Last Minute Funds:  Where to Go When You Need Emergency Funds

Life is inherently unpredictable, but no matter what the situation you’ve found yourself is calling for, there are always options you can take advantage of. The trick is to educate yourself and be aware of them, so when you encounter some obstacles in life, you’ll be well equipped to stitch yourself back together and overcome them with ease. So when life gives you lemons and you need some extra funds as soon as possible, what is there to do?

Last Minute Funds: Where to Go When You Need Emergency Funds - money cash image

  1. Exhaust your personal savings first

Perhaps you’re saving some money for retirement or for giving your kids a chance to study abroad? This may go against the conventional wisdom, but sometimes, making a withdrawal from your savings account could be just the thing you need to be able to cover a financial emergency. Just think about it – is this not a better course of action than looking for a loan provider straight off the bat? Besides, you can always replenish your savings account when the dust settles a bit.

  1. Try to borrow money from your friends

No loan provider is going to give you such favorable terms as your friends. No deadlines, no interest rates, no fees… however, there is one thing at stake – your trust and relationship with that person. If you’re on great terms with them (or if you’re related to each other), they may give you the money as a gift without expecting to be repaid.

  1. Sell some of your belongings

Depending on how much time you have, you could try to sell or auction off some of your belongings. The more in-demand they are, the faster and easier it’s going to be to sell them and get a suitable amount of money in return. If there’s a dire emergency and you have some valuables like jewelry or gold, you can get in touch with one of the pawnshops in your area. Keep in mind this is for dire emergencies only, as there are other more suitable alternatives if you have a little bit of extra time to spare.

  1. Get a loan

Thanks to several online lenders that have sprung up over the recent years, getting a loan is not as hard as it used to be. All you really need to do is visit a website, answer a couple of questions, and you could potentially get your money transferred to your bank account as soon as the next day. Compared to getting a loan from the bank, these are much less time-consuming and user-friendly in general. There are several different loan types to choose from, so you can get the most suitable one for your needs. You can find more at www.kingofkash.com, although doing your own research can never hurt.

Conclusion

Financial emergencies are not the most pleasant type of thing you can encounter in your life, but as stressful as they may be, not losing your composure can be all the difference between getting back on your feet and making a costly mistake that will haunt you for months or years to come. Keeping these options in mind, you can be confident about doing the right thing and make a decision that reflects the level of urgency appropriate for the situation at hand.

Unique Ways To Increase The Price Of Your Home

Are you looking to sell your home? If so, you probably want to find ways to increase the value as much as you can. Perhaps surprisingly, there are a lot of unique ways to increase the value of your home besides just the standard fare of making improvements on your own.

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Naming Your Home 

Have you ever considered the possibility of naming your house? Believe it or not, the simple act of naming your home can often significantly increase the value and the asking price that you can receive. For example, if you have the last name of Chandler, and your home is at 548 Hill Street, rather than just saying the address, wouldn’t it sound much better if you said this is Chandler Manor? We certainly think so!

Helping Out The Neighbours 

Sometimes, the simple act of helping out the neighbours can help improve the value of your home as well. How so? Consider the “eyesore effect.” Just the very fact alone that potential buyers will have to look at a messy neighbour’s property might bring down the price of your home. This is one of the main reasons why you should consider volunteering your time to help these neighbours out! For example, if you have a neighbour that has an unkempt garden, perhaps they simply do not have the time nor do they have the wherewithal to keep the garden or exterior up. However, if you work to keep this garden up for them, you will only feel good, but you will help the scenery for any potential buyers of your home. The same goes for a scrap in yards. You can definitely volunteer your time to spruce up a neighbour’s yard and help them clear out any scrap (with their permission of course). In some cases, the simple act of just helping to spruce up your neighbour’s property might even raise your house value by an extra thousand or two. 

