5 Surprising Ways Volunteering Can Save You Money

A multitude of recent research is shedding light on the real power of volunteering. In fact, the old saying, that those who serve almost always benefits more from it than from those who are served rings true. Whether you are ordered by a court to perform community service, are required to do it for a class, or feel the desire to help out, you’ll find volunteering to be an extremely enriching experience and on top of that, you may even find several financial benefits to doing so. Let’s take a look at five financial benefits of volunteering.

 

Helps You Develop Skills That Can Be Used Elsewhere

Volunteering in a skill-based position is an outstanding way to develop your talents to aid you in getting that promotion or raise. In fact, volunteering is often considered an executive training ground for the multitude of skills that are learned from it. Many corporations invest in skills-based volunteering programs for their employees solely because of the skills that are developed in leadership and technical areas.

 

Helps You Build Your Resume

One major financial perk to volunteering is that it adds another line to your resume that looks great to potential employers. When interviewing for a new job, employers like to choose candidates that have some amount of volunteering experience. Having experience in volunteering says a lot to potential employers about the type of person that you are. Companies often choose candidates who seem passionate about a certain cause and have dedicated time to bettering their community. It does not necessarily matter which cause you want to volunteer in, as long as you can show that you’ve devoted a substantial amount of time to it. In other words, volunteering makes your resume juicy, which can be reason enough to do it.

 

Can Help You Switch Industries or Careers

Those who are interested in changing industries may want to start out by volunteering in that industry to help switch fields. This seems always to be the truth with those professionals that are highly skilled in their particular field. For example, business consultants or investment bankers who wish to work in another industry. Additionally, if you want to switch over from the corporate world to a position in the nonprofit sector, then doing some volunteer work can be an excellent way to dip your feet in and show that you are committed to shifting fields.

 

You Will Make Connections

In the employment world, it is not about what you know as much as it is about the people you know. You make connections by being involved in volunteering because it connects you to your fellow volunteers, agency, and leaders. An excellent way to get your foot in a door for your dream job that you hope to land one day is to do volunteer work in that field. You may be surprised by how many opportunities come up by making connections with the people you meet through your volunteer work. On top of this, you can create a professional relationship with those who could recommend you for employment in the future. Essentially, volunteering gives you the chance to network and meet people that you need to know without having to pay for expensive mixers.

 

You Will be a Healthier Person

One study done by the Corporation for National & Community Service Report found that volunteering helps you lead a healthier lifestyle and, in fact, those that volunteer live longer, which means you can enjoy your financial success for a longer period. Volunteering also leads to lower depression rates and greater functional ability, which makes you more productive in your work life. Additionally, being a healthier person means that you spend less money on medical bills.

 

How Do You Find Volunteer Opportunities?

Volunteering is incredibly easy, as all you have to do is post about your wishes on LinkedIn or Facebook to connect with an organization that you want to work with. You can also look into joining LinkedIn’s For Good volunteer program or VolunteerMatch to discover opportunities in your area.

How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner for Less Than $30

When you are on a tight budget, Thanksgiving can be a stressful time. After all, the price of food seems just to be going up. However, you can put together a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for $30 or less just by using some of these ingenious cooking tips. We’ve come up with nine tips to host a wonderful Thanksgiving meal full of cheer and spending time with your loved ones while still staying within your budget. Here are nine ways to spend $30 or less on your Thanksgiving meal.

 

Use Canned and Boxed Food When Possible

When you want to save money, canned and boxed food is the way to go. You’ll find that candied yams are just as good in a can as they are fresh, and the canned version will save you several dollars. Thanksgiving cooking is about feeding many mouths and usually it is a lot cheaper to purchase two or three cans of an item that comes all prepared instead of the ingredients that go into cooking a particular dish. For example, you can avoid buying all the ingredients that have to be purchased when making homemade candied yams like maple syrup, sweet potatoes, cream, etc.

 

Use Frozen Veggies

Purchase frozen veggies. Although the preparation can be a little harder if you want to roast or grill them, you’ll find the taste to be just as delicious. In most cases, you’ll want to defrost the veggies before using them, but this can simply be done using a microwave’s defrost settings.

