Category: Credits

The Pros And Cons Of Your First Credit Card

money cardsYour first credit card is milestone in being able to stand on your own two feet. Not only can you improve your credit score, making mortgages more available to you, you can afford more bills and groceries each week, and you have plenty of backup cash in storage just in case of an emergency. However, we all know it isn’t simply sunshine and roses, so we need to think about the benefits and drawbacks of having a credit card. If you’re a young adult or someone older who never got the chance to before, and you’re just deciding to invest in a card of your own, here’s the biggest things for you to consider.

The Pro: Credit Cards Have Reward Systems

Credit cards, the more you use them, often have rewards for you to use at the end of the week or month. This makes them a lot more useful when it comes to shopping, and provides a little more incentive to use a credit card in a healthy manner. For your first card, looking into the systems each provider offers can require a bit of shopping around (to make sure you can use them for all purchases), so don’t make any decisions based on simple want alone!

The amount of different cards there out there means rewards can vary wildly from person to person. For example, with this in mind, you can get a variety of things on your credit card use, such as cashback for the standard types, or free flights for people using a travelling orientated card. It’s often a good idea to have more than one card in your possession, as being able to handle more than one at a time shows off how versatile and responsible you can be with money. It also means more rewards!

The Con: Debt Can Pile Up

Let’s face it, we can lie to ourselves a lot when it comes to money: ‘I need a new TV’ or ‘A few more dog treats won’t hurt!’ Even just thinking about the hypotheticals shows off how many different walks of life can bring in some debt when we let ourselves lose control.

At its core, credit is predatory, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it safely. With this in mind, we can all agree that debt is a big drawback of using a credit card, and using your available credit too much is dangerous. Even the fact that credit card consolidation loans exist suggests that this is a common habit for people to fall into, so be aware of making excuses for yourself to use your credit card.

Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the amount of options there are on the market for getting a credit card. They’re there to help you rather than hinder you, and there’s no trap for you to fall into when you fully research terms and conditions, and any better alternatives! Balancing a checkbook gets easier and easier when information is so accessible like this.

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Advice For A First-Time Business Owner

time for businessIf you have entrepreneurial determination then that’s a good starting place for a business. Of course, it’s only one component of many. You need to think about your own experience or expertise regarding the management of a business, how you’re going to fund such a venture, how many other people you might need to hire to help you with this company, and, most importantly, what type of business you’re going to start. Money is probably the biggest worry on your mind but if you focus on making sure all other components of your business are running smoothly then the profits will look after themselves. Here’s some more detailed advice for any first-time business owners out there.

Become a real boss.

You might have an innovative idea and qualifications in a certain line of business but that isn’t going to be enough to transform you into a successful business owner. When you’re the boss of a company, you need to be an all-rounder. For example, if you’re running a legal business then it isn’t enough to simply have a qualification in law. You need to know how to manage finances, marketing, and, most importantly of all, people. If you want your business to get off the ground then you need to learn how to manage your team and fill them with the same passion for the company that you feel. Making that step will transform you from somebody with a great idea into somebody with a great business.

Research the market.

It’s your job to drive the direction of the company. You might have a good business plan at the moment but the market is always changing. You need to update your approach in order to adapt to a changing industry. You need an enticing and widespread online presence in this digitally-driven era of business, as we’ll discuss in the next point, so you might want to look into online companies such as Youi Pty Limited, who deal specifically with buying and selling goods online, for a little insight into their credit ratings and financial situation.

It’s important that you take note from other companies, whether they’re in your industry or not, so as to not only get an idea of what they’ve been doing well but what they haven’t been doing well. The great thing about being the second or third business to dive into a certain industry is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes as the companies that took the plunge first. You can save yourself a lot of money and time by figuring out how to cut straight to “Successville”.

Get your online marketing campaign right.

As touched upon in the point above, you need a strong online marketing approach in order for your business to succeed. You might not be a marketing expert but you should certainly get marketing professionals to help you if that’s the case. The “build it and they will come” mentality doesn’t always work because there’s a lot of competition offering the same products and services as your business. You need to stand out from the crowd if you want consumers to come to you. Figure out how to optimize the content on your website and social media pages so as to climb the rankings on Google and other search engines. That’ll get you in front of your target market.

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The Golden Rules of Taking Out a Loan

loan timeIf the world was perfect for everyone, no one would ever need to borrow any money. Unfortunately, things just don’t work like that yet – and as long as we have a banking system, it’s unlikely to change. The reality is that we have to borrow money to lead the lives we want. However, there are limits, and many people are guilty of stepping over the mark.

The truth is there are good debts and bad debts, as you probably already know. And even if you are in good enough shape to take out the former, after a few missed payments or a challenging life event, it can quickly turn into the latter.

When it comes to personal loans, the temptation is strong enough to turn heads of even people with the strongest financial constitutions. Advertising is everywhere, and almost all speak to your aspirations and the life you could have – if only you would borrow a few thousand dollars or more.

