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OVLG Blog

28
October
2015
weird-steps-to-become-debt-free

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. Today I’m completely debt free and avoid incurring further debts. I also help people so that they can live a debt-free life too!

The Long Version:

By the beginning of March 2011, I was knee-deep in debt - 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, I came to know about a debt relief firm named Oak View Law Group. 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. I enrolled myself in the program during the end of June 2011. 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.

All my debts were resolved after two and half years from the day I joined. 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, I too started eating nothing but rejected frozen pizzas and stale bagels during afternoons, which lasted for 6 months. Those were tough days. But this way I managed to save around $100 every month.

Apart from this, I also sold plasma three times a week for about five months 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 realized that I didn’t need everything and could survive with what I had. 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.

I sold my almost brand new LCD TV and washing machine, which helped me earn another $900. 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, I managed to accumulate funds around $4800, which I used towards resolving my balances with my creditors.

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. The idea sounded better than to file for bankruptcy.

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, I learned many things during those two and half years. 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”.

OVLG Blog

22
September
2015
enjoy-fall-season-with-family

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 some fun ideas to experience with your family 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 Hawaii’s largest isle looks fabulous in the fall season. 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

Southern California is popular for its warm and sunny weather during the fall season. 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. The San Juan Mountain in Colorado will be covered with various vibrant shades of colors 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 visit York, Maine to participate in the annual Harvest Feast. 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.

Tips:

  • 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.

Final words

Ask every family member to get involved in the planning. 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!

Don’t miss out - How college students can take full advantage of the fall season

OVLG Blog

27
August
2015
journey-of-a-young-girl

The title of this story reminds me of the classic - Anne Frank -The Diary of a young girl. But believe me, I couldn’t think of a better title for this story ever since I decided to show my journey from financial mess to financial victory to the whole world out there. And the similarities between the 2 titles end in the phrase ‘young girl’ only. That’s because, unlike Anne Frank, my story is about struggle, despair, embarrassment, hope, never giving up attitude and victory. There’s a feel-good factor at the end of my story which gives you a new hope and zeal to move forward in life.

My story……

Prolog

We tend to think that girls are not good with money. They’re only good at shopping and splurging. Well, a part of this is actually true since most girls are massive shopaholics. Just the mere word ‘shopping’ is enough to give them an adrenaline rush and a cute smile on their lips. But this is equally true that shopping is perhaps a girl’s biggest enemy since it kills her savings and turns her into a broke gradually. Sadly, I understood this fact, albeit a little late. During this time, I lost two precious possessions of my life - my dad and my ‘money tree’.

Chapter 1: Shopping - My first love

Yes, I love shopping. I love to store trendy clothes, designer bags, perfect stilettos in my closet. And during my college years, I used to check ‘fresh arrivals’ at Walmart every week. Nobody could stop me from picking up at least one item from there. My dad was doing well financially and I took advantage of it with glee. I was a pampered daughter who got everything she wished for, totally unaware of this big bad and real world.

Chapter 2: My first step to the big bad real world

Things were running smoothly and I was happy in my dream world. I loved my life - enjoying everyday with my friends without any tension. Initially, I used to shop with my dad’s credit cards. Later, my dad gifted me a credit card and I started shopping with it. My dad took care of credit card bills so I hardly bothered about them. In fact, he paid my bills even after I started working as a fashion designer after finishing my graduation.

Yes, I was completely a self-proclaimed and unabashed shopaholic - a fact that I would always regret in my life.

I was completely immersed in my new world - creating designs and stitching clothes. My career and social life occupied 90 percent of my day. My shopping spree continued in its full swing in between client meetings and creating beautiful designs.

In the meantime, my dad got sick. He was bedridden for several months and became very weak. So I started spending some time with him after finishing my work. I didn’t concentrate on the credit card during this time also. I thought it was taken care of. Never wondered how would it be taken care of when my dad was so ill and weak? He could hardly walk. So how could he possibly pay my credit card bills?

