Category Archives: Finance

Effectively Manage Multiple Credit Cards

Managing multiple credit cards is not meant for the fainthearted, nor is it the safest option for the spendthrift. However, for those who are well-versed with the art of saving and monitored spending, availing more than one credit card can be a cost-effective option. There is a common misconception propagated by some financial analysts and consumers, that using more than one credit card can spell trouble, and must be canceled once and for all.

However, very few will tell you that using your credit cards wisely can help increase your credit score and creditworthiness. Of course, if the cards are used unwisely, it would be merely a matter of time before consumers find themselves in some serious debt. This Buzzle article discusses how to effectively manage multiple credit cards.
How to Manage Multiple Credit Cards
Credit experts advice consumers to always opt for a zero balance credit card, which they must keep locked away in a locker or someplace, where they won’t feel the need to use it at all. This way, the card can be used in case of dire emergencies, such as when an existing credit card is stolen, lost, or breaks. In such situations, the zero balance card can be used as a backup, while the previous card is replaced.

The advantage of owning more than one credit card is, that each of the cards can be used for a specific purpose, or alternately. While one card can be used for incurring daily expenses, the other can be used for big expenses or paying for emergencies.

Most cards offer reward points for certain specific commodities and services, and therefore should be used accordingly. For instance, one credit card may offer more reward points for fuel or booking tickets, and thus, must not be used for groceries or cash-back services. Having multiple cards will offer many types of reward points, which can help minimize expenses to a large extent.
Consumers can avail credit cards with lower interest rates, so that they are able to save on their interest fees and increase their savings every month. Going for cards that offer minimal or 0% introductory rate for purchase and balance transfers for a fixed period of time, can not only help consumers save but also monitor their expenses. Secondly, knowing that a low interest rate exists can be a source of great comfort for those who are unable to pay off the bills for a month or two.

Credit card problems when you are traveling out of the country.

Tips to Avoid Credit Card Problems Abroad

The majority of the credit card problems that you might encounter in a foreign land are due to the lack of preparation before the journey. Here are a few things that you should do to avoid credit card problems:

Inform Your Bank
The frequency of the financial transactions done abroad might make your bank suspect a fraud. There are 2 reasons for the suspicion.
The transactions are not confined to your city.
The frequency of your credit usage is abnormal.
So, if you inform your bank, they will probably make a note of your travel, and this may help them understand that the unnatural usage of credit card is due to your traveling. If you have cards from multiple financial institutions, do inform all of them, else you might have to face automatic deactivation.

Check the Limit
Most of you might have heard of instances where tourists were arrested, as their transactions exceeded the credit card limit, in majority of these cases, the tourist did not know that he had exceeded the limit. To avoid such a blunder, make sure you inquire about your credit card limits, and do make a note of it.

Credit Card Information
Note down all the important credit card information (account number, contact information, etc.), and keep them securely with you. Credit card thefts are very common while traveling, and this information will help deactivate your credit card in such circumstances.

Get an EMV card
Most of the countries abroad do not accept cards with magnetic strip technology (common in the U.S.), they cater to the use of EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards, which have an embedded microprocessor chip. So, ask for a microprocessor chip card from your bank. These cards are also called “chip and PIN” cards.

Carry Multiple Cards
If you are not successful in getting an EMV card, then I advise you to carry multiple cards. At least one of them might work at a receptacle outside your country. Having multiple cards will also prove beneficial if one of your cards is lost.

Check Your PIN
If your PIN (Personal Identification Number) is 6 digit, then you might face problem abroad. Generally, the ATM’s there are programmed to accept a 4 digit PIN, so it will not respond to your 6 digit PIN. Thus, take the necessary measures by contacting your bank.

Separate Credit Cards
If you are traveling with your partner, each of you should have a separate credit card. You will experience the advantage of having a separate credit card, when either one of you loses his/her credit card. If you lose one of your credit cards, you can use the other credit card to meet your needs, till you get the lost card replaced.

