A High School Student’s Guide to Managing Finances

When you are a high school student, money matters are cool and important things. You think about earnings, jobs and what you can do with money. Here are some tips for you to enter that complex adult system.

There are a lot of jobs for high school student. But always remember your homeworks issue and government issue about young employment.

Now that you have some money, it’s time to think about what to do with it. I started a bank account when I got my first job. It’s not only a great way to start budgeting, but is also a convenient way to keep up with your money. Ask your parents, guardian, or a trusted adult where he or she banks. This is a way to do some research on which bank might be best for you. Also, your parents or guardian may have to cosign with you on the account, so it may be more convenient to bank in the same location. At many banks, students are eligible for accounts with free checking and a debit card. This could be a major factor when deciding which bank to choose.

A debit card and checks are good things to have. Today, debit cards are quickly replacing checks as the most popular way to access funds in your bank account. Still, there are pros and cons to each. When you have a debit card, because it is so easy to use, you may be tempted to spend a lot. You may not save receipts or keep an accurate record of your deposits and purchases. DO NOT fall into this trap. Receipts are the only way to make sure your records are accurate. What if your card was stolen or your account was compromised? You would never know or be able to prove your case if you didn’t have the appropriate documentation.

That leads me into the safety issue of debit cards. Be careful to protect your pin number and do not share it with anyone except maybe a parent or guardian. When you type in your pin, be careful to make sure that you do not show the card number or your pin number to anyone. You never know who is watching you, so keep the card in the palm of your hand or in your wallet until the cashier asks for it. Finally, when using the Internet to make purchases with your debit card, be careful. Never pay using a site unless it has a valid security certificate, which is indicated by a closed lock in the bottom right hand corner of the browser window. When entering your card number, double check to make sure it is correct. In order to ensure that no one can access your account information except you, be sure to log out of any site when you finish your transaction, and don’t forget to print or save your receipt. Keep your passwords private and hard to crack, i.e. don’t save them on your computer. Now that your checking account number can also be used for online payment options, you should be careful when using it too.

Another pitfall with checks is the infamous account “overdraw.” What this means is that you write a check for more money than you have in your account. NEVER EVER do this. Sometimes people will write a check for a few things from the drug store anticipating a trip to the bank before the check clears, but Murphy’s law (what can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time) will always hold true in this case. Also, there is a hefty penalty from your bank and the merchant for a bounced check. Again, keeping receipts and always balancing your checkbook as you make your purchases (and checking them against your monthly statement) will prevent this. Usually, for a small fee, you can get overdraft protection for your account (which is an especially popular offer for student accounts). If you ever lose your checks or debit card, if they get stolen, or if you think your account has been compromised, report it to your bank immediately and work with them to get your account frozen and to get a secure account again. Some banks even monitor your account for you and report anything that may seem suspicious. Be sure to ask about this before you sign up for an account. Remember, services and fees differ from bank to bank.

There are many options for credit cards, which means that you need to do your research in order to find the one that is best for you. Consider getting a card that has some sort of rewards program. You can get cash back on purchases, airline miles, even money to use at amazon.com or Best Buy. As a student, never pay a fee for a card. Be aware of the interest rates on credit cards. They matter if you don’t pay off your balance monthly. Banks love to make credit card offers to students, but be a smart credit user. You don’t want to get a card just because it is easy to do, use it, never pay anything but the minimum balance, and thus be indebted to the bank or store for the rest of your life. You probably only need one credit card right now, and it needs to be one you can spend anywhere, not just at a particular store.

Also, NEVER spend more money than you have. If you do this, the interest you will have to pay on the balance can be very costly. Not only will this end up costing you more money, but it also hurts your credit rating, something that will follow you for the rest of your life. A good credit rating can come in handy when you are going to buy a car or your first home. The moral of the story is: don’t buy anything you don’t need unless you have the money (or have budgeted) for it. Always make sure your payment is made on time. Finally, the same safety rules that apply to your debit card apply to your credit card.

Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes,” and his quip is still true today. Taxes are a fact of life, and you should pay them or the IRS will eat you. You are obligated to pay taxes on income, whether it is cash or check, and your employer should pay taxes on you too. Make sure to check the tax laws regarding how much money you have to make/earn before you must file a return. At your age, you are probably not making enough and do not have complicated income sources and deductions, so it may be possible to do your taxes yourself, though you can get an accountant to do them. Sit down with your parents or guardian and fill out a sample form, then fill out the real one, copy it, and put it in a file. This file that you keep your tax forms in is also a good way to keep up with a lot more of your important papers, such as credit card and bank account information as well as your receipts and deposit slips.

Making a budget may sound like something for your parents to do, but it is actually important to start one when you get your first steady source of income and a bank account. Project how much you will spend in a month on everything from gas to a night at the movies. Then compare that to what you actually spent. From there, you can begin to project the things you may want in your budget. If you know that you want to go to a movie twice a month, you can earmark a specific amount of your income to go towards that. Do the same for all the things you want to spend money on, but prioritize your necessities, meaning that you need to allot money for them first then use any extra for nonessential things.

One thing that you may overlook but will want to include in your budget is a monthly deposit into your savings account. Begin saving for the future when you get your first job or when you have enough disposable income to have the ability to purchase anything other than the necessities. You can open a savings account from your bank (the one where you got your checking account) or you can open one at a different bank. Research options like the amount of interest you will earn, how often you will earn it, and how it will compound. By saving now, you can help yourself in the future. You may think that a new iPod is crucial now, but wouldn’t a payment on your first apartment be even better? One day your car will break down, your refrigerator will stop working, or your kid will want to go to college and you will be glad you had funds set aside.

Another way to make money is investing. There are many options for investing, for instance, stocks, CDs, and bonds. Stocks are long-term investments. Research companies that interest you that you believe in and support, and buy some stock. WARNING-there is some risk involved in the stock market. Bonds come in many forms from short-term to long-term investments, though if you get one for a short period of time, you can keep it and it will continue to earn money until you cash it in. Bonds are generally seen as not involving as much risk as stocks. Another no-risk option is a CD. Certificates of Deposit can be short- or long-term. You incur a penalty if you want your money back before the maturation date (specified at the time of investment). Once they mature, you can either take your money back, or you can reinvest it in another CD. Some CDs automatically renew unless you take action. Be careful to keep track of your CD investment rates and renewal dates. Remember that dividends and interest are taxable.

Another thing to keep in mind is the goals you have for your money. First, establish a short-term goal for your money. It is just fine to spend some of your money on fun things like video games or movie tickets. Just make sure that you don’t spend all of it there. You may know already that you want to go to college or technical school, and you will need to buy your own books or help pay tuition. If so, go ahead and set some money aside for that. You can even get a short-term investment with your money so it will be gathering interest instead of dust. You may also know that you want to pursue a graduate degree, or you want to rent an apartment or buy a house or car. Start saving now. The more you prepare now, the easier it will be for you to have a more secure and comfortable life later. Most students in high school have many of their basic needs provided for them. That will not last forever. So when you are deciding whether to get a car now, or continue to share with mom and dad, keep in mind your future and current needs. Don’t be blinded by today’s want that could turn into tomorrow’s nightmare.

Now that you know some of the basics of money management, go out there and do something to secure your future and reach your financial goals. Get a job, open checking and savings accounts, and consider some investment strategies. Be careful, though, and look out for yourself and your money. Having your own money and knowing what to do with it can be empowering. Just remember to do your research and be smart about the decisions you make involving your money. It is easy to spend, but hard to make. When it’s gone, it’s gone, and it goes really quickly.

