Debt is one of the few stressors in life that does not go away easily. Most dangerous thing about debt is that it gives so much stress that person falls victim to chronic diseases. Most stressful things in life-a car accident, death in the family, a divorce-happen and then they are over. Our bodies react to these losses and bounce back. But owing someone money completely becomes inescapable.
But if we take a closer look at the emotional, psychological and behavioral studies, it shows that there are healthier ways to spend money and decrease the debt, which will ultimately reduce the stress we feel.
We have gathered few important tips that you can follow to decrease your debt and increase your savings.
Stop creating more debt
The first thing you should avoid is to create more debt. Increasing debt will not take you anywhere. Instead, try to pay-off your entire debt in minimum chunks of money. Although, it won’t get you out of your debt but atleast, you will not be increasing your debt. Make possible to pay-off the debt entirely in just one shot. If you can’t, it’s fine to pay the minimum on your credit cards.
Pick one debt and pay-off completely
It’s good if you have only one debt to repay, but if multiple debts are lingering on your head, it is better to choose the one with the highest amount. In this way, a huge burden will fall off from your chest. Or make a big payment from your account every month to repay debt if you can’t do it all at once. Do the same for another debt and so on.
Build an emergency fund
Building an emergency fund when you have already a debt to pay-off seems dull. But it will give you an edge in emergency situations. An emergency fund can actually keep you from creating more debt by providing you with a safety net you can use in an emergency. Usually, the perfect emergency fund is six to twelve months of living expenses. You should atleast make $1000 in the short term.
Request for lower interest rate
Ask your creditor for lower interest rate on your debt. Higher interest rates keep you in debt for longer period. Your hard-earned money goes towards the monthly interest charge and not towards your actual balance. If you have a good credit history, you will easily be considered for lower interest rate request.
Put more money towards the debt
The more money you put towards your debt, faster you will be paying off for your own good. Create your monthly budget and try to find ways where you can cut your expenses and add them to pay your debt. You can also come up with the money for your debt by selling few expensive things in your home.
Use retirement fund or life insurance policy
Both choices are risky. Use these options when you find no other way. You may consider pulling money from your retirement fund but your savings will fall short when the time of retirement comes. Also, borrowing from your life insurance can also be considered but it will affect the death benefit your beneficiaries will receive.
Get a second job
Getting a second job or doing second shift on work is common way for people to pay-off their debts. No one can actually make it but if it does work for you, you will be debt-free before you can even imagine. For this scheme to work, put your extra shift money into the debt repayment. These extra hours are not permanent. Once you have paid-off all the debt, just sit back and relax. You will be back to your normal routine.
Make settlements with creditors
Debt settlement is also the solution if your accounts are past due or you owe more money than you could repay over a few years. Ask the creditor to accept a one-time, lump-sum payment to satisfy the debtor. Sometimes, creditors who agree to a settlement offer also agree to cancel the rest of the debt, but they typically accept these offers on accounts that are in default or at risk of defaulting.
Speak with a credit counselor-it’s free
If you are really struggling with your debt and you cannot manage anymore, try credit counseling. It’s absolutely free. They will help you in finding programs that can help to deal with your debts. A reputable and honest credit counselor will explain all the options that you can avail to clear your debt. Many people do not know about the debt-repayment programs but are relieved when they come to know about it. Speaking with a non-profit credit counselor about your options is confidential, non-judgmental and a better escape.
If the debt repayment has drained all of your savings, it’s time to build your savings again.Before you pay for anything else, put aside some money into your saving account. The secret to increase your savings –whether it’s earmarked for your emergency fund or another savings account-is to pay yourself first.
Here are few tips to paying yourself first to increase the savings.
Make a habit to save every month. It doesn’t matter if you save a single penny every month; it’s about commitment you make. If you make it a habit, it will help you towards a healthier financial future.
Consider saving as the necessary work. Make it a priority in your monthly budget.
When you reduce or eliminate an expense, or save any money on grocery or shopping, put it in the savings account. Any fund, bonus, raise you get should be put in the saving account.
Always go for the job that gives you maximum benefits for example a good life and health insurance, any extra favor, free transportation etc. The less you pay for these extra things, the more you will be able to save for yourself.
Worried about soaring monthly cable bills? We have the answer.
Cut the cord. Yes, you heard it right. Cutting the cord can actually save your money.
Cable and satellite bills keep piling up monthly and you might be worried about the high prices that you have to pay for the service. Its 21st century and technology has advanced with unlimited streaming services. There are many alternatives that you can try if you are tired of this cable thing.
