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Money Management

Recovering From Holiday Personal Finance Mistakes

The holidays are over. Did you stick to your personal finance goals? Now it’s time to look at your finances and your holiday spending and evaluate how you did. Some of you will find that you were able to navigate the holidays successfully. Others will find that they used those credit cards or spent more than they should. If this is the case, now is the perfect time to start recovering from those mistakes.

Figure Out what Went Wrong and Plan for Next Year

If you did make some mistakes this year, figure out why it happened. Maybe you didn’t save enough during the year to cover your holiday expenses or maybe you bought things that you shouldn’t have. What will you change next year? Should you start saving now for the holidays? Take this opportunity to learn from your mistakes so that you can have a financially successful holiday season next year.

Create a Debt Elimination Plan

If you did use those credit cards, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you will pay them off. Look at your budget and determine how much extra money you can use towards debt repayment. While you may not want to shave $100 a month off of your entertainment budget, this might be what you have to do to fix your mistakes. Remember, moments of indulgence will result in years of repayment and sacrifice.

Think About Returns

While no one wants to think about taking back holiday items, it is possible that you could make a few post-holiday returns to remedy your situation somewhat. While you can’t return gifts you gave out, you can consider returning items that you bought for yourself or your immediate family that you can’t afford. While it might not be fun to part with that new game system, it might help you learn to think before you buy in the future. Is it really worth paying 30% interest on something that you don’t need?

Now that the holidays are over it is time to start thinking about the future. Learn from your mistakes and pick the pieces if you did make mistakes. It is never too late to turn a new leaf and start making better financial choices.

Money Management

5 simple steps to weather a financial storm

An economic storm can cause anxiety and stress for new or smaller business owners. If you run a small business you don’t have the luxury of enforcing protective measures to help you weather a recession or hard times. Many business owners feel uncomfortable asking for help or advice on how to handle their credit or cash flow situation and it’s no secret you are seen as a bit of a risk by banks. But don’t let that get you down. There are plenty of other options to cut costs and get advice. Nadine Bourne from takes us through a couple of ways in which new or small SMEs can prepare themselves for a financial storm:

1. Make forecasts

If you are worried about the future, it’s important to be prepared and ready for what is coming next. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by making a realistic cash-flow forecast. With this you can invent a couple of situations like a drop in customers or revenue and then using the forecast, assess how well your business could survive.

If you’ve got an iPhone, try the Cash Flow HD app to calculate your forecast or you can stick to good old Excel.

2. Take a look at your bank balance

Whoever you bank with, they ought offer you some shelter against your economic storm. You should talk to your bank manager about whether you are getting the best deal for your business account and whether loans or an overdraft facility are available.  It’s always good to keep an eye on the press about your chosen bank for any changes which may affect lending. If the time has come to switch accounts with a new bank, really do your homework on your options by comparing deals – read the fine print and look out for any hidden charges!

There are plenty of comparison tables and tools available on the internet to compare account options if you are thinking about switching.

3. Cut your expenses

Expenses can build up a lot of overheads for your business so cutting down will help you save cash for your business. When you need to make a purchase, think about it. Do you need to buy the latest MacBook pro, or could you go with a cheaper option? Travel expenses can also add up. Consider cheaper alternatives to things like taxis to meet clients. To save even more money you could hold meetings on the phone or Skype – the added bonus being big time savings too.

4. Cut down on monthly costs

As with anything, no matter how much you budget and save, costs like rent and bills will always need to be paid on time. Since these are unavoidable and cannot be cut out, the next step is to try and save on them. Look on internet comparison sites and ask your friends and neighbours how much they are paying. Business phone and broadband can be expensive, so if you’re a small business, look for a provider who only deals with small businesses. Are you paying too much for rent? Maybe you could look for cheaper premises. And try to avoid signing up to long term contracts so if things get difficult you can get out without too much bother.

5. Think about your employment costs

Paying employees is a necessary cost to keep your business running. But if you are thinking about recruiting new staff members, first think about whether any of your current staff could fill this gap through paid overtime or as a new job role. If you do have to employ new people, make sure you recruit effectively as this can be a costly process. Take the time to find the right person for the job, don’t rush and hire someone who won’t live up to what you need. 

Money Management

Don’t Make Payday Loans a Scapegoat

Payday loans are the fastest way to get cash before your payday and the best way to get financially ruined in no time. People often forget that any money borrowed from a payday lender will generate high interest rates that summed up to an already existent debt, make payday loans a heavy load to pay off.

