5 Steps Toward Successful Budgeting for the New Year

The best way to save money is to form a budget. If your new year’s resolution is to sock away some cash, constructing a budget for the year is a good place to start.

A budget helps you visualize the money that’s coming in and out of your everyday life and plan ahead to reduce the chances of financial trouble. Below are five tips for budgeting for the new year that will keep you on track with your finances.
List your income and expenses
On a piece of paper or the computer, make two columns. On the left side, write down all of your expenses for the year. This includes your rent or mortgage, all of your bills, child care, car payments, student loans, and money for things like gas and groceries.

On the right side, list all of your estimated income for the year from any jobs, assistance, or other ways of receiving money.

Add up the total for both columns. If the number on the right side is larger than the one on the left, congratulations — you’re living within your means. If the number on the left is bigger, you’ve got some work to do.
Estimate accordingly
You won’t be able to list out all of your incomes and expenses right down to the last dollar. Some of your expenses, like electricity bills or gas, will fluctuate from one month to the next. And the same can be true for your income.

When writing down your expenses, overestimate the amount. Use a number that represents the most you can expect to spend. And when writing down your income, underestimate the amount with a number that represents the least you could expect. Doing [...]

By |January 1st, 2019|General|Comments Off on 5 Steps Toward Successful Budgeting for the New Year|

Simple New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Save Money

New Year’s resolutions are great opportunities to get a fresh start and improve your life. If you’re anything like most Americans, finding ways to save more money is near the top of your list. Fortunately, you can make great headway by adopting just a few minor lifestyle changes. Here are some helpful money-saving resolutions.

Like all resolutions, some setbacks are to be expected. If you’re caught off-guard by sudden expenses along the way, you can make ends meet with a convenient title loan from Cash Fast Loan Center in Clover, South Carolina.
New Year’s Resolutions to Help Yourself Save Money in Clover, SC
Cut Out the Small Expenses
Maybe you pick up a cup of coffee every morning or go out for lunch several times a week. These small expenditures can add up to a massive portion of your budget. Limiting these convenience purchases or cutting them entirely can save you hundreds in a year.
Prep Food Ahead of Time
Buying and prepping your lunches in bulk can save you both time and money. Just make several large servings of the same meal Sunday night and pack them up in plastic containers to reheat and eat throughout the week. This way you aren’t wasting money on ingredients for individual meals every day.

Here are just a few delicious and easy prep-ahead meals.
Eat Less Meat
Another way to save on food is to eat less meat. Meats are typically the most expensive part of any meal, and it can be substituted for high-protein vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, legumes, and tofu. Avoiding meat can also help you improve your health. Try incorporating a “Meatless Monday” into your weekly schedule to get started.
Set Aside Extra Money
If [...]

By |January 10th, 2018|General|Comments Off on Simple New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Save Money|

10 Affordable Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Christmas is the season of giving. Unfortunately, giving isn’t easy when funds are limited.

But you don’t have to break the bank to make the holidays special. Here are 10 affordable gifts for the holidays that are sure to bring some Christmas joy to your friends and family.

Wireless Swivel Speaker. Small but powerful and able to swivel in any direction to always follow the party, this speaker costs only $10 and has a four-hour rechargeable battery.  
Floating picture frame. This frame adds a modern twist to displaying pictures. The picture floats within a slick copper frame and allows for both horizontal and vertical displays, all for just $15.
Mini waffle maker. Two things everybody loves: waffles and saving space. For just $10 and only two minutes of baking time, this 4’’ x 6’’ non-stick waffle maker is a small investment with a big payoff.
Mouse ring holder. Have someone on your shopping list who wears a lot of rings? This mouse ring holder costs only $10 and can save your someone from losing a lot more.
Dachshund ice cube tray. If there are any Dachshund dog owners on your list, this $10 gift can chill their drink during the dog days of summer.
Disposable camera. Disposable cameras are making a comeback and this $10 gift is ideal for the person on your list with a big vacation or holiday party coming up.    
Lotus cotton swab holder. If there’s a neater way to store Q-tips, you probably won’t find it for less than $6.
Man candles. The men in your life can burn candles in scents they love such as dirt, pizza, cigars, sawdust, [...]

By |November 21st, 2017|General|Comments Off on 10 Affordable Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season|

6 Helpful Ways to Save Cash on Your Next Road Trip

In these warm summer months, nothing beats the freedom of the open road. A road trip is a great excuse to see parts of the country you’ve never seen before. However, long car trips can also be rough on the budget if you don’t know what you’re doing. With a little bit of planning and these tips, you can save money on your next road vacation.
Save Money on Your Next Summer Road Trip
Between food, fuel, and lodging, life on the road can add up. Here are a few simple ways to travel the open highway for less.
Save on Gas
As the miles add up, so do the gas costs. Depending on the length of your trip, you might spend hundreds just keeping your car fueled. You can put a significant dent in your gas bill with apps like GasBuddy, which lets you track down the cheapest station in your area. Using a card with gas rewards can also help lighten the load.

