applying for too many credit cards over a short period of time.

7) Have an emergency fund

Lots of people fall into a massive pile of debt and hurt their credit scores after unexpected expenses such as medical bills or house repairs. An emergency fund can relieve you of financial stress and reduce the chances of hurting your score.

How to Get Extra Money To Pay Off Your Debt

Do you owe a lot of money and are struggling to pay it off? You are certainly not alone. However, if you are not careful, debt will snowball and become a huge problem. For that reason, it is crucial that you get organized and pay it all off as soon as you can.

Here are some tips to finding the money to pay off your debt:

1) Save money

The simplest and easiest way to get money to pay off debt is by spending less money. You can save money by spending less on food and cooking more of your meals at home, reducing your transportation costs, and by finding ways to entertain yourself for free or with cheaper alternatives, like going to a park or reading a book.

2) Ask for more hours

One other way to get more money is by asking your employer for more hours. If you ask for extra shifts or volunteer to work overtime, it will end up making a big difference in your next paycheck and help you pay off your debt faster.

3) Sell things you don’t use anymore

Do you have a closet full of clothes that you rarely use, or too many books, or an old cell phone? Sell them to second-hand stores to get instant cash or create a listing on Craigslist or eBay.

4) Be an Uber driver

Do you have a car and lots of free time? Maybe you should consider applying to be an Uber driver. It is estimated that Uber drivers can make between $8.80 and $29.34 per hour.

5) Freelance work

The Internet is full of possibilities for people to earn extra money. There are many things you could do, such as editing, writing, programming, or designing. Create your online profile and find clients on freelancing websites like Upwork or Fiverr.

6) Teach English To Foreigners

Did you know that you do not need a formal qualification to teach languages online? If you are a native speaker, you can earn a good amount of money doing that. Apply to work on sites like iTalki and make between $15 and $20 an hour.

7) Rent a room

Do you have an extra place at your house? Another great way to make some cash (and friends) is by renting a bedroom or even your couch for tourists. You can find tenants on websites like Airbnb or even with a Craigslist listing.

8) Be a dog walker

If you love dogs and want to earn some extra money, being a dog walker could be an excellent option for you. Find clients by offering your service to friends, neighbors, family, or building your presence online. Install and create your profile on one of these apps: Rover, Wag!, Care, DogWalker, Petsitter. You can earn anywhere between 10 to 25 dollars per hour by being a dog walker.

9) Answer surveys online

Companies conduct market research before launching a new product or service in the market to see if it will be profitable or not. Many websites will pay you to answer those surveys, which can be $1 up to $50, depending on the site. Just be careful with scams and research if the company is legit or not.

10) Be a mystery shopper

Mystery shopping is another form of market research and is an excellent way for you to earn some extra cash. You will be selected by companies to visit different establishments and evaluate your experience as a customer, product or service.

Why was my credit card application denied?

It’s certainly upsetting getting denied credit, but it could happen to anyone. For that reason, it’s better to know the possible reasons why your application can get rejected so that you can be prepared and increase the chances of getting approved.

credit card application

Most people think that the credit score is the most important thing when it comes to applying for a card, but the truth is that your application may be rejected even with a good score.

Here are six possible reasons why your credit card application can get denied:

Your income is too low

Even though loaners don’t require a specific monthly revenue, it plays a significant factor in whether or not you’ll be granted a card. This is why applying for the right credit card is extremely important. There is a huge variety of credit cards, and you must choose the one that you are most likely to fit the criteria.

You have a limited credit history

A history of timely payments on things like loans, mortgage, and credit card bills is a huge factor companies use to grant credit, and this could take years. This is undoubtedly bad for young people who didn’t have time to build their creditworthiness. Don’t worry, however, there are some great options for people with limited credit history.

High balance

Lenders will probably not grant you credit if they see that you have too much debt, they’ll think you are struggling to pay it off, and you’ll be seen as a risk. Therefore, it’s a great idea to liquidate your debts before asking for a new credit card.

Debt Utilization Ratio

Your debt utilization ratio is defined by the total of your monthly outstanding credit card balances divided by your total credit limit. You must focus on getting the lowest ratio – ideally less than 50%.  Lenders use this as a risk factor to eliminate people that are most likely to max out their cards.

Missing information

Loan and credit card companies need to know all the information about you to decide about your request. Therefore, if you leave out essential data like address or place of birth, you’ll most certainly get rejected. Make sure all your information is complete and accurate before submitting an application.

Too many credit card inquiries

A hard inquiry is placed on your history every time you apply for credit. If you submit too many requests, you’ll be seen as a risk. On that account, keep the inquiries to a minimum to increase your chances of getting a new card.

 

6 Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying For a Loan

According to the New York Fed, Americans owe an astounding 13 trillion dollars in debt. Therefore, it’s essential to reflect on whether getting a loan is the right path to take and how it will affect you financially in the long run.

applying for a loan

These are the six key questions you should ask yourself before applying for a loan:

1) Can I afford the monthly repayments?