 

Ask Guests to Bring Over Wine

You should avoid spending money on alcohol altogether to keep the cost of your Thanksgiving meal down. However, if you must have wine at dinner, then ask your guests to bring a bottle, as it can be a great way for them to contribute to the meal.

 

Prepare a Turkey

It is Thanksgiving after all. However, purchasing a turkey for Thanksgiving is also extremely economical, as the prices have been slashed to the bone this year. This means avoiding the ham, even if you like it. Many stores are cutting their turkey prices to get customers through their door so make sure to comparison shop to find the best deal.

 

Coupon Clip

If you are not a dedicated coupon clipper, then it is never too late to start, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving. You’ll find plenty of steals and deals on Thanksgiving food products in the weeks approaching the big day. Most of these products on sale are name brands, and so it can be an excellent way to get the products you actually want without the steeper price.

 

Price Match

Price matching often applies to your Thanksgiving turkey too. Don’t be afraid to ask your local grocery store if they will match a competitor’s price if you bring proof of that price. The same thing applies to rebates as well.

 

Use Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits

Refrigerated buttermilk biscuits are an excellent compromise between taste and convenience. They are still extremely fresh, but also easy to make and cheaper. Additionally, you will likely be able to find a coupon on them to make them even more affordable.

 

Used Boxed Stuffing

You’ll likely be able to find a great deal on boxed stuffing. However, you may be able to get away with spending nothing at all if you have a few leftover slices of bread or rolls in your frozen food stuff. You can use this to make your Thanksgiving stuffing, and no one will be of the wiser.

 

Make Pumpkin Pie Yourself

Although the pre-made version is not that expensive, you can cut the cost of a pumpkin pie by almost 50 percent by making it at home. Additionally, doing so will give you bragging rights that it is homemade. Use piecrust mix and canned pie filling to save on both ingredients and time.

 

5 Things you Waste Way too Much Money on Every Month

The sheer amount of expenses you have every month can be overwhelming to the point where managing your money can seem almost impossible. However, one of the best ways to cut down on your expenses is to cut back on your spending. There is a slew of things that the average person overspends on, and so cutting down on just a few of these can save you a substantial amount every month that you can allocate towards more important things such as a savings account or paying down your debts. Here are five things that you likely waste too much money on each month.

 

1.  Car Insurance

Everyone is well aware that they need car insurance because the law mandates it. However, there is nothing written into law that says you have to spend money on overpriced car insurance. Despite this, millions of Americans over-pay for their car insurance each month and may not even realize they are doing it. You should comparison shop for insurance rates to find the best deal out there. Otherwise, you could be wasting away money every month. Check out websites like Esurance.com as they make it extremely simple to compare a multitude of car insurance quotes in only a couple of minutes.

 

2.  Brand-Name Pharmaceuticals

The world is so filled with brands that people think that have to have brand name everything from their clothes to their prescriptions. Although brand name products tend to be associated with higher quality, when it comes to medicine, this is far from the case. Generic prescription drugs have to go through the same FDA testing that the brand-name versions do. Additionally, there have been multiple studies that have shown that generic medications work the same as the name brand ones. However, the difference is that generic medications are much cheaper, in fact sometimes hundreds of dollars cheaper. If you are paying for brand name prescriptions, then keep in mind that you are paying for the name and not the quality. Switch over to the generic version to save money.

 

3.  Bottled Water

Water manages to be both the most precious resource and the most abundant one on this planet. However, that does not stop companies from charging way too much to purchase a single bottle, especially designer water companies. They do this by tooting their water as coming from natural springs when the fact is that most of the time they are selling tap water that is filtered through a device similar to the inexpensive one you can easily purchase for your home. Stop spending money on your bottled water by buying one of these at-home filters and you’ll save a substantial amount each month.

 

4.  Premium Gas

The fancy name and the higher price that comes with purchasing premium gas have convinced many people that a higher-octane gas will reduce their engine’s wear and increase their car’s fuel efficiency. Though, this is not the case. High-octane gas only helps those vehicles that have a higher compression ratio, which means mostly only high-end sports cars. These kinds of vehicles require premium gas. On the other hand, the majority of cars on the road will see no benefit from using high-octane gas. As long as your vehicle’s manufacturer does not require premium gasoline, going with the regular gas is the best option.

