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Category Archives: Money Saving Tips

What Are Short-Term and Long-Term Financial Goals? What’s the Difference?

Having specific financial goals is an important step to becoming financially secure. Though, not all financial goals are the same, and therefore they cannot be treated the same. Setting priorities and timeframes are elements to solid financial goal setting.

Short-Term Goals

Short-term financial goals address your immediate expenses―things you will spend money on in the next few months or coming year. Short-term financial goals include paying for:

  • Living expenses, like rent and necessary insurance.
  • Saving an adequate emergency fund.
  • Wants or luxury purchases, like a new camera or piece of furniture.
  • Saving for a vacation or wedding.
  • Paying down debt, like student loans.

Long-Term Goals

Long-term financial goals are your big-picture costs and will typically take several years or decades to reach. Long-term financial goals include:

  • Paying off your mortgage.
  • Saving for retirement.
  • Saving for your child’s college tuition.

Mid-Term Goals

Some financial goals will take longer to reach than typical short-term goals, but can be achieved more quickly than larger, more expensive long-term goals. These mid-term financial goals will vary by person, but may include buying a new car outright or putting down a significant car down payment, saving for a house down payment, or saving a nest egg to start a business.

Setting Priorities and Timeframes

There are certain financial goals that are simply more important than others. Meeting your immediate needs, having an emergency savings, saving for retirement, and paying off debt are top priorities.

Once you’ve determined what your short and long-term financial goals are, it is important to then prioritize those goals. When your financial goals will be met will depend on your budget. Based on your budget you should know exactly what you plan to save each month. While unexpected expenses may arise occasionally, that should not throw your budget out the window (especially when you have an emergency savings to draw from to cover unexpected emergency expenses).

Reaching a milestone financial goal is a rewarding experience. Following a budget isn’t always easy. Saving when you want a new phone, running shoes, and a $5 latte isn’t always easy. But living debt-free, paying for your new couch outright, and knowing that your retirement will be fully-funded makes the commitment to budgeting worth it. Stay focused on your goals.

We hope you found this guidance on financial goal setting helpful as you begin your journey to becoming a savvy saver!

 

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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Don’t Spend Money Without A Plan

At the end of last year, 50.7% of people surveyed said they set no holiday budget at all. Another 15.1% of those surveyed reported that they set a holiday budget… but they ignored it and spent more than planned.

Now, months into 2018 many people are still paying for their 2017 holiday spending.

It is not a wise financial decision to spend money without a plan, without at least loosely following a budget. We understand that creating and living within a budget can feel daunting to some people. But the fact is that following a reasonable budget is the only way to meet your financial goals.

For example, say you want to save for a down payment on a house. You can put a portion of your income each month into savings and hope that one day the account has enough for the down payment. But reaching financial goals on a hope isn’t likely. Instead, if you follow a budget and save a set percent of your monthly income, you will be able to know exactly when your savings account will have enough money for the down payment on your dream home.

On A Budget

For guidance on budgeting, read our articles 5 Steps to Create A Solid Budget and How to Budget ― Without a Budget, A Practical Strategy. Remember that your budget can be modified to fit your needs and wants. You will still reach your financial goals if you follow your budget most of the time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be willing to be flexible. But also be willing to rein in your spending and plan for large purchases.

Don’t Spend Money Without A Plan

First, spend within your budget. Your budget is your money plan. It tells you how much you will save every month and how much you can spend on lattes and a new pair of running shoes.

Second, plan for your financial goals. Set short and long-term financial goals and build your budget around those goals. You know what is most important to you―make sure those things are being prioritized. If being a home owner is important, then plan how to save your down payment. If taking an annual trip to Tahiti is important to you, then plan for the expense of the trip in your budget. Your budget actually gives you the freedom to do and have the things you truly want.

Third, if you are in debt, make a plan on how to get out of debt. Here we are talking about unsecured debts, like credit card and medical debt. If you are carrying debt forward each month, stop incurring new debt and come up with a plan on how and when you will get your debt paid off, in-full. You will not get out of credit card debt if you continue to make new charges while you’re trying to pay off purchases from months ago.

