You are often thankful for various things like good health, promising relationship, etc. But, why not thank those financial prospects that come your way? I’m not talking about the promotion that you’ve got this year or the biggest trip that you’ve enjoyed with your family. Apart from these, there are still some other reasons that you should be thankful for. What are those? Last night, I searched on Google about some financial opportunities/benefits, which were introduced in 2015. There were many, but these 4 were really helpful for all common people. Maybe you've already taken advantage of these opportunities. However, I'm really thankful and can’t stop myself from writing brief notes on them.
1. Introduced EMV technology (Chip credit card)
Credit card fraud has been a rising problem in the US. To fight with this problem, , . All credit cards got a replacement with a chip in this year. Credit cards with a chip are made with the EMV technology that provide transaction security and other advantages, which a traditional magnetic stripe card can’t provide. There are many advantages of an EMV chip card, such as:
- EMV technology helps to reduce fraud
- A consumer can use EMV chip payment card on any EMV compatible payment terminal
- It supports advanced cardholder verification methods
- It provides security for online payment transactions
It is one of the biggest financial opportunities that you’ve got in 2015. Now you’re safe from credit card fraud. To know more about this new feature, visit http://www.emv-connection.com/ or http://www.gochipcard.com/. You can get useful resources to understand the basics of this technology and other related details.
2. PWC offered $1,200 a year to the employee
. This benefit will start in the year of 2016 and continue for up to 6 years. PWC is hiring many fresh grads directly from college campuses. Loan repayment benefit is certainly one of the most attracting perks as so many millennials are struggling with student loan debt. So, it's a great opportunity to get the benefit from PWC once you get hired this year. You can , , etc.
3. Lower gas price
The year 2015 is good for all drivers to fill up gas with a lower price. , . How long will it continue? As per the experts, fuel prices will remain low throughout the holiday season. The price tracker website gasbuddy.com recently reported, regular unleaded fuel is available at $1.85 per gallon in Fairfield, Sharonville and West Chester. Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) claimed, last time in April 2009 local gas prices were low. The US Energy Information Administration forecast that the prices of crude oil will remain low for this year and 2016 as well. A typical driver can save almost $50 per month for this cheaper rate. However, it’s the biggest good news for people who drive more. Lower gas prices mean chances to save more money in bank account. It also gives a chance to save money on fuel during holiday travel season, which is an extra benefit for you. Isn't it?
4. The comeback of Layaway to beat holiday credit card debts
Layaway policy is back just before the holiday season. This is absolutely a great opportunity to take advantage of Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping. You can save money on electronics, toys, and other supplies. , . Other big retailers will also offer the layaway plan for their customers. However, layaway policy can vary from one retailer to another. But, as per the experts, with layaway, consumers can reduce holiday credit card debts. The biggest retailer Walmart claimed that layaway plan will help their customers get every item they want. Walmart is hoping its popularity among their customers. .
One of the biggest advantages of layaway is, a customer can add the items to layaway and can buy them on Black Friday at Black Friday prices. Some other features are as follows:
- There is no opening fee for layaway
- The items must be at least $10 and your total purchase must be at least $50
- You can buy toys, electronics, automotive electronics, furniture, small appliances, and jewelry
- You need to pick the items and pay for them within the stipulated time period
- You can do layaway online
- It helps to beat the holiday rush.
- It helps to avoid January credit card debts.
- It ensures the latest trend of the season.
- It doesn’t require payments for the items all at once.
- It helps to focus on the budget.
- It allows advance payment.
In addition, people took advantage of the tax breaks on their home buying at the beginning of the year 2015. There was a great chance to buy a house, taking significant tax breaks. Rent has been rising for the past few years. So, there was a golden opportunity for the first time homebuyers to maximize their tax deduction on the home earlier in the year. Problem are a part of our life. We all have different types of issues to worry about. But we should be thankful for each and every phase that have come to our life. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers out there. Do share your own reason to be thankful for.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” - Joseph Campbell.
Eleventh November is observed as the Veterans Day. This year let’s plan something different for our heroes. Always remember, the peaceful nights we spend are gifts from the warriors of our country.
The experience and courage of our soldiers keep us protected from foreign bandits. It’s their sacrifice that is helping us to live our dreams. So, let's honor the brave heroes of our nation in a unique way.
