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Money Management

How to Handle Unexpected Expenses without Breaking the Bank

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No matter how carefully you manage your expense and try to plan ahead, unexpected expenses happen. Maybe you suddenly need money for a new HVAC system for your home or a major car repair; or you may have need unexpected medical procedure, or to travel out of town due to a family emergency. Things in life don’t always go as planned and the fallout can be costly! Her are a few tips to help you prepare for and bounce back from unavoidable, unexpected expenses.

Plan Ahead with a Rainy Day Savings Fund

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Ever heard of the old saying, “pay yourself first?” Well, there’s quite a bit of wisdom in that. Make a habit of setting aside a small portion of your earnings whenever you get paid toward a separate “rainy day” fund that’s just for emergencies. Commit to setting aside any amount you can afford – whether it’s 20-percent or five dollars of your weekly pay. As long as you’re consistent it will all add up more quickly than you might expect.

The term, “rainy day” fund may be somewhat old fashion, but the concept is as relevant today as ever. Preparing ahead and having the money you need for financial emergencies puts you in a much better position to handle a crisis with minimal disruption.

Borrow Money from Friends or Family

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If you find yourself facing an unexpected expense with now emergency fund stashed away, you may be able to call upon family and friends for help. It’s important to keep in mind that most folks don’t like being put in the position of loaning money to loved ones. Money issues can obliterate relationships.

If you need to borrow money from a loved one, it’s best to approach them with a plan in place for when and how you plan to pay them back. This lets the person know that you value the relationship enough to plan out possible repayment terms. Be completely honest about how and when you will repay the money you borrow. If someone lends you money, they likely believe you are sincere when you commit to paying it back. Depending on the amount you borrow, you might even consider drafting a contract agreement detailing the terms of the loan for the protection of both parties.

Borrowing money from friends and family is a highly-sensitive situation for all parties involved. Some people have strict rules against loaning money to loved ones in an effort to avoid fracturing relationships. If you ask someone to borrow money and they say no, respect their decision without question. Thank them for their consideration, and consider another option.

Keep a Credit Card for Emergencies

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You may consider getting and keeping a credit card for emergencies only. When you’re short on cash, and an unexpected expense pops up, you can use your credit card to defray the costs. A credit card for emergencies means you don’t have to spend every bit of your cash on your expense. Pay with the credit card and pay the balance as quickly as you’re able. Another plus: making timely payments toward the balance of your purchase helps boost your credit score!

Apply for a Loan

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When all else fails, the only option left to you may be to apply for a loan. Applying for a personal loan though your bank or some other financial institution has become more complicated than in the past.  Among the list of prerequisites borrowers must meet include a target credit score and income, and stable employment (employment for a specified amount of time). Approvals can be few and far between and can take days or weeks to finalize, depending on the institution.

A less complicated and faster alternative is to apply for a title loan. You can qualify for a loan of up to $10,000 if you own your car free and clear. You don’t even need perfect credit to qualify. You can have the money you need in as little as 30 minutes and you get to keep driving your car. There are lots of title loans out there, but the safest option is to go through a reputable company, like TitleMax.

Kelley Luther is a freelance writer who loves writing about money tips and budget advice for millennials. She lives with fellow freelance writer and husband, Mark, and their two Border terrier “children”, Ted and Tim.

Money Management

5 Ways To Cultivate Your Retirement Savings – Infograph

Entitlements such as retirement are a hot-button issue! How are you planning for your future? The key to a comfortable retirement lies in just five simple steps. Start early, take advantage of tax breaks, maximize your employer’s retirement savings plan, manage your risk, and keep tabs on your portfolio throughout the years. Though none of these moves is difficult, the trick is to leverage each to your advantage. The sooner you get started, the bigger the payoff down the line.

 

Saving for retirementImage via: Online Stock Trading Academy

Money Management

2010 Goal Check Up

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You are just over the mid-point of the year! How do your goals look?

Because you are trying to be a financially responsible person with realistic-but-potentially unmet 2010 New Year’s Resolutions about getting your finances in order, it is now a good time to assess your progress to see if your goals have been met, how far along you are with your program, or if you need to re-commit to financial health at this time, which is approximately the mid-point of the year 2010, when you should be making progress on your 2010 financial plans!

