Weekly Round-Up- Low Mortgage Rates & More

Weekly Round-Up- Low Mortgage Rates & More

weekly round up low mortgage ratesOur Weekly Round-Up is here once again! Low mortgage rates are a hot topic at the moment. Learn more about the latest financial news to get your money where it needs to be.

Low Mortgage Rates & More for June 7-13

One of the best pieces of news is the low mortgage rates. Fortunately, home buyers can lock in at the lowest rates of the last nearly two years. USA Today covers the news.

Additionally, many current homeowners are refinancing their mortgages to capitalize on the low rates! This is a great way to save money and pay off the mortgage faster. Continue to pay the same monthly amount with a lower interest rate. More money will go towards the principle.

Mortgage applications surge on refinances as rates hit 21-month low

First-Time Homebuyer Tips

Purchasing a home is probably the biggest exchanges of your life. It’s better to be over prepared! Here is a quick list of ways you should check off when you are ready to buy a home:

  • Saved enough for a down payment (no PMI for 20% down but that doesn’t mean 5% down is no-go)
  • Saved for additional maintenance costs
  • Secure employment
  • Long-term plans to live there for 5+ years
  • No credit card or other major unsecured debt

How to Survive Paying for College

This week, NPR wrote a review of a recent college student’s survival guide to paying for college. Lauren Schandevel created the guide based on her experience at the University of Michigan.

Here is a description of the guide from NPR:

Today, a year and a few months later, Schandevel’s crowd-sourced guide stretches more than 100 pages. It includes advice about jobs, housing, mentors, financial aid — even a bunch of great tips on where to find free food on campus. The doc’s popularity helped her embrace her economic status and start to feel empowered.

How To Survive College When You’re Paying Your Own Way

See you next Friday for the Weekly Round-Up!

The post Weekly Round-Up- Low Mortgage Rates & More appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

Father’s Day Activities on a Budget

Father’s Day Activities on a Budget

father's day activities on a budgetOn Father’s Day, you want to make your dad feel like the best dad on the planet! You’ve bought him the perfect gift, but now you’re wondering what you actually do with him on Father’s Day. If you’re struggling with consumer debt or staying within a budget, you might not have extra money lying around to take your dad out to a fancy dinner. Here are some fun ideas for Father’s Day activities on a budget!

Father’s Day Activities on a Budget

Check something off his to-do list

Your dad probably has several items on his to-do list that he isn’t always able to get done. This Father’s Day, help your dad out: Mow the lawn, clean out his car, or help him organize the garage. He’ll appreciate the effort, and it costs you nothing!

Take him to a matinee

Does your dad love going to movies? Take him to a matinee! It’s cheaper than going in the evening, and if your dad is anything like mine, he’ll fall asleep if you take him to a movie after 8pm, anyway. Matinees usually cost about 30% less than going to an evening movie, so this is definitely a good option while getting out of credit card debt.

Pack a picnic and go hiking

If your dad loves the outdoors, take him for a hike. Pack a picnic so you don’t have to go out to eat afterwards. Just spend some quality time with your dad enjoying the mountains, forest, or whatever is in your area.

Use coupons for other activities

You can find plenty of coupons through Groupon or other online resources for breweries, concerts, sporting events, or other activities your dad might like to do. There are so many options for fun activities that you can do without paying full price.

 

Just remember, Father’s Day is about spending time with your dad, not spending a bunch of money! As long as you make your dad feel special, he’s sure to enjoy any of these Father’s Day activities on a budget.

The post Father’s Day Activities on a Budget appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

Free Summer Fun Ideas From Pinterest

Free Summer Fun Ideas From Pinterest

free summer fun from pinterestThat’s right. I said free. With school out for the summer, the kids will need something to do. And the budget doesn’t change, so what’s the solution? Pinterest! Here are 10 totally free summer fun ideas from Pinterest to keep your budget on track.

