Tips for Achieving a Debt-Free Life

Some 189 million Americans have credit cards with the average balance per household being $8,398. Keep in mind, that’s just credit card debt. We haven’t mentioned mortgages, car loans or student loans.

Sadly, debt is so prevalent in America, most people consider it a way of life.

However, it is possible to live without it.

Here are some tips for achieving a debt-free life.

Create an Emergency Fund

If you have yet to do so, make it a priority to put away at least three to six months of your monthly expenses as a hedge against income disruption or large unexpected expenses. Having this money put away will enable you to weather such instances without incurring more debt — or at least as much as you would have otherwise.

Prioritize Paying Off Debt

As common sense as this particular tip may seem, most people have no idea how to do it.

Let’s say you’re one of those people who have four credit cards, with the total balances adding up to $8,398. Let’s say the balance on one of the cards is $3,000, another one is $2,500, another one is $1,500 and the last one is $1,398. Now, let’s say the minimum payment on each of those cards is $50, and you’ve been paying $100 per month on each one.

That’s a mistake; it’ll take too long to pay them all off that way.

The Debt Snowball

Instead, make the minimum payment on all of them except the one with the $1,398 balance. This will afford you $250 monthly to pay toward that one, which will help you pay it off more than twice as fast as when you were only paying $100 monthly.

Once you’ve eliminated that balance, you’ll have $300 monthly to put toward the $1500 balance, which will also have been being paid down at the rate of $50 monthly while you were killing the first account. Repeating the process with each successive card will give you the entire $400 to put toward the highest balance when all of the others are cleared up.

You’ll pay off all four cards much sooner than you would at the rate of $100 monthly on each one.

By the way, this works with car loans and mortgages too.

You can eliminate all of your debts with this method.

Debt Consolidation

Another way to approach debt elimination is with a credit card consolidation loan. While it might seem a bit backwards to make debt to get rid of debt, there are situations in which credit card consolidation can make sense.

You have to make sure the consolidation loan you take will let you pay your debts off sooner than you would by paying them individually. You’ll also want to seek a lower overall interest rate and a lower overall monthly payment.

Focus on Saving and Investing Next

With your debt eliminated, you can turn your attention to preparing for the time when you’ll no longer go to work every day. In other words, it’s time to start building your retirement fund.

We recommend eliminating debt first because the interest you’ll pay vs. the interest you’ll earn tends to be higher. Eliminating debt effectively means your money earns more interest afterwards — thus it’s a good investment.

Create a Spending Plan and Stick to It

One of the most fundamental of the tips for achieving a debt-free life. Creating a spending plan helps you ensure your money is working for you in every way possible, as opposed to against you.

Your goal should be to live on 80 percent of your income or less, while saving/investing at least 20 percent or more for your long-term goals. This becomes easy to accomplish with your debt laid to rest. Plus you’ll be able to save more so you can make subsequent purchases in cash, rather than charging them.

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5 Potential Risks to Take Into Consideration Before Investing In Precious Metals

A wise and thoughtful financial decision can do wonders for your business and savings, whereas a poor financial decision can result in a serious downfall. Small or big, one must do detailed research work and take into consideration all the risk factors involved before investing in precious metals. These decisions once put into action, cannot be changed, and the metals become a liability instead of an asset.

Here are the 5 potential risks to take into consideration before investing in precious metals.

STORAGE

You’ll need to store your physical metal somewhere. With a stock or bond, you don’t have to worry about storage. There is always a risk of theft or loss if you store these metals at home. Also, it will be a risk to you and your family in case someone breaks in.

The other selective is to rent a space to store them. That space would provide a safe and trusted storage facility. This incurs additional cost but leaves you worry-free and safe from theft and injury. You can always choose to invest with the help of mutual funds and stocks for precious metals; however, they would not reap the same fruits as the physical metal would.

One must always buy precious metals from genuine and trusted suppliers who are industry leaders & have a proven track record to support their authenticity.

Indigo Precious Metals, for instance, is very transparent about their policies and pricing and takes great pride in the level of customer service they provide to their clients. Since these metals are so precious and involve a great amount of your hard-earned money, you must be very cautious while you plan to use them.

