Best financial challenges that families face

Families often face a variety of financial challenges ranging from low income and severe debt to illness and redundancy.

If you do not want to be part of the statistics that make divorce a fallout from money problems, it is important to realize that understanding about affordability for the family is vital. Living above your means and having different ideas about saving and spending can cause stress for any family and this is found to be especially so for those on low or fixed incomes. As a financial challenge, a low income comes top of the list of problems but you can learn to live on less by sticking to a budget and working hard on reducing debts, and once the amount of debt has been reduced you will find that you will have a more disposable income.

Many families go to the wall because when the regular income stops for whatever reason, including the breadwinner falling ill or being made redundant, they are unable to function on a lower income. It can have a major effect on all members of the family but this is another situation where a budget can help to allay everyone’s fears. Stick to spending only what you can afford rather than falling into the trap of alluring short term loans and the financial challenge can be met head on. If you have become adept at budgeting when there is a regular income coming in, then you can apply the same principles when you no longer have this income to rely on. Reducing the amount of debt that your family has is also a challenge that can make the most optimistic person feel daunted. However, there are lots of organizations that can help with advice about coping with debt and many people who had been deeply in debt have come out the other side wiser and more knowledgeable about how to keep their family in an affordable manner.

Ill health is another situation that can prove to be a financial challenge especially if the illness is a chronic long term disease or condition. Get the help of relatives and professionals so that you do not feel overwhelmed by medical costs for prescriptions and caring for the family member who is ill. Some time out from caring can help to put things into perspective and will also assist you to remain calm and to get the financial help that is available through the NHS or other organizations.

Finally, it is always a good idea to be on the same page when it comes to money. If one partner is a spender and the other a saver it can prove very difficult to maintain a viable relationship when money becomes tight.

Top money saving apps to know about

Load your smartphone up with these ultimate money saving apps and you will have more money in your pocket in no time. There are literally hundreds of apps out there with the sole purpose of helping you save and it is just a matter of digging them out and working out which ones are best.

Monzo

Monzo is essentially a hybrid between a budgeting app and a prepaid credit card. It is a Mastercard that is linked up to a nifty little app that let us you keep an eye on where you spend your cash day to day, sending you notifications each time your card is used and how much you spent. We like how using a prepaid card like this means you can skip out having to enter any spending manually into a budgeting app or spreadsheet, so no transactions are forgotten.

PayFriendz

Whether you are splitting a restaurant bill, chipping in for a friend’s birthday gift or doing a communal food shop, it is easy to lose track of who owes who and how much. What is worse is that the whole process of collecting what you’re owed can be a major hassle, and a bit awkward between friends. Payfriendz is a great solution to this problem, as you can use the app to send someone cash or request someone to pay you with a click of a button. The only annoying thing is that you need to transfer money into your PayFriendz account in order to pay out, but that’s pretty easy once you hook your bank card up with your account.

ATM Hunter

This is a great little app, especially for those days and nights out in a city you do not know so well. We have all been in that annoying situation where you are running about like a headless chicken looking for a cash machine because you are in a bar that only takes cash, or their card machine is broken. What is even worse is if you finally end your headless chicken pilgrimage only to find that the ATM you’ve managed to hunt down charges an arm and a leg just to use it.

CheckoutSmart

You will then get cashback credit added straight to your account which is transferable to your bank account or paypal. One small catch, however, is that every time you make a payment request to withdraw money from your account, you will be charged a 5% fee. Therefore, it is worth letting your earnings build up a bit before you withdraw anything.

Idealo

There is nothing worse than buying an item online or in a shop only to find later that you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere. Idealo is a life saver for anyone who is caught out by making impulse purchases and the minute you come across something you would like to buy, get the Idealo app out before you part with your cash. All you need to do is either search for the product in the search bar or scan the product’s barcode to find how much you could get it for from other retailers. It could literally be a case of walking two minutes down the road to another store and getting it for half the price.

Best tips to say to save money for family

Lots of money-saving advice requires a complete lifestyle overhaul for you to see a return. Whether it is switching to a more sustainable lifestyle, or skipping out on family vacations, you simply might not be willing to make the huge sacrifices that frugal living sometimes requires. Some of the smallest changes in your lifestyle can reap the biggest benefits when it comes to a floundering budget. When you understand that saving money with your family doesn’t have to be all about extreme couponing or deprivation of quality time, you might be more inclined to make tiny changes and save more

Plan Your Meals

One of the greatest downfalls of even the most frugal family is an impromptu trip to restaurants in lieu of dinner. Instead of serving up a healthy meal for under $2 a serving, you end up splurging on calories and money to feed your family, making it an automatic budget buster.

