Sunday, July 26, 2015

7 Mistakes That Can Put You In Debt Fast

Being in debt is stressful situation that can be difficult to get out of. Some seemingly harmless actions you take could actually contribute to your debt problems. Try to avoid these seven mistakes that can put you into debt fast.

Living Beyond Your Means

A major mistake is living beyond your means. This means having more in bills for phone, cable, car payments, food, travel and entertainment. than you are bringing into the household every week. Living beyond your means can be solved by making a budget and cutting back on services or other expenses.

Paying Bills Late

Paying your bills late can increase your debt very quickly. You could suddenly be drowning in penalties, late fees and reconnection charges that keep coming every month. Credit card companies will increase interest rates if you are consistently late. Try to pay all your bills on time.

Relying On Credit Cards for Everything

If you are relying on credit cards for everything, then you are building up debt for not reason. You have to pay interest on everything you charge. This can add up fast if you are charging every purchase. This problem gets even worse if you pay only the minimum balance on each bill, and don't charge your card for more money that you have to pay for it. 

Being Charged With a Crime

Getting into legal trouble can lead to overwhelming debt because of fees and penalties imposed by the court. You could even lose some income due to the litigation. You need to consult with an experienced attorney when you are charged with a crime, say the experts at Keyser Law. This way, you can attempt to eliminate or mitigate any financial harm.

Taking Out Irresponsible Loans

You might have the opportunity to take out a large loan for a house, car or other item that seems beyond your means. You might try a payday load for fast cash. Never take out irresponsible loans since they can instantly put you deep into debt. While paying for a house will require a loan, don't take out too many loans for things that are more wants than needs. For example, buying a used, cheaper car is a good alternative to a brand new car you can't afford.

Not Maintaining Any Savings

Emergencies are going to occur, and when they do, you will need money to handle them. If you do not have any savings, then you are at risk of falling into serious debt when an emergency happens. Start an emergency fund today. Experts have recommended to save six month's worth of salary in case of emergencies like a job loss. 

Misunderstanding Balance Transfers

If you misunderstand balance transfers between credit cards, then you can fall into debt fast. If the introductory period expires and you have not taken care of the balance, then you could suddenly be responsible for huge amounts of interest. Use balance transfers sparingly and understand them fully.

You want to be very careful with your money at all times. Never agree to something you cannot afford, never use complicated financial tricks and never pay your bills late. A little patience and responsibility can keep you debt-free.

Hospital Stay: What You Should Know About Rising Medical Costs

Despite the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which includes the expansion of coverage under the Medicaid program and increased protections for seniors on Medicare, health care costs continue to increase with no relief expected in the near future. 

Fortunately, patients can do many things either on their own or with the assistance of others, to greatly reduce the cost of a stay in the hospital. In some cases, reducing costs may come down to simple persistence by the patients themselves. 

Use Preventative Care

The first and most effective way to avoid expensive medical bills is to use preventative care to help your health. Make sure you have a good exercise regimen in place, and you get enough sleep each night. 

A simple change in lifestyle like a healthier diet and new fitness routine can mean the difference between contracting illnesses and being at risk for many more. When you feel you are getting sick, make sure you take time off to rest and recover.

Of course there are some things even preventative steps can’t foresee like an accident, rare disease, or genetic condition. In this case, it is best you follow some of the steps below to make sure you are covered. 

Do Some Hospital "Shopping"

The increase in medical costs have been linked to many factors, including the use of more expensive equipment to diagnose and treat ailments and larger settlements in malpractice cases. 

However, these issues do not fully account for the disparities in costs between hospitals that may be in close proximity.

Shopping for health care may not always be possible, but seeking the lowest costs for elective or anticipated procedures can greatly reduce your medical bill. One study showed that the cost of the same procedure in one hospital was 10 times that in a facility located in an adjacent community. 

Consider Negotiating the Cost

It is important to know the estimated cost of a particular procedure before trying to negotiate the price. This information is often available from insurance providers.
In the actual negotiations, you should mention any particular hardships. It may even be possible to negotiate the cost after the procedure has been performed.

Avoid Unnecessary Procedures

Lowering the cost of your treatment may be facilitated if you attempt to reduce or eliminate services that you and your doctor consider unnecessary to your situation. 

You may also consider having a particular procedure done on an outpatient basis. You should also make sure you were not billed for something that was not provided, such as the visit of a specialist that never took place.

Seek Help From Others

Your personal physician can provide you with considerable advice about medical procedures and their costs, but you may also consider turning to a medical billing advocate. 

These specialists can help ensure that you get what you pay for. In the event that you have been cheated or even physically harmed by a medical facility, you should consider turning to the services of a medical malpractice lawyer like McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C.

An attorney can help ensure that your rights as a patient are protected, and you receive the financial compensation to which you may be entitled. 

Getting the treatment you need sometimes depends on the cost, but it shouldn’t have to. There are many ways you can lower medical bills and get a better price on insurance coverage or payment plans, you just have to know how to negotiate your case. 

Use these tips to help find a way to decrease your debts, while still getting the treatment and medicine you need.

Prioritize Now: Constructing Your Retirement Budget

Regardless of how old you are or how far along you've come in your career, prioritizing your retirement budget will help you plan for the future and save more over the course of your professional life. 

Doing so is especially important, as the average cost of living continues to rise and the threat of financial collapse could drain your retirement savings account. 

The following information will help you construct a solid retirement budget for the future.

Your Health: The Costs are Never Steady

Medicare might be around by the time you plan on retiring, but the program won't cover every medical checkup or procedure that you'll have in the future. The cost of medical care and medicine has drastically increased and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. To compensate for changes in healthcare costs, you should start saving an addition al 3 percent, or $300 per year.