 

5.  Health Foods

Just because a certain food product insinuates that it is healthy but doesn’t outright claim that it is, does not mean that it actually is. For example, many “healthy” nutrition bars that cost as much as ten times the amount as a regular candy bar contain just as many additives and sugar and don’t taste nearly as good. Additionally, supplements like protein powder can burn a whole in your wallet, especially if you get the premium kind. However, you can get enough protein from a normal healthy diet. Consuming too much protein is bad for your health anyhow.

 

Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Frugally

Are you hosting your family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year? Although this can be a stressful affair, especially if you are on a budget, with the right tools and tips up your sleeve, you don’t have to break the bank to have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Budgeting on your Thanksgiving festivities allows you to still enjoy your time with family and friends instead of worrying about the money spent on the affair. There are only a few weeks left until the big day, and so it is recommended that you start planning now so that you can secure both a frugal and fabulous Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Buy Generic Products

Although generic products do not get the best reputation, in many cases they are just as good as the name-brand counterparts and are a fraction of the price. Purchasing generic products is an excellent way to save money on Thanksgiving. Look for the staple items in their generic form, as they can be more than 50 percent off the brand name price without having to sacrifice the quality. Additionally, you may also want to look at discount stores, as you’ll often find steep discounts on food products that are just as good as their more expensive equivalent.

 

Ask Your Guest to Bring a Dish

You do not have to feel bad for asking your guests to bring a side dish to your Thanksgiving dinner. Not only will this give your dinner a wider variety, but it is also an excellent way to have everyone pitch in for the food and showcase their cooking skills. The majority of your family and friends will be more than willing to cook one of their recipes for everyone else to enjoy. Additionally, asking people to bring a side dish will allow you to focus on making the main dishes, such as the turkey and pumpkin pie.

 

Cook Everything From Scratch

Although cooking from scratch may seem like a daunting task, when you are trying to stick to a budget and have a lot of mouths to feed, it is likely the best strategy. In fact, Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year to cook from scratch as a cost-saving strategy. For example, instead of buying the premade variety of gravy, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, find a simple but good recipe to make it on your own. Baking your dessert from scratch is especially recommended, as the store-bought variety tends to be quite steeply priced.

 

Look Out For Sales and Plan in Advance

The best way to prepare an outstanding Thanksgiving dinner on a budget is to plan well ahead of time. Give yourself at least a few weeks to start stocking up on Thanksgiving items that are on sale. It is also a good idea to check out your local farmer’s market for any good deals once Thanksgiving approaches, as you can often haggle the price down. You should also keep your eye out for any discounts or weekly sales in the paper, and look at your local grocery’s circular for good deals.

 

Saving on Decorations

If you like to decorate your house for the Thanksgiving festivities, then there are ways of saving money on this year decorations. Whether you put up a centerpiece or decorate the front door, if you are not careful many of the Thanksgiving decoration items can be quite expensive. Instead of breaking your budget to decorate your home, try getting creative with your decorations instead. You could even make some of your decorations from items found outside or around the house if you want to get really nifty.

 

6 Ways to End the Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle

According to one survey, 61 percent of employees report that they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck to survive. The number of people stuck in this cycle does not seem to be affected by the economy, as high numbers were reported before the recession as well. If you are living the risky lifestyle of surviving paycheck to paycheck, the good news is there are things you can do to rectify your situation. Additionally, there are some things that you should avoid at all costs so that you do not dig yourself into a deeper hole financially. Here are six things you can do to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

 

1.  Cut Down Your Spending

If you follow a budget, but still find that you have no savings left over at the end of every month, then the first thing you must do is decrease your expenses. One good rule of thumb to follow is that if you are unable to pay cash for something, then it is probably not something you necessarily need. There are plenty of ways to cut down on your spending such as packing your lunch instead of eating out or turning off your thermostat more often.

