You're in debt. You need a plan and lots of discipline and follow through to pay it down. It's a lot like dieting.
Dieting is probably not the first word that comes to mind when you think of debt reduction. However, when it comes to trying to reduce your debt, many of the steps you have to take are similar to the steps you’d take when trying to reduce weight.
Probably the most important part to both is that better health requires a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. Diets don’t work if there are only for a short period of time without making long-term fundamental changes in the way that you eat, and the same is true of debt reduction. Both require that you make changes to your current lifestyle to solve the issues and habits that have created the current situation.
Acknowledging the problem
Perhaps the biggest similarity between debt reduction and dieting is that you have to acknowledge that there’s a problem. Just as it’s easy to ignore poor eating habits, it’s easy to ignore money problems. You might not want to believe that your debt keeps piling up or that you have no way to pay it all off. If you’re serious about trying to reduce your debt, the first step is acknowledging that you have a problem.
Yes, sometimes retail therapy has a place. Just try to be aware of shopping to beat the blues, and don't overspend.
When your significant other says it's over, your first instinct may be to seek comfort in a pint of ice cream or a stiff drink. But there are healthier ways of nursing a broken heart – including shopping.
In a recent survey by TNS Global on behalf of Ebates.com, around 52% of respondents said they've engaged in "retail therapy," the act of shopping and spending to improve one's mood. Both men and women admitted they've opened their wallets when feeling blue. However, this form of therapy can put your finances at risk if it's the only way you can temper your mood, or if you feel guilty about your spending behaviors and don't shop in moderation.
When you're sad, you see the world differently, says Scott Rick, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan whose research focuses on the emotional causes and consequences of financial decision-making. Rick says people who are upset often think they live in an environment that's out of their control. One way to restore control, he says, is by making choices about what to buy.
AAA says fewer will travel this year, but destinations for those who are going are a bit farther. Gas prices are not a factor, but airline 'fee fatigue' is.
About 1% fewer people -- 34.8 million compared to 35.1 million last year -- will travel at least 50 miles from home over the Memorial Day weekend, the organization said.
But gas prices, down from the peak in February, are not a factor. The price of a gallon of unleaded gas is averaging $3.66 -- about the same as it was this time last year. About 62% of those surveyed said the price of fuel would have no impact on their plans.
Getting married? Money could be the reason you end up divorced. Take these steps now and avoid the battles and frustrations later on.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
If you're heading down the aisle, we have some scary statistics for you. Nearly 30% of married couples say money is the No. 1 source of stress in their relationship, according to a study by American Express, and money issues are largely blamed as a top cause of divorce by many experts.
How do you avoid the strain? Here's how to get on the same financial track as your partner before you wed.
Now that school is over, you'll need to prioritize you living expenses, debts and more. Here's how to navigate the financial road ahead.
Remember that first week of college or university, when you wondered how you’d ever make it through? If you’re like most students, simply trying to map out your course schedule probably felt overwhelming. There there were forms to fill out, books to buy, and lots (and we mean lots) of coursework.
Hopefully, you had a good adviser to help give you through the process.
Similarly, if you are out of school, trying to navigate your options for paying back your student loans may seem just as daunting. You probably have several loans with different repayment terms. Some may be federal loans and others may be private loans. How do you prioritize them, along with all the other financial demands -- housing, food, transportation, etc. -- you are facing?
When it comes to your student loan debt, think of your credit reports and scores as your advisers. They are there to provide some necessary context for your emerging financial life. As you begin to pay back your student loans, refinance them, defer them or opt for forbearance, you’ll need to understand the impact of your choices over time.
When it comes to dealing with debt and clearing your credit, what you don't know really can hurt you.
Working with a credit counselor won't ding your credit score. Honest. Yet some people seem to think it will, according to a survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
The fact is, credit counselors don't report to the credit bureaus. Seeking help from a professional, nonprofit credit counseling agency can help you fix what's wrong with your finances -- which will ultimately improve your credit score.
Besides: How does your credit report look right now?
"What about the eight months you haven't paid your Macy's card? Dings to your credit score already exist," notes NFCC spokeswoman Gail Cunningham.
Five common themes emerged from the 2013 survey, including the notion that asking for help would damage your credit score.
Hurricane season is coming. But storms can happen at any time. Here are 6 smart things to do to get your home ready before the storm hits.
Hurricane season begins on June 1, and now is the perfect time to take steps to protect your home (and finances) from the storms -– rather than waiting until a storm approaches and scrambling to get ready.
1. Consider a home generator
Not only will you be more comfortable with lights, electronics, your refrigerator and air conditioning, but the generator can also help you avoid other problems when the power goes out -- such as flooding when your sump pump stops working or mold that can grow if your basement floods when your air conditioning is on the blink, too.
You may even get a 5% discount on your homeowners insurance if you install an automatic standby generator, which is powered by natural gas or propane and turns on automatically after detecting a power outage. The most common is 17 kilowatts, which powers 16 circuits, says Roy Cranford, president of generator dealer CDS Emergency Power, in Baltimore. The generator costs about $4,000, plus about $3,500 for installation (to connect to your electrical system and gas or propane line).
Think you know all the cheap travel tips? You don't. But these veteran travelers do. Read on for the details.
This post comes from Susan Johnston at U.S. News & World Report.
Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer travel season, and according to travel booking website Orbitz.com, more than three-quarters of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation. To ensure your hard-earned travel dollars go as far as they can, U.S. News talked to veteran travelers and experts to reveal these under-the-radar money-saving tips.
1. Call before booking online. Making travel arrangements through the Internet may be convenient, but it doesn't always guarantee you the best deal. Nicole Lapin, editor-in-chief of Recessionista.com, recommends calling a hotel around 4 p.m. local time on Sunday afternoon and asking to speak with a manager or supervisor. The person answering calls at the hotel's toll-free number may not have the power to cut you a deal, but the hotel's local manager or supervisor often does. Mention you're celebrating a birthday or anniversary, or use Lapin's strategy: "I've seen the rate of $199 per night in the past. I was wondering if you could match that? Maybe there's a room in the back that isn't as coveted?"
This strategy can work with airline tickets, too. "It's a myth that all the available inventory is available on the Internet," says Peter Greenberg, travel editor at CBS News. "We go online because it's easy, but we do so at our own peril if we're looking for a deal."
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