Category Archives: Debt Management

How to Save Money in College: Students can Achieve Financial Freedom by Saving Money in College

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How to save money in college

Average student loan debt increased to $30,000, reports the US News. The numbers were based on a report provided by the Institute for College Access and Success. Average debt amounts ranged from $2,500 to $71,0001 The numbers tend to be higher for private colleges and top-ranked institutions with higher tuition costs. In addition to actual student loan debt, college students also accumulate a large amount of debt on credit cards and other loan instruments, including help from family members.

Even with a well-paying job, it could take years to repay these loans and become completely debt free. What college students don’t recognize is that a lot of this debt can either be minimized or avoided. Consider this: If the average debt is $30,000, you need to either save an extra $7,500 every year (of a four-year degree program) or earn an extra $7,500 every year in order to come out debt free. That works out to an extra $625 in way of either increased income or lower expenses.

Be sure to use that amount to setup a debt repayment account or a savings account. Don’t touch it for any other purpose if you are truly serious about coming out of college debt free. It might sound like a sacrifice now, but you will thank yourself later.

Another alternative would be to secure financial aid, scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, or other arrangements that would allow you to study without paying a single dime — yes, there are plenty of programs that allow you to do that.

Not sure if you can save that much as a college student? Read our entire post How to Save Money in College: Students can Achieve Financial Freedom by Saving Money in College and you will come away with some creative ways to save money in college.

[You can also read our post on ways to pay for college.]

Here are some best ways to save money in college

Money Management 101

A complete money management guide is beyond the scope of this article, but we will provide some basic ideas to help you manage the money you will be saving by following our tips.

1. Earn as much interest as possible. Setup savings accounts, Certificate of Deposits (CDs), and credit union accounts that will offer you some interest on your savings and make it a habit to deposit your monthly savings in these accounts. Do not touch the money until you graduate — and that too to repay your debt.

2. Create an automated savings schedule. Many banks will allow you to automatically deposit a pre-determined amount in your savings account. As soon as you receive your pay check, the pre-designated sum will be transferred to your interest-bearing account. This will keep you on track and prevent any lapses.

3. Steer clear from the debt trap. It might be tempting to use your credit limit to buy those fancy shoes or that game you just can’t resist, but eventually these small purchases will add their way and put you in “debt prison” for a very long time to come. Sure, you need to build your credit and use that college student credit card once in a while, but be sure to pay it off as soon as you can. This will not only prevent debt accumulation and credit issues, it will also save you a bunch on interest rates and exorbitantly high financial charges levied by credit card companies.

4. Use credit cards that offer incentives. There are plenty of rewards credit cards that offer either cashback or points or incentives in some shape or form. Use these cards for larger purchases. Be sure to track your points or rewards balance as they do have an expiration date. As pointed earlier, steer clear from debt but if you do have a little debt, transfer the balance to either a 0% APR or low APR credit cards and reap the rewards of a lower interest rate for the initial balance transfer. Again, be very careful because once the “honeymoon phase” is over, your interest rate will jump to a very high amount. Don’t be tempted to sign-up for additional cards just to keep transferring balances. Ultimately, you will end up in debt prison. You can research and compare credit cards here.

5. Use a debit card. Despite the lure of rewards points and other incentives, credit cards do have a tendency to be mis-managed. It is much easier to keep your finances in track by using a debit card. It works just like a credit card, but restricts your purchases to the amount you have in the bank.

6. Setup automatic payments. Utilities, phone bills, and other recurring expenses — all of them need to paid every month. If you skip even one payment deadline, the fees, interest expense, and penalties could have a huge impact on your finances. Free automatic bill payment services are provided by most banks and credit card companies and it takes just a minute to sign-up.

7. Learn to differentiate between needs and wants. Needs are something we can’t do without (such as food, water, shelter, clothes, and the like) whereas wants are items that we desire. The needs have to be taken care of first while the wants can wait a little. When you learn to differentiate between the two, you will make wiser spending decisions and save a lot of money every month.

8. Create a simple budget and stick to it. Account for the inflow of money (such as money from allowances, waiting tables, working at the library, etc.) and outflow of money. Make sure the outflow is lesser than the inflow. Go through your spending patterns with a toothcomb and throw out as many expenses as possible. Anything unnecessary could wait until you are out of college.