 

2.  Understand The Benefits

If you do not want to live paycheck to paycheck any longer, than you must accept making significant changes to your lifestyle. Instead of going about it with the reluctant attitude, take the time to think about where you’ll be once you break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Once you take control of your finances, you will be able to invest, pay off your debts, save for major purchases, and create an emergency fund. By knowing the benefits of breaking the cycle, you can stay motivated to get where you need to be financially.

 

3.  Increase Your Cash Flow

To stop the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you must spend less money than you are earning. However, if you’ve already cut your expenses as much as possible than you may want to consider making more money. After all, there are only so many expenses you can cut out, but your ability to increase your cash flow has no limit. One good way to do this is to ask your boss to give you a raise. If that is not an option, then perhaps a part-time job on top of your current employment will do the trick.

 

4.  Scrutinize Every Dollar You Spend

It does not matter if it is a coffee or a pack of gum, if you are paying money for it, you should think carefully about whether or not the purchase was entirely necessary. To get yourself out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you must avoid spending unnecessary money at all costs. One good way to figure out if there is any fat you can trim is to keep all your receipts for a week and take a few minutes to look over every purchase you made. You’ll likely find in hindsight that there are purchases you did not need to make, which can help to fine tune your spending in the future.

 

5.  Find Interesting Ways to Make Extra Money

On top of working more, you also have the option of seeking unique ways to earn some extra side money. For instance, you can sell some of your things online or hold a yard sale. Moreover, you can try your hand at starting a small business or providing a service like being a nanny or yard work. The list of stuff you can do to make extra income is virtually endless; you just have to be willing to get creative.

 

6.  Avoid Nickel and Diming

For instance, using a bank other than your own banks ATM will charge you between $2 and $5. Additionally, your own bank may charge you for using a different ATM. Such unnecessary fees should be avoided at all costs because they can add up to a substantial amount after a while.  Also, avoid late payment fees on bills and credit cards and avoid paying extra airline costs that are not essential.

 

Little Known Advantages of Bankruptcy

A person declares bankruptcy in the case that they are unable to pay off their debts and desires to have a new beginning. Bankruptcy is a solution that you can use in court and in most cases; lasts for one year and then you are able to discharge it, which means that all of the restrictions that are imposed on you will be released. That being said, in some cases bankruptcy restrictions can last as long as fifteen years. It is not too far of a leap to understand why lenders may push for this process. However, it can be harder to fully understand why debtors opt for it. There are, nevertheless, many hidden benefits to declaring bankruptcy that can make the process worth your while. Here are some little-known benefits of declaring bankruptcy that can make the process beneficial to your financial situation.

 

No One Has to Know

Many people are frightened of bankruptcy because they are worried that their family and friends will find out and judge them. However, the bankruptcy process can be a very quiet one if you prefer. Your family, friends, and co-workers do not need to know that you declared. Although the stigma and public humiliation that comes with bankruptcy is something of the past, if you’d prefer no one to know your bankruptcy, then it is your right to keep that information private. The only instance that your bankruptcy filing would be revealed is in the situation that you are asked for a credit history report. This can occur if you are applying for a credit card or loan. Additionally, in some cases they may ask to check your credit when applying for a job.

 

Your Financial Woes Will Be Over and Done With Quickly

One of the reasons why many debtors are okay with going through bankruptcy is that the process is extremely quick. That does not mean that the declaration record does not last for quite some time, as it does. However, the typical time it takes between filing the papers and experiencing debt relief is no longer than six months. On the other hand, other debt relief programs can take as long as six years.

 

You Can Keep Your Assets

Although you may feel as though declaring bankruptcy seems punitive, the majority of states will let you keep the assets that they consider necessary to your well-being and your work. This means that if you structure your bankruptcy correctly, you can get significant exemptions from bankruptcy proceedings for some of your more valuable assets. This makes the process of filing for bankruptcy much less painful and more convenient for everyone involved. For example, if you need your car to get to work every day, then this can be exempted from your bankruptcy process.