One of the main aspects of financial health is living within (or below) our means. This means our money is spent, and saved, with a plan.

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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Opening A Bank Account & Checking Account Screening Companies

Did you know there are check and bank account screening companies?

Just as there are credit reporting agencies, there are also checking account companies that report certain information about a consumer’s negative banking activity. There companies may blackball a person from being able to open a checking account!

The checking account companies to be aware of are:

The companies collect and report data on checking account applications, openings, and closures, and when available, reasons for account closure. Check and bank screening companies provide data primarily to financial institutions, though some also provide data and check verification to merchants.

Checking account screening companies only report negative information about a consumer’s dealings with their bank, such as unpaid overdraft fees or the reasons why a bank closed an account.

Opening A Bank Account & Checking Account Screening Companies

If you have been denied the opening of a bank account at a financial institution, it is important that you review your check and bank screening reports and dispute them if inaccurate information is reporting against you.

You have a right to know what is in your file with these check and bank screening companies. Just as you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus annually, you are entitled to a free report from the check and bank screening companies annually.

You can dispute inaccurate information with the reporting agency and the bank that provided the erroneous information to the reporting agency. If you are not satisfied with the reporting agency’s response, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is a U.S. governmental agency tasked with ensuring that banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat consumers fairly. Read more information about submitting a complaint with the CFPB here.

 

The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel, a Bankruptcy Law Firm

Learn about bank accounts and bankruptcy here in our article Can I Keep My Bank Account if I File for Bankruptcy?

All of us here at the Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel want to help you get out from under the weight of financial stress and gain financial freedom. We invite you to read about the clients we’ve helped here.

If you live in Savannah, GA or the surrounding areas and have questions about your debt relief options, let’s meet for a free consultation. Please reach out to us at (912) 351-9000 or contact us by filling out this simple web form.

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Is It Okay to Use Credit Cards to Fund Large Purchases?

Credit cards, when used wisely, can help your overall financial health. Of course, misuse of credit cards can get consumers into financial trouble.

Is It Okay to Use Credit Cards to Fund Large Purchases?

The answer to this question is: it depends.

There are situations where it is wise to charge a large purchase on a credit card.

First, you want to avoid paying interest on your large purchase. As long as you do not plan to carry a large balance forward on your credit card, then using plastic is okay.

Second, when using your credit card will offer benefits you wouldn’t otherwise receive, then using your card may be a wise choice.

  • Credit Card Rewards: It is wise to put a large purchase (that you will pay off, in-full when the bill arrives) on a credit card that will earn you rewards. Credit card reward programs offer cash back, points to receive gift certificates, miles for free airfare, and other perks depending on the terms of your credit card rewards program.
  • Consumer Protections: It is wise to put a major purchase (again, that you will pay off when the bill arrives) on a credit card when that card offers additional consumer protections, such as price protection, extended warranties, the right to dispute charges for defective products, or other protections. Contact your credit card company to learn about the consumer protections available to you when using your card.
  • Interest-free Charges: If you time a large purchase on your credit card right you can essentially get an interest-free loan for nearly two months. This strategy typically does not work if you are carrying a balance month after month on your credit card. If you make the large purchase right after your new billing cycle begins, that charge will not appear until next month’s bill. By the time next month’s bill is due, so long as you pay it in full, you basically are able to make a large purchase interest free for nearly two months.

There are situations when it is not wise to charge a large purchase on a credit card. If you cannot afford to pay the balance off in full (or quickly over a few months), then you could end up paying a lot more for your purchase in interest charges. Compounded interest on a large amount will add up quickly.

Also, carrying a large balance on your credit card will negatively affect your credit score. The amount of credit you are using (amount of debt) compared to the amount of open credit you have available is called your “credit utilization ratio,” and it factors into your credit score. High balances compared to the amount of open credit is harmful to your credit score.

It is always a good time to make wise financial choices, especially when it comes to using credit cards!

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All of us at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel are here to help you end your financial struggle and gain financial freedom. We help people get out of debt by filing for bankruptcy protection. Contact us at (912) 351-9000 today to set up a free consultation.

