Tips and hints from Cash Fast Centers will give insight about various components of your financial health as well as dispel misconceptions about no-credit-check loans.
Every year, you might find that money is tight during the holidays. Keeping decent savings for emergencies and gifting or leisure might seem like a daunting task, but there are tried and true ways to ensure that you’ll be able to afford gifts this season.
Budgeting for the Holidays
Budgeting, at its core, is simple math and planning. Even when money is tight, there are many budgeting tips to help keep you on track financially, even during the holiday season.
The 50-30-20 Rule
First, figure out your income after taxes. If you pay taxes throughout the year, that’s great. You will likely be eligible for a refund during tax season. If you don’t, make sure you’re setting aside money frequently, so you don’t face financial strain later.
Once you know your income, a great practice is the 50 30 20 rule. Start by writing down all of your expenses, organized in categories of needs versus wants. The Needs will be payments towards rent, utilities, internet/cable, travel (parking, gas, car payments, train fare, etc.), groceries, insurance. Your needs should equal 50 percent or less of your income. If over 50 percent, consider places you can cut back. Be mindful about where you shop for groceries and what you buy. Junk food is expensive. Contact your loan servicer to discuss loan payment reduction opportunities.
Needs Versus Wants
Anything else is a want, and this can account for as much as 30 percent of your income. A budgeting tip to always keep in mind is: how can you reduce spending in this category? Can you get rid of subscriptions, cut spending on coffee and restaurants, or alter your lifestyle to benefit your bank account?
The last 20 percent (or more) should be saved. If you [...]
COVID-19 has altered and affected the lives of people on the entire globe. A pandemic, the worst in over a century, has required every facet of daily life to adapt. Education has been an area, especially hard hit. Children can carry the disease without symptoms, and the risk of transmission for COVID-19 is high. So, schools across the world have closed down and switched to remote learning to provide education.
A Changing World
Higher learning has also had to adapt in such ways. Plenty of colleges offered online programs before the pandemic, but with campuses closing for safety, hundreds of thousands of students have found themselves taking courses entirely online. With the shift to online learning and the ability to access campus resources limited or restricted during the summer semesters, some students might question if they should take a semester, or even a year, off from their academic studies. High schoolers graduating and preparing for college may likewise ponder such a decision.
The concept of waiting a year to attend college after high school is usually referred to as a gap year, and, along with pandemic concerns, the idea has other benefits. The most significant benefit is the chance to work to save and gain life experience before attending college. Such life experiences are often highly valued by college application programs. What career path a student plans to pursue is also a significant factor. Many careers can be followed by entering a trade school or gathering world experience. Electricians, HVAC, and the like are better studied on the job and at community colleges. It might be worth attending community college to take a few early classes and transfer them to save money.
Plan Carefully, Don’t Act With no [...]
Sticking to a budget at any time of the year can be tricky. And when you factor in gifts for friends and family, hosting or attending parties, and decorations, the holiday season can be all the more challenging to your bottom line.
Below are some tips to help you stick to your holiday budget and keep financial stress off your Christmas list.
Start budgeting early
The holiday season has a way of sneaking up on us. Start setting aside some spending money several months in advance. Better yet, work it into your budget for every month of the year. The earlier you begin to save, the less money you’ll need to put aside each month.
Take everything into consideration
It’s easy to only focus on the price of gifts. But little things like wrapping paper, cookies, and even an increased power bill due to Christmas lights can quickly eat into your budget. Make room for every expense, no matter how small.
Download a holiday app
There are plenty of holiday shopping apps available that can help you find the lowest prices, take advantage of coupons, earn cash back, and more. Also, learn how you can save money on your holiday shopping, which will help you stay under your original budget.
Stick to cash
Once your budget is set, make an envelope for each category and put the appropriate amount of cash in each. Using a cash system will keep you from overspending, something that can be easy to do with a credit card.
Shop online to save money on gas
You did a great job of sticking to your holiday budget, but you spent a fortune in gas running to stores all over town. Many [...]
For many, debt isn’t just an obstacle. It’s a lifestyle. Once you fall into debt, it can be hard to pull yourself back out of it. Debt leads to borrowing, which leads to interest and more debt. And before you know it, you’re trapped in a vicious debt cycle.