LIQUIDITY

If you hold non-physical precious metal, you cannot encash it immediately. In case of immediate cash requirement, you’ll have to seek other means of investments for help.

There’s one solution to this drawback, and that is online storage. With an online storage account, you could sell your precious metals at any time. This helps in instant liquidity.

NO INCOME OR INTEREST

Unline stocks, bonds, or real estate that provides interests, dividends, or rental income, there is no income or interest in owning any form of precious metals.

This is just an investment that can give no regular benefits unless sold when the prices are high. In case you require money on an urgent basis, then you might even have to incur a loss if the price is low compared to the price you purchased it in.

MARKET RISK

Precious metal investments are exposed to various types of market risks. There is no doubt that something you invest in will face price fluctuations from time to time. It might decline in value due to economic developments and various other events that influence the general economy.

POTENTIAL SCAMS

When it comes to precious metals, having the correct understanding is quintessential. You may end up losing hundreds or thousands of dollars even. Do thorough research and learn a few things about how to test the true value of the metal you have purchased.

Such a heavy investment can only be encouraged for someone who has all the details about genuine metals, including where to invest and whom to trust. Considering the lofty cost of precious metals, you just cannot afford to ignore these essential facts.

Trust only genuine suppliers and be 100% sure before investing. Read various articles, blogs, testimonials, crosscheck multiple times to make sure there is no scam involved. It’s your money, and only you’ll have to take the best care of it by making the right choice of genuine investment.

So, keep into consideration all the above factors and make decisions wisely for a happy and secure investment. Trust only genuine and industry leaders in such investments.

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The unlikely sport that has become a betting sensation in 2020

It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that 2020 has been a strange year.

The coronavirus pandemic has left no stone unturned when it comes to business and the economy. The lockdown measures are undoubtedly positive, of course, as they are keeping people safe. It’s very good to see so many people working together to keep the community safe.

However, there have been some negative facts to consider from a purely business standpoint.

Almost every industry has been completely turned on its head, and industry giants are having to think fast to keep themselves afloat. One sector of the world that’s seen some particularly interesting changes throughout 2020 is the gambling industry. 

As most sports have been disrupted and most sporting events have been cancelled, sports bettors have been having a rough time finding things to place bets on. There have been a few surprising choices from bettors in recent months, and today, we’re going to be looking at one of these unlikely hero sports in more depth.

Why is the sports world in such a disarray right now?

As most of you reading this will have gathered, the sporting world has been impacted quite heavily by the coronavirus pandemic. Mass gatherings and public events have all but ground to a halt, which means that the sporting world is struggling to keep up with competitions and to keep their audience entertained.

One of the biggest issues that the gambling world is facing right now is finding something to bet on. Gambling companies are having to get incredibly creative, in order to keep producing bets and content to make their customers happy. 

Additionally, sports gambling companies who may have relied upon foot traffic and physical products are struggling to get ahead this year. Companies with more of a digital focus and social media presence are generally doing better right now. 

What have bettors been turned to in 2020? 

Interestingly, one of the main sports that people are turning to in 2020 is table tennis. This is not typically a sport that people might have flocked to bet on, when compared to things like soccer and football, or martial arts and basketball. 

However, in 2020, table tennis has become a hero of sorts in the sports betting world. 

As this great Bloomberg article points out, ping pong matches from Russia and Ukraine have absolutely been dominating the online betting world. Popular sites like DraftKings and FanDuel have seen some immense traffic heading towards this sport in recent months, and we’re sure to see more of this as the year progresses. 

It’s not just table tennis that sports bettors have turned to, though. Everything from the presidential debates to the weather has received some attention from the betting world. The idea of people betting on politics may seem absurd at first, but many people have found great fulfilment from doing that this year.

It has been wonderful to see how the industry has adapted to these trying circumstances. There are some incredibly creative minds working in gambling right now, crafting new ideas and bets all around the clock to keep customers happy.

How might this impact the sport of table tennis? 