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Gauging Your Financial Health

It is important to periodically gauge your financial health to make sure you’re on track to meet your financial goals. We recommend taking a look at your overall financial health at least once a quarter, roughly every three months. Checking in on your finances often will help you stay on track and pinpoint potential problems early so you can make necessary adjustments.

The following are three things to look at when gauging your overall financial health.

Your Net Worth

Your net worth is the big picture number of where you stand financially. Net worth is the difference between your assets and debts. It is calculated by subtracting your debts (liabilities) from the value of your assets (including cash, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, real property, and other valuable items).

Knowing your net worth allows you to see the progress you’re making toward your financial goals. Ideally your net worth grows every year. If you find that your net worth is in the negative or if growth stalls, it is an opportunity for you to course-correct.

Your Retirement Plan

Is your retirement plan on track to fund the retirement you want at the age you want it?

Assess your retirement accounts and ensure the projected growth for the type of investments you hold and the amount that you’re currently contributing is adequate to get you to the number you need to be at.

Take a look at the fair market value of any assets you plan to sell to help fund retirement. Ideally these assets are projected to appreciate by the time you plan to retire.

Two quick tips on retirement savings:

  • The earlier you begin to save for retirement the better. Compounded interest helps wealth grow and the longer funds remain in financial securities (stocks) the more easily they can bear market fluctuations.
  • Maximize employer matching retirement funds for your 401(k) or 403(b) by contributing the amount necessary to get the most in matched funds your employer offers.

Meeting Financial Goals

One easy way to gauge your financial health is to see if you are meeting financial goals. If you are falling short of your savings goals (or paying off debt goals), then it is time to revamp your budget or get back on budget and rein in your spending.

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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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8 New Year Money Tips

It is always the right time to make wise financial decisions. The new year is an excellent opportunity to implement new financial strategies, save more money, and grow your net worth.

  1. Pay yourself first.

Every time you receive money, whether that is a bi-weekly check from your employer, payment from a contract job, or any other income, put a portion of it into savings.

If you feel that you don’t make enough money to be able to save, whether you are barely scraping by or even if you are not paying your monthly credit card bills, save a portion of your income. Even if it is a small amount, it develops a good saving behavior and small amounts eventually add up.

  1. Go cold turkey on emotional spending.

Emotional spending is buying things you don’t need or maybe even don’t want in response to an emotional trigger, like having a stressful day at work or feeling bored. This is also known as “retail therapy.”

If you find Amazon Prime deliveries on your doorstep day after day, it may be time to delete the Amazon app from your phone. If you find your cart at Target overflowing with stuff you didn’t know you needed (because you don’t), it may be time to stick to a shopping list of true necessities.

If you are guilty of being an emotional spender: stop. Identify your triggers and redirect yourself. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

  1. Emergency savings is a must.

A large component to overall financial health is having an adequate emergency savings, liquid and available to you if needed.

It is generally recommended to have at least 3 to 6-months of your total living expenses in emergency savings. If you are self-employed or your job is volatile, it’s best practice to have more in emergency savings.  

  1. Cash is King.

Stop using credit and debit cards and use cash instead. It is far too easy to overspend when you’re swiping plastic, or inserting a chip as is now customary. Set your budget and figure out how much cash you need each week to cover your living expenses that are easily paid by cash, like gas, groceries, lunch, and the weekly latté luxury.

Handing over a $20 will make you think twice about an impulse buy. Using cash makes your expenses more real, and will help you spend less and better understand where you spend your money. It may also help you understand what expenses are important to you, and what things you can comfortably forego in the name of saving more.

Even living cash-based for a few weeks or months can make a profound difference in your spending habits.

  1. Create budget, follow budget.

This money tip sounds profoundly simple, but it is shocking how many people do not have a budget or do not stick to their budget.

When you stick to a budget you will know exactly how much you will save over the course of the year. You will be empowered to plan for future expenses, like a vacation or a down payment for a house. While a budget can be flexible, sticking to it more often than not paves the way for financial health.

  1. Source the deal.

Before making a purchase, shop around and find the best deal on the item. Check more than one store, compare online prices, check for coupons, voucher codes, and even Groupon or Overstock.

There are even search engine plug-ins and free apps that can help you find the best bargain.