Fortunately there is a way out. Follow the five steps below to get out of your cycle of debt and achieve financial freedom.
How to Escape a Debt Cycle
Step 1: Save up an emergency fund.
Your first thought is probably to throw every spare dollar at your debt. But one of the things that keeps people locked into a debt cycle is surprise expenses such as a car repair or medical bill. Before fully tackling your debt, build up a small emergency fund. That way your debt payback plan can remain uninterrupted by minor emergencies.
Step 2: Consolidate debt and transfer it to a low (or no) interest rate.
There are a number of credit cards that offer low or even no interest rates for a select period of time if you transfer your debt to them. Doing this can free you up from interest payments that keep you trapped in a debt cycle. If possible, consolidate all of your debts into one loan or credit card.
Step 3: Pay more than the minimum.
Pay more than just the minimum on your balance each month. You’ll pay less in interest and will climb out of your debt cycle faster.
Step 4: Live on a budget.
A key to breaking the debt cycle is maintaining a pattern of predictable spending. Create a budget so you know how much you’ll be allocating each month to food, bills, [...]
Spring means warmer weather and a new beginning. But it also means tax season. Read about some helpful tips for how to prepare for tax season and make this year’s filing a breeze.
Get Ready to Do Your Taxes
Know which forms you’ll need.
W-2, W-4, 1040, 1099, and so many more. There are different types of tax forms required for different types of jobs. Your employer should mail the appropriate form to you sometime after January 1. If you don’t have anything by March, you should probably ask your employer for them. It’s also wise to keep all of your tax forms in one place.
Decide how you wish to file.
You can take your tax forms to a tax preparation service or do them yourself. Most tax preparation companies charge a fee (which can eat up a large chunk of your return), but there are places who have volunteers who will do it for you for free.
If you wish to do it yourself, there are many easy-to-use online services that will walk you through the process step-by-step.
Make a list of your credits and deductions.
There are many things that can count as tax credits or serve as deductions from your taxes, such as having a child, buying a house, getting married, or donating to charity. Make a list of all your potential deductions to maximize your savings.
Be prepared to pay.
It’s possible that you might receive a nice refund after filing your taxes. But it’s also possible that you might end up owing money to the government. There are several things that can help determine this but the main factor is how many taxes were taken out of [...]
For many people, a New Year’s resolution is to start saving money. For others, it’s to stop saving money and start investing money. But if you’re new to investing, you may not know where to start.
No worries. We’ve got you covered. Below are five good tips for anyone investing for the first time in 2019.
Investing in 2019: Your Guide
Gold is generally considered a safe investment and many investors use it to diversify their portfolio. The value of gold is based on supply and demand, and gold is used in everything from jewelry and computers to dentistry and the aerospace industry. One advantage of investing in gold is that it often performs best when the rest of the market is down, such as during wartime or a recession.
We’ve all heard of real estate moguls who’ve made a fortune from selling luxury beachfront properties. But you don’t have to be a high-end real estate agent to make a sound investment. If you have an extra room, you can turn it into rental space for a roommate or list it for rent on a vacation rental site. This is a great first step into the world of real estate investing.
You don’t need to know the ins and outs of the stock market to get some skin in the game. There are a number of good stock options for first-time investors that can get you off and running.
If your employer does not offer an IRA, you aren’t out of luck. Anyone can open an IRA account and begin contributing immediately. You can choose your level of risk, and an IRA can provide a long-term investment tool [...]
The holiday season brings out the spirit of giving. That also means bringing out the necessity of spending.
But Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank. Below, we’ve come up with five tips for how to get the best deals on holiday gifts this year.
How to Save Money on Gift Shopping
1. Price match on the spot
You’re at a store and see the perfect gift for someone on your list. But can you get it for a lower price at another store? Or online? If you have a smartphone, check to see the price of the item at other nearby stores and also online. You may be able to get the same perfect gift for an even more perfect price. Plus, many stores honor price matching, so you may not even have to drive somewhere else to get the reduced price.
2. Get an early start
Waiting until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping often means settling for less-than-ideal prices because of a time crunch. By starting earlier in the season, you can allow yourself enough time to shop around, wait for sales, or double back if needed.