If you have a gas guzzling car, consider renting a fuel efficient or hybrid option for the trip. The rental fees are often more than paid for by the money you’ll save at the pump.
Save on Food
Meals on the road don’t have to be expensive. Before your vacation begins, check out websites like Gift Card Granny, which sells gift cards to well-known restaurant chains at huge discounts. Order a few cards for some of your favorite places and map out where you can find them along your route.
Caffeine on the Cheap
Sometimes we need a little kick of caffeine to get us started in the morning. However, multiple cups at Starbucks can add up quickly. A quality [...]

By |July 7th, 2017|General|Comments Off on 6 Helpful Ways to Save Cash on Your Next Road Trip|

4 Exciting Free Local Events to Celebrate Independence Day

Independence Day is a time to celebrate, but barbecue supplies, fireworks, and drinks can add up in cost. Celebrating doesn’t have to be so expensive this 4th of July. Make your holiday more affordable by taking advantage of one of the many free celebrations around Charlotte, North Carolina, and York County, South Carolina.
Save this Independence Day with These Charlotte, NC, Area Events
The Carolinas are full of free July 4th celebrations that let you enjoy the holiday without needing to drain funds. Here are a few of our favorites.
Skyshow Charlotte
July 4th, 9:30 pm

Outside BB&T Ballpark

When it comes to 4th of July fireworks, the bigger, the better. So why settle for anything less than the biggest? Skyshow in Charlotte, North Carolina, bills itself as the largest fireworks display in the Southeast, and it is truly a sight to behold. Although the best seats are from BB&T Ballpark, you can get a stunning view of the spectacle from Romare Bearden Park or one of the nearby parking lots.
Harrisburg 4th of July Celebration
June 29- July 4th

Harrisburg Park

The town of Harrisburg in North Carolina always put together an impressive 4th of July Celebration, and 2017 is their 20th year. With three days of great activities, shows, and events, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.

Although there is a pageant on the 29th of June, and plenty to do on the 3rd of July, festivities kick into full steam on the 4th. After a 9 a.m. parade, visitors can enjoy a full evening of food, fun, live music, and fireworks.
Queen City Brass Band
July 3rd, 7:30

Mint Hill Town Hall

Take in some classic patriotic music this holiday with a free concert from [...]

By |July 1st, 2017|General|Comments Off on 4 Exciting Free Local Events to Celebrate Independence Day|
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    Beat the Heat of Carolina Summer With These Tips from Cash Fast Loans

Beat the Heat of Carolina Summer With These Tips from Cash Fast Loans

In the Carolinas, summer heat can be hard to bear sometimes. It can be instinct to blast the air conditioning for a respite from the oppressive warmth. However, a well air-conditioned house comes with a high price tag.

If you’re tight on cash, you can save yourself some money this summer with these easy tips to help beat the summer heat.
Tips for Affordable Relief from Summer’s Heat in Carolina
With the beautiful weather of a Carolina summer, leaving the blinds wide open is tempting. However, tons of heat comes in through the windows. Blocking out the sun’s rays cut the heat going through your house by as much as 45%. White blinds are the best for deflecting sunlight.
Cold Water on Wrists
You can quickly cool off most of your body by running cold water on certain specific points. These spots are close to major veins, letting cooled blood move throughout your body.

The easiest spots to reach are your wrists. Run them under cold water in the sink for several seconds when you get too hot.
Use Public Spaces
Public areas like libraries or coffee shops always have excellent air conditioning. If you’ve got some work to do, or are meeting someone, consider one of these locations.
Maximize Your A/C
Running a fan and an air conditioner at the same time can help cut the cost of cooling your home. With the fan blowing the cool air around, you can have the A/C at a much lower setting.
Cook Outside
Give your oven a break! The oven is a massive source of heat in any home. By cooking outdoors, you keep yourself from having to bring extra heat indoors by leaving [...]

By |May 12th, 2017|General|Comments Off on Beat the Heat of Carolina Summer With These Tips from Cash Fast Loans|

Happy Holidays from Cash Fast

Sometimes, with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and to-do lists. We’ve all been there. But, as we inch closer towards the end of the year, it’s time for us all to slow down and remember what this season really is all about.

Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling across the country, we hope you have a magical time with friends and family. We wish for your days to be filled with fun games, delicious meals around the table, and plenty of quality time with the ones you love.

If you are sticking around the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, then make sure to check out one of the many wonderful events throughout our city to help get you in the holiday mood!

One of our personal favorites is Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway taking place every day, with the exception of Christmas, through December 31. This drive-through holiday light event is made up of over 800 displays. That means drivers get to enjoy over three million lights!