Budgeting Tips for Students

After graduation I took a trip with my friends. The trip was immense fun but it wasn’t fun when I did the expenses. When I sat down to settle the trip bills, I knew I had to be stricter with my finances. Here’s a plan I made for myself and it has continued to help me to stay on track. I hope it helps recent graduates like me.

Make a budget for variable expenses: We all have expenses that are fixed- rent and bills. But expenses such as food, laundry and other personal expenses can change. Set a budget for such variable expenses.

Track your expenses, ALWAYS: if you don’t know how much amounts to your variable expenses, track them for previous months. You are sure to come to an average amount. Then set a ceiling for how much you should spend on them and stick to this number rigidly. Don’t give up tracking. Always track your expenses.

Avoid swiping your credit card for lesser amounts: pay by cash or use your debit card to pay for smaller amounts. Smaller amounts like the 10s and 20s amount to quiet a big number on your bill. It feels good to get them out of your way when you pay by cash.

Start cooking at home, because that is much cheaper than eating out every day. And it can save you a lot of money.

Avoid eating out as much as possible. Need I say again that it can save?

Say no: you don’t need to always catch that flick with your friend or go out every weekend for dinner. It is difficult to say no but your friends will understand.

Pause before you shop: Before you are ready to swipe your card, ask yourself if you really need the item you are buying. Can you do without it? If the answer to this question is ‘yes’ you know what to do. Few days back I was in BJs doing grocery shopping. I picked up a lovely winter jacket which was costing only $30. I was tempted to buy it. I roamed the entire store with it in my cart knowing I shouldn’t buy it. Eventually I put it down and bought only the required groceries.

It can be difficult to curb yourself from shopping in the beginning. But after you see the difference it makes it isn’t that difficult. All the best!

How We Improved Our Financial Health

Several years ago my husband and I were in quite a financial fiasco. We were behind in payments on our housing, autos, utilities, and installment loans, and creditors were calling us constantly. Our young marriage was rocky at best due mostly to the financial stress. After much hard work, though, we managed to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in, and I’m happy to say we are now on a much firmer financial footing. I’ve tried to put together an outline of how we improved our financial health. I put them in some sort of order, but many of them must be done simultaneously.

Change your attitude

This was the first, and most crucial, step in turning our financial life around. We had to accept responsibility for the choices we had made and make a conscious decision that we no longer wanted to live that way. We wanted a better life for our family with less stress. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, the change in attitude in one area of our life slowly overflowed to all other areas and many of the problems we were facing seemed to disappear. Now I look back and realize how much of an impact our attitudes had on our lives and marriage.

Set goals

Preferably with your spouse so you can work together. As I learned in the early part of our marriage, it’s very difficult to get anywhere when resources are spent trying to go in two separate directions. And if you don’t set a specific goal, like saving for a down payment, paying off credit cards, or going on a family vacation, you are less likely to actually set the money aside.

Analyze spending

Starting with the monthly bills and getting right down to the little things like the candy bar at the gas station. The simple act of writing down everything you spend (and your spouse) for thirty days can be a huge eye opener. I resisted for years, and when I finally stuck with it for 3 months I was amazed at the potential savings I had overlooked for so long.

Start slashing costs

How drastic you need to be depends on how desperate your circumstances. Start with things you and your family are least likely to notice and that will provide motivation to continue.

Research, research, research

There is information everywhere on every subject imaginable. Check out books at your local library and do online searches for finances, saving money, living cheaply, or a specific area you want to save money on. Find like-minded people who you can share with and learn from.

Make and stick to a realistic spending plan (aka budget)

Do it simple or fancy, just get it done. Write down all the income and the bills and fill in with the extras like groceries, gas, allowances, clothing, etc. It must work on paper before it will work in real life! Dave Ramsey and Mary Hunt both have excellent advice on budgeting and getting out of debt.