Helping Out The Street 

You could also consider sprucing up part of the street that your home is on. Admittedly, this game plan is not something that can be accomplished overnight. However, if it is in your long-term planning to eventually sell your home you might consider some community involvement such as attending a meeting at a local homeowners association or leading an initiative before your local town council. Will the payoff happen right away? No, it won’t. This will occur over a number of months or even a number of years.

Add Some Extra Colour To Your Home 

Although this might seem like a no-brainer, adding some colour to your house can definitely improve the resale value of it. However, there is a catch here. Don’t just add any colour scheme to your home. First of all, you should intently study the colours of the houses that have recently sold well in your area. Although colour is of course not the only factor, look at what colour schemes the top sellers in the realty pages have had. You might strongly consider repainting your house these colours, and you might consider acquiring a computer program that will allow you to experiment with how different colours would look on your home as well. In doing some of these suggestions, you will definitely have a strong improvement in the potential resale value of your home!

 

Securely Managing Your Online Finances

In today’s growing online world, it’s essential to securely manage and protect your online finances. There are various reports and news articles about huge data breaches, phishing emails and so on.

Also, people use the internet more and more when it comes to payments and managing online finances, which means it’s more lucrative for hackers since the success ratio is higher too.

Therefore, I’ve created a list of important ways to securely manage and protect your online finances.

Let’s get started:

Securely Managing Your Online Finances - laptop and finance image

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1.   Phishing Emails

An increasingly more employed method by hackers to obtain personal data, payment information and other sensitive information is through phishing emails. Phishing emails are fake emails, the hacker often pretends to be your bank, credit card company or other institution that often emails invoices (e.g. Google Play Store or Apple Store).

Most people trust these institutions and are more likely to open the email. While opening the email isn’t harmful but clicking on a URL in the email or opening the attachment is harmful. The attachment usually contains some kind of malicious file to infect your system. Think about a virus, keylogger, spyware, ransomware, and so on. Whereas the link may redirect you to a domain that automatically starts the download of a malicious file upon visiting.

Phishing emails is a numbers game but it’s still rather effective. Once your system is infected, it’s highly likely that hackers can monitor what you’re doing on your computer and see your username and password combination.

The hackers can then use this information to access your online banking accounts or credit card statements and use it for fraudulent activities.

It’s therefore important to be able to recognize these phishing emails and avoid opening them. There are quite a few methods and tactics you can use to “test” the email in order to find out whether it’s a legit sender.

2.   HTTP vs HTTPS

Whenever you make payments or leave sensitive information on a website, always make sure the website in question is protected by the HTTPS protocol.

You can recognize a secure website by the green padlock and “s” after “http.” This means that all the traffic between you and the web server is protected by an encryption method and unreadable for hackers (even if they manage to steal the data, it’s useless).

3.   Passwords

A strong and unique password for every online account is incredibly important in order to access your online finances. It’s an essential aspect of security in case one of your accounts (be that email, social media, etc) gets hacked. The hacker won’t be able to use the very same login details to login to your credit card or bank account, if you have different combinations for each account.

It’s hard to remember a unique and strong password for every account that you own, therefore, I recommend using an app like LastPass to store your login details. You can also use LastPass’ tool to generate strong passwords.

Two-factor authentication is also a great feature to opt for as it ensures a double check, for example, with a generator on your smartphone or other application.

4.   Download the Right Apps

Most people who manage their finance online use an application, such as a mobile banking app or a dedicated app from their credit card provider.

However, most people aren’t aware that many of these apps are not super tight on security. Of course, there are security protocols, but and increasing amount of hackers attempting to steal credentials raises the issue.

Never ever download a third-party mobile banking application that is not officially backed and authorized by your own bank. Especially apps with very few downloads, ratings and reviews are usually not apps you should opt for.

5.   Avoid Public Wi-Fi

One of the least protected networks you can join are free Wi-Fi networks, for example, Free Airport Wi-Fi. These types of Wi-Fi connections, without a required password to join, are extremely easy targets for hackers.

