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Financial Planning – A Fresh Start for the New Year

Finances and the New Year

With the New Year approaching, it is the perfect time to evaluate your current financial situation, set new financial goals, and establish budgeting strategies. Whether your credit is in great shape or you are struggling to maintain or improve your credit, it is important to pull your credit reports at least annually and review them for errors.

Click below for instructions on how to pull your credit for free from www.annualcreditreport.com

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In addition to reviewing your credit, review your assets and take the time to think about your short, mid, and long term financial goals. The only way to make those goals a reality is to setup a plan to save money every month.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Credit Score, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement, Finance, Holiday Tips, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

    Credit Card – Avoiding the Debt Trap this Holiday Season

    Gift Giving on Credit

    Staying out of debt can be almost as difficult as paying it off especially when our emotions take over. After all, buying gifts for our loved ones during the holiday season is a very emotional purchase.

    Preparing for gifting should begin way before the holiday season. In a survey conducted by The American Research Group, Inc., 2014 Christmas gift spending was up 8% over 2013 with an average of $861 spent per adult consumer. So what is the most efficient and painless way to save money for the holidays each year?

    Budgeting for Gift Giving

    Creating a management budget at the beginning of each year will ensure you achieve your financial goals, establish a savings, and have funds set aside for gifts and holidays throughout the year. First, calculate how much money you spend on the holidays annually and divide that by 12 months. This is how much money you will need to set aside in your monthly budget for holiday spending. There are many spending trackers and saving tools out there but sometimes its easiest to just create an envelope labeled holidays and put cash in it each month. This might seem like a tedious task, however when the time comes to buy gifts and holiday items throughout the year it will be nice to already have the cash available and not have to worry about denting your budget.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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      Credit Counseling
      Credit Counseling

      How Credit Counseling Can Help You Prepare for the Holidays

      As the holidays are approaching, you could be panicking and wondering how you are going to buy gifts, handle traveling expenses and otherwise cover the costs of the season.

      In the past, you might have always reached for your credit cards to handle such costs, but if you’re in over your head, it’s a good idea to do something about it now. These are a few ways that credit counseling can help you prepare for the holiday season.

      Lower Your Monthly Bills

      If you are feeling crippled by all of your credit card bills and loan payments, you could wonder how you can afford to eat, much less purchase holiday gifts. Working with a credit card counseling company can help you get your bills under control, such as through debt consolidation. Then, you can reduce your monthly bills drastically, which can help you breathe and help you prepare for the costly holidays.

      Learn About Proper Credit Management

      Talking to a credit counselor can help you understand a little more about what you can afford and how using credit can affect you during the holiday season. Learning how to handle your finances now can help prevent you from making costly mistakes this winter.

      Save Your Credit Score

      If you’re behind on your bills, your credit score could be suffering. Working with a credit counseling company can help you preserve your good credit score. Although it’s not recommended that you go into additional debt for the holiday season, it can be a relief to know that your credit score is preserved.

      Believe it or not, a good credit counseling service can help you prepare for a less stressful holiday season. If you contact us at Christian Credit Counselors today, we can help you get your finances under control for the holiday season and into the future.

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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        Debt Consolidation
        Debt Consolidation

        Three Reasons To Go With Debt Consolidation

        It does not take long to realize that debt is a real problem. When paying bills or trying to ignore a collector’s calls gets overwhelming you know that you need help. It seems as though the solutions are impossible. Money will not fall from the sky. Is bankruptcy your only choice? No! Debt consolidation is a real solution and here is why:

        Debt Consolidation means Less Hassle and Less Fees

        With so many bills due each month, it is easy to lose track. Different amounts, different companies, and different due dates make it very easy to miss a payment or send one in late. This means more fees and more calls. When you consolidate your debts, you have one payment to make. You are able to pay on time. You no longer have to worry about which one is due. You no longer have to juggle the bills depending on how much money you have. You make one simple payment.

        Debt Consolidation Allows You to Pay Your Debt

        You are not looking for a hand out. You want to pay what you owe. With debt consolidation, you are able to do just that. By simplifying how you pay, you can actually pay off what you owe. This not only gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you paid it off, but is much easier on your credit report than other methods.

        Debt Consolidation makes the Goal Clear

        In order to accomplish anything, you must have clear goals. This is true of your debt. With debt consolidation, you have one clear goal. Each month, you will see how that goal draws closer and closer. By making the goal clear, you are far more likely to achieve!

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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          Christian Credit Counselors
          Christian Credit Counselors

          Simple Fixes for Runaway Credit Card Debt

          Despite the best of intentions, it is easy to fall quickly into credit card debt. When you struggle to pay just the minimum payment on your credit card bills, take logical steps to untangle the mess with Christian credit counseling. According to an article by businessinsider.com, the average American family has about $15,000 worth of credit card debt. Ignoring credit card debt results in more credit card debt. By facing debt with helpful Christian credit counselors, you can master your personal finances. Experts say there are several clues that let you know your debt is out of control. Debt counselors will help you with simple fixes.

