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Money Management

How To Do Online Banking Safely

The internet is everywhere in our daily life. We can do everything online, like listening to music and watching movies. We can even buy anything online like a car or house. Heck, you can even meet your future wife online. Banking isn’t any different. These days online banking isn’t just convenient, it’s also safe. But it’s only as safe as the user.

Businesses are really hyping online banking. The only issue with online banking is the thieves that want to milk you out of your money. They’re a lot savvier than the old days of online banking. In today’s world, you can never be too careful with your personal information and trying to keep it from identity thieves.

The Holy Grail for a thief is getting a hold of your username and password. Once they get that, it’s free reign on your account. Never ever give out your username and password to anyone. That goes double for your bank. Your bank will never call you or email you out of the blue asking for that information. That’s most likely a scammer trying to take your money.

Also, be sure you come up with a good password. I highly recommend a program like last pass. It’s a password manager and it can create passwords for you so that they’re hard to guess. It’ll also save them for you so you don’t have to worry about remembering them. If you do get a call or email asking for your username and password, get as much info as you can about them and report it to authorities. Who knows, you might single handedly bring down a massive identity thief ring and get a movie made about you.

Another layer of protection is security questions. So even if somehow they are able to get your username and password, they’ll most likely miss the security question. You can use security questions like most people and just answer the question, or you can use it as a second password. Instead of just spelling your answer regularly, try adding in some numbers. That’ll help make the security of your account even better.

Online banking is the future of personal finance. It puts your banking at your fingertips. Just make sure you’re keeping the bad guys at bay. People are as clever as they’ve always been and are always looking for new ways to trick you. Just keep to the basics and you’ll be alright.

Money Management

Cutting Expenses in 3 Places You Might Not Even Notice

Spending less and saving more isn’t exactly most people’s idea of a good time. However, if you truly want to control your finances, you also need to control your spending. This means finding ways to build up savings. Luckily, there are a few places that you can cut spending and probably not even notice the difference.

Reexamine Your Insurance Policies

Insurance can be expensive. However, since there are many insurance companies out there, it can be possible to find lower rates on your existing coverage. Look at your policies and figure out what you are spending each month. By examining your policies you can determine if there are any ways to spend less. Often, savings are possible when you combine automobile, homeowners and other policies. You may also be able to switch to a lower priced insurance solution while still getting great coverage. Each insurance company calculates their rates differently, which means that some companies can offer better deals in certain situations than others. Consider using a rate comparison service to compare insurance rates and see if you can find some simple savings.

Lower Your Utility Usage

Turning off the lights and using less water can add up. You may find that if you focus on reducing your energy consumption that you will really notice a difference on your monthly bills. Consider turning off the lights more often, switching to energy efficient light bulbs or reducing the amount of time you water your lawn. You can also adjust the thermostat a little or put it one a timer so it doesn’t have to run all day. These little changes won’t affect your life much, but could result in a little extra money each month.

Buy Generic

Grocery store and other generic brands often work and taste just as good as their more expensive counterparts. Try a few new generic products and see how you like them. If they don’t meet your needs, you can always switch back to your favorite the next time you purchase this item. However, if they are just as good as the other products, you can enjoy their savings. Try a less expensive version of a couple products next time you hit the grocery store. Odds are you won’t even notice the difference.

These simple tips are great ways to spend a little less and save more without compromising. Often getting in control of your finances is simply learning to evaluate options more rather than sacrificing the things you love.

Money Management

Cost VS Value- Three Strategies for Success

Lime Time

One of the simple unavoidable facts of life is that everything costs money.  It can be frustrating spending your entire paycheck week after week with little to nothing to show for it.  Learning to understand cost vs. value will help you get the most for your weekly checks and make the most of your personal finances.

Cost is simple to understand.  How much money are you going to have to spend for this item?  This is the cost.  Value on the other hand is a little more complex.  Value can come from many different places.  These three key ideas will help you master the art of determining if the cost of an item is equal to or lower than the value.

Cost, Value and Where You Live

Think about your house or apartment for a minute.  Do you live in the cheapest part of town?  Why or why not?  The answer to this question is one of the building blocks for understanding cost vs. value.  Sure, you could probably crash on your mom’s sofa for free but having somewhere else to live has a value.  You may be willing to pay more for a smaller apartment in a good neighborhood.  Use this reasoning to guide all of your purchases.  A reliable car has a higher value than one that always breaks down.

A Premium for Convenience

A candy bar or a bottle of soda is more expensive at the gas station than the grocery store.  Why is this?  Gas stations and other locations charge a premium for convenience.  Is a gas station candy bar worth more than one from the store?  They have the same ingredients, the same nuts, the same chocolate, even the same package.  The value doesn’t really change but the cost does.  Learn to plan ahead and to ask yourself how to get the best value for your money.

Is This Actually Worth It?

Next time you go to make a purchase ask yourself, “Is this actually worth it?”  Is the cost of the item relative to the actual value?    As you learn to do this you will be able to start differentiating the cost of an item and its value.  In an ideal situation the cost will always be lower than the value received.