Some useful ideas to help veterans
Do you know any veteran personally? He/she can be your relative, neighbor, or a friend. Then, share these helpful ideas with them to make this day special:
Find new roads for the retired veterans
Getting back to a normal civilian life after retirement is a real challenge for the veterans. As civilians, it’s our duty to help our heroes face this challenging transition. You can :
- Prepare for a civilian life again - A soldier’s life is full of discipline and marked by boundaries. Coming out of that all of a sudden and leading a civilian life is a real challenge. . Retired veterans can take the help of this program, or they can also seek help from career counselors to lead a normal life post-retirement from the army.
- Enroll for post-army careers - Getting an employment post-retirement is a tough job. So, . They can opt for Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program that gives them an opportunity to prepare for the future besides serving the country.
- Use professional training certificates - Professional and trade certificates praise the veterans for their specialized skills. These help them to shine in their civilian careers as well.
- Select teaching as profession - If the retired veterans are interested in teaching, then they can choose it as their post-army career. In this case, .
- Take advantage of the retirement benefits - After retirement, soldiers should opt for VA Pension Program. Retiree benefits also help the soldiers to pay for their college, home, life insurance premiums, and so on.
- Opt for a retirement plan savings - Various savings plan are there to help the veterans out of their misery post-retirement. The “401(k) plan” and “Thrift Savings Plan” help the soldiers save for their retired life.
Stretch a helping hand for the needy veterans
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
Our soldiers are always there when we need them. Now, it’s our turn to be by their side when they need us. They combat for the prosperity of our motherland. While performing their duty, some veterans lose their homes and are hospitalized. They need our help. Find out :
- Assist the emergency shelters - The emergency shelters are built to support the homeless veterans. , , , the homeless and needy veterans.
- Collect money for varied programs - Money is the most important thing that can give a sigh of relief to the veterans. Raise funds for different programs by contacting churches, civic and business groups, schools, veterans service organizations. This’ll help the vets to handle their immediate problems.
- Provide shelter for the homeless vets - Physically challenged vets need special homes that can accommodate their disability. “Home for our Troops” is a national, non-partisan, non-profitable organization that build special homes for the disabled veterans. Help this organization fulfill its goals by arranging and donating funds.
- Simply say thank you - Simple words of gratitude like “thank you” can bring a smile on a veteran’s face. . Thank the soldiers for their duty through platforms like Anysoldier.com, United We Serve, and so on.
Help whenever needed
Soldiers are those pillars of our society who helps to maintain the equilibrium. It’s because of their sacrifice that the nation is standing strong amidst strong winds. We should try to help each and every veteran who need our help. , .
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- Snag the best Black Friday deals from Blackfriday.com and check out the coupon codes at Walmart.
- Use credit cards with lowest interest rates for shopping.
- Create a special budget for your last-minute festive expenses.
- Buy Windows tablet, kitchen goods and appliances as they will be available at low price.
- Book your air ticket on the Thanksgiving morning. You’ll reach your venue in the morning and save minimum $200.
- Create your shopping list for Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
- Create a budget for charitable donation to save tax and avoid getting requests for donations during Christmas.
- Put money in the stock market since it’s the best time to invest.
Financial to-do list - October 2015
- Establish a SIMPLE-IRA if you’re a self-employed person. Deadline: October 1, 2015
- File your individual tax returns. Deadline: October 15, 2015.
- Get amazing Halloween coupon codes from Groupon and exciting deals from Hotels.com, OrangeOnions, IHOP, and Disney Store.
- Redeem your reward points and book your air tickets if you’re planning a tour in December.
- Dip your credit or debit card when you buy something to enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience.
- Buy a new set of tires to save your car from chilly winter onslaughts.
- Sell your unwanted items in a yard sale or at a consignment store to boost your Christmas fund.
- Have a talk with your co-workers and buy the best gift to impress your boss on the Boss Day. Deadline: October 16, 2015
- Create your holiday budget for 2015. This would include how much to spend on gifts, travel and food.
Financial to-do list - September 2015
- Save money for NFL tickets for yourself and relatives. You can check here for tickets: Stubhub.com , ticketcity.com, etc.
- Get coupons and promo codes for NFL tickets from retailmenot.com/coupons/nfltickets.
