The Insider's Guide To Mortgages

Unless you are blessed with wallet loads of cash, a lucratively high paid job or a recent win on the lottery, the chances are that you’ll need a mortgage when you buy a property. You know the importance of living within your means, applying to borrow a sensible amount of money and sourcing a lender that will offer you a preferential interest rate. However, have you ever thought about the intricacies of the home loan industry? Take a look at these little-known facts about mortgages and consider if you can use any to your advantage to save you money.

mortgage

Credit Score

It’s vital that you live like the perfect responsible borrower for the three months prior to applying for a mortgage. Three months of bank statements and wage slips tend to be the norm for what your potential lender may wish to see. Make sure you don’t venture into your overdraft even by a penny, pay all of your bills on time and clear your credit card. By showing that you’re willing to streamline your finances, you’re demonstrating to your lender that you are serious about obtaining a mortgage.

mortgage bond

Overpay

Most mortgages are worked out using a standard 25-year repayment schedule and allow for overpayments, usually up to 10% of the outstanding balance each year. If you are frugal with your disposable income and chip away an extra few pounds from your mortgage each month, you could repay your loan quicker and save yourself thousands of pounds in interest. For example, if you had a mortgage of £150,000 repayable over 25 years and you paid back an extra £100 a month, you’d pay your mortgage off four years earlier than expected. This nifty little trick means that you could consider being mortgage free well before your retirement date.

Source The Right Expert

Mortgage brokers and property advisors are commonplace and can be worthwhile if you need help navigating the mortgage market. Make sure you source the right expert for your situation. Ask around and see if anyone can personally recommend a broker. If you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want help from a company that specializes in first-time buyer mortgage products. On the other hand, if you’re looking to start an investment property portfolio, a company like Belgravia Property Finance, which focuses on the commercial market may be more suitable. These middlemen can provide you with essential advice and arm you with the specialist knowledge you require.

property

And Finally…

If you’re unsure of how much to borrow from a lender, use the one-third rule. If you can ensure that no more than 33% of your income (whether this is single or joint) goes towards your housing costs (mortgage, bills, insurances), you can be confident that you aren’t stretching yourself financially. Lenders also love this percentage and tend to work out what they may lend you based on this figure.

Although the mortgage market may be a minefield, if you arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible, you will navigate it successfully.

Your Financial Past Is a Mess, But What’s Your Financial Future Look Like?

Let’s take a look back at the last ten years. If you’re reading this page, then you’ve probably made some unwise financial decisions or found yourself with money-related problems that severely sapped your ability to enjoy all the world has to offer. OK, now let’s look to the next ten years. What do they look like? Though people can get bogged down with the errors they’ve made, ensuring that your future is bright isn’t as unbelievable as you might think. You just need to be willing to move on. 

Your Financial Future

Understanding Mistakes

It’s all too tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore/forget about the financial mistakes you’ve made, but look at it another way: making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn valuable life lessons. You’re probably sitting on mountains of knowledge, which you’ll only be able to unearth if you’re willing to see what’s buried. Nobody is perfect, and there are millions of other people across the world who have also got themselves into financial difficulties. If you can acknowledge the actions that got you there in the first place, you’ll be able to move past them. 

Adjusting Behavior

And that is the crux of having a solid financial future: getting rid of the behaviors that cause us trouble in the first place and replacing them with good practices that’ll take us to where to want to go. One of the biggest dangers of becoming debt free, one that is seldom mentioned, is falling back into debt. It happens more often than you think. If you commit to avoiding that trap, then you’re on the right track. Then you’ll just need to figure out how you do it. 

Know The Future Is Bright, If You Want It To Be

It’s true that being poor with your money can negatively affect your future. But it’s not true that it must negatively affect your future. There are steps you can take to ensure that your financial future is the polar opposite of your financial past. Begin by using a service like creditrepairreview.co and give your credit score a boost; it’ll make it easier to get things like loans and other financial services that you’ll need in the future. Next, focus on developing your savings, either by putting a little bit away each month or by using investment services to build a portfolio. All of a sudden, your financial picture will look a lot brighter. 

Know the Mistakes Others are Making

Even with the best intentions in the world, it’s still possible to make mistakes with your money, purely because you don’t know anything else. This is particularly relevant to people in their twenties and thirties, who are making mistakes that might not be felt for another decade, such as living a life that is too luxurious when compared to salary and rushing into things like house ownership, marriage, and other “adult” things. 

All in all, it’s important to remember that the past doesn’t define you; it’s how you respond to it to that does! 

Speed Up Payments to Your Company

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a brand new business or a company that’s been trading for many years, if your clients don’t pay up quickly, it can cause problems. A lack of swift payments can make it difficult for you to do simple things like paying your bills or your staff or keep the lights on, and in extreme cases, it could threaten your very business.

invoice

The good news is, there are a number of things you can do to get your clients to pay up more promptly, or at least limit the damage if they don’t. Here are some of them:

Offer More Payment Options

A lot of businesses, especially those that are smaller or less well established, will only accept payments that are made in cash, but of course, this can slow the process down as soon as the client experiences a cash flow problem of their own.

If you want to speed up payments to your company, one of the best things you can do is to offer more payment options, particularly card payments, so that your clients, if they’re having money issues of their own, can still pay you quickly.