Here are some fresh steps you can take when evaluating the progress you have made during the past 7 months. Look at your goals with an eye to deciding what was an effective change in your financial life, and where you would like to see additional change and growth in the remaining 5 months of this year.

Evaluate Your Record Keeping

You have learned that effective records are the main tool that you can use to chart your financial progress. Are you keeping accurate track of the money flowing in and out of your life? Are you pleased with what you see? Decide if any changes need to be made in the methods you are using to keep your finances on track.

How Is Your Budget Coming?

Are you able to stick to it? How are you coming with curbing impulse purchases that do not show up in the line items but which blow the budget out of the water when allowed to continue unchecked?

How Are Your Savings Goals?

Are you sticking to the savings percentage that you decided on in January? If not, why? Was it reasonable in the first place, or too optimistic? What can you do to get yourself on track?

If you could say anything to yourself about your current financial life, what would it be?

What ongoing steps do you see as possible when planning your changes?

What sort of “Buy-In” to these changes will you need from the important people in your life?

photo credit: trix0r

Money Management

How Consultancy Can Help in Selecting the Right Health Insurance Coverage

In many countries where the government does not subsidize health insurance, there is added pressure for citizens to be able to pick the policies that suit their needs. Between worrying about the coverage and the price of the policy, there are plenty of things that can go wrong in the selection of any specific private health insurance policy and this highlights the necessity for prospective policy owners to learn as much as they can about health insurance selection and all the important considerations that come with that process. 

Unfortunately, not all of us are experts in insurance policy selection and aspiring to learn as much as we can about all the facets of health insurance in a relatively short period of time is something that is close to impossible. Thankfully, there are websites that are dedicated to making sure that you are ahead of the health insurance policy selection process. A good example of this type of website is Choosi which allows you to compare health insurance in Australia. 

If you are in the market for health insurance coverage, it would help to get in touch with health insurance experts like Choosi. These websites will summarize the pertinent health insurance policy attributes so you can look at the offers side by side. It condenses a number of all the important factors into an easy-to-read table showing premium pricing, coverage, and limitations between and among a range of health insurance brands so you have something to go by in your selection process. 

If you are confused with all the technical terms that are built into health insurance policies or you just need somebody to explain the whole process to you, sites like Choosi simplifies information so you gain a very clear understanding of the process. So if you are serious about getting the right coverage without having to overpay for your medical coverage, take the time to consult with the health insurance experts on the web. They will guide you through every step of the process and present the information in a clear and unbiased manner so at the end of the day, you are provided the information that you will generally need to make a decision.

Money Management

Life’s Little Surprises

While a budget can help you keep track of daily expenditures and monthly expenses, it can do little to prepare you for the many surprises that life always seems to bring. At some point, the car will break down, a job will be lost, illness will strike or some other surprise will rear its financially devastating head. Since you don’t know what surprises your life will bring, it can be hard to plan. Here are a few tips to help you prepare and handle these financial surprises when they do strike.

Get Out of Debt

Probably the most common theme on all personal finance sites is the great need to get out of debt. If you aren’t spending your monthly income on debt, you will be better able to handle unplanned and unexpected expenses. Start paying down your debts today. When trouble does come, it will be easier to borrow money if necessary if you aren’t already buried in debt. Additionally, you will have more money to save each month if you aren’t spending it on interest and fees. Make a plan and stick to it and start working on eliminating debt.

Make Sure You Have Enough Insurance

You can avoid some major financial disasters by simply having enough insurance. Make sure that your insurance policies are up to date. Also make sure that you have enough coverage. Insurance costs a little each month, but is a lot easier to pay than one huge expense down the road. If you want to protect yourself from surprises later, get health, life, car and home (or renter’s) insurance today.

Stock Up

You also need to build a reserves whenever possible. Have a little extra money in your bank account, a little extra cash in your house and some extra food in your cupboards. If you have a little more than you need now, it can help sustain you when times get tough.

Plan for the Future

Life is uncertain. However, you can plan and minimize your risks. What would you do if you were to lose your job? Do you have a backup plan? What skills could you learn now to help you in the future? If you can learn to do a job on the side or get a little more education, you may be better qualified for future positions later. Come up with a backup plan and have ideas in mind if your situation should change.

Surprises will happen; plan for them. These ideas will help you prepare for the many financial surprises that wait in your future. Remember if you don’t plan ahead, you are just asking for trouble.

What ways do you prepare for life’s little surprises?