- Have a look at your favorite NFL team’s fan forum. You may get some tickets for free.
- File your (i) corporate tax returns (ii) trust income tax returns (iii) partnership tax returns for the 2015 tax year by September 15, 2015.
- If you’re self-employed, then set up SIMPLE-IRA for 2015 by October 1, 2015.
- Get coupons at Black Angus Steakhouse and other top restaurants to have sumptuous meals.
- Buy vehicles, appliances, school supplies, jewelry, old models of iPhone this month. You’ll get heavy discounts on these items.
- Participate in the National PrepareAthon and get your toolkits to be ready with your emergency plan for your family and pets.
- Make a special plan to meet your financial goals in the last quarter of 2015.
- Review your accomplishments and decide what else needs to be done to get a good performance review at the end of the year.
- Tons of discounts and deals are available on resorts as they’re quiet and less crowded. You can have a romantic getaway there during the Labor day holiday weekend.
- Take your kids to amusements parks as tickets are cheaper during this time.
Financial to-do list - August 2015
- Check out the amazing deals in Amazon and Walmart for back to school shopping.
- Look for student aids and grants.
- Buy school supplies on Sales tax free days (http://www.freetaxweekend.com/), mainly within the first 10 days of August 2015.
- Buy or rent new/used textbooks at affordable price.
- Calculate how much you saved in 529 savings account if your kid is going back to school.
- Ask your children to upload or share their CV or resume in job portals for short-term Fall jobs after joining their schools and start saving for the festivities ahead.
- Save money for a professional wardrobe and presentation - a suit, a leather portfolio, shoes, wrist-watch, tie, belt, wallet, pen, business card-holder, a brief case.
- Save money to buy the National Football League games’ tickets with your school buddies.
- Create a budget and plan a menu to celebrate the upcoming friendship week with your School friends.
It is easy to get plunged into a sea of despair when confronting mammoth debt burdens. When you fail to pay them with normal and minimal efforts, you start believing them to remain with you forever.
However, if there is a will, you can ambush even the biggest balances in record time. Apart from some real help from a professional entity, I undertook some steps (which might sound weird and unconvincing) that too helped to bring down the ‘become debt-free’ tenure. Here is my story. You decide if it’s crazy or laudable.
The Short Version:
I was able to improve my financial situation with the help of a professional debt relief organization. Again, I made some serious life changes and applied some hacks. Though I messed up a lot down the line, ultimately I came out victorious and managed to resolve all my debts (around $20,000) in only two and half years. . I also help people so that they can live a debt-free life too!
The Long Version:
, - all incurred due to the extravagant expenses during Christmas, New Year’s Eve and vacation in Mexico. The situation was too suffocating and I was looking for an exit. The debt levels were increasing day-by-day and I had to take some drastic actions. Fortunately, . Initially, I was a bit hesitant as I was very much aware of the increasing scams in the country. However, when I saw the customer reviews, I was convinced.
It was BG who first introduced me to the program and made me understand all the details, the pros, and cons. . It was amazing to experience that there were no annoying and harassing phone calls from the creditors within days after joining the program as now they were directly contacting my representative who was negotiating with them on my behalf.
I was paying monthly installments towards my trust account so that a lump sum amount could be accumulated for a settlement. In the meantime, my representative was in touch with my creditors and carrying out negotiations. Once there was enough fund in my account, the settlements were done and payments were made only after I nodded to the settlement that they offered.
. I cannot explain how happy I was at that time. It was a big relief. The feeling was like having a rebirth and I was no longer dying with my debt burdens.
However, apart from the genuine help that I received from Oak View Law Group, there were some awkward and out of the world stuff that I did to pour more funds to my trust account and escalate the momentum of the debt free journey. Here are five of those:
1. Sold plasma and ate rejected food: I became an avid reader of personal finance blogs during that period, and it’s how I came to know about John Schmoll, who runs the personal finance blog FrugalRules.com and his weird habits to pay off debts.
I was greatly moved by his unusual daily diet to cut costs. Hence, , . Those were tough days. But this way I managed to save around $100 every month.
Apart from this, to earn more disposable income besides doing my day job. I threw all these extra money towards my balances.
2. Bought nothing new for 2 years: It was the time when . I stopped paying myself and became less shy. I didn’t buy myself a single outfit for two years. I started borrowing things and even asked for favor whenever needed.
