3 Things You Need to Know About Consolidating Your Credit Card Debt

Having multiple credit cards can be very rewarding. You get to benefit from multiple loyalty programs and can always find the best deals for the purchases you make. Some credit cards have benefits designed for specific customers; travel or co-branded cards, for example, let you earn more mileage points when you use them to make purchases.

When not managed properly, however, multiple credit cards can quickly become the source of financial problems. Having multiple – and usually big – credit card bills to pay is a problem as it is; not being able to pay the credit card bills on time is even scarier. Before you know it, you have mounting bills that are well beyond your budget.

One of the ways you can stop the vicious circle and start dealing with your credit card problems is consolidation. Using a personal loan or a consolidation loan, it is easy to combine multiple credit card debts into one manageable loan. Before you move forward with this solution, here are 3 things you need to know about consolidating your credit cards.

It’s Not Your Only Option

Consolidating multiple credit card debts is a handy solution to use. You will end up with one loan that isn’t just more affordable, but also easier to repay. However, jumping to consolidating credit card debts isn’t something you want to do either.

Before you consider consolidation as a solution, you want to look into other options first. There are balance transfer deals, prioritization, and other methods you can use to make your credit card debts cheaper and easier to manage.

It is also a good idea to work with your credit card issuers. You can get the interest stopped and your credit card bill converted into a series of fixed monthly payments. You may even earn discounts on your bills, which make settling your credit cards easier.

Know Your Situation

You should also avoid consolidating your credit card debts without first acknowledging that you have problems to solve. Not taking the time to understand the situation you are in – and willingly admit that you have problems to solve – will only lead to more problems in the future.

List all of your credit card debts and their details, including the minimum payment amounts, the payment deadlines, and late charges you have to pay if you miss those deadlines. Start prioritizing credit card debts based on the principal amounts as you go along.

Calculate the total amount you have to pay every month and see if you can actually afford paying them. You can prioritize the smallest credit card bill as a way to solve your credit problems. This means allocating more money towards the card with the smallest balance and paying the minimum amount for the rest.

Once you repay your first card, you can then allocate more money to the next card on your list. It doesn’t take long before you start repaying your credit card bills faster. It is even easier to settle the debts the more money you can allocate towards repayments.

Consolidate the Right Way

As mentioned before, you can use various financing options to consolidate your credit card bills. Personal loans, for instance, can be used to combine multiple credit card debts into one loan. Not only will you benefit from the lower interest rate, you can also extend the loan over a longer period of time to make the monthly payment amount more affordable.

However, you still want to make sure that you are getting the best deal on your quick loan before deciding to use it for consolidating your credit cards. You can save a lot on interest and other charges using discounts and special offers that are currently available on the market.

You also want to close your credit cards as soon as you repay them. Don’t wait; don’t even think about using the credit cards again. The goal is to stop the vicious cycle of multiple credit card debts, and the way to achieve that goal is by closing your credit cards as soon as possible.

One more thing to understand is that you have the power to negotiate a better settlement with the credit card companies. Since you will be paying the balance in full and right away – with the help of your personal loan – you can ask for reductions and discounts when you are in the process of closing your cards.

Bear in mind that credit card companies will offer higher limits, lower interest, and a ton of other promotions to keep you from closing your credit cards. Just say no and you will be on your way to better control over your debts. After all, you only have one loan to worry about and you can manage repaying the new personal loan better when you have no more credit card bills to pay.

Saving and Investing: How to Get Started

Many people who are just getting started with managing their personal finances find saving and investing challenging; when I first started, I too found it difficult to stay on course and achieve my financial goals. In truth, saving and investing the money you have saved are a lot less complicated than you think.

Saving is a straightforward process when you know how to manage your income and expenses properly. Investing, on the other hand, is only a matter of finding instruments that suit your personal requirements and financial goals best. To help you get started with these two elements of good personal financial management, here are the tips and tricks to follow.

Start with a Good Understanding

Knowing the financial state that you are in is how you start working towards saving money and investing them. If you have been keeping track of your income and expenses, this is a fairly easy process to get through. You already know how much you spend and make every month, and you can start with making a monthly budget right away.

If you don’t know your expenses and you have not been managing your income properly, however, you have a thorough review to do. Start listing all of your expenses and income. See how much you are spending on repaying your loans, everyday expenses, and big purchases. Ideally, you want to spend no more than 30% of your income on repaying loans and another 50% on everyday expenses and big purchases.

That leaves you with 20% of your income; this is the portion that you save. Set aside 20% of every income you make as soon as you make them and put the money in a savings account. Simply forget about that 20% and you’ll start saving more and more. The money you save is not to be used unless there is an absolute emergency or an investment opportunity.

Saving More Money

With a clearer understanding of your expenses, you can also start taking steps to save more. Unnecessary expenses can be cut immediately. You can still maintain a certain lifestyle, but there are always expenses you can eliminate and save instead.

It is also a good idea to budget for the following month, just so you can keep track of your expenses better. Use a money management app to help you allocate portions of your income for individual expense category. With every expense you make, add an entry in the app.

