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How To Maximize Your Budget

December 27th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in Loans

These days, almost everybody is living on a budget. Saving money by packing your lunch and carpooling are great ways to start a budget, but if you really want to lower your monthly bills you should look into a bill consolidation loan. Often, people who do not own a home find that their most expensive bill is their auto loan. You can save a good amount of money by shopping for discount auto insurance and there are even strategies for saving money on gas, but finding a way to cut down on your car loan payment will put more money in your pocket.

If you have been responsibly paying your bills each month, you can probably get a lower interest rate when you go to refinance your car loan. Lenders usually look at your debt to income ratio in order to come up with the interest rate that they will charge you, but a refinance car loan is different. Since loan companies know that you are looking to lower your monthly car payment, your overall credit rating as well as your monthly expenditures are equally evaluated. If you have more than one car that you are currently financing, saving even $100 on each loan a month will help you to budget more easily. Once you are able to better handle your bills, you may even be able to pay off your auto loans faster. Whether you want to pay off your cars so that you can trade them in or you just want to live without a car payment for a few years, refinancing your loans will help you to achieve your goals faster. Talk to your significant other about how you can budget more efficiently and you will be well on your way to living a debt free lifestyle.

UK Housing Market Has Fewer Vacant Homes Available

December 23rd, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in Real Estate

After dealing with a backlog of surplus empty homes for three years, the UK housing market has begun to turn around. While banks are not approving a larger amount of mortgages, homeowners have been able to rent out a staggering number of previously vacant properties. Survey results recently released by mortgage lender Halifax shows that over 20,000 vacant homes in the UK have been occupied since April of this year. Surprisingly, these homes are not being bought by first-time home buyers. More people are opting to rent instead of purchasing a home because of the ever fluctuating house prices being reported by financial experts. Although the economy is unstable and the prices of properties are still very low, many lenders have been reluctant to approve loans for applicants with less than perfect credit ratings. Many people who have attempted to get a home loan  became discouraged when they were denied, and as a result, they decided that signing a short-termrental agreement would allow them to save money while they wait for the economy to get into better shape.

Some areas in the UK are still struggling to fill unoccupied homes, but overall, the trend has led experts in the housing sector to speculate that market will soon begin to level out. One reason why homeowners are choosing to rent their properties rather than sell them is because house prices are at an all time low. It would be very difficult for property investors to make a profit in the current economy. It may still be years before home prices rise again, but in the meantime property owners are working on a strategy that will bring them a dependable source of income. Eventually, lenders will approve more home loans and previous applicants will have a better chance of moving into homes, but for now both parties are making due with what resources they have available to them.

How To Manage Credit Card Debt

December 16th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in Debt

Credit card companies make it easy for consumers to open lines of credit, even when they know that they will not be able to pay off the balances all at once. This is because these credit card companies are hoping to make a pretty penny off of the interest they charge you. If you manage to make a late payment, you will probably find that your interest rates have spiked. Whether you already have a large amount of credit card debt or just want to lean how to avoid it in the first place, you will learn that it is easy to manage credit card debt with an aggressive budgeting strategy.

While you may be eager to just pay off all of your credit card debt and close your accounts, it is important that you do the exact opposite of this. Your credit rating is scored on the number of accounts that you have in good standing as well as the length of time that they have been open. If you have only a few credit cards, it will hurt your score if you just pay them off and closed the accounts. Next, you need to understand what the term utilization means. For example, if you have a line of credit that is worth $5,000 and you have maxed out your card, then you have utilized 100% of your credit. Credit bureaus like to see people keep their utilization down below 20%. That said, you should come up with a plan that will allow you to pay down your credit card debt substantially over the next six or so months.

Paying your credit card debt more slowly will allow you to fly under the radar. Credit card companies can penalize you for doing just about anything. If you pay off your debt all at once they can close your account, and if you don’t pay enough they can close, charge off and sell your account to a third party collection agency. Stop using your credit cards to make purchases and use the money you have saved to pay down your bills. Start with the credit card with the lowest balance first, then move onto the next once when you get down to below 20% of your utilization. It may not happen overnight, but if you follow this plan you can have a much more manageable amount of credit card debt and a stellar credit rating to boot.


US Government Probing Financial Abuse By Small Businesses

December 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in News

Small businesses, non-profits and other agencies that have been receiving government funds for years are finally getting the attention that they really need. After going for years without being properly scrutinized, dozens of small businesses, particularly Alaskan small businesses that serve the Inuit community, are being informally investigated by the FBI and others. Although the Obama administration has been dedicated to putting aside funds to help fledgling small businesses, it appears that a relatively small portion of them have been able to suck up over $100 million in just a few years. At the crux of this conflict is the SBA, the Department of Homeland Security and a number of special interest groups that have been working in overdrive to get funds to the ‘little people,’ but it appears that they have failed to share the wealth around.

The economy has made it difficult for consumers with decent credit scores to get lines of credit, even for nominal amounts. Worse of are the start-up businesses with limited cash flow and no established credit. Many have been able to turn to the SBA for assistance, but even the Small Business Administration has not been able to force banks to relent. The Obama administration put the pressure on banks, especially those that received bail-out funds, and demanded that they begin to lend out more money to small businesses. Now, it appears that the same rules that were in place before the President made his demands are still in full force, with only certain small businesses with ties to special interest groups being able to get the bulk of the money being lent out.

Better Business Bureau Changes Grade

December 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in News

After getting a dose of their own medicine, the US’s most well known business watchdog agency is making changes to the way it rates businesses. In the beginning of the agency’s inception, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave businesses of all sizes a letter based grade after researching the company’s history, reviewing consumer reports and confirming contact information. Frequently, the BBB acts as the arbitrator between consumers and businesses that are having misunderstandings. After both sides tell the BBB their stories, the agency makes a ruling and records the ’score’ under the name of the involved business. Recently, consumers began to complain that the BBB themselves were becoming a part of the problem. Accusations were raised, alleging BBB certified businesses were getting more favorable ratings because they were paying a yearly service fee. After receiving numerous complaints about their own business practices, the BBB relented and announced that they were revising their rating system.

Consumers were correct in their assumptions that the Better Business Bureau was, in fact, giving higher letter grades to businesses that they certified. The agency’s less than ethical practices allowed companies known by the general public to be little more than scammers to regularly be scored highly, at ‘A,’ and ‘B’. In the past two years alone, the BBB has denied dozens of companies accreditation. More recently, they have lowered the grades of accredited companies with too many unresolved complaints. The company hopes that the changes will help to reassure consumers that they take business complaints seriously, and that their accreditation system was never abused or mishandled.