5 Benefits to Debt Consolidation Loans

debt consolidation loansDo you find it difficult to manage multiple debt payments and due dates each month?  If you don't stay organized you can easily pay your bills late and that can add up to hundreds of dollars in late and over limit fees. 

One way to help with this problem is to combine your debt into one low interest Debt Consolidation Loan. 


5 Benefits to Debt Consolidation Loans

#1 Consolidate Your Debts Into One Monthly Payment: Using debt consolidation loans, you can pay off all or most of your unsecured bills (credit cards, payday loans, medical bills etc) at once. You're then left with a single loan, which you'll repay through an affordable payment plan.

#2 Eliminate collection calls: You can use your Debt Consolidation Loan to pay off debts that are past due or in collections.  This will eliminate harrassing calls and letters from your creditors and collection agencies.

#3 Reduce Your Interest Rate: Debt Consolidation Loans are often offered at lower rates than credit cards.  By combining your high interest credit debt into a low interest Debt Consolidation Loan, you will reduce your monthly payment and save money.

#4 Easier Monthly Budgeting: A Debt Consolidation Loan offers a monthly payment that stays the same over the course of the loan.  This one consistent monthly payment makes monthly budgeting much easier.  Create your household budget using this FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET.

#5 Improve Your Credit Score: When you pay off multiple debts with a single Debt Consolidation loan, and making consistent monthly payments, your credit score will improve quickly.

It can be difficult to qualify for a Debt Consolidation loan. If you are not able to qualify for a Debt Consolidation loan, you may want to consider enrolling in a Debt Consolidation Program instead.  These programs combine your monthly debt payments into one lower payment while reducing your interest rate and eliminating your debt in just 3-5 years!

For more information on Debt Consolidation and other Debt Elimination programs, please give us a call or simply click on the link below for a FREE DEBT ELIMINATION SUMMARY!

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Tags: debt consolidation program, create a budget, debt consolidation loans

Money Makeover for the New Year - Part 1

money makeover for the new yearWelcome to 2012!  It is a new year, and most people are thinking about a total body makeover.  That's right, it's time to start that diet and get back to the gym.  But I bet your finances could use a makeover too.  Now is a great time to take a close look at your financial situation, set some goals, and make positive changes to help you achieve financial fitness in the New Year!

Money Makeover for the New Year

Step 1: Set Your Financial Goals

Before you can reach your goals, you first have to figure out what those goals are.  Do you need to eliminate debt, start saving for retirement, or maybe buy a house?  These things won't happen on their own.  Start by putting your goals in writing, so you can make a plan to achieve them.

Step 2: Live Within Your Means

Creating a monthly spending plan is aboslutely essential to your Money Makeover.  Start by making a list of your FIXED monthly expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities, car payment) and your VARIABLE expenses (groceries, entertainment, "mad money")  Use this FREE BUDGET SPREADSHEET will help make sure that you don't forget anything. 

Now comes the "hard" part.  Keep track of your spending each and every day.  At the end of your first month, you will be able to see how well you were able to stick to your new spending plan and make adjustments as necessary.  Maybe you don't need as much for groceries as you thought.  That extra money can be added to your savings or used to pay more to your credit cards to help your reach your financial goals even faster!

Step 3: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

In step 3 you learned how to live within your means.  That means only spending what you make and NOT reaching for those credit cards!  If you are scared to cut up your credit cards, you can freeze them in a block of ice to make them very difficult for to use! 

Instead of using your credit cards, look to your budget and only use cash, checks or debit cards.

Step 4: Keep and Eye on Your Credit Report

You should check your credit report at least once per year. This is quick and easy at www.annualcreditreport.com. By checking your credit report regularly, you can easily find and correct any errors.  For more information on DIY Credit Repair click here -->> What You Need to Know About Credit Card Debt Repair


Get started on these first 4 steps to your Money Makeover for the New Year, and check back later this week for part 2!

money makeover fo the new year

Tags: credit card debt repair, create a budget, money makeover for the new year

5 Easy Steps to Living Debt Free

living debt freeIf you’re struggling with debt, you likely feel like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders each and every day. Whether it is due to student loans, mortgages, credit cards or other financial struggles, the clutches of debt are enough to make anyone feel trapped and helpless. Luckily, no matter how bad your debt may seem, there are techniques for living debt free.

