How to Get Out of a Cash Flow Pickle

Every now and then, there are moments in life where things just don’t work out like they were supposed to.  And personal finance is no different than any other part of life.  As such, there could be a time when you’re short on cash and you have a car repair, or other issue come up that puts you into a cash flow pickle.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are some things to consider to help you get out…

Ask Your Parents

The first thing you may want to consider doing is asking your parents for money.  While not ideal, the situation you’re in is not ideal either.  Most parents are there to support, and if you plan on paying them back, they could be more than willing to help.  So reach out and ask them for the cash to help you get by.

Get a Loan

If asking your parents is off the table, you may have to resort to getting a loan.  Depending on how long you plan on being tight on cash, there are a lot of different options.  For example, if you’re just trying to get to your next payday, you may look at something like Jaguar Loans.  If you need something longer than a couple of weeks, you may look to your bank for a personal loan.  And if you want something for a long time, say up to 5 years, you may look at peer to peer lending or other online lending options.

Sell Some Stuff

Finally, most of us have a lot of extra junk in our closets that we just don’t need or use anymore.  Or maybe you have an old hobby that you haven’t picked up in a year, and have some equipment for it.  The bottom line is most of us have stuff we can part with, and it might make sense to sell it to make ends meet.  Depending on the item, you could sell it online, take it to a store that buys used products, or take it to a hobby shop that focuses on that area.

Are Store Credit Cards Worthwhile?

Okay, so I’ve been holiday shopping and about a dozen or so times so far this festive season I’ve been greeted at the checkout by a cashier who wants to know A. If I have “insert store’s name here” credit card and  B. Would I like to sign up for one? Usually doing so results in an immediate benefit such as fifteen percent or so off my purchase that day. Of course, there are usually exclusions and so any big screen televisions or similar big ticket items that I’d like to buy would be exempt to such a large discount (but would probably be eligible for a somewhat smaller discount). Regardless, money off is money off and with so many looking to save (as well as Holiday shop) during tough economic times store credit cards may sound appealing. The question is, after the immediate discount are they really worthwhile?

It depends. The problem with these cards is that they generally come with hefty interest rates, which can nullify any savings you’ve received. If you’re saving fifteen percent one day, but paying twenty-nine percent or so in interest, it’s really not the best deal. However, like most credit cards the benefits are biggest for those who are able to pay off their balances each month, avoiding  paying interest entirely while  still enjoying all the benefits of the card. Unfortunately due to very large interest rates, if you’re not the type that’s in the habit of paying off your entire balance each and every month, no store credit card is likely for you. None I’ve found, at least.

If you are a full balance payer then you then you’ll want to look at  any yearly fees or other fees your prospective card comes with before adding it to your plastic shopping arsenal. According to Consumer Reports some cards worth considering are those offered by Gap, Banana Republic, Piperlime, Athleta and Old Navy as they offer a fifteen percent credit on your first purchase as well as five points for each dollar spent at any of the aforementioned retailers. Furthermore, the Barnes and Noble card is given high marks, as it includes not only a twenty five dollar gift card, but up to five percent off purchases as well.

3 Ideas to Increase Your Wealth Short, Medium and Long Term

personalwealthLet’s increase our wealth so that we can live life the way we want to. Here’s a few suggestions that I hope you will find useful:

Short – Use A Cash Back Credit Card: I am a big supporter of these cards, because I put EVERYTHING on credit. No, I don’t need to, and no, I don’t ever carry a balance. I’m the exact wrong customer that the credit card companies want, but that’s fine. I pile all my purchases on the old cash back CC, pay it off in full at the end of the month, and then enjoy a percentage of my money back for things I was going to buy anyway. I spend a lot, so even a low percentage adds up. This way I get an interest free loan from using the credit card and paying the loan before its due, as well as free money as cash back, as an added bonus.

Short To Medium – Talk To The Big Boss Man or Woman: Realize that your superiors at work are not scary ogres, but instead are valuable assets which can be effectively used to increase your own monetary gain. And I hate to say it, but ass kissing works. If your boss likes you, then your boss will be more likely to increase your salary. Also, if your boss realizes that you are a needed asset, your stock again rises. The most important thing here is really communication. Ask for that raise, don’t just cross your fingers and hope it will happen — because. these days, it probably won’t. Push yourself forward, and provide the results that will make you an invaluable asset to those in charge. If that’s not possible, blackmail is your next step — just kidding.

Long, But Not That Long – Buy Real Estate Now: When the real estate market crashes it’s bad for everybody except those with money in the bank. There are ridiculously under priced homes out there right now, and some real steals going on in the foreclosure arena. If you have cash in the bank and some time before retirement you are missing out on a gold mine by not investing in the market during this low time. Notably, this kind of fertile ground for real estate investing isn’t likely to return anytime soon, if at all. Make the right moves now, and it could pay off ten fold.

Ready to Bank with Redneck?

redneckbankcardTo add some offbeat news to the current financial situation, I have decided to write about an interesting bank that has a unique marketing strategy, as well as offering good value for its customers. The name of the bank is…Redneck Bank – where bankin’s funner. Yes, the bank is FDIC insured and is part of the Bank of the Wichitas, which was established in 1913 and currently has a 4-star rating. The bank offers a fairly decent APY on their main checking account – 5.25% for up to $25,000 (2.25% for above). Considering that most savings account interest rates are plummeting, this rate is very respectable.