To make sure you don’t fall into a trap, there are a few things you need to consider when taking out a loan. These golden rules should be set in stone, as when you step outside of them, it’s often the first step down a slippery slope to unaffordable, bad debts. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Always shop around

It doesn’t matter whether you are borrowing money to buy a car, a home, or just pay for something quickly with cash loans, always shop around and look for the best deal possible. You should compare percentage rates for interest, but also check the length of the loan. Sometimes, cheaper interest rates over a longer time period will result in a higher overall cost.

Always check your credit score.

Another thing to consider before applying for a loan is your credit rating. When you make an application and get turned down, your credit score takes a hit. Not only that, however, but when you are attracted by a fantastic looking deal that you see in an advertisement, you have to remember that these deals are only offered to consumers with the best credit scores. If your rating is anything less than perfect, you won’t be offered it, and instead, have to put up with a much more expensive deal than you applied for in the first place. A lot of people fall for this, so ensure your credit rating is up to scratch before you apply.

Always read the small print.

The terms and conditions on loans are notoriously detailed, and the vast majority of borrowers never pay them a blind bit of notice. It’s no surprise – who has time to read the reams of paper that often come with your application form? However, you should make time. Banks and lenders of all varieties depend on your ignorance and lack of time, and will often include some pretty dire conditions that you need to meet to qualify for any of the supposed advantages. Another thing to watch out for is early repayment charges – you should always include them in the overall cost of the loan when you do your initial sums. Ideally, all loans would be free to pay off whenever you want, but the reality is somewhat different.

Consider insurance

Loan insurance gets a bad rep, because of a lot of malpractice in the past. However, it’s a valuable protection if you can find the right deal. For a few dollars a month you can protect yourself in the event you suffer an injury at work or get ill and can’t earn any money to pay the loan back. Again, shop around – there are varying rates from all kinds of lenders and insurance companies, and you will often find it is more expensive to buy insurance from the company offering the loan.

Compare with a credit card.

Another major misconception is that personal loans always have better deals than credit cards. To be fair, this used to be the case, back in the day when credit cards were only for the very wealthy, but times have changed. When you consider the long 0% deals you get on credit cards – some of which go for around 18 months at the moment – they often compare very favorably to a personal loan at, say, 6%. And if you can pay off the card before those 18 months are complete, it won’t actually cost you a penny.

Pro tip: borrow more money

As a rule, you should never borrow more than you can pay back. However, when you consider that banks and lenders will offer lower interest rates for higher loans, wouldn’t it make sense to get the better deal? In short, of course, it would, but you have to have a lot of self-discipline. You could borrow a larger amount of money, only spend what you need, and then pay it back over time using a combination of your personal repayments and the surplus. Over the course of a 4-5 year loan, this could actually save you a four-figure sum, so it’s well worth investigating – if you have the discipline, of course.

Be careful with secured loans.

Secured loans will always give you a fantastic sounding deal. But there is a reason – it’s because you have capital at stake. When a loan is secured against your possessions, lenders tend to sleep easily, content in the knowledge that if you fail to pay, they get your house, car, or treasured objects. Yes, the deals can be tempting. But unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to pay them back. Unsecured loans may attract higher interest charges, but ultimately if you have a problem paying them, there is little a lender can actually do.

Always stake the shortest path.

Finally, whenever you take out a loan, the cheapest option will always be to pay it back as quick as possible. It’s down to your personal circumstances, of course, but if your idea of the perfect loan is that it ends up costing you less, it’s the only way to go.

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Are House Prices Likely To Go Down?

balance house pricesWhenever you hear people talk about the housing market it’s all doom and gloom. Prices have been rising consistently for years and there’s a serious fear that a whole generation of young people isn’t ever going to be able to afford a house. Last year was set to be a positive one for housing and an increase in house building was predicted, but the reality is, that didn’t happen. Things did improve a little but not as much as we hoped they would. So, it doesn’t look good at the moment and it feels like it’s never going to get better, but is that really true? Nobody knows for sure but these are some of the major predictions from experts.

Prices Will Rise, But Not As Much

This is good news and bad news. Prices rose by a significant amount every month last year, especially in the latter half of the year. Some people predict that trend will continue, but the increases will slow right down. There are a couple of reasons for this prediction. Firstly, unemployment is going down and people are able to afford houses more easily. Demand is stronger and there will be a slight increase in the number of people that are actually buying houses.

Another factor to consider is the number of people opting for alternative housing situations. More people are opting for prefabricated mobile homes, sometimes called mobile homes. These are far cheaper because the components are made separately, shipped over, and constructed on site. The impact of this is minimal but people choosing to go for alternative housing is going to alleviate some of the strain in terms of housing shortage. It also means that houses can be built far more quickly.

On the other hand, real estate as an investment is on the rise so if all of the houses are being bought up by investors, prices could carry on increasing.

This prediction is good news overall because what they’re essentially saying is that, while there won’t be an immediate turnaround in house prices, we’re coming toward the top of the peak and will soon start to see a downturn in prices.

