Category Archives: Get Out of Debt
You may have a pile of debt and you have resigned yourself to the notion that you will be paying it off for years and years. As your debt grows and starts to compete with your basic living expenses, you know you need to do something, but may not be sure where to start. With the right advice and day-to-day strategies, you can emerge from debt or at least reduce it significantly. Like a weight loss program or taking on a new course of study, change won’t be easy in the beginning, but it is likely to pay off and help you achieve new confidence and an improved life.
The Two-Pronged Approach
To get rid of the debt you already have, it is helpful to take this two-pronged approach which may seem like common sense but is important to keep in mind and apply on a consistent basis. You need to correct the spending problem that caused the debt in the first place. You were either not making enough money or spending too much or both. Attack both sides of the problem at once if you want to get out of debt fast.
First of all, look at your expenses to see where the money is going. Make a list of necessary expenses and extraneous expenses. Write down the minimum of how much you need to spend per month to live and compare it to what you are bringing home in each pay check. You are likely to see a shortfall that is causing you to continually borrow money. The trick is to close the gap between those two factors. You either need to find a way to make more money or cut expenses or combination of the two. The quickest fix it to cut your expenses. You aren’t required to eliminate all the “extras”, but constantly look for ways, from clipping coupons to happy hour, to make what you spend go further.
Itemizing Your Debts
Keep track of exactly how much you owe, the interest rate and what the repayment schedule is. Some people like to attack each debt individually. You can arrange them by the lowest to the highest amount and get rid of the smallest ones first so you have a feeling of accomplishment. Others prefer to go after the debts that have the highest interest rate first to save more money. Whichever approach you take, it is important to have a positive, proactive strategy for dealing with debt.
Take Care of the Future
While working your way out of debt, you need to remember to plan for you future at the same time. One of the ways to do this is to participate in your company’s 401(k) plan. This deduction is taken straight out of your check, and if you don’t see it, chances are you won’t miss it too much. Once done, figure out how you want to invest your retirement funds. Some 401(k) plans allow you to choose which fund you want to use for your investments. If so, do your research online about the funds and keep on top of the current economic climate. Many companies, like Fisher Investments, review global and national news that could affect you future financial decision.
An Ounce of Prevention
It is essential that while you are chipping away at your debt you to not backslide into bad habits. Always have at least $500 to $1,000 in an emergency fund so you don’t have to run to the bank and ask for more money or get more cash from your credit card. Think about debt as a crutch you have decided not to use anymore and a poor way of coping with bad financial habits. Remember the first step is always the hardest but if you stick to your plan, you’ll find that facing your debt, figuring out a workable plan, and executing it can be a personal triumph.
A hectic and stressful day-to-day is not the yellow brick road to a happy, wholesome, and fulfilling life. Though we all know the stakes are high, the competition fierce, and the disappointment inevitable, we need to balance this reality with that of peace, serenity and mindfulness. This will not only benefit our physical and mental health, it will do wonders for our level of happiness and in the end, our productivity.
Relaxing is something that truly has to be learned these days. Though you might consider scrolling through Instagram or your Facebook newsfeed enjoyable, your mind is not fully relaxed nor is it fully conscious of what it is doing. You are probably unknowingly comparing your life to those you see on social media, taking notes on fashion tips, or reevaluating your travel plans based on that photo you saw from a different tropical paradise.
Additionally, some of us are so far gone that the idea of relaxing makes us feel guilty. In our minds we are trained that we should always be busy, because if we aren’t, we are clearly doing something wrong. Add the idea of spending money while relaxing, and you might as well be flying to the moon. That’s why when we do choose to live the “slow life”, we need to do it in a way that doesn’t add more anxiety to our already taxing lives.
For all of us struggling to relax, here are 3 ways to do so without emptying your wallet.
- Enjoy a Day at the Spa
Yes, we know, it sounds clique, but there’s really nothing better for the body and soul than an afternoon at the spa. From the moment you walk through the door to when you exit, you will be enveloped by a sense of serenity that only a morning on a mountain peak could rival. Though it can become an expensive endeavor quickly, look for opportunities to relax and save money with relevant spa package deals and promotions. These can give you the experience you are looking for at a fraction of the cost. Give it a try!
- Engage in Physical Activity
Many of us think that getting our sweat on isn’t exactly…calming, but you might be surprised to find that it is. Though maybe a game of rugby won’t yield the same results as a ballet lesson, generally engaging in physical activity yields positive effects on our mind, and makes our bodies tired in a good way. It will help you sleep well, your body digest efficiently, and keep your focus spot on. You’ll get the best results from mindful and meditative activities like yoga, Pilates, or tai chi. If you can’t fit a series of classes into the budget, turn on a good YouTube video and get started! Even a run in the park doesn’t require anything more than will and a pair of running shoes.
Unglue yourself from your screen and sit down on the couch with a good, old-fashioned book. Turn on some Starbucks-esque tunes, light a candle and immerse yourself in some quality literature. This might be the favorite option for those who have a hard time just letting go and doing something “useless.” Being well-read is always a desirable and recognized trait, so see it as a pleasurable way of investing in your own marketability or learning something new about a topic you are interested in.
As you see, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, (or even anything at all) to truly relax. Learn to embrace the “slow life” and you’ll start seeing benefits in all facets of your life: from work satisfaction, to valuable relationships, and finally, good physical health.