Those who wish to continue their holiday light tour should check out Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. This event is also taking place every day, with the exception of Christmas, through January 1. Not only are lights beautifully integrated throughout the garden and its fountains, but the event also includes children’s crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, live entertainment, and a campfire with s’mores.

However you decide to celebrate this joyous time of year, the staff at Cash Fast would like to wish you and yours Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

By |December 24th, 2016|General|Comments Off on Happy Holidays from Cash Fast|
  • health savings account hsa concept with pink piggy bank, wood block letters and green background
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    What Questions Should You Ask Before Opening an HSA Account?

What Questions Should You Ask Before Opening an HSA Account?

When you get sick, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is how to pay for medical expenses. Healthcare is generally expensive, which can add stress to an already stressful time. Fortunately, this anxiety can be avoided with a Health Savings Account (HSA).

What is a Health Savings Account?

In concept, HSAs are similar  to personal savings accounts; HSAs are accounts that are used to save money which will only be used for healthcare expenses. The owner of the account, rather than employer, is the person who controls the money. In addition, money put into this account is not taxed.

Am I eligible for a Health Savings Account?

In order to open an HSA, you must have a special type of health insurance called a high deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). According to Nerdwallet, “For 2017, the IRS defines an HDHP for an individual as a plan with an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,550 and a minimum deductible of $1,300.” This means that if you have this type of high deductible insurance, you would need to pay $1,300 in medical expenses before your insurance company will pay for a claim.

What can a Health Savings Account be used for?

The funds found in your HSA can be used for a multitude of out-of-pocket costs, such as medical, dental, or vision payments. However, HSAs can’t be used to pay health insurance premiums.

How do I open a Health Savings Account?

Typically, Health Insurance Providers can provide you access to an HSA. If this is not available with your particular healthcare provider, you can open an HSA account at most financial institutions.

What are the benefits of a Health Savings Account?

Rather than someone else making decisions regarding your HSA, you completely control [...]

By |November 7th, 2016|General|Comments Off on What Questions Should You Ask Before Opening an HSA Account?|

Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions about Sinking Funds

Sometimes emergencies that require cash pop into our lives. It’s hard to plan for these types of events and they often take us by surprise.

But what about those events or occasions we know are coming? Do you have payments for school, your friend’s birthday, car payments, or even Christmas coming up?

Setting up a sinking fund is an easy and financially responsible way to prepare for these events.

What is a sinking fund?
The simplest definition of a sinking fund is an amount of cash formed by periodically setting money aside. These funds are used to either pay off a debt or to purchase a specific item.

When large organizations utilize sinking funds it is typically through the repayment of bonds. However, when individuals decide to begin a sinking fund, it can be through whatever method they deem best.


Where do I keep my sinking fund?

One purpose of sinking funds is to have the cash easily accessible, but if you’re accumulating a large amount, then you want it to be safe. Stowing away a couple of bucks in an envelope is perfectly fine if you’re saving up for something smaller. But if your goal is to purchase a new car with your sinking fund, then you may want to store your money in a more secure location such as a bank.


What is the difference between a sinking fund and a savings account?

Generally, the money in sinking funds is meant for a specific purpose. Also, the way in which these funds are saved and store is up to the savers discretion. On the other hand, while savings accounts can have specific purposes in mind, they can also be set-up for general purposes.

The second difference is that [...]

By |October 21st, 2016|General|Comments Off on Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions about Sinking Funds|

How Interest Rates Work

Whenever you open a bank account or a retirement account, or when you’re applying for a loan for a home, car, or business, you wind up dealing with interest rates. What is interest, and what does it mean for you? Knowing more about interest rates and how they work will help you make wise decisions when saving and borrowing money.
Why Interest Rates are Important
What is Interest?

There are two ways interest can affect you. One way is it is given to you as the result of having an account with a bank or credit union. Interest is also added to expected payments required by a lending organization.

First, let’s consider interest when it is given to you. When you put your money into savings accounts or checking accounts, it’s easy to think of those dollars as simply sitting in a dark bank vault. But, the exact opposite is true. Once you hand your money over to a bank, they then use your money for investments. The bank makes these investments in order to gain profit for both them, their shareholders, and, yes, you. The money they get back from their investments is returned to you as a small percentage of interest on your deposit. Think of the interest rate on your accounts as a “Thank you.”

On the flipside, interest is added to any payments you make when you borrow money from a financial institution or certified lender. Here it acts as the lender’s fee and a guarantee for their services. This is how financial institutions make money, aside from investments, ensuring they remain solvent.

Are All Interest Rates the Same?

Keep in mind that no two interest rates are alike. Applying for the same size loan [...]

By |September 22nd, 2016|General|Comments Off on How Interest Rates Work|