Affordability Will Go Down

Wages are forecasted to grow in some of the larger cities in America which you would think is good news for buying houses, unfortunately it’s not. The amount of homes that are affordable to somebody on a medium income isn’t growing. That means they are unable to access the cities where wages are growing in the first place, so they can’t get the higher wages they need to buy a house. This disparity is one of the biggest problems in the housing market at the moment. Even if house building does increase this year, they aren’t likely to build the affordable housing that is needed to redress that imbalance.

Credit Availability Could Improve

After the crash of 2008, the availability of credit was regulated more strictly in order to avoid the same thing again. However, the new Trump administration has floated plans to roll back a lot of that regulation so banks will be more free to lend money again. It could go one of two ways; either they’ll start lending more freely and people might be able to afford to buy a house, or they may carry on operating the way that they are at the moment.

There’s no telling exactly what will happen with the housing market but these are three of the best theories so far.

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Saving Up For Christmas

christmas moneyChristmas is only a couple of months away, and many people are already way into their Christmas shopping. But the real task is budgeting for your perfect Christmas as well as making sure you enjoy the festive season as much as possible.

Work Out What You Can Afford

Before you start planning all of your decorations, food and gifts for everyone you know, first take the time to sit down and look at what you can realistically afford. Think about it this way- Christmas is only one day a year. You don’t want to splash out on 24 hours and regret it for the next year. Be smart and think about how much expendable income you have saved for the festive season.

Stop Buying Unnecessary Presents

Sure, Christmas is a time for puzzle games and silly gifts; but if you are trying to save up and stay smart with your finances, it’s not really a great idea to buy 10 whoopee cushions for your friends. Stick to presents you know your loved ones will love.

Or, if you really hate the idea of not being able to be a bit fun- give yourself and your friends a small budget to stick to for silly presents. Maybe even arrange a secret santa

$100+ in time for Xmas

Yes, that’s right. You can bag yourself some extra cash for the festive season by simply switching bank accounts. Make the switch and get yourself a nice little bonus to go towards your festivities.

Supermarket Saving Stamps

Supermarket saving stamps schemes are used to help families save up for Christmas throughout the year to cut the bow at the end. However, if you are smart about it you could get an extra 4% bonus on your savings in time for Christmas. If you add in a large amount to the card at once, the supermarket will give you a bonus. So pay in, get your extra cash and spend on all of your winter essentials.

Christmas IOU generator

As many of you will know, during December the price of even the simplest item can sky rocket. However, in contrast the prices drop in January. So if you are trying to save up for something big such as a TV or Games Console, just wait for it. Yes, it might mean that the kids are opening an empty box (or a cheaper gift in the meantime) on Christmas Day, but it will save you a huge amount of money in the long run.

Black Friday

When you think of Black Friday, you may have visions of riots in the street and carnage at the supermarket…you wouldn’t be wrong. But you don’t have to step out into no man’s land this November to bag yourself a bargain. Instead, shop online. Sites such as Amazon run week-long events for Black Friday and chop the prices of products by anything up to 80-90%. If you are waiting for a game or DVD release, hold out for Black Friday because the likelihood is that a deal will come on for it.

Sell Your Old Stuff

Out with the old, in with the new. And money goes straight into your pocket ready for the festive season. We get a lot of things around Christmas, and often it can be difficult to move in a sea of gifts for the week afterwards. Get onto GumTree and sell some of your old things to make room for the new stuff, it’ll also mean a nice financial bonus for the festive season.

Home Or Away?

Although staying at home is the obvious choice for most of us, you don’t have to spend Christmas in your house using up all of your own electricity and water. Why not club together as a whole family and rent a lovely cottage or apartment from a site such as Meriton? It will be exciting for the whole family and means that you all club together for a great holiday and amazing memories.

Avoid Expensive Turkey

Now, of course turkey is the star of the show for your Christmas Dinner, but to be honest, you don’t need to splash out for the most expensive brand to get a good quality bird. Try swapping out your usual choice for a lower brand option, you probably won’t even notice the difference!

And there is another option… you could eat a different meat.

‘That’s sacrilege!’ you say- but it is well known that stores will hike up the price of turkey through the winter months because they know people are willing to pay for it. But actually, not everyone likes turkey, and a great alternative would be a beautiful joint of roast beef.

Consider the Risk of Gift Cards

You might think that getting someone you don’t know very well a gift card is much better than buying them a gift that they won’t like, and that can be the case. However, sometimes there can be a few risks with opting for a gift card over money.

• Big Retailers can go under. It’s happened before, and it could happen again. When a retailer declares bankruptcy, they will stop accepting gift cards as payment.

• Expiry Dates – always check that there is a good amount of time for the recipient to use the card.

Kids Don’t Care

If you have children, you’ll know that you could buy them the most expensive and elaborate toy for Christmas and they will still play with the box. Children don’t care how much you’ve spent on decorations, how many presents they have in front of them or whether you’ve bought a budget turkey. For kids, it’s the magic of Christmas and the thought of Santa visiting which makes it special.

So save up your cash for a rainy day and keep it simple. Put out a cookie and a carrot for Santa and his reindeer, read them a bedtime story and sleep safe in the knowledge that you can have a perfect family Christmas without spending all of your savings.

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