Once you sign up, you get the checkcard with the horse picture and the slogan “where bankin’s funner” on it or a more standard looking card.  ATM fees are refunded if the following monthly requirements are met: minimum 10 VISA CheckCard purchases as well as statements are delivered solely in electronic format. If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.25%. There are no minimum balance requirements and no monthly service charges. If you require less services, the bank offers a ‘mega money market’ account for 3.10%  APY and there is also an account option for people with bad or no credit. Details of all the accounts are found in the deposit account agreement.

Although this was surely done to attract attention, I’m not certain that lots of consumers will be comfortable with opening an online account at the Redneck Bank. Otherwise, as the horse on the website says, you may consider to “buck yer old bank” and join this one.

Get Paid What You’re Worth

There are several websites that disclose employee salaries from various industries. This transparency is quite surprising, but in the age where more people are upset about unfair executive compensation, why not reveal salaries, so we know if it even vaguely matches the work being done? Here is a list of some popular salary websites:

* Glassdoor.com – employees share salaries and review employers.

* Salary.com – offers a wide range of employment information, and includes an analysis of salaries for various positions.

* Payscale.com – offers free or premium salary reports. It also offers a variety of tools (such as cost-of-living calculator) and other resources.

* SalaryScout.com, includes an interesting world map of salaries.

My favorite is Payscale since it offers a solid balance of information while being easy to navigate.

For a good general overview of jobs in the US, check out the occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The website provides information on the education and training required for many careers, job descriptions, their earnings, and future prospects.

Finding out what salaries are offered to our colleagues is useful if we’re underpaid, resulting in us being informed and empowered when asking for a raise. Hiding salary information does seem like an outdated concept, likely to be advocated by employers, not so much by employees.

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Tips To Live A More Frugal LifeStyle During These Tough Economic Times

Cutting back when times are tough is a reality for a great portion of us. While it’s not always fun, the good news is that there’s many different ways to save a few (or even a few hundred) dollars – and I’ve compiled a little list to get you thinking in the frugal mindset. So, use and enjoy!

Reevaluate Your Auto Needs – Can your family make due with one car? Extra Insurance and car payments are costly, and downsizing to one vehicle can add a lot of breathing room to a tight budget. Try carpooling or using public transit to get around when a personal vehicle is not readily available.

Quit A Bad Habit – I’ll be honest here – this one is much easier said than done. However, if you can stop or reduce the amount of time and money spent indulging in bad habits (smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy foods) you’ll save a bundle.

Buy Used – Get over the stigma of buying used merchandise and find a bargain on just about everything you purchase – clothes, electronics, tools, you name it – it’s cheaper used.

Walk, Walk, Walk – Fuel prices are high, and obesity is on the rise – why not help to kill two birds with one stone by making walking an integral part of your life? It can be tough to do without the convenience of a warm vehicle at first – but it’s something you get used to, and I promise you’ll fit more comfortably in your jeans too.

How Many Phones Do You Really Need? – Are you paying for each member of your household to have a wireless phone? If your wallet is hurting, go back to a singular land-line, and rake in the savings.

Replace That Steak With Celery – Okay, that title is maybe a wee bit on the extreme side, however cutting back on meat and consuming more vegetarian meals is a sure-fire way to reduce the size of your grocery bill.

I hope you enjoyed these tips, but remember that they’re just a starting point. If you have additional methods that you use to save money, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Stop Planning: 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances Today

I only have one resolution for 2008: action.

You can set all the right goals, have all the right intentions, and know all the right stuff, but if you don’t act, none of it means anything. I learned that when I was a teenager, and it’s the only resolution I’ve made ever since.

If you want to achieve your financial goals, I think you should make it your only resolution too. Most people spend their entire lives intending to get rich but never make it, and it’s almost always because they never actually do anything

So take action. Here’s how:

First, forget about planning for 2008. A year is too long of a timeline. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time remembering what I’m supposed to be doing for 15 minutes, much less an entire year.

Second, focus on today. Figure out just one thing you can do today to move yourself closer to the finances you’ve always wanted. Then do it.

Third, pick one thing the next day, and the next day, and the next day, until you wake up six months from now and realize you’ve already achieved all of your goals for 2008, and you have to set new ones.

If you’re having trouble coming up with one thing to do, I’ve put together a list of 50 ideas to get you started.

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The Moneymaking Formula for Math Flunkies

During college, only one class brought me close to tears… calculus.

Call me stupid, but it took me forever to start understanding how equations, graphs, and numbers all fit together. I spent 40 hours a week studying for that one class and nearly fell apart after every test.

Ultimately, I got through it, but I started to wonder, “Am I really cut out for business? Doesn’t it involve crunching a lot of numbers?” I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life going through that kind of misery.

Have you ever felt the same way?

Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is business does involve some math. The good news is it ain’t calculus.

You can actually reduce moneymaking to one simple formula. It governs everything from your profit per product to how much of your salary you’re able to save and invest. And it’s very, very easy to understand.

What is this formula?
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