10 Free Summer Fun Ideas from Pinterest

  1. Scavenger Hunt
  2. Chalk Art Show or Sidewalk Chalk to Learn About Money
  3. Make Ice Cream
  4. Write a Play
  5. Dinosaur Hunt
  6. Backyard Camping
  7. Car Wash
  8. Make Jelly
  9. Help Your Teen Get a Job!
  10. Hiking

How to Stay Motivated While Eliminating Credit Card Debt

Make a record or visual of your progress getting rid of debt. Even if you are the only one who sees it, keep track of how much you have paid back. A visual representation can be a great motivator, even when it feels like you are stuck in a rut. Use a pad of paper, create an Excel sheet, or use the notepad in your phone to record how much progress you are making. Progress is progress!

Additionally, you can talk to a family member or friend. Keeping your thoughts bottled inside is not healthy. Discuss the struggles of your debt management process and get reassurance. Having a support system is so important to not feel so alone with your finances. Sometimes all you need to stay motivated during debt management is understanding and a word of encouragement.

Finally, think about your goals. Think of the goals you have set up for yourself and how badly you want to achieve them. Keep your goals in mind as motivation in the day-to-day hustle. If it helps, keep your goals in a visible spot in your house, car, or even your wallet for an extra push in staying motivated to become debt free.

While these free activities can be simple, every time you don’t spend money helps. You and your family can still enjoy summer without overspending AND pay off debts.

Need more? Check out these Summer Activities for Kids!

The post Free Summer Fun Ideas From Pinterest appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

Free Ways to Stay Fit

Free Ways to Stay Fit

free ways to stay fitWith swimsuit season coming up, many people (myself included) are trying to squeeze a few workouts in before hitting the beach! When people think about staying fit, expensive gym memberships or pricey home workout equipment may come to mind. However, there are plenty of options for those with a tight budget who are trying to avoid consumer debt. Here are some free ways to stay fit!

YouTube Videos

YouTube videos are my personal favorite way to workout. I don’t have to pay a gym fee, and I don’t even have to leave my living room! There are so many different fitness channels that offer cardio, HIIT, yoga, pilates, and strength training. For many workouts on YouTube, you don’t even need equipment! My favorite channels have videos for every level of fitness, which is great because some days I feel like doing harder workouts than others. With YouTube videos, you don’t have to sweat it when it comes to credit card debt, but you definitely will sweat from some of the workouts you’ll find!

Running

Why go to the gym and use a treadmill when you can run outside for free? For me, running isn’t just a great way to get in my cardio for the day, but it’s also good for clearing my head and enjoying nature. And, it doesn’t cost a cent!

Walking

There are definitely those days when I don’t feel like running or doing intense exercise, so walking is always a good alternative if it’s a nice day. Going for a walk is a good way to get some exercise in if you’re bored and feel like you need to get out of the house, but you don’t want to spend money. It’s a much healthier and cheaper option than going to buy junk food because you’re bored!

Pinterest

Like YouTube, you can find lots of free workout ideas on Pinterest. Even if it’s not a whole workout video, Pinterest still has good tips for just about any kind of exercise you’re interested in trying!

Community Centers

Many community centers will charge a small fee for using their gyms, but there are some that are completely free! Though community center gyms might be a bit limited on their equipment compared to a regular gym, you can still get in a good workout with minimal equipment.

This is by no means a complete list. There are so many free ways to stay fit if you’re trying to get in shape while saving money! Even if you’re on a tight budget or are struggling with debt, you still have ample ways to stay healthy without going over-budget.

If you’re having trouble taking control of your financial life, ACCC can help! Call 800-769-3571 to speak to one of our certified credit counselors today!

 

The post Free Ways to Stay Fit appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

Brand Name or Generic Brand?

Brand Name or Generic Brand?

National Iced Tea Day: Brand Name or Generic BrandSummer is rapidly approaching! Grab your favorite ice-filled pitcher and pour yourself a glass of sweet iced tea! Since today is National Iced Tea day, we’ll discuss what’s better:  brand name or generic brands of iced tea. Your decision to buy generic versus brand name products could cost you, especially if you already struggle with consumer debt. Lets dive into brand name iced tea and generic brands, to see which is better!