Bill Upfront

Of course, one of the best ways to speed up payments is to insist that your clients pay you upfront. Depending on your business model, this may or may not be practical, but you should consider giving it a try, because not only will it keep the cash flowing, but it will ensure that you do actually get paid for any work you do, which as you will probably, sadly, know, is not always the case!

bills paid

Change Your Payment Terms

It’s often the case that clients will wait until the last possible moment to pay, which can leave you in a pickle a lot of the time. A good way to deal with this is by changing your payment terms, say from 90 days to 60 days or from 60 days to 30 days, that way, you won’t have to wait quite so long for the cash to come flowing in.

Use Invoice Factoring

If you’ve tried everything, but payments to your company are still sluggish, and you really need access to the cash now, the service at factoringcompany.net, which enables you to sell your invoices for an instant cash boost, can be a godsend. Obviously, you’ll have to pay a small fee for this service, but when needs must, it’s a great way to get your hands on the cash you’ve worked so hard for.    

Send Reminder Emails

If payments to your company are overdue, you should not be afraid to send out polite emails, using the templates at crunch.co.uk, or make phone calls to the clients who owe you money. In fact, if you don’t do this, you might never see the money at all! Often, all it takes is a little prompting for that difficult client to pay up and for your situation to be made better.

If you do all of the above, chances are, you’ll notice that your invoices are being paid a lot faster than they ever were in the past.

How to Be Frugal yet Still Live in Luxury

Frugal living is one of those lifestyles that almost everyone is starting to pay attention to. After all, being wasteful isn’t a great feeling and saving money is, so why not change your habits and reduce the amount of waste you’re producing and money you’re spending?

Luxury lifestyle

Well, there’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap. In fact, it’s still possible to live in luxury while being frugal, but many people don’t see how you can do that. A lot of people assume that living in luxury immediately opposes the idea of being frugal. However, this is far from the truth and there are many ways to live in luxury while still being able to call yourself frugal.

Choose Your Luxuries

One of the biggest contradictions when it comes to frugal living is the fact that you can pick when to be frugal. Let’s face it, if we were all money-saving saints, then we would never eat out or purchase food from the supermarket unless it’s raw ingredients, and we would have no hobbies to speak of. There’s a limit to how frugal you can be, and being frugal doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge once in awhile.

Instead, think of being frugal as being smart with your expenses. After all, if you make a good living and you can afford luxuries, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself once in awhile. You’re free to treat yourself to an expensive meal once in awhile and if you can afford to live in a good neighbourhood in a luxury apartment building, then you shouldn’t feel guilty for it. There comes a point where saving money has diminishing returns. If you’re just simply saving money and doing nothing productive with it, then there’s really no point in keeping hold of it. You may as well invest the money or make yourself happy with it, and that’s when spending money (as long as you’re not throwing it away) can make a big difference to your lifestyle.

Choose your luxuries wisely. Don’t spend money on things you can’t use and focus on putting your money towards things that make a difference in your life. Whether it’s eating healthier food or living in a better neighbourhood, there’s nothing wrong with spending money and you can still be frugal by getting the most value out of your purchases. A simple lifestyle doesn’t need to mean cheap—it can still be luxurious.

Some Final Words

The point of this article was to address the stigma that people seem to have against those who enjoy their luxuries. Just because you like to spend money on making yourself happy, it doesn’t mean you still can’t be frugal. You could purchase apparel from fashionable brands when they’re on sale, you can go out to eat when there’s a special deal going on, or you can move to a better neighbourhood for the sake of your children. Wanting to spend money shouldn’t be separated from being frugal. In fact, the act of spending money wisely should be what we associate with frugal living, not the amount of money.

Currency Investments: Could You Make A Fortune?

New investors have lots of options on the table when it comes to using their capital to create profits. Most people gravitate towards the stock market in one way or another, but it’s vital that everyone conducts a lot of research to ensure they understand the ins and outs. Today, this post will offer some tips and suggestions for anyone who likes the idea of getting involved in currency investments using the foreign exchange market. Anyone who wants to make sure they don’t lose their money in a single transaction should read the information below carefully before applying the advice. 

forex market books

Read books by successful traders

Before anyone rushes headfirst into currency investments, individuals should take the time to read as many books and articles by successful traders as possible. It’s essential that new investors learn as much about the markets and winning strategies as they can. Some of the most famous currency traders around today include:
  • George Soros
  • Stanley Druckenmiller
  • Andrew Krieger
  • Bill Lipschutz
  • Bruce Kovner
Any title available by those individuals is going to offer an advanced and in-depth insight into the markets and how they function. It might take a few months to get through all the books, but it’s going to be worth the effort in the long run. 

Use technology to your advantage

You live in the digital age where advanced technology is readily available to everyone. For that reason, it’s wise to take advantage of the latest tools and software during the currency investment process. Experts from CMC Markets claim that new investors face more risks than those who’ve already found success in the marketplace. That is why people in that position need to use all the technical assistance available to ensure they don’t waste their capital and end up in a worse position. With that in mind, take the time to release the most popular and useful tools available right now before pushing ahead. 

forex trading

Employ the services of a broker

Lots of investment brokers focus their efforts on a range of different markets. Some people might feel less than enthusiastic about using their services after watching The Wolf of Wall Street movie. However, that true story happened many years ago, and the industry is entirely different today. Brokers earn their living by taking commissions from successful trades. So, it’s in their interests for every one of their clients to make a profit. If the brokers make mistakes, they won’t create any earnings that day. Considering that, new investors should try to identify a talented specialist as soon as possible. 