Project management is a difficult job, yet is a desired and well-rewarded skill to have. It shows leadership, organization, and an understanding of the industry. However, it takes time to become a seasoned expert project manager, something that we don’t always have on hand. No worries though, because there are a few tips that anyone can use if they want to manage a project well, whether in the workplace, at an organization, or even your own personal life.
- Assemble a Good Team
If your project is big enough, chances are that you are going to have some help, maybe even a dedicated team to execute it. Though not always an option, do what you can to assemble a team of people that you know, trust, and have worked with in the past. If that’s outside your control, then spend some time with each person, taking note of their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you decide on which tasks to allocate to whom, in order for it to be done well and on time. Being able to openly communicate with this team is important, so nurture these relationships and encourage interaction and honest conversation.
- Use Professional Software
Thankfully in the last few years, project managers can meet targets and milestones faster by using an effective project management software. There are tons of functions that allow you to have an accurate plan that reflects the real-life status of things. It reacts to tasks being done, something being pushed back, or even sends alarms or notifications if there’s an issue or something needs to be done. Using the right software means that nothing gets stuck in the cracks and everything moves forward smoothly and efficiently.
- Build in Time Buffers
There’s always “something”. Whether it’s an ice storm that paralyzes all your suppliers, or a bad strain of the flu that wipes out half of your team in the same week, you have to realize that there will be set backs. That’s why in the planning phase of the project, it’s extremely important to build in some time and budget buffers. Remember to take into account the work culture of the people that you are working with. If you know that most of your roofers go hunting in the fall, don’t think that they’ll be able to complete the task as quickly as if they were all on-site. That said, if there’s ever a chance to get ahead of schedule, capitalize on it. That way you grow this buffer in case you need it, and if not, it’s always nice to be done early.
- Make Notes in One Place
It’s common for project managers to be constantly getting calls and emails with details, changes, appointments, and more. Instead of noting these things just anywhere, decide on a specific storage space for this type of information. It might be a note book, a phone app, or a document on your computer, but knowing that all these “scraps” of information are in one place is comforting. It’s also a place that you can go back to and reference for upcoming decisions and more.
- Meet regularly to track progress and discuss issues
Regular meetings with your team is crucial. It’s a good time to discuss any issues, hardships, wins, or ideas that need to be resolved, consulted about, or incorporated into the project plan. It holds everyone accountable to their roles and is an open forum in which you can see how the big-picture plan is coming together. To make sure that these are as effective as possible, have someone take minutes during the meeting and write out any specific actions that will result, along with who they are assigned to. After the meeting, make these actions official by putting them into your project planning software.
- Keep Up Your Professional Relationships
If you were performing two jobs simultaneously for different parties, and due to some mishap, you’ll only be able to deliver one on time, how do you choose which one it is? More often than not, the client that has a longer and better quality relationship with them will be the one that gets the result on time. This illustrates how important it is to have a good working relationship with all of your contractors. If they know that you respect and value them, they will do everything they can do perform their job as well as possible and on time, even if it means letting someone else down.
These 6 tips to successful project management will help you surprise your bosses, command the respect of the staff under you, as well as help you feel more calm and adept at your job. Congratulations, we’re sure you’ll be great!
There is no official guidebook for getting out of debt. The indebted are largely left to fend for themselves with their own means when the red notices start coming. However, as with anything, there are a number of things debtors should do, and more importantly, shouldn’t do. Whether debtors get out of debt in a matter of years, or end up being indebted forever, depends on these.
The first thing most people forget about being in debt is that it’s something that happens to everyone. Most debtors find it difficult to come into terms with the fact that they are in debt. People ignore debt, and then end up sinking further in debt. Instead of denying debt, accept it as a fact of life. People who do not belong to the one percent have to take out loans to pay for college, new home or cars. Sometimes, when incomes fluctuate, it’s difficult to repay these loans. That’s when people become steeped in debt.
No matter how deep one gets into debt, there’s always the possibility of getting out of the situation. Another mistake is that most people think it’s not possible to renegotiate the terms of a loan contract. Loan contracts are not set in stone. State and federal laws allow debtors to renegotiate terms of debt if the debtor is unable to meet the financial obligations stated in the contract. In some extreme instances, the law demands that the creditor forgive the debt. In other scenarios, the creditor could legally be forced to reduce the amount of debt. For people who are in debt because of payday loans, the legal avenues will be able to get the creditor to lower interest rates.
Also, bankruptcy is another option most debtors fail to see at first. Most debtors fear bankruptcy as it can ruin credit histories. However, under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors are allowed to repay the loan in partial or at lowered interest rates. Once a debtor starts repaying, bad credit can improve. Local attorneys, for example, a Scottsdale bankruptcy lawyer, will be able to help debtors with specific state laws that favor the debtor.
Other than a legally mandated debt settlement, the indebted can also consider debt consolidation if struggling with multiple debts at once. For example, if a household has trouble paying down a student loan debt, a mortgage and a payday loan, it might make sense to combine all these loans into one and pay a single monthly lump sum. However, for low-income households, this might not be an option as the lump sum usually tends to be quite high.
The easiest way to pay down debt is to start paying off highest interest generating debts first, and seek extensions or grace periods for lower interest loans. Usually, if the interest rate is low on a particular debt, that mostly likely means the loan is secured. It’s much easier to renegotiate secured loans than non-secured ones like personal installments loans.
Ultimately, debtors will have to make major lifestyle changes to pay down any debt. This means making cutbacks across household expenses by eliminating all unnecessary expenses. Extreme frugality for three or four years is worthwhile if it helps someone be completely debt-free.