Shop Smart

You do not have to be a hardcore couponer to save money on groceries. Instead, smart strategies can relieve pressure at the store so you do not overspend. It is imperative that you only shop once and get everything you need in one trip. Heading to the store for a forgotten gallon of milk or an extra loaf of bread can cause you to repeatedly overspend all week long, and plus, it wastes gas.

Arrange for a Staycation

If you can take a few days off work and school, a staycation feels like a vacation even if you are sleeping in your own bed. Many nearby towns and cities have tons of stuff to do, whether it is historical sites, campgrounds and hiking trails, free museums, or cheap daytime admission to the movie theater. When times are tight, it is fine to nix the yearly vacation for something new. As long as you make it fun for your kids, they’ll hardly miss the trip. Vacations are about spending time and making memories together.

Entertain at Home

If the kids are driving you crazy, it can be tempting to head out to the movie theater or bowling alley just to get out of the house. But your day trips can spell disaster for your budget. Instead of nixing family time altogether, find ways to keep the kids entertained at home. A stash of board games, a run through the sprinkler, or a home movie night complete with popcorn can keep your kids occupied for pennies. If you need to get out of the house, try being park critics.

Best easiest ways to repair your credit

There are very simple solutions to repair your credit score. A credit score is not like a race car, where you can rev the engine and almost instantly feel the result. Credit scores are more like your driving record: They take into account years of past behavior, not just your present actions.

Check your credit card balance

One major factor in your credit score is how much revolving credit you have versus how much you are actually using. The smaller that percentage is, the better it is for your credit rating. Always pay down your balances, and keep those balances low. Even if you pay balances in full every month, you still could have a higher utilization ratio than you would expect. That is because some issuers use the balance on your statement as the one reported to the bureau. Even if you’re paying balances in full every month, your credit score will still weigh your monthly balances.

Never leave old debt

Some people erroneously believe that old debt on their credit report is bad. The minute they get their home or car paid off, they are on the phone trying to get it removed from their credit report. Negative items are bad for your credit score, and most of them will disappear from your report after seven years. However, arguing to get old accounts off your credit report just because they’re paid is a bad idea. Remember that, good debt that you have handled well and paid as agreed – is good for your credit. The longer your history of good debt is, the better it is for your score. One of the ways to improve your credit score: Leave old debt and good accounts on as long as possible. This is also a good reason not to close old accounts where you have had a solid repayment record.

Check your credit calendar

If you are shopping for a home, car or student loan, it pays to do your rate shopping within a short time period. Every time you apply for credit, it can cause a small dip in your credit score that lasts a year. That is because if someone is making multiple applications for credit, it usually means he or she wants to use more credit. However, with three kinds of loans such as mortgage, auto and more recently, student loans such as scoring formulas allow for the fact that you will make multiple applications but take out only one loan. The FICO score, a credit score commonly used by lenders, ignores any such inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. If it finds some that are older than 30 days, it will count those made within a typical shopping period as just one inquiry.

Bill payment on time

If you are planning a major purchase, you might be scrambling to assemble one big chunk of cash. While you are juggling bills, you do not want to start paying bills late. Even if you are sitting on a pile of savings, a drop in your score could scuttle that dream deal.One of the biggest ingredients in a good credit score is simply month after month of plain-vanilla, on-time payments. The credit scores are determined by what is in your credit report and if you are bad about paying your bills or paying them on time and it damages your credit and hurts your credit score.

Not taking risk

Sometimes, one of the best ways to improve your credit score is to not do something that could sink it. Two of the biggies are missing payments and suddenly paying less than you normally do. The other changes that could scare your card issuer taking cash advances or even using your cards at businesses that could indicate current or future money stress, such as a pawnshop or a divorce attorney.

Top money saving trends you must follow

Use coupons for everyday purchases.

This has remained a great money saving trend for multiple years now. You already know our love of coupons and have likely learned about different methods of creating a stockpile, using them casually or becoming a hardcore extreme couponer here on our site. Coupons are one of the easiest ways to save money no matter your lifestyle or budget.

Drop cable and use streaming services

This is another one that has become more and more popular. With the ability to grab an Amazon Fire Stick, Roku or even Apple TV to stream through – many families are saving hundreds of dollars a month on entertainment by dropping cable and satellite TV for streaming services instead.

Utilize menu plans

Whether you need a gluten free diet, low fat, Weight Watchers, Crockpot or simply easy meal menu plan, there are hundreds of ready-made options for you to download complete with recipes and calendars. We go with the old school method of creating our custom menu plan and working around sale items and our pantry stock. A menu plan keeps you from eating out and buying food you already have in your pantry needing to be used.