  1. Be savvy about where you keep your savings.

Hold your savings in an interest bearing account. When your money earns interest, then you are earning money on your money.

Interest-bearing savings accounts don’t typically offer high interest rates anymore, so shop around for an option that will yield a higher return. A Certificate of Deposit (CD) may offer higher interest rates, but also ties your money up for a prescribed timeframe. Money Market accounts typically offer more favorable interest rates than regular savings accounts, but keep your money liquid.

Research the interest rates on savings accounts offered by the banks and local credit unions. Also, research other FDIC insured financial institutions. You may find that your credit card company, or other organization, offers higher-yield savings accounts, while still offering the safety of being FDIC insured.

Is it worth the effort to find an account with a higher interest rate? More free money is a good thing. If you go from a 1% annual interest rate to 2% on $50,000 in savings, your money will increase from earning $500 in interest to $1,000 in interest.

  1. Spend your money on what matters most to you.

You will feel more satisfied when you spend your money on what matters most to you.

And consider the value of spending your money on experiences instead of things. Research from San Francisco State University found those who spent money on experiences rather than material items felt their money was better spent and reported greater feelings of happiness.

  1. Hit the reset button.

Take the new year as an opportunity to review your overall financial health. Take a fresh look at your spending, savings, debt load, financial goals, and net worth. You may find a simple review of your finances paves the way for wiser financial choices.

It is always a good time to implement better personal financial management practices. We wish you a happy & healthy new year!

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All of us at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel are here to help you end your financial struggle and gain financial freedom. We help people get out of debt by filing for bankruptcy protection. Contact us at (912) 351-9000 today to set up a free consultation.

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Dealing With Holiday Credit Card Debt

Americans who took on debt over the 2017 holidays reported an average of $1,054 new debt, according to a MagnifyMoney survey. This represents a 5% increase from the average amount of holiday debt incurred in 2016.

Do you have new or increased credit card bills from your holiday spending? If so, here are some tips for dealing with your holiday credit card debt.

Stop making new charges to your credit cards, at least for a few weeks. It will be easier to pay down your credit card balance if you are not adding to the balance. Use cash or your debit card for all purchases in the weeks following the holidays. You cannot overspend if you limit yourself to spending only your cash on hand.

Cut back on January spending, and maybe February too. Spending less will free up some cash to put toward paying off your holiday credit card debt.

Cut back on non-essentials and luxury expenses. Brown-bag your lunch for a few weeks. Enjoy an evening in instead of a pricey dinner out with friends. Forego a January trip to the hair or nail salon. Skip the trip to Target, or at least make a list of necessities and skip the impulse buy isle and buy only what is on your list.

Use the money you didn’t spend to pay your credit card debt.

Pay down the card with the highest interest rate first. The card with the highest interest rate is costing you the most in interest charges month after month. If you are carrying a balance forward each month, focus on paying down your debts with the highest interest rate to the lowest.

Pay more than your monthly minimum payment, every month. If your balance is high, it will take years to pay off a credit card making only the minimum monthly payment. Over the course of those years you will continue to accrue interest charges and you will ultimately pay back far, far more than the original amount you charged. This is how credit card companies get rich off of consumers.

If you are consistently only able to make your minimum monthly payment, it is a red-flag that you may have a serious debt problem.

When you truly can only make the minimum monthly payment, then it is time to take an honest assessment of your overall financial situation. If you cannot reasonable pay off your credit card debts within 3 years, then it is time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

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If You Are Struggling To Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

If you are struggling to make ends meet, and you simply do not have enough income to reasonably pay down your credit card debt, then bankruptcy might be the debt relief solution for you.

All of us at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel are here to help you end your financial struggle and gain financial freedom. We offer free consultations. Contact us at (912) 351-9000 today!

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

More Than Half of Americans Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings

A survey revealed that 56.3 percent of Americans admit to having less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined. This statistic is terrifying because it likely means that millions of Americans are just one emergency, one unexpected expense, one job loss away from not being able to pay rent or their mortgage.

Personal financial management best practices says everyone should have at least 3 to 6 months in emergency savings. The general recommendation is to save between 10 and 15 percent of your annual income. But personal savings rates in the U.S. today are half of what they were 50 years ago.