We have made our own cord cutter's guide for you that can help you decide if it is a good decision to cut a cord and show you other alternative ways to watch your favorite shows on TV.
If cutting the cord is a right decision?
We know you really want to make sure if you can actually save money by cutting the cord and if it is really a right decision for you. Do not worry. Everyone has the right to do a proper research first. Before deciding to cut your cable cord, figure out how much you are paying the monthly bill. You can do a little math by checking monthly statement. The total of your bill will give you some to understanding of the figure to compare with other costs of alternatives that we will tell you. The goal is to make sure that you save your money.
Cable companies have started the business to cut the cable cord and offer you many other options for a suitable cost. Cord cutting means there are no contracts or any fees. You can also cancel the services at any time by just a simple button. Now how simple is that!
Recently a data was published that the average cable customer pays more than $90 a month. This is a huge amount for watching cable. Compare this cost with other streaming services and you will notice the big difference.
What are the other options?
After cutting the cord, you can go with having an antenna or switch to streaming services. If you are going to depend on streaming services, just make sure that your internet speed can handle the streaming. If you want to watch live TV, install an antenna. This is the cheapest way as you just need to purchase a good antenna and hook it up. Remember that only available channels in your local area will be there on your TV. Even if you have live TV, you are not bound to watch TV shows live. It’s your choice. There are methods to record your favorite shows and watch them later.
Talking about streaming services, there are unlimited options. HULU comes with a live TV and costs $45 a month. You can watch shows from every category and for the people of every age.
Sling TV provides its service with three different packages. These packages range from $25-$40 with many premium channels and international stations. DirecTV Now is also an online streaming service. It comes with no contracts and it charges $50-$70 depending on the package you pick.
YouTube TV is also a good option as it provides live streaming from dozens of networks. You can also consider PLAYSTATION VUE, PHILO, FUBO TV. You can also watch Network TV and Premium channels without a cable plan. You can also stream TV shows for free on Crackle, Tubi, VUDU and Pluto TV. There is no need to wait for your favorite shows as they are available readily on these services.
Netflix is the most popular streaming service right now in this advanced era. You have the option to choose from three plans that cost from $9-$16 with different options for HD content. Netflix also gives its customers facility of 1 month free trial.
Amazon Prime includes streaming access to TV shows and movies. Prime membership costs $120 a year. You can also pay in monthly installments. Amazon gives you access to thousands of songs in their library, unlimited reading of books and magazines, free unlimited storage of photos and more.
Let’s do a little math over here. The average cable or satellite user spends about $100 a month on their TV bill. It means his total bill of a total year will be $1200. Assuming you are the consumer who pays for both TV and internet; if you switch to a web-based service, it should not be too expensive. The cost of Amazon Prime plan is $99 a year, Netflix charges subscription costs $132 and Hulu has $96 cost. Even if you get all of them, you will still only be paying $327 annually. It will save you total $875. That’s a huge amount if you consider.
We have already given you an idea how you can save money by cutting the cord and moving towards other alternatives. It takes some time thinking about your viewing preferences. Considering all your options can be tricky sometimes. Just look at these three major benefits and the decision is yours to make.
The cost savings are significant as we have mentioned earlier.
You have a option to get a cloud DVR instead of a physical DVR box. It comes with many live TV subscriptions with no extra charges. It even enables you to tape shows to watch at your convenience.
You can easily watch on your phone, laptop or tablet while travelling.
For many, money is the only issue. With the cord cutting technique, you can save a whole lot of money. Apart from this, there are many other reasons. The viewing experience is way better on streaming services than cable TV. The quality is superior and you have a long list to watch. Everything comes through one-box and can be controlled with a single remote. Also, cutting the cord removes the difficulty of using a cable box. You can watch easily your dearest shows literally anywhere. The bottom line is that try to move to other alternatives and make a choice for your own good.
For many homes and buildings, the common phenomenon to produce energy is through sunlight. Those areas are considered lucky where there is an abundance of sunlight. However, understanding how it works is still not so popular among people. They do not know the unlimited benefits of producing own energy. The real question still remains, “Does solar power save energy”?
If we consider first law of thermodynamics, it states that energy can be transferred but it cannot be created or destroyed. Solar power is a source of energy that is renewable; it is not a method of energy conservation. In reality, it is a method that can drastically reduce our dependence on the fossil fuels.
How solar power can save you money?