Never do your online finances while being connected to a Wi-Fi connection without a password in airports, cafes, trains, etc. If you do find yourself relying on these public hotspots in your daily routine, using a VPN is highly recommended.

6.   Alert

For most of your cards, you can enable alert options. Generally, activity alerts are not enabled in the default settings, so make sure to check and opt in.

That means you’ll receive a text message or email every time there’s activity on your bank account or credit card. Even buying a single coffee will trigger an alert. So, you can take immediate action when you receive an alert when you didn’t buy anything.

7.   Antivirus & Anti-malware

It’s almost too obvious to tell, however, you’d be surprised how many people fall victim to hackers simply because they failed to updated their protection software to the latest version.

Antivirus and anti-malware software providers constantly update their programs to patch out gaps and loops that could be exposed by hackers. So, you’re not doing this, you’ll be more vulnerable to hackers.

Always make sure to update your protection software to the latest version, preferably opt in for automatic updates.

Bill here from PixelPrivacy.com. My blog is all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. I pride myself in writing guides that I’m certain even my own mom could read! Be sure to head over to my blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!

 

5 ways to make money on a car lease!

When you are preparing to turn in a lease, always remember to make the right decisions. It would be better to educate yourself on car lease options so you know how to get a substantial cash back on your lease. The extra cash you get can offer you a down payment for buying another car or can be used to apply for a new lease. Here are five ways to earn some cash on a lease.

5 ways to make money on a car lease! - new car image

Photo by Dominik Stötter on Unsplash

Go for the right car

All cars lose substantial parts of their value over the first few years of service. Car leasing companies basically use this anticipated rate of depreciation to determine the value that a car will be worth when the lease ends. The residual value depends on the model of the car. The crystal balls that the leasing companies use to determine the value are usually very accurate. However, if your leased car maintains more value as opposed to the expected one, you stand a chance of earning some money at the end of your lease.

Take all numbers into account

Most consumers will focus on only three numbers when leasing. However, you need to account for other numbers if you want to have a potential for money back when the lease ends and if you want to keep your pocketbook safe. Do not focus on the monthly payment alone. Just like when you would be buying a car, you focus on the total cost.

It would be good if you arrange for a discount from the set selling price. Experts also advise that you only discuss the residual value after the sales price is determined. The aim here is to ensure that you end up with a residual that is going to be lower than the actual trade-in value of the car when the lease ends.

Watch the miles

The mileage on a leased car is just like a two-edged sword. A mileage cap will be set in the leasing terms, therefore, you will have to pay extra cash for extra mileage covered when the leasing period ends. It is important to keep to the mileage cap, though there is no guarantee that a low mileage will maintain a high value for the car. Despite this, note that the vehicle`s trade-in value might be higher as compared to the lease residual value. This means you will be walking away with some cash.

Take care of your leased car

Treating the car with tenderness may not guarantee you cash back but it is a sure way to increase your chances of getting a cash back on your lease and also avoid unnecessary expenses at the end of the leasing period. Dealers will allow for a specified level of wear and tear. If you keep the car in a good condition than expected, the trade-in value may obscure the car’s residual value. This way, you stand a chance to receive a cash back.

Shop around for the best deal when the leasing period comes to an end

As your leasing period ends, it would be wise to begin evaluating the car`s trade-in value in order to know if you have equity in excess of residual value. In case the trade-in value of the car is notably less than the residual value, it is better to take it back to the dealer. In case the trade-in value is greater than or equal to the residual, it would be better for you to begin shopping your car to various dealers in order to determine the one who can offer you the highest amount.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle?