It was a very stressful time. However, I was determined to get out of the crisis. So I attacked all my balances with every single penny I earned and saved.
3. Sold household items: I sold many of my household goods during that tenure to have more funds at my disposal. Since my priority was to get out of debt as soon as possible, I sold many items that weren’t even crap.
, . Luxury and entertainment were stuff that I couldn’t think of during that time and perhaps were unaffordable too.
When we cleaned up our house after the post-holiday craziness, we found tons of unwanted goods that we owned. Bags, shoes, DVDs, books, ipods, old cell phones, PCs, old kayaks, skis that didn’t fit and the list went on. We sold all these stuff that we certainly didn’t need and used the money towards filling up my trust account.
4. Worked at both day and night jobs: Besides doing my day job, I worked as a senior caregiver for an aged woman for around 5 months. Sleep was something that was unknown to me during those days. So, after working for 7 hours in my day-shift, I took this caregiving job without any second thought.
Though I lost all my mental health for some time, there was a hope for a better, stress-free and debt-free future. During the tenure, , .
5. Sold my car and bought a bike: I sold my car, purchased a bike and rode it to work. Selling the car was a huge decision since it was a gift from my father. However, I had to do it. .
Apart from the money that I got at my disposal by selling off the car, I saved good digits as there were no expenses for gas, insurance, maintenance, license, taxes, and parking. Besides the financial relief, riding the bike down to work proved to be beneficial for health too. I lost 10 pounds in just three weeks.
I used the $4500 that I received by selling off the car towards filling up my trust account and the amount helped to escalate the debt payoff process.
Believe me, I had no other door open than to go through these paths. What I did was very much needed for the well-being of my family. Moreover, . However, perhaps it wouldn't have been possible if Oak View Law Group wasn’t there. They gave me the very motivation and support that I needed badly and I’m thankful to them for this.
Trust me, just like me you can get out of debt too. You may not require practising weird things like I did. Just sheer determination, patience, and some lifestyle changes will definitely do the much-needed help.
Ready to get started?
“This story has been posted by our client KB from NY. We wish her all the best in life and hope her dad makes a speedy recovery”.
The season "fall" is the most colorful time of the year. Most of the places are surrounded by the beautiful shades of vibrant colors and some are beautifully covered with the rolling vineyard. Conventionally, this colorful foliage season is ideal to have some outdoor fun with family.
Here are before the icy chilly winter season arrives.
1. Attend a free fall festival
Apple picking or a hayride is always a fun idea for kids. So, try to find out a U-pick farm to participate in orchards and pumpkin patches.
2. Visit the island with family
The islands are great in every season; especially . There is a chance to watch the lava flow into the sea at Volcano National Park as well. The sunset on the black sand beaches and tropical rainforests are the breathtaking experiences.
3. Enjoy the warm weather during fall
. People love to visit San Diego county to enjoy the extended summer. The wonderful beaches, surf towns, Mexican cuisines are perfect for attracting tourists in the fall. San Diego zoo is another attraction for kids!
4. Give your eyes a colorful treat
You can consider a trip to a mountain town to enjoy some outdoor activities. The fall season is ideal to enjoy downhill skiing and mountain biking as well. during the fall season. So, it’s totally a win-win idea to enjoy the fall season with family. Mountain areas are perfect to see the fall foliage and the pile of colorful leaves on the road and alpine scenery.
5. Don’t miss the harvest feast
Make a plan to , . Usually, the feast takes place in mid-October. The feast is totally entertaining as you can enjoy the live band performances and local food from vendors. Kids will enjoy the pony rides, face painting, and horse-drawn wagon rides as well.
- Planning is the key! Don’t just start driving the car without any plan, especially when the other members are with you. You should have a clear idea about the place and the fun activities that you want to experience before starting the journey. For instance, if your family wants to enjoy outdoor fun in the mountain area, then find out a place where you can get mountain views and other activities. So, don’t forget to ask your family members before making the plan.
- Get a clear knowledge of the back roads and the scenic beauty of the place before starting the journey.
. If they want to visit a nearby pumpkin patch to enjoy the fall activities (corn maze, hayride) or simply want to decorate the home with pumpkins to welcome Halloween, then you may save thousand of bucks on your fall staycation!
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