How to Budget for a Weekend Away

One of the common complaints about being on a budget or paying off debt, is that it leaves no room for fun. Now some of you may suggest that if you are in debt then you should not be having any fun, but I disagree. Fun is an essential part of life and if you cannot treat yourself, then what’s the point?.

We have a budget category for a family day out, once a month and the reason for this is that we always have time and money allocated to spending time together, at least one day a month. This month we decided to splash out for an Easter holiday but keep it as cheap and cheerful as possible, so we set ourselves a budget for our weekend away of €220. This was for 2 adults and 2 kids staying in a hotel for 2 nights and having some fun during the days.

Step 1 was to find a good price for a hotel. We got our hotel for 2 nights, including 1 main meal for all of us (with a glass of wine for the adults) and breakfast on both mornings for €119. It will make a big difference to your budgeting if you have some meals included in the hotel deal. Next, we took some time to decide what our main trip was going to be and we pre-booked on-line to get a cheaper rate. We paid €25 instead of €30. We went to the Ailwee Cave in Clare, well worth a visit if you are holidaying anywhere close. From there, we went on a FREE trip to the beach and used the €5 we saved on the cave to buy ice-cream. After the beach we returned to our hotel and picked up a pizza on the way home for €15. Over the course of the 3 days we spent another €10 on small things like bottled water and more ice cream in addition to €40 for fuel for our car. Out total spending for 3 days in beautiful Co. Clare was €214 for all of us.

This low spending did not happen by itself, we had to plan for it and stick to it. We brought a flask with us for tea and coffee to have during the drive. We refilled our water bottles using boiled water from the hotel and we brought sandwiches and fruit from home for lunch on the way to the hotel (it was a 4 hour drive). We did not spend a penny that was not planned in advance and we both agreed on it and of course we had made a budget before we started spending. I should add, that we had a great time and doing it on a budget made it even more fun as we all looked for ways to cut costs. So cut costs on the little things and keep your money for the things that actually bring you pleasure.

3 Effective Ways to Avoid Inheritance Conflicts

These issues come up mostly while talking with those who have gone through conflicts in their families during property division process in any of their estate settlements. In most of the cases there are references to the input from one of the members of family “once removed”, and not necessarily the ones who are the so called immediate heirs. These other people who are usually spouses or grandchildren don’t always have the similar emotional connection when compared to the ones who are immediate heirs. In most of the cases this may be unintentionally done. But, when children or spouses have things they want and they make demands, they often end up creating situations that finally result into conflicts.

Here are 3 ways that can help in avoiding such conflicts.

Understanding the Personality of other Heirs: It is very important that you try and understand what kind of people the other heirs who are also involved in the settlement issue are. Analyse their basic traits and find out the way to communicate with these heirs. This approach often resolves most complications even before they arise and clears off lot of misunderstandings. Personality difference is often the main cause behind a conflict concerning settlements. It will become more and more difficult to avoid conflict or maintain peace without understanding the differences.

Keep the Home Untouched before Formal Division: It is very important that you don’t claim your right on something that logically belongs to other heirs. It can also mess with their emotional sentiments and can further complicate the case for you. This is why it is important that the house remains untouched or undisturbed till a legal division is announced. An in-depth scrutiny of the property is important before there is any legal division and you can contribute to the process by not disturbing anything. Without the consent of other beneficiaries or heirs if you remove items from an estate or a home it is very much possible that the issue will get complicated. Very often we see people making this mistake of just going into a property and picking what they want without any consent with the concerned people and such actions are often justified by them through some facts or instances of the past. That being said, legally it will only complicate the case.

Only Beneficiaries or Immediate Heirs should be Part of the Property Division: Property division is a sensitive case and hence it should not be made a mass trial. Only immediate heirs or beneficiaries should become part of the process and other outside influences like children of heirs, grandchildren, in-laws, spouses etc should be kept away from the process. This is particularly more important at the beginning of the division process.

Credit Restoration Advices You Must Read

One of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a home loan is to improve your credit score. It is because better credit scores may give you access to better interest rates and more beneficial home loan products.

Here is a list of some quick tips to help you get the best possible credit score. While there is no guarantee that all of these options will immediately boost your credit score, they may help you establish habits that will strengthen your credit score.

Show you can pay your bills on time, every time

Lenders/credit providers will want to see that you can repay a home loan on time. So, here is a list of bills that you should pay on time, every time:

>> Your credit cards;

>> Your rent;

>> Your medical and utility bills; and

>> Any other service that may use a collection agency for the recovery of delinquent accounts.

If you miss a payment date by a few days, call the service provider immediately to make the payment, and don’t be afraid to ask the provider for a one-time forgiveness.