Start paying off debt

Of course, you must stop buying things with credit if you ever want to pay it off. Most of our problems were old bills we had let lapse into collection. Once we had adjusted our attitudes and set up a plan, I started paying the bills off one by one. I started with the smallest ones and paid those as the budget permitted. There was a great sense of achievement after the smaller ones were gone. Then I moved onto the larger bills, which required making phone calls to creditors whom we hadn’t been in contact with for some time. Those calls were extremely difficult! Not only was my pride a little bruised, but I often had to deal with rude people. After having my feelings hurt on more than one occasion by what I felt was a lack of helpfulness, I finally started asking to speak to a different person. If that didn’t work, I simply hung up and called again until I was speaking with someone who wanted to take my money without insulting me. And one last note: Save records of everything you pay off! This is especially useful when cleaning up your credit report.

Plan, plan, plan

I don’t believe in unexpected expenses; I simply think they are unplanned. Everyone gets sick, the car will eventually break down, the dog will have to go to the vet. Just make sure you set aside a little bit at a time on a regular basis and the money will be there when you need it. Mary Hunt calls this a Freedom Account. Planning also applies to purchases of all kinds. Amy Dacyzyn, author of The Tightwad Gazette, says you should plan purchases in such a way that you get them before you need them at the lowest possible price. If your kids need winter clothes for next year, get them this summer at yard sales.

Clean up your credit

This should not be an immediate concern! If you are serious about getting out of debt then you don’t need to worry about how great your credit is. However, it should be done eventually since it takes years for bad stuff to disappear, and you may want to buy a house down the road. I didn’t tackle this until we were paying our bills on time and had paid off the collection items. It was a huge undertaking that took up a lot of hours over a couple of weeks. First I went to a link from Dave Ramsey’s website and ordered a 3-in-1 credit report so I could see everything at once. I did a rough read through to see what was immediately incorrect and then started digging deeper. My records from paying off old collection bills were very helpful. Once I had a list of all the items that needed to be corrected I went to the credit agency’s website and filled out a dispute form. They responded to each item I questioned and sent me a new credit report after all the changes were made.

Money Management Tips for Your Child’s College Degree Education

Proper financial planning and money management for the purpose of college education of your children is absolutely essential, in view of the fact that the cost of college education has almost doubled in the last ten years and it is likely to become more expensive in the future. As we have entered an era of knowledge economy the advantages of a college degree have increased manifold.

It is an undeniable fact that young people who earn a college degree are more likely to have a higher income, enter an occupation that is more satisfying and get more opportunities for growth, than someone who doesn’t have a college degree. College education equips young people with critical and analytical thinking skills that are important in almost all fields today, especially the highly technical fields.

The cost of college education includes tuition fees, room and board fees, cost of books and transportation costs. If you wish to provide college education for your children you must plan ahead from now and this is where personal money management comes in. The earlier you start the more flexibility and choices you will have. Later on you will have other expenses and financial goals like buying a house and planning for retirement. In fact it is best to start saving and investing for your child’s college degree from birth to ease the pressure later on.

Saving and investing for college education will require a special program to be pursued specifically for this purpose. Your financial planning and money management strategies for college degree will depend on how early or how late you start. If the goal is far into the future, say ten years or more you can use aggressive investment strategies that involve some risks. When you are planning for long term you can use a variety of investment options so that your money can grow significantly. In case it is near you can use only low risk investments

The advantage of long term planning is that through compounding your money can grow to a significant amount over time putting less pressure on your earnings. Just setting aside a small amount every month will be sufficient to cover future college degree expenses of your children and you will not be under pressure when you will need to buy a family home and plan for retirement expenses. Of course these can also be included in your early financial planning. This will allow your children to complete college with less or no debt and they will have more choice of colleges and courses to join.

For the purpose of proper planning and execution of your college degree financing plan you need to assess the number of years until your child goes to college, projected cost of college education at that time in view of the past rates of escalation, amount that can be easily set aside from the household income, rate of inflation, possibility of student employment during college, availability of student loan, etc. A clear picture will no doubt help you to clearly chalk out your money management strategies for savings and investment. You can then look for and evaluate investment alternatives that will help you achieve your goals by balancing safety and yield.