 

Bankruptcy Will Stop Garnishments

Declaring bankruptcy does not just stop a foreclosure, but it can also halt a garnishment. The only kinds of wage garnishments that are unable to be stopped by bankruptcy are those for alimony payments, as well as child support. If the certain debt that caused a garnishment is discharged because of the bankruptcy, then the garnishment will not resume after your bankruptcy has been fully granted. However, keep in mind that if student loans caused your garnishment, then the garnishment will start again once the bankruptcy stay has been lifted.

 

Bankruptcy Will Have Little Impact If You Are Young

Even though bankruptcy does stay on your record for a very long time, such proceeding only becomes a major issue if you are middle-aged. This is because credit agencies generally specialize in giving out loans to those that have bad credit, which means that it won’t take very long for you to be able to get another loan or credit card in the case that you need it. However, keep in mind that obtaining a credit card or loan after you’ve declared bankruptcy will expose you to higher interest rates.

 

Handling 7 of the Most Awkward Money Situations Between Friends

It is often said that money and friends do not mix well, and this certainly seems to be the case. No matter how close you are, a friendship can be tested when a loan goes unpaid or when an activity does not match everyone’s budgets. It seems as though you and your friends can talk about almost anything, so why does it get awkward when the topic of money is brought up? Here are seven awkward money situations that are common with friends and how to fix them.

 

1.  Friend Discounts That Go Awry

Mixing friends and business can sometimes work out excellently for both parties involved. However, it also comes with its own challenges. For one, there is the question of whether or not the service should be discounted and what sort of leniency there should be on the result of the product. If your friend is providing you with a service at a discounted price, then it is recommended that you treat it like a business relationship, with between 10 and 15 percent room for your personal relationship. If you are the friend providing the service then only give a discount if your business can afford it. If you are the customer then only hire your friend if you think he or she can do a good job.

 

2.  The Friend That Forgot to Pay You Back

Your friend forgot to bring his or her credit card with them when you went out shopping together, and so you did the nice thing and loaned her $40. Now she hasn’t paid you back. This situation has likely happened to all of us at one time or another. This type of loan is extremely awkward because it is too small to make a fuss over, but big enough that it can affect your budget. If you are quick to lend your friends $20 here and $30 there then your bank account can quickly take a hit. The first step is to stop lending friends small amounts of money. As for the friend that still owes you money, a couple of casual reminders that they need to pay you back will likely suffice for getting your money back.

 

3.  Splitting the Check

The awkward moment of splitting the check can make a fun friend date turn sour. Dinner dates are a fantastic way to get the whole gang together. However, splitting the bill afterward can get messy. This is especially the case if one friend orders a cheap entree and another an expensive one, as splitting the check evenly down the middle is not exactly fair. It is recommended that you and your friends take a proactive approach. It is wise to head to an ATM beforehand to withdraw enough cash for your meal. Once the dinner starts, casually ask everyone how they would like to split the check before they get their food. This aids in circumventing any confusion once the bill comes.

 

4.  Income Gaps Between Friends

In a group of friends, there is always going to be a range of budgets that you must all work with, which is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a group activity. Don’t ask a friend with a lower budget if they would like to partake in an activity you know they will decline. Also, avoid leaving out a friend just because of his or her lack of funds. Instead, use websites like Groupon to locate discounted activities that your whole friend group can enjoy.

 

5.  Lending Money to Friends

What makes lending money to a friend tricky is that neither of you will lean towards a formal exchange. On the other hand, if your friend borrows money from the bank they are liable to repay it. However, it is much more natural to have a casual attitude towards lending money to your friend, which can lead to a less prompt repayment. Additionally, if you feel uncomfortable with confronting your friend, then it may feel awkward reminding them that they owe you money. It is highly urged that you think long and hard before you say yes before lending money, as it may just save your relationship. If you do want to loan money to your friend, then ensure that you are honest and open with what you want out of the repayment terms.

 

6.  Having a Nosy Friend

Although most people have the sense not to talk about money, there is at least one person in every friend group that wants to know the cost of everything from how much you spent on your outfit to your mortgage payments. The best thing to do in this type of situation is to deflect these kinds of money questions casually with such a statement as “too much!” If your friend still pushes you to disclose the price of something, then a quick “I do not feel comfortable answering that” should suffice.

