How to save for a vacation

How to Save for a Vacation

Are all those Instagram vacation pics making you jealous? The good news is, with the right planning, you can take an amazing vacation.

May be you have already picked your destination and you are ready to pack your stuff and enjoy a few days off work. The only thing that’s left is to find the budget. Vacations are not cheap, and the lack of money is a common reason to postpone it again and again. But sometimes all it takes is some self-discipline and you can save enough for a vacation in no time. Here are a few tips…

How to save for a vacation

Open a Vacation Savings Account

If you get direct deposit at work, you can usually split it between different accounts. Ask your employer to send a percentage of your paycheck to a designated savings account. You likely won’t even miss that money and will have a nice vacation fund in a matter of a few months.

Set aside all of your extra cash

Get in your kitchen, find the biggest jar, grab a Sharpie and write “VACATION” on it. If you have a second job, freelance income or leftover change – put it in the jar. If you happen to get a cash gift from someone – put it in the jar. If you work overtime, take the extra money from your paycheck and…you guessed it – put it in the jar!

Make money selling stuff you no longer need

We all tend to hold on to things way too long. If you have all collectibles collecting dust – you can sell them for really good money. If you have clothes you rarely wear – you can offload it for cash as well. Just about anything you own can be sold to someone. There are Download Decluttr app to sell your old DVD’s or tablets. Sell the old furniture in your garage by using Trove Market or Chairish. To sell the items you don’t need, you can use Letgo, Facebook Sell&Buy groups, eBay, Bookoo, etc. You will be surprised how much money you can earn in no time.

Cut expenses

Instead of paying huge monthly fees for the gym you don’t even visit as often as you originally intended, you can cancel your membership and workout at home or outdoors. Using multiple video streaming services? Choose one and stick with it for a while. Consider canceling cable. A lot of the shows are available through streaming services anyway and you’ll save a ton of money every month. Using apps with monthly fees? Cut them out. Going out to eat or getting a Starbucks every morning? Opt for eating at home – your vacation will be worth it.

Rethink Grocery Shopping

  • Do your groceries once a week so you can keep a better track on the money you spend on food;
  • Buy things in bulk when they are on sale;
  • Shop at your local farmers market – it is cheaper, better for you and you will be doing a good deed by supporting small businesses;
  • Grow or regrow herbs and veggies like salad greens, garlic, cilantro, romaine lettuce, scallions, carrots, celery, basil, bokchoi, and more;
  • Shop after 7 PM because most delis and grocery stores decrease the price of foods with limited shelf life like takeout, bread, meat, etc;
  • Don’t shop on an empty stomach because you will spend a lot more;
  • Have a meal plan so you don’t buy too much food. Overconsumption will add to your weight and take away from your wallet.

Borrow what you’re short

You can start saving money for your vacation right this very moment. But still, it is going to take some time before you have enough to cover for your next road trip, cruise, beach holiday, or visit to a national park. When vacation time rolls around, if you’re still a little short, consider borrowing just enough to cover what you weren’t able to save up. There are plenty of different types of loans, but if you need some money fast, car title loans are the perfect option. You can get money in as little as 15 minutes, there is no credit check, monthly payments are reasonable and you can apply online or in person.

If you are in the Long Beach Area, visit us here at Fast Money Loans for a title loan. California residents have been using us since 1997. We’d love to help you with your cash needs!

Top 5 mistakes you are making when you borrow money

Top 5 Mistakes you are making when you Borrow Money

It has happened to most of us. We run into some financial trouble and end up borrowing from friends, relatives or lending institutions. Often times though, we are so focused on the problem that we hope to solve with the Money that don’t consider the cost and consequences of borrowing.

Here are five most common mistakes that you make when borrowing money.

mistakes you are making when you borrow money

Not taking the time to research current rates and consider all options

When you need money, no matter if it is to repay debt or buy a new car, borrowing is the easy means to an end. There are many options that you can choose from – some more traditional like bank loans, more emotional – like family or friends, more innovative – like peer lending, or quicker – like payday loans or car title loans. They all offer different terms and conditions, rates and repayment options and entail different risks in the event of default. It is critical to evaluate your current financial situation, credit, actual financial needs and future repayment options before borrowing. Sometimes, other solutions are available that will serve your family better in the long run. For example, if you are behind on bills, you can negotiate payment plans or deferments. Or, if you are being offered high interest, it may make sense to wait, get credit counseling  and raise your credit score prior to financing a large purchase.

Not thinking in the long-term

If you need money urgently to cover medical expenses or very overdue bills, you are usually focused on the current situation and how to resolve it as soon as possible. This means that sometimes you approach the borrowing process emotionally, without considering the long-term effect it will have on your finances. Loan repayment, however, is a long process that takes a few months to a minimum up to several years. This is why you need to consider very carefully how this will affect your month-to-month living expenses. Setting up a weekly or monthly budget to follow is a good way to keep track of your finances and avoid any further trouble. At the end of the day, you do not want to solve one problem for today and create another in the long-term. This also means that you should not approach a lending institution emotionally. Make sure to think your decision over before deciding to take a loan, especially if it is not urgent. Perhaps if you just want to buy a newer car or take a vacation, you should wait until you can afford it, get a better interest rate or put more money down rather than borrowing the entire sum.