By taking five easy steps, you can begin eliminating your debt, cleaning up your credit and enjoy financial independence fast.


#1 Lock Up Your Credit Cards

The first step is to lock up your credit cards and make all purchases using only the money in your wallet or checking account. Often, people feel that purchasing on credit is simply buying them time before they have to pay up. In reality, you’re only digging yourself a deeper hole.

#2 Make a List of Your Financial Goals

Secondly, make a list of all of your financial goals and set a timeline toward living debt free. Your goals may include buying a home, taking a vacation or purchasing a new vehicle. Keep in mind that these types of goals cannot be accomplished until you eliminate your debt. Your goals can serve as incentive to pay off your debt as fast as possible.

#3 Create a Budget

Third of all, create a budget. Calculate all of your monthly bills and living expenses and decide the minimum amount of money you can live off of while you work towards living debt free. Consider eliminating unnecessary bills such as health clubs or downgrade your cable plan. The extra money you save can be used to reduce your debt.

living debt free

#4 Hold Yourself Accountable

The fourth step to living debt free is to hold yourself accountable. Debt is a slippery slope and often it is hard to determine the “wants” from the “needs.” Keep a list of your expenditures and post it on your refrigerator. If you share an account with another person in your home, ensure that they also track their spending so you can determine where you overspend and where you can cut back.

#5 Get Help

Finally, be sure to seek professional advice. Our Solutions Specialists are experienced in debt elimination and can advise you of the best methods for your unique situation. While some people can eliminate their debt by using our Debt Consolidation program, others may need to go with Debt Settlement. Whichever method you end up choosing, our debt specialists can help you take the next step to living debt free.

living debt free

photo by: woodleywonderworks

Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, create a budget, living debt free

The Holidays are Here: 6 tips to AVOID HOLIDAY DEBT

avoid holiday debtThe holiday season seems to be a season of excess. Eating too much pie or drinking too much eggnog is one thing. Charging too many gifts on your credit cards is another.

Although the holiday season may entice you to spend more than you can afford, a little self-discipline can help you keep your purchases to a manageable limit.


6 Tips to avoid Holiday Debt

  1. Start Saving! Spending cash instead of using credit for your holiday purchases allows you to avoid holiday debt all together. If you haven’t started saving, it's not too late to start.  put aside something each paycheck starting now and use that to finance your holiday purchases. Start a Christmas Savings Account
  2. Set a budget BEFORE you shop! Setting a spending limit and sticking to it will keep you from overspending. Be disciplined and don’t go over your budget, no matter what. --> FREE Holiday Budget Spreadsheet
  3. Make a list! Santa makes a list and checks it twice, so should you. Even though you might feel compelled to splurge on everyone in your life, you don't have to. People appreciate simple and meaningful over expensive and useless.
  4. Use layaway! Layaway disappeared for a few years, but a lot of big retailers, like Wal-Mart and KMart, are bringing it back for the holiday season. Starting early means you can put a little toward your holiday purchases each month. In the end, all your purchases were made and you'll be free of holiday debt.
  5. Ignore "big" sales. More often than not, they're not really sales at all. Those "Buy 2, Get 1 Half Off" deals only trick you into buying more than you would otherwise. Remember, stick to your list.
  6. Leave your credit cards at home. Without your credit cards, you’ll have a hard time charging them up. 

Do you have and tips for smarter Holiday spending?  Please share your tips and tricks in the comment thread below!


Tags: credit card debt, create a budget, avoid holiday debt

Now that the honeymoon is over, it's time to face your Wedding Debt!

wedding debtGot Wedding Debt?

The average wedding costs approximately $26,000. No wonder many couples find themselves entering their new marriage in debt. Money troubles are the number one cause of marital discord and you don’t want them hanging over your new marriage. Here’s how to enjoy your life as newlyweds free from debt.

