Thursday, August 17, 2017

4 Apps to Help You Manage Your Money



When it comes to handling money, it can be a struggle to remember to save a percentage of your paycheck every month, figure out how and where to invest your money, and budget how much money you spend on fast food and going out every month. The vast majority of American adults report that money is among their top three stressors.

However, technology can change that. While it might be difficult for you to sit down regularly and crunch numbers on a spreadsheet, apps have made it easy to make smart money management a part of everyday life. 


It’s just one way that an app outweighs a computer program when it comes to habit management and convenience. There are a few apps that can make budgeting, saving, and managing money a breeze. Here are a few of my favorites: 

Digit


This app helps you save money every single day. The first month is free, and then after that it’s $5 a month. You connect this app to your bank account, and then it uses an algorithm to figure out how much money you can afford to save that day. 

It takes into account all of your spending habits, and also the total amount you have in your bank account that day. Some days it may only save $0.20, and other days the savings may be closer to $20.


You can set your preferences within the app. For example, you can put a limit on how much it saves every day, and then also tell it to never save money if you have less than a certain amount in your bank account. 

Digit is an easy way to save money without even thinking about it. Before you know it, you’ll have a few thousand dollars saved away and you won’t have even noticed. This is perfect if you’ve been trying to save for an emergency fund, but haven’t been able to put very much away. 

Acorns


If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to invest your money, Acorns is the app for you. This app works in the same way as Digit where it makes the most of your spare change, or the leftover money that you won’t miss. 

You simply connect your credit or debit card to the app. Any time you make a purchase, it will round the purchase up to the next dollar and invest the leftover cents. It invests in over 7,000 different stocks, to reduce risk and make the most out of your spare change. 

Using Acorns means that you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how the stock market works. You can just go to happy hour and grocery shopping like normal, and suddenly you’re investing. 

Mint


This app helps you budget your money. You connect it to your checking account, so you have a real time balance of how much money you have available to spend. After entering in the amount of your necessary bills and expenses every month, it will tell you how much you have left to budget out however you want. 

It also tracks your spending, so if you exceed your set budget one month, it will alert you. Mint helps you be more aware of your spending, because you can very clearly see how much you’re spending on fast food or travel every month. 

Prism


Prism helps you pay all of your bills! It tracks your payday and every single recurring bill that you have. You won’t have to check a dozen different websites to check the balance of your utility bill and credit cards, you can just open Prism on your phone and see everything laid out with the balance and the due dates. 

It can help you schedule when to pay them, so you’ll never have a late fee again. Not only will this app help you keep track of every single one of your bills, it also makes paying your bills a breeze. Your credit score will stay safe because you’ll never forget about a bill ever again.


5 Ways to Manage Your Finances During A Divorce



Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash
Divorce is not only a devastating experience for families, but it can be a costly one as well. The average cost of divorce in the U.S. ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, and the majority goes to divorce lawyers’ fees. 

Apart from legal fees, there are also alimony payments, the division of assets, and possible taxes, and costs can go even higher. For your peace of mind and to get your life back on track, it’s important to find ways to manage your finances and pay the bills during a divorce.

Common financial issues of divorce


There are several financial issues that need to be resolved during a divorce. First is the division of property, and both you and your ex will have to come to an agreement over who gets which items. Another is the division of debt. 


Often, this issue is one of the most difficult things to resolve as couples can find it hard to determine who is responsible for certain debts incurred during the marriage. You’ll also need to agree on tax issues such as who gets to claim Head of Household status or who gets tax exemption for dependents once you’re divorced. 



Divorce itself can be emotionally stressful, but it’s imperative to take concrete steps to resolve these financial issues during this trying time. Here are 5 ways to manage your finances during a divorce.


Consult with a reputable divorce attorney


Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can provide you with the financial guidance that you need during this challenging time. 


Even if you are in good terms with your soon-to-be ex, you will need a lawyer to help you avoid making typical financial mistakes during a divorce. Moreover, your lawyer can help you in case a financial dispute arises.


Create a new budget


You will need to figure out how much income you should make for you to live on your own. To do this, list down your expenses, utility bills, credit card bills, investments, tax records, family life insurance policies, and the like. 


Determine which items you and your ex can pay off during your divorce and pay your debts. You should also make sure that your ex pays the bills that he or she promises to pay.


