How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt – Fast!

The credit crisis – defining debt.

Plainly put, to be in debt is to owe money to a creditor. Creditors allow you to make purchases directly without asking you to pay for anything upfront. Instead, creditors lend you the money for now and ask you to pay it back later. This may seem dandy, but the danger here is something called interest – which is the cost of borrowing money, resulting in you paying more for the item than it originally would have cost you. Buy it with your credit card they’ll say…

Credit Card

Help! I’m in debt – how do I get out of it?!

If you’re already on that hamster wheel, it’s time to reassess. Ask yourself, “How can I realistically pay off my debt?” then set yourself achievable goals.

 When it comes to human nature, resisting temptation has never been our strong suit. So, take those credit cards and hide them – out of sight and out of mind. Paying out of pocket will help you to be more aware of your spending patterns and needs vs. wants. Next, breakdown and evaluate your debt. If dealing with your finances is daunting, create a straightforward list of all your debts – which won’t seem so scary laid out in front of you. Now create a strict plan based on the numbers. Remember folks, the numbers don’t lie.

After paying your fixed cost on your mortgage, rent and car you can:

1) Make the minimum payments on your cards that have the lowest interest and aim to maximize your payments on the cards with the highest interest by budgeting and cutting down unnecessary costs.

Do this every month, and a debt will be paid on one of your accounts. Use the extra money to pay off the credit card with the next highest rate – and on and on, until you’re debt free!

2) You could order your accounts by interest rates, from highest to lowest and then make a second list where you order all your accounts by fees, from highest to lowest. Then you could choose an account at the top of each list to stop using. Those accounts that you avoid, will soon be paid off! With the extra money, you can pay off another account – paying more than just the minimum – and close that account faster than the last!

If this kind of strategic system doesn’t sit well, your other option is the Snowball Method.

3) This is where you pay off the smallest card balances first in order to convince you psychologically that your progress is real. With the extra money made from paying off your smallest balance, you can add to the minimum payment of the next card, freeing up your money in small increments that over a few months will help you to pay off a bigger debt!

Avoid the trap – home and car loans…

With home loans, banks will try to hook you by punting the fact that borrowing money to buy a house is far cheaper than borrowing money on your credit card – which must mean that there is nothing to fear, right? Wrong. You know that you still have to pay interest on a home loan but what you may not know is that these loans are generally paid back over an extremely long period. Why is that a problem? Well, the longer it takes to pay back a loan, the more interest you have to pay and the more ridiculously expensive your house becomes. To avoid this, pay back more than the minimum monthly requirement on your home loan, shortening the time you will take to pay it back and decreasing the amount of interest.

When it comes to a car loan, be on the alert for balloon payments. This payment option brings down the minimum amount you have to pay every month, woohoo, but what this actually means is that you won’t own the car until you have paid the amount in full after the entire period – which for a lot of people, means you’ll never own your car. Also note that sometimes the interest on the loan is added as a fixed amount at the beginning, instead of being calculated from what you actually owe. This means you pay the full interest, whether you pay the loan back faster or not. Negotiate a contract that allows you to pay interest on the outstanding amount – allowing you to pay your car off faster and with less interest!

Credit Card
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Commit to the plan – that works for you!

Though it may seem more logical to pay off your biggest debts first, the most successful strategy will be the one that suits you best. Do some self-reflection, breakdown your debts and then create a pay-off plan that works for you! If you do that, and commit to it, you’ll be debt free in no time! No more Credit Card Debt!

All Things Minimalist! (What is minimalism?)

What is minimalism?

Minimalism can be defined as a practice aimed at minimizing distractions that distance you from what is important. Minimalists believe that by removing the clutter in your personal and professional life, you will have more time and energy for what really matters to you. By looking at their material items, their immediate environments, their relationships, and their professions and sifting out what is unnecessary, draining or unaligned with their personal goals, minimalists aim to only possess what best reflects their individual priorities. It is a lifestyle in which simple elements are used to bring on maximum happiness, productivity and success in all aspects of life.

What is minimalism
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The General Strategy.