Create a budget and try to find creative ways to outperform your budget goals. When you achieve a victory and beat your budget, reward yourself with a small incentive, such as a movie ticket or game ticket. If you don’t meet your budget, don’t hesitate to create a small dis-incentive, such as cutting away on cell phone minutes or “cook at home nights” for the next seven days.

9. Maintain a log. If you don’t maintain receipts, spending logs, and other information that will help you track your income and expenses, you are never going to make progress on the money saving front. Don’t be misguided to keep everything in your head. There is enough text book material to store there. Let the log do its job.

10. Document everything. Have a shoebox to store all receipts, pay stubs, logs, spending spreadsheets, and other documents. They might help you at tax time and if you end up starting a small business (we’ll get to that a little later in our post “How to Save Money in College”), you can use the documents to claim expenses as well.

saving_money_in_college

Money saving tips for college students: How to save on living and food-related expenses

11. Room and board. Living in a dorm is one option to save money as a college student, or you could consider sharing a small studio apartment with a friend. Both parties will save on living expenses — almost half. You can also look for jobs in the college dorm itself. Some college dorms will waive your living costs and save you thousands every year in exchange for some dorm maintenance duties.

In recent years, a lot of college students are opting to stay with parents or family members to cut on living expenses. Some students have managed to live in a car or van and save money that way, but we don’t recommend that. College education could be an intense endeavor and it is important that you to stay healthy in order to focus on your studies.

12. How can college students save money on food expenses. Eating healthy is important during every stage in life, but even more so during college. Unhealthy eating could not only harm your health, it may even impact your grades and overall performance in college. There are several ways to save on food expenses. First, create a healthy and balanced meal plan and follow it to the T. If you need help choosing the right foods, please visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for free tips and nutritional advice.

Cooking on your own is best. Once in a while, you can take advantage of free meal opportunities offered through food tasting events, on campus food fests, and the like. If there is a restaurant you particularly like, speak to the owner to offer some service such as maintaining their website/Facebook Page, or performing some small administrative tasks in exchange for free meals. Waiting at the restaurant is another option to get free meals. If your parent or family member is a member at one of the large wholesale outlets, ask them to buy an extra membership card for you. You can buy your food supplies from there and also take advantage of free samples that are handed out on a regular basis.

Other options to save on food could include places of worship, food banks, soup kitchens, and non-profit initiatives that cater to low income individuals.

Junk food, sodas, chips, and other food items that are absolutely discretionary could cost you your health and wealth. Avoid them.

13. Collect coupons. There are plenty of coupons on campus, but you could also speak with neighbors, friends and relatives, and others who regularly throw away coupons they don’t need. If you can save even $50 by collecting coupons, you are adding an extra $600 to your piggy bank account.

14. Cut travel costs. The easiest way to slash your travel expenses is by living close to campus. You eliminate the need to travel, save time, and eliminate the need to own a car (that just gets rid of gas, insurance, maintenance, car payments, and a host of other expenses). Public transportation is also an effective way to get from A-B. Many cities have special plans for students. And why not bike to school? It is good for health, environmentally-friend, and, hey, very cool!

15. Entertainment expenses. Many young adults express regret for having splurged on entertainment expenses. Sure, you need some way to entertain yourself, vent the stress associated with college life, and, of course, have fun. For starters, there are plenty of entertainment opportunities on campus itself. Movie nights, dance galas, sporting events — there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the best of college life. Besides entertainment opportunities, college campus have many programs that will challenge, involve, and motivate you to progress in life. If you are busy, entertainment expenses will automatically go down.

No need to cut down on healthy fun. Just make sure you know what you are doing. Avoid bad choices and, especially, intoxicants.

16. Choose your friends wisely. What do friends have to do with saving money? This may sound like an old grandma’s advice, but your friends will determine how your life will turn out. If you opt to hang out with big spenders, you will not only do poorly in school but will also come out with a huge debt burden.

17. Brand names versus generic. Expensive clothes and the latest accessories might impress some friends, but they will also drain your wallet. If you look at many expensive brands, they are often manufactured overseas. Should you bear the responsibility for a brand’s marketing expenses and image building exercises? You decide.

18. Save on utilities, phone, and Internet. When you choosing your living area, make sure there is plenty of natural sunlight in your room. This way, you can cut on electricity costs during the day time. There are plenty of small solar-powered appliance for less than twenty bucks. These could save you on utilities, especially electricity.