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, yes, you could make a fortune from currency investments. It’s just a case of using the best data tools and finding a broker with an excellent track record. Of course, as individuals gain experience, they should reach a stage where they can make the investments without professional assistance. Still, it’s not worth taking too many risks during the early days when you’re still finding your feet.

Cash for College: Exploring Your Funding Options

When you start thinking about college, the cost of attending is enough to make your head spin. The most you've ever had to pay for anything is a few hundred dollars, or maybe a little more for something like a car. Now you're facing thousands upon thousands to continue your education. Fortunately, there are options you can explore to help you pay for both your tuition and your living costs while you study. Before you make any firm decisions, you should know your options so that you can make the right choices. Take a look at these choices that you can use alone or combine with each other to fund your college experience.

college fund

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financial aid is a very popular way of funding college. More than half of college students receive financial aid in some form, including grants, loans, and scholarships. To get started with exploring financial aid, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will help you work out what you could be eligible for. You can find out more about it at fafsa.ed.gov. Scholarships and grants are offered by both the government and private organizations, with various rules for eligibility and aims. Some go to those who excel academically, others are for those who play sports, and some are for people who belong to a minority or disadvantaged group.

Loans

Federal student loans are widely used among college students as they often offer the best option. The interest is low, and the repayment terms allow for a long time to pay them off. There are also private loan companies that offer funding for college, and some might have something like a home equity loan helping them out. Deciding which loans could be best for you can be hard, but banking.loans might help you to get started. You can read about the pros and cons of different options to make an informed decision. It's important to consider things like interest rates and repayment terms, including when you'll have to start repayments.

Help from Parents

Many students receive some sort of support from their parents while they're at college. If you're lucky, your parents might have a college savings account set up for you that could help to pay your tuition. They might even be able to support you entirely all through college. However, many students' parents can't afford to help them much or even at all.

Work When You Can

Working during college is often a necessity for college students. It might be something you choose to do alongside your studies, or perhaps during your breaks. Getting a summer job is a common way to save money to support yourself during the coming academic year. If you can, it's best to seek out work that pays well, which you might have more time for during the summer, rather than trying to fit it around your classes. Finding a job on your college campus is also often a good idea.

College is expensive, but you can find ways to fund it. Explore all the options available to you to work out a plan that will work for you.

Renting: How To Do It On A Budget

Finding the perfect apartment is never easy, but it can seem downright impossible when you’re on a budget. In addition to paying rent, you also have to think about the upfront costs of moving somewhere new. However, finding somewhere suitable isn’t entirely possible. Here are a few steps that could help you to find your perfect apartment.

Know What You Can Afford

There’s no point in starting your search until you know what you can afford to spend. What are you currently paying and is it manageable? How much can you afford as a deposit? You also need to think about the money you’ll spend on utilities, food and other expenses. If you’re moving out of the area, your expenses may change. For example, you may need to pay more/less for transport to and from work. Working out exactly what your budget is will give you the best foundation for starting your search.

renting

Non-Negotiables

What do you need your apartment to have? Make a list of all the things you need in an apartment. For example, two bedrooms could be essential for you, but having a washing machine built-in may be something you’re willing to overlook because you’re used to taking your washing to a launderette. There will be things you need in an apartment and things you would like in an apartment. Make sure you look for the things you need above the things you want.

Start Early

If you know you’ll need a new apartment in the next few months, it’s wise to searching as soon as possible. Don’t leave it until the last minute when you’re on a budget. Be willing to look outside of your current area, even if it means traveling further to work. One of the best ways to find what you’re looking for is through an agency that works with different apartment buildings, like STL CityWide. That way, you have a broad range of apartments to choose from and you can secure your chosen apartment as soon as you’ve seen one you like.

Start Saving

The earlier you start saving, the more prepared you’ll be for the upfront costs. Many landlords ask for first and last month’s rent, security deposit, application fees and more. The initial steps of moving into a new apartment can be highly costly. So, if you start putting something away every month for a few months leading up to your move, you shouldn’t feel the sting as badly.

Don’t Go Over Budget

Realtors and landlords will inevitably show you apartments that you can’t afford, and many people fall for it because they look much nicer. And, let’s face it, we all want to live somewhere we can’t afford. Don’t be tempted into signing for an apartment that you can’t afford. You may get to live in prettier surroundings, but your finances could keep you up at night. Stay on budget and work on climbing up the property ladder in time.

When you’re finally in your new apartment, continue to save for your future.

Mindset Before Spend How to Set Yourself Up for Auto Loan Success

When it comes to getting a car loan, and things related to finances in general, a lot of people are quick to jump right into the thick of things before they're truly ready. Of course, doing your research on what your credit standing is, which auto brands are the best in terms of performance, and what your budget is, are important. But sometimes, proper mindset before purchase, or before any important action in fact, is crucial to setting yourself up for success.

Did you know that a vehicle is typically the second largest purchase that most consumers make? After a house, the general population spend the most for acquiring and owning a car. And just like a house, acquiring a vehicle of your own often involves things like loans and repayments per week, fortnight, or month.

car loan

First time buyer or not, spending thousands of dollars (in total) for anything can seem overwhelming. While we have a deep understanding of how important convenient transportation is in today's world, we sometimes forget that getting in the right mindset before purchase can define the difference between being stuck paying for a car that we can't sustain and a paying for a vehicle that will help us drive through life. So if you want to set yourself up for auto loan success, here are a few key things you need to put in mind:

Don't be blinded by sparkles

There's a big difference between the car you WANT, the car you NEED, and the car you can AFFORD. A lot of people automatically get drawn to the sleekest, shiniest, newest model. And this is okay, if you can realistically afford it and all the costs that come with it. The amazing and incredibly devious thing about certain car salesmen is their ability to make people believe that it's a good idea to buy things they can't actually afford. The same goes for vehicles. You may be looking for a simple toyota, but some salesmen would try to push you towards the more expensive models as they possibly can. Don't fall prey to flattery, big bold and red marketing terms (like SALE) and that urge to impulsively swipe with your credit card. Before any big ticket purchase, be sure to check your monthly budget and credit history.