This is the most important question to ask yourself. Many people take out loans and can’t afford the monthly installments. Ensure that you have the means to pay what you owe.

2) What is my credit score?

Lenders will use your credit score to determine whether or not you’ll be granted the money and what your interest rates will be. For this reason, it’s important to check that your credit score is good in order to get the best possible deal.

3) Will it actually help me?

Be honest with yourself about the main reason you’re applying for a loan. Is it for a vacation or a wedding? Or is it to consolidate debt or increase your revenue? A loan is a big commitment over a long period of time and you’ll need to make concessions to pay it off.

4) How much money do I need?

It’s important to consider carefully the amount of money you’ll need to borrow so that you don’t apply for a loan larger than you need. This way you will avoid paying extra fees.

5) What’s the interest rate?

There is an enormous variety of loan options with different interest rates and terms. For this reason, you should shop around to find the best option that fits your needs.

6) How long will it take to pay off?

You might need to adjust your budget, take fewer vacations, or postpone that car purchase until you pay everything that you owe. You will need to plan your repayments carefully because defaulting on a loan can have a huge impact on your financial future.

These Banks Will Pay You to Open an Account

Did you know that some banks are willing to pay you to become a customer? There’s nothing better than receiving money for something you were likely going to do anyway.

bank account offers

To earn this one-time cash reward, you will need to open a savings or checking account – depending on the bank, and follow their requirements.

We’ve selected and created a list with some of the best bank account offers this month:

Chase Total Business Checking

It’s not hard to qualify for the $200 bonus that Chase is offering. New clients just need to open a checking account and make direct deposits of at least $500, keep a $1,500 minimum daily balance and maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in qualifying linked deposits or investments.

Chase College Checking

If you’re a student, you can benefit from the $100 cash bonus that Chase is offering for new account holders. To meet the requirements, you’ll need to make a deposit of at least $25, and then you’ll need to make at least ten eligible transactions within two months from account opening. You’ll receive the bonus after only ten days.

Open a FREE bank account HERE

Citibank Priority Account Package

Citibank is paying a $600 bonus after new account holders meet the following criteria:

  • Open a new eligible checking and savings account by September 30th, 2019
  • Deposit at least $50,000 in new funds between the two accounts within 30 days of opening the accounts
  • Maintain a minimum balance of $50,000 between the two accounts for six consecutive calendar days

The $600 reward will be deposited into your account in up to 90 days after meeting the requirements.

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking

Wells Fargo is giving a $400 cash bonus for people who open a new Wells Fargo Everyday Checking account online or in a branch. To receive the bonus money you will need to pay the $25 minimum deposit, and then make deposits that total $3,000 or more within three consecutive months.

Santander Bank Simply Right Checking

Santander is offering a limited time offer of a $225 cash bonus for opening an account by September 30th, 2019. To qualify, you need to have direct deposits that add up to $1,000 or more within the first three months. You also need to keep the account open for at least 90 days.

Open a FREE bank account here!

Bank of America

You can get a $100 cash bonus for opening an eligible online checking account – the Bank of America Core Checking or the Bank of America Interest Checkin.

To receive the money, you’ll have to:

  • Open the account before December 31st, 2019.
  • Make two deposits of $250 or more within the first three months from account opening.

6 Easy Tips to Get Out of Debt

Making poor financial decisions could make you end up in a huge pile of debt. In fact, two out of every five American households owe money. According to the New York Fed, the debt hit a new record of $13 trillion last year.

get out of debt

Are you also on debt? Here are some easy tips to help you get out of it:

Get organized: make a list of what you owe and decide what you’ll pay first

Stop procrastinating, feeling guilty about your debt and organize your budget. It’s not that hard to break this bad habit, and loaners and credit card companies want to help you.

Make the most of your money

Why spend $100 on a product when you can get the same elsewhere for $70? Start looking for deals and discounts. When grocery shopping you should consider using coupons. This simple practice will make you save a lot of money.

Cut unnecessary costs

Sit down and list all of your expenses. Why are you paying for your gym membership when you don’t use it? You don’t really need to order food or go to restaurants every day, buy food in bulk, cut up in small portions and freeze it. You can learn to make many easy and quick dishes on YouTube for free.

Look for second-hand stores

There are many second-hand stores available near you or online, so you don’t need to buy brand items anymore. Only buy clothes that last and fit you well, and if you’re sure you’re going to use it.

Start a small emergency fund

Problems happen, you never know when you’re going to need extra money for emergencies. Saving requires lots of discipline, but you can start small. One tip to make it simpler is to make contributions automatic, then you won’t have to worry about it. An emergency fund is generally three months of expenses.

Earn some extra money

Do you have too many pairs of shoes or too many clothing items? You could sell them online and earn some bucks. You could also apply for freelance work online, such as translation, programming, and writing.