Open your own personal credit card


During the divorce, Burnham Law Firm advises that you close any joint accounts to avoid financial disputes and problems from coming up. This way, you and your ex can work on paying only the debts that you incurred during your marriage. After you close your joint accounts, you should open your own personal credit card or other lines of credit.


Monitor your credit score


During your divorce, it’s likely that your credit scores will drop as you close accounts and make other changes in your finances. Check if any mistakes were made by a creditor which contributed to your lower credit score or if there’s any debt on certain accounts that were incurred without your knowledge.


Be prepared to make a lifestyle change


Now that your income will be drastically different, it’s important to be prepared for a lifestyle change during your divorce. Keep in mind that divorce will bring in new expenses and you will no longer be sharing household overhead costs with another person. It’s also important to talk to your children about the lifestyle changes that may take place during this time.

Divorce is tough enough without having to worry about your finances, but it’s one of the major hurdles that you have to get through to get your life back on track. Remember to consult your lawyer, keep track of debts and expenses, and be ready to make a few lifestyle adjustments to manage your finances well during your divorce.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Freedom Debt Relief Has A Quick Guide to Stable Finances



Everyone wants to avoid financial stress, especially debt, but it’s so easy for things to get out of control. Between avoiding impulsive purchases, keeping up with bills, and covering surprise expenses, there’s a minefield of potential obstacles to staying on track.

But it needn’t be so hard. The key is to leverage the power of your daily and monthly habits. Over time, small adjustments to your daily spending habits will pay huge dividends. More than preventing yourself from going into debt, you’ll be able to leverage the power of savings.

Freedom Debt Relief deals with plenty of consumers and has seen what happens when things go wrong. To help you make sure things go right, we’ve put together this quick guide.


Budget Differently


You’ve been told to make a budget before, but have you been told how? The problem with most budgets is that they assume that you need to fit your income to your budget.

While, of course, you don’t want to spend more than you earn, you should make your budget based on your whole life, not just your income. Lay out your life goals. Life goals include long-term goals, like retirement savings and short-term goals, like your desired lifestyle. If you want to take a two-week vacation each year, budget for that too. 



By focusing on what you want first, you can decide whether you need to make more money or where you can cut back to make those goals happen. Above all, a budget should set out your priorities so you can see what’s worth spending money on and what you can cut out.


Be Responsible with Credit Cards


Some savings experts will tell you to avoid credit cards altogether. But credit cards are a useful tool. You just have to use them responsibly. Only use your credit cards to pay for things you can afford. 

There are few things worse for your long-term financial health than partial, late, or unpaid credit card payments.Partial payments result in a snowball of interest, while late and unpaid payments ruin your credit score. 

Research credit card offers extensively before you choose to use one. All the information about fees and costs is there. You might have to do some digging to find it, but there’s no excuse for being surprised by a credit card fee.


Change your Shopping Habits


Whether it’s transportation, entertainment or living expenses, you can find ways to save on almost everything. Shop for clothes at second-hand stores when possible. Use promotional offers for outings to movie theaters or restaurants. 

Enroll in loyalty programs to save on groceries and gas. Wait for desired items to go on sale, and only buy certain food when it’s in season.

It may seem like a pain, but once you get in the habit of finding savings on everyday items, it will become second nature. The best part is that all those little savings add up to allow you to save for retirement and plan fun vacations.


Create a System for Bill Payment


Kevin Gallegos, of Freedom Debt Relief, recommends setting up, “a system that works for you and that you’ll use consistently.” Seems pretty simple, right? Yet, so often consumers must pay an overdraft or late fee. Avoiding those sorts of easy-to-avoid expenses is another habit that pays dividends over time.

Find out what works for you. Gallegos says that it could be “automatic online payments, a spreadsheet, a cell phone reminder, or a list on the refrigerator.” All that matters is that it gets you to pay your bills and cash your checks on time.


Map out Long-Term Goals and Review Regularly


“Financial success” is different for everyone. That’s why it’s so important to dedicate some time to figuring out what you want to accomplish and what that’s going to cost. 

No one would jump in a car with only a vague idea of the route to their desired destination and expect to arrive without getting lost. So why would anyone expect an easy road to their financial goals without extensive planning?