If you are already trapped in a debt circle resulting from credit cards, mortgages or another type of loans, you do not really need to add a payday loan to this circle, but find suitable alternatives for your imminent money need. There are at least four alternatives to a payday loan that might be the answer to you are looking for, so simply analyze them and decide yourself which is the best in your particular case.


The most viable way is talking to your creditors and asks the possibility to extend your due date. Okay, you need money, not refinancing or similar thing, but this way you can take the money that you reserve to repay your debt, assuming that you have this money available in a savings account or somewhere at home. There are two possibilities here; on the one hand that you really need the payday loan to repay other debt. In this case, a creditor can extend the due date without reporting to the bureau or charging a penalty for late payments, thus removing the need to get cash advance. On the other hand, you might have never thought to put aside any money to repay your debt, living on a paycheck to paycheck basis.

Credit Cards

However there is a second alternative here, as long as you need the money to buy something or that your credit card grants you access to cash advance. Yes, using your credit card to pay for items is cheaper that borrowing money from a payday loan. However getting a cash advance from a credit card (when allowed) is costly than paying for goods at the time of purchase, although both of these solutions into one financial instrumental will always be cheaper than a payday loan, and some banks give a few days grace period to repay cash advances before interest rates apply.

Family or Friends

The third alternative to payday loans is not always suitable and not always impossible; which is to borrow money from a family member, friend or even your neighbor. Perhaps this last thing will only give you nothing more than a few bucks, but sometimes a few bucks can make a difference. However family members or friends may have your money solutions in their hands and it is about daring to ask them. The main advantage is that they may lend with no interest rates, but there is a risk factor involved here. Money is often responsible for broken relationships, so if you are unsure of your financial capability to repay their money in a timely manner, you will do better select another alternative. Be honest about your financial situation when talking to them and never promise without having the certainty on what you are saying.

Reevaluate Expenses

Perhaps the fourth alternative is the best of all of these; cut down on your bills. Depending on how much money you need, you can cut out some services that you do not need, or you can delay the payment without being reported to bureau if your delay does not exceed past 30 days. If you cannot live without paying your carrier the extra module that enables you to text your friends beyond the limit of you cell phone plan, for instance, then try to cut out the amount of beers that you drink. Tighten your belt for a month or two will not hurt and can give you the extra cash that you need, or can be an “extra” income if you keep reducing expenses consistently.

There are several other alternatives to payday loans, but these are some of the easiest solutions that you can find.

Author Bio: Noel Finlay works for a company that provides information on quick loans. 

Money Management

Identity Theft On Black Friday

Identity theft this Black Friday is a very plausible fear. With the hustle and bustle of getting the best deal the fastest can cause us to let our guard down. Check out these tips to protect your identity this Black Friday:

Tips for Holiday Shopping
[Via: identity theft]

Money Management

Organise your finances with the help of the internet

Are you looking for a credit card that will help get your finances in check? Perhaps you want to make a balance transfer and are searching for the right deal? If so, it’s wise to look on the internet.

Here are a few reasons why:

The web is a great source of information

The internet has changed the way we interact with one another and is a great source of information. It’s improved the way we communicate, the way we shop and the way we manage money and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to switch credit card providers. For instance, if you’ve heard about a new credit card deal (but can’t recall the small print) you can go online and find out all you need and more – with just a few clicks of a button.

You can dig deeper when you have the time

Back in the day, finding the right credit card used to involve a mountain of paperwork and treks to your local bank – but this is no longer the case. Now you can browse credit card offers, finance solution, banking options and more online and can make an application when you have the time. The terms and conditions – including go-to interest rates and annual fees – should be clearly laid out for you to see, so make sure you do your homework.

The internet allows you to compare and contrast

The great thing about the internet is that it allows you to make a credit card comparison from the comfort of your own home. Certain providers have made it easier than ever to compare features including money transfers, APRs and offers and allow you to click through to sub-pages for more information. Other sites will help you compare credit cards across the whole market and will give you a factual and unbiased overview of what’s available.

You’ll unearth information you never knew

Did you know that there are football and rugby credit cards available? If not, you’ll find out more by going online. These branded cards usually have all the facilities and benefits of regular credit cards and will help you show support for your favourite team be it Manchester United or Chelsea. More often than not they have the club’s badge proudly displayed on the front and will make a great addition to your wallet.

You can benefit from online banking

Once you’ve found a credit card to suit your wants, tastes and needs, you can enjoy services such as internet banking. This will allow you to make transfers and check your statements online and will help you manage your finances efficiently. With the economy in a turbulent state, it’s important to keep an eye on your outgoings and this is where an internet banking solution can help.

Credit card applications are now faster and easier than ever, so why not see what you can find?