Direct deposit to savings accounts

More and more individuals are utilizing their direct deposits from work to put money automatically into savings accounts. You can let your HR manager know how much you want direct deposited into each account per pay period, and this makes it easy to save without thinking about it. Since you won’t be “touching” that money each pay period, it makes it much easier to save.

Passive income and MLM marketing money sources

Another trend that has become popular in the last year is to create your method of passive income. This has been seen most widely in the form of multi-level marketing programs, home business selling products or freelance work. While MLM programs are often a bit on the shady side for me to recommend, there are many that people love. You can set up a website, social media account or other forms of getting the word out there easily and reach hundreds of people a month selling something simple online that you don’t have to control inventory on. This is popular and a great way to make money to pay off debt or save for the future. Just be careful about what companies you choose to work with.

These money-saving trends this year seem to have staying power. While they wonuld not always work within your particular home and needs, they do seem to be methods that have been around for awhile and are growing in popularity. Take advantage as you can and grow your savings accounts in no time.

Best ways to pay less credit card charges

For those who run a balance on a credit card, paying interest might seem like a fact of life. But that’s not the case, especially if you’re paying the sky-high rates that many credit card providers charge.

One credit card fact that’s surprising to some: interest charges typically aren’t based on your statement balance. Most card issuers charge interest based on your daily balance instead.

Daily interest is usually calculated by taking the APR on the card and diving by 365. Multiply your balance on each day by that value, add up the results, and you’ll get your total interest for the month.

For purchases, there is a grace period, but that only applies if you pay your statement balance in full. If you don’t, you’ll be assessed interest.

To save on interest if you don’t pay your bill in full, keep your daily balance as low as possible. That way you’re not assessed as much interest as you would if you waited until your statement due date.

Along with paying sooner, more frequent payments will keep your daily balance lower, too. Most card issuers allow you to make payments multiple times a month.

Consider making a payment each week or twice a month, even if it’s just a partial payment of your balance. Again, you’ll benefit by keeping your daily balance lower.

Paying more frequently might help with budgeting, too. Instead of running up huge balances and hoping you have enough in your checking account, paying more frequently will help keep balances low.

Keep in mind that many of these cards require a good or excellent credit score, so don’t waste your time or potentially damage your credit by applying for cards if you don’t have the credit score to match.

 

Best ways to reuse credit cards

Credit cards are very important companion for people in the present times. These tools takes of the care of your monetary transactions and helps you with your shopping demands. Moreover, with owning credit cards, you get chance to win many travel and shjopping rewards which makes your more exciting.

Given is the list of the top ways that you do to reuse your credit card.

iPhone stand

You may now have the capacity to watch a full-length movie on your cell phone, but who wants to hold a phone for two straight hours? Not us, that is for sure. Just use your expired credit cards to create a stand that can be stored flat but quickly assembled to put on your desk or airplane seatback tray. That will leave your hands free to eat popcorn and guzzle soda.

Battery card cover

If you have ever lost the battery cover to a remote control, a mouse or any other small electronic device, you know exactly how exasperating it is to keep your batteries from tumbling onto the floor. Duct tape, rubber bands and twine are all crummy solutions, and buying a whole new gadget seems awfully wasteful.

Magic Wallet

What better place to stash your cash, business cards and receipts than in a wallet made of credit cards? This clever storage device has been around for decades, but this 21st century variation helps hide your valuables within your valuables. The flat, laminated cards can work especially well for this project.

Guitar Picks

For musicians, guitar picks are an inexpensive, indispensable tool but they are sometimes impossible to find when you need them. You can create your own endless supply of guitar picks with some extra credit cards, a Sharpie, and a pair of scissors. You can try different range of different cards to get your preferred thickness and flexibility-but to avoid the laminated cards.

Top procedures to find lost credit card

It is true that nothing quite compares to losing a credit card. You must have had that sinking feeling when you realize that you have left behind a phone, a shopping bag full of purchases, or even dropped some cash on the floor without realizing it. While those losses can be expensive, none of those losses can become someone else’s opportunity for a high-limit shopping spree.

These are some of the best steps to take after losing your credit card.

Never panic

Thankfully, federal law caps your total liability for a stolen or lost credit card to just $50. Moreover, many credit card companies have zero-liability policies whereby you’re not on the hook for a single cent. Even in the worst case scenario, you will probably be okay.

