Browse Category: Money Management

4 Strategies to Pay off Your Debt Quickly

debt mountain

The average American has over $15,000 in credit card debt and 40 million people in the United States also have student loans. If you combine individuals’ credit card and student loan balances, their debt often outpaces their income, sometimes dramatically. College graduates have an average salary of $48,707 right out of school, meaning that their debt payments eat up a big chunk of their monthly income; many end up using 20 percent or more of their paycheck for debt payments. That leaves little money left over to pay for other essentials, like rent, transportation or groceries.

That hefty debt burden can really limit you, holding you back from building an emergency fund, moving to another city, buying a car or purchasing your first home. Carrying a large balance can weigh you down and make you feel stuck in a job you do not enjoy or in an apartment that is overpriced. It’s also very risky; one emergency, like an unexpected car repair or medical bill, and your cash reserve is wiped out. Taking charge of your debt and getting rid of the balance can give you an enormous sense of freedom and give you financial security.

If you feel like you are drowning in debt and have no idea how to pay it off, use these strategies to get a handle on your debt and minimize how much you pay in interest:

  1. Pay the highest interest debt first: While it might be tempting to tackle your lowest balance first to get it out of the way, that approach can end up costing you a lot of money in unnecessary interest costs. Instead, order your debt by interest rate, and tackle the highest interest rate first. Pay as much as you can above the minimum payment towards the high-interest debt and keep up minimum payments on the lower interest account. For instance, let’s say you have a student loan at 6.8 percent and a credit card with 12.99 percent interest. Regardless of the balance on either account, you should focus on the credit card first because of its high interest By doing so, you’ll pay off the debt more quickly, but also save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest.Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 3.22.02 PM
  2. Use balance transfers: If you have a high-interest credit card—some can be as high as 30 percent—and you are confident you can pay off your balance in a few months, transferring the card balance to a new card with a zero interest promotional offer can be a smart move. Then, all of your payments go towards the principal instead of interest, helping you pay it off faster and saving you money.
  1. Automatically use windfalls: If you have any unexpected windfalls, such as a work bonus, a raise or a present from a loved one, skip blowing it on rewards or more stuff. Instead, consider all extra money you get as money that immediately goes towards debt. As soon as any unexpected cash comes your way, automatically make a payment on your credit cards or student loans. Over time, these small extra payments add up, knocking months or even years off your repayment term and saving you money in interest as a result.Student Loan Refinance
  2. Refinance student loans: Depending on what kind of loans you took out, your student loans could have interest rates as high as eight percent. However, that does not mean you are stuck paying that rate for the next ten years. Instead, you can go through a private company and refinance your student loans, getting you a much lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment. By refinancing, you can get an interest rate as low as 2.15 percent, saving thousands over the term of your loan. And by bringing down the interest rate, you will have more money each month to put towards your high-interest debt, such as your credit card balance. This strategy is an excellent way to bring down the total you pay back over time while accelerating paying down your debt.

Coping with a mountain of student loan and credit card debt can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. It can make you feel hopeless, overwhelmed and like you’ll never get free of your debt. However, there are ways to manage your balances, bring down your interest rates and save money. By following these tips, you can start making real progress on paying down your debt and begin freeing yourself from huge balances. With careful planning, strategically using balance transfers and refinancing your loans to a lower interest rate, you can save thousands of dollars and become debt-free.

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7 Ways To Put a Few Extra $20’s in Your Wallet

7 Ways To Put a Few Extra $20’s in Your Wallet

Wouldn’t it be great to open your wallet and find a few extra twenties in there? Turns out it’s surprisingly easy to manage, and you can do it by improving your life instead of making huge sacrifices.

Here are eight things you can do today to ensure your greenery sticks around.

Truebill savings

  1. Put a few extra twenties in your wallet

I know, I know, the title. But I’m not going for sarcasm– carrying cash can save you money!

Sometimes, you’re walking down the street and a burrito mojado just calls out your name. Or maybe it’s the bartender telling you cash only. Well, who wants to buy their cash from a cheap ATM in the corner? $3 and $4 ATM fees add up quick. Keep a twenty or two handy, and save yourself from choosing between the fees and a long hike to your bank’s nearest ATM.