What Do These Names Mean?

Before deciding which iced tea to buy, let’s explain the difference between brand name and generic brand. Brand name items are products made by well-known companies. Generic brands are produced as an alternative with little to no advertising. Brand name items are more expensive than generic brands because they are more popular and often associated with status, so people want them.

Brand Name or Generic Brand: Quality

People assume the brand name is better because it costs more. They think the price means it tastes better. The explanation is much simpler. Brand name products spend more on advertising. Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer as to whether it tastes better or not. Studies have shown that many consumers think generic brands are just as good as brand name items, and they often taste very similar.  If the taste is similar, why spend more?

How Much does Each Cost?

Depending on which brand you buy, iced tea prices vary.  On average, generic products are twenty-five percent cheaper than brand name items. With these savings, you can put more money on essential groceries. You can use it for other vital financial needs too, like paying off debt! If you want to be bold, try making iced tea yourself from scratch. This saves money and is a healthier alternative!

Bottom Line

Grocery shopping shouldn’t be a hassle! We often believe we must spend big money on big brands. There are always alternatives to popular brands. Generics are more affordable and even taste similar. So don’t fret about not having Snapple® or Arnold Palmer®. Just grab their more affordable counterparts, and enjoy each sip! Your wallet will thank you!

If you struggle to get out of debt, ACCC’s debt management program can help! Call 800-769-3571 to speak to a certified credit counselor today.

The post Brand Name or Generic Brand? appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

Weekly Round-Up: Financial News May 30-June 6

Weekly Round-Up: Financial News May 30-June 6

comparing cell phone plans to save moneyStaying current with the latest news in personal finance is an important habit. The more you know, the better you will be at managing your money. Therefore, The Talking Cents blog will now offer a weekly round-up of financial news. The topics will vary. Be sure to catch it each week to read some highlights in the world of finance.

Weekly Round-Up News: May 30-June 6

In this Weekly Round-Up, there are two articles regarding financial moments from the past week. Additionally, there is an article about retirement to check out.

Retirement Investing Advice

First, let’s take a look at some retirement advice from USA Today. Here are some points to remember:

  • Invest aggressively while your are young, pull back as you get older.
  • Aim to invest 10-15% of your annual pretax income.
  • Evaluate your retirement strategies and approach every 3-5 years.

Finally, watch this video to learn more about Growing Your Money Tree.

Clues in the Economy That Lead to Recession

An article from CNN Business reveals clues to watch out for that mean the country is heading for a recession. This is important to note to try and stay a beat ahead of the game. Here are the main clues to look for:

  • Manufacturing is weakening
  • Industrial commodities are falling
  • Watch the Leading Economic Index

Beyond Meat Stocks Soar

As a fan of their products, I had to include the good fortune the vegan company Beyond Meat is having on the stock market. CNBC reports on the stock market boom from Beyond Meat.

After going public, they reported their earnings this past week. In 2018, the company reported 87.9 million and a net loss of $4.75 per share. Additionally, “Beyond Meat surged more than 160% in its first day trading on the public markets and has now soared nearly 300% above its initial public offering price, giving the company a market value of $5.8 billion.”

Hopefully, you have enjoyed getting a few insights into some of the past week’s financial topics. Stay ahead of the curve and managing your money well.

See you next Friday for the Weekly Round-Up!

The post Weekly Round-Up: Financial News May 30-June 6 appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

What to Expect From Credit Counseling

What to Expect From Credit Counseling

what to expect from credit counselingSo you want to talk to a credit counselor about your financial situation. Do you know what the counseling session will entail or how to prepare for it? Don’t worry! Here is what to expect from credit counseling.

Preparing for the Counseling Session

Before your counseling session, you should do a little bit of preparation. Make sure you gather all the relevant financial documents that might be referenced in the counseling session. These may include:

  • Recent bills
  • Bank statements
  • Correspondence with creditors
  • Pay stubs

Once you have gathered all of those documents, take a deep breath! Now you’re ready for your counseling session.