          Getting out of Debt Denial

          Dodging bill collectors is one sign you are in denial about your credit card debt. With Christian credit counseling, you face your issues whether you have a spending problem, a job layoff or medical issues that are beyond your control. A credit counselor encourages you to list your debt and set priorities. By signing up for a debt management plan, you get out of debt faster.

          Setting a Payoff deadline

          By enrolling in a debt management plan at a Christian credit counseling agency, you find out precisely when you will pay off your credit card debt. According to businessinsider.com, a lack of clarity with regard to debt payoff creates stress. If you try to pay off debt on your own, your payoff date could be 20 years away. However, people are often surprised to learn they can pay off debt 80 percent faster with the right debt management plan.

          Paying off instead of Transferring

          Another common mistake consumers make is to transfer their debt from one card to another. Balance transfers don’t work for most people because the zero percent introductory APR doesn’t last. You will likely feel tempted to run up your debt on the old card after transferring previous debt.

          Other personal finance mistakes include sacrificing your savings plans in order to pay off debt. When you get a tax return, windfall or other monetary gift, put it aside in a savings account. You will prevent runaway debt because you have cash to pay for financial emergencies. Meanwhile, you can continue to pay off old credit card debt by making one monthly payment to creditors. Debt consolidation often alleviates the anxious feelings related to runaway debt.

          At Christian Credit Counselors, we strive to help our clients by giving them positive solutions for their runaway credit card debt. Talk to us about strategies for paying off debt and improving your credit score.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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            Credit Counseling
            Credit Counseling

            Credit Counseling for Millennials Who Want a Fresh Start

            When you are dealing with massive credit card debt in your 20s or early 30s, it is difficult to get a mortgage loan or a car loan. In some cases, lenders demand you pay a higher interest rate because of poor credit and too much consumer debt. By engaging in credit counseling, you take control of your financial future before it’s too late. According to a recent article by wgem.com, half of Millennials in their 20s decided to get a credit card after hearing a promotion or seeing an advertisement. The average debt for Millennials is $45,000, which is the amount some of their grandparents paid for a home. By consolidating debt, you pay off credit card debt and enjoy the hidden benefits.

            Qualifying to Buy a Home

            Some young people don’t realize their credit card debt prevents them from qualifying for a home in their desired price range. By receiving credit counseling, you learn the tricks and tips for improving your debt-to-income ratio. When you have less debt and higher income, you position yourself to afford a higher mortgage amount.

            Improving your Credit Score

            Certified and trained credit counselors also fill you in on the secrets for improving your credit score. Most colleges don’t offer personal finance classes. However, your personal credit counselor will answer questions about the pros and cons of carrying credit cards and strategies for boosting a credit score or avoiding bad marks on your credit history.

            Enjoying a Debt-Free Life

            One incredible strategy is the debt-free approach. While it is not for everyone, you can decide to live without credit cards or loans. Learning to use a budget, paying off credit card debt and saving or investing are just a few things you can do. People who enroll in a debt management plan satisfy the debt obligations they have to various credit card companies. A reputable Christian credit counseling agency will work with you so you pay a lower interest rate. Knowing your exact timeline for paying off all credit card debt gives you a sense of liberation and freedom.

            Other hidden benefits of the debt free life when you are young include more money to invest for retirement and money for your child’s college. When you no longer have a monthly debt management plan payment to make, you are able to allocate money for a 401(k) plan or Roth IRA. When you start saving young, you give your money time to multiply and grow. People who start saving young don’t have to save as much to retire with greater wealth compared to the late savers.

            Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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              Credit Counseling
              Credit Counseling

              Credit Card Debt vs Credit Counseling

              Before opening up a new line of credit or applying for an additional credit card, weigh the risks. Many consumers do not realize they inadvertently hurt their credit scores by making financial missteps. According to a recent piece by CNBC.com, it is a risky time to carry new credit card debt due to the potential interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. By receiving credit counseling, you figure out an intelligent method for cutting debt and staying out of debt. A trained and certified Christian credit counselor fills you in on the bigger picture as it relates to credit scores, a workable budget and savings goals.

              Paying more in interest

              If you don’t resolve your credit card debt, you could end up paying more in the form of interest payments to your creditors. People who consolidate debt with a debt management plan enjoy a lower interest rate. According to CNBC, the Federal Reserve data shows consumers’ credit card debt now totals about $900 billion. The number is about 3 percent higher compared to last year.

