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September 19, 2012

Customize your Budget – Don’t Develop a Shopping Addiction

Signs of a Shopping Addiction

Like any other addiction, it can be difficult to recognize when you’ve truly crossed the line into the dangerous territory of “shopaholic.” It’s one thing to recreationally shop at the mall on a Friday night and do a bit of end-of-week splurging, and another to make it a weekly – or worse, daily – habit. This habit, as has been seen in financially devastated households across the country, can culminate to cripple not just your budget, but your entire family’s budget.

Below are five tell-tale signs you may belong to the 6 percent of Americans who have developed addiction to shopping:

  1. Impulse shopping. Perhaps the most common sign of being a shopping addict is the tendency to purchase items you didn’t intend to buy, instead acting on a general whim. When the sales clerk approaches you and tries to sell you a product, are you more likely to say “no thanks” and walk away, or find a justification to buy the item against your better judgment? You may notice that you especially have this tendency with a particular group of products you’ve taken a liking to – clothing, electronics, etc.
  2. The “rush.”The next time you find yourself out and about at a shopping center, stop to consider why you’re there to begin with. Have you set out on an agenda to meet a specific need, or are you wandering about in search of something to do – the “rush” of purchasing a product? Shopping is attributed with increases in dopamine levels of the brain upon buying a product, providing a science to what some may incorrectly see as a fickle disease. This dopamine rush can, more often than not, form a real addiction that makes you crave a new purchase much like you would a cigarette.
  3. Stress shopping. Shopping addiction forms when other aspects of life begin to go awry. If you find that you shop the most when your stress levels are high or you flee to the mall post-argument, re-evaluate your shopping habits. You may be particularly prone to this habit if you already suffer from other disorders such as depression, anorexia, or bi-polar disorder.
  4. Your closet is already filled with tagged items. Perhaps the most obvious looking-glass sign that a person suffers from a shopping addiction is the stockpiling of unused items. If your closet is loaded with clothing items that have had their tags attached to them for a long period of time and have begun gathering dust, it’s an obvious sign that a person’s shopping habits are beyond irregular and need attention called to them.
  5. Anxiety. Though not the easiest feeling to pinpoint with the million other stressors in your life, it is likely that your anxiety is a result of shopping (or a lack thereof) if you feel it most overwhelmingly during the days you haven’t gone shopping. Consider it a withdrawal that can drastically alter your mood and ability to concentrate.

This addiction, referred to by psychologists as Compulsive Buying Disorder, can lead to a frenzy of financial distress, as you find yourself signing up for credit cards you can’t afford (especially retailer-specific cards) and re-allocating funds meant for essentials so you can purchase that “must-have” cardigan carefully placed in the shop window for your eager eyes to ogle. To help prevent your addiction from moving any farther along its trajectory, consider taking small steps to changing your habits: carry a set amount of cash everywhere you go, change daily routes to avoid stores, exercise, and more. The proactive steps just may save you a bundle in the long run.

Garfield Refining is a Philadelphia based precious metal refinery offering nation-wide service. This 120 year old refinery buys and refines gold, silver, platinum, and palladium and services both B2B and B2C markets. For live gold prices check out @GarfieldGold on twitter.

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September 12, 2012

How to Make Sure Your Money Doesn’t Run Out Before Pay Day

In the week before pay day, many people start praying for their next cheque to clear, as finances start to get dangerously low. Living from one pay cheque to the next can be dangerous, and before you know it, you’ve borrowed yourself into debt. 61% of people admit that they live from pay cheque to pay cheque. So how can you avoid this trend?

Budgeting

With a budget, you’ll have a clearer idea of how much disposable income you have, and this will hopefully stop you from overspending. It may become clear that you are living above your means and that it is time for you to cut down on expenditures; particularly luxuries.

Be a Tracker

Tracking your spending means you have a better idea of where your money is going. Save your receipts and organise them into categories so they are easy to manage. Tallying up the total will give you an overview of total spending. Using Excel can help you analyse the data and make decisions on where you need to cut down.

Maximise Your Income

If you can get a raise, flutter your eyelashes at your boss, but a higher salary isn’t the only way to increase your income. Consider working part-time on a Saturday or turn your hobby into a cash cow. However, making more money doesn’t necessarily mean you will cure your tendency to spend all of it before pay day. 30% of workers earning six figure salaries also admit to living from pay cheque to pay cheque.

A Financial Paradigm Shift

If you are in this overspending position, it’s likely that you aren’t the most responsible person with your money. You may spend more than you really make by overestimating your income. You may just have few organisational skills when it comes to money and you have no idea where it is all going. In this case, hopefully your budget will do all the hard work and get you back into a good financial position.

Set yourself goals and visualise yourself as master of your bank account – the days of borrowing from family and banks are over. Keep that in mind and stick to your budget, rewarding yourself every now and then with a treat. Try to focus on only spending what you need to for 99% of the time: bills, rent, and travel to work.

Uncertainty

In an uncertain climate, who knows when you will need disposable money to prop you up? You may lose your job or get into an accident. In these situations it always helps to have an emergency savings fund, but how are you going to protect yourself if you can’t even make it to pay day, let alone put money aside? Guard yourself and your loved ones through responsible financial practices and cut down on all the luxuries which are putting you further into debt. It’s time to stop worrying.

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3 Important Debt Relief Tips

More and more credit card users are going in the debt each month and the common reasons are stagnant income, rise in the living cost, and unexpected life events such as the accidents, diseases, and natural calamity etc. These reasons make the survival difficult for the credit card users and they find it really difficult to come out of their debt. It may surprising to hear but it is true that debt relief will become the easiest job for you if take care to follow some important debt relief tips. Concentrate on these 3 important debt relief tips to get freedom from all the debt.

Follow the best debt relief option

There are too many debt relief options available in the market depending on the market situations in the local area. Taking a loan from the financial institutions is the first option that most of debtors try. The debtors can also sell their ownership of house, car, bike or anything else. The item you choose to sell should depend on the total amount of debt that you have to repay. The debtors can also ask for the money from some other sources such as the relatives, friends, and neighbors etc. So you have so many options of debt relief but the big question is that which option should be tried.

To get the answer of this question, the debtors should compare all the options and choose the one that is most suitable according to their requirements. Choose the best option that not only helps to pay the debts but also gives the peace of mind to the debtors.

Pay full debt each month

The credit card providers provide an option to pay the minimum debt this month and pay the rest in the next month. This is a good option of payment for those who do not have the sufficient money to pay their debts this month. Although it is a good option but it can also make the situations worst for the credit card users. The money that you will not pay this month would add to the balance in the next month. This will increase your burden in the next month and it will continue to rise whenever you will fail to pay. So the best option is to try to pay full debt each month and do not let your debt grow like a tree.

Hire a credit counselor

If you think that these 2 tips might not go a long way in giving relief from the loads of debt growing then the next important tip is to hire a credit counselor. The credit counselor will run a credit counseling program to analyze your financial situation and the debt. The credit counselors will also help in getting the concessions from the creditors on the interest rates. So this is how the counselors can be helpful in reducing the debt.

These are the three important tips that will help any debtor to get freedom from the debt.

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September 2, 2012

10 Healthy Ways To Build Credit

Building your credit is not easy and should be a task that is not taken lightly. There are many different ways to build credit and you should be aware of which ways are effective and which ways are not. No one really knows the formula that the credit bureaus use to come up with a person’s credit score but there is enough knowledge that the financial professionals have created some tips for building credit.

This rest of this article will give you some simple tips of how to build your credit. Of course if your credit is clean improving your score will take no time at all. However if your credit score is in the poor category improving will take some time.

Get A Secured Credit Card

If you have a bad credit rating or no credit at all an unsecured credit card may be difficult to receive. This is where a secured credit care may come in handy. Even though these cards are secured with your own money they are still reported to the credit bureaus so if you use the card correctly and continue to pay your score will rise.

Have A Cosigner For A Loan

Another way to establish credit if you have bad credit or no credit at all is by applying and receiving personal loans for bad credit with a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who will sign on the loan and will be responsible for the loan in the case of you defaulting on the loan. As long as the payments are made on time and you follow the terms of the loan your credit score will improve.

Check Your Credit Reports

This is probably an obvious tip but if you are aware of where you are currently standing when it comes to your credit score you will know what it will take to build better credit.

Open A Personal Bank Account

Often times a personal bank account is overlooked. This is because the bank does not report to the credit bureaus. However if you keep your account in good standing and have a good history with your bank it will be easy to get instant payday loans through the bank that will offer a good interest rate.

Understand Your Credit Score

What this means is that you need to know how your credit scores are formulated. Once you know that you will be able to do what needs to be done to build your credit history. You will know if you need to get a credit card to help raise your score or a personal loan of some sort.

Keep Your Credit Cards Open

If you are trying to build your credit closing your credit card accounts will decrease your credit score. It is important to know that even if you are not using your credit card just having it on your credit file will increase your credit score. However it is best to use your credit cards but keep the balance on them low.

Pay Your Bills

Believe it or not if you do not pay your monthly bills even your utility bills can ruin your credit history. These will be reported to the credit bureaus if you default.

Do Not Apply For Loans or Credit Cards

This is a pretty obvious tip. If you do not need a loan or a credit card do not apply for one? Every time you apply for one of these forms of credit it will lower your score.

Cut Up Your Credit Cards

Rather than close out your credit card accounts to keep yourself from using them it is a better idea to cut them up. By not having the access to them the account will stay open but will have a balance of nothing on them because you will not be using the card.

Use Your Credit Responsibly

Using your credit responsibility is the best tip of them all. If you keep your credit cards with a low balance on them you will find that your credit score will continue to rise. By not using any of the credit that you have could actually hurt you.

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September 1, 2012

ImproveYour Savings In Three Easy Ways

Even though the UK appears to have left the worst depths of the recession, all of us have been looking for ways to save up to make sure we’re prepared in case we hit another financial rough patch. Preparing for an economic downturn may be tricky, but we’ve listed the three most straightforward ways you can ready your saving accounts for the worst.

1. Establish a cash ISA. Save over £5,000 every year (and rising, as the deposit limits increase with inflation each fiscal year)without paying tax on your money. With so many ISA products on the market, be sure to compare cash ISA rates online and select the one with the best interest rates from a reputable bank that offers the accessibility you need.

2. Switchinternet savings accounts. It’s easy to compare online savings accounts to find the ones with the highest interest. While some will require your funds to remain in place for a certain period of time (at the risk of a harsh penalty if you access or transfer them), once that period is up, you should always look for the best offers.

3. Set up automatic monthly deposits. Willpower often ends up derailing our best savings goals – it is hard to plan for the future when you see something you want right at that time. But if you automatically siphon some of your wages to go into a savings account, you can avoid accessing the funds for more frivolous purchases. This means you’ll have a guaranteed income in that account every month, allowing you to more easily plan for the future.

Actually getting hold of the spare cash to put in your savings accounts may still be tricky, but knowing how to handle the money you’ve got is the most effective way to ensure that your nest egg is thoroughly protected.

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