Chasing dollar…..always

Archive for February, 2011

How to choose the right credit card?

Choosing a credit card for yourself can be quiet a daunting task. With so many offers put out by different credit card companies, things can really become confusing. So how do you go about choosing the right card for yourself? You should keep a few things in your mind while shopping for a credit card.

The first thing that you should think about is how you plan to use the card. This is important as certain cards would make more sense for you depending on how you use it. Say for example, if you know that you will carry a balance on your card then you need to be concerned about the interest charges and the APR. Here, a low rate interest card should be your ideal choice.

If you are someone who wants to transfer balance from another card that you need to pay off then you should shop around for a balance transfer card that offers a 0% interest for a substantial time. Check the details thoroughly so that the card is cost effective for you.

If you are interested in rewards program then there are hordes of options available for you. You can avail good discount programs and free travel and many other similar offers. Just be sure to check out all the details properly so that you are truly benefited by the rewards card.

Be sure to check the fine print of the card that you have opted for. Some cards have changing annual fees that you need to pay each year. Many customers are charged a set fee for not using their cards for a certain period of time. Therefore, pay close attention to the fine print of the card and check the terms and conditions thoroughly.

Now you know which card you is the right one for you. Well, do you know your credit score? Credit score also determines which card you can qualify for. So, don’t miss out on that. If your credit score is low then you may need to build it up before you can get the credit that you require.

These are some points to help you choose your credit card wisely. But remember, whichever card you use, one thing always remains constant: being responsible. Proper use will ensure that the credit card company is reporting you in a good light to the credit bureaus every month and this will work to your advantage in more ways than one.

 

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How can you budget household finances?

Most of the people have a hard time managing their personal budget. Almost all of them end up spending more than what they can afford to and consequently invite debt problems. Therefore, it is very important that you take certain steps to set up a budget for yourself.  As you might already know, budgeting is a process of allocating one’s salary or profits according to one’s needs and expenses. Yes, it might at first sound to be a bit difficult but with a little determination it is not very tough to stick to your budget.

Take for example, you visit a supermarket today and an expensive pair of jeans catches your fancy. What do you do? Probably, you will end up purchasing the same. This would not have happened had you had a proper budget in place. With a solid budget, you would just know where you need to spend how much. All your unnecessary expenses would be curtailed and thus you will be on your way to paint a better financial picture of yourself.

So how can you go about building a budget? List down all the things that you need to make payments for. It could be groceries, transportation, gasoline, mortgage payments and the like. After that is done, set up an estimate on how much you can afford to pay for each item on the list. This is the perfect time to cut down on all your extra expenses. Weed out such expenses and start concentrating more towards your savings and investments.

It is also important to compare prices before you set out to shop. Settle for the shops that offer discounts and reasonable prices. Purchasing items in bulk is also a good idea to bring down your overall costs. Cut back on snacks and convenience foods. A major chunk of expenses is lost on entertainment, so it is advisable that you bridle your expenses on this front too.

Buying brands is a hobby and a matter of ego for most of us. Realize that opting for cheaper products might as well offer you the same advantages. Make use of coupons to avail discounts and you can also shop at thrift stores to purchase items at really low prices.

You should keep track of your savings for at least three months. This way you will be able to make adjustments to your budget plan if needed. Treading a little carefully with your finances can reap rewarding results and this in turn will motivate you to stick to your budget and enjoy an ever-lasting financial success.

Are you making these stock investment mistakes?

Many people are wary to start off their financial career with investment in the stock market. And why not? If stock markets have made a few people millionaires overnight, it also has to tell a great number of riches to rags stories. So what can you take away from this? Should you altogether abstain from the stock market? Or should you try your luck with investment? Well, there’s no need to panic. Keeping a few simple points in mind can help you to avoid common blunders that people commit. This is especially important for beginners who eagerly want to make their money grow in the stock investment market.

1) Don’t trade too often: Beginners usually get carried off with “hot tips” about stock investment on the TV or if they hear that a particular stock is doing very well. Stay away from all these advertisements and marketing gimmicks. Trading too frequently might cause you to pay short-term capital gains tax. The broker also might try to convince you to trade in a particular stock and ultimately he will be the one raking profits with trading fees.

2) Stop panicking: It’s understandable why investors lose their sleep when the market goes down. But never let it take over the better half of you. Panicking when the market is not doing well will only cause you to take unwise decisions. This way you invite more losses. Be calm and prudent while you are trading in the stock market. That’s the most important key to success.

3) Don’t be too greedy: In your school days, moral science lessons taught you to not to be greedy. Now is the perfect time to implement what you have learnt. Impulsively buying and selling stocks in the hope of making more money can actually pave the path to your becoming penniless. In the process, it’s your broker who will become filthy rich with commissions in course of time. Each trade comes with transaction costs and taxes. Gauge your investments carefully to maximize your chances of making profits.

4) Never risk your money with something you don’t understand: So your friend bought a new car with the profits he made in the stock market? That does not mean you will jump to try your luck with the same company. Something that has worked for him might not be the one for you. Before you want to try your luck with any company, try to gather as much information about the company’s business model and its financial history. Also check for the stability of the company. Only after assessing all these factors should you decide whether it will be fruitful for you to purchase stocks of that company.

5) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Do not just acquire stocks from one single sector. It might cause your entire investment to go down the drain if that sector suffers a nosedive. The solution lies in diversification. Purchase stocks from all major sectors like property, industry, oil etc. and diversify your portfolio. Limit your investment in one sector to 10% of your portfolio and you should do well.

Keeping away from such blunders in the stock market ensures that you gain an upper hand for yourself. Of course, there are a lot of mistakes that you will commit once you start with your investments but the important thing is to learn from your experiences. Didn’t you already know that billionaire investors have also come up the hard way?

Simple ways to save money in 2011

Saving money is a topmost priority for people choosing the frugal way of life. No wonder these are the people who are never bothered by bad credit or debt. If you are not careful with your finances, you are just paving the path to future debt. Listed below are some tips which can help you save some cash this New Year. Read on to know what you can do to get more prudent with your money.

1) Track your spending: This is a common problem with most people. They do not keep track of their money which consequently results in spending beyond their means. Keeping a track of one’s expenditure is very important. This is the only way you can weed out unnecessary expenses. It helps you to stay within your budget and greatly reduces your chances of falling in debt.

2) Food expenses: Spending money on food consumes a major chunk of your expenses. How about setting a food budget? This can help you in ways more than one. Use coupons to get discount on food items. Use leftovers the next day in your menu plan and always buy sale items. These are just some of the ways you can opt to save cash.

3) Wait is the word: This one works at the psychological level but why not utilize it in your financial life too? Make a list of all the items you need to purchase from the supermarket. Now wait for a few days before you finally go to the market to buy it. Often, you will see that you will be in a position to strike out some items from the list. What you need to buy today might not be so necessary after a certain time.

4) Use cash: This one’s too clichéd but it can’t be stressed enough. Stop using your credit cards and start using cash to make your payments. If you can’t afford something, simply give up the urge to buy it at all. Using credit cards to meet your needs is unwise and will only put your financial life in danger.

5) Recycle: We always throw away things which we think cannot be used for any useful purpose. The trick is to be innovative. How about using your newspapers as wrapping papers or worn out socks as dust rag? Hey you can even use that coffee can as storage for pens or kids crayons! Just a little creativity from your end and you will be surprised at the amount you can save up.

These are just a few suggestions you can utilize to save money. Have you planned out a few yourself already? All the best!