              Feeling the squeeze to pay the minimum

              Most people realize they will not get out of debt for a long time unless they pay more than the minimum on their credit cards. If you take out more credit card debt or fail to come up with a plan to reduce debt, you could feel financial pressure just to pay the minimum balance. A new survey by Prosper showed only 37 percent of people pay their credit card balance each month while 15 percent pay the minimum due.

              Rolling over credit card debt

              When you get credit counseling, you don’t just learn how to live below your means. You also come up with a debt management plan so you know your credit card debt will be gone within a certain number of months or years. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling found most consumers roll over $2,500 in credit card debt every month. If the Fed does follow through with the promise to raise interest rates soon, the debt on $2,500 becomes more expensive in terms of interest owed.

              Other risks associated with taking out too many credit cards include dealing with late payments or credit card delinquencies. Also, you could end up with no money leftover every month to save for retirement or other financial goals. You can avoid bankruptcy and debt settlement scams by talking to the trustworthy credit counselors with Christian Credit Counselors. We look forward to providing credit counseling so you can build wealth and live a life with financial peace. For more information on credit counseling, please contact us.

              Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                Christian Credit Counselors

                Credit Card Debt and the Need for Credit Counseling

                America Paying Down Debt

                Credit card debt and other money problems aren’t always signs of over-indulgence. In some cases, it is simply a sign that the American economy’s in trouble. The good news is the latest credit card debt study shows Americans paid down more than $34 billion owed to credit card companies. The amount they paid back is 7% more than in the past two years. While some consumers had the help of a Christian credit counseling agency, other consumers struggle with debt they can’t seem to conquer.

                According to a Media General news report, many people desire to pay off debt but end up with higher credit card balances. In fact, the CardHub study showed the average household credit card debt balance is more than $7,100, which is the highest level in six years. If you feel tempted to increase your credit card limit, yet can barely make the minimum payments on your different credit cards, consider Christian credit counseling.

                Lower your interest rate

                One of the reasons you need Christian credit counseling is if you have high interest rates on your credit cards. If you are not sure whether your credit card interest rates are high, you can talk to a trained credit counselor with a reputable organization such as Consumer Credit Counselors. In most cases, a debt management program creates a new agreement between you and your different creditors. Instead of paying the old interest rate in the double digits, you’ll be pleased with a lower rate.

                Eliminate late fees

                Late fees and additional charges happen to even the most conscientious person. Most people have busy lives that often get in the way of managing personal finances. The good thing about enrolling in a debt management plan is the fact that you can also enroll in automatic monthly payment so you never miss a payment. As far as old late fees, your credit counselor will work with your creditors to eliminate those.

                Improve your credit score

                After paying off your debt through a debt consolidation program, you’ll notice your credit score start to improve. When you take the budgeting and personal finance advice of your credit counselor or “finance coach,” you’ll also make the right moves to boost your score. Having a higher credit score means you’ll receive a lower interest rate on everything from a car loan to a mortgage in the future. With a bankruptcy, most consumers sacrifice their credit score for up to a decade.

                Whether you have been dealing with the constant harassment of debt collectors or simply want to make a positive change on your own, consider Christian credit counseling services. At Christian Credit Counselors, we help our clients set financial goals, come up with a workable budget and consolidate debt. We don’t judge or criticize. Instead of running up more credit card debt, be part of the statistics for Americans living a debt-free life.

                Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                  Credit Cards

                  Credit Card Promotions and the Untold Truth

                  Understanding Promotional Credit Cards

                  These days, just about every store has credit card advertising … some kind of low interest promotion. How often have you seen sales advertising “0% financing for 18 months” or “Pay no interest until next year”? These deals are hard to pass up, but they can end up costing you if you aren’t careful.

                  Understanding the terms of the promotion can help keep you stay out of trouble. In most cases, if you don’t pay off the balance within the promotional term you will be back-charged interest from the day of your purchase. You could end up paying thousands more and see your monthly payments spike in the long run.

                   

                  Speaking of payments, if you are on a promotional plan and miss or are late on a single payment you may lose the reduced APR. Your purchase would then start being charged the account’s regular APR, which is usually over 20%.

                  So how do you take advantage of the perks of a promotion without falling victim to the back-charged interest and high monthly payments?

                  When deciding to make a purchase using “special financing”, check to make sure you can afford the monthly payment required to pay the purchase off before the plan expiration. This means you will need to pay more than the minimum monthly payment listed on your credit card statement. To find out how much you will need to pay on that credit card monthly divide the total purchase (balance) by the number of months included in the promotion. For example, a purchase of $2000 with a 0% interest promotion for 18 months will require a monthly payment of approximately $112.

                   

                  If you or someone you know is having trouble making payments, have them call the creditor. They want to keep you as a customer and may be able to offer you different payment options.

                  If you feel like you are in over your head, call one of our certified credit counselors for a free debt analysis. We have relationships will all the major creditors and can help educate you about credit and debt.

                  Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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