You don’t even need to make an extra trip to get those twenties. Next time you use your card in a store, use the cash back option. Fee-free twenties? Check.

  1. Clean out your closet

Unless you’re Marie Kondo (in which case, thanks for helping me clean my room!), you’ve probably accumulated things that you don’t need. Clothes are an easy target. Pick a day to go through your clothes and gather the ones you don’t like or wear anymore. Then trade them in for cash or store credit at a fashion resale retailer like Buffalo Exchange. Voila! You’ve got a cleaner closet and a fatter wallet.

Trade

  1. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use

Have you ever signed up for in-flight wifi only to find out six months later that you never stopped paying for it? Some companies out there try to trap customers into recurring charges, but it’s also easy to simply forget to cancel services when you no longer need them.

Truebill’s easy-to-use app instantly shows you your recurring charges and lets you cancel anything you don’t want with a single click. Over 25% of users cancel a subscription through the service, saving an average of $512 per year. Not bad for a free service.

Truebill Dashboard

  1. Hit the library

Libraries are dedicated to providing as much value as possible for free, from books and academic databases to magazines and more. The New Yorker is $7.99 an issue and the Wall Street Journal is $3.00, but you can read them and many more in the quiet of your well-lit local library any time.

These days, you don’t even have to leave your bed to reap library benefits. Netflix costs $8.99 a month to stream videos and Audible’s audiobooks will run you $14.95 a month, but your library account won’t charge a dime for videos, audiobooks, comics, books, and more accessible right on your phone, tablet, or computer.

  1. Get fit

Whether you’re young or old, outgoing or shy, you have affordable options for getting and staying fit. The adventurous set have their open water swims and bouldering clubs, but there’s also gentle water aerobics and free tai chi by the beach. Bored by routine? Triathlon clubs like Golden Gate TC are high value and a great way to mix it up while meeting people. Can’t take things so seriously? Join a hash run. They’re a boisterous good time… participants sometimes refer to as “a drinking club with a running problem.”

Pushups

However you do it, exercising is a great way to spend time instead of money. The New York Times just featured a vast British study that called exercise a “miracle cure,” pointing to study after study that shows even small amounts of exercise bring “global improvements in health across a range of conditions.” In the long-term, you’re gaining a lot more than a few twenties in your wallet.

  1. Cook for a crowd

Home cooking is easy! It’s healthier, less expensive, and (with practice) tastier than eating out. And as long as you’re making a dinner, why not make a bunch extra and freeze portions for later? You’ll be much less likely to eat out once you’ve given yourself the option of a scrumptious, heat-and-serve meal.

  1. Invite your friends over

And now that you’ve cooked a bunch extra, why not invite some of your favorite people over to eat it with you? Going out for dinner or a show and drinks can decimate your “fun” budget in no time, but when you have people over, you minimize expenses and share the savings.

And there you have it.

bbq

With some exercise, your local library, and a little help from your friends, you’ll be putting some extra twenties in your wallet in no time. Saving money isn’t so bad after all!

 

This post originally appeared on One Smart Dollar.

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Five Creative Ways to Save Money in the New Year

Being frugal gets a bad rap these days, and while clutching one’s money like a paranoid miser is certainly off-putting it couldn’t hurt for any of us to be a little more careful with our finances in 2016. New Year’s resolutions are inevitable after all, and while you’re dusting off your Stairmaster or reconnecting with acquaintances from your trip to Denmark, now is also the perfect time to start saving your money.

The simple fact is, when it comes to personal finance advise like, “ask yourself, do I really need that?” usually fails, so I would like to share some more creative and effective ways to hold on to one’s dough in 2016.

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The Simple Way to Put More Cash in Your Wallet

Find, Track and Manage Your Subscriptions with Truebill.com

Yahya Mokhtarzada scrolled through his credit card statement and noticed something odd. There was a reoccurring charge for $40 to use in-flight Wi-Fi — a service he certainly didn’t use monthly and definitely didn’t need. Yahya promptly cancelled his subscription for in-flight Wi-Fi, but it got him thinking: how often was he accidentally paying for unused services and how many other people were falling victim to the same circumstances? So, he came up with a solution.

Enter Truebill.

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The easiest way to manage your paid subscriptions