Category: Finances

How to Build Funds Now for Tomorrow’s Emergencies

Are you worried about not being able to pay your medical bills after a severe accident on the road or at work? Do you want to make sure your accident doesn’t get in the way of your ability to take care of your family?

If so, then it is time for you to learn how to build funds for emergencies. This bank account will allow you to pay for expenses that come with dangerous situations that can come at any time.

These expenses can range from visits to the hospital and repairing your home to fixing your car and money lost from not being able to work. With our knowledge of money management, you and your family will remain financially and emotionally secure.

Here is a guide for how to build funds now for tomorrow’s emergencies.

1. Set a Monthly Savings Goal

Your first task for how to build an emergency fund is by putting a certain amount of money into your savings account each month.

It’s important to develop your saving habits, and your fund won’t be complete until it has at least half a year of living expenses.

2. Organize Expenses

The next step in creating your emergency fund is figuring out what you spend money on and how much per month.

About 50 percent of your checks should go towards housing, food, insurance, and other necessities, and leftovers can go into your savings.

3. Save Change

If this is your first time learning how to make a budget, then one everyday factor you need to consider is change from purchases.

Put the change from your purchases with cash into your account, and those who prefer paying with cards can use mobile savings apps for automatic transfers.

4. Save Tax Refunds

You also need to be aware of sources of money that only come around once a year, such as tax refunds.

Deposit your refunds into your savings account when you file your taxes, and a probate lawyer can help in case this is your first time paying taxes.

5. Trim Down your Checking Account

Budgeting involves knowing which areas need money more than others, which is why you need to pay attention to your checking account.

Transfer money from this account into your savings fund in case you notice your checking account having more money than what is needed.

6. Find Another Job

Knowing how to create emergency funds also involves taking advantage of opportunities to make money.

Look for part-time jobs or freelance work you can do over the weekend to keep your savings account full.

7. Sell Unused Items

You can also build funds by selling items that you’ve owned for years but no longer have a use for.

These items may include clothes, books, toys, board games, and video games, which can put money in your pocket while making another person happy.

8. Stick to Monthly Checkups

Visit your savings account every month to see how much you have and stay prepared for changes that expected a few months down the line.

Whether you plan to move, get married, or start a new job, you can develop new techniques or meet the right people at any moment that can help you keep your savings in good shape.

Preparing to Build Funds for Emergencies

Your ability to build funds for emergencies depends on how you use the money on a daily basis. Keep track of what you need and don’t need so that you can maintain a balance between all accounts.

We also recommend looking out for opportunities and individuals that can help you add more to your savings account over time. With this guide, you can keep yourself and your family in good financial shape no matter what comes your way.

For more of our money management expertise, check out our guides today to keep your pockets and accounts full.

A Peer to Peer Lending Review: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Did you know that 26% of Americans reported using peer to peer lending? This type of sharing economy is growing.

Do you want to learn what peer to peer lending is and how it works? If the answer is yes, then you should check out this peer to peer lending review.

Our Peer to Peer Lending Review

So what is peer to peer lending? This form of lending occurs when individuals lend money to one another without the involvement of a big bank or traditional lender. 

This lending approach cuts out banks from the loan equation. This type of lending is a part of the sharing economy that’s all around us. Peer to peer lending is also known as:

  • Marketplace lending 
  • P2P (Peer to Peer)

How Does Peer to Peer Lending Work?

P2P lending works through technology via an online marketplace. On a P2P platform, borrowers are matched with potential lenders after filling out application information. Lenders can then select which loans to support at specific interest rates. 

In a P2P loan, there can be multiple lenders for a single loan. Lenders can back the loan in small increments, usually starting at just $25. Once the loan is in the repayment stage, the borrower must repay all of the lenders with each payment.

What Are the Benefits of Peer to Peer Lending?

There are many benefits of peer to peer lending. These P2P benefits often include:

  • Lower interest rates than traditional banks and credit unions
  • Lower origination fees than traditional banks and credit unions
  • Credit score can be lower than traditional banks and credit unions
  • Convenience of an online platform

There are several benefits for P2P lending that may help out borrowers in a pinch. With so many lending options, a peer to peer lending review can be helpful when searching for the best borrowing option for your situation. 