This rise in table tennis bets will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the sport as a whole. More and more people are paying attention as the gambling world continues to focus heavily on this sport. While table tennis is popular in its own right, 2020 has shone a new light on it and we’re sure to see it become even more popular as time goes on.

What can we learn from 2020?

Finally, what can we learn from 2020 as an industry? One of the most important things to take away from this year is the need for a strong digital presence. As we noted earlier on, the businesses with strong digital and social skills – like FanDuel and DraftKings – have been mitigating the circumstances with skill.

Additionally, it’s important that the gambling community takes this new level of adaptability into other years. There will surely be other times in the future where the gambling community has to come up with new games and tournaments on the fly. 2020 has shown us how flexible and fast thinking certain members of the community are. 

One final take away to consider is that there will always be a need for gambling. This year has presented customers with a lot of change, but the desire to spend money is still there. Gambling companies should be comforted by the fact that customers clearly wish to bet, no matter what the current climate is in the world. 

To sum up 

Generally speaking, 2020 has been a rough year for almost every industry. While it is incredible to see so many people all around the world banding together to keep the community safe, there is something to be said for the mental toll that today’s circumstances can have. Not only this, it’s also important to acknowledge how the virus has impacted the businesses as well.

It’s refreshing to see so many people in the gambling world adapting to these new circumstances. We’re lucky enough to be part of an industry that is packed full of creative minds and entrepreneurial spirits. Even if this pandemic continues to disrupt the world throughout the rest of the year, we’re sure to see some interesting developments in the industry regardless. 

If you’re on the hunt for an innovative online sports betting company to bet with, we’d recommend DraftKings. They’re one of the leading companies in the industry right now, and we’re sure that you’ll love them. To find out more about them and what they offer, take a look at this great review from NJ Gambling Fun.

Want to read more blog posts like this? We’re constantly updating our website with new and interesting content about gambling and gaming. Take a look at our full website to read more, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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7 Tips for Choosing an Online Stockbroker

If you are new to the world of investment, selecting a stockbroker that aligns with your own personal needs and investing style can define your success or failure. If you want to make money through investing, you need a brokerage service that is in line with your investment goals, level of experience and educational needs. Choosing a broker who has a diverse range of features and tools like those that are found on the FXTM web trader can make all the difference in your new venture.

While all investment should be based on research and skill, the first step on the way to profitability should always be finding the right online brokerage service for your particular needs. That is why we have decided to put together a short guide to help you assess what it is that you personally require from your ideal brokerage. Read on to find out more.

1. What Are the Broker’s Fees?

The first question that you will probably ask when choosing a broker will probably have to do with fees. There can be a significant difference between what online brokers currently licenced in to operate in South Africa charge in trading fees, commission, spread, financing rates and currency conversion fees. It is best to shop around in order to compare prices to see what type of fee structure best suits you.

2. Does the Broker Deal in the Assets Types That Interest You?

Finding a brokerage that allows the option to trade in the types of financial instruments that interest you is crucial. While most online brokerages deal in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETF, only a select few allow you to trade in futures, options and forex. Make sure you check that you a brokerage has the trading options you want before you go through a lengthy verification process.

3. Are There Available Advisory Services?

If you are new to trading, the jargon that you have to get to grips with can be bewildering. You are probably going to need a bit of guidance or at least a sounding board to which you can the field questions and queries that you have about how things work. Many of the better online brokerage services today will provide you with tutorials and account managers to help you on your way to becoming an expert.

4. Which Type of Account?

There are two main types of account that are generally offered by online brokerages. A cash account will allow you to deposit funds and then buy stocks to the amount of money that you have in your account. A margin account, on the other hand, allows you to borrow money from your broker to buy stocks with leverage.

5. Does the Platform Include Research Tools?

Make sure that your broker operates a system of research tools that you feel comfortable with. The charts and graphs showing stock price changes over time should be easy to use and give you all the information you need to feel confident that you have covered all the bases when you buy into a position.