 

7.  Dealing With Your Friend’s Money Problems

If your friend’s credit card has gotten declined a few times while you are out then you may be wondering if he or she is going through some money problems. It may be awkward to see this happen; however the best thing to do is to not bring it up, especially if he or she hasn’t either. They likely feel embarrassed about the problem and so talking about it may cause tension within the relationship. Instead, suggest activities that don’t cost any money, such as picnicking or a casual friend date in.

Modern Day Tipping Guidelines

It seems that wherever you go there is a tip jar asking for a few dollars. Even at take-out joints and fast food restaurants it appears that it is expected to hand over a few dollars. However, with such shifting formalities of expected tipping practices it can be easy to mix up how much money you should tip to reward someone for their good service. It is not just restaurants that you have to tip either, as many service providers expect a reward.

 

Restaurants

Everyone knows that it is customary to tip restaurants in the United States, but not everyone knows that it is required to tip at least 15 to 20 percent. Presently the expected standard is 20 percent if you’ve received good service. This is especially the case for more expensive restaurants and cities.

 

Great Service

If you think that 20 percent seems a little steep to tip than keep in mind that many bartenders and waiters make less than minimum wage. In fact, it is legal to pay employees as little as $2.13 an hour if they make tips. Whenever you are debating whether or not to tip try to think about the server’s situation, and consider that they may make their livelihood off of their tips.

 

Tip Jars

When it comes to the tip jars that you see at every store nowadays, there is no expectation that you put money into them. However, if you go to the same café every day for your morning latte, then you’ll likely be able to afford to throw in a dollar or some loose change. However, when it comes to tip jars, contributions should generally be made out of respect to the server and not because you feel guilty.

 

Hotel Stays

It is customary to hand one or two dollars to the bell person and a dollar to the doorperson if he or she hails you a cab. When it comes to room service, tipping practices can get a little more convoluted. It is recommended that you hand between $2 to $5 each day to the hotel staff, especially the ones with the toughest jobs. You should not wait until the end of your hotel stay either, as there is often a shift change, instead try slipping a few bills under your pillow with a note each day.

 

Hair Dressers

A few years ago you could leave the hair salon without tipping and not bat an eye, but those days have long past. It is now expected that clients tip their hairdresser between 15 and 20 percent. If someone other than your stylist shampooed your hair or colored it, then divide the tip amongst all the employees that worked on your hair, with the most going to the stylist.

 

Casinos

It is not common knowledge that card dealers often live off of their tips. However, seasoned gamblers will often throw a chip or two the dealer’s way every once in a while, or even make a bet on the dealer’s behalf. To do this, you simply place a bet in the circle and the bet going to the dealer on top of that. Make a few $1 bets every hour to the dealer to make him or her happy to shuffle for you.

 

Valet Parking

It is expected that you hand at least $2 to the valet parker when he or she gives back your car. However, if you really want your car taken care of, it is better to hand off a tip beforehand. Giving $5 to the valet before he or she gets in the car will ensure that there are no dings when they return it.

 

5 Affordable Home Foreclosure Alternatives

If you do not make your mortgage payments on time, this can readily cause a foreclosure sale. However, all is not lost if you are unable to make your mortgage payments. There are affordable alternatives that allow you to avoid the foreclosure process, or at least delay it. Even if your foreclosure sale is scheduled to happen in the next few days, you can stop the sale from happening. Here are a few affordable alternatives to foreclosure.

 

Short Sale

After your lender files for a foreclosure, but before the auction is settled, if you receive an offer from a buyer the lender has to consider it. If they do foreclose on your house, the lender is going to try to resell the house quickly. However, if you can offer them a reasonable offer on the short sale, the bank may consider it as saving them the effort and time of finding another buyer, especially if the market is soft. If your house does, in fact, go on the market, it is recommended that you try to locate a buyer; even once the foreclosure process has started. The most important thing is to figure out the best pitch to give to the bank so that they’d be willing to sell you back the home on short sale.