What Are the Risks of Peer to Peer Lending?

Like any sort of borrowing, there are risks associated with peer to peer lending. It’s important to remember that P2P lending is just as real as borrowing from a bank. There will be fees and repercussions for borrowers that default on their loan payments.

Since P2P lending takes place on technology-based platforms, there’s an inherent risk of IT security. Make sure the platform you select for your P2P lending is trustworthy and has security measures in place.

How to Get Involved in Peer to Peer Lending

Are you sold on P2P lending? It’s easy to get involved as both a lender and a borrower. The first step for each side is to select your platform of choice.

Lender

Once you select your P2P platform, then you can select the amount you’d like to lend and at what interest rate. Once matched with a borrower, you can expect to receive payments at your agreed-upon rate.

Borrower

After filling out your application and credit check, you’ll learn what your interest rate is. Once this occurs, you can accept the rate and move into the funding stage. Once your loan is funded by lenders, then you’ll be in the repayment stage.

If you found this peer to peer lending review article informative, be sure to check out other blogs on our site. 

Want To Save Money On Your First House? Work With a Mortgage Broker

Although many reports state that home sales are slowing, things are actually picking up for first-time homebuyers. Now, more than half of all new mortgages go to first-time buyers. 

Buying your first home can be incredibly exciting: you can finally customize your own beautiful living space! But it may also leave you with a lot of questions. Many of those questions have to do with money — how can you get the home you want without breaking the bank? One of the keys is to work with a mortgage broker.

What is a mortgage broker, and what can one do for you? I’ve got the answers for you in this guide. Keep reading to find out why you need a mortgage broker for your first (and any) home purchase!

What is a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers essentially act as the go-between for you and the mortgage lender. These licensed professionals have the financial know-how that you don’t, so they can help work things out so that all parties are happy with the outcome.

For example, a mortgage broker can help you find more lenders who will meet your needs, so you can find the best possible rates for your home loan. They’ll help you navigate the complexities of getting a mortgage, so you don’t run into any trouble with the lender.

Although your mortgage broker is a “middleman,” they aren’t one that you can cut out to save money. In fact, working with one typically translates into more savings for you. They work with your best interests in mind, while also keeping the needs of the lenders in mind too. 

They earn money by earning commissions from the loans they help secure. Although this adds a bit more money to the costs of buying a home, you’ll usually make up for it by saving money on the loan you get. 

Why You Need a Mortgage Broker

Although you can probably already see why working with a loan broker is helpful, let’s take a closer look at the ways they can help you.

1. Saves You Time

Buying a home is a time-consuming process. You’ll need to add many new responsibilities to your daily schedule, while still managing work and other responsibilities. Anything that saves you time is a bonus. 

Of course, you could do the work to research and compare lenders by yourself. However, that takes more time than many homebuyers realistically can spare. 

Mortgage brokers don’t just research lenders so you can target the best ones that fit your needs. They also fill out the paperwork for you, so all you need to do is sign. If any negotiations with the lender are needed, your loan broker will handle those, too.

Most of these loan brokers work with certain banks, so they already have working relationships with lenders that will speed the whole process along. You’ll get your loan faster, while also saving your own precious time.

2. Accesses More Loan Options

Some lenders actually work solely with brokers. This means there are home loan options that will never be available to you unless you’re working with a broker. Sometimes, these “hidden” options are much better than what you can find on your own. 

3. You Can Leave at Any Time

Although working with a mortgage broker generally goes well, if you run into any problems along the way, you’re not locked into an agreement. You can leave at any time and find a new broker or decide to take another approach to finding your loan.

This freedom is just enough to help some people feel confident as they start working with a broker. You won’t sign any contracts so there’s nothing to lose.

4. Gets You Better Rates

You can sometimes get preferential rates by working with a loan broker to get your mortgage. The broker can help you learn how to get better rates in ways you might not be aware of. For example, certain banks will give you a better rate if you also have a separate account, like a savings account, with them.

5. Gives You Personalized Feedback

In the process of buying a home, many things might feel like navigating the deep woods without a compass. A loan broker offers personalized feedback and guidance that you can’t get anywhere else. 