Own a cell phone? Consider purchasing one of the prepaid plans. There are plenty of cell phone plans that offer you unlimited minutes, data, and text features for under twenty bucks. If a parent, sibling, or family member is subscribing to a new cell phone plan, they will receive a free or low-cost phone. Perhaps, their earlier phone could be passed on to you. Hey, it stays within the family!

Another option would be to add your name to a family plan and pool cell phone usage. Everyone saves this way.

Depending on what’s available you may be able to do away with Internet subscription altogether. Your college campus or a local public library might offer Wi-Fi. There are plenty of cafes and fast food joints offering the same as well. Why pay for a land line. A low cost cell phone plan is all you would probably need.

Save on educational expenses

19. Consider renting text books. Law school was expensive and text books were a huge cost driver. I found a way to economize on reading materials in one of several ways:

(a) Rent books;

(b) Purchase used books — If you keep your eyes open, you might find a bargain online or on campus. At times, I have had great success with used books. Once, a $200 book (same edition) was available for $9;

(c) Borrow from the college (or school) library;

(c) Share your book with a college buddy;

(d) If you own a book and don’t need it anymore, sell it away.

20. Print on campus. Saves you a bunch on paper, toner, and other expenses.

21. Avail of student discounts. From newspapers to shopping outlets, students have an edge when it comes to saving money. Make best use of all student discounts available to you.

22. Find ways to save on classes. Ask your financial aid office if there are any tuition waivers available. Never compromise on education, simply find a more efficient way to do things. Consider this example: You can get certain classes waived if you pass certain exams. Often, the exams cost much less than a full semester of class. Ask your dean to advise you on these matters. They understand. Remember, they were students too.

23. Learn comparison shopping. Shopping around pays. From student loans to everyday expenses, a little extra effort will save you a lot of money in the long run.

24. Use the campus gym. You don’t have to pay for it.

25. Take advantage of programs. Regularly fill out applications doled out by FAFSA, private foundations, grant-giving intuitions and the like. Some will require annual applications but they will save you a lot of money.

25. Work with a professor. Many professors receive grants for their research and academic pursuits. In exchange for part time work, you may be able to make extra money and also earn scholarships and the like. Not to mention, networking opportunities and the potential to advance in your field of interest.

26. Use the 99 cents stores for basic needs (not food, though).

27. Setup a registry. Parents and family members often wish to provide you with gifts. Ask them to buy you a wish list item from your registry instead. Text books, food items, toiletries — anything you need. Cash is a very welcome option as well.

Earn while you learn

28. Take up a job that will allow you to study and work at the same time. Remember, your primary goal is to study so be careful in that department. On campus jobs, internships, work-study opportunities – there are so many opportunities for those who seek them.

If you are the entrepreneurial type, try your hand at a small-scale business such as fixing computers, baby-sitting, cleaning, tutoring, gardening, or any service you feel capable of providing. If you do things right, you might build some equity in the business before you graduate — not to mention “brag rights” for your resume. If you decide to engage in a business, be sure to seek out professional assistance from a tax expert and an attorney.

Small mistakes on the tax or legal front could cost you much more than you earn. If you don’t have the resources to pay for such expert, seek out a local non-profit organization’s help. Family members might be able to introduce you to their friends and associates as well.

In addition to traditional jobs, you can also freelance on sites such as Elance to make some extra money and also gain valuable experience. If you write well or an expert in a particular field, consider participating in competitions that offer cash prizes for “best entry”.

Most important: Ask for expert advice from family, professionals, and on campus resources. Help is always a phone call away and most individuals love to help students. You should not feel any shame in seeking assistance from all available resources.

1. US News

Would You Live in a Cave to Save Money? Extreme Ways to Save Money

(C) DontSpendMore.com

It would be wonderful to make six- or even seven-figure salaries, but when that may not be possible the next best bet would be to save as much as possible. Clipping coupons, car-pooling, lunch bags, cooking at home, and other time-tested strategies are very popular, but now there is a daring breed of individuals who would go to the extreme to save some extra cash — and in some cases, survive without having to pay any bills whatsoever.

Living close to nature would be perfect, but an isolated cave dwelling is not for the faint hearted. Yet, many have adopted this lifestyle. Some have gone to the extreme of giving their caves urban makeovers and have incorporated modern, solar-powered urban amenities in their naturesque homes.