Time to be a math person

If your haven't created a budget to show all of your regular expenses plus your typical incidental expenses, then it's about time that you create one. Remember that when you purchase a vehicle, you'll be needing to factor in the weekly/fortnightly/monthly repayments for your car, petrol, and other costs (like tyres, windscreen, and maintenance) associated with owning a car. Most especially when you're trying to apply for a bad credit car loan, you have to set yourself up to be a numbers man/woman before application. While most of us shy away from math, finding out all the figures associated with car acquisition and ownership makes the whole process so much easier to manage.

It's okay to shop around

Not all loans are created equally. Unlike with your run of the mill items in a mall where you might end up buying other things, shopping around for the best car hire is one of the best things you can do, so long as you do it the right way. The first thing you need to know is that you don't need to be afraid to look for and apply to several different auto loan companies. This allows you to find better rates and a wider selections in case you're still looking for the car that best suits your budget, needs, and lifestyle. Never ever let any lender or salesman make you feel pressured into taking a loan, finance, or lease for fear of losing the deal. There are others out there, and chances are they'd still call you to offer you the same or a better deal later on. You just have to make sure that you do all of your applications within two weeks. This way, it only counts as one or two enquiries in your credit file. Yes, for some reason every time you apply for a loan impacts your credit regardless of approval or rejection.

Proper mind setting pays off in surprising but valuable ways: you'll be armed with a clear head instead of getting blinded by dazzling marketing; You'll feel more confident and in charge of negotiations; And you'll have a less stressful, more pleasant, and overall more successful experience in the actual purchase. So don't jump into the auto loan game right away. Make sure your head is in the right space for the best chances for success. Good luck!

Financial Fortune-Telling: Will You Be Poor Or Secure?

Money might not be the single most important thing in this world, but there’s no doubt that financial stability will make your life easier. And you must acknowledge the fact that the decisions made today have a telling impact on tomorrow’s situation. 
  
So, are your current financial habits built to promote a brighter future or are they leading you towards an unenviable tomorrow? Let’s take a look into the crystal ball to uncover all you need to know. 

Spending Habits 
  
Many people assume that the small daily decisions aren’t overly significant. On the contrary, the habits you develop with regards to spending hold a huge influence on your long-term financial stability. For the sake of your immediate and ongoing situation, getting this right is a must. 

Financial Future
  
It doesn’t matter how much money you possess if it goes wasted. On the one hand, life is to be enjoyed. On the other hand, it’s very hard to drop bad habits in later life. Whether it’s using grocery coupons or learning to upcycle isn’t overly important. Finding ways to make your money work harder today will set you up for a far better tomorrow. 
  
Essentially, a time will come where income levels fall. If your spending habits are negative, they will inevitably lead you to major struggles during retirement. Most importantly, though, you must have your priorities in good order. Focusing on the wrong things is arguably the worst mistake of all.   
  
The Big Life Decisions 
  
While the daily lifestyle choices are vital, you must accept that the major aspects will set the tone. As an upshot of this, you must be willing to give those key items the careful consideration they deserve. Otherwise, mistakes in those areas could impact financial health for many years to come. 
  
Living situations should be top of the agenda. Whether it’s debating a change of property size or moving to another country, weighing up the pros and cons of all outcomes is key. There’s no doubt that variety of options are greater than ever. Choosing an option that suits your lifestyle both financially and logistically sets the best platform.
  
Major decisions may also come from career choices and relationships. Everyone is on their individual life journey, and you cannot predict every turn. Still, organization and planning will go a long way to keeping you on the right track. 
  
Being Prepared For The Worst 
  
When your current situation is stable, it can be very easy to rest on your laurels. However, life has the ability to throw up curveballs when you least expect them. Being prepared for those situations is vital. In fact, it's often the hallmark that separates responsible individuals from irresponsible ones. 
  
Studies suggest that up to one in four people would struggle to cope with a single financial disaster. The number that would handle two or three issues is even lower. Knowledge is power, and understanding the impact that a personal injury lawyer can bring following an accident could be a huge safety net. Handling those financial issues gives you one less thing to worry about during those nightmarish episodes. 
  
Problems can come from a whole host of sources, including properties and unforeseen career situations. Insurances and other precautions are always worthwhile. It’s the oldest phrase in the book, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 
  
Growing Wealth Through Investments 
  
The inflation of living costs is far quicker than the rate of salary increases. Most people will consequently need savings to see them through in later life. Sadly, pensions and basic foundations are unlikely to satisfy the need for long-term comfort. Worse still, saving via traditional bank accounts will bring limited results too.

investment
  
Outside investments can be the key to gaining long-term financial stability and increased wealth. Those external activities do come with risks, which is why every investor must find a suitable opportunity. Nonetheless, achieving this goal today will go a long way to opening the door for long-term financial freedom. 
  