Check your Credit Rating

You should regularly check your credit report with a credit reporting agency (such as Veda Advantage and Dunn and Bradstreet), as it will:

>> Give you an idea if you have any defaults or negative repayments history recorded in your report;

>> Give you time to get the credit report corrected before a lender/credit adviser accesses your report; and

>> Enable you to verify your credit score with a credit reporting agency.

Note: You should be aware that due to the changes in the Privacy Act in March 2014, lenders/credit providers have the ability to access your credit reports and can see the past 24 months of your repayment history.

Maintain your Available Credit

Before applying for a home loan don’t open any other credit cards or lines of credit. It is because lenders/credit providers will see you as being a risk if you suddenly take out loans for cars, electronics, furniture, etc.

Also, refrain from closing your credit cards or other lines of credit. Instead, consider paying off your balances as a lower debt will improve your debt-to-credit ratio.

This is best illustrated by the following example:

Having a total debt of $4,000 with a $20,000 available credit will look better than having just $500 in debt with $800 available credit.

Establish a Savings History

If you are borrowing more than 80 percent of the purchase price of the property, you will be required to meet the “genuine savings” requirements of lenders/credit providers. Your savings will need to add up to around 5 percent of the purchase price of the property.

For example, on a purchase price of $700,000, you will need to have savings that add up to $35,000.

Note: Saving a larger deposit should help to reduce or avoid paying “Lenders Mortgage Insurance” (LMI) and you may even be offered a more competitive interest rate by the lender/credit provider.

Avoid applying with too many Lenders/Credit Providers

Avoid submitting your home loan applications to several different lenders/credit providers at once. It is because these loan applications will appear on your credit report. You should only submit your home loan application:

>> After you have compared lenders/credit providers; and

>> After you have decided to go with a particular lender/credit provider.

Your Employment Stability

If you have had the same job for several years, then this is a big tick. So, prior to applying for a home loan, Try to establish a stable employment history as it will enable you to make regular loan repayments.

If you have changed your job recently, do not worry. You may satisfy the requirements of lenders/credit providers, if:

>> You have been in a similar role; and

>> You have been in the same industry.

Disclose all Information

Lenders/ credit providers may think that you have other debts that have not been disclosed. So, always be upfront and disclose all information as non-disclosure of relevant information may result in your home loan application being declined.

Seek Expert and Professional Advice

All these tips should help you to improve your credit score. However, you should speak to a professionally qualified and expert finance broker who can help you to create a personalised credit improvement plan. Establishing this relationship with a finance broker will help you to determine which potential lender/credit provider best meets your needs.

All the Best!

Free Debt Relief Grants For the Disabled

Having a financial crisis situation with debts to pay off can be daunting especially for disabled people. The government realizes their tough situation and has initiated varied grant and benefit programs that help them meet their daily needs and expenses and hence in turn save funds that can be used to clear off any debts. Even disabled single moms and dads receive federal grants and benefits.

If you too need assistance with debt relief grants then read through the article and get your options to clear your liabilities and be free.

Debt Relief Grants that Disabled Citizens Can Apply for

In US the government has made provisions for disability grants that are offered for financial support such as housing, education, business, medical care, health and nutrition, legal representation and personal needs. The grants are allocated based on certain factors like type of disability, age factor, income level, time of disability, family size and others.

Meeting With Debt Crisis

Are you in debt crisis with unpaid medical bills, hospital bills, rent, utility bills, unaffordable credit card debt, utility bills, foreclosure, loans, bankruptcy or any other serious issues? If yes, then turn for help to the federal government counselor and discuss your situation. A professional counselor will help you get out of the maze by sorting out the debts and analyzing your financial status so that a portion of your income or savings can be utilized for clearing the debts, if not entirely then at least a portion.

Disabled students can get benefitted from the scholarship grants and other educational relief grants that enable them pursue their education and not worry about the expenses. The tuition fees, educational debts and other related academic expenses are all covered by the government. This eases pressure on parents and helps them to save. Get your degrees and attain a rewarding job that pays you well to clear your debts.

Disabled entrepreneurs seeking to kick-start their business can take this leap into independent venture through the varied Business grants offered like Disability Research Project Centers Program Grant that offers $950,000 annually for business startups. Moreover, Small Business Administration (SBA) also provides business opportunity proposals, finance, advice and lucrative ideas. A profitable business can earn you good returns, thereby aiding to clear debts.

Professional assistance: Government offers various job options to people with disabilities who cannot continue their profession. Even if a person is disabled and is not able to continue with his work due to the disability, government can search a job matching the person’s skill set and profile. In case of debts disabled person can even settle them without credit card debt assistance.