There are no hard and fast rules, but what is important to remember is that at its core, minimalism is about knowing what you want or need in your life and what you don’t! The sophisticated (and expensive-looking) aesthetic that springs to mind doesn’t need you to cost you money – in fact, your version of minimalism doesn’t need to look like that at all – minimalism shouldn’t be just another standard that you feel pressured to live up to!

As long as you identify and remove clutter from your home and eliminate distractions from your life – you are on the right track. If you have no idea where to start, try to make a list of the things you feel add value to your life and the things that don’t. This can range from “that ugly purple shirt my mom gave me for Christmas” to “that friendship that is oh, so tiring”. Some people find that it helps to start small – decide what you want to keep instead of what you want to throw out and then get rid of what doesn’t make the cut!

 Or, you could set an easy daily goal – get rid of one thing, then two, then three and before you know it you will have strengthened your decision-making muscle and will be more connected to  WHY and WHAT you are making space for. Now you’re probably thinking, “If I become a minimalist, does that mean I can never buy new things?”. Well, the answer is, of course, you can! Though it is advisable to lessen the influx of new things in the beginning stages, what really matters is that all purchases and decisions are intentional.

If you are buying something with the sustainable intention of it adding to your productive space – then go for it! This applies to decisions about work, relationships and other less concrete things that take up space in your mind.  

The 21st Century rush.

In modern society, a common sentiment is “so much to do, so little time”. We live in constant progression – our consumerism always increasing and our ambition always growing. There will always be something bigger or better and something else you have to do in order to get ahead of the curve. Modern culture has become based on materialism – an endless cycle of possession, progress, and the pursuit of more. More money, more friends, more hours spent grinding and more instantly gratifying distractions.

Most people’s lifestyles are dependent on a specific image that is morphed and warped depending on the latest fads, fashions or professional demands. Minimalism is a gentle reminder, that more isn’t always better and that having a lot also makes it difficult to enjoy a lot.

What is minimalism
Image by Scott Webb from Pixabay

Why should I consider minimalism?

If you feel overwhelmed at home, strung out at work and generally dissatisfied even though you have everything you are told that you need, maybe minimalism is the thing for you. Apart from de-cluttering and making your physical space more liveable, minimalism also encourages and creates space to take bigger risks, spend more time with the people you care about and gives you the opportunity to focus on what you want. In the pursuit of happiness, letting go of what isn’t right for you is essential and by stripping away the superfluous you can become open to radical change that could change your life for the better – like moving to that new city, quitting your day job to follow your passion, or ending that toxic relationship!

As you untangle the web of things and cut your physical and emotional restraints, you’ll find yourself more relaxed than ever and with all the time in the world to figure everything out, without the maintenance and organization of all your clutter. These minimalist principles allow you to guide your life in the direction you want and to enjoy more while consuming less.

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt – Fast!

The credit crisis – defining debt.

Plainly put, to be in debt is to owe money to a creditor. Credit Card Debt is a common type of debt. Creditors allow you to make purchases directly without asking you to pay for anything upfront. Instead, creditors lend you the money for now and ask you to pay it back later. This may seem dandy, but the danger here is something called interest – which is essentially the cost of borrowing money, resulting in you paying more for the item than it originally would have cost you.

Credit Card Debt
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Help! I’m in debt – how do I get out of it?!

If you’re already on that hamster wheel, it’s time to reassess. Ask yourself, “How can I realistically pay off my Credit Card debt?” then set yourself achievable goals.

 When it comes to human nature, resisting temptation has never been our strong suit. So, take those credit cards and hide them – out of sight and out of mind. Paying out of pocket will help you to be more aware of your spending patterns and needs vs. wants. Next, breakdown and evaluate your debt. If dealing with your finances is daunting, create a straightforward list of all your debts – which won’t seem so scary laid out in front of you. Now create a strict plan based on the numbers. Remember folks, the numbers don’t lie.

After paying your fixed cost on your mortgage, rent and car you can:

1) Make the minimum payments on your cards that have the lowest interest and aim to maximize your payments on the cards with the highest interest by budgeting and cutting down unnecessary costs.