Leaving it too late gives you less time to grow your fortune. As long as you take a responsible and mature approach to investing, it could be the defining feature of your financial future. Ignoring that opportunity would be a major lack of judgment. 
  
The Final Word 
  
While the information above shouldn’t be taken as gospel, those points are all valid for deciding your financial future. If you want to give yourself the very best chance of avoiding potential failings for a more secure tomorrow, you best start taking note today. 

It's Time To Fight Through Your Personal Roadblocks

When you're a kid, you're told you can be anything you want in life. For most of us, that never really turns out the way you might want it to. Sure, you can be whatever you want but how many of us actually manage to do that? It's almost as if, over time, the realities of life grind you down until you're willing to settle for just about anything rather than working to get what you really want out of life. Getting the most out of your life is far from easy. In fact, there are plenty of roadblocks in your way. That being said, just because there are things in your way doesn't mean that there aren't ways around them. Here are some of the most common personal roadblocks that might prevent you from living your best life, and how to get past them.

Fight Through Your Personal Roadblocks

Finances

It's a sad fact that money really does make the world go round. As much as many of us would like things to be different, without money there's very little you can do in life. Sadly, a lot of people end up getting trapped in financial difficulties that make it incredibly difficult for them to live their lives the way they want. Things like debt can have a serious negative impact on many people's quality of life. Whether you find a loan to consolidate your debts from a site like consolidated.credit, or you start working overtime in order to bring in some extra income, there are always things that you can do to get your finances back under control. Money might not be the most important thing in your life, but it does allow you to focus on the things that really do matter to you.   

Self-confidence

Far too often people give up on what they want to do because they see the amount of work that it would take, and they just say "can't." It's time to take can't out of your vocabulary. Sure, there are things in life that are going to be a challenge, but if things were always easy then they wouldn't be worth it, would they? You need to have the confidence to look a challenge in the face and stand up to it. Not only will you often find that you're much better equipped to face a lot of challenges than you thought, but the success that you achieve by doing that is far sweeter and more satisfying than anything that might come to you easily. If something is worth having, then it's worth putting in the work for.

The truth is that if you really want to take control of your life and be happy, you've got to be willing to put in the time and effort. Life is never going to just hand out success to you because you feel as though you deserve it. If you want a certain kind of life, then you've got to be willing to go out there and earn it!

Should You Move Abroad to Save Money?

When to decide to transition abroad, you’re in for two options. The first and most common one is to move to a country which resembles your own in terms of development and culture. The second option is, of course, moving to a cheaper country with all its perks and downsides. 

Move abroad

While the latter seems like a radical choice to many, there are quite some expats who chose to settle down in a cheaper and less developed country - and they haven’t looked back since.

Here is a handful of advice and insights from those who made the move before you, making it a bit easier to finally make a decision.

You can save a ton on accommodation

First things first; living in a cheaper country than you’re used to means that paying rent and doing your weekly grocery shopping will be a lot nicer on your wallet. Those who object to moving abroad in order to save money on accommodation tend to forget that, while rentals in rural towns may cost very little, it’s extremely tough to come by an affordable apartment in the middle of the city.

It’s the kind of thing you’ll be able to afford when you live in a cheaper part of the world - and remember that the country you’re moving to will benefit greatly from having you there as well.

Another point to this is that even if you move from an undesirable rural town to a more desirable city in a less developed country, you’ll still be able to save a lot on accommodation. You won’t save as much as someone who moved from an attractive city, but still - the point stands.

You can easily cut your expenses in half

With everything you spend in a developing country, from healthcare, groceries, bills, and the takeaway you treat yourself with once in a while, you’ll be able to save about half of what you’d normally spend. Even keeping in touch with your friends and family at home becomes less expensive than meeting up for lunch once a month, as you can make use of Planet Numbers to call anywhere for next to nothing - no stable internet connection required. 

The people who question other’s decisions on moving abroad tend to either feel stuck in their own rut - or they’ve forgotten that you can actually circle the globe for a full year and still spend less than you would have, living in your current city.

It’s why so many digital nomads have quit their regular nine to five job already and found ways to make money while living abroad instead. You don’t have to settle and live in the country you were born in just because it seems to be the norm - have a read around the web, and you’ll soon realise that it’s far from it. 

Countries that are still on the rise would love to welcome you and your family as the knowledge and resources you bring with will help them to prosper. It might not be the reason you’ve decided to move, but it’s good to keep in mind in any way, while you’re enjoying the freedom and adventure of living abroad.

Are You Using Your Credit Cards in the Right Way?

Credit cards pose a risk to you if you are not using them in the right kind of way. It’s not enough to just carry on spending as you ordinarily would without a card. They are specific financial tools, and you have to use them in the right way. To learn more about credit cards and how you should be using yours, read on now.

use credit cards wisely

Never Max it Out

The one golden rule of using credit cards is that you should aim to never max it out. When this happens, you run the risk of going over your credit limit. On top of that, your credit score will certainly be damaged, and lenders never look at that favourably. All in all, all of the good things about using a credit card could eventually be destroyed if you manage to max it out, so it’s just not worth it.

Select the Right Card For You

Choosing the card that’s right for you is not easy. After all, there are a lot of them out there, and it’s important to make sure that you know your options. Sites like reviews.creditcard can help you to make your choice. Read as many reviews as you can and look at all of the details before deciding which of the options is the right one for you and your specific financial situation right now.