10 Reasons Why You Should Start An Emergency Fund

Always be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. You probably believe nothing bad will ever happen to you or to a loved one, but life has a way of changing things in an unexpected way. Having an emergency fund will protect you from going broke and desperate in these situations.

emergency fund

Here are some reasons why you should start an emergency fund right away if you don’t have one already:

1) In case of job loss

Losing a job can be pretty terrible, especially if you don’t have any emergency savings. This situation could happen either because you got fired, your company went bankrupt, or due to you becoming sick and having to stay in bed for many days, you never know. Many finance specialists recommend having at least three to six months of living expenses saved in case something happens to your primary or only source of income.

2) Unexpected health problems or dental expenses

No one knows when they’re going to break a tooth or suffer any accident or have any disease that isn’t typically covered by health insurance. You’ll probably need money for tests, samples, second opinions. Medical issues can be super expensive and can make you go broke if you don’t have any money saved up.

3) Pet Care

Much like you, your pets also get sick, and there’s no way to predict when this will happen. The average cost of pet care is around $1,288.50, and can go up to $4,000 or even more. You won’t want to be left choosing between not being able to save your pet because you can’t afford the medicine or procedure necessary to keep them with you longer.

4) Surprise car repair

Cars can impact on your ability to go to work, get the children from school, shop for groceries or any other daily activities. Therefore, if your car breaks, it can give you a massive headache. If you have savings, there’s no need to worry so much about this issue anymore, and you will be able to afford a rental until your car is ready for use again.

5) You need to move

You never know when you’ll have to pack up on short notice and find a new place to leave. Maybe there was some natural disaster, like a hurricane, for example, or even if your landlord asked you to move, you need to prepare, so that don’t stay without a place to sleep.

6) Home repair

Anyone who owns or rents a property is susceptible to this. Maybe your drains are clogged, your pipes or your roof started to leak, and you need money for the repair, and if you have some emergency money, you won’t get caught off guard.

7) Taxes

We can all agree on one thing: one of the worst things about being an adult is having to pay taxes. There’s always a possibility that you calculated your taxes wrong, or that you forgot to pay your property tax bill, which will make you broke.

8) Funeral Costs

It’s horrifying to even think about this possibility, but you always need to be prepared for the worst, like the death of a loved one. You probably don’t imagine it, but dying can be really expensive. The average cost of a funeral can be as much as $11,000 or even more.

9) Emergency Travel

If you, for example, live far away from your family and you need to travel last minute to see them because of an unexpected issue, you’ll need to have some money spared in your emergency fund.

10) Avoid credit card debt

Even if you lose your job, your bills will keep coming. To avoid dropping your credit score and paying big interest rates, you need to have an emergency fund for this.

How To Check Your Credit Score For Free

This popular three-digit number is an essential tool that lenders, employers, and even landlords use to evaluate whether they’re going to offer you a credit line and how much your interest rate is going to be.
Knowing about your score is essential to build or rebuild your credit and to save some money along the line.

free credit score

We’ve selected the best services where you can check your score at no cost:

1) Visit AnnualCreditReport.com

AnnualCreditReport is a government-mandated and well-known website that allows consumers to check their credit score for free once a year. It offers reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. All you need to do is to enter your social security number.

2) Go to CreditKarma.com

If you need to check your credit score without paying a dime, you can visit CreditKarma. They provide a very safe website, where your information isn’t stored permanently. All you need to provide is the last four digits of your social security number to get started. They also offer additional membership where users get services such as credit monitoring, ID monitoring, free tax filing, and full credit reports.

3) Check CreditSesame.com

CreditSesame is another similar service where you can verify your score for free. On their website, you can get a monthly free credit score and a free credit report summary. You don’t need to give your credit card information, and accounts are automatically updated monthly.

4) Verify if your credit card offers free credit checks

Nowadays many credit card companies offer free credit checks. Some of them are American Express, Capital One, Discover, Barclaycard, and Walmart Credit Card. Each day more and more companies are providing this service because the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is encouraging them to do so.

Advertorial Disclosure: The content of this post, which was created by our Ad Services team, has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any party mentioned herein.

9 Amazing Apps For Finding Shopping Deals

In this day and age, there’s no reason why not to look for better deals when shopping. You can easily find the latest prices, special promotions, discount and reviews on your smartphone.

We’ve selected the best apps for finding discounts that are worth downloading.

1 – Groupon

Groupon is an app that helps you to save money on services such as restaurants and other types of experiences. In there you’ll be able to find up to 70% discount on many things. First-time users can get an additional discount for their first purchase. Available for iOS and Android.

2 – LivingSocial

If you love deals, you should definitely give this app a try. With LivingSocial, you can save up to 80% off on a huge variety of things. They have a coupon codes section. Also, if you refer three friends to get the same deal as you do, you get yours for free.

3 – Ibotta

Using Ibotta is very easy. All you have to do is find the offers, go shopping at any participating store (do not forget to ask for the receipt), redeem your offers by taking a photo of it, and get your cash back within 48 hours. After you achieve the minimum of $20, you can transfer the money to PayPal. It’s available for iOS and Android.