Having a solar power system at your home can save you a great deal of money. You can have your own power plant if solar panels are installed at your home and they remain connected to the electrical grid. In this way, they will actually contribute to the grid. When the sun shines bright all day with no clouds in sight, solar panels can produce more energy. Any extra energy produced will automatically be transferring to the electric grid. By giving energy to the grid, you will be saving money instead of spending it.
It depends on different factors; direct hours of sunlight and the size and angle of your roof are both important but local electricity rates play the biggest role in determining how much money you can save. The first step is to calculate how much you are spending every year on electricity bills. For example, the average annual electricity use required is approx. 10,400 kilowatt hour (kWh). Multiply that by the national average electricity rate ($0.1326 per kWh) and you will find that one home spends over $1,856 a year on electricity alone.
You have to keep in mind the volatile nature of electricity prices and determine the increase in electricity rates in the coming years. When you compare cost of utility electricity with home solar, also consider the increasing rates of electricity. Over the past decade, the trend shows that there is a 2.2% per rate increase in electricity annually. When you generate your own energy, you do not have to worry about the increase in electricity rates any longer.
In cutting-off utility bills, the exposure of sunlight plays a significant role. If the sunlight falls directly on your roof and you are getting the best angle, your solar panel will have a great potential to save the energy. Usually, the location of your home, the amount of light it receives and the type of roof explain the exposure quantity. The efficiency of panels in your area can be calculated easily by using the Solar-Estimate calculator.
Go for solar panels that suit your needs and can be easily installed. Usually solar panels are not very cheap. Without tax credit or incentives, the whole cost of a 5kW system lies from $15,000 to $25,000. The high cost can easily make it up to you in the coming years. The only cost associated with your solar panel is the cost of installation and any electricity cost that your system does not off-set 100% of your electricity use. Whether your system completely off-set your electricity or not depends on the accuracy of your PV system. You can easily calculate how many solar panels you will need to get the 100 percentage.
Although fossil fuels are cheap and generate inexpensive electricity but it is a disaster for environment. In contrast to that, solar power is completely clean; there is no air and water pollution and no green house gas effects.
Disruptions in energy supply
As the demand for energy has been increasing, we have been forced to take energy from outside to meet the ever increasing demand. Imported energy is also not reliable. Solar energy eliminates this problem and having solar energy at home, energy supply to distant areas is not a problem anymore.
With the increased use of solar panels at home, there is a prevailing sense of self-reliance. The ability to produce energy at home makes you self-reliant. You do not have to pay heavy bills.
Furthermore, you can generate both heat and electricity from sunlight using different methods. The two important methods are solar thermal heating and PV panels. Solar thermal heating uses sunlight to heat domestic water. The pipes in solar thermal panel run the heated water to a storage cylinder for use by the household. Solar panels are installed on the roof of your house or garage. As described earlier, they gather light from the sun and energy is then converted to electricity for domestic use. The PV panels are available of two types: tiles or fixed panels. Panels are the cheaper option. These panels vary in size and length. Efficiency of energy increases with the exposure of sunlight but they can also produce electricity in areas with less sunlight.
As a responsible individual of the earth, we are clearly moving from heavy reliance on fossil fuel energy sources to electricity produced by renewable resources. The cost may be very high but the long-term pay-off will be permanent. It’s possible that eventually most of the homes will be either built with solar installations. You should not wait any longer as the upfront cost of solar system installation is easily justifiable by the long-term savings. If you have high electric bills and you are living in an area with abundant sunshine, you do not need to worry as your pay-off will come even sooner. You are just one step away from joining the solar revolution, install solar panels at your homes and make your own electricity. Having solar production at your home will put you in a better position to welcome an increasingly different future.
Nowadays, car fuel prices are on the rise and consumers are suffering. Gone are the days when you can carelessly drive your car without worrying about burning up too much gas.
There are important procedures that you, as a car owner, can take in order to improve gas mileage. The following are practical tips to conserve gas:
Close Windows – Windows that are open can create air drag that can decrease the fuel consumption by 10%.
Avoid Bumpy Roads – Rough roads should not be taken as much as possible. Dirt, bumps, rough roads and gravels can cause 30% increase in fuel consumption.
Keep Your Car Light – Take out unnecessary baggage. The trunk should be kept clean, any gadget, tools or loads that are not needed should be taken out. 100 pounds of extra baggage can affect fuel economy by two percent.
Drive Efficiently – Just drive reasonably within the speed limit. Remember that speeds of more than 60 miles per hour increase fuel consumption. Do not do sudden starts, accelerations and stops. Acceleration should be done gradually. The gas pedal should not be stepped on more than one fourth of the way down. This will allow the engine to function most efficiently. Gas conservation could reach up to 5 percent if sudden stops, jerks and accelerations are avoided. Make use of gears for overdrive and cruise control as needed.