Financial Problems in a Marriage

It is said that marriage is the best thing that can happen to two people in love. It is true, provided the spouses understand each other and are aware of the responsibilities that come with marriage. However, married life can suffer a setback, if there are financial issues in a relationship and the partners do not work it out properly to solve these problems. In studies conducted by experts, financial issues have been included as one of the top reasons for a divorce. So, it is always better to be aware of financial problems, if any, and find effective ways to deal with them.
Monetary Issues and Their Solutions
Handling Finance

This is one of the basic issues that married couples face. They are not clear about whose salary should be used for household expenses and whose should go in for savings. Lack of planning leads to confusion, ultimately resulting in differences between a couple.

Solution: Couples should try different ways to handle their finances and check which one works the best for them. According to surveys, around 64% of couples have joint accounts, 14% of them have separate accounts, and 18% of couples have both joint as well as separate accounts. There is no particular method to handle finances; it depends on a couple as to how much they want to spend and how much they want to save. So, sit down to decide among yourselves, and make the best call for your future.
Excessive Spending

Among the various money-related problems affecting a marriage, spending habit is a contentious issue. Many a time, one of the partners is inclined to shop and spend more than the total earnings with the help of loans and credit cards. Mounting bills and high interest rates can really make things difficult for the family.

In certain cases, among the two partners, the wife mostly has the habit of presenting her family with goodies every now and then. The expenditure made, might irritate the other partner and ultimately give rise to arguments.
Solution: Couples should fix a budget for the month and keep a check so that the expenditure does not exceed the limit. As far as possible, use of multiple cards should be avoided. When going through tough financial times, couples need to cut down on entertainment and leisure expenses. Wives and even husbands, if either is into the habit of buying unwanted gifts, should keep away from doing so. This is because, occasional exchange of gifts does not affect, as much as the usual ones do.

Tips to Stop Living Paycheck

The root cause of most of our problems, is that we are never satisfied with what we have. We want more. And more. And more. And some more… It just doesn’t stop, this wanting. Which is OK. But, what’s NOT OK, is the instant gratification of these wants. Actually, that could be termed OK too, as long as you are spending within your means. So what is it that is not OK, you ask? Well, it is when you are spending beyond your means, to live the way you want to. When you do not have the money, yet you spend on that extra purse, or cell phone, or that gorgeous dress, or a new car, or whatever. Before you know it, you have used up your money in debit cards, so you turn to your credit cards, reach your credit limit, and now you have those terribly annoying warning letters, flooding your letter box and crowding your email. Reminds you of the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic? There is a very thin line between living paycheck to paycheck, and the above described scenario. It can vanish far too easily, and before you can say ‘damn’, you’ve been hauled into the credit bandwagon. The only way to prevent this from happening is to change your spending habits, and start saving now. Let’s look at some easy ways to earn quick money in times of need, and then we’ll take a look at how to avoid such situations.
Ways to Earn Quick Money
Garage Sales
Garage Sales
This is a quick way of getting some cash in your hand, as well as get rid of all the things in your house that you no longer need. Thinking practically in such cases, is more beneficial than thinking emotionally. Avoid storing unnecessary junk, furniture or knickknack in your house that occupies space, needs maintenance and does not serve any purpose. Best to give it away to someone who can find good use for it. You don’t need any money to host a garage sale, and it is the best way to kill two birds with one stone!

Small Home Businesses
selling cupcakes
Small home businesses that require no/ very little investment, can be a great way of adding to your income. Maybe you could start selling your paintings, if you are good at drawing and painting. Or if you have good culinary skills, then you can try making and selling cakes or other food stuff. If you are interested in photography and have a personal photo collection, you can also try selling your photos to magazines or newspapers. Or you can babysit for people’s kids for a couple of hours every day, like a mini creche. If you have other hobbies that can help you make money, cash on them.