6. How Good is Customer Service?

It does not matter how good an app or service is, there may still come a time when you need to contact customer service to clear something up. When this happens, there is nothing more annoying than not being able to get in touch with a human to straighten the issue out. Choose wisely as some of the cheaper online brokerage services run customer service with limited hours as a means of keeping trading costs competitive.

7. Do You Want Banking Services?

Many stockbrokers offer the opportunity to open a checking account. If you think this will be more convenient for your situation, do some research into what kind of deals these brokers are offering on banking services and how they compare to your current bank.

You may not realize it now, but your choice of online stock broker could have a large impact on how successful you are as a trader. If you answer all of the questions in the sections above before signing up to a brokerage service, you should ensure that you get the one which best suits your particular needs and trading style.

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How Technology Will Shape the Future of Online Gambling

Online gambling is one of the fastest-growing industries right now. The technology helped web-based casinos offer players the same experience they can have in brick-and-mortar ones. Actually, it made gambling more convenient than it ever was. But that’s not all. The technology continues to evolve, and it’s safe to say it’ll boost online gambling even more in years to come. But what exactly can we expect from tech innovations and online gambling? Read on to find out.

Gambling in augmented reality

If you look around the web, you’ll see that many online casinos are already using augmented reality. They rely on this tech to make live gaming more fun and realistic for their players. With the right tech, you can enter a virtual casino right from your living room. Then, you can choose whether you want to play with real players or face a live dealer. What excites gambling enthusiasts the most is that augmented reality will grow even more in the next few decades. This tech is still in its infancy, but experts are working on taking augmented reality to the next level. This opens up new opportunities for online casinos to improve their player experience.

Talking to chatbots

Chatbots have been around for some time and they’ve found their way into the online gambling industry. Online casinos are available 24/7 and chatbots are exactly what operators need to offer quality customer support. If you’re gambling online and you need help, you can turn to a chatbot right away. The tech will then provide you with information or a link to the page where you can find the solution. Chatbots are the future of marketing, and there’s no doubt they’ll play an even bigger role in the online gambling sector. These things will become even more useful, and more players will want one next to them when gambling. AIs will also become smarter, making chatbots even more relevant for the industry.

Playing better video slot games

Online slots are way more convenient than real ones. You can just go online and play any time you want. This is exactly why most players prefer playing slot games online. This, together with the rise of technology, is why online casinos will continue to develop new and better slots. In fact, there are already some new amazing video slots all players need to check out. In the future, there will be even more slot games for players to choose from. Keep an eye for new slot game releases as we’re bound to see a lot of them make their way to the top. These new games will feel more like arcade games, taking gambling to an entirely new level. 

Paying with digital currencies

We’ve all heard about Bitcoin and other popular digital currencies. Ever since these things have emerged, they’ve been subject to a lot of discussion in the sector. Cryptocurrencies offer players the anonymity they always wanted and turn making deposits into a real piece of cake. This, combined with instantaneous acceptance and withdrawal of funds, will make online gambling even more attractive for players. More people will move on from brick-and-mortar casinos and play online using digital currencies instead. Even those who didn’t play before will be more interested in checking online casinos out. With Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra arriving this year, things may erupt even faster than you think.

Competing with real players

The internet allows us to connect with people from across the world. This did wonders for the gaming industry, and online multi-player games have completely replaced single-player gaming. What’s more, eSports is constantly becoming more popular. Just look at all the Fortnite, League of Legends, and Dota 2 tournaments that are taking place these days. While iGaming isn’t quite there yet when it comes to multi-player gaming, we might get to see more from it in the next few years. Expect online casinos to keep coming up with new ways for players to test their skills against real players. Multi-player games might just also help the whole sector make a lot of noise in years to come.

The bottom line

If you enjoy gambling on the web, there’s a lot to feel excited about. Technology is advancing every day, and some innovations may be exactly what online casino industry needs. Experts are working on improving the player experience and creating new exciting games. We can only try to imagine where tech will take the online gambling sector in the next few decades.

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Money Management Tips For Young Adults

Learning to properly manage the money you have makes a huge impact on where you end up in life.  If you can’t get a hold on your finances, you will spend your life juggling payments and debts.  