4 – Earny

With Earny you can monitor the items you’ve already purchased to see if the price drops. It will then automatically access your account and contact the company asking for a refund, even after 90 days after your purchase. Free and available for iOS and Android.

5 – Idealo

Idealo is one of the best options for finding great discounts. With this app, you can find more than 107.2 million offers from over 21,300 online shops. It has many features such as product search via barcode scanner, detailed product information, a wide range of filters, favorites, email alerts when the price drops, and many others. Available for Android and iOS.

6 – Vouchercloud

This app is ideal for people who want to find exclusive offers from the brands they know and love. It’s free, and it’s available for either Android or iPhone.

7 – RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot is an app that helps you find a ton of discount coupons, cash back offers, deals, and redeem them directly from your phone. It’s free and available for both Android and iPhone users.

8 – Flipp

With Flipp you can find offers from more than 1,000 retailers, you’ll be able to save 20% to 70% on a wide variety of products. There’s also an option of creating your shopping list and share it with someone. It’s free and available for iPhone and Android.

9 – ShopSavvy

Don’t we all love finding a bargain while shopping at retail? With this app, you can scan the barcodes of products, and within instants, you’ll be able to find deals and product reviews online – as simple as that. Free and available for Android and iOS.

Advertorial Disclosure: The content in this post, which was created by our Ad Services team, has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any party mentioned herein.

8 Amazing Apps to Help You Manage Your Money

Managing your money requires discipline and knowledge, and it’s not easy to keep track of all of your expenses and bills if you are not used to it. Fortunately, some apps help to make this task easier. We selected the best phone applications to help you with sticking to a budget, manage your money and handling investing decisions.

apps to manage money

1 – Mint

With Mint, you can sync all your bank accounts, credit cards, and monthly bills all in the same place. This user-friendly app has categories such as Gas & Fuel, Home Improvement, Clothing, Education and others. The application will also remind you when your bills are due, and you win a free credit score check as a bonus. It’s free and available for iPhone and Android users.

2 – Clarity Money

Clarity Money is categorized into four tabs: a home feed, an accounts page, a search tool and your profile. It’s very easy and pleasing to use and navigate. There are tools to help you manage subscription such as Netflix and others, and it will also help you cancel them if you want to. It’s free and available for Android and iOS.

3 – You Need a Budget

Users can track their expenses in several categories like monthly bills, everyday expenses, etc. They allow you to test it for free for 34 days and then it’s $50 a year. It’s available for Android and iOS devices.

4 – Unsplurge

This easy-to-use and navigate app will show you how you spend your money and will point out the unnecessary expenses. After that, it will set a realistic goal so that you can improve your money management. It’s free and available for iOS gadgets.

5 – Qapital

Qapital is ideal for freelancers since it helps to save up for tax season. In there you can also set rules for your budget and identify what triggers your impulse buys. It’s free and available for iOS and Android.

6 – Trim

Do you subscribe to services, spends money on it and simply forgets about it? If yes, Trim is the perfect app for you. It helps you to identify and cancel the ones you don’t want.

7 – HoneyFi

HoneyFi is perfect for couples who want to learn how to save money together. It’s very user-friendly, and it will help to simplify your finances and spend your money wisely. It’s free and available for both iOS and Android.

8 – Wallaby

Wallaby is the perfect app for credit card users since it helps you make the most of them. This app makes sure you don’t miss on cash back, rewards or points. You don’t need to provide your credit card numbers, only the type of card you have, making it very safe to use. Free and available for iOS and Android.

Advertorial Disclosure: The content of this post, which was created by our Ad Services team, has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any party mentioned herein.

8 Advantages of Having a Good Credit Score

Your credit score affects your life more than you think. The three-digit number is often used as an evaluation method by many businesses before they decide whether you are reliable or not. Fixing your credit can make your life easier and cheaper since you get many advantages from having a good credit rating.

credit score

1) Better chances of getting a loan

You probably think that you don’t need a loan now, but in case of an emergency or if you want to start a business, it will become necessary. Having a good credit score can increase your odds of approval, and it could also get you lower interest rates.

2) Which car you’ll drive and how much interest you’ll pay

People with poor credit scores have very limited options when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. On the other hand, people with good credit scores get higher limits, lower payments and a better interest rate.

3) You can lease a house without much effort

house lease

To evaluate your trustworthiness, landlords will check your credit score to determine whether or not you get a lease. Therefore, if it says on your credit report that you have outstanding rental balance, it will lower your chances of leasing a new home.

4) Better chances of getting a job

Believe it or not, many employers check your credit history, past bankruptcies, to determine if you are responsible or untrustworthy.

5) No security deposit for credit cards or loans

Banks and lenders require that people with bad credit scores provide a payment guarantee, also known as collateral or security deposit. Customers with excellent credit scores don’t need to ‘prove’ that they’ll make the payments, so a deposit is not necessary.

6) Access to better credit cards

store credit cards

There is a huge variety of excellent zero interest credit cards available for people with stellar credit. These credit cards also offer better sign up bonuses and rewards, among other things.