First determine how much money was given as a wedding present. Many guests give money rather than a registry item. Instead of using this money on your honeymoon, or on other things that you want to buy, save yourself some interest charges and put that money towards your debt as soon as possible.

Put off the honeymoon. Couples are beginning to do this more and more as they see the advantages of starting their life together with a good cash flow. If you really want to go away with your sweetie directly after the wedding, consider going to a bed and breakfast somewhere within the country above jetting off abroad. This is extremely romantic and allows you to enjoy some alone time together without driving yourselves further into debt.

Sit down with your new spouse and create a budget. Every penny you make cannot possibly go towards paying off your wedding as you still have all of your regular bills and living expenses as well. Creating a budget will tell you how much you can afford to pay every month and where that money will be distributed. After setting your budget, it’s extremely important that you stick to it.

wedding debt

When you are putting the figures down onto paper, see what loans have the highest interest rate. Usually these are credit cards with interest rates being as high as twenty-one percent! It’s important that you pay these off quickly otherwise, you will end up collecting huge interest charges every month and it will become increasingly harder for you to clear your debts. The next step is to pay off the loans with the largest amount. Decreasing the loan amount decreases your interest and the loan will become more reasonable, changing from the one that doesn’t seem as though it will ever be paid off to the one that can be paid off next month!  Another option is to use the Debt Snowball method.  Whatever method you choose, stick to it!

If the bills seem too overwhelming, seek professional help from a financial consultant. These people you can meet with to review all of your income and expenses and will help you allocate where your money should be going on a monthly basis. Remember an objective third party does not have the same emotional attachment to your money you do. Once they have given you a plan, make sure that you follow it.

The most important thing when it comes to wedding debt is not to argue about it. It makes it very difficult on a new marriage when you not only have money troubles but are also fighting over them. You both enjoyed a wonderful day and you’ve both got to determine how you’re going to pay for it, together. You have a lifetime ahead of you, having to figure out how things are going to be paid for. Now is the time to find out how you work together to solve the problem.

Tags: credit counseling, create a budget, wedding debt

Budgeting for Summer Fun!

budgeting for summerSchool's Out For the Summer!

Along with the warmer weather of summer in most cases also come extra expenses of summer. While you may budget your monthly expenses, it is also important to figure out what extra expenses you may have over the next few months and work them into your monthly budget instead of having to charge them.

Some examples of extra expenses are graduation and wedding gifts, summer vacation and kids activities. Graduation and wedding gifts can add up and if you have a number of weddings to attend you may have expenses besides the gifts such as travel, and extra clothing costs.

Especially, this year with other costs such as gas and food prices going up it is more important than ever to make room in your budget for the added expenses of summer activities. So, Before summer vacation burns a hole in your budget, take some time to plan ahead for those extra expenses

Here are some Budget friendly Summer ideas:

  • Let’s Go Camping! A mainstay for school-aged children is summer camps, whether a day camp or overnight, and these activities can be expensive. According to the American Camp Association, more than 11 million children and adults attend camps each year. The average cost for a summer day camp is $184 per day. It’s easy to see how this expense can quickly drain the household budget. Community organizations such as the YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs of America often offer less expensive campoptions for kids. For information on camps, parents can visit http://www.acacamps.org/.

  • Fair weather sports. This is the time of year when people start participating in sporting activities, even those who aren’t avid sportsmen start participating in activities such as softball leagues, swim lessons and
    golf. Be realistic and budget conscious when outfitting yourself, or your child with sports apparel. Check out a thrift store, online store (like Ebay) or a used sports equipment store to save money. Choose a local public course to do your fair-weather golfing. The grass may not be as green as professional courses, but you will keep more green in your pocket.

  • Gas prices are on the rise. Summer is the time of year when the price of gas goes up. Traveling consumers feel the impact when going on vacation, but they'll also notice the increased burden placed on the day-to-day budget. Faced with rising costs from other summer activities, higher gas prices have the ability to inflict pain on the wallet. So how do you prevent yourself from becoming one of the casualties of high gas prices? Pay attention to where and how you are driving. Plan out your day's
    activities and combine trips when possible.