The following are true stories of individuals who went to extreme lengths to save money.IMG_1015

A rent-free lifestyle is van-tastic

We are not talking about recreational RV lifestyles, many van owners are converting their large-hearted vehicles into everyday living quarters. While large-sized RV-type vans and Ford Econolines are obvious choices, Toyota, Nissan, and other minivan owners are converting their vehicles into makeshift homes as well. A little creativity, some basic amenities, and proximity to gyms (for showers) and public bathrooms is all it takes to make this way of living work.

Sure, there are temperature extremes, security risks, street noises, and other concerns but the lure of saving anywhere from $12,000 to $36,000 every year in rent alone is reason enough for many daring van dwellers.

How do they make it work?

Cooking

One burner propane stoves help with basic cooking. Food choices that allow minimal cooking, and, of course, economical restaurants.

Charging

Public libraries, free Wi-Fi access, and places that allow you to charge your phones and small appliances.

Personal Business

Gyms for showers, fast food joints for rest rooms, cat litter boxes, bottles (for emergency nature calls)—necessity is truly a mother of invention for a van dweller.

Lighting

Solar-powered lamps and flash lights.

Temperature control

Car cooling/heating, battery-powered fans, and similar devices.

Parking

Camp grounds, 24-hour shopping areas, publicly-designated parking areas, and street parking.

Laws

Local ordinances vary, but living in a car, except in designated areas, is generally not encouraged. There are many stories of individuals who have escaped legal scrutiny. The regulatory environment is becoming tougher, though, as rising unemployment rates have forced many individuals to adopt this lifestyle as the only resort. Some counties have regulations that prohibit car owners from staying in their cars for more than six hours at a time. Police scrutiny has increased in neighborhoods where van dwelling is likely to occur.

In fact, one Duke grad lived in his van to complete his education debt free. His social experiment did draw some scrutiny subsequently and laws were eventually passed to prevent students from living on campus, but that did not deter this enterprising young student to pursue his choices. You can read more about his “van days” here. Ken used the campus gym ($34 per month) for showers and for the purpose of collecting water for drinking and cooking.

If you decide to adopt this lifestyle, be sure to ensure adequate ventilation. Poisonous gases can quickly accumulate in small spaces.

Walk to work, become a social media hero, win a new car

Many of us walk to work daily, especially if we are fortunate enough to live close to work but in the case of a dedicated Detroit man, Mr. Robertson, his walk wasn’t just the customary few blocks. He walked 21 miles on a daily basis—every single work day. It wasn’t that he didn’t have access to public transportation. To the contrary, the bus routes simply did not have stops close to his house, leaving him to walk nearly twenty miles (both ways). Twenty miles! That’s more than what I would walk every month — and this gentleman was 56 when the story was covered. That’s motivating.

Mr. Robertson’s unwavering commitment inspired a highly-publicized crowdsourcing campaign that ultimately raised $350,000 toward a new home for him. A suburban car dealership decided to donate a car for his commute as well.

Despite his new-found fame, Mr. Robertson did not give up his $10.55 per hour job. You can read more about his inspiring story here.

Study in an Ivy school — tuition-free

Doesn’t always work (and is probably illegal), but that did not deter Mr. Dumas, 28, from attending classes and networking at some of the nation’s most prestigious schools, including Yale. He would literally show up for lectures, participate in classes, and genuinely contribute toward project discussions as if he were actually enrolled and registered for the courses. His enthusiasm was contagious and no one suspected his unique experiment.

Not only did Mr. Dumas accumulate a vast body of learning from the world’s most sought-after professors, he also managed to make valuable connections that, hopefully, will do him good as he progresses in his career. The Atlantic covered his unique story in full detail.

Forget shipping; now, you can live in shipping containers

Let’s admit building materials have become expensive. The cost of building strong, durable exteriors is not only prohibitive, it is causing a new generation of home builders to look at reasonable alternatives. From reconstructing dumpsters to converting shipping containers into homes, the trend is picking up nationwide.

If you own some land (or can rent it), a shipping container can be purchased for as little as $2,000. One shipping container can provide enough room for an entire family, but if you are picky about space and need more, you can buy extra containers. Add more rooms or inexpensively build a multi-storey dwelling. Looking for more ideas? Look at some eye-catching homes built by creative homeowners.

If you consider that a mobile, pre-built home costs tens of thousands of dollars, a container home doesn’t sound like a very bad alternative.

Fire your utility company; hire Mother Nature instead

Creative lifestyles appear to be on the horizon these days. Escalating utility costs, multi-layer taxes, and a preference for living a completely natural lifestyle appear to be the primary reasons why a rising breed of naturalists are adopting off-the-grid lifestyles. Despite their natural lifestyles, they appear to be holding on to some of their urban comforts. In fact, their approach is a unique blend of urban comfort and natural living.