7) Save on car insurance

According to insurance companies, people with lower credit scores tend to file more claims. As a result, they often offer better rates and benefits to customers with better credit ratings.

8) More negotiation power

Having a good credit score means having more options and different interest rates. You can claim that you were offered a better price, giving you a negotiation power when purchasing items or services.

It is not difficult to improve your credit score

It may take some time and patience, though, but it is definitely worth it.

You may also like: 10 Hot Tips To Increase Your Credit Score

10 Amazing Credit Card Benefits You Should Take Advantage Of

Credit cards already come with great things like low-interest rates and cash back rewards. In addition to that, there are other awesome credit card benefits you should know and take advantage of. Above of all, these perks could help you save some extra money every year.

credit card benefits

1- Price Protection

Isn’t it upsetting when you buy a product, and then you find out that they are selling it for less just a week later? With price protection, you may receive a refund if you bought the product with your credit card. Don’t forget, however, that there is usually a time limit for you to use this perk.

2- Purchase Protection

Purchase protection essentially means that you get coverage if something that you have purchased with your credit card was accidentally damaged, lost or robbed. You might need your receipt and credit card statement, or a police report if your product was stolen.

3- Extended Warranty

Some card networks provide an additional extended warranty for up to a year to the manufacturer’s warranty if you purchased the item with your credit card. All you have to do is show your receipt and file a claim, and then you could get a replacement, repair or refund.

4 – Return Protection

The store doesn’t want to accept your return, now what do you do? If this happens, your credit card company may refund your item if you purchased the product within a specific timeframe (sometimes up to 90 days).

5 – Free Hotel Nights

If you like to get travel rewards, this is one of the best credit card benefits. Some hotel credit cards offer a free night or free nights every year to customers or as a sign-up bonus offer.

6 – Free Airport Lounge Access

Long airport layovers can be tiring and boring. With this feature, you can take advantage of the airport lounge and enjoy all the amenities it offers. Some may even let you take free guests with you.

7 – Cancellation Insurance

If something unexpected happens and the trip gets canceled, trip cancellation insurance will get you covered. Don’t forget that you need to buy it with a credit card that offers this perk.

8 – Travel Accident Insurance

If you suffer an accident during your time away, your credit card may provide support to you and your beneficiaries if you used your card to pay for your travel.

9 – Lost Luggage Protection

Don’t get desperate if your luggage gets lost. As long as you bought your ticket with your credit card that offers this benefit, you’ll get lost luggage protection. Some cards will cover up to 3,000 dollars.

10 – No foreign transaction fees

Don’t you hate it when you have to pay an extra fee for international purchases? Thankfully, there are some cards with zero foreign transaction fees so that you can save some money when you’re traveling.

Read your agreement to find out additional credit card benefits

It is always important to read your credit card agreement because you might be missing out on other great perks like early access to concert tickets, car rental insurance, priority boarding and so on.

 

What Factors Affect Your Credit Score

Knowing what factors affect your credit score is very important. This three-digit number is used to evaluate whether or not you get approved for a credit card or a loan and at what interest rate.

credit score

Here are the main factors that affect your score:

Payment history

Your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. It is one of the most important factors.

Delays in payments can have a big negative impact on your credit score. It varies whether you pay your balance with a 30-day delay or with a 60-day delay. The longer you wait the greater the impact on your credit.

Other factors can also affect your payment history, such as debt settlements, bankruptcies, lawsuits, liens, among others.

Credit usage

It is 30% of your credit score. Improving your credit usage is one of the easiest ways to quickly boost your credit score.

Credit usage is determined by the amount of the total available credit used. The amount you owe on things like mortgage, loans and credit cards is also taken into account.

However, the most important factor is your current credit utilization rate. It measures how much debt you have compared to your available credit limits. Specialists say that a lower utilization rate is better for your credit score.

Leaving part of your balance unpaid or maxing out your credit card can hurt your score by increasing your utilization rate.

Age of Credit History

Your age of credit history is 15% of your credit score. Older credit histories are better for your score because that usually proves that you have more experience with handling credit.

Opening new accounts in a short amount of time can hurt your score, because this could lower your average age of accounts, and that may reduce your score.

Experts don’t recommend closing old accounts since they can stay on your credit reports for up to 10 years and increase the average age of your accounts.

Types of Credit

This consists of 10% of your score. If you have revolving accounts and installment loans, for example, usually means that you have more experience dealing with different types of credit. This may help improve your credit health.

Credit Inquiries

Every time that you apply for something that requires a credit check, an inquiry is placed on your credit report. Credit inquiries can stay on your reports for up to two years.

Many hard inquiries in a short amount of time can hurt your credit score even if you don’t get approved for the credit card or loan. If your credit history is new, a hard inquiry can have an even greater impact.

 

How To Use a Credit Card to Pay Monthly Bills

Paying bills with your credit card can make you earn more rewards, manage your finances, add coverage like price protection to purchases. However, it should only be done as long as you pay your balance in full each month.