The Big Variable: Housing Costs

While you may think that the cost of housing won't go up if you've already paid off your mortgage, think again. Your property taxes and homeowners insurance will likely fluctuate over time and you need to compensate for it. 

Make sure you choose a reputable mortgage lender, so you can plan ahead for your future housing costs. If you're already saving $10,000 per year, consider adding an additional 2 percent, or $200, every year to compensate for housing changes. 

Decreased Costs in Transportation

When you retire, you most likely won't be driving as much or going out as much as you do now. While this means that there will be an overall decrease in retirement expenses, you should continue to save the same amount of money. 

Unexpected expenses could occur at any moment. Create your transportation budget based on the vehicles you expect to operate, your location and driving habits, and the costs of public transportation in your area.

Food Expenses Can Increase or Decrease

Retired individuals normally eat less in terms of the actual amount of food they put into their bodies, but many elderly folks need to have food that is part of a special diet. To make sure your food expenses are properly covered, add an additional 2 percent, or $200 to your yearly retirement budget. 

Research various dietary budgeting strategies to pinpoint which one works best for your household’s food consumption habits. Don’t forget to take into account any future additions to your household that you will need to provide food for.

Your Family: Gifts and Vacations

Most retired individuals yearn to do two things—relax and travel. The norm for most elderly individuals is to go on vacation at least once a year for one or two weeks at a time. 
Many even decide to go on extended trips for a month or more. At the same time, you must take into account monetary and physical gifts that you'll likely be handing out to your children and grandchildren in the future. No one wants to be the scrooge of the family.

To account for both annual vacations and monetary gifts to the family, add an additional 5 percent, or $500 to the retirement pot. When you add all of this up, over the course of 30 years, you will save an additional $36,000. 
When you pile on 5 percent interest and the $10,000 you've already saved, your retirement account will be much improved. 

Retirement Budget

The best way to construct a retirement and savings budget is to tally every living expense early on and drop the additional monetary amount into an interest-bearing 401(k) or pension plan to maximize your funds for the future.

Retirement Budget Templates and Sample Worksheets

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to Successfully Cut Your Business Costs

Business organizations can make approx. 20% savings by focusing on the reduction of operating expenses that are not related to the ‘core’ business. The key points when it comes to the cost reduction are the following:

- Reducing the number of employees should be the last resort for business organizations

- Everyone in the company should be cost-conscious

- Ensure that your suppliers are aware of the amount of money you are willing to spend and closely associated with your initiative to reduce costs

With this kind of thinking and planning, efficient cost cut can be achieved by controlling different aspects of business that are easily accepted by both employees and company’s clientele.

Reduce costs with flexible employment strategy

In the case of adapting working hours to the available volume of work, regular overtime in a given period of the week, introducing young people to the job, preparing for retirement, combining of professional and family life, working part-time can be of mutual benefit to employers and workers. 

Thus, the contract may only be concluded for the time required by the employer's needs - from 1 to 39 hours per week. Working hours can be deployed in a way that the worker only works one day a week, which certainly contributes to cost reduction.

Reduction of working time, whether it’s on weekly basis or due to distribution of work so that there are some ‘no-work’ periods, with a corresponding reduction in pay, or voluntary switching to part-time jobs, reduce costs and retain existing jobs. 

There should be mutual benefits for both employers and employees – employee still earns more even with reduced pay than when unemployed, and still has pension insurance; the employer doesn’t have to spend money on severance payments, and in the case of two employees sharing one job, the completed work is more effective than the work of one employee working full hours, with secured replacement in case of absence of one of them.

Lower hidden IT costs

Many organizations have hidden IT costs. Over the years, these hidden costs can increase, particularly where IT is not able to respond to business needs. These costs often represent mini-projects, non-standard software, hardware or tools used in business. 

Users often establish emotional connection with the solutions that they've created. Hidden IT costs are often in places where it is not easy to predict IT budget. Although it is not exactly easy, IT must identify, analyze and reduce these hidden costs without affecting the business value that they bring. 

IT must work to absorb these tools in standard IT environment and budget in order to manage, utilize and reduce costs.

There are many new ways to deliver IT services: outsourcing, cloud computing, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc. The key is to have an open strategy for these new ways. As new features become available, check what savings can be made by applying or adopting one or more of these options. 

It’s wrong to assume that the way in which you have worked so far is the best. Many of these changes have an emotional component, but certainly they must be objectively reviewed. Revise costs and impact on services important to business goals to bring adequate decision which of these options is right. 

For example, the use of CRM as SaaS model may bring savings in terms of servers, software, infrastructure, human resources, etc. To be on the safe side, revise this option carefully because you might need it for other things.

Save up on your company vehicle

Choosing a quality car is an advantage from the start. Latest technology is used to create superior products with low fuel consumption and chemical values, which greatly reduces the registration cost as well.

When it comes to diesel refueling turn to quality again, for thrifty and long-term operating vehicle. Match engine needs with octane fuel rating. It is known that the fuel with a higher octane rating burn a little slower, which means that your car will spend less, have more power and go faster for the same amount of fuel.

Reduce unnecessary routes and optimize fuel consumption. Plan your trips to reduce costs and to get the best possible performance out of your vehicle. You can get a loyalty card and save on the fuel price even more.

Create a mind-set within your business organization where all of your employees would control costs, starting from the lowest-ranking employees up to the top management. 

Business Costs

Look forward to any reduction in business costs as much as you look forward to every business success. It is important that you start to worry about the costs before the situation becomes critical so that you won’t be required to make difficult decisions.

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