Tuesday, February 26, 2008

5 Ways to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Americans are living above their means, drowning in debt and the problem is getting worse. Many Americans are foreclosing on their homes will be forced to live on the street because they are in so much debt. Many Americans spend their entire paycheck the same day of within a week of being paid. If you are living paycheck to paycheck here are 5 ways to improve your financial situation.

1. Direct deposit. Cashing checks at a check-cashing store costs on average anywhere from 1% to 5% of the amount of the check. If you do this each payday this is money that you are losing. Use direct deposit for free and save yourself some money.

2. Education. Go back to school to further your education or take training classes to expand your skills at your current job. This will put you in a better position to get a promotion at work or salary increase. That money can be used to create a savings account, plan for retirement, pay down debts and pay for necessary expenses.

3. Budget. Stop using your credit cards and pay for everything with cash. If you do not have enough money to pay for necessary expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, healthcare create a budget for yourself to determine your total monthly expenses and your total monthly income. Reevaluate your spending habits, reduce your expenses and various plans or cancel them (cable, phone, cell phone, internet, etc.). Shop at discount stores, outlets, use coupons, carpool, etc. to find extra money, which can be used to pay down debt.

4. Savings. You should enough money saved to pay at least 3 to 6 months worth of bills. The interest rate at banks right now is very low. Try opening a high interest online savings account such as www.emigrantdirect.com or www.ing.com which earns you on average 4 to 5% interest on your money. Then develop long-term savings goals such as planning for retirement, college education, homeownership, etc.

5. Seek Help. Don't feel like you are alone. Talk to friends, relatives or neighbors who have gone through similar situations. Go to the library or do research on the internet for various ways to reduce expenses, gain new skills, and shop on a budget. Some great websites are Budgetdial and Stretcher. In addition, many groceries stores teach classes on how to shop on a budget.

If you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck you have to change your mindset, take a leap of faith and focus on your financial goals. You can also watch financial shows on television or check out books at the library on personal finance, financial empowerment and other topics.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Upcoming Events

February Events

February 2008
Feb. 7, 2008, Credit Education Seminar, Reservoir High School, Fulton, MD, 7-11am
Feb. 9, 2008, Credit Repair and Debt Management System, Floyd's Gym, Clinton, MD, 1-3pm
Feb. 12, 2008, Interview on UDC Books, Washington, DC, 2pm
Feb. 18, 2008, Interview with Norm Goldman, Editor, BookPleasures.com
Feb. 18, 2008, Interview with Leah Betanhcourt, Internet Broadcasting
Feb. 20, 2008, Interview with Al Butler, 900AM WURD, Philadelphia, PA, 5pm
Feb. 23, 2008, Financial Literacy Seminar, Fellowship Baptist Church, Silver Spring, MD, 10-12pm
Feb. 26, 2008, Credit Repair Teleseminar with DCSG, Washington DC, 7pm
Feb. 29, 2008, Crystal Springs High School, Copiah County, Mississippi
Feb. 29, 2008, Crystal Springs Elementary School, Copiah County, Mississippi
Feb. 29, 2008, Meet and Greet at Pearl Public Library, Rankin County, Mississippi
Feb. 29, 2008, Booksigning at Richard Wright Library, Hinds County, Mississippi
Feb. 29, 2008, Book Discussion at Barnes & Noble, Madison County, Mississippi

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finance and Money Tips for Couples

Unmarried Couples
1. You can help out your partner but don’t take on their financial burdens
2. Don’t cosign a loan for your partner even if you are engaged
3. Determine how expenses and bills will be handled
4. Don’t get joint accounts

Engaged Couples
1. Examine each other’s spending habits and work towards a compromise
2. Don’t assume your future spouse wants to pay your debt
3. Be honest about your financial situation
4. Don’t keep secrets regarding your finances or purchases made – develop a plan to resolve the issue

Buying a Home
1. Get preapproved for a home
2. Shop around for the best rates
3. Determine the type of loan, ARM, 15 year, 20 year, 30 year

Married Couples or Newlyweds
1. Pay Off Debt
2. Participate in your company’s retirement plan or open an IRA
3. Create a budget
4. Get health, life and disability insurance
5. Get overdraft protection

Laws That Benefit Married Couples
1. Social Security
2. Veteran’s Benefits
3. Tax Laws (IRS) – married couples filing jointly can exclude up to $500,000 on the sale of their home on their taxes
4. Estate and Gift Tax

Books for Couples
1. Smart Couples Finish Rich – David Bach
2. Your Man and Your Money – Michelle Singletary
3. The Motley Fools’ Guide to Couples and Cash – Dayana Yochiim
4. The Big Payoff – Sharon Epperson
5. First Comes Love, Then Comes Money – Robert Gibson

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

5 Easy Steps to Eliminate Debt

Don't dwell on the financial mistakes you made last year. Hold your head up high even though you may be in debt. Think about how you can change your spending habits, eliminate debt and create a flexible spending plan for yourself. Here are 5 easy tips to eliminate debt on go on to lead a prosperous financial life:

1. Stop spending. Don't spend money you don't
have. This will result in your owning more money.

2. Take inventory. Write a list of all of your monthly
expenses and your monthly debts and write down
you monthly income (take home). If you have any
money left over use that to pay down your debts. If
not, find other ways to reduce your expenses and
gain extra money the money owed.

3. Reduce expenses. Find ways to reduce expenses.
Catch public transportation or carpool to work. Use
coupons or shop at wholesales stores. Have a yard
sale or donate unused items to charity and write the
amount off on your taxes.

4. Stop Credit Card Usage. Use your credit card for
emergencies only. Don't use your credit card to
purchase gas, food, clothing, etc. When using a
credit card instead of cash you end up paying 112%
more than the item is worth after finance charges
and other fees associated with credit card.

5. Educate yourself. Educate yourself about credit
and your credit rights. Read as much information as
you can about credit cards. Start by reading the
credit card agreement or disclosure that was sent to
you when you first received your credit card in the
mail. If you can't find it call you credit card company
and ask them to send you one. Read the agreement
carefully to find out what fees you could be charged,
the grace period and other important information.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Does This Describe You?

Does this article describe you, if so, it's time to scale back.

1. Create a flexible spending plan.
2. Reconcile receipts with monthly statements.
3. Identify at least financial goals (short-term and long-term).
4. Identify needs vs. wants and see what areas you can reduce expenses.