Which Monthly Bills Can You Pay With a Credit Card?

You can normally pay things like your cell phone, federal and state taxes, some utilities, cable, insurance, medical bills, internet and even your student loans with a credit card. You may even be able to pay your rent with a credit card, but it depends on whether your landlord or property management company accepts credit cards.

Don’t forget to make sure if there is no convenience fee for paying your rent with your credit card.

However, be careful with some things:

Keep an eye on your available credit

Make sure there’s always enough credit available on your credit card, the high balance could hurt your credit score.

Always start with zero debt 

Before you start paying your bills with a credit card, pay off your credit card balance. This will make you take advantage of the grace period to avoid paying interest.

Use one credit card only

If you use many credit cards for paying bills, it could be hard to keep track and manage the balance across all your credit cards.

Avoid paying expensive convenience charges:

Check if there is a convenience fee and how much it is. There may be an additional fee for paying your monthly bill with a credit card. That’s up to you, if the fee is too expensive, use your money instead.

What about my credit score?

Your credit score will only be affected if you use all your credit limit and pay your bills late. If it’s paid on time each month it can even help with your credit score.

 

Advertorial Disclosure: The content in this post, which was created by our Ad Services team, has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any party mentioned herein.

 

3 Best Short Term Loans With No Cosigner

Sometimes short term loans are needed when there isn’t enough money to pay all the monthly bills, or for an emergency. Some online services provide this cash advance to meet those needs. They don’t require a cosigner and even bad credit is accepted.

short term loans

CashAdvance (cashadvance.com)

Cash Advance is a company located in Utah. They have been in business since 1997. They accept bad credit, and the loan decision is fast. Consumers can make a loan of $100 to $1000. However, they require an income of at least $1000/month and at least 90 days on job.

PaydayDirect USA (paydaydirectusa.com)

PaydayDirect USA connects customers to a great variety of lenders. They accept bad credit. Consumers can borrow an amount of $300 to $2,500. However, to qualify customers must be at least of 18 years of age and a US resident, have an income of at least $800 a month and a valid checking account.

(Not available in: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia)

Helping Hand Advances – (helpinghandadvances.com)

This company offers short-term cash loans of $300 to $2,500. They accept all kinds of credits, even bad credit. In conclusion, it has an easy and fast loan application process, and they wire the funds in as little as one day.

(Not available in: Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia).

Advertorial Disclosure: The content in this post, which was created by our Ad Services team, has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any party mentioned herein.

 

 

Should I Consider A Balance Transfer?

So what should you do if you’re paying interest every month on your credit card balance? What’s the best balance transfer card for you?

balance transfer

Find out below.

Watch out for fees

You’re likely thinking that a balance transfer sounds like a great idea—and it often is. But the balance transfer fee also needs to be factored into your calculations.

What is a balance transfer fee? This is a charge that is imposed by the bank that’s offering the card you’re moving your current debt to. This fee will be determined by how much you’re actually transferring to the new credit card. You will often see the balance transfer fee being expressed as something like “$10 or 3% of the balance transferred, whichever is higher”. Keep in mind that balance transfer fees are also paid up front

Although it may not sound like much, it can really take a bite out of your savings when you transfer a large balance. In the example we used above, you’re not really saving $1,700. Because of the $300 fee you’ll need to pay, you’re only saving $1,400. While this is still a considerable savings, it is not quite as impressive as it first seemed.

Some cards not charge you a balance transfer fee at all, or they may give you a certain period of time after you open the account before you need to pay this fee.

Ready for a balance transfer? Some tips to consider

Here are some tips for balance transfer success:

  • Look for a card that not only offers a 0% APR for a long period of time but also does not charge a fee.
  • If you don’t have a high enough credit score to qualify for a card that meets both these criteria, you should carefully consider the cost differences between paying interest and paying a balance transfer fee. The card that will make the most sense depends on the size of your balance and how long it should take you to pay it off with your current resources.
  • Be sure to pay down your debt religiously before the 0% interest period is up.
  • Don’t cancel your old credit card quite yet as this could damage your credit score.
  • On-time payments should be a priority. If you miss a payment, your 0% interest deal will probably be canceled.
  • Be very careful about moving your credit card debt to a new card and then charging more purchases to the old card. Doing this will negate any of the benefits you received and land you in even more debt.

 

3 Simple Ways to Save Money

Whether the credit card companies are baiting you with cash back or  “free” plane tickets, you need to remember that these companies are in the business of making money, not helping you to save it. But by choosing the type of credit card that fits your lifestyle and your needs, you will likely get a better deal. Follow this simple process to find the card that makes sense for you.

save money

Think about your credit habits

If you usually carry a balance month to month on your credit card, your first action should be to find a card with the lowest possible annual percentage rate (APR). If your card has an interest rate of 15%, it will cost about $296 in interest just in the first year if you have an average monthly balance of $2,000 and only make the minimum $30 payment. On the other hand, a card that charges 10% would cost you around $192 for that first year on the same amount. Watch out, though, because cards with low introductory teaser rates can sometimes shoot up into high double digits in as few as six months.