I was awakened from my dream all of a sudden after a few months with a call from a debt collector. I was told that my credit card bill had escalated to $57148.47. I couldn’t believe my ears. And when I asked if he was sure, then the debt collector explained the fees, penalties, additional interests and other things in details. The collector told me very clearly that if I didn’t pay the money, then they would be filing a lawsuit against me within a few days.

My savings was nil since I invested all the money for a business. I couldn’t even say anything to dad since he was not well at all. So, I started thinking about a backup plan. But the problem was, I didn’t have any backup plan.

Chapter 3: Realization of my mistake

I had no money, my dad was ill and the collector was threatening me every day. I had to pay off debts somehow. I called my friends and explained the situation. Some sympathized whereas some acted to be plain busy.

Out of utter desperation and frustration, I started selling off my costly accessories, clothes, and other stuff through Craiglist, eBay, consignment shops, yard sales, etc. This helped me to earn $10,000. I paid that amount immediately to the debt collector.

Now, I was left with $47,148.47. This gave me a little bit relief. At least, I paid $10,000 on my own.

The remaining $47,148.47 was not allowing me to sleep peacefully at night. Out of sheer desperation, I decided to ask dad for money. When I told dad everything, he said he could give me $5000 only since his business was bankrupt. And, his savings was almost nil because of his expensive medical expenses.

I knew my dad wouldn’t be able to pay for his medical bills next month onwards if I took that money. I was a bad girl. But I was not so heartless that I would leave my dad without any medication for so many months. So there was me again busy in hatching another plan.

Chapter 4: Finally, a breakthrough

Since I had no money to pay off debts on my own, so it was high time to seek help from a professional. After a bit of online research, I narrowed down to Oak View Law Group precisely because they fit into my requirement. Their fees were budget-friendly and solutions seem to be good at that time. And I was not mistaken.

OVLG was ready to settle my credit card debt on my behalf. They asked me to save some money first before starting the negotiation process. This was a huge challenge for me since I have never saved a penny before. Plus I had to pay for my business and dad’s medical bills.

When I told my problem to OVLG, they shared with me a few secrets to save money. I followed each step very carefully. Plus, I took these steps on my own:

  1. I worked 80 - 90 hours every week to deliver products to my clients
  2. I worked from home during weekends - mainly did online jobs to accelerate income
  3. I didn’t stop shopping completely. But yes, I used coupons to grab lucrative deals
  4. I made an account as Shop it to Me so as to get email alerts on my favorite brands that were on sale
  5. Whenever, I had to attend a special party, I rented designer clothes from Rent the Runway.
  6. I even created ravishing designs for me in my free time. I wore them and this helped to promote my brand and fetch new clients.

Chapter 5: I did it! Paid off debts and saved $22369.15

It took me some time to adjust to a new lifestyle and save money. But after a few weeks, I was able to save money. And after a few months, my net savings was not that bad. I used the money to settle some of my debts through OVLG. I must say, they negotiated really well since my total savings was $22722.53 after paying off debts. A big relief for me.

Epilog: Where I stand today

My life has changed. Dad has left my hands forever after his body couldn't take any more medical treatments. It’s a huge loss for me since I know that no one would love me like he did. No one would bestow love and affection upon me unconditionally because only a dad can love his little girl like a princess.

I have changed a lot in the last 2 years. Today, I’m more practical and less whimsical. I still love shopping. But today, I shop wisely. I plan everything as per my budget since some of my creditors are still waiting for money. And I need to pay them back as soon as possible.

Thank you, Oak View Law Group for your guidance and support. You turned a naive, emotional and reckless girl to a practical and sensible woman. My dad would have been very happy to see this change in me. Alas, that day will never come in my life.

“This story has been posted by our client AF from CA. We wish her all the best in life and hope her dad makes a speedy recovery”.

