Category: Finances

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.

How Much Do Braces Cost? Straighten Up Your Finances

So, you just left the orthodontist office and found out your child needs braces.

Great. Now what?

Your initial thought is probably, “How much do braces cost?”

It’s a legitimate concern. After all, you’ve heard that braces can get pretty pricey. You also likely didn’t start saving for braces during your pre-baby financial planning.

The good news is that braces may not be as expensive as you think. We’re going to explore how much braces cost and give you some tips on paying for them!

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The first thing – after you stop panicking – is to know that you’re not alone. Around 5.9 million people in the U.S. wear braces and 4.7 million of them are under the age of 18.

That means that there’s a lot of parents out there that feel your pain. We know while it’s a comfort to know you’re not alone, it doesn’t answer your question.

So, let’s go through this step by step.

There are five common types of braces. The orthodontist will choose which one is best for your child based on several factors, such as:

  • Health concerns
  • Overall teeth health
  • The issue leading to braces
  • Impressions
  • Mouth/head size
  • X-rays

After the orthodontist gathers all the data, they determine which will help your child the most.


These are the standard metal apparatus that you always think of when you hear the word “braces.”

These can run between $1,500-$10,000 depending on the severity of the issue. The average cost is $4,900.

Insurance will pay some of the cost, leaving parents with a $3,400 bill.


Like traditional braces, ceramic braces affix to the front of your child’s teeth. But, they use ceramic brackets instead of metal.

On average, these are a little less expensive than metal braces at $4,600. The range is anywhere from $1,500 to $7,800.

If you have insurance, your bill will be reduced to $2,600.


These are similar to traditional and ceramic braces in the sense that they use a wire and bracket system. But, instead of rubber bands, the brackets have clips that hold the wire.

The cost is also similar to ceramic braces. These are very popular today since rubber bands aren’t a factor.


Invisalign are all the rage these days and fall in line with the other types at a range of $3,000-$8,000 or an average of $5,000.

This is a system that uses several clear trays to straighten teeth. The downside is that they don’t help fix an extreme over or underbite. The upside is that they’re removable and easy to clean.


Lingual braces attach behind the teeth. While these may sound like they’re great for cosmetic purposes, they aren’t favored by orthodontists.

They have to be custom-ordered and they don’t fit well on tiny teeth. They also take a different skill set to install. In fact, the orthodontist may not even offer this as an option.

These will run you $5,000-$13,000 out of pocket.

Options for Paying for Braces

If you have dental insurance, you can call your provider and get the rates from them. The percentage they will pay depends on your policy.

But, you may not have dental insurance. In that case, you don’t need to take money from your child’s financial future fund to pay for braces. But, you can take out a line of credit.

The orthodontist office can set up a payment plan with you. They usually charge little to no interest, but this depends on the office and their policies.

You can also apply for dental credit through a reputable company. Care Credit is one of the most popular medical and dental credit companies in the country.

Another option if you fall into the low-income range is applying for Smile Changes Lives. This organization has been around for more than 20 years and provides braces for kids in low-income families.

Brace Yourself (Or, Your Child)

Now you know the answer to “How much do braces cost?” Unfortunately, that answer depends on several factors.

Once you discuss the option the orthodontist feels is best, talk to them about the cost. They may offer a payment plan with an interest rate lower than your credit cards.

The most important thing to remember is that you’ve got this, mom!

You’ll find a way to stay calm (at least on the outside), even when the dreaded “braces day” draws nearer. You’ll also figure out your finances and how to pay for braces, just like every other wrench that’s been tossed into your budget.

If you’d like some more tips on saving money, check out our frugal living blog.

Advice for Momtrepreneurs: 4 Cost-Saving Ideas for Your Business

Starting your next online business venture doesn’t have to be a black hole for your wallet. There are plenty of cost-saving ideas you can do to create your business and get it off the ground in no time.

Take a look at some of the best ways to save money while growing your business.

Trade Services

If your business can be used by others to provide a quality service, consider trading with other businesses in your area. One particular website, Simbi, allows entrepreneurs to trade services with each other through a coin based system.

Do you need your website analyzed for SEO purposes? It can be done using Simbi and is a great way to give back to other growing businesses. The services offered come in a variety of areas and can help keep your initial expenses for your business relatively low.

The Cloud is Your Friend

How much money will you have to spend on a filing cabinet for your business? The smartest business owners use a cloud-based system to store all of their documents.

The biggest benefits of storing everything in the cloud are the unlimited access you will give yourself to your business files, and less room is taken up in your office area.

If you use a system such as Google Drive or Dropbox, keeping your files in the cloud means you can pull them up on your phone, tablet, or laptop anywhere.

Wouldn’t you like to save time while running an errand by sending an updated invoice to a client instead of having to run home, pull up the document from a filing cabinet, and fax it to them? This is the main reason why a cloud-based system is the way to go.

Be as Green as Possible

You don’t want to spend hundreds of bucks each year printing up papers that need to be filed, or faxed to clients and other vendors. You can also save a lot of money each year by using power strips for all of your business devices and turning them off at the end of each day.

Even though the items are not physically turned on, they still suck a little bit of energy each second when connected to a power strip that is plugged in. Switch the strip off and watch your energy costs go down.

Find Cheaper Software Alternatives

Instead of piling up monthly expenses for a number of different software programs for your business, such as Microsoft Office, consider going the cheaper (or free) route whenever possible.