Further, at the start of 2018, U.S. consumers have more credit card debt than ever before. The outstanding balance of credit card debt Americans are carrying is more than $1 trillion. From 2016 to 2017 the average credit card debt per household increased by 5 percent.

Americans are falling deeper into debt and many have no liquid savings to help when a costly emergency strikes.

Beyond this, nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Yet, to be financially ready to retire at age 67, Fidelity advises that you should have 10 times your final salary in savings. Other “conventional wisdom” suggests that a savings of $1 million to $1.5 million is appropriate for a comfortable retirement.

While these numbers may feel daunting, there is hope. Each day, every financial choice, is an opportunity to better our financial health. We can always make wiser choices. If you do not have an emergency savings, start saving more today. If you are carrying credit card debt forward each month, stop making new charges and craft a plan to pay off your debt. And it is never too early or too late to start saving for retirement.

We Help People Get Out of Debt By Filing for Bankruptcy

Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel  we’re committed to helping people get out of debt and gain the financial freedom they deserve. We offer free consultations so that you can understand the protections and benefits of bankruptcy and how filing with affect you and your family.

We invite you to learn more about who we are here. If you live in Savannah, GA or the surrounding areas and have questions about your debt relief options, let’s meet for a free consultation.

Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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How to Budget ― Without a Budget, A Practical Strategy

Most of us understand that following a budget is important. A major aspect of financial health is living within (or below) our means. This means having a budget and sticking to it. But still many of us don’t have a budget or don’t consistently follow it. Even with the best of intentions and the fanciest of budgeting spreadsheets, many of us still fail to follow through with proper budgeting.

If this speaks to you―read on to learn how to budget without a budget.

How to Budget Without a Budget, A Practical Strategy

If you’ve struggled with budgeting this simplified and practical strategy may be for you!

Even this practical strategy is not without leg work up front. It is absolutely critical that you know what your income is and are clear on the reality of your spending.

Simplified Financial Benchmarks

Instead of breaking down your budget into categories like housing, savings, food, entertainment, this simplified budgeting methods deals only with simplified financial benchmarks.

Monthly Minimum

Your monthly minimum is the actual cost of living your life, counting only necessities. You can think of your monthly minimum as your make or break number. This is the figure you must earn in income just to cover your bare bones living expenses.

  • Calculate your monthly minimum by adding up the costs of your necessities, including housing, insurance, and food. Remember to include expenses that occur annually instead of monthly. To calculate the monthly costs you can divide necessary annual expenses by twelve.
  • Once you have your minimum monthly of your actual expenses, then add in a buffer of at least 10 percent. Life necessities are expensive and prices often increase.
  • Next, add in the amount you want to save or use to pay down debt. Adding this figure to your monthly minimum prioritizes your financial goals.
  • The monthly minimum figure is also an excellent financial benchmark for people with inconsistent income to use, like business owners or freelancers.

If your income falls below your monthly minimum then you are living beyond your means. If your income is above your monthly minimum, the extra is discretionary funds that can be spent on things beyond necessities, like an evening out with friends.

Discretionary Spending Priority Point

Your discretionary spending priority point is your monthly minimum plus the monthly costs of discretionary, non-necessity expenses that are a priority to you.

To properly calculate this financial benchmark you will have to be honest with yourself about what expenses are a priority to you and what expenses you can forego. For example, paying for ice skating classes or dinners out with friends may be important to you. But when you really think about what matters to you, you may find that your gym membership or $5 daily lattes are not priority expenses.

Just as your minimum monthly accounts for annual expenses, your discretionary spending priority point should as well. Don’t forget to include the expense of giving holiday gifts or attending a friends destination wedding.

If your discretionary spending priority point is higher than your monthly income, then you are living above your means and you need to re-evaluate what you’ve included in your priority expenses.

The Kitchen Sink Point

Your kitchen sink point is what your monthly cost of living would be if you spent money just as you wanted to― if you included everything and the kitchen sink. This number includes your minimum monthly, your discretionary spending priority point, and everything else you would spend money on. It is likely that your kitchen sink point will be higher than your monthly income.