For off-grid home dwellers, solar panels and wind energy appear to be popular choices for generating electricity without the help of hyper-expensive utility service providers. Some families take this concept to a much higher level, though, and have adopted lifestyles completely in harmony with nature. Natural septic tanks, organic home-grown food, natural heating and cooling sources — there are so many ways to go completely off-grid. In case you are interested in learning more about the science behind off-grid living, HowStuffWorks has some great tips on the subject.

Grow your veggies on your own window sill

Love your fruits and veggies but don’t like the grocery bills? Your background or even your own window sill (if you live in an apartment) could replace your walk to the grocery store. In fact, urban farming is the new craze these days. Not only are these fruits and vegetables cheaper to cultivate, they are healthy and sans any dangerous pesticides or chemicals. Sure, you need to consider local weather conditions to adapt your produce, but if you are dedicated enough you could grow not only for your own needs but also supply extra produce to local stores or sellers at the local farmer’s market.

I tried growing some tomatoes once. The squirrels did take a bite (literally) out of my hard work but the results were encouraging and I had enough left over for a freezer full of lycopene-rich vegetables. After a season of dedicated monogamy with pasta sauce and tomato-flavored food, I was a little bored, though, and decided to call it quits on the home-grown produce craze. I may have given up a little early, but there are others who are capitalizing on the ability to farm in-house, even on a commercial scale.

In fact, a New York restaurant decided to conduct a very successful experiment. The restaurant grew its own produce on a Manhattan terrace and used the fresh products as ingredients in exclusively organic à la carte menu. Now, if you can grow your commercial-scale food requirements on Manhattan’s skyline, you can pretty much replicate the experiment anywhere.

cave_life_modernSo easy, even an urbanite can do it; cave dwellers face foreclosure too

Forget the controversial punch line that lighted up many social media discussions. We are not talking about cavemen, but the very opposite here. Some daring urban dwellers decided to resort to natural habitats to save a bunch — and then some more.

The Shangaiist covered the story of a caveman — actually, a 35-year-old Chinese national who decided to live in the cave for six months so he could save enough for his family. There was another story of an American who lived in the cave for ten years. Now, if you are thinking this style of living was foreclosure-proof, think again. The Sleepers family was in for a hard surprise when they discovered their 17,000-square-foot home is up for auction.

Dumpster diving for food and business

One morning, I left for work at 4 AM and was surprised to see a group of elderly people on bicycles. At first, I thought they were on their way to a biking event or an exercise class, but I was surprised to see them stopping in front of every home. These seniors would dive into recycled trash to find cans, water bottles, and other recyclable treasure. After collecting their treasure, they would visit the local supermarket and deposit their digs in exchange for cash. A few-hour shift on a lucrative route would earn them an extra $20 to $30 per day — add to that benefits of exercise.

Homeless people often resort to the dumpster to find food for their next meal but there was the story of a man who would actually dive into dumpsters to find electronics. In fact, he is not alone. There is an entire breed of technically-savvy individuals who dive into the dumpsters of big retailers to find electronics (and parts) that they later sell or auction in exchange for thousands of dollars. The shift is hard, though, and often requires 2 AM commutes. Not to mention the hazard of contacting unwanted germs, diseases, and injuries that could result from the hazardous venture.

One more reason to thoroughly sanitize your digs from online auctions. For all you know, they might have been sourced from commercial dumpsters.

Collecting neighbors’ coupons

Those annoying magazine inserts, coupon leaflets, and store flyers that you throw away are actually sought-after commodities by passionate coupon lovers. These are individuals who offer to collect their neighbors’ newspapers and other material just in order to get more coupons — and it works.

The neighbors benefit from not having to take care of their unwanted items while the collectors get coupons worth hundreds of dollars for less than a few hours of work every month. Not bad.

One man’s throwaway is another man’s food

Some years back, a local television channel interviewed a unique family. This family had started a foundation that would collect leftover food from restaurants. After collecting a substantial amount, partner airlines and transportation companies would provide logistics to enable delivery of usable food items to needy individuals in developing countries.

There are many individuals who receive food supplies from local restaurants and bakeries who are finding it difficult to manage their excess food.