  • Let's have a party. Summer is a perfect time to gather friends and family, and celebrate the good weather and great food. Hosting a party however, can be expensive, when you factor in food, drink and other costs. When planning a party, involve your guests in menu planning. Ask friends to bring a dish to share to alleviate the burden on the host. You'll enjoy the extra savings, and the extra time with your guests.

  • Greener pastures. A brown lawn in the dead of summer? Heresy. It goes against the keystone of homeownership – keep your yard looking beautiful at all times. But showering your lawn with affection, and water, can quickly drive up utility costs. Consider watering half as much, and only turn on the
    sprinkler in early morning or evening hours, instead of in the middle of the day. You'll maximize the impact and minimize the cost.

  • Go for a swim. Taking a dip in the neighborhood pool can also take a dip in your wallet. Instead of paying for costly club memberships, use the park district or local recreational center instead. The costs are often less and the instructors are every bit as qualified. If you are considering a pool membership, inquire about seasonal memberships, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, instead of paying all year long.

  • Taking a vacation. Don't let your summer trip take your budget for a ride. Think about alternatives. You can still do something memorable with a shortened vacation. Stay closer to home to save on travel expenses or, take a vacation that is just one or two nights away rather than a week-long expenditure. Bring groceries and cook on your own when possible to avoid costly meals at restaurants. Additionally, play tourist in your own hometown.

  • Talk to a budget expert. Summer activities can add up, and planning for those extra expenses can mean the difference between busting a budget and maintaining one. If you are struggling with current budgeting
    expenses a Debt Relief Solutions Specialist can work with you to develop a game plan for your  day to day budget and make room for summer fun.

Call 1-877-492-4109

budgeting for summer

Tags: how to cope with financial stress, create a budget, budgeting for summer

Budgeting Money Makeover

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Dave Ramsey and his Total Money Makeover.  In this video, Budgeting Money "Makeover", he talks about budgeting and becoming the CFO of You, Inc.  What a concept!

This inspired me and I know it will inspire you too.  At the bottom of this post is a link to a FREE budget spreadsheet to get you up and running immediately! Enjoy

budgeting money makeover

Key Takeaways from this video Budgeting Money Makeover:

  1. Be the Money Manager of your own life!
  2. A WRITTEN BUDGET is your money goal!
  3. Spend your money on paper BEFORE your month begins!

If you have worked our your budget, and have found that there is litterally not enough money to go around then it's time for you to make some changes.  Dealing with Financial Stress is something no one wants to face. 

If you need help working out your monthly budget or you would like some advise or assistance in getting your monthly credit payments reduced, our Solutions Specialist can help.  Give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or click on the link below for a FREE Personalized Debt Analysis.

budgeting money makeover


Tags: create a budget, how to pay off credit card debt, Budgeting Money Makeover

5 Common Mistakes People Make When TRYING TO GET OUT OF DEBT

trying to get out of debtAre you trying to get out of debt but having trouble paying down your credit card bills?

If so, then there’s a good chance you are making some simple mistakes. If you go about it the right way, and you can avoid these common mistakes, then you have a real good chance of becoming debt free.

Mistake #1: Not writing down your goal

Big mistake! One of the most important things you can do when trying to reach a goal is to write it down on a piece of paper. So go grab a pen, or fire up your computer, and write down exactly it is what you want to achieve.  Give yourself a deadline and write down the steps it will take to get there.  Once it is written down you can put it in a place where you will see it often, and remind yourself that you are committed to reaching it. Try it. It works!

Mistake #2: Not Putting Away Your Credit Cards

There’s no way you can pay off your debt if you can still buy that nice shirt or dress that’s on sale with your Visa card. You don’t have to cut them up or destroy them – simply lock them up in a safe deposit box, or put them in a sealed envelope somewhere safe – and somewhere that you won’t see them all the time. You can keep one in your wallet or purse in case of emergency. But ONLY for emergencies!

