Debt Counseling
Debt, Debt Consolidation

Debt Counseling to Get out of Debt on a Limited Budget

Most people who seek debt counseling want to get out of debt but struggle with limited funds. If you had more money, you would likely pay off your credit card debt. According to an article by cheatsheet.com, most people would love it if their debt just magically disappeared. When you sign up for a debt management plan, your credit card debt doesn’t disappear but your stress often does. That’s because you finally have a debt repayment plan that is simply and doable. When you live in a tight budget, it helps to enjoy lower interest rates that come with debt consolidation. If you can’t afford to make extra payments on your credit cards, consider debt counseling to figure out solutions for you. Otherwise, all of your payments simply go toward interest. You end up treading water when it comes to your debt. Financial experts suggest 5 ways to get out of credit card debt with scare funds.

Start a plan

To get out of credit card debt, open yourself up to debt counseling. A credit counselor looks at how much debt you currently have as well as which lenders you owe money to. With a debt management plan, the plan is simple and straightforward. A credit counselor negotiates the payment plan with lenders so you get better terms and lower interest rates.

Make it automatic

The next step to getting out of debt on a strict budget is to set up automatic payments to your debt management plan. You make one monthly payment, which is easily deducted from a bank account. By putting your finances on autopilot, you have more time to devote to making money. An automatic payment plan takes away your excuses. All you need to do is focus on making sure there is enough money in the account, which means budgeting and planning.

Cut spending

Learning to live below your means takes a lot of practice for natural spenders who love shopping and buying for themselves and others. Cutting spending is common sense when you have limited money. Most people find places to cut by looking in the entertainment category. Think of ways to have fun that cost nothing. Focus more on the experiences you share with loved ones as opposed to material items you buy.

Change your habits

Another good tips is to adopt new financial habits. To become debt-free, you need to avoid situations that tempt you into overspending. If you buy impulse items at certain stores, go shopping with someone who will hold you accountable. Avoid driving past tempting coffee shops or restaurants if food is your weakness.

Seek help

According to the cheatsheet.com article, people who feel overwhelmed by their credit card debt benefit from debt counseling through a credit counseling agency. You can often get affordable or free advice as well as help setting up a debt management plan. Some possible solutions include consolidating loans and learning to follow a comprehensive budget.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we offer financial advice and help for consumers struggling with debt. Whether you have a high-paying job or a tight budget due to limited income, we can help you get out of credit card debt. For more information about how debt counseling frees consumers with excessive debt, please contact us.

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Credit Counseling
Credit Counseling

Credit Counseling and Other Ways to Get More Conscious About Spending

One of the reasons people get into debt is they spend almost effortlessly without any real thought. By submitting to credit counseling, you actually take back control of your personal finances. When it comes to money, it’s all about staying in the present. Take a mindful approach by creating awareness of your financial habits and credit card debt. With credit counseling from an established Christian credit counseling agency, you can trust the advice you get based in positive core values and Christian principles. According to a recent article by time.com, it’s quite common for extra expenses to creep up over time until you notice you’ve reached a credit limit. The article points out a BlackRock survey of wealthy people showing almost half believe inflation is a high risk to their personal finances. Other top concerns include an expensive mortgage that prevents them from saving for retirement. To get spending under control, your credit counselor will assist you with four simple financial habits and practices.

Getting a simple budget in place

Your budget does not have to complicate your life. In fact, it is extremely simple to reduce anxiety. Experts with Bankrate.com say one fifth of people in the U.S. do not even have a budget. Another one fifth of people walk around with a “mental budget,” in their minds. When you meet with a Christian credit counselor, you design a budget that is similar to a life’s mission statement. The process starts by collecting all of your credit card statements and evaluating the real possibility of debt consolidation.