Food joints and sample giveaways

Those little sample giveaways you were avoiding are actually a source of full meals for many cost-conscious consumers. An elderly gentleman in Queens, NY, regularly visits different wholesalers every week. Every single day, he visits one discount wholesaler. His motivation? Free samples. Hot dogs, pasta, ice creams, cookies, samosas, you name it … at least one meal a day is arranged through free samples.

If his strategy piqued your curiosity, how would you react to those who source their daily supplies for sugar ketchup, napkins, and other items from generous fast food joints? On every visit, they collect extra sugar packets and ketchup pouches. Eventually, there is a cumulative effect.

Forget apple picking, go Metrocard hunting instead

New York has a Metro Card program that allows you to swipe your card in lieu of tokens. The cards come in many dominations and the unfortunate math behind these cards is that sometimes you will have $0.50 left on the card after a few swipes. Since you can’t ride for that amount, passengers often toss these cards away as trash. This is where card hunters come in. They pick up a large stack of these cards and often visit the counter to combine many cards for a larger amount.

Sometimes, an hour of work (on a good day) could net you $20 in fares. Every day is not good for business, though, and like any business card hunters have their peaks — not to mention competition.

Penny clinchers

Ever seen a determined person picking up a penny from the road? If you walk a block around Manhattan, you are sure to find at least a few dollars’ worth of pennies.

In case you are wondering — what did they do with the extra savings? Some went on to build their dream homes or get a college degree without loans, while others just used their nomadic lifestyle as an opportunity for more adventure and fun.

What do you think about their choices? Which strategy do you think is the craziest? You be the judge and let us know in the comments below.

Author Information

Nimish Thakkar is the founder of DontSpendMore.com. (c) DontSpendMore.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Credit Card Monthly Payments: Three Strategies You Could Use

By Rick

Your credit card monthly payment is the most important appointment you have to keep. Missing a single payment can start a cycle of lower credit scores and higher interest rates that can haunt you for years. Making your payments on time is critical to your financial health and can affect all of your future loans and accounts if not handled properly.

Click here to compare credit card offers with 0% APR and no annual fee. Cashback, rewards, and hundreds of categories to choose from. Free comparison tools.

Set yourself a reminder

Most credit card companies will bill you on a set schedule and your credit card monthly payment will fall on a similar day each month. Keeping track of when this payment is approaching can help ensure you’re never late. With the advent of Smartphones, tablets and computers there’s never a reason to forget this important date.

Set a reminder or two of when your payment is due so you’re sure to satisfy this obligation well in advance of that date. Some lenders websites will even send you a message a few days before the due date for a credit card monthly payment. This is a great way to stay ahead of these payments and can help remind you to make the payment on time. If you choose to go paper-less with a particular lender you may even get access to more online features such as long-term records of your transactions and printing of receipts for tax purposes at the end of the year.

Take advantage of automated payments

With websites becoming more sophisticated, many lenders allow you to set up a recurring credit card monthly payment. By linking your bank account to this credit card account you can have your monthly payment made for you automatically. This works great if you want to pay off your card every month in full and even helps with minimum payment accounts.

The key is making sure your accounts are properly linked and that you have the funds needed to cover any payments made to the card. Once you get this set up, you can rest easy as your credit card monthly payment is done automatically. For accounts where you only want to make sure the minimum amount Is sent, you can always come back into the account and make a second payment against the principle to pay off your card more quickly. Most credit card companies will allow you to make several payments each month on a particular card to fit your schedule.

Automated banking can help

In addition to the credit card lenders website making your payments, your bank may also offer this service. Many banks now enable you to organize all of your monthly bills on their websites and pay them electronically. You not only save the hassle and expense of sending a check each month, you can easily pay all of your monthly bills in a few minutes from the comfort of your home.

With most banks this service is free and allows you to organize your monthly obligations and have a complete record of all your payments for tax purposes. Doing these payments through your bank also makes it easier to decide which accounts you want to use to make your payments and provides the ultimate in flexibility.

Click here to compare credit card offers with 0% APR and no annual fee. Cashback, rewards, and hundreds of categories to choose from. Free comparison tools.



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How To Reduce Debt, Especially Credit Card Debt In Six Easy Steps

Dr. Kavita

Credit card debt has now become a cuss word for a vast majority of us. America and many other developed nations of the world are reeling under credit card debt. We hear millions of readers ask us the same question again and again: How to reduce debt? Maybe it is the convenience that credit cards give us to buy now and pay later that pushes us into the dark hole of debt. Before we realize we are already in a financial mess and chances of coming out of that dark hole of debt seem very slender.