By contrast, if you pay off your balance every month, your card’s interest rate will not matter. If this is case, you should just look for a card with no annual fee, which will often save you between $39 to $99 a year.

The best card, of course, would be a card with no annual fee and a low interest rate. Alternatively, you might choose to have two cards, such as one with a low rate for those big purchases you can’t pay off right away and one with no fees for everyday expenses.

Pay off your balance as quickly as you can

If it’s necessary to keep a balance on your card every once in a while, you will be able to save money if you pay it off as soon as possible. In addition, make sure to pay the minimum payment at the very least and by the due date to avoid any late fees.

Investigate rewards cards

The more you spend with rewards cards, the greater your reward will be. However, if you have to pay a lot of interest on balances you have carried over, that will easily cancel out any benefit you would have received. Rewards cards will often charge both higher-than-average interest rates and annual fees, but if you pay off your balance all or most months, a rewards card could definitely be the card for you.

The major types rewards cards include travel rewards, cash back rewards, and store rewards:

Travel rewards typically pay out their rewards in “miles” that are redeemable most often for airline travel and hotel stays but also other perks. Some are specific to a certain airline or hotel chain, but others are available for a number of different airlines and hotels. Bonus miles upon signing up are quite frequent as well.

If you love to travel or often have to travel for your own business, you might want to consider a specific airline or hotel card if you always fly on the same airline or  stay at the same hotel chain; go for a general rewards card if these change based on your specific travel needs.

Cash back rewards cards to save money

Cash back rewards cards will reward you for spending money wherever you go, and they will share a portion of the fees they get from merchants when you make a purchase with your card. They will often return 1% on your total purchases, and sometimes offer more for such categories as gasoline, groceries, or restaurants.

Use this type of card if you like to earn rewards for your purchases that can be used for something other than travel.

Many major retailers off their own store-specific credit cards, including clothing stores, electronics and home stores, gas stations, and supermarket chains. They usually reward you with discounts or points that can then be redeemed at their stores. Watch out, though, since these cards tend to have higher interest rates than most other cards.

If you do most of your spending with a single retailer in a particular category, this type of card can really help you rack up points. If not, you’ll likely be better off getting a general rewards card.

Just remember, even though rewards are great, you should only spend on purchases you would normally be making anyway. If these cards entice you to overspend, they will end up costing you far more than you will get in return.

In Conclusion

When you choose the right card for your needs, you can save money. Always be sure, however, to make at least the minimum payment, or you’ll be putting your credit score in danger.

4 Tips To Pick The Best Credit Card For You

You likely have a seemingly unending stream of credit card offers arriving in your mailbox each week. Each of these credit card invitations can be very different, so you will need to carefully review each offer before you choose the best one for you. There are four major factors that you will need to consider:

card
  1. Interest Rate

    The annual percentage rate that is associated with the card can make a big difference when deciding on a new credit card. Most cards compound interest monthly, so you would divide the APR by 12 to get the actual cost of borrowing. This is what your purchases would cost you each month if you do not pay the balance in full.

Knowing the advertised APR on its own is not enough however. The introductory rate is not usually permanent, so it’s important to read and understand the card’s terms to answer these questions:

  • Is the APR a limited-time offer?
  • Is there a minimum purchase requirement that needs to be met to activate or keep this rate?
  • Is the rate only for purchases? What about balance transfers and cash advances?
  • Is the rate subject to approval? Would your actual rate vary somewhat from what is being offered after they review your credit?

Considering the interest rate variations could bring surprising results. After you look over a card’s terms in more detail, the offer may not look so good as it initially did.

  1. Annual Fee

    Cards with annual fees didn’t used to be the rule but rather an exception. More and more cards that didn’t previously have annual fees may have them soon, and other fees are beginning to emerge as well. This new trend makes accounts without feed even more attractive, but it’s likely that these cards will only be offered to the most qualified borrowers.

Make sure that you understand how fees are imposes as well as when. Is it at the beginning of the year, or will it be added on at the end of 12 months? Is there some way to waive the fee, perhaps with a minimum charge amount or a certain number of transactions? If a fee doesn’t keep you away from a card, you can call the card’s customer service number to ask about having it waived for the first year. They may want your business badly enough that they will give you a pass.

  1. Rewards

    A card’s worth used to be measured by how many rewards an active user could rack up, but the days of getting free flights to Hawaii and fancy hotel stays after a year’s worth of business expenses could be over. Because of economic difficulties and new regulations, users’ rewards are losing value quickly, and it is becoming harder for users to redeem for rewards they really want.

While a card’s reward should be taken into consideration when determining which card to get, it must never be the only factor when deciding on the best card for you. Here are some other points to consider:

  • Is the minimum reward requirement difficult to reach or too costly?
  • Do points or rewards have an expiration? If so, how long will you have to use your points?
  • Does the value of reward points change, and will you be notified beforehand of any changes in the value in time to cash out?
  • Are the rewards useful for you? If you don’t travel, for example, airline rewards would be useless.
  • Can rewards be transferred? Can you buy extra points if you want to build up your account to make a major redemption?