Self-Discipline is Essential

Staying in control of your credit card usage is always going to be important. If you can’t even stay in control of yourself, how are you going to keep your finances balanced properly? Know when you’re at your limit and how far is too far for you. You need to be able to pay off your credit card debt at the end of the month because there are plenty of problems that will arise if you don’t do that. Having self-discipline will make your life so much easier.

Know the Latest Fraud Techniques

There are so many ways in which fraudsters can target you. And being aware of the dangers out there can help you to stay safe. With the rise in contactless payment methods, your card is at greater risk than ever before. People could scam your pocket with the right machine and get payment from you without you knowing. This is one of the many techniques on the rise right now, and you need to be alert to them all. Learn about the contactless fraud problems at moneysavingexpert.com/news/

Track Your Activity Online

These days, most banks have apps and online banking options that customers like you can make use of. The same applies to your credit cards. You should be sure to track your activity correctly online. If you can manage to do that, you will be able to ensure that you’re able to see what’s happening with your credit card and how it’s being used and charged. This can help you to spot any problems and take necessary action.

Using your credit cards in a safe and sensible way is vital if you want your finances to be healthy going forward.

The Dos And Don'ts Of Setting Up Your First Home

Moving out can be a confusing time for anyone. You’ve recently graduated, and now you’ve got to find somewhere to live to begin the life that you have been working so hard to build towards. Unfortunately, there are problems that can arise when you have found somewhere to live, and in this article are going to be some handy tips on how you can avoid disaster when setting up your first home.

Your First Home

Deposit

As if you haven’t forked out enough already for college, you will now have to think about saving for a deposit for a property. Whether you choose to rent or buy, it’s a large amount of money to be expected to immediately have.

Do
  • Ask friends and family if they can help towards the initial deposit on the property that you want.
  • Head to your local council to see if they can help house you somewhere within the area that you’re working. Bear in mind that housing associations can take a long time to house you due to high demand. They can however, help towards paying a deposit for a rented property.
Don’t
  • Lend from payday sharks, as this can land you in a lot of debt if you’re unable to pay it back, and let’s face it, being a newly graduated student normally means you have no money
  • Place a deposit on a property that you can’t afford. Make sure you work out all of your finances beforehand and make sure you’ve got enough spare to live comfortably.
Furnishing Your New Home

It’s likely that you’ve been using the furniture you had at your parent’s house, or furniture that the campus provides when you go to university, so you will need to begin thinking about buying your own furniture for your new home. The best way of doing this, is to buy the essentials first like a bed and a sofa for the living room and then over time buy the other things that you want in your home as you can afford it.

Do
  • Buy a bed that’s going to last you. Going for a second hand bed and mattress won’t last you long and is often uncomfortable. Head over to John Ryan by Design for more information on buying new and how you could afford to do so.
  • Unlike buying a bed, when you buy a sofa you have a bit more freedom to cut corners with the cost because it’s likely that when you want to decorate your home, you will want to get a matching sofa. Buying second hand sofas is really easy in this day and age with sources like eBay and Facebook selling groups constantly updating. You will probably be able to find a second hand sofa in your area for a decent price.
  • Ask family and friends for any furniture that they don’t want to be donated to your new home. You will find that many people are more than willing to help out as much as possible.
  • Head over to chain superstores like Argos to buy yourself your kitchen essentials. They will often to a whole set for a very reasonable price.
Don’t
  • Go for furniture on finance. Even though it seems like an easy route to go down, it can land you in a lot of debt which consequently, can ruin your credit score for the future when you decide to make larger purchases like a car or a home. You will also end up spending much more money than if you simply saved and bought the item directly.
  • Don’t let yourself rush into completing your home. It’s understandable that you may not have many belongings because you have recently graduated. Take your time and save your bank account.
Bills

The idea of having your own place often seems glamorous to people wanting to move out from their parent’s house. This is, until they are hit with the responsibility of paying their own bills and budgeting to make sure everything is paid. Many people don’t realise how many things you have to pay for when you have your own place, and that’s not including rent or a mortgage. Before you even consider moving out, speak to some trusted family members, or go to citizens advice to get yourself clued up on what to expect. You can also begin budgeting so you have more of an idea on what kind of property you can afford, as previously mentioned.

Do
  • Once you’ve moved in, phone your utility bill providers and talk them into giving you the best deal. They will often ask you what kind of service you can afford. Always make it seem like you don’t have much money, and they will give you the best deal around. This is because they want to guarantee they will be paid every month.
  • Set up direct debits. Once you have chosen the provider that you will be using, setup a direct debit with them so that you don’t forget to pay by accident. Not paying can quickly mount up debt and you may find yourself unable to pay with notices coming through your letterbox.
  • Make sure you’re using the minimum electric, gas, and water. This will ensure that your bills stay low and it will be fair on the environment.
Don’t
  • Load yourself up with unnecessary bills like gym memberships and magazine subscriptions. They might not seem like much out of your budget but for now, stick to the essentials only.
  • Complicate things. When it comes to choosing an internet provider (which may be essential for some people,) make sure you’re going for a bog standard deal. Keep it simple.
Following the three ideas in this article will allow you to set yourself up in your first home comfortably. Once you’re established in your new home and you’ve begun to save money, you can then think about adding all of the luxuries that you’ve dreamed of. Enjoy your new home!

The True Cost Of Taking Out A Student Loan

So you're a student trying to pay your way through schooling. This can be very expensive, especially if you're having to do everything by yourself. Some of you may be lucky enough to get a scholarship, or have a very supportive family who are willing to help pay your way through school. Or maybe you managed to build up your own savings account early on in life.