Not reviewing the documentation carefully or asking questions

Loan documentation is quite complicated and you need to read it carefully before agreeing to the terms. Be especially careful with the fine print. Do not approach the loan application form as a simple questionnaire that you can fill in between your other responsibilities. Take time to review all the documents carefully and even note down any questions you might have. Ask the lender as many questions as you need until you are sure that you understand everything. Another reason to pay great attention to the documentation is that your application may be turned down simply because you have not filled in your form properly. So, take your time prior to signing anything.

Not telling the truth

Lying on your loan application form may have very negative repercussions on you. You may end up not receiving the money you need but what is more important it is illegal to provide incorrect information about your income or credit history. While not all lenders check your credit score, car title loan companies don’t for example, or verify all the information you provide, it becomes clear eventually that you have lied. Lending institutions are aware that some people go as far as to provide the social security number of a spouse, relative or friend in an attempt to receive a more favorable loan. While this won’t happen, the result will be a fight with the person whose information you have misused and even worse – you might be accused of identity theft. Therefore, it is advisable to be as honest as possible about your financial situation, current, and future plans so that you can get proper advice on which loan is better for you.

Continue spending as usual

One of the significant mistakes made by people, who have borrowed money, is to continue with their unhealthy spending habits. Quite often the borrowed money is perceived as free cash or an option to continue life as usual without thinking about the repayment schedule. The other reason for people to fail changing their routine is the thought that they got away this time and repaid their debt by borrowing money, which means they can do it over and over again. This quickly turns into a vicious circle where you take one loan to repay another, which diminishes your credit score and respectively worsens the conditions under which you receive the next loan. Plus, the money you spend repaying interest could have been used to create an emergency fund that would have allowed you to avoid borrowing money next time. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to change your spending habits and get used to living with a budget. Take some financial counseling on how to do it if necessary or use any of the free mobile budgeting apps to help you with that.

Best budgeting apps

Best Budgeting Apps: Keep track of your income, spending and saving with ease

Like everyone else, you are probably doing these two things every day:

  1. Looking at your smartphone to check Facebook, read your email, check the weather, count your steps or simply play a game.
  2. Wondering where all your money went.

Keep track of your income, spending and saving with a budgeting app. Turn your smartphone into a personal financial advisor and let it do the budgeting for you.

Downloading a budget app is a simple way to create a budget, learn new positive financial habits and avoid costly mistakes.Best budgeting apps

How to choose a budgeting app

A good budgeting app:

  • Is free – if you are on a budget, you don’t have the extra money to spend on apps.
  • Saves time – the app should streamline typical budgeting activities, like allowing you to scan or take a picture of your receipts, calculating automatically how much you spent or being able to connect to all your devices or accounts, etc.
  • Tracks your expenses – that’s a no-brainer – after all this is the main function of the app.
  • Links to your accounts – it links to your bank accounts and credit cards directly.
  • It tracks your credit score – this is a newer feature on some apps, and we are sure others will catch on – if you can snag a free app with credit tracking – go for it.
  • Identity theft protection – some apps offer alerts if they uncover suspicious activity or inconsistencies.

Top 7 free budget apps to help you manage your money

  • Mint – Mint has been around a long time and is one of the best budgeting apps you can get. It helps create a budget with several spending categories. Then it uses brightly colored graphics to warn the users when they are near the end of the budget in each. It is free and links to your accounts. What’s even better is that it gives you access to your credit score. You can download the app on iOS, Android, and Kindle.
  • BillGuard – The app keeps track of your spending by type, month and location. It links to your account and gives you free access to your credit score. You can upgrade for an annual fee of $83.88 and get credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. You can download the app on iOS and Android.
  • Dollarbird – The app allows you to divide your spending by category and also adds past and future income and expenses to a calendar. Thus, it calculates the impact on your balance. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t link to your bank account. You can download the app on iOS and Android.
  • Good budget – The app uses the envelope budgeting strategy. You can set a budget for each category and it will warn you when the money is about to run out. Then you simply stop spending from this category. It doesn’t link to your account and if you want to sync up to five devices, have access to unlimited categories and five-year history you will need to pay $45 a year. The app is available for iOS and Android.
  • Level Money – The app recreates the experience of actually opening your wallet. In order to determine how much you can spend per month, week or day, the app subtracts recurring expenses and savings from your income and then distributes the budget according to the period you have set. It links to your bank account and is completely free. The app is available for iOS and Android.
  • LearnVest – The app is quite useful as it categorizes transactions by expense type and helps set and track goals. You can also use it for net worth calculation as well. It links to your bank account and only for $19 per month you can partner up with a financial planner if you wish. The drawback is that it only operates on iOS.
  • Personal Capital – This app offers something more than the usual sophisticated budgeting tools. It can be used to track investments and helps to establish goals and models for retirement, college or other important life events. What’s more, since it links to your account, the app will send recommendations for investment opportunities to people with more than $25,000. The app is available for iOS and Android.