A great way to start mastering this skill is to determine the value of an item before you see the price.  If you are considering purchasing a new item, look at it first.  What do you think it is worth?  Then look at the price and see how they compare.  This can be done with almost any product from shirts to pants to electronic devices.

What do you think?

photo credit: Marc A. Sporys

Money Management

Payday Loans Are Not Just For Low Income Earners

There is the misconception that payday loans are for low income earners that constantly struggle to make ends meet. The truth is that a tough economy and even tighter job market have left many people, including high income earners, a little short of cash from time to time. When this happens, then a payday loan can be a solution for everyone. There are a variety of reasons why people, even high income earners, may need a payday loan.

Bad Credit

Having a high income doesn’t mean one has a good credit history. There are plenty of high income earners that have poor credit as a result of many things, such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or divorce. Payday loans don’t require good credit. In most cases, the only things required to get a payday loan are a proof of income, a checking account and a proof of residence. A payday lender will use your check to hold as collateral for the loan. Online payday lenders will secure the loan through a direct draft from a checking account.

Tougher Lending Standards

The criteria for lending money has also tightened up. Auto and home loans have collateral tied into them, but personal loans, open cash loans, don’t have any collateral or equity tied into it. Personal loans already require higher credit criteria, so any credit blemishes can result in a denial of a personal loan. Most payday loans don’t run a credit check, and if they do, their lending requirements are much lower. This doesn’t mean payday loan providers don’t have responsible lending policies in place, but on the whole, most are more concerned with employment history and a transactional account that’s in good standing.

The Economy

The economy is tough on everyone, including high income earners. Unemployment is higher now than it has been in many years. Those that still have jobs are dealing with reduced hours at work, which cuts their income. Each month, many people are finding themselves short on cash to meet their needs. A payday loan is a solution to short term cash needs, especially for high income earners. However, it’s important to stress the danger of using one payday loan to pay off another. This is not the solution. If you find yourself in a debt cycle, first things first, develop an action plan to get you back on track.

Convenience

Getting a payday loan for high income earners is also a matter of convenience. Payday loan decisions are instant. Most payday loans are approved within an hour of a submitted credit application. You can walk away with cash in your hand if the loan is taken from a store, and you can have the funds deposited into your checking account by the next business day if the loan is taken out online. Some people, including high income earners, don’t have the time to apply for a loan at the bank. Bank loan applications may require days to process before you are able to receive the funds. For some people, this doesn’t meet their immediate cash needs, and a payday loan is a better option.

Higher Income, Same Needs

High income earners need payday loans for the same reasons that low income earners need. High income earners have car payments to make, utility bills to pay, and high income earners also have emergency situations that require quick cash. Payday loans can get people the cash they need for whatever the reason, regardless of income.

5 Myths about Payday Loans

1. Payday loans are only for poor people

As you have read, there are many reasons why high income earners need payday loans too.

2. Payday loans charge high interest rates and fees

Payday loans do charge higher interest rates than a traditional loan, but the credit requirements are less strict, and you will get your money faster.

3. Payday loans surprise you with hidden fees and higher interest rates

Payday loans must disclose the terms of your loan just like any bank loan or other loan you may get.

4. Payday loans are embarrassing to get

There are many reasons why people of all income levels may need a payday loan.

5. Payday loans are impossible to pay back

As with any loan, only borrow the amount that you know you can pay back, including the interest rates and fees.

This article was written by Jaquie Dymock, Director Ferratum Australia, a payday loan provider based in Perth, Western Australia. You can catch Jaquie on Google+ as well.

Money Management

Budget Your Wardrobe and Add to Your Savings

If your current main goal is to take control of your finances and trim your debt you already know the importance of a budget for your monthly income. The problem many encounter is with unexpected expenses. While this usually brings to mind vehicles breaking down or a sudden illness, there are other kinds of expense that pop up regularly. Holidays and birthdays are two examples, and another one is something we all need but don’t always think of as an expense: clothing. Here are some tips to help you make clothing a part of your budget and still allow your savings to grow!

First of all, break it down. Take a rough inventory of each family member’s wardrobe and figure out what they’ll need in the next three, six, and 12 month period. This isn’t an exact science, but if you have kids you can probably estimate when they’ll outgrow or wear out their shoes and clothes. Teens and clothes are a whole different world, so if you have fashionistas in the family consider setting a clothing allowance.

Second of all, don’t impulse shop. Know what you want and need and make a list, and no matter how cute that pair of shoes is pass it by if they’re not on the list. You can be flexible here, because one of the best ways to save is to find clearance items. Just don’t buy things you don’t really need.

Third, shop smart. Don’t limit yourself to the stores you always shop at; look for online deals. Most major stores and brands such as American Apparel have their own website and you can take advantage of a full line of fashions, sizes, and colors instead of being limited to store choices.

Last of all, wait before you buy. Look for deals such as an American Apparel coupon to add to your savings. If you find something you need but the price is too high consider waiting a few weeks until the website updates their clearance sale. Clothing is extremely seasonal, so it’s only a matter of time before the next round of markdaowns. Once you learn their pricing schedule you can take advantage of the lower prices.