Student Loan

Regardless of your situation, it's still going to cost you, and the easy option when things get tricky is to take out a loan.

While many people do this, it's very important to know exactly what you're getting into before you commit.

Here's what you need to know.

Interest rates can be ridiculously high

Interest rates are never that appealing to begin with, but they tend to be much higher with student loans than any other. This is all down to the age group, the same way car insurance for new, young drivers is double - sometimes even triple the amount than what it would be for a middle-aged person.

A lot of federal student loans now have fixed rates, which is good because you'll have a basic idea of how much you'll be paying every month. Having said that, the annual percentage can still end up changing every year, so it's important to keep your eyes open for that. A two percent difference doesn't sound like an awful lot, but that can amount to thousands of dollars as the years add up.

They don’t just disappear

While certain types of debt can be dealt with if you file for bankruptcy, student loans cannot be managed this way which means regardless of your financial situation, the problem won't go until you have paid everything back.

This is because the law is very vague regarding student loans, so even if you try and take the problem to a higher power, you're essentially just leaving the decision based on the court. On very rare cases you may get lucky, but nine times out of ten you'll be left having to scrape pennies out of your piggy bank until you've paid everything off. To avoid this from happening, you can enlist the help of companies like debtsettlement.co who aide you by assessing your situation and giving you a final loan that will pay off all of your existing ones.

They’ll hold you back

Over fifty percent of students all confessed that they are still choosing to live at home with their parents because they don't have the finical freedom to be able to move out, meaning you could end up finding yourself stuck at home for another two or more years because of your existing student debt. Not only that, but your future in general may have to take a back seat, because you may not be able to afford what you'd originally hoped for. This could be anything from getting married, starting a family, and taking an early retirement. Even though these things may seem miles and miles away, it's important to think about what you want, because being stuck in debt for years on end can really affect those dreams and ambitions. Look at how to save up for your future on time.com.

Financial Wizardry - Conjuring More Money In The Business

When it comes to improving the cash flow of the business and how much money it has to invest back in, a lot of the tactics you’ll have recommended are to do with expanding or marketing. However, those also cost money and sometimes you’re not in a position to do that. When that’s the case, it’s all about knowing how to move the numbers.

Conjuring More Money In The Business

Financing

We’re not going to suggest that financing is free money. However, every business owner should know how to handle credit responsibly. A loan is one of the most reliable ways to get some extra financing when you need a cash injection in the short-term, but if you’ve been denied for the loan, there are still other options out there. Credit cards, angel investors, and even crowdfunding can help you straighten out cash flow. Most small businesses are going to have slow periods where they need to rely on financing. Just make sure you have a debt management strategy at the ready to deal with it in advance.

Flexible payments

You might be able to get more money from your customers if you would just get out of the way, as well. Nowadays, most customers don’t rely solely on cash, and online, they use a variety of different methods to pay. Plastic is one of the most common, and it’s worth looking at sites like creditcardprocessing.xyz to see which processing services can help you serve the most customers with the most reasonable fees. There are a variety of different payment platforms you can incorporate in the business, so do your research.

Fixing the flow

The problem might not be that you’re not getting enough money, but that you’re not getting it soon enough. This is a problem faced most often by businesses that rely on invoices and have to wait for customers to pay. By simplifying the process and sending invoices immediately from your end, you’re likely to see more prompt responses. However, you might also have to stimulate their end of the deal, either by including short payment terms in your agreement or by sending polite, but professional reminders of due invoices. Invoice financing is another kind of credit to consider, as well, if you do find yourself dealing with late payments often.

Finding price increases

You can always start charging more for the products and services you offer. Customers will naturally prick their ears when they hear of a price increase. So, as thebalance.com suggests, you have to be ready to justify that increase. Customers are willing to pay more, studies find, for better support, communication, and investments that they can see the benefit of. Being competitive can help you attract customers, but if you’re constantly undercharging, your business will eventually become unsustainable.

A little financial wizardry is a simple solution to immediately start seeing more money in the business. The techniques above all come with their own costs, so you need to do a little work to see if the gain will justify the cost, of course. 

How To Make Like A Tree And Branch Out Your Investments

If there is one thing every investor should know, it’s diversification. According to investopedia.com, the benefits are wide-ranging. From adding a layer of security to spreading the wealth, diversification is an investor’s best friend. However, it isn’t as easy as clicking your fingers and making it happen. For it to work, the person in charge needs to understand the process. With that in mind, below are tricks to branching out a portfolio. 

Investment tree

Find The Capital 

It’s impossible to invest in something if you don’t have the cash. Sadly, there is no such thing as a money tree or gold at the end of the rainbow. So, your first task is to find the capital that you will use to branch out your portfolio. If you are struggling for ideas, a home equity loan is a good place to start. With homeequitylineof.credit, it’s not difficult to find an affordable deal. Then, you can use the value of your current home to fund the venture. Barring that, there is a second mortgage, a bank loan, or a family loan. 

Keep It In-House

Anyone who follows Warren Buffett will know that he preaches investing in things in which you have knowledge. Some people say it’s possible to spend without knowing about the industry, but it’s a huge risk. Regarding diversification, this seems like a bit of a contradiction. However, just because you are looking to branch out doesn’t mean you need to make a stupid investment. Forbes.com believes this is a significant error. It is more than possible to diversify and stick to your knowledge areas at the same time. Real estate is a prime example. Rental properties are different to traditional houses, while you can also buy an apartment or even land. 