The visuals provided by today’s top money management apps allow you to find more ways you save while remaining in-budget. Rather than overspending one month after another, you’ll start identifying more expenses you can cut without sacrificing comfort. At the end of the month, take the money you saved along the way and put it in your savings account.

Dealing with Emergencies

Even when you have a clear plan in mind and a budget to follow, there will still be times when an unexpected expense or an emergency throw you off guard. Don’t worry; you have plenty of options at your disposal when you do have to deal with a financial emergency.

You can review your savings account to see if you can cover the expense using the money you have spent. Only do this if you are dealing with an absolute emergency. Alternatively, you have financing options that you can use to cope with unexpected expenses.

When it comes to using loans for emergencies, sticking with the plan is still important. You can calculate the amount you have to repay every month and see if you can actually fit that amount into your monthly budget. Personal loans and other financing options are very flexible, and you have the option to choose the right one based on your existing budget.

Once you have a loan to use, go a step further and begin reviewing your expenses again. You want to cut as many expenses as possible in order to lessen the stress the loan adds to your monthly budget. The more you can save, the easier it will be to stay on track.

Investing Your Money

The last part of the equation is investing your money. In today’s economy, you actually have a lot of investment opportunities to seize. You can, for example, turn to P2P lending as a way to generate more income from your savings. You can also use instruments like stock and forex – the financial markets in general – to your advantage.

Before you begin investing, there are three main factors to consider: your financial goals, your age, and the amount you will be investing. These three factors will determine the right investment opportunities and instruments to use. They also affect the kind of strategy you use as you build your investment portfolio.

If you want to know more about how to better invest your money, stay tuned for more articles here on this site. In the meantime, use the tips and tricks we covered in this article to start saving enough for future investments.

7 Things You Can Do to Cut Expenses Today

If you are trying to save money, you basically have two ways to go. You can either find new sources of income or start cutting back on your expenses. The latter is the easier way of the two, mainly because you always have complete control over how you spend your money.

Cutting expenses can be difficult and overwhelming. Despite these challenges, the right approach will let you reduce many of your expenses and start saving money sooner than you think. These 7 things we are about to discuss in this article will help you start cutting expenses today.

Use Coupons

Coupons are easy to find these days. You no longer have to cut coupons off of newspapers or magazines to save on everyday purchases; all you need is apps and websites like Groupon and you are all set.

There are coupons for everything too. You can save on the next carton of milk you buy just as easily as you can save on a new phone. It is just a matter of finding the right coupon codes or vouchers to use.

Review Your Loans

The loan market is changing rapidly. There are more financing options on the market right now, and lenders are fighting hard for your business. The competitive market is exactly why there are more deals, better interest rates, and even discounts waiting to be claimed.

One thing you can do to save on your loans is reviewing them against the deals available today. Instead of paying 1.5% a month on multiple credit cards, you can easily save a fortune consolidating those credit card debts into one personal loan with 8%of annual interest rate.

Choose Your Loans

Speaking of reviewing loans, you should also invest more time and compare financing options before taking out a loan. As mentioned before, there are so many deals to benefit from and not comparing loans thoroughly would be a mistake.

Another way to save is borrowing only the amount you need. While it is possible to borrow £10,000 or more, doing so when you only need £2,000 means spending more money on interest and other charges; money you can save instead.

Check Your Insurance

Insurance premiums are the next thing to review if you want to save more. With the insurance market being as competitive as the financial industry, don’t be surprised to find deals and discounts being offered by the best insurance companies in the country.

There are also a lot of deals designed to make you switch to a different insurance plan. These deals are worth exploring. It is easy to calculate how much you can save on your insurance premium should you choose to switch to a new insurance company.

While comparing insurance deals, make sure you ask for an extra discount – mention that you are comparing insurance quotes – and that you check with your existing insurance company for deals as well. Buying multiple policies from the same company, for instance, could land you additional bulk discounts.

Avoid Bundled Subscriptions

Subscriptions, especially cheaper ones, can be alluring, especially when they are bundled with additional services. However, you also have the option to pay only for the services you need; there is no need to pay for internet and cable TV if you barely watch TV at all.

Bundled phone and internet service packages are also among the subscription plans you want to review as you try to save more money. Once again, the goal is paying for services that you actually use only.

Shop Online

In the old days, people don’t really consider shopping online as a way to save. After all, there are shipping and handling fees to pay, and they tend to make the lower prices less appealing. That is certainly not the case today. You can get free shipping with most purchases you make online, plus you have better deals on the items themselves.

Shopping online for the items you need also helps prevent impulse purchases. You can use the search function of most ecommerce sites to find the items you are looking for and compare deals on those items, which means you can make wiser purchase decisions every time.

Drive Less

Living without a car may not be possible for you, but that doesn’t mean you cannot take steps to reduce your mileage. Rather than making multiple trips to the shops, for example, you can plan your trips better and reduce your mileage substantially.

Driving less lets you save on car insurance, maintenance, and petrol all at once. They may seem like small savings at first, but they still lead to a substantial reduction to expenses in the long run.

Use these tips to start saving today. No amount is too small to save. Consider investing the money you save too; you’ll start earning additional income and expanding your wealth the more you save on everyday expenses.