For example, you might wonder if a 30-year loan is best for you, or if a fixed interest rate is the way to go. Your mortgage broker will help you answer these questions and many more. 

The loan that’s great for one buyer might be completely wrong for another buyer. It all depends on unique factors, such as your credit score and income. Brokers have the knowledge needed to help you find a loan that fits your particular situation well.

They’ll also help homebuyers with unusual situations navigate the challenges of getting a loan. For example, if you’re a small business owner, or just changed jobs, your broker will help you get a loan even though these look like red flags to many lenders.

Brokers can even help people with bad credit find lenders who will work with them. From the unusual to the typical, a broker makes navigating these challenges of homebuying much easier. 

How to Find a Great Mortgage Broker

Most mortgage brokers operate under their own name. When you Google “mortgage brokers near me,” you’ll find names from Hunter Galloway to Mike the Money Man. But how can you tell whether or not they’re the right broker for you?

Your best bet is to look for referrals. Ask your network who they recommend. If you find someone online who sounds like a good fit, ask them to share customer testimonials with you.

Real estate agents can also be great sources of referrals. If you already have an agent, ask them which mortgage brokers they recommend. 

Ready to Buy Your Own Home?

Whether it’s your first, second, or tenth home, working with a mortgage broker makes everything easier. Don’t let the challenges of homebuying slow you down: find a professional who can help smooth out the process.

Once you have your broker, you can start planning ahead for all the cool things you’ll do with your new home. Don’t miss our guide to making your house a “smart home” here!

6 Bits of the Best Financial Advice You’re Going to Read This Year

Over 43 percent of Americans report that they would have a problem handling a $400 emergency expense. Most people struggle to stay on track financially, which generally lead to increased stress levels and lower credit scores.

Are you tired of just barely getting by? If you answered, yes, then this is the year you need to turn things around. While making changes to the way you approach spending and saving money may be intimidating, it is essential when trying to turn over a new financial leaf.

Failing to change bad spending habits will only lead to bankruptcies and foreclosures. This is why you need to take the financial tips in this article seriously. Read below to find some of the best financial advice you are going to read this year.

1. Listing Your Debt Is the Best Financial Advice

One of the biggest mistakes most people make is abiding by the “out of sight, out of mind’ policy regarding their debt. If you turn a blind eye to the debt you have, it is only a matter of time before this causes serious financial problems.

Rather than ignoring the money you owe, you need to create a detailed plan on how to pay it off. Listing out all of your debts is a step in the right direction.

Once you actually have all of this information listed, it may show you that your financial situation isn’t as bad as you think. Doubling up on your monthly payments when possible is a great way to get your debt paid down in a timely manner.

2. Automation Is Your Friend

If you are like most people, saving money is something you struggle with. Failing to put money into your savings can lead to the inability to make ends meet in financially tough times. Being laid-off or injured will make it impossible for you to work and earn money.

Are you tired of trying to making manual deposits into your savings account? If you answered yes, then using the power of automation is a good idea. Programs like Digit and Stash allow you to save without thinking about it.

Often times, programs like this will take money in small increments. When you make a purchase, these apps will round up to the nearest dollar and put that amount in a savings account. Over time, these small withdrawals will definitely add up.

3. Establish Financial Goals

When trying to get on the right track financially, you need to have a goal in mind. Whether this goal is paying off all of your credit card debt or buying a home, you need to work hard to achieve it.

Buying a home is a great way to put your money to work. Over time, your home will grow in value. This means you should be able to turn a profit when the time comes to sell.

Are you unsure about what financial goals you want to set? If so, seeking out financial advice from professionals is a must. They will be able to help you set these goals and provide you with a roadmap on how to achieve them.

4. Save Money

One of the biggest expenses most people have is food. Eating out all of the time is not only bad for your health, it can also be bad for your wallet. This is why you need to make a habit of cooking meals at home.

There are tons of businesses that will send you meals in the mail for a reasonable price. Often times, these meals will come with all of the ingredients and instructions you need to cook a healthy and delicious meal.

Creating a “no spend” day once every other week is also a good idea. On these days, you need to find unique ways to have fun without spending a dime. While planning one of these “no spend” days may be challenging, it can also be a lot of fun.