OVLG Blog

18
August
2015

August 26 - the day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 granting women the right to vote in America. Since this day, the United States has witnessed four female U.S. Supreme Court justices and a U.S. Attorney General. While this might seem as a tremendous success for a class who were once devoid of voting rights, we still await the first female chief justice of the United States.

history-of-women

OVLG Blog

24
June
2015
mistakes-which-delay-your-financial-independence

Mistakes are very common and obvious things, especially when it comes to finance. Both youngsters and elders make costly money mistakes. And this includes dads too. There's a proverb you may know, “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” Most often, many of you are feeling guilty of some of your financial mistakes. However, you must understand that you have accumulated not because of anyone else’s fault but yours. Thus, you may also be aware of these mistakes which can totally change your lifestyle.

1. Having excessive credit card craze

Many people are often unaware of the proper usage of credit cards. They love to swipe a credit card for each and every purchase to meet regular needs. And this is probably most ruinous financial mistake. You should follow a realistic household budget at your initial age. Thus, you can optimize the excessive usage of your plastics. Because, don’t forget that you need to pay your each and every bill on time. If you’re unable to pay off your credit card debts in time, then you have to incur interest charges on that purchase. Remember, credit cards can be used only to meet the emergency expenses.

2. Choosing unaffordable things

As the credit card gives you the scope of using money that you do not have, you may get tempted to use your credit cards to make a purchase that you would not be able to make. Otherwise, you may often tend to forget that you will be the one who will eventually have to pay off this amount. You may draw some temporary satisfaction with the idea of possessing things that go way beyond your affordability, but this will lead you to fall into massive credit card debts.

3. Paying money for credit reviewing

You can always get a free credit report to monitor if there is any wrong listing. But paying money to review the credit report twice or thrice a year will be a blunder. Because there are many websites available to check credit report for free. Moreover, if you’re not sure about the security of your credit report, then you can set a security alert on your credit report in order to stop further fraud. For this, you need to pay only one time charges.

4. Borrowing money from retirement account

You shouldn’t borrow money from your retirement account. This is one of the serious mistakes which can cost you dearly on your golden age. Remember, unless there is an emergency, it’s not advisable to cashing out from your retirement account. Because you have to pay taxes on your borrowing from a retirement account.

5. Paying only the minimum on all credit card

In case you are paying just the minimum on all your credit cards, then you are making a big mistake. This habit is something that you should change. You must pay at least the minimum on all your credit card debts, but more than the minimum on at least one debt. This one card that you pay more than the minimum should ideally be the debt that has the highest interest rate. You must pay at least the double of the minimum for this debt. Thus, you can pay off the debt faster. This means that you will be able to save a lot of money on interest.

6. Taking out cash advances on credit cards

Cash advances is a very costly thing that you frequently do with a credit card. The fees associated with cash advances are very lofty and the rate of interest is also very high. So, you must avoid this option unless or until there's an emergency.

7. Wasting all credit limits

Some credit terms will offer huge credit limits for students. But this doesn't mean that a student can burn the full credit limit. You should keep in mind that the balance of your credit is below 50%. And if you cross your credit limit, your score may get hurt.

8. Buying an unnecessarily big house

If you buy a too bigger house than you need, then you’re going to spend lots of things which may cause a big credit crunch in the future. You need to think about insurance, taxes, utility maintenance cost, homeowner's fees as well. So, when you can comfortably live in a less expensive house with your family, then it will be a blunder to spend a lot of money to buy or build a big house in a higher priced community.

Final words

Understanding the mistakes and avoiding them can help you to achieve something better. Remember, it takes a long time and effort to build a secured financial future, but, it’s quite easier to lose it. So, try to live within your means and track your every single penny you have spent every day. Try to spend less money than you earn. You may successfully achieve financial security with time.

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About OVLG

Oak View Law Group is one of the best law firms in the country. Registered with CalBar and Cal Chamber, this law firm has been protecting rights and alleviating financial stress of consumers since 2007. The firm has more than 363 live reviews to it’s credit and 5 star rating from the TrustLink. Continue reading


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