What to Expect During Counseling Session

  1. First, the credit counselor will go review your overall financial situation with you. He or she will ask you about your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. That way, they’ll have a good idea of what your best options might be moving forward.
  2. Next, the credit counselor will talk about what all your possible options are. These might be referrals to social services or working directly with your creditors. Your credit counselor may also recommend some of ACCC’s services, such as:
    • Debt Management Program
    • Bankruptcy Counseling
    • Student Loan Counseling
    • Housing Counseling (Reverse Mortgage, Home Buyer Ed, Foreclosure Prevention)

What Next?

Once your counseling session is over, you can rest assured knowing that you’re not alone. There are resources available that can help you get out of debt, create a budget, and work toward all your financial goals. You might feel like you’re a long way off from achieving them, but if you’re seeking credit counseling, you’re on the right track. Everyone hits financial rough patches, and ACCC is here to help you overcome them.

Now that you know what to expect from credit counseling, call one of our certified credit counselors at 800-769-3571. 

The post What to Expect From Credit Counseling appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

June Budget Example- Saving For A Down Payment

June Budget Example- Saving For A Down Payment

june budget example down paymentResearching major financial decisions is a great way to avoid missteps and unnecessary debt. As we continue on our budgeting journey, it’s time to review saving to buy a home. In the June budget example, we will explore saving for a down payment.

Saving a Down Payment in the June Budget Example

Technically, our couple is suppose to save for their vacation for another month. However, we are going to move forward on our list of financial milestones. Let’s consider their vacation money saved and the goal accomplished.

This month will focus on saving for a down payment. How much down payment do you need? Generally, the larger down payment you have, the better your financial situation will be regarding your mortgage and home purchase. With 20% you avoid PMI. However, there are lots of options for those you can’t come up with the 20%. The quicker you save, the quicker you will be able to start the pre-approval process!

Here is a list of 10 ways to start saving for a down payment:

  1. Eat More Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches.
  2. Get Creative in the Kitchen.
  3. Stop Buying New Clothes.
  4. Bundle Errands & Carpool to Work.
  5. Rearrange Furniture and Decor to Avoid Buying.
  6. Offer Gifts of Your Talents Instead of Buying Presents.
  7. Start a Garden to Lower Your Grocery Bill.
  8. Hang Your Clothes to Dry.
  9. Start a Cash Jar for Change and Small Bills.
  10. Go to the library. It’s free and has great stuff.

Life can get very comfortable with the latest luxuries. However, less money spent equals more money saved for a down payment. There are all sorts of ways you can downsize. Consider the following items to downsize to start saving money for your financial goal:

  • Trade in your car for a cheaper model.
  • Rent a cheaper house or apartment.
  • Downgrade electronic needs like phone plans with data. Stick to Wi-fi or basic phones.

Maybe you have a great deal on your phone or your car is paid off. Evaluate your own situation and do research before jumping into any of these major shifts in your life.

June Budget Example

For the June budget example, we are taking everything from the vacation fund to save for the down payment. While there is still credit card debt to pay off, that debt will continue as planned since the couple’s finances will benefit from getting out of their rental quickly. Therefore, the June budget example for the next few months will work towards saving to buy a house.

Additionally, the couple will be opening up a separate savings account for the down payment. Any extra income or savings will be added to this account.

INCOME

  • Salary 1: $2,700
  • Salary 2: $2,100

TOTAL= $4,800

MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES

  • Groceries: $575
  • Household Items: $50
  • Clothing: $100
  • Cellphones (2 phones): $100
  • Internet & Cable: $125
  • Rent: $1,100
  • Electric: $120
  • Gas: $60
  • Trash: $10
  • Auto Maintenance: $40
  • Auto Insurance (2 cars): $175
  • Health & Dental Insurance: $350
  • Renter’s Insurance: $20
  • Entertainment: $70
  • Netflix/Hulu: $25
  • Gym Membership: $60
  • Student Loan Payment: $875
  • Auto Loan Payment: $175
  • Vacation Fund: $0 (Decrease)
  • Pet Care: $75
  • Savings & Investments: $695 (Increase)
  • TOTAL: -$4,800

Thanks for reviewing the June budget example. Tune in next time for July!

