Category: Personal Finance

Being Self-Sufficient When Self-Employed

premium payablesAs more people are leaving their very insecure permanent jobs and going down the self-employed route, there doesn’t seem to be many financial preparations for the future anymore. And it’s hardly surprising, given the current nature of unpredictability in the market. People are setting up their own businesses, and approximately 9 out of 10 small businesses are failing because people are ill-equipped, or the financial strain is way too much for them to bear. Living a lifestyle of self-employment can be all about living day to day while working all the hours under the sun. While this isn’t the most fruitful way to live your life, how can you make the most of a delicate financial situation while working for yourself?

Assess The Real Amounts Of Outgoings

Living in a hand to mouth way means that you seldom stop and take notice of how much you’re spending. If you get a big contract, you may feel that you are in the money and spend quite lavishly, which leaves you out of pocket when you’re left wanting for work. The best way to tackle this is to establish a base level of spending and stick to that, though it’s worth doing this when you’re in a good working contract and not when you’re struggling. Look at your outgoings and cut back on what isn’t essential. Have you been to the gym in the last 6 months? No? Get rid of it. Getting a selection of credit cards is handy when you’re self-employed is handy for expenses, but not for buying everyday items. The best way to avoid temptation is to lock them away and avoid remembering the PIN number. If you have pressing payments when you’re in the middle of a contract, you could use a credit card to make the payment and then use your earnings to pay off the card. With costs like insurance, you can pay insurance premium by credit card which helps to spread out the debt over a longer period of time. It all depends on the rate of the credit card you have. It is always ideal to have a 0% card for business expenses. So if you needed to travel to another country, the card could pay for the travel insurance.

Look At What You Can Claim Back

One thing that newly self-employed people forget about is what they can claim as expenses. Depending on where you live it varies, but if you operate out of your home, you can make the most of cutting back on your energy bills if you use one of your rooms as an office. So if you have a phone set up, the internet, and of course, all your electricity usage for your business coming out of this one room, you could try and claim some money back on your bills. The rules differ, but you can always speak to an accountant to get the bearings on this situation. Self-employment is a feast or a famine, but saving money is possible in light of circumstances. Just do your research, and make the most of what you are entitled to.

The Secrets You Don’t Know About Attending College

educational loansAttending college may be part of the American dream and something that you assumed would be part of your future. The reality is that many prospective students are put off by the harsh realities of the situation. At the beginning of this decade, young people started to question the true value of a college education. The point has been debated in homes all over the country ever since.

Think about what is in it for you

It is absolutely true gaining a qualification at college will give you many opportunities that those who do not attend college miss out on. Statistics show that, in the past, college graduates can expect to earn a higher salary than other employees and they tend to get jobs where they have greater job security. It is easy to see why this is the case. Graduates have spent three or four years attaining skills that are highly valued by employers. They are able to express themselves accurately and confidently in verbal and written communications. They approach life with an analytical and critical attitude but they can also think abstractly.

These skills are not just useful when it comes to getting a job. They are extremely useful attributes in the ‘adult’ world where the graduates act as consumers, voters and members of society.

Consider the sacrifices that it takes

All of these benefits do come at a cost and the main one is financial. There are several ways of financing your college education and many students take out loans. This would be paid back, gradually, when you graduate and get a job. However, the cost of tuition is rising and there is no longer a guarantee that you will walk out of college and walk into a very highly paid job.

This is when financial problems can set in and settlement loans are a good way of getting through this difficult period before a dream job comes along.

Other students are able to access scholarships, grants, or other financial support and this eases the financial burden, especially in the post-college period.

There are some things that money cannot buy

Perhaps, when viewed at a purely financial level, there is an argument that college is not the best life choice. This is missing the point. The truth is that college provides a young person with life experiences that they would not obtain in any other way.

The freedom of not having to listen to your parents telling you what to do on a daily basis is highly attractive for most 18 and 19-year-olds. You are in charge of your own destiny. You have ultimate freedom before you enter into the confines of a relationship and parenthood where you always have to consider the needs of others.

The world of work is no picnic and comes with psychological pressures that you may not want to deal with at such a young age. College gives you space to ‘grow up’ at your own pace and become an adult in your own time.

The Ins And Outs Of Buying Your First Credit Card

your credit cardCredit cards are an ever expanding form of payment in the financial world, for both the consumer and the provider. If it is your first time buying a credit card, it can be quite overwhelming and confusing on what it all means. Here is a simplified list of what to expect from owning and using a credit card.

The Procedure of Making Payments

A credit card allows you to make instant purchases without the requirement of physical cash. Whatever provider you choose, you are set on a prearranged amount of money which you can spend on, but must pay back. This is when it gets a bit complicated, so let’s clarify. After a purchase, you have a ‘grace period’, which means you have up to 56 days to pay off the card without incurring any interest. Ensure that you never delay the payments of your bills. If you do, you can expect to have unexpected charges and penalties to pay off.

How to Keep your Financial Details Safe

We all like to feel secure when it comes to money, which is why it’s important to understand credit card safety. As soon as the card arrives in the post, sign the back of it straight away. This means that if it gets lost or stolen, you’re protected. Never give your account number to an incredible source. This includes giving any information over the phone (unless you initiated the call and talking to a bank), posting anything on social media or answering emails which ask for personal information (a bank would never do this). Check your account activity regularly for purchases which you haven’t made, either online, on the phone, or through paper statements, it’s easy and doesn’t take up a lot of time. If you feel like you’ve made a bad decision or the card looks fake, you can establish the legality of your card by using a reliable credit card validator. Finally, if you have lost any cards or feel like any fraudulent activity has occurred on your bank activity, go with your gut instinct and contact your bank or card issuer.