Contact credit card company

When it comes to limiting your liability, time is of the essence. If you report that your credit card is lost before someone has a chance to use it, you won’t be liable for their expenditures. As we said before, though, if they make purchases before you report that your card is missing, you’re liable for up to $50 in unauthorized purchases on a credit card.

Do keep records

Most card issuers are available 24/7 to assist you with reporting your lost credit card. You can find your creditor’s phone numbers on the issuer’s site or on your billing statements. Be ready to tell your creditors the date and time you noticed your card was missing. If you noticed any discrepancies on your billing statement, be sure to mention that as well, and keep all relevant documents handy in case you need to answer any specific questions.

Take actions

Now that you reported your lost card, your creditor can take the necessary steps to replace it. Your account won’t be cancelled, which might be good news for your credit score, but the old card will no longer be associated with your account. Provided you pay off anything you’re liable for, your credit won’t be negatively impacted.

Best tips for first-time credit card users

First congratulations! You have just been approved for your very first credit card. While you might be thrilled at this latest development, you need to make sure you know the basics before you whip out the plastic. Mishandling credit can have negative repercussions for many years to come. If you’re going to use credit, make sure you handle it wisely. Here are three tips for managing a credit card for the first time.

Shop around

You have many options when it comes to choosing a credit card. Take time to pick one that is right for you and your financial goals. It is absolutely crucial to know what you want to do with the card and find one that fits your lifestyle and your goals. Are you just trying to build credit? A secured credit card might be a good choice. Are you looking for rewards? Well, if you never fly anywhere, you may not want to bother with an airline miles card. Try a simple cash-back card instead. Is the card just for emergencies? Make sure that you find a card with a low interest rate. After all, emergencies usually are not cheap, and if you can’t pay your balance off at the end of each month, interest can grow more quickly than you’d believe, CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz told The Cheat Sheet.

Schulz said CreditCards.com has a tool called CardMatch, which matches you with the right card for you based on your credit profile. Using the tool would not impact your credit score at all and you will save yourself a lot of time and possible rejected applications by being connected with offers that are the right fit for you,” said Schulz.

There is no free lunch

Credit is not free money. Keep this in mind when you are at the mall and you see a new bag, shoes, or clothing item that you feel compelled to add to your collection. Eventually, you will have to pay for these purchases, generally with interest. So think carefully before you swipe your card. Also stay far away from cash advances and convenience checks, which tend to have much higher interest rates. A CreditCards.com survey found that interest rates typically ranged from 9.99% to 36%.

Use the card for emergencies only. However, if you are trying to build credit make small purchases and pay them off the next day. Avoid using your card as a primary means of payment. Rewards and points cards are not worth it and require you to spend more money to get the perks.

Just one late payment could ding your score

If you have not taken deadlines seriously before, now is the time to break that habit. Whether or not you pay your bills on time is one of the first things lenders will look at. In fact, your credit payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score. Some of the account types that are reviewed for payment history are credit cards, finance company accounts, and installment loans. Freeman says it’s best to send funds electronically so that you can keep on top of payments. When you have payments automatically debited from your bank account, this will ensure timely receipt of funds and reduce your chances of negative marks on your credit report. You will have one less thing to check off of your to-do list and practically guaranteed on-time payments as long as there is money in your bank account. It is a win-win for everyone.

Top ways in which credit card data are stolen

Gone are the days of the good old-fashioned purse snatcher. With little brute and more skill, thieves only need a minute, sometimes a second, to pilfer your credit card data. This spring criminals hacked, phished or skimmed their way into the systems of Michaels Stores, Sony, marketing firm Epsilon, Citibank and even security expert RSA, among others. In some cases, they only obtained names and emails. In the worst cases, they got credit card numbers.

These are the best things to know about the procedure in which credit card information is compromised with.

Waiter/Waitress

The waiter/waitress whisks away your credit card and swipes it through the restaurant’s register. Then, one pulls out a small device, about the size of an ice cube, from her apron and swipes it through that, They are one of the suspects.

Credit card reader

The operator switches the credit card reader at the register with a modified one of his own, says FICO’s Fraud Chief Mike Urban. For the next week, the sales clerk unwittingly collects credit card data on the modified reader until the trio returns, takes back the modified reader and restores the original terminal.

Hackers

The hackers puts malware on public computers and gathers the information you share with that computer, says Urban. They also infiltrates the computer system of banks, retailers and other businesses and extracts personal account information.

The information buyers

The person who buys the information verifies it and then sells it to a person who creates fraudulent credit cards with your account information attached to it. The card maker then sells it to other criminals who buy goods such as stereos or baby formula and sells them to regular consumers.

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