5. Check Your Credit Regularly

The only way you can get approved for loans and low-interest credit cards is by having a good credit score. Some people avoid looking at their credit report for fear of what they might find. The last thing you want is to let inconsistencies on your credit report lower your buying power.

Taking the time to look over your credit report on a monthly basis is important. By doing this, you can see what is on your credit report and whether or not it is accurate.

If you do find inconsistencies, be sure to dispute them right away. While filing these disputes will be time-consuming, it is worth the investment of energy. By removing these inconsistencies, you can raise your credit score over time.

6. Use Autopay

Missing a payment on one of your loans or a credit card can be quite damaging to your credit score. If you have a hard time remembering when your payments are due, setting up autopay with your various accounts is a good idea.

Usually, companies that offer this autopay feature will send out notices well in advance to let you know they are about to take a payment. Autopay allows you to pay on time and is very convenient for people who already have a lot on their plate.

Let Financial Professionals Help You Out

Instead of making financial mistakes due to a lack of experience, seeking out professional help is your best bet. A professional can offer you the best financial advice for a reasonable fee.

Trying to make keeping up with your finances easier? Read our article about why using an expense tracker is a good idea. These trackers can help you isolate spending problems and fix them in a hurry.

Planning for Retirement: Critical Steps You Must Take Right Now to Save Money in the Future

People joke about the day they retire and imagine all the grand adventures they’ll have once they leave the workforce. But did you know that 1 in 3 adults in the United States has $0 saved for retirement? That translates to millions of people unprepared for their non-working years.

If you’re someone who has yet to begin preparing for retirement, the best time to get started is right now. Learn all about planning for retirement and how to start saving money for your future below.

Start Planning for Retirement Right Now with These 5 Critical Steps

The earlier you begin planning your retirement, the sooner you can start enjoying it. Start now with these 5 important steps. 

1. Figure Out How You Want to Spend Your Retirement

The first step in preparation for retirement is to figure out how you want to spend it. Most people dream of the day they retire, so you likely have a vague idea of what you would like to do. 

Write down all your goals from the most important to the least. Concentrate on very specific ideas and don’t worry about budget yet. Try to limit your list to 5 big goals and be practical.

2. Consider Your Assets

What assets will you take into retirement? This goes beyond your salary, current bank accounts, and any retirement accounts.

Consider any physical assets like antiques as well as your skill set. Many secondary skills or fun hobbies can transform into income after retiring.

What about non-traditional assets like a life insurance plan? Do you have one in place to care for your loved ones? Read more now to learn why this is a good investment for your future as well.

3. Pay Attention to Your Health

Your health plays a major role in your ability to enjoy retirement. Evaluating and maintaining your health now means a longer and healthier retirement. Schedule yearly checkups and focus on making healthy lifestyle choices with good eating, sleep, and exercise habits.

4. Decide When to Start Collecting Social Security

Obtaining complete financial freedom during retirement is a possibility, but not a guarantee. That’s where social security steps in to supplement your savings.

The longer you wait to get social security, the more you can collect later. You receive 100% of the benefits only if you wait until the legal retirement age. If you wait past this minimum, then you can even get delayed retirement credits up to age 70.

5. Create a Budget and Stick to It

Finally, you need to take account of your current finances and compare them to your retirement goal. Consider all income, debt, and investments you may have. Be sure you diversify your investments as much as possible.

Get a plan to get out of debt and minimize your expenses to save more. That doesn’t mean giving up all your favorite splurges, but limiting them so you can turn them into future splurges after you retire.

More Great Advice on Retirement Financial Planning

You should now feel a little more confident when thinking about planning for retirement. Every little bit you save now will help keep you secure later in life.

Want more great tips on how to prepare for retirement? Or how to save money in general? Check out the Thrifty Momma Ramblings’ blog today for tons of personal finance advice as well as awesome coupons and giveaways.

Get in the Driver’s Seat: 10 Clever Tricks to Saving Money on Car Insurance

At least 13 percent of all U.S. drivers are driving around without car insurance. Are you part of this group? If so, it’s time to make a change and invest in car insurance. 

Think car insurance is too expensive? Think again. There are lots of ways that you can reduce the cost of your car insurance premiums. 