 

Negotiate

Up until the very day that you house is scheduled for auction, the majority of lenders would prefer to figure out a deal rather than foreclose the home. This means that you may be able to obtain a compromise that would work to your benefit and allow you to repay your mortgage rather than have your house foreclosed. In some instances, lenders may even be willing to reduce the debt that you owe.

 

File For Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy halts the foreclosure process from happening. Once a bankruptcy petition has been filed, federal law does not allow a debt collector, which includes a mortgage lender, from following through on any collection activity. Due to the fact that foreclosure activity is a collection activity, the very same day that a bank is aware that you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the foreclosure will quickly be frozen. However, the one catch is that once you go to court, the bankruptcy trustee will play the role of a referee between the creditors and you. So in essence, all bankruptcy does is give you more time to find a job or recover if you’ve been temporarily ill or physically challenged, it does not entirely let you avoid your debts.

 

Deed in Lieu

A deed in lieu is an alternative to a foreclosure, which is what it sounds like. It is when you are facing a foreclosure, and you sign the deed to your house to the bank voluntarily. Although it may seem like an excellent option, it has the same effect on your credit as a foreclosure. Lenders often are extremely reluctant to agree to take a house back by a deed instead of foreclosure because they worry that you will later sue them stating that you were unaware of what was going to happen. Additionally, lenders have to pay off any additional mortgages that you have on top of the first one. Lastly, the lenders want to know for sure that your financial distress is a reality.

 

Lease-Option

Many loans these days are not assumable, as the majority of them contain a “due on sale” article that requires you to agree to pay the loan fully before you can transfer it. That being said, if your house is soon to be foreclosed, you may be able to get the bank to change your loan, and delete the clause that states the “due on sale”. You may also be able to talk your way to a down payment from the new buyer, which you can utilize to pay your outstanding mortgage balance. In this scenario, the buyer will become your tenant, and you will still own the property until the buyer has enough money to make a down payment.

 

Creative Ways to Finance Home Repairs

Home repairs are a great way to enhance the look and function of your home, but they can get costly! There are certainly a plethora of loans out there just begging for your business, but do you want to get in over your head in debt just to fix some things around the house? If you are doing large repairs/remodeling, it can be even more expensive and debt inducing. Rather than jumping in headfirst with a home equity or even personal loan, consider these simple ways to get the money you need.

 

Sell Items You Don’t Need

Cash is king when it comes to performing home repairs, but not everyone has large amounts of excess cash lying around to be spent on these items. If you are in that boat, why not try selling items around your home? Start in the room that you are working on – are there items in there that you will no longer need once you repair and/or remodel that room? If they are in good condition, you will likely be able to make a little bit of money on them, as oftentimes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasures. If you sell enough stuff, you just might have enough cash to pay for the repairs outright.

 

Use your Income Tax Refund

Do you get a large income tax refund every year? Why not plan ahead and dedicate those funds for your repairs? This gives you enough time to plan exactly what you want to do as well as know that you will have the money to fund it in the near future. If you are unsure about whether or not you will receive a refund, use the tax calculators that are available online and see how you are stacking up so far this year. It is never too late to make adjustments to your withholdings; just talk to your employer to see what steps you must take to ensure a refund next year.

 

Barter with Others

Do you have a skill that you can offer someone in exchange for his or her services on your home? This can be a great way to get things done around your house without spending much more than the materials for the project cost. Typically materials are the cheaper component of a home project, while the labor is the most costly. When you are able to switch out services, you can afford the work that needs to be done a little easier while helping someone else out at the same time; it’s a win-win for everyone that is involved!

 

Use Tax Credits to your Advantage

If you are able to come up with the funds to get your home projects complete, but are worried what it will do to your savings down the road, look into which improvements will have a positive impact on your income taxes. There are numerous tax credits available for energy efficient improvements on homes. If you are going to be making large changes, it is well worth the effort to look into which changes and/or products will provide you with the largest tax credit for next year’s taxes.

 

Making home improvements does not require a home equity loan or any other type of financing. You simply have to think outside of the box to see where your funds could come from in order to get the project done. Keeping yourself out of debt while improving your home at the same time creates the ideal situation for you in the long run as you will gain value in your home as well as make it more comfortable at the same time.

 

 



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