You should diversify your investments so that the growth of your funds can outpace the rate of inflation to a great degree. According to financial experts you should aim at a return of around 3 percent over the rate of inflation because promises of more returns can be risky. You must keep in mind that investments with much higher yields will put your capital at risk. Liquidity may be also an important consideration for you but you should remember the fact that more liquidity might mean slower growth of your investments.

Various investment options are available for you depending on the age of your child. If you start before your child is 12 you can consider investing in stocks and/or growth-stock mutual funds. For children up to 16 years a series of bonds that mature each college degree year can be considered as they carry lower risk. If the child is above 16 then you should move into low risk investments so that the capital is protected. Short term government securities, money market funds, savings bonds and certificates of deposit are a good choice at this time.

In addition to the money management strategies described above other options for funding college education of your children are also available. Some states allow you to prepay college tuition fees. You can purchase one, two, three or four years of college in advance for your child’s college degree but you have to be sure that your child will not need to study out of state as each state has its own procedures and policies. If the refund policy and other terms suit you then this avenue should be definitely explored.

Another possibility is to borrow from a 40(K) retirement account but the limitation is that the amount has to be repaid within five years. A home equity loan which may also be tax deductible, can also be considered for funding your child’s college education. Thus if you wish to save for a college degree for your child, the essential money management and investment strategies are to begin as early as possible, save regularly, evaluate the risk and return of various types of investment and diversify your investments. It is important to regularly keep reviewing and adjusting your investment portfolio for maximum return on investment.

Creditors Voluntary Liquidation: The Most Common Way of Winding Up an Insolvent Company in the UK

In the first quarter of 2016 over 3,200 UK companies went into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, according to the UK Insolvency Service. That’s more than 60% more of this type of business failure than in the first quarter of the previous year.

A Creditors Voluntary Liquidation is initiated by the board of directors of a company that is insolvent. It is the process of winding up the company. The assets are liquidated, converted into cash, and the money is used to settle outstanding bills.

The process is overseen by the creditors, who are owed money by the company. They are unlikely to be paid in full, but will at least get a proportion of their money back.

Why Companies Choose Creditors Voluntary Liquidation

There are a number of different options available to an insolvent business. Some are better suited to organizations that are fundamentally viable but are encumbered by too much debt. Where there is hope that the business can be saved it may be more appropriate to go into administration or enter a voluntary arrangement.

A Creditors Voluntary Liquidation is the solution for a company that has no reasonable expectation of recovering its trading position. It allows the company to be closed down in an orderly fashion, with due consideration to the interests of creditors.

Before choosing to go this route the directors will usually have taken advice from an insolvency practitioner, a specialist in dealing with companies unable to pay their debts.

The Process of Creditors Voluntary Liquidation

The directors call an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders, at which they set out their reasons for choosing this route. If the shareholders agree, an insolvency practitioner is nominated to manage the process. This is usually the same practitioner that has been giving advice so far.

One of their first responsibilities is to call a meeting of creditors to explain what is going on. The creditors formally appoint the liquidator and may choose to create their own committee to monitor proceedings.

The liquidator’s job is to wind up the affairs of the company, disposing of all the assets for the best possible price and making payments to creditors. They also report on the conduct of the directors, to establish whether wrongful trading (knowingly trading when insolvent) has taken place.

A Creditors Voluntary Liquidation is the most common form of winding up an insolvent company in the UK. While the process is relatively simple it is a route that directors untake lightly and they will explore other, less drastic, options first.

Benefits of Family Financial Planning: Why and When Families Should Get Professional Money Advice

The best way for families to achieve their financial goals is through proper financial planning. Registered and certified financial planners can help families when they have saved a decent amount of money or when their financial circumstances have changed – redundancy, job promotion, having more children, etc.