Using more cash

Another tip is to use more cash to pay for what you need and want. Sadly, experiments find that people with credit cards willingly pay as much as 80 percent more for something they want compared to people using only cash. Stick to your gut instinct by putting credit cards away while paying down debt with a debt management plan. A debt management plan often rewards you with a lower interest rate while you meet your financial obligations.

Going retro with finances

Whether you are a baby boomer who remembers the days of using post-it notes and cash or a young millennial who does everything online, consider a few retro practices to keep it real. Using a post-it note or piece of paper with your financial goal written on it encourages you to reduce spending when you stick the note around your debit card. As far as harnessing technology, use it to remind yourself constantly of how much you spend. Sign up for notifications that remind you anytime you use your bank car. Keep track of your spending online and on paper.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we work hard to help our clients manage their finances and get out of credit card debt. We also help you lift your credit score. For more tips on controlling spending, please contact us.

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31 Money-Saving Tricks for Students

Stretch your dollar further with the following money-saving tips:

1. Buy or rent used textbooks and sell back last semester’s books.

2. Don’t make impulse purchases.

3. Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

4. Limit the number of times you eat out monthly.

5. Cut out vices – smoking and binge drinking are terrible for you and expensive.

6. Always pay bills on time to avoid late fees.

7. If you have a credit card, pay it off as quickly as possible. (It’s good to establish credit, but a bad credit score follows you everywhere.)

8. Walk, use public transportation or ride a bike instead of having a car.

9. Live with others so you can split rent and utilities.

10. Cut out expensive cable packages you don’t need.

11. Consider more basic phone packages or plans that include unlimited texting with free incoming calls.

12. Don’t buy the most expensive college meal plans. Figure out what you actually consume and get the correlating package.

13. Shop where they offer student discounts. There are so many places that offer discounts to students with a school ID.

14. Look into a campus gym versus a gym in town. Many colleges offer memberships for free or at a reduced rate for students.

15. When planning meals, make dinner with friends and split the cost of groceries. Often times, you’ll be cooking too much for one person anyway!

16. Sell what you no longer use or need. There are plenty of stores and websites, like Poshmark and Craigslist, where you can sell your used clothing, furniture or tech items.

17. Don’t buy unnecessary school supplies. Why buy cumbersome notebooks when you can type on your laptop? It’s better for the earth anyway!

18. Don’t buy books you will only need for a short period of time – check them out from the library instead.

19. Take advantage of what your campus has to offer in terms of activities, rather than spending money on going out. Many campuses have an array of museums, offer movie nights and other social events for cheaper or, sometimes, for free.

20. Skip expensive spring break and summer trips – look into alternatives, like volunteering, instead.

21. Wait to get a pet until after college – a pet can become very expensive. Not only do you have another mouth to feed, but veterinary bills are costly. If you love animals, there are plenty of shelters that need volunteers.

22. Go to class. You’re paying for it and skipping is like throwing money out the window!

23. Drink water. It’s free and better for you, anyway.

24. Make your own coffee. While coffee shops are convenient, they charge hefty prices that really add up over time.

25. Open a savings account that earns interest. Credit unions have fewer fees and are great for students.

26. Use a free tool, like FinAid’s Student Budget Calculator or the one offered by Mint.com, to keep track of your finances. It’s harder to be frivolous when you see where your money is going. For more information on how to create and maintain a budget, go to www.christiancreditcounselors.org.

27. Never take out a loan for anything that’s unrelated to your education.

28. Don’t buy music. Use the free services that Spotify or Pandora offer.

29. Look into class requirements and the options for testing out of classes. Why pay for a class you could easily test out of?

30. Consider becoming a resident advisor. Many get free room and board.

31. Avoid buying name brand items. Purchase generic items whenever possible. They are exactly the same item, at a highly reduced price. You can even check the ingredients to make sure!