Bonus: You can also install an app that helps you with your saving, without any complications or sophisticated actions on your behalf. Acorns app offers to automate savings for you, thus modeling good financial behavior. You need to select a portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and each time you make a payment with a card connected to the app it will round the amount up to the next highest dollar and automatically invest the difference. You can end up accumulating some nice savings over a year – just keep in mind that since it is invested in ETFs, the value of your savings will fluctuate with the market. The good news is that the service is free to college students and costs about $1 per month for the rest.

Download one of these great apps to optimize your budget and identify why and where you are losing money. Once you master your budgeting skills, you can move on to the next level and start actually making money.

fall behind on bills

What to do when you fall behind on bills

Nowadays, many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and it is not very difficult to fall behind on bills. This might be just a temporary situation because of accumulated medical bills or a more long-term misfortune if you have lost your job or you are experiencing some other issues.

fall behind on bills

If you find yourself in this situation – don’t despair, – there are several things that you can do to catch up on bills. Here are some of the best tips to follow.

Make a list of your unpaid debts

If you are falling behind on your bills, take some time to make a list of them. Write down who you owe and how much you owe. You can also add a breakdown of how much the monthly installment is and how many months/weeks you are currently behind. Then put down how much money you have on hand to cover any of the bills.

The next step is to prioritize the payments. Usually, your mortgage or rent should be the first unpaid bill to settle, followed by your utility bills. The next in line come the bills with higher interest rates or those that are most behind.

Make sure to first cover those payments that are important for your everyday life – such as having a place to live in, water, electricity, etc. Delaying your credit card payments may result in bad credit score but is not as dangerous as losing your home.

Try to renegotiate your payments

Most of the lenders are willing to renegotiate the terms of your payment plan once you start struggling with it. Try to explore all possible options available. Quite often, the lender is more willing to receive less per month than be faced with your default have to deal with you should you decide to declare bankruptcy as a result of failure to repay your debts.

Create a budget

Creating a budget is important for everyone, especially for someone who is having trouble paying the bills. When you can’t pay your mortgage, utility bills or you have accumulated unexpected medical bills, for example, it is time to cut down on some things in order to make ends meet.

The first things that you need to give up are entertainment expenses – dining out, going to the movies, or paying for subscriptions. Then you can consider eating ordinary produce and not organic. Try to make your shopping list as short as possible and avoid the usual junk food and treats.

Something very important when creating your budget is to be realistic about your goals. Do not expect to suddenly get back on track after one or two months of restrictions. Aim to do it gradually. If you are behind 4 bills this month, try to catch up on one, then on another next month until it is all done. Setting small goals and achieving them will give you the necessary boost to keep going.

It is also good to track your daily spending. Make sure that you spend as much money as you have allocated to each item – groceries, fuel, coffee, etc. There are even some apps to help you in that endeavor, like Mint or Pocket guard.

Consider a second job

Falling behind on bills requires finding extra cash to pay them. While cutting your expenses is a way to save money, starting a second or even a third job is a way to make more. Working twice as much and during the weekends will give you the opportunities to repay those overdue bills much quicker. It also means that you will have less free time to spend money on restaurants or other entertainment.

Another positive side is that you will get a new experience and have a chance to meet new and interesting people. Besides, remember that this is a temporary solution, you will enjoy your free time twice as much when it’s all over with.

Borrow from family

If you are close with your family, consider borrowing some money to help you cover the bills. It may be difficult to ask, but your family is probably more than happy to help you out. You can even come up with a payment agreement and suggest that they charge you interest to make it fair. It is the most economical way to borrow as your family will likely charge you very low interest, if any.

Get car title loan with no credit check

Last but not least, you need to consider taking a loan in order to cover your outstanding payments. One of the fastest and easiest ways to do it is by applying for a car title loan online. The process is simple and straightforward and you get approval and cash in less than an hour.  The advantages of a car title loan are as follows:

  • Quick access to much-needed cash
  • Transparent terms and conditions
  • No credit check
  • Easy to get approval without much hassle and documentation to fill out

To get a title loan you need to be 18 years of age and have a lien-free vehicle title on your name. The best thing is that you keep and drive your car, even though it serves as a collateral for your loan. The other good thing is that you can contact several companies online, receive their offers and decide on the best one without any commitment to the others.

Quite often, title loans are taken for a shorter period of time, such as one or two months, and serve as a fixture not only for unpaid bills but to welcome unexpected happy events as well, like an engagement, a school trip, etc.

Falling behind on bills is not uncommon and you shouldn’t panic if it happens to you. Identify your weak points in terms of repaying your debts and take immediate action to resolve them. Use the tips above as a guide and believe in your ability to overcome difficulties.

Are you behind? Get caught up fast with a no credit check title loan from Fast Money Loana title loan company serving Long Beach and the rest of California. We have the lowest rates and super easy approval process.