Create milestones for your goals so you can figure out when and how much you need to save. Then, review your finances regularly—ideally once a month—to make sure you’re on the right path.

By reviewing your finances, you serve yourself in two ways. First, you’ll be in tune to your spending habits so you can adjust accordingly to stay on track. And second, you can keep track of any discrepancies on your credit card and bank statements.

Most credit card companies have a limitation on when you can dispute a claim. So, even if you have a legitimate claim, you might not be able to work it out if you make the claim too late.


Pay Yourself First


Monthly savings cannot be viewed as anything less than mandatory. Gallegos of Freedom Debt Relief recommends considering additions to your savings as a requirement, rather than a chore. 

Treat it like a required payment to your future retired self who will need financial support. Don’t overextend yourself by paying too much, but find some room in your budget even if it means sacrificing some fun money.


“Know what you have to spend—and spend less”


This last tip comes directly from the Vice President of Freedom Debt Relief. He says that learning to live below your means, “taking responsibility and choosing where your money goes,” could help you immeasurably in avoiding financial trouble.

To use this tip, reevaluate your budget completely. Search for expenses that you can reduce or eliminate and stick to your plan. Err on the side of cutting too much—you can always add subscriptions or memberships that you end up missing. Chances are though, you won’t even notice they’re gone.

Achieving your financial goals is most easily achieved by making small changes to your daily routine. Consistently enact these changes to your spending and savings habits, and you’ll be amazed at the difference small things can make over time.



Injured Doesn’t Have to Mean Poor: How to Effectively Save Cash on Medical Expenses



Medical bills top the list of the things that most people dread. Even with health insurance, they always end up spending more than they have planned for and it is utterly frustrating. 

Most individuals can affirm that huge medical expenses are the fastest routes to bankruptcy. Making some changes can transform such situations. Do you want to spend less and save more? Here are a few steps that can be quite helpful when carefully considered.

Weigh All Your Options


You have to do some serious bargaining if you want to land on the best deal. For instance, whenever you want to get a test or procedure done, ensure that you compare the prices of different medical practitioners. 





This allows you to settle for someone who is not unreasonably expensive. In addition to this, you can ask if they can give you a discount. If you are in an adverse financial position, talk to the person who is in charge to see if they can allow you to pay less. This way, you don't have to part with everything in your pockets.

Ensure That Bills are Processed Accurately


Sometimes, when your bills are not processed correctly, you end up spending way more than you should. It doesn't hurt to be keen. Always take some time to review your bills and ensure that no mistakes have been made. 

In case of any errors, have the bill reprocessed and you might be able to save some dollars. Confirm that you need medical care before paying for it. It's okay to seek medical assistance when you are unwell, but it is also wise to confirm that you need the help before paying the bills. 

You might be diagnosed with a fatal disease one day only to realize that it was a mistake the next day. Seek the opinion of another expert and have all the tests redone to avoid paying for the treatment of a nonexistent disease.

Pest Control


Another effective way of saving on medical expenses is controlling pests in your home. Pests are one of the main reasons why we fall sick and controlling them is a safe way to minimize the amount of money that you spend on medical bills. 

For instance, pest control in Utah County, or in other areas, always helps control infestations and other pest problems. Ensure that you use the right household pesticides and when using them, be cautious to enhance safety.

Purchase Generic Prescriptions


It is advisable to buy generic medicines. According to Food and Drug administration, they are safe, helpful and cheaper. You can also go for over-the-counter prescriptions since they are less expensive than their brand-name equivalents and still as useful. After all, your goal is to get the right treatment even after spending less.


Always Have Current Health Insurance


In as much as you might wish to avoid paying for your health insurance, it is very critical. People have found themselves in devastating situations due to lack of medical insurance. 

Seek some protection so that you'll be safe in case something happens; like an accident that could wipe out all your credit cards. Again, this is an appropriate way of saving for your medical expenses.

Talk to Your Doctor


Doctors and other medical experts are willing to help you get the best. For instance, if you are faced with an expensive test or treatment that your insurance does not cover, ask them if it is needed. If it is necessary, can they charge you less? This might help you save some money.

Medical expenses don't have to be the reason why you remain poor or spend more than you even make. People make plans to make things better; apply strategies that will help you spend less on your medical treatment.


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