Check Your Car Regularly – The car should always be maintained. The engine should be given a regular tune up, the tires should always have the right air pressure and efficiently aligned, the oil should be changed when needed and air filters replaced regularly. Clogged filters can affect gas consumption adversely by up to ten percent.
Don't Burn Gas Unnecessarily – Turn off the engine whenever there is an opportunity. Idle engine wastes fuel. There are instances where the engine could be turned off; stopping for gas, waiting for someone, changing tire pressure, caught in traffic and a lot more.
Don't Warm Up Too Long – Lengthy warming up of the engine should be avoided. 30 to 45 seconds should be enough time. Also check if the automatic check is removed after warming up the engine. This is usually stuck which could usually cause poor gas and air combination.
By following these simple tips, you will be surprised at how much money you can save on your car fuel. And guess what? The money really adds up if you continue to follow these simple practices for conserving car fuel!
I am sure that if you've decided to purchase a home security system, by now you must be utterly confused. The prices seem to vary a lot even for the very same device. This guide complements our guide called How to Choose the Right Home Security System and will help you make the right decision based on your needs.
If you are an average homeowner, then I strongly recommend purchasing a security kit. These offer the standard protection against common intruders and have proved their effectiveness time and time again. In the security systems industry, it is not the systems themselves that cost a lot but rather the customization. Just like buying a ready-made bicycle, it is far cheaper to buy it as-is than to select the individual components you want the bicycle to have and have everything put together. Security kits excel in providing a reliable standard for a do-it-yourselfer. Because these systems involve the bundling of multiple systems, you can expect a hefty discount. Who said that security must be expensive? The security kits demolish this myth and allow do-it-yourselfers to install and have a quality home security system.
There is another way of cutting back costs. I am introducing this method in this guide precisely because at some time you will no doubt feel attracted by it. I am talking here about the price leverage you will get from choosing a lesser known brand (or no-name brand) instead of a more well-known brand. This is not something I recommend. Those companies with strong brands have invested heavily in building up their reputation through well-made products.. What you have here is a distinctive difference in quality. So if you plan on buying a cheaper system from a no-name brand which manufactures its products in South East Asia I strongly advise against it. In the long-term you will realize that the money saved wasn't worth it. Why save a couple of dollars only to have a false sense of security? It is far better to invest a little extra now than to risk your home, the safety of your family as well as your own when intruders break-in later.
But perhaps the single, most effective method of deciding what security measures are appropriate and cost effective for your home or business is to hire a security consultant. Believe me when I tell you that the money spent on their services will actually help you cut down costs, either by suggesting the right and appropriate security installations or by detailing the weaknesses in the system. It is more than a low price that you should aim for; your goal should be to obtain an effective security system.
I hope that this guide to saving money on a home security system has put you on the right track. Remember that you must strive to achieve a balance of maximum benefits and protection while keeping the costs at a minimum.
We are all looking for the cheapest electricity and natural gas prices, after all the less we spend on our fuel bills the more we have left over for the pleasures in life. So how attractive would it be to heat your home for free? It is possible by using geothermal energy.
The Queen of England is planning to cut energy bills at Buckingham Palace for centuries to come by creating an underground network to extract heat from the earths natural warmth. The pipes containing water and a refrigerant chemical will run from the palace to the 4 acre lake in the grounds. As the water runs through the coiled loops of pipe placed on the bed of the lake it is warmed to a temperature of around 55F/12C. When the water arrives back at the palace it will go through a compressor which raises the temperature to around 140F/60C, and then through a heat exchanger (metal plates) which warms the water used in taps and the heating system in the palace. There is of course considerable capital expenditure required to get the system up and running, but it is estimated that this will be recouped in 3 years by savings on the heating bills.
The liquid in the pipes can also be decompressed so that instead of generating heat, it can cool air for an air-conditioning system. This system was used in a small trial at the palace in 2002 when the Queens staff drilled 400 feet into the chalk aquifer under the palace grounds to run an air-conditioning system in a new art gallery. The results of this trial were reportedly so impressive that work on planning the larger scheme began soon after.
Other high net-worth people like the singer Elton John with large estates in the UK have installed a similar system. But can the ordinary householder tap into geothermal energy and save money on heating and electricity bills? Yes, for the price of a small car it is possible to drill hundreds of feet into the ground and you can not only reduce heating and electricity costs by around 70% but you can also benefit from a free supply of pure water.