The post June Budget Example- Saving For A Down Payment appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

The Financial Cost of Tobacco Use

The Financial Cost of Tobacco Use

Today is World No Tobacco Day! We all know smoking wreaks havoc on your health, but there is a hefty financial cost of tobacco use as well. If you haven’t thought about quitting, now is as good a time as ever. Your budget will thank you too!

Cost of Tobacco Products

The cost of cigarettes varies from state to state. On average, a pack of cigarettes is $5.51, but in New York, you could be paying upwards of $13 a pack. Given the average price of a pack of cigarettes, if you smoke a pack a day, you’ll pay close to $2,000 a year for your smoking habit. Not everyone who uses tobacco smokes traditional cigarettes, and e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. E-cigarettes are around $15 for a pre-filled cartridge. Chewing tobacco averages around $2 a pouch, and while that may seem like a less expensive option for tobacco consumption, that could still cost you $700 a year.

Insurance Premiums

If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably noticed that you pay higher premiums on your health and life insurance than your non-smoker friends and family. From the perspective of the insurance companies, this makes sense. Smokers are at a higher risk for heart disease, certain types of cancer, and emphysema. Life insurance premiums for smokers can be two to three times as expensive as those for non-smokers. Besides insurance premiums, the cost of treating those health problems can be very expensive.

The financial cost of tobacco use can reach tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a few decades. Just think about what you could use that money for if you quit smoking! If you struggle to manage your debt, the money you’re spending now on tobacco could be helping you achieve financial freedom and debt-free life.

To learn about the basics of a debt management program, speak with a certified counselor at ACCC today! Call 800-769-3571. 

 

The post The Financial Cost of Tobacco Use appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article

Movies Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility

Movies Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility

Teaching Kids Financial ResponsibilityEveryone loves to talk about movies. I was always the kid that would have the “book vs. movie” discussion with my friends and family after seeing the film latest adaptation of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. But movies can tackle serious topics too. They can serve as a starting point for teaching kids financial responsibility to help them learn about avoiding consumer debt. 

Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility Through the Movies

Did you ever think a romantic comedy could spark a discussion about debt management? Think back to the 2009 movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. The main character, Rebecca, is a shopping addict. She has upwards of a dozen credit cards and struggles to pay off her debt. Ironically, she gets a job writing articles for a business magazine giving people financial advice. Her articles instantly become successful (because that’s how real life works, right?).

The movie focuses on Rebecca’s ever-growing credit card debt and being chased by a debt collector who harasses her constantly. In the end, she ends up selling all her clothes she’s bought over the years of being a shopaholic to pay off her debt. Of course, given that this movie is a rom-com, she also ends up dating her boss by the end of it.

Debt in “Reel” Life vs. Real Life

While a bit silly, this movie could be a great way for parents to talk to their children about how credit cards work. Furthermore, it can lead to other conversations teaching kids about financial responsibility. Ideally, this discussion would be most beneficial for pre-teens or young teenagers.

Let’s be honest, kids aren’t going to want to just sit down with you at the kitchen table out of the blue and get lectured about financial responsibility. So how do you start those discussions? This movie could be a good first step. Explain to them after the movie how credit cards work in real life and how it differs from the movie. Talk to them about what you use credit cards for in your own life and how you pay them off.

No one wants their kids to grow up without knowing at least the basics of how to manage personal finances. Schools often don’t teach these topics, so it is up to parents to prepare children for a life of financial responsibility. Education can be informal and still be effective. Who would have thought Confessions of a Shopaholic could be considered educational?

P.S. If you’re in a situation like Rebecca’s before you decided to sell all your clothes and date your boss, take some time to read about American Consumer Credit Counseling’s debt management program and how it can help you!

The post Movies Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility appeared first on Talking Cents.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.TalkingCents.ConsumerCredit.com

View the Original Article