It’s important that you learn the proper management methods while you’re young, so you’ll have more of a financial cushion for support when you’re old.  Take some time now to read through some money management tips that will get you on your way to financial stability today.  

Live by a budget 

As soon as you are able to earn your own money and pay your own bills, you need to be living by a strict budget.  Spend time cultivating the most fitting budget for your personal situation, and augment your plans as your income matures.  

Knowing where your money is being spent will paint a very clear picture of your income dispersion.  You’ll have more power to control your financial situation with a well-crafted budget.  

Work hard while you can

Work hard when you’re young.  Your body and mind won’t always be as sharp as they are in your 20s, so take advantage of the wealth of health you have at your disposal.  Working hard will help you earn as much money as possible.  

However, it’s still important that you treat your body right.  Don’t overwork yourself to the point of exhaustion. Pay attention to your dietary habits, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.  There are always ways to make a little bit more money too, do your research and make a ways to make extra money list, try each method you find and go get that extra cash. 

Make sure you pay your taxes

You don’t want to have a tussle with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as they typically always win.  You need to pay your taxes as you earn money to keep yourself out of legal trouble.  

You could face criminal charges for shorting the federal government of their money, so don’t take any chances with your taxes.  Hire a competent accountant to handle your taxes each year, and rest peacefully knowing your money is protected.  

Always keep a savings 

Ideally, you should have six months’ worth of survival money in your savings account at all times.  Not everyone has the ability to meet that goal, but it’s worth the push to try.  

You need a savings account to handle the financial hiccups that come your way throughout life.  If your car breaks down or you break your arm, you’ll need some extra money to float you through to the other side of such a financial impact.  

Invest in a retirement plan

As soon as you have the option, invest in a 401(k) retirement plan.  You’ll thank yourself when you’re old and you don’t feel like working anymore.  Leaning on your promised social security check is no longer a reliable plan for retirement. 

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Do You have Money-Anxiety Disorder? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

Ever think twice about reaching for your wallet in an overpriced cafe? Feel a momentary rush when you go to check out of a retail store? Experience decision paralysis when shopping for everyday purchases?

None of these are all that uncommon in our society. However, they all indicate some level of anxiety associated with money. What’s worse, “money-anxiety disorder” doesn’t merely concern our financial lives. It can also affect our relationships, living conditions, personal character, and of course, mental health.

Many people struggling with money-anxiety disorder don’t even know they’re suffering from it. Here are seven questions to gauge whether your money is giving you anxiety.

Do You Engage in Retail Therapy to Calm Yourself?

According to a Credit Karma survey, 52 percent of U.S. consumers admitted to impulsively shopping to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety or depression at least once. This doesn’t have to mean going to a high-scale department store and purchasing shoes in every color. Retail therapy could be as innocuous as going to the thrift store and buying things you don’t need. Pay attention to how you feel as you’re shopping, especially as you approach the checkout line to pay. A spark of excitement, a feeling of joy, an adrenaline rush—any mood-boosting emotions could mean shopping gives you an unhealthy relief.

Do the Holidays Heighten Thoughts About Money?

Per the above Credit Karma survey, 82 percent of people get stressed about holiday spending, with another 31 percent listing it as “very” or “extremely” stressful. The holidays force us to spend money traveling, cook large meals, and buy gifts, often in a much shorter time frame. This leads to a lot of stress and subsequent spending as evidenced by reviews of Freedom Debt Relief.

Do You Struggle to Make Decisions Involving Money?

We don’t know what the future will hold or what our financial standing will be down the road, and that can cause worry when we need to decide on how to spend our money.

Of course, it’s good to be frugal — to think about how our purchases provide purpose and value to our lives, to exercise moderation in our consumerism. However, it’s not a good thing to “let money run the show” or overthink our every purchase. But that’s what happens when frugality is taken to the extreme. People forego life’s small joys and larger experiences because the thought of spending the money is too uncomfortable to bear.

Do You Have Credit Accounts in Poor Standing?

It’s no secret Americans have a lot of debt. In fact, U.S. household debt increased for the 16th consecutive quarter in 2018 Q2 to reach $13.29 trillion. Not all that debt (and the interest rates) are created equal, though—particularly when it comes to credit card balances.