Mistake #3: Not Changing Your Spending Habits

This mistake should be SO obvious that everyone should avoid making it. But it’s not. For some reason, there are people who just don’t realize that they can’t keep spending money AND get out of debt at the same time. And I’m not just talking about buying store brand bread and cereal. If your debt is out of control, then you need to make some serious changes in the way you spend money. It's time to make a budget and stick to it.  Try using this FREE budget spreadsheet to track where you are spending and see where you can really cut back.

Mistake #4:Not Realizing That This Will Take Time

Unless you’ve been doomed by some financial disaster, chances are it took you quite a while to get into debt. And unless you are fortunate enough to inherit a bunch of money or win the lottery, chances are it will take you quite a while to get out. I wish I could tell you there was some “secret” way to pay off your debt in just a few months. Or that there was some type of free government grant to help you get out of debt without paying it all back. But there are no secrets. And no free grants. But there are good companies that can help you lower your interest rates and your monthly payments, so more money goes towards your balance. Go find a good debt relief company and follow their plan. Before long, you’ll be on the road to being free from debt.

Mistake #5:Not Realizing That The Credit Card Companies Won't Offer Much Help

In a perfect world, the credit card companies would lower our interest rates to under 10%, allow us to defer payments for as long as we want, and only allow us to charge as much as we can afford – and if you think any of this will ever happen, WAKE UP!  After all, who runs the credit cards? Banks. And why are banks in existence? To make money. So as long as people like you and I keep using credit cards, and keep making payments on large balances with high interest rates, then they’ll keep making money. Working with a good Debt Consolidation or Debt Settlement company will help you reduce your interest rate, payment and can even get you out of debt for LESS than what you owe!

If you’re making any of these 5 mistakes, chances are good you’re having trouble paying off your credit card debts. Go ahead and grab that piece of paper and pencil, write down your goals for getting out of debt, and get started on the road to life without debt!

trying to get out of debt

Tags: debt settlement, debt consolidation, create a budget, trying to get out of debt

Your DEBT RELIEF Options

your debt relief optionsSo you’re ready to get out of debt once and for all.  The question is, how do you do it and what options do you have.  I’m going to share the options available to you as well as the pros and cons of each. 

Debt Consolidation

Whe you enroll in a Debt Consolidation Program, you are hiring someone to help you get out of debt and coach you back to financial health.  They will work with you on a one on one basis and help you establish a budget and a plan to get out of debt.


  • Lower interest rates on your credit cards. 
  • One REDUCED monthly payment
  • Stop harrassing creditor phone calls
  • Eliminate your debt in just 3-5 years!


  • Pay back the full amount owed
  • No room for error - If you are late or miss a payment, the creditors will remove you from the program
  • Accounts will be closed by the creditor

Debt Settlement

When you enroll in a Debt Settlement program, you are hiring a team of Debt Negotiaion Specialist to work with your creditors and settle your debt for less than what you owe.  Debt Settlement is an excellent option for someone who has fallen behind on their monthly payments an is trying to avoid bankruptcy.  You can include unsecured debt such as Credit Cards, accounts in Collections, Repos, and Medical Bills in a Debt Settlement Program.


  • You will eliminate your debt for much less than what you owe
  • You only have to make one small monthly payment
  • It will improve your credit over time much faster than going through bankruptcy


  • May hurt your credit score
  • Creditors may continue to call you
  • Debt Settlement cannot help with secured debt such as a home or car loan


Bankruptcy is the process of declaring yourself unable to pay off your debts.  This does not mean it will get rid of all of your debt but most of it.  The typical bankruptcy for consumers is Chapter 13.  This is where lawyers will negotiate with your creditors and collection agencies to pay back less than what are owed.


  • You pay less than what you owe.  The typical amount you will pay back on any certain debt will be anywhere from 30 to 80 cents on the dollar.
  • They work a payment plan out for you.  This will allow you to creditors back over period of time.


  • Hurts your credit for the next 7 years from the point of discharge.  You will not be able to get a loan of any kind.
  • Costly.  Bankruptcy can cost a lot of money.  If you’re already in a lot of debt it may be tough for you to come up with the money to even go through this process.
  • Bankruptcy is also very time consuming.  Don’t expect the process to go very fast.  In most cases it will take several years to pay back all of your debts.