Unbelievably Quick Cash

Virtually everybody is interested in making some extra money besides your regular paycheck. Now, this won’t necessarily solve all your financial problems, but will surely help you save for something special or help you get out of debt quickly. You may not realize it but there are plenty of options to earn on the side, all you need to do is look for a job or activity that suits your needs and matches your ability. Here are some quick cash ideas (all are purely legal ideas!) that will help you make some extra dough. The real essence, though, is to go out and actually try them before you can make extra money.
Live Art Models
College students can try finding jobs on campus. The art classes always require models for portrait paintings and sculpting. You could earn fair amount of money posing as a live model. You can even visit a local newspaper photographer and pose as a model for local paper advertisements. Many malls, fast food joints and children parks require people who will wear their mascot dresses and pose with customers. You can try a hand at this and earn some useful cash.
Upcoming Artists
Those who can paint or sketch, can post their art online. You never know which art lover likes one of your work and pays you handsomely. There are many art lovers who would love to bid for your paintings and who knows you turn out to be as famous as Picasso! If you are never short of using the right words at the correct time, then becoming a freelance copywriter may help you earn some easy money. Many websites pay per-article and help budding authors earn some pocket-money.

Online Bidding
There are many online money earning methods that you can try to earn some bucks. If you have an old collection of classic comics or collectors stamps, you can sell them online to patron bidders. Baseball cards, hats and even bats will earn you some money. If you have a pair of branded sports shoes in good condition or the pair of yellow pants that you regret buying, sell them online. Many are looking for cheap branded stuff on the web world. The Internet is the best place for making money online.
Delivery Boy/Girl
Another interesting, but little unknown profession is driving new vans, school buses, limousines to the dealers from the manufacturers. You may end by earning $30,000 a year for selling nothing and get a kick out of being the first one to drive a fresh motor. You may require a chauffeur’s license under some state laws. Your driving record should be clean without any major traffic violation under your name. You even get a paid return trip fare! You can even deliver pizza and other foods ordered at dial-a-meal restaurants. Courier services are always on a look out of delivery boys or girls, who can deliver packages and letters to the correct address without delay.

These Ultimately Easy Ways to Make Money

Vacations are a time when most kids think of taking up summer jobs in an effort to pocket some extra dollars. Taking up small jobs or setting up a small business will enable kids to experience working with different people and teach them certain values and facts about the real world. A vital point to remember here though, as parents, is not to help the kids or children but rather let them learn by themselves. Provide them with pointers or guidelines but do not carry out the task for them, this will definitely hamper them when they start working independently as adults. What’s more, such an endeavor will provide kids with some money to spend once they get older, or save for college.

Some Ways Through Which Kids Can Make Money

Here is a list of fun and easy ways to make money for all those youngsters and teenagers who wish to earn on their own, but are too young for a professional employment or job.

Delivery Services
All you need in this case is a good bicycle and a strong pair of legs! Delivering newspapers, parcels, milk cartons, etc., are jobs that have been popular among kids for over half a decade! Of course, in today’s times, jobs like flower deliveries have become much more well-paying and wider in scope as well. You can tie up with your local grocery stores, department stores, chemists, etc., and offer to provide home delivery services in your neighborhood. Pizza delivery, with the generous tips associated with it, is another fruitful option that you could consider during evenings.

Car Wash
This is something that you can do on one particular day of the week (preferably a Sunday). You and a few friends could form a Sunday car wash group. Spread the word, post a few fliers in your locality and you could soon find yourself with a thick wad of cash on Sunday evenings! Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Babysitting
First and foremost, you should consider this option only if you’re thirteen and above. You could start by offering to babysit your neighbor’s toddler for a couple of hours on Friday night while the parents go out for an evening movie. Over a period of time, as you get comfortable with babysitting and handling young children, you could think of expanding your horizons by offering your babysitting services to a wider audience.

Lemonade Stall
Now this is not a 21st century idea by any stretch of the imagination. However, I have mentioned it simply because a glass of cool, refreshing lemonade is something that no one can do without, on a hot, sultry summer day. Therefore, it almost always translates into good business and even better money (provided you set up your lemonade stall in the right season!).

Pros and Cons of Debt Management

The economic bubbles that caused the economic recessionary cycles of 2007 – 2010 have also severely affected the debt and credit industry. The reaction of the recession that came out against people and borrowing consumers left behind tattered credit reports, several brutal bankruptcies and freaked out foreclosures.

The overall effect was not nice, and brought about a negative atmosphere among lenders and borrowers. When the recessionary cycle commenced, the rate of unemployment and frequency of lay offs substantially shot up. The people who got fired had already borrowed several secured loans, unsecured loans and were using credit cards.

The effect was that these people were not able to repay bills and loan installments on time. Deep in debt such borrowers often though of debt management programs as an alternative to get rid of debts. The pros and cons should however be thoroughly considered before a person makes a choice.

What is Debt Management

It is principally a service that helps individuals to negotiate debt interest rates, late fees and service charges with their creditors and lenders. Many debt management agencies also help people in debt settlement, provide a consolidation loan and initiate credit repair. Thus, these programs affect credit score in a positive manner. The total services can be concluded as the ‘services that help a person to plan out and quickly repay all debts’.

Pros and Cons of Debt Management Programs

Pros
Erases all Debts: The total process that is involved in the debt management erases all the debts that are owned by the borrower. The debts include all loans, credit card debts and the ones that have been incurred from private lenders.
Improves Credit Report: The credit report of the person also improves as a result of the debt management program. The service provider plans a repayment schedule that helps the borrower in making timely payments, and thereby increase the credit score.
No negative effects of debts: Negative effects of debts such as excessive late payment fees, foreclosures and bankruptcy are written off and wiped out.
Lowered Interest and Payments: The interest of the debt and the total amount that is owed is drastically reduced, and the debt payoff is easily possible.
End to Collection Calls: The collection calls will no longer harass the borrower as the debts are being paid on time.
Cons
Debt Management Fees: There are several debt management fees that are levied by the service providers. These fees in some cases tend to be expensive and burdensome. The payment of fees also does not ensure that the debt would be wiped off completely.
No guarantee for debt settlement: There are a few cases where during the debt settlement and debt negotiations the lenders simply refuse to waive the fees or any extra charges.

Debt management techniques suggested

The main reason why so many people today find themselves in debt is due to rampant usage of credit cards! Yes, it’s true. Credit cards offer the convenience of buying the goods today and paying for them later. This convenience has been misused by our generation beyond belief.
Debt is a dreaded word! Once you fall in it, it takes a lot of planning and perseverance on your part to get yourself out. It would take some really good finance management techniques to bail yourself out of this unwanted situation.
Make a Monthly Budget and Stick to it
It’s very important that you make a budget every month, listing all your income and necessary expenses. Then, there is always some unnecessary expenditures that you can certainly do without. For instance, buying new clothes and cosmetics even when you have a cupboard full of them, taking a yearly membership of a gym when you do not even go there once a week etc. So the first advice is to eliminate all unnecessary expenditures, prepare a monthly budget, and stick to it.
Become a Smart Shopper
When you set out for shopping, make use of coupons wherever you can. Shopping from second hand stores, shopping for things online, and buying from discounted stores are some of the ways to reduce spending, which will keep in check any further additions to your debt.
Use Cash for Payments and Keep Only One Credit Card
Wherever possible, use cash for payments. This will ensure that you only buy things for which you have money available. Reduce your credit card usage to the minimum. One of the best tips here is to keep only one credit card and give up the rest. This way, you won’t have to keep a track of multiple due dates for bill payment, and this will keep the tendency to default on payments due to bad memory, under check.

Consolidate your Liabilities
With debt consolidation, you can transfer all your overdue finances from various credit cards, to one single card. This will lower the overall interest rate that you pay on the bills, and at the same time, will save you the headache of keeping track of a number of credit cards, their due dates, and due amounts.
Negotiate for Lower Interest Rates
Negotiate with the creditors, be it banks or private lenders, to lower your interest rates or the amount due. A good way to negotiate, provided you have the money, is to offer them a lump sum, which is lesser than the amount you own, all at once. Sometimes the creditors may agree to this arrangement, if they feel that they might lose out on the entire money you owe them.

Credit Card Guide for All College Students

It has various benefits which includes non-requirement of income, lost wallet services, credit education tools, etc. The most important benefit of these deals is that banks are generally lenient with young people with limited loan histories. In addition to these facilities, there are rewards and perks given for student lifestyles, and also benefits like 0% introductory interest rates, rewards, and cashback are also offered.
If one wants to earn rewards, he should read the terms and conditions carefully, as these cards generally carry higher rates of interest. Sometimes, it is also possible that the student with a credit card is eligible for rewards, if he falls into the category of consumers who pay off their debt on time. One can also look for a scheme with cashback rewards or inquire with the bank about the kind of reward schemes they offer. Here are some points one must remember.
Understand the Credit Scores
Credit score is a record of one’s credibility and depends on how punctually he pays back the borrowed money. It is stored at a credit bureau and improves if one makes timely payments. Events such as late payments, incomplete or partial payments, and defaults, affect the scores negatively. This score depends around 35% on one’s payment history, 30% on his outstanding debt, 15% on the length of his loan history, 10% on the recent inquiries on credit report, and 10% on the types of credit in use.

