Personal Finance Basics – How to Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt

There are a lot of credit firms advertising about consolidating your credit card debt. Your personal finance basics knowledge will agree that it is far better to pay a smaller amount each month for the same debt. To be honest that is obvious. But there can be a downside to this. And, in addition, do you know how to consolidate your debt effectively.

So, do you apply because of the advert that says ‘…we have the lowest APR for you here’?

If you have looked at these adverts for any length of time, you will be aware that these offers keep changing and there are always a number of offers to choose from. Sometimes it looks like it is simply a case of picking a supplier at random.

Just remember, these companies are there to make a profit. In this case they want to make a profit from you. They will structure their adverts so that you see what they want you to see. They are hoping you will not look further into the terms and conditions.

Have you noticed how these low APR offers are always for a short term? If you read all the terms and conditions you will find that after so many months, the APR you are offered will increase to their long term rate. It is important you are aware of this and check out the offer properly. In terms of the APR, there are three things you should consider

· Introductory APR

· Introductory APR period

· Standard APR

The introductory APR is what they want you to see. It is designed to be very attractive for you when you are considering consolidating your credit card debt. You will get a period of lower payments, which you can use to your advantage. You can use this time to give yourself a financial breather. The longer this introductory period is, the better it is for you.

The standard APR is a figure you should not ignore. In fact you should search this figure out if it is not immediately obvious. Remember the low introductory APR is specifically put there to lure you to put your business to them.

If the standard APR is too high for your budget then this card is probably not the one you should accept. In fact, the ideal solution is to find a card with a low APR and a long introductory period and pay off your whole debt before the card reverts to the high standard APR. If you are certain you can do this, then the high APR will not matter. You must develop the mentality of using these firms the way they use you.

Increase your personal finance basics knowledge and create a budget for yourself on a spreadsheet. Then you can properly evaluate any low introductory rate credit card and find the best one for your personal circumstances.

5 Ways to Make Finances Easier – Personal Finance Basics

Wouldn’t life be great if you could make your finances easier to deal with? I’ve created a list of five ways to make finances easier to help with personal finance basics. The nice thing about making your banking more simple is you have the opportunity to save more cash and have more free time for you and your family. Banking can be easy.

1. Use Direct Deposit: Direct deposit is the 1st and easiest way to make your financial situation a lot easier. Amazingly many people do not take advantage of this opportunity and still venture to their financial institution every week to cash their paycheck. Your place of employment likely offers the option for direct deposit and it will save your time and in some cases money.

2. Create Two Checking Accounts: This is another way that helps you to understand how much cash you can spend each month and how much money must be allocated for bills. A great way to make this work is to make one account to deposit your paycheck and the other account is used for bill payments. By doing this you won’t over spend and will always have the right amount left over to pay all of your bills.

3. Create a High Rate Savings Account: Many financial institutions give you the option to create a high rate savings account and you should really consider taking advantage of this. A high rate savings account can be a wonderful place to set aside cash for an emergency fund and often offers saving rates of three percent or even higher. You can make small contributions from one of your checking accounts that will quickly help the balance grow and will do so a lot better than most other types of accounts.

4. Automate Your Banking: Your bank has an option for online banking and it can make life incredibly easy. Online banking is personal finance basics at their best. You can check your account from anywhere in the world and schedule monthly bill payments. The options are limitless, online banking is perfectly safe and banking can be done from the comfort of your own home.

5. Create a Bill Calendar: You should think about creating a written calendar for yourself, to help prevent mistakes. It’s a smart idea to write down when your bills are due in a notebook or on a personal organizer as a regular reminder. Be certain it is written in a place you will look at around once every few days. Having a written reminder should help prevent over spending and is a just a great way to prioritize your finances.

Banking doesn’t have to be difficult. The better you simplify the personal finance basics in your life chances are you will save more cash and make all of your regular payments. It may take a little effort to begin with, it should be smooth sailing from there on in.

How to Improve Your Credit Score – Personal Finance Basics

The health of your credit score is incredibly important to your finances for a number of reasons. To begin with good credit scores are exactly what banks are looking for when deciding whether or not they will lend you money. More often than not insurance brokers or landlords often look into your credit when determining whether or not to choose you as a potential client or possible tenant. This article will describe to you a number of ways of improving your credit score and will assist with your personal finance basics.

1. Pay Your Bills On Time

The reason why this is first on my list is because this is likely the most important rule to follow when trying to boost your credit score. If you visit a bank and want to apply for a home mortgage the first thing the bank will search for is if you regularly make bill payments when they are due. These bills include everything from your cable, home or cell phone, credit card or any other types of bills. Your credit score will directly reflect if you pay for, miss or are late on your bills. If they discover that you always miss or are late for payments, there is a good chance they will not approve you for the loan.

Helpful advice so you will make every bill payment:

-Create a new checking account and allocate enough cash at the beginning of each month for your bills so you always have enough.

-Create automated email reminders a few days prior to when your bills are due.

-Create automatic payments through your online banking.

-Keep a written calendar of when each bill is due. Update and check it regularly.

-Purchase everything possible with cash. Not having a credit card means one less bill to forget.

2. Never Let Bills Go To Collections

This may seem very simple but these collection agency’s exist because thousands of people allow their unpaid bills to go this far. You can’t forget about your bills. Your bills won’t just disappear. If just one of your unpaid bills go to collections you will have to pay surcharges, major interest and your credit rating will be tarnished.

3. Keep Credit Card Balances Low

The most simple of personal finance basics is if you must use a credit card, keep the balance at zero or as low as possible. The less of your available credit you use the better. The number that most reflects your credit score the most recent balance on your statement. Even if you pay your bill in full every month you should never exceed more than 30% of your available credit. The less you use the better.

4. Use Old Your Credit Cards

This may seem a bit odd but try not to switch from one credit card company to the next. If you jump around and continually open and close credit cards your credit score can be adversely affected. If you can use the credit card you got when you were 20 and stay with it. If you primarily use a different credit card, attempt to keep your old cards active and use it every once in a while. Make certain you pay it off in full each time.

5. Check Your Scores Once A Year

Credit scores can change fast. One day everything may be going well and tomorrow your credit score might be awful. Looking into your score each year is a personal finance basic tip we all should follow. This will allow you to correct any mistakes that the banks or you might have made. Keep in mind, if you check your credit rating more than once a year or on a regular basis it will affect your scores negatively. Checking once a year is your best option. Be sure to dispute any errors like unpaid bills or late payments when you are certain that they were paid on time or there might be other issues that you could find.

High credit scores create the chance for lower interest rates on mortgages, car loans, personal loans and credit cards. The most simple of personal finance basics you should follow is to maintain the health of your credit score so you will be able to take advantage all sorts of different financial opportunities. The sooner you rectify any issues you might have with your credit, the sooner you will get everything back in order. By following these tips you will be completely on your way to improving the health of your credit score.

Electricity Saving Tips – Personal Finance Basics

Don’t Let Your Electric Bill Zap Your Budget

This post will focus on your electric bill. Electricity can be one of the biggest expenses that you will discover as a home owner. Here are a couple of tips that will help you be more energy efficient in your home. I will go over the personal finance basics regarding one of your larger utility bills. Hydro bills can be very high in the summer, with air conditioners raging. If you’re in the north and use baseboard heaters, you will discover that hydro bills skyrocket in the winter as well. Here’s 3 tips to help reduce your hydro bill.

Are You Using that Computer? – I work at a place where the computers are always on. They don’t even get turned off on the weekends. A little research in personal finance basics will reveal that a computer uses as much electricity per hour than a 14 watt compact fluorescent lamp for a full day. My work’s last hydro bill was $700 for one month. They could lower their expenses by at least 27% by switching the computers off for evenings and weekends.

Is Your Home Energy Efficient? – Easy tasks like putting a plastic heat barrier on your windows in the winter can significantly lower heat waste, and for goodness’ sake, keep your door shut. Ever heard your parents say “I’m not paying to heat the outside?” Sounds like they understood a common sense thought to personal finance basics. find other ways to make your home more energy efficient. You’ll not only leave less of an environmental footprint, but you’ll save tons on hydro.

Sometimes I Swear We Live in the North Pole – When you are looking to further your practical skills in personal finance basics one way is to look at how much energy your air conditioner consumes and reduce it if you can. For instance, try to use a fan instead of the air conditioner. Another excellent way to reduce consumption is by setting the thermostat up by 2 degrees. With heating for example, if you lower the heat by 2 degrees you can reduce the home heating costs by 5%.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. I’ll mention it again, that as a financial consultant I teach a lot of personal finance basics to people looking to reduce living expenses. It’s important to maintain a comprehensive budget so you know where your living expenses are and to motivate you on ways to reduce those costs. If you haven’t searched Google for budget tools yet, you can now, or try the one in our resource link. See you in Part – 4.