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle? - pretty girl in a cafe image

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Right now, it’s far too easy to get wrapped up in an ideal. You know that you want to live well. You see your friends living big, you see celebrities living big, and you want to live big too. So, you go for it. You spend more. You get those possessions that you think you need to feel good about yourself. But then you’re left feeling nothing short of empty – in every sense of the word. Because your bank account is empty and you’re feeling stuck financially. It’s okay to have a nice car and lead a lovely lifestyle, but only if it’s within your reach. Having extortionate car payments, a hefty mortgage, and ridiculous monthly expenses is only ever going to leave you feeling sick and stressed out. If you feel like you’re paying way too much for your lifestyle, now’s the time to make a change.

If you’re in debt, you’re overspending, and you really don’t feel financially free, the chances are that you’re not happy either. No matter how much stuff you have around you, you will feel in a bad place. The worries and financial burden that you have just isn’t worth it. Instead, you have to think about the kind of lifestyle that you should be living – the one that you can afford. And, at the same time, working to get yourself into a better financial position so that, one day in the future, you will have the life you want. So let’s take a look at what you need to do to get yourself into a better place.

Break Down Your Income

To get you started, you need to be really aware of what you earn. So right now, you think you earn a set salary each year. But how much do you really earn? After taxes and benefits and different payments, you may earn less than you think. So the first thing to do is really break it all down. Ideally, you’ll do this with both yours and your spouse’s incomes. That way, you’ll be able to work out what comes into the household each month.

Write Down Your Expenses

Next, you need to be really transparent with the monthly bills that you have. So write them down. Really dig deep and work out what bills you pay each month. From your mortgage to your water bill, include it all. Anything that goes out to pay for the house or your personal lifestyles should be included here. Even if you have regular purchases, such as salon visits or a members club, this all needs to be written down.

Cull, Cull, Cull!

Now, you’re probably going to be incredibly shocked by what you see. And that’s normal. Because we never really know how much we spend each month until we see it in front of us. You may even realize that you’re spending way more than you bring in, and it’s going to stress you out.But only for a second. Because now you’re going to slash it all in half! You’re going to be drastic and cut your expenses so much, removing anything that’s not a necessity, so that things are looking a little more flattering.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle? - couple image

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Create A Budget

The next step is to set up a budget online or in a spreadsheet. And be tough. Doing this is the only way that you can have any kind of control over your money. Allocate portions of money to your bills and different spending areas, then stick to it.

Track Your Spending

To complement your budget, you then need to track your spending. Keep your receipts and log them. If you can plug something into your bank account, then do it. But just make sure that you are honest and you’re tracking things accurately. This is the best way to make sure that you’re bringing the cost of your lifestyle down.

Shop Around

From here, you’re then going to want to work on bringing your monthly bills down. Shop around and use a site such as moneypug to save money. Compare energy options, get a better deal on your broadband, and reduce your insurance premiums. Do what you can to really reduce what you’re paying to keep your home running.

Downgrade

Next, you need to think about how you can control some of the payments that it’s not so easy to shop around for. If you know that you have a huge mortgage on a house that is probably a bit too aspirational for you now, downgrade. Find something more affordable and move. As drastic as this may seem, you know it’s what you need to do. And do the same with your car lease. Change what you have for something more practical and affordable.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle? - man standing at sunset

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Change Your Circles

If you’re worried about what people will think of your drastic lifestyle change, then it’s time to change your circles. When you change your friends, you change your life. If the people you socialize with are bad influences, they put pressure on you, and you feel like you need to keep up with the Joneses, it’s time to let them go. True friends won’t care what you have, they’ll only care about the kind of people that you are! This will also help you to stay on track with your new frugal lifestyle.

Think About The Future

Now, you’re then going to want to start thinking ahead. You need to be sure that you are able to put a plan in place for where you want to be in five or ten years time. Right now, you don’t have the lifestyle that you want. You may have faked it and felt like you had it, but it was damaging you financially. So now you need to work out what you need to do to actually get there.

Go All In

Finally, to help you do that, you need to make sure that you’re going all in with an actionable career plan. You have to work out what you can do with your career to increase your income and really create that style of life that you want. It will take work, and you’ll need to make sacrifices, but if you give it your all, you know you can make it work.