Debt relief – A brief idea to segregate among the popular solutions

Being a financial writer and helping people deal with debt problems, often I see people getting confused regarding the debt relief solutions. Therefore, I thought of discussing about the debt relief solutions, in brief, in this post.

Credit counselling

When you start facing problems with your personal finance, you can schedule an appointment with a credit counselor. He/she can analyze your financial situation and offer you suggestions following which you can bring your financial life back in order.

Debt management

The credit counselor might offer you a debt management plan if you’re not able to solve your financial problems on your own. This is a professional program wherein you get complete guidance to repay your debt and manage your finances efficiently.

Debt consolidation

In debt consolidation, the primary advantage is to make just one payment towards paying off your multiple bills. Also, by opting for consolidation, you make payments on your cards on a reduced interest rate. When you consolidate bills, you actually repay your outstanding balances in full.

Debt settlement

When you decide you settle your debts, it means that you cannot repay your outstanding balance on your cards in full and therefore, you opt for this debt relief option. However, this is a suitable option when your main intention is to get rid of your debts and stop annoying calls from creditors and collection agencies.

Bankruptcy

This is usually a last resort to solve your debt problems. However, sometimes it might benefit you when you want to make a fresh financial start.

Amongst these debt relief solutions, you need to choose one that suits you the best.

As I’ve already mentioned, this is just a brief idea regarding the debt relief solutions and amongst these, you can choose DIY as well as getting professional help. Keep reading as I will discuss about these options, in details, in my future posts.

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask!

Categories: Finance

Winter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Enjoyment within challenges

Having lived in this place for quite a long time now, you can say that I am quite experienced and have accustomed myself with Milwaukee winter. I enjoy watching snowfall from the warmth of my home, the winter chill when I step out and watching the changes in nature with the onset of winter and spring. However, I will be lying if I don’t mention that, like most of you, I too wish that the winter season remains pleasant and daily life is not disrupted for long.

When some of you are experiencing severe winter (and I guess not much enjoying about it), I thought of sharing my experience of staying in a cold chilly city of US.

What do you hate most about winter? I feel the most annoying thing about winter season is when you need to wake up right in the morning, even before sunrise, and need to clean snow from your car. Some days back I made a mistake of leaving my car outside. In the morning, it took almost about half n hour to clean the car even after switching on the car’s heater. And, I would be lying if I don’t mention here that it wasn’t a pleasant experience. I promised myself to not make this mistake again, that is, leave my car outside, during winter months.

Another thing – shoveling the snow outside. Shoveling is fun when it’s first snowfall and as long as it can be cleared within an hour, but not this time, when it’s inches and inches of snow. This is why sometimes I feel moving to a nice apartment during this time to avoid shoveling; but, it’s not feasible and I love my home. However, I praise myself for making a wise decision last year. I bought a good snow blower right after the winter season. The snow blowers are usually offered at a relatively lower price after the winter season. So, if you live in an area where you experience severe winter, then plan your budget accordingly to invest in a good snow blower this year; believe me, you’ll not regret about your decision in the next winter.

Especially during the winter season, I stock my kitchen well. I follow the weather reports and instead of making a shopping list for the week, I try to plan meals for about 15 days during this time. Sometimes, it helps me save money too. This happens when I buy items in bulk which are offered in discount rates. However, I will not advise you to do this with perishable goods. Always check out the expiry date on the items as well as your meal plan to be sure that you’ll be able to consume the stuff within that time period.

I am sure many of you fear about the skyrocketing electricity bills during the winter season. If you love to set your thermostat at a slightly higher temperature this time, then we’re on the same boat. However, I would suggest that you do not increase the temperature much for 2 reasons – one being keeping your utility bill low and it is also not much advisable to stay in very warm weather all the time. Instead, wear a light jacket or a bright sweater, if you need, to keep yourself warm and uplift your mood.

Even with so much difficulties and watching snow for so many years, I still love watching the first snowfall of the season, the greenery and fall colors changing into white beauty, red birds sitting quietly on snow covered trees, the flurries on my face, the footprints on light snow, and so on.

Lastly, I would like to wish that all of you remain safe and stay indoors when required. Always follow the weather forecast and please don’t drive when it’s not advisable. Let’s all be safe and enjoy the privilege of staying at a place where we can witness the changing color of seasons.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Budgeting - Climb the first ladder of financial management

Budgeting – Climb the first ladder of financial management

As I have already mentioned that this is primarily a financial blog, so I thought of that my next post will be on budgeting – the basic step to manage personal finance efficiently. Most of us are aware that we need to budget so that we can have a spending plan and save a definite amount every month. Here is a checklist of a few essential steps which we should follow in order to plan a suitable budget.

4 Steps to plan a suitable budget

There are 4 simple and basic steps to plan a budget.

  1. Calculate how much you earn every month:

  2. Make an estimate of your expenses:

    Now, open a spreadsheet and list your expected monthly expenses against each item. At first, you list your fixed monthly expenses (such as, mortgage payment, loan payments, etc.), and then your variable expenses (such as, grocery shopping, entertainment, etc.). You should put an average expenditure for past few months against your variable expenses.  This is the category where you can cut down your expenditure.

  3. Compute how much you can save monthly:

    Now, calculate your total expenses and deduct the amount from your income. Are you getting  a positive figure? If yes, then you’ll be able to save the mentioned amount if you can follow your budget. However, you need to cut down your expenditure if you’re not getting a positive figure, that is, your expenses are more than your overall monthly income; or, if you want to increase your monthly savings.

  4. Plan your expenditure realistically:

    It is relatively easy to make a plan; but, it will be of no use if you cannot follow it. So, try to plan your budget as realistically as possible. It is true that you’ll have to make the extra effort to save more, but it shouldn’t curb your daily necessities.

Tips to stick to your budget

I feel that when you’re budgeting, “one size fits all” concept won’t work. Here are some tips to plan a budget which will fit you perfectly.

  • Plan a suitable budget:

    First and foremost, you should plan a budget which will be easier for you to follow.

  • Plan short-term and long-term budget:

    It is necessary to plan a short-term as well as a long-term budget. For example, plan a monthly and an annual budget. At the end of every month, check out your progress whether or not you’ll be able to meet your annual financial goal.

  • Revisit your budget plan:

    It is very much necessary to revisit your plan at least after every three months. This will help you decide whether or not it’s working for you, and you can make modifications if needed.

  • Check your plan with others

    There are some online budgeting tools where you can compare your budget plan with that of other community members.

So, you have now successfully climbed the first ladder of your financial management. Now, try to stick to it as much as possible and enjoy doing so.

Categories: Finance