You can find a number of cheaper alternatives, or in some cases find coupons online to purchase subscriptions to software programs at a discounted price.

Quickbooks is one of the most popular accounting software programs for entrepreneurs, and you can find a list of discounts for it posted here.

What Cost-Saving Ideas Stick Out to You?

So now that you have looked at some of the best cost-saving ideas for your small business, which ones will you start trying today?

Check out our thrifty businesses section for more money saving tips!

How to Pay for Plastic Surgery: Tips and Tricks

Deciding to get plastic surgery means you have to be both mentally and financially prepared. Maybe you’ve got the right mindset, but you don’t exactly have the cash. After all, if Americans spent $8 billion on plastic surgery in 2016, there have to be alternative ways to pay for it, right?

That’s exactly right. If you’re wondering how to pay for plastic surgery while still being thrifty, you’re in the right place. Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help you save money on your procedure:

Take Out a Loan

You might dread the idea of taking out a personal loan due to potentially expensive interest rates and payments, but you should still consider financing your plastic surgery with it. If this is your first loan, it can actually improve your credit score–you just have to make sure that you make each payment on time.

For a lower interest rate, think about getting a secured loan instead. The bank will give you money in exchange for a piece of your property, like a car or house. However, if you fail to pay the bank back you’ll lose your collateral.

Use Plastic Surgery Financing

Many clinics offer plastic surgery financing. This allows you to pay for the surgery in a series of monthly payments. For instance, if you’re getting breast implants, your clinic might offer you a reasonable breast implants payment plan.

Cosmetic surgery financing is a lot easier than taking out a loan from a bank. Better yet, if you’re credit score is good enough, you won’t be stuck paying a high interest rate. You may even be able to get a period of no interest, which will help you save big on extra costs.

Check For Specials

Some surgeons will even allow you to take advantage of specials. For example, a clinic for cosmetic surgery in Perth, Australia gives you a voucher for referring a friend. Other clinics offer specials on certain treatments if you’re signed up to their newsletter.

Always check your practice’s website before your procedure to find out about any special offers.

Pay With Cash

If you’re able to afford to pay in cash, you should. There are clinics that will give you a small discount if you pay in cash.

As different cosmetic procedures have varying costs, there might be some that are reasonable to pay for in cash. Consult your clinic’s patient coordinator to learn more.

Consider a Medical Credit Card

Using a medical credit card is a popular way to fund cosmetic elective procedures. It’s used solely for medical costs, and can also finance cosmetic surgery. Medical credit cards can actually control your spending habits–you won’t have to worry about overspending on other non-medical expenses.

If you’re concerned about the additional costs, you’ll be happy to know that some medical credit cards come with low interest rates and payment plans.

Choosing How To Pay For Plastic Surgery

Learning the different ways how to pay for plastic surgery can save you tons of cash. Any of these methods can take the weight of a huge medical bill off of your shoulders. Still, you should never risk the quality of your procedure just for a cheaper cost.

To learn more thrifty money-saving tips, check out our blog.

5 Must-Read Tips for Winning a Credit Card Dispute

credit card dispute

Seeing an unauthorized charge on your credit card is infuriating. You know that you didn’t make the charge, but still see it on your bill nonetheless.

A credit card dispute can be an annoying process, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back. Here, we outlined some tips you can use in the claims process to make sure you get the outcome you desire.

Know Your Rights

The most important tip we can give you is to know what your rights are in relation to disputing a charge. The Federal Trade Commission outlines the credit card dispute process, as well as what charges you are allowed to dispute.

The FTC allows you to dispute charges relating to billing errors. You can dispute credit card charge related to billing errors, unauthorized charges, charges to companies that didn’t deliver on promises, etc.

You can’t dispute the charge if it doesn’t fall under the wide billing error umbrella. There are periodical updates to the claims process, so make sure you know your rights and which kind of charges you can dispute.

Contact the Merchant First

The process of how to dispute a credit card charge should always start with the merchant.

There are several elements you can clear up without involving your credit card provider. You may have failed to account for a tip at a restaurant, for instance. The merchant might have double-charged you for an item.

Try to clear the situation up with the merchant before involving your credit card company in the ordeal.

Get Your Information in Order

Once you involve the credit card provider in your dispute, they’ll likely start compiling information for an investigation. You might even have to file a police report if someone stole your credit card information.

Make sure you have all the receipts and information you need before getting this process underway.

Don’t Give Up

It’s not uncommon that the credit card company will deny your claim the first time around. Don’t give up! Stay persistent with your claim – especially if it’s a high-value claim that’s over $100.

Do your best to remain calm when you’re talking with the credit card company or merchant. The claims process is incredibly frustrating – especially if you know you didn’t make the charge.

Don’t let the situation get the best of you. You’ll be constantly wondering “how long to dispute credit card charge?” Stay persistent and calm to maximize your chances of getting your claim approved.

Small Claims Don’t Trigger an Investigation

There is a particular threshold with each credit card company that triggers an investigation. If you fall under this line, your provider might not even contact the merchant to see if they have the accurate reading on their end.

Ron Lieber wrote in the New York Times that this number is somewhere around $25 for most credit card providers. If your disputed charge falls below this window (it’s different for each company) they will almost always credit your account without any followup investigation.

Winning Your Credit Card Dispute

Follow these above tips to make sure you give yourself the best chance of winning your credit card dispute. Don’t make the wrong move here, or you might find yourself paying for an item or service you didn’t receive.

Need some more financial or personal advice? Take a look at our blog!