Don’t Go Overboard

When your portfolio springs to mind, is it difficult to remember every investment? If the answer is yes, you have branched too far. To diversify means to spread the wealth across a range of topics or an industry. It doesn’t mean put money into as many projects as you can afford. This means you run the risk of mismanaging the entire portfolio because there are too many variables. Rather than complicate the issue, try and keep it as simple as possible. There might not be a number to follow, but four or five investments is plenty. 

Maintain The Balance

Time.com has coined the phrase di-worse-ifying to explain an unbalanced portfolio. As a human being, there will be a temptation to invest in new ventures. However, as a rule, the portfolio doesn’t need touching once it’s well-balanced. Say you have 50% in bonds, 40% in big company stocks, and 10% in small, it should stay that way. Yes, the companies might change over time, especially if you see a “sure thing.” But, the balance of big and small shares and bonds need to compliment one another. 

Trees make it look easy, but branching out isn’t impossible. As long as you are savvy and follow these instructions, it should work out fine.

A Beginner's Guide To Day Trading (Make Money From Daily Investments!)

What makes investments great is the many paths you can go down. There are strategies for long-term investments, and then there are strategies for short-term ones. Day trading very much fits into that second category as it involves buying and selling assets very quickly. It’s something you do every day, and there’s a lot of money to be made if you do things right. 

trading chart

For any beginners out there looking to start day trading, this guide is the perfect place for you. You’ll find some essential advice to help you on your trading journey. 

Set A Budget

One thing you should avoid is risking all your money on your trades. Instead, you need to set a budget aside to spend on the assets you’ll be buying. Deposit a set amount of money in your trading account, and that’s what you’ll use for various trades. The general rule of thumb is to never spend more than 2% of your account balance on a single trade. This helps you lower the risk of losing all the money you deposited. 

Pick A Market That Works For Daily Trades

The whole concept of day trading is to make trades that last for a day at the most. As such, you’re looking for markets where prices can fluctuate quite a bit. Some stocks and shares are like this, as are some currency pairs in the forex market. Digital currencies, such as bitcoin, shouldn’t be overlooked either. As this bitcoin to USD chart shows, the price can change quite a bit during the day, so there’s money to be made. You should avoid trades in markets that are very steady and stable with no changes in price for days, weeks, or months. These are pointless for a day trader. 

Become A Morning Person

You won’t have a great deal of success if you start trading in the middle of the day. Some markets are 24 hours, while others open in the morning. You need to become a morning person and wake up early to begin trading. Otherwise, you could miss out on so many great deals and opportunities by not being up early enough. 

Spend A Week Or Two Learning

It’s not advised that you jump into day trading right away. Put your money to one side and start learning instead. Spend a week or two just watching the market you’ve chosen. See if you can spot patterns and learn the right way to do things. You may find that there are peak times where certain assets drop to a low price and other times where they appreciate and can be sold. If anything, this time will get you used to the feel of the trading platform and help you get into the rhythm of being up early and trading all day. 

Take this advice onboard if you want to start day trading. It’s a good way of making money through short-term investments. Start off small, and work your way up. When you start seeing success, hire a broker so you can make even more investments and make even more money.

Stop Creditor Calls: An Easy-To-Follow Guide

When you are having financial problems, the phone doesn’t stop ringing. Sadly, it’s for nothing but bad reasons; you’re being plagued by an endless number of calls from creditors, all demanding their money.

Stop Creditor Calls

One creditor is bad enough, but if you’re receiving calls from multiple companies, then it can quickly feel overwhelming. You might even be tempted to change your number to avoid the calls, but this doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. If you truly want to stop creditor calls for good, then here is a simple guide to help you along the way.

Step One: Answer The Calls

There is no point pretending the calls you’re experiencing don’t exist: answer them. Inform the person on the other end of the phone that you are taking the matter in hand, and the company will hear from you within seven days. Ask for no more calls in the meantime. If they do call during that period, simply say you have already explained the matter, and hang up. 

Step Two: Put A Plan In Place To Cope With Debts

There is a reason that you have got creditors hassling, and that’s because you’re struggling with your finances. If you really want to put a stop to these calls, then you need to examine your options for managing your debts. Read through debtconsolidation.co to see if debt consolidation might be an option for you, or enter into a debt management plan. You need to take action, or creditors are going to continue to harangue you. 

Step Three: Inform Your Creditors Of Your Plans (In Writing) 

Write to every company you have a debt with, whether they are the ones who have been calling you or not. So contact any providers of your credit cards, bank loans, store accounts -- anything where you have a balance owing, even if the account is currently well managed. 

Step Four: Ask Your Creditors To Stop Calling Unless You Default On Your Plan

As part of the above letter, request in writing that they stop calling you, provided you are going through with the plan as promised. This should work; if not, they are being unreasonable, and you are within your rights to consider a complaint. 

Step Five: Stick To The Plan

If you want to stop the calls for good, then you’re going to need to stick to the plan you have agreed and make any payments that are due. To ensure you don’t forget, you can set up direct debits so you don’t fall behind and become subjected to calls again. 

There’s no doubt that sticking to a plan you have put in place can be difficult. Willpower is the only reasonable answer; it’s worth having a read of psychologytoday.com to see how you can give your willpower a boost.

By completing the steps in this plan, you can return to a world where your phone ringing is a sign of excitement at a friend getting in contact. Reclaim your phone, deal with your debts, and put the stress and worry over the endless calls behind you.