Do this every month, and a debt will be paid on one of your accounts. Use the extra money to pay off the credit card with the next highest rate – and on and on, until you’re debt free!

2) You could order your accounts by interest rates, from highest to lowest and then make a second list where you order all your accounts by fees, from highest to lowest. Then you could choose an account at the top of each list to stop using. Those accounts that you avoid, will soon be paid off! With the extra money, you can pay off another account – paying more than just the minimum – and close that account faster than the last!

If this kind of strategic system doesn’t sit well, your other option is the Snowball Method.

3) This is where you pay off the smallest card balances first in order to convince you psychologically that your progress is real. With the extra money made from paying off your smallest balance, you can add to the minimum payment of the next card, freeing up your money in small increments that over a few months will help you to pay off a bigger debt!

Credit Card Debt
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

Avoid the trap – home and car loans…

With home loans, banks will try to hook you by punting the fact that borrowing money to buy a house is far cheaper than borrowing money on your credit card – which must mean that there is nothing to fear, right? Wrong. You know that you still have to pay interest on a home loan but what you may not know is that these loans are generally paid back over an extremely long period. Why is that a problem? Well, the longer it takes to pay back a loan, the more interest you have to pay and the more ridiculously expensive your house becomes. To avoid this, pay back more than the minimum monthly requirement on your home loan, shortening the time you will take to pay it back and decreasing the amount of interest.

When it comes to a car loan, be on the alert for balloon payments. This payment option brings down the minimum amount you have to pay every month, woohoo, but what this actually means is that you won’t own the car until you have paid the amount in full after the entire period – which for a lot of people, means you’ll never own your car. Also note that sometimes the interest on the loan is added as a fixed amount at the beginning, instead of being calculated from what you actually owe. This means you pay the full interest, whether you pay the loan back faster or not. Negotiate a contract that allows you to pay interest on the outstanding amount – allowing you to pay your car off faster and with less interest!

Commit to the plan – that works for you!

Though it may seem more logical to pay off your biggest debts first, the most successful strategy will be the one that suits you best. Do some self-reflection, breakdown your debts and then create a pay-off plan that works for you! If you do that, and commit to it, you’ll be debt free in no time! No more Credit Card Debt!

The Year So Far

Once A Week

2020 has been an eventful year in many ways, even at Once A Week. From finances to health and even mental challenges, we have all been down a rough road. And for many of us, we have lost our jobs or had our incomes reduced. This has changed both our financial position and our financial outlook. But that is not necessarily a terrible thing.

One major difference I saw after losing most of my income, was a change in mindset! Going into lockdown, I had just been promoted and was starting to grow my savings, financially I felt in charge and secure. This led me to an abundance mindset that led me to dream of and sometimes buying unnecessary things. But since lockdown hit and everything changed, I had no choice but to cut back. And this led me to a scarcity mindset, where I will question what I buy and where I spend my money. And I think many of you can relate to this too.

And that got me thinking about implementing this mindset long term. We talked about minimalism last week, and a minimalist mindset is a great mindset to have, as it will stop our reliance on things and focus rather on living a full life. And it is something I am taking into this festive season especially when the temptations of buying more and unnecessary things is higher than ever!

Once A Week
Image by pieonane from Pixabay

And so, I thought I would share 3 tips on how to stay in this mindset:

  1. Shop with a list – I know this sounds obvious, but if you are anything like me, you are bad at shopping. So, using a list helps you buy only what is needed!
  2. Give better – Give gifts that are more genuine and thoughtful rather than giving more expensive gifts because of the price tags.
  3. Have a Wishlist – Write down the items you want to buy. Categorise them by need level, cost, and practicality. This will help you decide what to buy.

Life is hard and we at Once a Week know that. But if we stick together, we can get through this stronger!

5 tips to dominate your Personal Finance

Being an adult is hard. Right? And when it comes to money it gets even harder. We often feel as if we are wandering through a forest, it’s hard to see and we are uncertain if we are heading in the right direction. There are also many obstacles in the way. However, success in personal finance is a journey that we never seem to end. However, we can dominate it and be in charge of our finances.

Personal Finance
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Here are 5 reasons how to dominate your personal finance:

  1. Have a budget

A budget is like a game plan. Without it, you are lost. A budget helps you know where your money is coming from and where it is going. It helps you identify areas to cut when money is tight and where to spend when you get that bonus check. This is an important part of your personal finance.

  1. Invest Smartly

“Saving is good, but investing will help your money grow. ” If you work with your advisor or broker to develop an investment plan that suits your needs, you will be thankful in the long term.

  1. Have an Advisor

An adviser is something people often don’t get. But if I am sick, I get a doctor? So why would I not get a financial adviser when I start focusing on my finances. They can offer advice on where and how much to invest. Helping you in the long run.

  1. Pay off debt

Debt can be useful, but it can also be crippling. So as a rule of thumb, they say the less debt the better.

  1. Spend less than you earn

This sounds simple, but it is not practised nearly enough. Spending less than you earn allows you to be in a better position during a storm, and allows you to support your family where needed. It is a hard but good habit! So spend less than you earn.

Personal Finance
Image by Thomas Breher from Pixabay

There may be obstacles, but you can overcome them! With these steps, you will ask yourself the right questions to make your own decision about where you want your finances to go.

What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

What Is a Financial Advisor?

I think we can all agree that money makes the world go around, right? Right. However, most people haven’t got an inkling of an idea about personal financial management. That is where an advisor comes in. They are there to help those that don’t have the financial know-how (or the time) by using their knowledge of the economic climate to develop comprehensive (but user-friendly) strategies tailored to client-specific needs, in order to help people to navigate the (often daunting) world of finance. These professionals are university graduates with backgrounds in economics who are certified, licensed and well established.

personal financial management
Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay

But What Do They Actually DO? Can they help me with my personal financial management?

Now you may be thinking, “Well the umbrella term of strategizing and generality of advice is all very well, but what do they actually mean by it?”.  Well, financial advisors offer specific services that are aimed at helping you plan, budget, save and build wealth among other things. They deal with your current financial plan and give you straightforward advice on how best to achieve your financial goals by helping you to manage your debt, investments, expenses, your health care plans, risk, tax and even your future retirement or estate plans. If you don’t have a plan and feel yourself floundering at words like “investment” and “risk”, fear not because a financial advisor will take all your information into account, do the research and calculations for you and then give you a clear-cut set of financial options for you to choose from.

personal financial management
Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

And Why Should I Consider Hiring One?

If you are struggling to align your finances with your long term goals, if you need a plan but aren’t sure how to budget effectively. Or if the thought of managing your own investments makes you sweat – you might want to seek the help of a financial advisor. That being said, even if you are completely comfortable with your grip on financial management – it is never a bad idea to go through a professional who can guarantee you maximum investment with minimum risk!

Though it means an extra bill to pay, it will also mean that you are made fully aware of your own personal financial management system, that you are not barking up the wrong tree when it comes to what health care plan to choose or which company to invest in, and that you have the opportunity to handle your finances safely and effectively. This of course means finding a financial advisor you trust – always check the references folks!

Money makes the world go around, but you don’t need to have a degree in finance to manage yours properly. Just make sure that your chosen advisor is qualified, licensed and trustworthy – and then let the financial professionals do what they do best, and advise you!

Tips when making your financial plan

A financial plan is something we should all have but few of us actually do. In this case time will actually equal money! The time you spend crafting your financial plan will help you save and pay off debt in a way that will help you reach your financial goals! Financial Plans are the backbone that helps you stay on course to reach your goals.

But drawing up a financial plan can often be overwhelming and seem impossible to do. So even though you know it’s vital you don’t end up doing it!

So here are my 3 tip to successfully write your financial plan:

Make it personal

Its easy to get wrapped up in watching YouTube videos and read articles about how other people create their financial plans. The difference is, that is their financial plan. Not yours. And it is important for your to realise that and make your plan suit your needs. As every person is different and will have different needs.