When used carefully, reward points are a great tool for adding to your discretionary budget. Just be careful that the value of your rewards exceeds what you pay out in interest.

  1. Convenience Consideration

    When a card is difficult to use, this significantly lowers the value of that card. Some cards may offer everyone with an account some amazing additional services. Other cards will reward their members with perks that encourage further spending or create loyalty among their members. Before you make a commitment to a great-looking card, however, consider these necessary conveniences: the ability to pay by phone, online, by email, or by mail; 24/7 customer service; free account alerts; international assistance for no extra charge; and lots of ATM locations.

It may not be easy to find the right card. Take your time, read the terms carefully, call and ask questions if something is unclear, and make sure that everything fits with your financial needs and your lifestyle. In addition, if your current card doesn’t offer very many of the most common credit card benefits, it may be time to look for a new card.

 

Airline Miles or Cash Back: Credit Card Rewards

We all have heard stories of the friend of a friend who planned an amazing trip or got a brand new mixer for free from their credit card rewards. These rewards are free money—as long as you don’t have to pay any annual fees or interest—which is great by anyone’s standard.

credit card rewards

You’re probably wondering, though, which type of rewards card is the best one for you. The biggest decision is between those that offer airline miles or very specific discounts and cards that give cash back on your purchases. Below are some tips that will help you determine which one is right for you.

Cash vs. Miles: Choose Based on Your Lifestyle

The rewards package you choose should fit your goals and your lifestyle. Just make sure there is no annual fee or that the rewards you earn will offset any fees.

Cash back reward credit cards have the obvious advantage of being flexible. You can decide how you want to spend that cash, whether on travel or any other purchases you want to make.

Miles are a more limited reward, but for travelers or those planning a big trip in the future, they are often a good choice. Airline miles tend to build up at the same 1% or 2% rate as cash back cards, and there is often a travel incentive for signing up. Take advantage of these as the sign-up bonuses are likely the best rewards you will get from your new travel rewards credit card. Some of these cards also let you use the points you’ve accumulated for travel purchases besides airline tickets, including rental cars or hotel stays.

The two main types of travel cards that offer rewards in miles include airline- or hotel-specific cards and the more general travel cards.

Airline- or hotel-specific cards

Airline- or hotel-specific cards limit your ability to shop around for the best deal because you will only be earning rewards with one specific company, but on the bright side, the points can sometimes be redeemed at higher rates, such as 3% or 4%, when compared to the 1% or 2% of a general travel rewards card or a basic cash back card. This often holds true during off-peak travel times, so if you are trying planning holiday travel, you should expect lower reward returns, and you will also need to look out for blackout dates. Airline-specific cards will often offer added perks, including, waived baggage fees, free upgrades, access to their private airport lounge, or priority boarding.

General travel cards

General travel cards offer more flexibility, but you will see similar rewards rates as you would from a cash back credit card. These can also have blackout dates, and don’t expect to get any upgrades or special treatment since this type of card is really has no added benefits over a cash rewards card, and the rewards usually need to be spent on travel. Before You Sign Up

When you carry a balance every month on your credit card, even the most generous rewards program will not be able to keep up with what you are paying in interest. Before you get a rewards card, first pay off any credit card debt you currently have. After all, if you have to pay a high interest rate to earn your rewards, they’re no longer free.

You’ll need to watch out for an annual fee as well. Some of the cards with the most generous rewards have annual fees, so you’ll need to spend enough money on that card every year to make back what you’re paying in your annual fee. Before signing up for one of these cards, look past the first-year signing bonus or fee waiver to calculate how much you will really need to spend to break even each year.

As an example, let’s look at the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • 40,000 miles = $400 in travel, so one cent for each mile, but you need  to spend $3,000 within the first three months to get this.
  • You can earn 2x miles from every purchase, which is the same as earning 2% back.
  • After the first year, which is free, the annual fee is $59, so you will need to earn two cents for every dollar you spend. This means you will need to spend at least $2,950 just on this card each year before you will start to earn free rewards.

There are also no foreign transaction fees on this card, there are no blackout dates, and the miles never expire and can be spent on any hotel or airline.

In Summation

Take a look at your spending history before you decide. Is it worth it? If you don’t spend enough, there are lots of no-fee credit cards that offer completely free rewards.

Make sure to read the fine print too. Would blackout dates limit your ability to redeem your travel rewards? Do the rewards have an expiration date? Can you earn more rewards by, for example, making online purchases via your credit card rewards website? When you pay attention to details like these, you can optimize your rewards and get the most out of your credit card benefits.

If you’re not going to use your travel rewards often enough and can’t spend them in enough places, it would probably be best to go for the flexibility of a cash back credit card. Although you may earn a little bit less, you’ll likely be able to get more out of the benefits of a cash back card.