3. Sign up for rewards cards
Many stores offer an immediate discount on your purchase just for signing up for a rewards card. Even if you never use the card, the instant savings are worth the five minutes it takes to fill out the application.
4. Find coupons online
Whether you’re shopping online or in-person, there are deals to be had. There are a number of websites dedicated to offering printable coupons for store shopping or promo codes that can be used for online shopping. Sometimes a considerable discount is just a click [...]
The holidays are coming whether you’re wallet is ready or not. Luckily, there are some easy ways to make money fast, especially if you live in the Charlotte area. Check out this list below and see which ways might be best for you so that you and your family can have a holiday season to remember.
Ways to Make Money Fast in Charlotte, NC
Have a Yard Sale
Pick a weekend when the weather’s nice and host a yard sale. Gather all the things you don’t want or need anymore and set up shop out front. Because it’s 2018, you can also sell a lot of things online. Post items for sale on Facebook or Craigslist to reach more potential buyers.
Drive for Uber or Lyft
As long as you have a reliable car, you can start driving for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft. The best part is you can set your own schedule, allowing you to squeeze in customers whenever you’re available.
Become a Dog Walker
If you have some free time during the day (or night), sign up to become a dog walker on Wag! It’s the Uber for dogs. You get to pick your schedule and spend time with some furry friends while making money.
Claim Jobs on TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit is a service that connects people who need help doing things with people who can do them. You can sign up to complete tasks like assembling furniture, helping people move, assisting with home improvement projects, and more.
Sell Your Skills
You don’t need to go through TaskRabbit to offer your services to people. You can also ask around to see who needs a babysitter, who needs their driveway shoveled, who [...]
With so much to do around Charlotte, North Carolina — from restaurants to shopping centers and more — it can be easy to spend all the money in your pocket. As tempting as that may be, it’s probably not in your best interest. To keep yourself from overspending, check out these helpful money-saving tips.
How to Save Money in Charlotte, NC
Collect a rainy day fund
It’s the oldest trick in the book for a reason. Place a jar on your bedroom dresser or kitchen countertop, and fill it with all the loose change you get when you pay for groceries and make other transactions in cash. Or, make a habit of placing a dollar or two in the jar every time you get home from work. When the jar fills, bring it to your local bank and deposit your collection.
Once the coin machine calculates a sum in 10s, 20s, or even 50s, you can save it or spend it on something you’ve always wanted to do in Charlotte — like go to a football game at Bank of America Stadium or visit Carowinds Amusement Park.
Lookout for free events
After you’ve taken care of the groceries, rent, and monthly bills, save your extra cash and opt for a number of free events and activities around Charlotte. If physical fitness is your jam, stop by the South Tryon Athletic Center Crossfit (STAX) every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for a free boot camp.
Visit the UNC Botanical Gardens on a warm afternoon, and stroll through three gardens featuring seasonal flowers, plants, shrubs, and more. The Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve is another free spot where you can walk along nature [...]
Whether you’re low on funds or simply seeking to pad your bank account with a healthy layer of savings, minimizing your everyday expenses may seem like a tough task. Fortunately, there are lots of ways other than payday loans to slash the amount of money you have to fork up to get the things you need.
With some strategic planning, you may be able to get those things without spending a penny. We’ll tell you how.
Ways to Get Items you Need Without Wasting a Dime
Trade with friends
If you’re close with someone, there’s a good chance they’re happy to help you out. But there’s also a good chance that they need something just as much as you do. So why not swap? Trading with friends is an easy way to transform your unnecessary possessions into something you genuinely need while helping out a close connection.
Take advantage of the internet
The internet is a treasure trove when it comes to free stuff. Start your search by posting on social media to let friends and family know that you’re looking for something. Posting online also offers connections outside of your inner circle an opportunity to help you out.
Then, dig into social media groups. Certain platforms offer local swapping groups, as well as groups where users can post possessions they’d like gone. Be sure to exercise due caution, and bring a friend if you’re planning to meet with a stranger.
Finally, make sure to peruse online classified ads. Most websites featuring classifieds include a section for free stuff, so take a look. You may find exactly what you’re searching for.
Even if you keep your home clean, it’s easy for less-visible areas to get [...]