The benefits of family financial planning are myriad. Here are six reasons to get professional money planning advice.

Boost Household Savings and Investments

A financial advisor can look into a family’s financial circumstances and help them maximize their savings through various financial products and investments. The financial planner can also help the family to borrow for investments. Called gearing, this powerful strategy can help households grow their financial assets faster than conventional savings and investment methods.

Manage Tax Effectively

For many Australian families, managing tax is a tricky thing, especially when investments and superannuation come into the picture. To have an in-depth and clear understanding of tax implications, it’s best to review them through a registered financial planner. He will help the client to fully understand any potential risks involved in the investment decisions as well as recommend effective strategies to maximize returns and achieve short- and longer-term financial goals.

Help Families Get the Right Insurance

Although insurance premiums can be rather costly, sufficient insurance is crucial to protect the family and its assets against unforeseen circumstances. Life insurance, income protection insurance, health insurance, trauma insurance as well as home and content insurance are necessities for families. A financial advisor will be able to structure the right level of cover for a household’s needs and specific circumstances, depending on the family’s financial situation.

Financial Advice When Job Changes Occur

Salary cuts, redundancies, changing jobs and promotions at work affect families’ financial situations. Each time any of these occurs, it’s important to review superannuation, investment and insurance needs. A financial consultant can help his client make informed decisions about revising his financial plan, making employee payments and getting ample insurance cover.

Assist in Retirement Planning

Retirement planning should be part of a long-term financial plan and start early. Financial planners can help people plan for their retirement and maximize their retirement income to help them achieve the lifestyle they want when they are no longer in the workforce. Those on the verge of retirement can also benefit when financial planners help them invest their savings.

Estate Planning for Families

Estate planning is a very important part of any financial plan. However, it is also often the most neglected part. With proper estate planning done by a financial consultant, a person’s family affairs and family members will be appropriately cared for according to his wishes in the most tax effective manner if he suddenly passes away or becomes incapacitated.

Professional money planning isn’t just for wealthy people or big businesses. It’s for average households too. The benefits of family financial planning include the ability to maximize savings and investment returns, manage tax effectively, get the right insurance, have sound financial advice when there are job changes as well as get help in retirement and estate planning.

Bankruptcy Attorney Fees for a Good Bankruptcy Petition Service

As with most things in life, it generally costs more to get a better quality of bankruptcy petition service. The problem is that the client is being asked to find money at a time of great financial hardship. Whilst budget services are heavily criticised for making serious mistakes and omissions, some bankruptcy attorney fees are far too high and should be avoided. It’s necessary to define precisely what is being offered relative to the charges in order to determine genuine value for money.

Low Cost Bankruptcy Mills vs Bankruptcy Attorney Fees

Whilst ‘bankruptcy mills’ offer an inexpensive best bankruptcy lawyer alternative, the actual quality of service has come under severe criticism. Given the complexity of the laws, is it realistic to expect an accurate and comprehensive service for just $99.99 when professionals are charging $2,000 to $3,000 a time? Bankruptcy proceedings aren’t just very involved, the scope for costly mistakes due to time pressure and inexperience are immense. Many services fail to use a qualified lawyer in order to cut costs. Others simply jack-up the price or misrepresent the service that they offer to their clients.

Common Bankruptcy Petition Service Mistakes

Whilst paying out thousands of dollars when filing for bankruptcy may appear to be too expensive, the financial implications of an error or omission heavily outweigh this cost. Hiring an attorney for bankruptcy helps to avoid many of the pitfalls alluded to below:

  • The bankruptcy petition service fails to include all eligible debts. This leads to certain unsecured liabilities not being written-off and collection agency pursuance for the outstanding balance following discharge. That person is then unable to file under chapter 7 for at least the next 8 years.
  • Failure to fill in the appropriate forms to stop foreclosure. Even if the client is able to find enough money to make a contribution towards clearing any outstanding arrears, it will be too late to save the property. It will be repossessed and sold for fair market value at auction.
  • Clients being advised to file bankruptcy when their debts aren’t eligible for inclusion, such as attempting to eliminate student loan debt. This simply leads to chapter 7 bankruptcy showing on a credit report for the next 10-years without any benefit to the client.
  • Listing exempt assets as non-exempt assets when filing bankruptcy. These assets will then needlessly be sold and the proceeds disseminated to creditors.
  • Not reaffirming secured debts, such as car loans, leads to any collateral being repossessed. It will then be far more expensive to get a loan to buy a car with bad credit which could lead to affordability issues in the future.

Always Select the Best Attorney for Bankruptcy

When the decision has been made to file for bankruptcy, it is necessary to decide whether to use a cut-price service or the best bankruptcy attorney. Don’t just settle for the cheapest option, take time to consider the financial consequences of a mistake and its future implications. Take advantage of a free session with a bankruptcy lawyer in order to determine what the service includes relative to the bankruptcy attorney fee. Use this experience to gauge how committed the firm is to its clients.

Debt Help Available in Great Britain: Free Debt Advice and Counselling Services in the UK

Coping with debt can put an overwhelming strain on both individuals and families. Fortunately, debt help is widely available in the UK from various organisations. Many of them have free debt help telephone numbers, giving immediate access to qualified debt counsellors.

Debt Advice on the Telephone

There are a variety of options for people wishing to discuss debt problems, one of which is to telephone a debt help number. Most debt help organisations have a telephone number to call, some of which are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An excellent example in the UK is the National Debt Helpline, where calls are free and debt counsellors are on hand to offer advice and support.

The Samaritans are also an option for those affected by debt problems. Although calls are charged they do provide the option of reversing charges or having someone call the client back. The Samaritans have numerous centres throughout the UK where anyone can drop in for a face to face chat about debt problems. The Samaritans is a charity which uses volunteers and allows anyone to discuss any problems at any time.

Debt Help from Citizen’s Advice

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is a well known part of many towns in the UK, offering free advice on a wide range of topics. The Bureau also operates a satellite organisation known as the Debt Advice Trust, giving free debt advice supported by the government. A free phone number can be called, which is staffed by experienced debt counsellors.

Online Debt Help

An alternative to debt help lines is provided by the CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service). Their website gives clients the option of filling out an online form with details of their income, debts and expenditure. Within a short time span clients receive back a suggested debt management plan based on the information provided.

The Sterling Trust charity offers another form of online debt help. Clients, as with the CCCS, enter their financial information online. Their income and debts are then compared to produce a repayment plan. The site also provides letters which can be printed off and sent to creditors, explaining individual situations and how debts will be repaid.

Advantages of Free Debt Advice

In addition to costing nothing receiving free debt help from a charity should ensure that any advice given is fair and impartial. There are now more opportunities than ever to obtain free debt advice in the UK. In the current financial climate debt is affecting more and more people. The charities and organisations described above are working to help as many people as possible regain control of their finances.

Debt Consolidation Keys to Success: How to Maintain Financial Stability

When a consumer has obtained a debt consolidation loan and begins the process of financial recovery, it’s important to know the path to debt recovery is just at the beginning…not the end.

Individuals who seek monetary relief are encouraged to not only organize long term plans to avoid future economic issues, but also establish ground rules for current spending habits. Economic recovery plans are only effective if the consumer can maintain financial responsibility and structure.

Debt Consolidation Family Support and Organization

Consumers who have embarked on a debt consolidation plan are advised to notify close family members and those who are living within the home. Individuals are encouraged to conduct a “family meeting” simply to review the current budget and address financial concerns and organization.

With debt recovery a change in financial lifestyle is paramount. Failure to establish and maintain a fresh financial outlook can be catastrophic, especially for individuals who are currently in a monetary dilemma. Due to the new financial “culture” that is being established, it’s vital that all parties are notified and on the “same page” in terms of spending habits.