Spend Within Your Benchmark Numbers

Now that you’ve defined these three benchmark numbers, keep your expenses within these numbers. Most often keep your expenses between your monthly minimum and your discretionary spending priority point. This is how we budget without a budget.

This approach ensures that your necessities are covered, you are saving or able to pay down debt, and you still have flexibility in how your money is spent.

You will still have to track your income and the amount of your expenses to ensure you are earning enough money and not over-spending. Each month you simply compare your totals with your defined financial benchmarks. You do not have to use complex budgeting systems or adhere to spending within defined categories.

 

Are you are struggling with massive debt?

If you’re deep in debt, have fallen behind on payments, and your credit card debt is mounting, it is time to take back control of your finances.  Take an honest look at your situation. It may be time to explore all of your debt relief options, including bankruptcy.

Follow us on Facebook for money saving tips and information on how to get out of debt!

Meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at right now at (912) 351-9000, or email info@BrazielLaw.com. We are here to help you evaluate if bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

 

We are proud to serve people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, and Ludowici Georgia.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

4 Savvy Credit Card Strategies for Smart Spending

Credit cards are a great asset. They grant spending power and often come with valuable benefits like fraud protection and coverage for damage to rental cars. Though, credit cards can be a great liability. Over-spending on credit cards can quickly add up to unmanageable debt.

Use your credit cards wisely and follow these 4 savvy credit card strategies for smart spending!

  1. Rack up rewards points.

Reward points can be used for travel, gift cards, bill payment credits, or cash. The reward point program and how it operates is specific to each credit card. When you’re selecting a credit card, choose the one with the most favorable lending terms and best reward point program. Generally you should not have to pay an annual fee for a credit card. However, consider what reward benefits are available, as it may outweigh having to pay a small annual fee. Also, be aware of reward program limitations such as minimum purchase requirements or caps on the amount of rewards you can earn.

  1. Time large purchases wisely.

If you time the purchase of a large item (like a vacation package or new computer) right you can avoid paying for the item or interest on the charge for nearly two months. How does this work? If you make a large purchase right after your new billing cycle begins that charge will not appear until next month’s bill. By the time next month’s bill is due, so long as you pay it in full, you basically are able to make a large purchase interest free for nearly two months.

Note that this strategy does not work if you are carrying a balance on your credit card and that card uses the average daily balance to calculate interest charges.

  1. Save on your car rental.

When you rent a car the salespeople often attempts to up-sell you on a number of items like navigation, a car upgrade, and even insurance coverage. While you may want navigation or a fancier vehicle, your credit card may offer you some car rental protections and benefits so that you can decline the car rental agency’s insurance coverage.

Many credit cards offer certain car rental benefits like coverage for damage, theft, or fire. For example, many MasterCard’s include “MasterRental Coverage” which when applicable will cover repair amounts for physical damage to the vehicle, deductibles, theft coverage, and towing expenses to the nearest collision repair facility. It is important to contact your credit card company and ask what car rental benefits, if any, it offers. Relying on the credit card benefits may give you the peace of mind to deny additional insurance coverage sold by the car rental agency, saving you $15/day or more on the rental.

  1. Safer shopping with a credit card.

Credit card purchase have certain protections under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act. Under the Act you have the right to dispute a charge you made on your credit card if the merchandize is not delivered, is not delivered as agreed, or is not delivered as promised. For example, you can dispute a charge for merchandize when the wrong item is sent or if delivery on a certain day was guaranteed but was not timely delivered. Contact your credit card issuer to discuss the purchase protections available to you.

Debit cards purchases do not fall under the purview of the Fair Credit Billing Act. Though, purchases with a debit card may have protections offered by the issuing bank.

Are you are struggling to pay your credit card debts?

If you’re deep in debt, have fallen behind on payments, and your credit card debt is mounting, it is time to take back control of your finances.  Take an honest look at your situation. It may be time to explore all of your debt relief options, including bankruptcy.

Follow us on Facebook for money saving tips and information on how to get out of debt!

Meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at right now at (912) 351-9000, or email info@BrazielLaw.com. We are here to help you evaluate if bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

We are proud to serve people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, and Ludowici Georgia.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE