How to Decrease Your Mortgage Payment by Hundreds of Dollars

Obviously there is some turmoil in today's real estate market. Sub-prime lenders have given mortgage loans to a lot of folks who really couldn't afford the loan. And within a year or so, many of these individuals could not make their monthly payments and were eventually foreclosed upon. For many, the only option to lower a mortgage payment is to refinance to a lower interest rate. Unfortunately, in today's market, that isn't an option banks are affording many home owners. However, there is a certain type of homeowner for whom it is easier than one might think to substantially decrease ones mortgage payment. And oddly enough, this type of homeowner is the one with TWO mortgages. Specifically, a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit).

HELOC owners have MUCH more freedom then they ever realize. The fact is, there are several simple ways that the average Joe can utilize to lower their HELOC bill. There are no programs to sign up for or services to pay. These methods are easy to implement and can be initiated immediately! In this article I'll go through just a few, although there are several others.

1. What is your HELOC balance? In other words, on how much money is your monthly HELOC bill calculated? Perhaps you already realize this, but your HELOC payment is calculated based on the account's average daily balance. For the vast majority of people, this balance only changes once a month: when you pay your bill. However, if you're making interest-only payments (as many do with HELOCs), then your monthly (and more importantly your average-daily) balance NEVER changes. This means you pay the same amount, month after month. However, if you could find a way to decrease the balance in your HELOC, then your average daily balance would also decrease, and your payment would be lower. So far this is all common sense. The higher your loan balance, the higher your monthly payment. Duh. Now comes the innovative method...

How much money do you have in your checking/savings account? Chances are good that it's more than you need for your monthly expenses. If this describes you, congratulations. You have just discovered the first (and perhaps easiest) way to decrease your HELOC payment. Here's what you do: take all the money that you don't need for monthly expenses, and put it into your HELOC. That's right. Clean out your savings account, leave just what you need for monthly expenses in the checking account, and dump it all into your HELOC. This does one extremely important thing: it decreases your average daily balance, and thus the amount on which your payment is calculated. In other words, you pay less each month!

Now some may say, "wait a minute", why would I put all my money in my HELOC account? What if I end up needing that money for something?" That's the great thing about a HELOC, you can take money out WHENEVER YOU WANT. That means if you need a few thousand dollars extra one month to buy a new car, but you've put all your savings into your HELOC, don't worry! All HELOCs come with checks and/or check cards, which you can use IN THE SAME WAY AS YOU WOULD A CHECKING ACCOUNT. You can deposit money or withdraw it WHENEVER YOU WANT.

The take home here is this: put as much money as you can in your HELOC and let it sit there, offsetting finance (interest) charges. Okay, now for #2.

2. Use a 0% interest credit card balance transfers.

These things are literally FREE MONEY. Sign up for a 0% balance transfer credit card (you probably get these offers from time to time in the mail, if not is a great place to shop for one). Then transfer the balance of the credit card's limit (or whatever portion you want) to your HELOC account. The money will sit there, month after month (most of these 0% offers are for 16-18 months) offsetting interest and lowering your monthly payment.

I myself have been using these and other equally simple methods for about 7 months now, and have lowered my payment over $165! Each month I'm paying more than $165 LESS than I was 7 months ago. That's $165 more each month I can spend on taking my family out to eat, or putting into an investment, or buying toys!

Article Source

Top Ten Money Apps for the Blackberry

Need to manage your money and cannot take your laptop everywhere with you? The following ten money apps for the Blackberry can help you with your financial needs:

1. Mobile Checkbook - This handy app allows you to keep track of all of your bank accounts and credit card accounts. No need to write everything in the ledger when you can input it here and have it do the figuring for you.

2. MiBudget - Set up a budget and stick to it with this app for the Blackberry. It can be used for personal or business and is fully customizable.

3. Stocks + - Stocks + allows you track your stocks or stocks that you are interested in investing in. With this app you never have to search online or in the paper to see what your stocks are doing.

4. VQ Mileage Tracker - You may be thinking how is a mileage tracker considered a money app? With gas prices the way they are these days, keeping track of how much fuel you are using can help you to better manage your driving habits and can save you money.

5. Mortgage Payment Calculator - Thinking about purchasing a home but are not sure what the payments would be or how much you can spend on it? This calculator figures in every aspect and shows you your monthly payments.

6. Currency Exchange Rates - Anyone who is traveling to a foreign country needs to know the exchange rates. This calculates currency for over 120 countries.

7. Bill Log - This app allows you to track and keep a record of your monthly bills. They are not always due at the same time each month and for this reason some payments may get overlooked. This is not a problem when you have the reminders turned on.

8. ChargeBerry - Those who take their work on the road can appreciate the ability to run credit cards directly from their Blackberry. No more waiting to get back to the office to process a credit or debit card payment.

9. MyTimesheet - Many people have to punch in and out at work. If you want to keep your boss honest, use this app to keep track of your hours.

10. CreditCard Manager - Using this app allows you to keep track of all of your credit cards along with their payments. Know in an instant how much balance there is left on each card with just one look at the app.

Managing money does not have to be a chore when there are so many great apps for the Blackberry for this task. You can keep track of every aspect of your finances all in one place whether you are at home or on the go.

Article Source

Wealth Creation A Personal Financial Plan

Creating your own personal wealth, from whatever means of income you enjoy, requires knowing where you're going, and accounting for your own personal finances. It is essential to know what you are worth - your assets and liabilities - and Owner's Equity - before you can start to develop a good
financial plan to create wealth.

In the world of accounting Assets = Liabilities + Owner's Equity so this is what we have to establish now.

Firstly you have to work out what your assets and liabilities are, then you can calculate your Owner's Equity. When you know what you are worth, developing a financial plan to reduce your debt and achieve your financial goals is the frst
step to personal wealth.

Step 1. Calculate the amount of your outstanding liabilities (or money you owe). This means you write down in a list exactly how much you owe right now on
your mortgage, credit cards, and any other bills or loans.

Step 2. Now make a list of all your assets (dollar value you would get for these if they were sold). For example your cars, home and cash you have in the bank - list all your major assets.

Using the Assets = Liabilities + Owner's Equity equation we gave you before, calculate what you are worth. Most financial or credit advisers agree you need to allocate money every month into responsible saving, investing and paying down your debts as crucial part of your financial success. It's not enough to just put money in the bank when you are also carrying a credit card balance because you are losing the benefits of any interest earned on your savings.

To increase your Owner's Equity you must pay down your liabilities and avoid borrowing more money to buy more assets. It's dificult sometimes to stick to this plan when there's advertising in your face all the time to buy this, buy that and buy it NOW! - the "must have everything now" attitude. But you must stay with your financial plan if you want success and personal wealth.

Here is an example of a good financial plan (but this is by no means th only one):

1. The money you are currently investing or putting into your savings account every month, divide the total of it by 3, then -

2. Pay off one third of this money every month to your outstanding debts.

3. Pay one third of this money and deposit it in your savings account at your bank. This will accumulate into a pool of money for your monthly needs. Over time you can use it to finance your family's future needs or apply it to the goals of your financial plan.

4. Pay the final one third of this money to buy 1-5 year Certificates of Deposit, but save up until you can buy CD's of $1000.00 every time you invest. Do this buying at one CD every three months to six months, but ensure you keep enough cash in your checking and passbook savings for any emergency.

The biggest barrier to financial success is large credit card debt and not paying it off as quickly as possible. By following these tips you will pay off your liabilities in an appropriate manner. By investing in 1-5 year CDs you're earning interest and compounding your money by purchasing more CDs at definite intervals. Compounding is very powerful.

It is also suggested when you've enough money saved up in your normal savings account, you begin to speed up your mortgage payments every month. Most mortgage lenders allow extra payments per month but check this out with your lender before you increase your payments. If they do, start paying extra every month and you will build equity in your home faster, save on interest charges and complete the mortgage much sooner.

This financial plan is only one of several, but these principles are basic and necessary to reduce your debt faster and build wealth for you and your family quickly. It will also help you acquire spending, saving and investing habits that are conducive to your personal wealth creation.

Article Source

How To Refinance Your Mortgage

People in debt try to break even by paying their monthly installments. However if they are not punctual or do not manage their finances well, the interests gradually eat into their income. These debts go on accumulating and certain solutions have to be thought of. One such solution could be a mortgage refinancing loan. However the situation should be cautiously analyzed and only after careful thought should the decision be taken.

In mortgage refinancing, you get rid of your existing debts by taking new loans. This money is used to pay off the previous loan. This policy is beneficial in a number of ways. Firstly, the rate of interest is considerable lower. Often the mortgage payments occupy a major chunk of a house owner's income and a lower rate of interest is a definite boon.

When taking these loans one generally has a choice between two different interest rates, either a constant one or a variable one. Mortgage refinancing enables you to toggle between these two rates. People opt for the variable rates when the rates are low. However in the case of higher rates, the smarter option is a constant rate. Also keep track of the interest trends. When you suspect the rates are on the verge of falling, it is advisable to switch from a constant to a variable rate.

Usually, people just beginning their careers or those moving into a bigger home due to the family expanding take home loans. These people then spend at least the next thirty years trying to get rid of the loan. Instead, mortgage refinancing will enable them to accomplish this in about half the time period.

This saves people from the ever increasing interest rates which eat into their hard earned money. Thus they can save a lot more. Also once the mortgage is paid off the money used to pay the installments each month can now be deposited into a bank and one can earn interest from the bank. Thus you can use your money to earn more money. This money could also be used to augment the amount paid as installments to the other loans, thus getting rid of them faster.

Another advantage is that the extra cash now obtained can be put to a variety of uses. It should however be employed smartly. It can be used to beautify the house, thereby increasing its value or for debt consolidation. All these factors help in increasing ones wealth.

Article Source

Love, Marriage And Wedding Planning - Reducing Credit Debt Before The Big Day

Reduce wedding day debt and avoid marriage credit debt problems with some helpful tips. Planning for a wedding- and a marriage- needs focus on more than just flowers. Wedding day debt can easily creep over budget without proper planning. Once married, many couples struggle with trying to merge different types of credit histories and outstanding debt. Avoid wedding day and marriage credit debt with some easy to follow tips.

Reduce Marriage Credit Debt Before It Becomes a Problem

Paying off or paying down credit debt before marriage is a smart idea. Relationship experts say that money and finances are the number one reason why couples fight. Why? Married couples often have different outlooks on credit debt that start to sneak into arguments over time. Eventually, some couples seem to do nothing but fight about finances. Work to reduce credit debt before the marriage and the union will be off to a great start.

Wedding Day Debt Can Be a Disaster

Wedding day debt starts to mount during the planning period. Unless a careful eye is kept on expenses, the celebration can easily get out of control. Couple can alleviate wedding day debt through careful planning. Creating a budget for the big day can keep expenses from spiraling out of control. In addition, wedding day insurance provides protection in case the wedding is called off due to severe weather, illness or a host of other reasons.

Wedding Credit Cards Help Ease Credit Debt on the Big Day

A wedding credit card [] can also help cut costs. Wedding rewards credit cards provide cash back or rewards when using the cards to pay for a wedding. The wedding day debt has to go somewhere, so it might as well come back to the happy couple through a wedding credit card.

Wedding Loans Can Help Pay for Wedding Expenses

Wedding loans are common, and can be a great way to help pay for wedding expenses. A low interest loan can help cover a lot of the unexpected costs related to the event. Couples often get wedding loans to pay for wedding expenses like the honeymoon.

After the Big Day: Marriage and Debt and What to Expect

Once the celebration is over and a couple settles into married life, it's time to assess the marital debt situation. Keeping conversations about money honest and aboveboard can help prevent misunderstandings. No one should find out after marriage that as a couple, they're knee-deep in debt. Keep marriage debt at a minimum by prioritizing bills and planning for the future together.

Article Source

Improving Your Credit Reports the Right Way

boost your score within a reasonable time. However, many of the errors that a person will encounter in their credit report will likely be typos or outdated information - such as the listing of a previous employer. To fix and improve your credit reports, all it simply takes is awareness, time, planning, some financial education, and careful scrutiny.

The earlier you review your credit reports, the better your chances at clearing up and improving both your credit reports prior to your next major purchase. Clearing up errors take time and persistence. Improving your credit score, on the other hand, takes time and strategic planning. The importance of understanding the various components that make up your credit report can not be understated. By reminding yourself to check your reports semi-annually, you will be more prepared and better position to obtain a loan at the most favorable rate.

Article Source

Making A Family Budget

With a new year, should come making a family budget. I cannot stress enough the importance of coming up with a budget for the household expenses. The budget planning should consist of both persons involved, primarily the husband and wife. You will both need to agree on the numbers, and may even need to compromise here and there. In the end, you will be amazed at what a budget can do for the family. Step one, is to decide what goals or items you need to pay for this year. A few examples would be new tires for the vehicle, maybe a new vehicle altogether, a family vacation, pay off a credit card, or just about any other item like these. Once these are decided, you can kind of work backwords to figure out the budget numbers.

Step two, is to figure out all of the income you have coming into the house. If both parents are working, it is the W-2 income. If you have a home business, then if you need this income to pay for items, figure out a conservative amount from the business, and use this number. Just take into account the current monies you are making. If you plan on getting a raise, or increasing the income from the business, adjust the budget for these later. But for now, play it conservative.

Step three is to then figure out all of the fixed expenses you will have each month no matter what. Examples are the car payments, insurance, rent or mortgage, electric bills, phone bills, cable, internet, you get the point. Do not figure in credit cards yet. Add all of these expenses up, and subtract them from the income. This is the amount you have left to put towards the credit cards, paying them off, vacations, etc.

For credit cards, it is best to take the lowest credit card amount and pay this one off first. For the others, just pay the minimums for right now. Reason for this is so you can actually make some progress and see it. You can normally pay off the lowest account pretty quick, and this will give you the sense of accomplishment. Once this account is paid off, you will them put this entire amount you were paying towards this card, and add it with the minimum you are paying to the next lowest card. You will do this until all credit cards are paid off. This will take some time, but just stick to it.

Once the credit cards are paid off, DO NOT close the accounts. Keep the accounts open, but do not charge on them. This will increase the amount of credit you have available, as compared to the amount of debt. In return, this will increase your FICA scores, or credit scores. This will play a large part in the future for house loans or any other loan you may need.

The last items to consider will the extras. Items such as going out to eat, birthday and Christmas presents, vacations, food, gas, etc. Although Christmas is 12 months away, you should start to budget now for this. It could be just $40 a month, and by the time Christmas rolls around, you will have almost $500 in the account for presents. Do this for all of the extra expenses.

The budget is not set in stone. After the first month, sit down and see how everything went. Did you over spend, or under spend in certain categories? Make the adjustments and then keep going forward. The budget will allow you to know exactly where you are in regard to your personal finances at all times. The more organized and informed you are, the more disciplined you become. And at the end of the year, you will see the progress you have made. Get to making a family budget!!

Article Source