Today we will discuss how credit card debt can be eliminated in six simple steps.

Click here to compare credit card offers for debt consolidation. Transfer higher rate balances to 0% APR credit cards.

Make a list of your debts

Maybe you have many credit cards and have different amounts of debts on each of them or hopefully just some of them. Whatever the amount and rate of interest that is being charged on the cards must be written down in a list. This list should help you provide a quick assessment of your outstanding debts at the first look.

Determine a monthly budget

Despite the fact that you are drowning in credit card debts, you must be having a source of income that provides you with a certain amount of money each month. Try to budget this amount and make clear cut demarcations for your monthly expenses (that are unavoidable) and then put the rest of the money in to a debt fund.

Look at the debt with highest rate of interest

Now at this point, you will need to go back to your list of credit card debts and then find out the one that has the highest rate of interest being charged to you. This debt is the most dangerous one that is undermining your financial stability.

Now look at the amount that you are paying each month towards this debt. Whatever that amount is, you now need to put away more from your debt fund towards this particular installment. Usually most of us do not have any debt elimination strategy/plan. And all we can think of is to equally distribute all our monthly savings between the numerous credit card debts that we carry. But this will not help with effective debt elimination.

Instead, prioritize the debts according to rate of interest and then systematically distribute the funds between them.

Keep continuing until you pay off your debt

Try to stick to this schedule until you get the credit card debt with the highest rate of interest off your chest. Once you finish the debt payment on this card, make sure you get rid of it totally.

Pick the next card

Using the same strategy, now you need to pick the credit card with the next highest rate of interest and focus on this one until you get the debts on it fully paid, like the first one.

Stick to basic minimum

This process will not help you get debt free overnight, but it definitely works if you stick to the schedule consistently. Once you get all the major debts paid off, stick to the basic minimum number of credit cards that you require. More credit cards only mean more debt.

We hope you liked our article How To Reduce Debt, Especially Credit Card Debt In Six Easy Steps. If so, do let us know in the comments below.

Click here to compare credit card offers for debt consolidation. Transfer higher rate balances to 0% APR credit cards.

Fight Debt Like A Warrior: Simple Tips To Become Debt Free

How to become debt free

Debt is a growing problem for millions of people and getting rid of debt is on the wish list of everyone. But it is an not easy thing to do and you need lot of sacrifice and commitment to do so.

It is stated that the average American family caries a credit card debt of about $15,000 besides car and mortgage payments. With average 15% rate means that the debt of almost $15,000 will add up annually and the debt will keep on increasing if some drastic measures are not taken. If you choose to pay off minimum payments then it will take you almost ten years to clear the debts.

The following steps will help you pay off the debts:

The first step is to believe in yourself that you will pay all your debts. Once you have that belief then take a piece of paper and write down all the debts in the order of highest interest rates first.

Then make another list which should include all your financial commitments and necessities like rent, gas, food, utilities, clothing, entertainment and all other expenses. Add all of these expenses.

Next step is to calculate your net income from all sources. Deduct the expenses from the net income. The figure that comes out at the end is called discretionary income. This amount will be paid to pay your debt. If the figure is too small then what you will need to do is cut down on your expenses in order to generate funds to pay debts or secure a second source of income, if possible.

You can also sell some of your assets and use their proceeds to pay the unsecured debt having the highest interest rate. We hate this, though.

The unsecured debts with highest interest rates should be your priority and most of your discretionary income should be spent to get rid of them and use much smaller portion for all other debts. Keep doing this until all of your unsecured debts are paid off and then pay secured debts like car payments.

Debt settlement

If you have other investments in the shape of bonds and stocks, then decide which savings you are willing to sacrifice in order to pay down the debt. Add these proceeds with the sale of your unnecessary assets.

Now the most important step is to contact your creditors with highest interest rates first. Then negotiate with their supervisor and ask him to give you a total which will be acceptable to you in order to make a full payment. Ask for a letter from your creditor mentioning that total payment after which you will be free of their debt. Remember that settling for less money than you owe is possible only if you are more than three months behind your payments. Furthermore, you should make certain that this step will benefit your credit score. Clarify this point. It is always preferred to seek legal counsel.

Finally, pay your creditors as promised in full and ask for confirmation letter that all the debt has been paid in full.

After paying off one creditor, use that payment to settle the debt from another creditor with highest interest rate and so on.