May 2018 Federal Reserve data shows a staggering $1.04 trillion in revolving credit card balances. A staggering 71 percent of credit card balances revolve each month. Payment lapses and collections calls certainly qualify as poor standing, but treading water paying the minimum and 15–25 percent in interest should be equally discouraging signs.

Do You Think You’re Earning Enough?

After money, work is Americans’ second-biggest source of stress, according to the 2018 Stress in America survey. This is no surprise given how intertwined the two are. And contrary to what some may think, any level of income can lead to money anxiety. The feeling is only exacerbated if we happen to also feel slighted in our pay. Considering we spend the majority of our waking hours either at work or involved in some money-related matter, it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle of unwanted thoughts.

Do You Have Trouble Letting Go of Possessions?

One of the more subtly frustrating things in life is when you randomly need something that you recently threw away. After all, we never know when we might need one of our belongings. It’s this mindset, paired with a general worry about personal finances, that contributes to hoarding behavior. But it can also stem from the opposite: people make habits out of shopping to relieve anxiety but can’t get rid of the stuff later on, leading to an emotional, and literal, wall.

Has Money Affected Any Personal Relationships?

Have you lied about money to a friend or family member? Do you use money manipulatively in a relationship? Relationships are the third most-common source of people’s stress, and the ways that stress is managed affects the best of relationships. Whether the result is financial infidelity, enablement or controlling behavior, it’s worth reflecting on the role money plays in your personal relationships.

Answering yes to a question doesn’t necessarily mean you have money-anxiety disorder, but if many of the above things resonate, it’s worth working on getting to the root of your emotions about money. After all, if you’re going to work for it, you may as well enjoy having it.

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Wonga compensation claimants may lose money

The behemoth payday loan company, Wonga, went into administration in August, marking the end of the road for the largest payday loan lender in the UK.

This was largely as a result of a deluge of compensation claims the business received regarding loans being sold irresponsibly, as well as payday loan caps that were implemented in 2014, introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority, that saw all interest and fees capped at 0.8% a day on all high-cost short-term credit loans.

However, there are now concerns that are being raised that claimants with compensation claims outstanding with the lender could end up losing money that they are entitled.

These fears have been voiced after a letter in October from the accounting firm, Grant Thornton, which is overseeing the administration process, told creditors that an automated ‘adjudication tool’ may be used.

This automated, computer based tool is being created to cut down on manual processing costs, and to deal with the huge influx of compensation claims Wonga has received. The accounting firm is legally obliged to assess every single one of the claims. With the letter revealing that since Wonga had collapsed, it had been receiving an estimated 200 to 500 compensation claims each and every day.

This is not including the 24,000 customers complaints that were outstanding prior to the payday lender going into administration, nor the 9,500 complaints which had been escalated to the financial body, the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Taking this all into account, why is the automated system attracting criticism? There are fears that the software may not end up fully processing individual factors and circumstances when deciding to give compensation or not. The head of policy at financial campaign group positive Money, David Clarke, spoke in further detail about this matter to The Guardian:

“After having been mis-sold loans by automated software, Wonga customers may now be forced to appeal to a similar automated system,”

“Just as Wonga’s algorithms failed to account for individual circumstances when making loans in the first place, there are risks that this technology will again fail to take all the relevant factors into account when processing claims, leaving many customers out of pocket.”

In addition to this, Grant Thornton revealed in the same letter that until Wonga’s assets have been sold, it still remains unclear how much compensation will be available for claimants, nor a timeframe in which this money would be provided to customers.

To find trustworthy payday loans companies, consumers are encouraged by the FCA to use price comparison websites, following a recent rule that states every lender should be placed on at least one comparison table. In addition, high cost lenders are moving away from a 30 day product to offer alternatives and longer-term products repaid over 3 to 24 months.