Would you like to learn more about what option is right for you?  Our Solutions Specialist can work with you to determine which option best fits your financial situation. 

For a FREE no obligation consultation,

give us a call TODAY!


your debt relief options

photo by: Helga Weber

Tags: debt settlement, Bankruptcy, debt consolidation, create a budget, your debt relief options

Tips to Get Out of Debt FAST: part 2


Yesterday I discussed the first step of how to Get Out of Debt FAST: Get to Know Your Debt. Now you are ready for part 2:

tips to get out of debt fastCreate a Plan to Pay Off Your Debt

Having written down all your debts, it’s now time to determine how you will go about paying off these bills. A solid plan should not be complicated. It’s simply your approach to tackling your debt. There are, however, some important considerations and tools that can help you develop an effective debt repayment plan:

  1. Debt Repayment Calculator: As a starting point, it’s helpful (and sometimes painful) to see how long it will take you to pay off your debt if you make just the minimum payments. And there is a free debt repayment calculator that is very easy to use. While the plan will involve making extra payments, the starting point is to understand what you are up against making just the minimum payments on your debt, and this calculator will help you do just that.
  2. Prepare a Budget: For many, the word “budget” is the dreaded “B” word. But the fact is that you need a budget to control your spending and better manage your money. Remember that it’s the money you don’t spend each month that will go toward paying down your debt.

tips to get out of debt fast  

3.  Be Aggressive About Paying Off Debt: Dave Ramsey talks about tackling debt with “gazelle” intensity. It’s about being aggressive in paying off your debt. As you work through your budget, recognize that every dollar counts, and that the more you throw at your debt, the less interest you’ll pay and the faster you’ll get out of debt.  

4.  Be Realistic About Paying Off Debt: Paying off debt is a lot like going on a diet. You can commit to never eating foods that are bad for you, but is that realistic? The same is true with debt. Yes, sacrifices will have to be made to meet your financial goals, but you need balance.  

5.  Order Your Debt: With your budget in place and an understanding of how much extra money you can put towards debt, it’s now time to map out a specific plan. The question is this–which debt will you put your extra money toward first? That said, here are the top three approaches to deciding how to tackle your debt:

  • Highest Interest Rate First: With this approach, you put all the extra cash you have on the debt that has the highest interest rate. This approach will result in the lowest interest charges and the fastest debt repayment possible.
  • Smallest Balance First: This is the Debt Snowball approach. He suggests targeting the debt with the smallest balance first. While that debt may not have the highest interest rate, the theory is to get one debt paid off as fast as possible. The rationale is twofold. First, paying off a debt gives you a feeling of accomplishment, which may be just the motivation you need to keep on track. Second, by paying of a debt completely, you free up the cash that was needed to make monthly payments to that bill. While you are likely to put that cash to the next debt, in an emergency, you could use it for other purposes. In other words, by paying the smallest debt first, you free up cashflow.
  • Non-Revolving Debt First: While many talk about the two approaches above, few look at the type of debt when deciding which one to pay first. Recall that revolving debt, like credit cards, allows you to borrow again after you’ve paid down the debt. Non-revolving debt, like a car or school loan, does not permit you to borrow again as you pay down the debt. With a car loan, once the debt is paid, the loan is gone. With a credit card, once the debt is paid, the card is still there to use again if you so chose. For this reason, I’ll often focus on non-revolving debt first. Why? Because I can’t go out and charge up the debt again once it’s paid. This is purely a pyschological issue, but an important one, particularly if you fear you may lack some discipline once some of your debt is paid off.

6.  Don’t Forget Your Emergency Fund: An emergency fund is a really important part of a debt elimination program. While you may be tempted to put 100% of your extra cash toward debt, keeping at least some of it aside for emergencies will help break the reliance many have on credit.  

Check back in tomorrow for Tips to Get Out of Debt FAST: part 3

tips to get out of debt fast

Tags: tips to get out of debt fast, debt snowball, create a budget, how to pay off credit card debt