Look out for a Card with Low APR and Interest Rate
APR or the annual percentage rate describes the annualized rate of interest, rather than just a monthly fee or rate, as applied on a loan, credit card, etc. Before deciding on a credit card, students should always check out the APR imposed on its usage. It is advisable to get one with low APR, in order to avoid deferrals.
Spend Prudently
Once the formalities are completed and the card is received by the student, he is often tempted to spend more than what he can afford to pay the next month. Such temptations should be avoided and the money should be spent prudently so that the history and scores are not ruined.
Good scores and reports are very important for financial freedom in the modern world, as well as applying for loans in the future. They also help in every major purchase from cars to houses. Student credit is often a misunderstood aspect of personal finance, but it is the first step for building one’s credit history and enter

Surprising factors that can hurt ones credit

What makes up my credit score?
FICO, the most widely used credit score in the US, does not divulge the exact details on how it prepares a credit report. However, it is widely believed that around 65% of the total credit score of an individual is based on two factors – payment history and total outstanding debt.
All of us have some sort of understanding on the fact that credit scores play an important role in determining whether or not we qualify for a loan. Due to the importance credit scores play in our financial management, it is extremely important to understand the factors affecting it. Although a lot of people might have told you incessantly about making your mortgage and credit card payments on time, there are other factors too that can hurt your credit score. Not paying your library fee on time, or forgetting to return that rented video, can have a negative impact on your credit score. In the following paragraphs, we will take a look at some more surprising factors that can hurt your credit score.
Closing a Credit Card

You might think of this as the ideal catch-22 situation. If you have been dealing with a credit card debt for a long time, and now finally, as a sound financial decision, you have decided to pay off the debt and close the card once and for all, you might inadvertently end up hurting your credit score. Most credit rating bureaus in the US look at the history of your line of credit, and the available credit, while preparing your credit reports. People with longer credit scores are looked at favorably by credit rating agencies. Therefore, closing a credit card might cause a dip in your credit score . Also, when you pay off the overdue amount, your credit utilization decreases, which is rated positively by credit bureaus. On the other hand, closing that credit card completely will rob you of the opportunity of increasing your credit score. In case you have multiple credit cards, closing a debt-free credit card decreases the total available credit and increases the total credit utilization, leading to a drop in the credit score. So, if you have done the right thing of paying off the debt on a credit card, instead of closing it down completely, you should keep the account open so that it doesn’t hurt your credit score.

Late Payments on Library Fee/Video Rentals

What would your reaction be if you get to know that your home loan application was rejected because of a delinquency that you had on a library fee a couple of years ago. Chances are that you will not believe that such a trivial thing can bring matters to a head. Well, after the sub-prime crisis, there has been a surge in reporting delinquencies, and libraries and video rental companies are vehemently reporting even minor debts to collection agencies, who seem to have a good working relationship with credit reporting agencies. Even unpaid parking and speeding tickets can cause your credit score to take a plunge.

Lack of Diverse Loans

Seems that it is not only Uncle Sam who looks at diversity favorably; even the three major credit scoring bureaus factor diversity in loans while preparing your credit reports. So, if you are under the impression that you will have a better credit score because you have only a couple of credit cards, you are in for a reality check. Credit bureaus look at the capability of an individual to manage different types of credit positively. Credit card debt falls under the ‘revolving credit’ category, while home loans are classified as ‘non-revolving credit’. Although the credit rating agencies haven’t explicitly stated how they go about preparing a credit report, it is widely believed that there is some sort of hierarchy as far as loans are concerned. Home loans are considered to be at the highest pedestal, and a person who has a mix of home loans, student loans, and credit card loans, will have a higher score (provided he is making timely payments) than somebody with a uniform type of loan.