If you’ve been wondering how to save money on car insurance, keep reading. Listed below are ten clever tricks that will help you make sure you’re protected without draining your bank account.

Factors That Influence Car Insurance Costs

Before getting into the money-saving steps, it’s helpful to know what factors might be causing your car insurance rates to rise.

Some factors involved in determining your car insurance costs include:

  • Your age and gender — car insurance is typically more expensive for young men and older women
  • Your marital status — married people tend to get in fewer accidents than single people
  • Your location — people who live in high population neighborhoods or areas with high crime rates tend to have higher premiums
  • Your credit score — lower scores lead to higher premiums
  • Your car’s safety rating — a reliable car with lots of safety features may help you get lower premiums
  • The size of  your car — larger vehicles tend to be in fewer accidents, making insurance premiums lower on them than on smaller vehicles

Your driving record also plays a role in determining your car insurance premiums. If you have a history of speeding tickets, car accidents, or other issues, your premium is likely to be higher.

How to Save Money on Car Insurance

Nobody wants to spend more than they have to for car insurance. Here are ten tips to help you get the coverage you need while also saving money.

1. Consider Insurance Costs Before Buying a Car

If you’re currently buying a new car, think about the cost to insure it before you make a decision. Get insurance quotes from a few different insurance providers based on different types of cars.

Be sure to include as much information as you can about the year, make, model, and safety features. This will help you figure out which car is going to yield the cheapest insurance premiums.

2. Get Multiple Quotes

Even if you’re trying to insure a car you already own, it’s still a good idea to get multiple insurance quotes.

Most insurance providers make it easy for you to get a free quote online, so there’s no excuse not to spend a few minutes comparing your options. This will help you ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

3. Choose a Plan with a Higher Deductible

If you choose an insurance plan with a higher deductible, you’ll have lower premiums.

The downside to this approach is that you will have to pay more out of pocket if you’re involved in an accident or need to file an insurance claim.

If you don’t mind doing this, though, a higher deductible plan can significantly lower your monthly payments.

4. Consider Semi-Annual Payments

Many insurance providers will give you a discount on your car insurance if you make semi-annual payments instead of monthly payments.

You’ll have to pay more money when you make these payments, of course. But, you’ll also save more money overall, and you won’t have to worry about making a payment every single month.

5. Look into Low Mileage Discounts

Some insurance providers will give you a discount if you drive less than the average person in your area. You might also qualify for this discount if you carpool to work and aren’t driving every single day.

6. Raise and Maintain Your Credit Score

As you know, your credit score impacts your car insurance premium. A low credit score can also hold you back in other ways. For example, your interest rates on your auto loan will be higher. 

When you take these facts into consideration, it makes sense to take steps to raise your credit score (and keep it high). You’ll be able to save money on car insurance, and you’ll save money in other areas of yourself, too.

7. Bundle Your Insurance

Many insurance providers, such as HH Insurance, sell more than only car insurance. Many of these providers also offer discounts if you buy multiple forms of insurance from them.

If you’re interested in saving money on car insurance, reach out to your home owner’s, renter’s, or life insurance provider. Ask if they offer a discount for bundling policies.

8. Drive Safely

If you have a history of being a reckless driver, it’s time to clean up your record. By taking some time to improve your driving record, you can lower your insurance premiums by quite a bit.

Some insurance providers actually give you a device to keep in your car that monitors your driving. After driving with that device for a few months and proving that you’re a safe driver you can see a significant reduction in the cost of your insurance.

9. Take a Defensive Driving Class

Another way to decrease your insurance costs is to take a defensive driving class. These classes can also provide you with information that will help you avoid accidents (and potential increases to your insurance premium) in the future.

10. Increase Your Security

Finally, consider increasing your car’s security features. Invest in an alarm, for example, or add a stolen vehicle recovery system. Simple changes like this will keep your car safe and decrease the cost of your car insurance.

Looking for More Money-Saving Tips?

Keeping these tips in mind can help you figure out how to save money on car insurance without sacrificing your coverage. 

Are you interested in learning other ways to save money on everyday expenses? If so, we’ve got you covered.

The Frugal Living section of our site is full of helpful information.