By: http://www.fastweb.com/financial-aid/articles/the-31-money-saving-tricks-for-students

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5 ways to make college more affordable

5 ways to make college more affordable

The value of a college degree isn’t what it used to be, but its importance certainly hasn’t diminished. In fact, in Sallie Mae’s report, “How America Pays for College,” 90% of families expect their student to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, with 54% expecting a graduate degree. Of course, if you’ve read any recent news about the financial details of college education, you’ll know that it’s also a foreboding prospect: there is nearly $1.3 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt, ongoing wage stagnation, and the prospect of enduring years of underemployment.

But it’s not all bad news. A notable paradigm shift is taking place: this year, a whopping 98% of current students are actively engaging in ways to make their education more affordable. So how do a student and their family better prepare themselves? Here’s our list of the top five ways families can make college more affordable:

1. Save early and save often.
Recent research has shown a link between savings and college success: kids from low- and moderate-income (LMI) households with college savings between $1 and $499 are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate. Keep in mind that not all college savings accounts are created equal, so do your research!

2. Have a plan.
Only two in five of Sallie Mae’s respondent families created a plan to pay for college, but they were able to save 3.5 times more and borrow one-third less than non-planners. Make a plan to save more and pay less for college. Pledge to save by creating a budget to set aside money each month. To learn more about budgeting, visit www.christiancreditcounselors.org.

3. Be realistic in assessing college options.
Academic programs and financial details often take a back seat to personal choices, but considerations like in-state vs. out-of-state, scholarship opportunities, and work-study programs can mean the difference between college being affordable or not. An honest assessment of a school’s programs and financial opportunities could knock a personal “want” off the list entirely.

4. Curb spending wherever and whenever possible.
Did you know that the average price of a new textbook has increased by nearly 30% since 2009? Whether you’re looking at room and board, books and supplies, or personal spending, there’s always a way to lower costs. Many students are choosing to live at home to reduce housing costs, while others opt for a track to complete their degrees faster.

5. Leave no financial stone unturned.
“Free money” is available in the form of scholarships and grants. There are a range of scholarships related to demographics and to characteristics like academic, athletic, and artistic. Find out more information at your guidance counselor’s office or online. And by completing the FAFSA, you’ll receive information about any grants that you or your child qualifies for.

Don’t know where to start saving? It’s never too late!
• Become familiar with Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) and the benefits for kids in LMI households.
• Take advantage of tax-deferred savings with the 529 Savings Plan. A 529 can be opened at birth and deposits can be made as late as senior year.
ABLE accounts, tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, are rolling out this year and may include costs like education and housing for your student.
• Learn about smart, tax-advantaged ways to save for college from FINRA Foundation.

By: http://www.americasaves.org/organizations/downloads-and-resources/partner-resource-packets/make-college-affordable-with-savings-and-a-plan

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Would you like to be financially free?

Would you like to be financially free? Today, I will tell you how that is possible.

To be financially free requires two character qualities. The first is learning to be faithful and the other is learning to be disciplined. Luke 16:10-11 teaches us that God expects us to be faithful in small matters if we are to be trusted with bigger matters. In other words, trust or trustworthiness is the currency that God deals in. He wants to find those whose hearts are guided by integrity, honesty, and absolute dependability when it comes to doing the right thing. And if you are not faithful in the smallest of your financial affairs, you will remain in financial bondage.

The other characteristic to be financially free is to be disciplined. Just as the body requires us to be disciplined in our exercise and eating to be healthy, so it is with our finances. We must exercise self-control when it comes to our work habits and our spending habits. When we combine a desire to be faithful with a disciplined approach to our finances, we have set out on the road to freedom. We need to live in such a way that money is a non-issue, that it is not a burden, an obstacle, or an idol. In other words, you are managing your money according to God’s principles; your thoughts are fully on God and not on making it to the end of the month. Then you will be truly free. If you have never turned to God and asked Him for help in these two areas, why not start today? Ask our loving Father to teach you to be faithful in the smallest areas with your financial choices. When the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed.

By: http://blog.crown.org/handwritingonthewall/become-financially-free

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