Financial Plans Need to be Revised

Things change. Situations change. Jobs change. And so should you financial plan. As life changes, kids come along, people get promoted, you needs and wants change. And that is why it is important to revise your financial plan at least once per year, but preferable every 6 months.

Consult a professional

As much as you can do it yourself a professional can bring in some better insights. They can be objective and help hold you accountable to your plan. They can offer advice on where to save your money, how much to save, and what debt to pay off faster. These are things that only a FSP professional who is FAIS complaint can offer you.

financial plans
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

There are many ways to write your finanical plan. Be it in excel or on a notepad. The important step is to draw it up! As this will help you on your journey to financial freedom!

Money Skills to learn that will help you on your money journey

Money Skills to learn that will help you on your money journey

Your money journey is a unique and interesting one. A journey that will take you from earning nothing to earning something and one day, to retire. However, how do you navigate such a journey?

You need to be confident in your own abilities to manage and delegate to professionals that are needed. You will need to learn skills to help you along the way. Here are four money skills that will help you along the way:

4 skills to help you on your money journey

Learn to read fund fact sheets

Fund fact sheets are the information statements provided by the asset managers of their funds. These are freely available on their websites and are updated periodically as per regulations. Now even if you are not managing your own investments, it is beneficial to learn how to read these statements so you can understand where your money is and have more in-depth conversations about your goals and plan with your advisor.

Money Skills
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Learn to read a Bank Statement

A bank statement can look complicated. I sometimes think banks do this on purpose. But being able to read and understand these statements will help you in tracking your money and thus managing it. This is one of the great money skills to master.

Read!

Reading is a great way to learn new skills from others. Whether from a blog or from books. Read often to allow yourself to learn and grow. Two books I recommend are Ramit Sethi’s “I will teach you to be rich” and Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Both of these books offer different ideas and perspectives on money.

Money Skills
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Make yourself earn things

We all know that we appreciate the things we earn. So do that to yourself. If you meet your savings goal, buy yourself a slab of Lindt chocolate or something you enjoy. If you want to buy a car set yourself a savings goal to reach before you can consider it. This will help you appreciate things more and avoid irrational purchases.

All our moeny journey’s will be different. But by learning some of these skills, you will make your life easier and be able to make more descions.

Stay Safe and keep growing

How I am saving money during COVID19?

How I am saving money during COVID19? 

2020 has been a hell of a year with a pandemic hitting earth causing a worldwide shut down for a lot of this year. Moreover, even though it seems like things are starting to go back to normal, we still have some way to go.

One of the hardest parts for a lot of us is losing a lot of our income during this time. This has caused havoc in our lives and obliterated the savings what savings we had.

So I thought I would share some of the things I have been doing to cut down my budget to save money during COVID19. Watch the video below to see my thoughts:

How to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust

How to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust 

As I said in my last article about Real Estate Investing, Real Estate Investment Trust or REITs for short, are a great way to invest in Real Estate.

Real estate has been a popular investment among many people over generations. The idea of owning a piece of something tangible excited people. However, this was often only something afforded to the affluent. However, that is no longer the case.

Real Estate Investment Trust
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

What is a Real Estate Investment Trust? 

A REIT is a company that owns land/ buildings that generate income. They can also finance real estate and earn an income from the interest charged in some countries. These investment vehicles offer a way to invest in the property market with little money.

Benefits of a REIT? 

REITs are often managed by good investment companies that offer diversification that you would struggle to get on your own. Their expertise helps make your life easier. They are also publicly traded on the stock exchange making them easy to buy and sell, unlike regular property that can sit on the market for ages. They also allow a stable cash flow in the form of regular dividends.

Downsides? 

REITs tend to have low growth which can frustrate some investors. They can also charge high fees depending who is managing the portfolio.

How to Invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts? 

Investing in a REIT is easy with many brokers and FSPs offering REITs. So the best way to invest would be to chat with your advisor about your options and what best suits you needs and goals.

Now you know how to invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust! With this option you can explore the possibility of investing in property with little money. Talk to your advisor today.Stay safe and Invest Wisely!