When everyone within the household understands the situation and gains financial education, monetary responsibility can be obtained and reckless spending can be avoided.

Gain the Support of Friends

Consumers are also encouraged to discuss the financial situation with close friends, especially friends who the individual accompanies to social outings and events. Friends of the individual will obviously not be privy to every detail, but when the consumer gives his or her friends proper notification everyone involved will better understand and accommodate the situation.

Measures such as not partaking in the “social scene” as often may need to be taken to assist in the individual’s financial recovery process.

Monitor Debt Payback

Consumers who are in the debt consolidation process are advised to observe debt payback. Establish a plan which will allow all money owed to be paid in full within a certain period of time.

It’s important to maintain a schedule where all payments remain efficient, and the consumer will have a better knowledge of the situation as the process continues. Consumers are encouraged to make a graphic representation to maintain structure and good organization.

Debt Consolidation Loan Adjustment

As time passes many consumers may find cheaper ways to consolidate debt. Depending on certain factors, interest rates may decrease and the consumer’s credit may improve to the status where the individual may be entitled to a more efficient way to eliminate monetary hardships.

Consumers need to stay alert to possible changes that will provide a financial advantage during the recovery procedure. The original loan may no longer be the cheapest as the process moves forward.

Tips for Finding a Murfreesboro Home: What to Know When Looking at Homes For Sale in Murfreesboro

The following post is a guest post from Houston, Texas area real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles. Tracy can be best contacted for questions, comments and concerns on Twitter at @tracydsuttles.

Murfreesboro is a booming city of 100,000 people located just south of Nashville, TN in Rutherford County. It is the geographic center of Tennessee and it is home to the state’s largest university, Middle Tennessee State University. There are two malls, many popular restaurants, green ways, high performing schools, a new hospital slated to open soon, and it is an easy commute to Nashville. There are many things to consider when shopping for the perfect Murfreesboro home.

Murfreesboro Schools

There are two school systems. The Murfreesboro City Schools District contains most, but not all of the elementary schools located within the city limits. All middle, high, and some elementary schools are part of the Rutherford County School System. Some of the city schools are on the modified year round calendar, which is slightly different from the county and the other city school’s calendar. A buyer might want to take into consideration if their children will be in different Murfreesboro schools. Also, some of the homes located in the higher performing school zones can be a little more expensive. For a list of schools and their performance grades, visit their websites.

Nashville Commute

Murfreesboro is an easy commute to Nashville, which makes it an ideal place to buy a home. Nashville commuters might consider buying a Murfreesboro home in an area close to I 24. There are several nice, affordable subdivisions off of Church Street, and off of Highway 96 or Manson Pike in the Blackman community. If north Murfreesboro is more appealing, look at some of the neighborhoods that are off of Sulpher Springs Road or Jefferson Pike. Both of those roads have an interchange for I 840, which leads to I 24.

Floods and Sink Holes

Stones River flows throughout Murfreesboro. Insurance companies usually require homes close to the river to be covered by flood insurance which is more expensive.Also, like much of Middle Tennessee, Murfreesboro is prone to sink holes. If a home is being built and a sink hole is discovered or develops, many builders will simply repair the sink hole and continue building the house. Be sure to ask about the possibility of having to buy flood insurance and if there are any sink holes on the property or any adjoining properties to avoid extra costs in the future.

Murfreesboro Shopping, Restaurants, and Entertainment

If close proximity to good shopping, restaurants, and entertainment is a factor, consider look near The Avenue. The Avenue is a new mall located off of Medical Center Parkway. It is full of popular shops such as American Eagle, New York and Company, Carters, Belk, Ann Taylor Loft, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, plus restaurants. Murfreesboro’s movie theater is located off of Cason Lane near Old Fort Parkway, and any home close to the interstate is just 40 minutes away from all of the fun downtown Nashville has to offer.