You’ll find articles here on everything from saving money on home repairs to natural remedies that will help reduce your health care costs. Check it out today!

Establish Your Business: What You NEED to Know About Getting a Commercial Loan

If you look at most of the reasons that businesses fail in the first few years, you’ll find they often have to do with mismanaged money. If you’re looking to get a commercial loan for dedicated office space for your business, you have to be smart.

More businesses are going office-less, so if you’re going to swim upstream, you need a pretty good reason for it.

Here are four things you need to know before you get a commercial loan.

1. Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

It’s vital when you’re applying for a commercial loan for your business that you’re not committing to something that’s way too large for you. If you’re moving from a home office into a new space, you don’t need to go for 10,000 square feet unless you’ve also got an investor.

In most cases, your move to a new commercial is going to connect to a growth spurt that might not last forever.

Lots of landlords avoid small businesses or new tenants because there are so many small businesses that come and go. However, if you’ve got a proven business model that works, you can show that this space is perfect for you.

Keep things economical at first and stay small until you really need to grow.

Buying into a large space is going to eat up your costs quickly. If you’re also paying for utilities at that space, you’re going to have to consider all the additional costs that come with it. The heat, electricity, and maintenance fees only go up as you take on more space with your business.

Smaller is better for most small businesses. Going too big too fast is a common and often fatal mistake for a small business.

2. Think About Timing

Along with that smaller space issue, you should think about only getting a lease that’s as long as you need it. While you might get a deal on a 10-year lease, a one or two-year lease is more vital to you when you’re first starting out.

If you’re tied to a lease and your business tanks, you’re going to go bankrupt.

It’s no better to grow beyond your control and end up in a place that’s too small. Having a space that’s too small for your business is going to end up leaving you stuck waiting until a lease is up to grow.

This is a terrible feeling as a business owner and will make you feel like you’re wasting your time.

When you’re dealing with a landlord that wants to be a part of your growth, they might bend their own policy to lower their leases from five or ten years down to two. If you can show that you’re a committed business owner with your eyes on the prize, they’ll help you get what you’re looking for.

Businesses of every size are eschewing large offices for workforces that are dispersed and working from home. People with commercial spaces need to be flexible to survive, so keep this in mind when you’re looking for space.

3. Everything in Life is Negotiable

While you might think the landlord has all the power when it comes to leases, you’re not totally powerless. Leases are as negotiable as anything else.

The number on your lease or the condition that the place is in are all up for discussion.

If a landlord wants to rent out a space that clearly needs some repairs, you could offer to do that in order to get a lower rent. If you’re in an industry where it makes sense to be handy around a building, you could convince them that you deserve to pay less in exchange.

Improvement dollars can last much longer than what a landlord gets in rent when a building gets appraised later on.

When you know that there are other, better spaces in a building, you don’t have to pay as much as the tenants in those spaces. You should feel comfortable asking for what you think space is worth.

Most landlords try to add annual increases that go as high as 10% a year, so make sure you negotiate that. It should state clearly in your contract that you’re only willing to pay a certain amount per year. This keeps you able to build your business easily without worrying about outpacing inflation.

Once you have a set price, you can get a better loan.

4. Don’t Take Out More Than Necessary

If you’ve worked hard to keep all the costs down, don’t go and blow all of your work by taking out more than you need. Loans for small businesses should go through a federal program if possible.

This ensures you won’t get taken for a ride on fees and interest.

Above all else, only take out what you need, not what you think you could pay back. When you take out based on how much you assume you could pay, you always inevitably spend more.

When you focus on money to be made versus what the bare minimum number is, you’ll estimate more loosely and end up in debt.

When speaking with a lending institution, having a grounded figure in mind will win them over to believe you know what you’re doing. When you have a figure that reflects how much it really costs to get s space you’re looking for, it shows you’re fiscally responsible.

This will please commercial lenders more than anything. Just ask the experts at Assets America, Inc to find out more.

A Commercial Loan is Easy To Get Into

While a commercial loan agreement is easy to get tangled up into, it’s not quite as easy to get out of. If you’re worried about the financial future of your business, loans might not be the right move.

You need to protect your assets before you promise them to anyone at a future date.

If you’re looking to get this business going with little money at all, check out our guide for more.