The trap of “low” monthly payments

Blogger makes an excellent point, take a look..

JW's Financial Coaching-Giving you a new perspective on your money!

The other day I received an ad in the mail from my local rent-to-own company, attempting to get me to come visit their store and leave with some great merchandise. I have always known that these stores were a rip off and I never understood why people would go to the stores until I looked at the ad.

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Four Things to Talk About Before Marriage

Why is Marriage talk on a Getting out of debt blog?

Well the success rate is higher when you agree on these four areas… which includes a biggie…. MONEY! and not just the everyday conversation like, “yes, I have a credit card” we are talking about real conversation like “I have $21,158 in student loans and two credit cards which total $10,148 in debt.”

So click the below link and read on….  http://www.daveramsey.com/article/four-things-to-talk-about-before-marriage/lifeandmoney_relationshipsandmoney/

Keys to Financial Success

Although making resolutions to improve your financial situation is a good thing to do at any time of year, many people find it easier at the beginning of a new year. Regardless of when you begin, the basics remain the same. Here are my top ten keys to getting ahead financially.1. Get Paid What You’re Worth and Spend Less Than You EarnIt sounds simplistic, but many people struggle with this first basic rule. Make sure you know what your job is worth in the marketplace, by conducting an evaluation of your skills, productivity, job tasks, contribution to the company, and the going rate, both inside and outside the company, for what you do. Being underpaid even a thousand dollars a year can have a significant cumulative effect over the course of your working life.

No matter how much or how little you’re paid, you’ll never get ahead if you spend more than you earn.  Often it’s easier to spend less than it is to earn more, and a little cost-cutting effort in a number of areas can result in big savings. It doesn’t always have to involve making big sacrifices.

2. Stick to a Budget

One of my favorite subjects: budgeting. It’s not a four-letter word. How can you know where your money is going if you don’t budget? How can you set spending and saving goals if you don’t know where your money is going? You need a budget whether you make thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

3. Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is the number one obstacle to getting ahead financially. Those little pieces of plastic are so easy to use, and it’s so easy to forget that it’s real money we’re dealing with when we whip them out to pay for a purchase, large or small. Despite our good resolves to pay the balance off quickly, the reality is that we often don’t, and end up paying far more for things than we would have paid if we had used cash.

4. Contribute to a Retirement Plan

If your employer has a 401(k) plan and you don’t contribute to it, you’re walking away from one of the best deals out there. Ask your employer if they have a 401(k) plan (or similar plan), and sign up today. If you’re already contributing, try to increase your contribution. If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, consider an IRA.

5. Have a Savings Plan

You’ve heard it before: Pay yourself first! If you wait until you’ve met all your other financial obligations before seeing what’s left over for saving, chances are you’ll never have a healthy savings account or investments. Resolve to set aside a minimum of 5% to 10% of your salary for savings BEFORE you start paying your bills. Better yet, have money automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a separate account.

6. Invest!

If you’re contributing to a retirement plan and a savings account and you can still manage to put some money into other investments, all the better.

7. Maximize Your Employment Benefits

Employment benefits like a 401(k) plan, flexible spending accounts, medical and dental insurance, etc., are worth big bucks. Make sure you’re maximizing yours and taking advantage of the ones that can save you money by reducing taxes or out-of-pocket expenses.

8. Review Your Insurance Coverages

Too many people are talked into paying too much for life and disability insurance, whether it’s by adding these coverages to car loans, buying whole-life insurance policies when term-life makes more sense, or buying life insurance when you have no dependents. On the other hand, it’s important that you have enoughinsurance to protect your dependents and your income in the case of death or disability.

9. Update Your Will

70% of Americans don’t have a will. If you have dependents, no matter how little or how much you own, you need a will. If your situation isn’t too complicated you can even do your own with software like WillMaker from Nolo Press. Protect your loved ones. Write a will.

10. Keep Good Records

If you don’t keep good records, you’re probably not claiming all your allowable income tax deductions and credits. Set up a system now and

Reality Check

How are you doing on the top ten list? If you’re not doing at least six of the ten, resolve to make improvements. Choose one area at a time and set a goal for incorporating all ten into your lifestyle.

How many of the above are you doing??? Let us know.

Are You Sitting On $1,000?

I don’t know about you but I find that most Americas love having stuff around, whether they need it or not. Question is do we really need the stuff, use the stuff or really want it in our homes. There is a lot of money just sitting around our homes waiting to be sold.

For example, two weeks ago I sold $250 worth of stuff on Ebay. Now Ebay is NOT my first choice on selling things. I personally like the Free sites or the newspaper in the “corner cupboard” section where you can sell stuff under $250. But if your things are not selling in the free ads you can go to consignment stores or auction sites like Ebay.

Because my things were not selling on Free advertising sites I listed them on Ebay. My recent profit was $250. Not bad.

Some things to remember:

– start price at the lowest your willing to sell the item at

– remember to have the buyer cover the shipping costs – unless your willing to ship it

– remember there are fee’s when using Ebay.

So your items, if sold, must cover all your costs so that you actually profit from them. Sometimes I sell items on Ebay because I know I can get more money from selling on Ebay than having a yard sale.

Speaking of Yard Sales…. Last weekend I had a yard sale and my profit was $75. For the previous two years I made $100 and $140 from having yard sales. So having a yard sale can also be profitable.

Go through your stuff, what don’t you need or use?

Do you have a storage unit? Do you know what is even in your storage unit? When was the last time you needed something in your storage unit? – That may be an indication that you have things to sell..

Happy selling.

7 Obstacles to Financial Success

According to Brett Wilder Wilder author of The Quiet Millionaire, the seven obstacles to financial success are:

  • Lack of discipline. Without discipline, it’s difficult to build wealth. In fact, it’s impossible to get rich — slowly or otherwise — if you spend more than you earn. The math just doesn’t work. Wilder also warns against compulsive spending, and he urges readers to track where their money is going.
  • Materialism. Things will not enrich your life. It’s so very easy to find yourself “keeping up with the Joneses,” succumbing to lifestyle inflation. But materialism breeds discontent. Instead, Wilder says, focus on intellectual and spiritual pursuits to obtain fulfillment.
  • Debt. Not all debt is bad, of course. A reasonable mortgage on a sensible home is fine. But consumer debt — or a bad mortgage on a big house — is an enemy to financial success. In fact, bad debt may be the biggestenemy to financial success.
  • Taxes.It’s our responsibility to pay the taxes we owe, but we’re under no obligation to pay more than that. “It is not unpatriotic to reduce paying your taxes,” Wilder writes. We should instead actively work to keep our tax burden as low as possible.
  • Inflation.Inflation is wealth’s silent enemy. It will not destroy you all at once. But it’s always there, nibbling at the corners of your life, consuming a little cash every year. It’s impossible to keep inflation completely at bay, but you can learn to mitigate its effects.
  • Investment mistakes. As many investors have learned recently, poorly structured investment portfolios can be a killer. This obstacle is overcome through education, through an understanding of diversification and asset allocation, by taking the emotion out of investing.
  • Emergencies. The final barrier to financial success is the unexpected: unemployment, death, illness, and legal complications. Without a plan for emergencies, you leave yourself at the mercy of the fickle fates. Carry adequate insurance and maintain an emergency fund!

Take note, these can sneak up on you without you knowing it.

I’m not into material things however there have been plenty of times that I have found myself spending (wasting) money on material things that in a day or two wish I did not buy.

I do disagree when he say’s not all debt is bad debt. If you have to owe anyone money it’s not a good place to be. Having a mortgage is not bad but when you think about the interest you are paying on it, getting it paid off is a good thing.. but that’s just my two cents…

5 Keys To Financial Success

Everyone has their special “5 Ways to Financial Success” step for people to that will free them from their creditors/worries. Take what you can from all the sources but be smart. I suggest that you dont do all 5 ways at the same time or else you will get nothing done..
ie: if you pay off debt while saving for retirement it will take you twice as long to get your debt paid off and a good amount of retirement saved.

Try one thing at a time, I suggest:
– getting a small emergency fund
– paying off debt
– 6 months of savings
– children’s college fund
– retirement
– paying off your mortgage

However if you wanted to do the 6 months of savings first, get it done as soon as you can THEN move on to the paying off your debt… When you do a few at the same time you are not going to feel/see the rewards as quickly as you would like. And when people do not see the rewards from their labor they tend to quit. The excitement ends. And they are right back to where they began.

Make sure you see the fruit of your labor by concentrating on ONE THING AT A TIME!!!

The end result is worth it!

5 Ways to financial Success

Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Why am I sharing another video about being better? That is simple, as stated in my last post it is the only way we are going to truly meet our needs. If you have been reading my blog posts you are at least interested in saving money and/or getting out of debt. How long do you think you can keep up the steps that you need to take to reach those goals if you:
– do not first have faith in yourself
– do not stop whatever it is that caused you to get there
– why you got in that position in the first place

Many people fall short on their goals due to not being able to make it until the end. People get lazy, people are inpatient, you really need to know your WHY?

Why do you want to get out of debt?
How will your life be different if you accomplish your goals?

Any steps to making a dream come true is the best steps you can take.

Note about the video: I really like the story he tells near the end about the women how makes a phone call to her boyfriend…

Enjoy. And tell me what you think about the video

When you believe you can achive your dreams

I realize that this post is not about how to save money or pay debt however I think it is important to remember that belief in it is half the battle. You have to believe in yourself and what you are doing to make anything work. If you do not think or believe what you are doing is going to work than guess what, it wont.

Have faith in yourself, believe in what you are doing, see/picture what the end result is going to look like and move toward it… Without belief you are going to struggle with what you are doing so much more…

LYRICS:
Many nights we prayed
With no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hopeful a song
We barely understood
Now we are not afraid
Although we know there’s much to fear
We were moving mountains
Long before we knew we could

There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe

Mariah:

In this time of fear
When prayer so often proves in vain
Hope seems like the summer bird
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I’m standing here
My hearts so full, I cant explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought Id say

There can be miracles
When you believe (Whitney: When you believe)
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill (Whitney: Mmmmmhhh)

Whitney and Mariah:
Who knows what miracles

Mariah:
You can achieve (Whitney: You can achieve)
When you believe
Somehow you will

Whitney and Mariah:
You will when you believe

They don’t always happen when you ask
And its easy to give in to your fear
But when you’re blinded by your faith
Can’t see your way clear through the rain
A small but still resilient voice
Says hope is very near

There can be miracles (Miracles)
When you believe
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe somehow you will
Somehow you will
You will when you believe
When you believe

Song…….. When You Believe
From………The Prince of Egypt
Sung By.. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

Coupons…. Savings or Not?

I have to say I not an extreme couponer AT ALL…! Frankly I don’t have the time or the patience for it.. But every weekend I do go through the Sunday paper and see what they have and if they have a coupon for a product that I actually buy then Yes I will rip it out (don’t have patience to get the scissors) and place it in an envelope in my purse for later use…

Are coupons a great way to save $$$????  Yes and NO.

Coupons are usually for name brands only… So if you usually purchase the store brand, using the coupon on the same name brands may still cost you more than the store brand… -No Savings there.

However it you find coupons for products that you do use, by all means, use the coupons.. Sometimes I suggest holding off a week or two to see if the store places that item on sale. That way you get the sale price and the coupon discount.. Even more savings!

If you receive a coupon for one of your favorite clothing stores, lets say 15% off when you spend $50 or more… if you were not planning on shopping for clothes in the first place –  NO Savings.

Note to self: Don’t let the store fool you into thinking you are saving money… If you weren’t planning on spending the money in the first place it No Savings.

However if you were planning on doing some shopping (your child is a growing weed) than the 15% off $50 or more is a good deal.. It is better when you buy ONLY everything off of the clearance racks or sale items (then you are getting even more for your money).

90% of the time when I shop for clothing I shop off the clearance racks or at Salvation Army/Goodwill. You can find great items (name brands, in like new condition) for a fraction of the original cost..

*I once bought a $90.00 hand knit wool sweater from Express at Goodwill for $7.00… Nothing was wrong with it. Looked brand new! – I think it was a good deal. (I have many stories like this one)

The biggest suggestion I have: Coupons DO NOT work if you do not remember to bring them with you OR you forget to use them 😉

AND coupons are not a savings if you were NOT going to buy the item in the first place.

Financial Peace University DVD Home Study Kit

I was going to post a Link to a discount on Dave Ramsey’s home study kit.. However I thought about it and realized that is promoting exactly what I am asking people NOT to do.. spend money on things that are NOT a need but a want.. Will that program help you, Yes it certainly could.

However the more important point is that you can get this information from other sources for FREE, (Such as my blog here)… Or heck only spend the $20-30 dollars and buy his book the “Total Money Makeover.”

Before EVER spending you money on things you think will only “help you,” you really need to ask yourself can you get the information some where else for FREE or for a lower cost…

As I stated above you can get the book ” The Total Money Makeover”  for a $20-30 dollars or you could ask yourself question like:

  • Can I get the “Total Money Makeover” for Free?
  • Do I have friends that have the book?
  • Will my church loan me the book?
  • Does my local Library carry the book?

The Most important thing while in the journey of getting out of debt is to ask yourself:

  • Is it a need or a want?
  • Can I get it for free or reduced somewhere eles?
  • Do I really have to have it?

I find many times if you wait two or more weeks you find that when you go back to asking if you still Need something you find that you really can do without it…

Good luck! And remember it is a Journey……