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One in Four Britons to Experience Debt After Holiday Season

Many of us feel the pinch when it comes to Christmas. As wonderful as the festive season is, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us to spend a considerable amount of money on creating the ‘perfect Christmas’, whether this be on buying presents for loved ones, food and alcohol for the Christmas festivities, or the amount spending travelling to see family and friends near and far, the costs soon start to add up. Millions of people in the UK are accumulating debt to be able to have Christmas, according to statistics.

A recent poll carried out by comparison site uSwitch which surveyed over 4,000 consumers showed that a staggering one in four of Britons will be starting the next year with a credit debt average just under £500 (£452). The same poll revealed that across the UK, British shoppers end up loading almost £8.5 billion of debt onto credit cards in order to pay for Christmas. Many are also using high cost loans in order to cover the costs of festive season too. (Source: Payday Bad Credit)

With Britons bombarded with adverts on social media, TV and radio, it is no surprise that many feel the pressure to spend more money during the month of December, but the consequences can be dangerous. It can lead people ending up getting into a cycle of debt, or spending the rest of the following year paying all their debts off.

Some suggestions have been made about Black Friday which offers the opportunity to save money on household brands, although also encouraging unnecessary spending.

In the study by uSwitch, over half surveyed believed that it was likely they would still be making repayments on Christmas spending for this year in the following December. Almost half (48%) stated that they were worried about the level of debt they could end up accumulating over Christmas and paying into the New Year.

The Disposable Income Index (DII) for 2017 by Scottish Friendly, an ISA provider revealed some stark findings about Christmas debt too. Over three-quarters of households that had children stated that they had made financial sacrifices in order to buy Christmas presents.

This was most commonly in the form of using their credit card to pay for purchases, or through taking out a high cost loan or unsecured loan. Similarly, millennials were found to really feel the pinch too. Three quarters of those surveyed also said they were making financial sacrifices to buy things for loved ones at Christmas time. It was estimated that around 14% of these millennials intended to take out a payday loan so they could achieve this.

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Plan Your Way to a Better Credit Score

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought about improving your credit score. It can sometimes seem overwhelming, which is why creating a plan to fix your credit is a great place to start. The good news is that there are many things you can do to improve your credit score. Many of these are easy to accomplish and can make a huge impact in a relatively short period of time. This article will address some tips and plans you can follow to get started on the road to a healthy financial future.

Credit affects us on a regular basis. If we have great credit, it’s easy to get approved for personal loans, credit cards, auto loans, and anything else we may desire. If we have poor credit, the story goes much differently. While loans for struggling credit exist for those who need them, the amounts are typically capped at around $2000. While useful for a family covering the cost of groceries for a month or paying for a car repair, such relatively small sums are impractical for big life-changing purchases.

Fortunately, there are much easier ways to fix your credit problems. You first must come to terms with exactly what your financial situation is. Knowing what’s on your credit report is the first step. Many services online will be able to provide you with a credit report for free or very little money. After you review your debt, you can begin formulating a plan. If you have many accounts in collections, you may want to consider a credit counseling service. Unlike so-called credit repair services, which are unable to do anything for someone they can’t do on their own, credit counselors help consumers to plan their path to improving credit. They provide insights custom tailored to the specific situation a person is going through, and while they don’t promise a silver bullet solution, they can provide invaluable assistance in formulating a proven way to fixing their bad credit.

Another way to fix your credit is to not apply for credit when it isn’t absolutely needed. Inquiries on your credit report reduce your score. Also, having excessive lines of credit will reduce your score as well. Close accounts that aren’t active. If you do have credit cards that are in good standing, try to pay as much towards them each month as you can. Credit utilization under 30 percent is considered to be optimal. Whatever you do, try to avoid bankruptcy. This has a long-term and often devastating effect on your credit. Instead, attempt to negotiate reduced settlements in order to clear your debts. Many companies will be happy to take some money than none at all. Some companies will also negotiate settlements on your behalf. However, this is, of course, for a fee.

All it takes to get your credit back on track is a little work on your part. Take the time to look at your financial picture and see what you can do to make it better. If you need help, it’s readily available. Once you’re able to get your credit score up, you’ll have much better credit terms. Remember, it’s up to you to act responsibly and use credit wisely.

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