Features of a Credit Card

Many credit card users don’t understand all of the features which come with it. The biggest quality of a card is the credit limit which is attached. For first time consumers, a lower limit may be set by the issuer, meaning you need to watch how much you spend. Contact less payments are great for quick and efficient payments, especially when you’re in a hurry to get home for the football game. Any purchases under $100, simply tap your card against a contact less reader to make a fast purchase. You can also use a credit card for cash advances and balance transfers. Specific credit cards come with extra features such as, international travel insurance, extended warranty with best price guarantee cover and complimentary airport lounge access. Before deciding on a credit card, do your research and pick the best one which suits your needs.

Expert or not, credit cards can catch out the smartest of users. Which is why it is essential to always plan ahead and utilize the web for helpful information.

Student Loans, Saving, And You

loan burden for studentsUniversity is the obvious choice if you want to go into further education. It’s a chilled out place where you can learn the skills needed to succeed in later life. Plus, it also teaches you how to be an adult, when you’re not drinking and partying of course. Unfortunately, college isn’t always one big picnic. Getting there in the first place can be tricky because the costs are so high. And, if you want to be accepted, you will need to stump up the cash. It might seem retro, but saving can be the difference between a college education and an early foray into adult life.

Here are tips that can help you save enough to go to university.

Start Early

Being a kid is great because you have no responsibility. You can do whatever you like and let the adults deal with the pressures of life. Although it’s enjoyable way to go through your teenage years, it also has its flaws. The reason for this is that it pushes you to rely on other people. Of course, your parents want to help you go to college. But, the circumstances might dictate a different course of action. If you’re ready to take some responsibility, you can start saving as early as possible to prepare financially for university. So, put aside any money that comes your way for a rainy day.

Ask Your Parents

Even if you start saving early on, you’re still a kid. And, your parents have an obligation to help you achieve your dreams. That’s why there is nothing wrong with asking them to contribute to your savings. It might not be enough to stop you from securing a loan, but every little helps. The less you have to pay back once you graduate, the more money you can keep for yourself. Don’t badger them into putting money away every week because there is no need. Just tell them that you want to go to college and it would be nice if they could contribute. They’ll get the message.

Get The Right Loan

No matter how much you save, you might need a loan to help with your tuition. Obviously, you’d rather not have one, but needs must. Before you pick any old loan, make sure you think about the different variables. Some loans, for instance, have a grace period which makes them more attractive to lower income earners. Others are liable for a department of education loan forgiveness scheme that writes off some of the debt. These are features which a student like you can use to your advantage. But, it’s only possible if you think about it beforehand.

Get A Job

Without any revenue, you won’t be able to save in the first place. Sorry to say it, but you’re going to need a job. It won’t be nice, and it won’t be pretty, but it will serve a purpose. A weekend job is enough to make a dent in the savings department, especially if it’s over a few years. Plus, you need to concentrate on your studies to get into university.

You can’t do that if you’re always at work!

Financial Downsides and Potential Issues of Owning a Pet

financially downGetting a dog, or any other animal, to become a loved member of the household is a big step that many families decide to take at some point in their lives. Dogs and cats and other little domestic animals can offer a lot of love and warmth to a home, which is why so many welcome pets into their loving arms. With anything, there are both pros and cons to pet owning, and one of the biggest things that concern a family when it comes to the decision of welcoming a pet is the financial impact it will have.

Dogs are one of the most common pets that are seen in modern households. They’ve been man’s best friend through the ages. A dog can offer additional security and protection, as well a fierce friend that will last a lifetime… in dog years.

However, they also can get expensive. Some dogs, like purebreds, can be hundreds of dollars, and that is just the initial price of your pet that doesn’t include all of the supplies and equipment you’ll need to care for them for the years to come.

Regular and emergency vet visits. Dogs should be seen by a vet often and stay up to date on their immunizations and treatments to avoid getting medical problems. Sometimes these things can still happen, so you’ll have to also plan for the possibility of extra medical bills for your pet.

Special care equipment and furniture. Large dogs and older ones will need special beds that can get expensive. Walking gear can vary depending on the size and strength of your pet, and if they have existing medical conditions, they may need certain food that can get expensive. Planning for these things can help you decide a budget.

Potential injuries and prevention. Your dog may get hurt or may end up hurting others. This is rare, and some legal funding companies will offer a dog bite loan to help you stay on top of things financially while you’re working through the repercussions financially for a dog bite.

Many people have allergies to pet fur. Making sure that everyone has medicine and makes an appointment for allergy testing can get expensive depending on how many people are in your home.

Destroyed or damaged furniture and items. Dogs, especially puppies, are playful and energetic. They’ll get bored and lonely when you aren’t home. In the early months before your dog is fully trained, you may have to deal with damages to the things in your home. This can also go for cats.

Moving can get a little pricey if you have to bring the pets. Paying for transportation for a pet can get expensive depending on the size and weight and type of your pet. Some can get in the car with you, but you’ll have to make more frequent stops.