Finding the Perfect Vacation Accommodation

We all look forward to our annual vacation, a time to kick back, relax, and forget about the everyday world. However, there’s usually weeks’ worth of preparation put into planning for your getaway, even if it is as simple as renting a cottage. Questions like “lakefront or forest?”, “do I need to bring propane for the BBQ?”, “mom, where’s the Frisbee?”, are enough to warrant setting aside three vacation days to simply recover from the effort of getting there.

If you are wondering whether this is normal, we can hazard a “yes”. If you ask whether it should be normal, you will receive a resounding “NO”. Planning a vacation should be fun and easy, full of exciting possibilities, not a drudging chore.

Finding the perfect vacation accommodation is usually half the struggle since there are so many variables to consider. From cost, to location, to the actual rooms, it seems like one could spend hours online and on the phone maximizing the options for something which seems “ideal” but you aren’t really sure of until you check in.

If you want to make the best use of your planning time and start enjoying your vacation the moment it starts, follow this process to easy vacation accommodation booking:

  1. Consider Your Party

Before you even head towards the computer, consider who you are vacationing with. Will it just be you and your significant other? Is it a large group of friends looking to bond over an adventure? Or is it a family trip for the books? Who your company is will partially dictate the type of accommodation you will be looking for, whether it’s a full house rental, a romantic B&B, or a cosmopolitan hotel downtown.

  1. Plan the Budget

The budget can be a great (though sometimes unpleasant) way to limit your accommodation options. Decide how much of your total travel budget you can dedicate to where you are staying, and then divide it by the number of days you are away for a daily spending average. For some this will mean searching for listings in Turks and Caicos, the most beautiful place to rent a luxury villa for an unforgettable holiday, while for others that might mean a stylish AirBnB in a trendy district in Toronto.

  1. Define Your Needs

Everyone expects different things from their vacation accommodation. Some can’t fully relax without a deep soak tub, while others need to feel at home and have access to a kitchen. Get together with your vacation party and decide on what you “need” and what you “want”. This way it’s much quicker to find something which satisfies all the needs and then you can choose between the ones that also cover the greatest number of “wants”.

  1. Ask for Recommendations

If you are looking for the perfect child-friendly ocean-side resort in Mexico, or are looking for the best roof-top pool in New Orleans, sometimes it’s as easy as asking around. Reach out to your colleagues, friends, family members, and travel buddies for advice. Chances are that you will have a more similar taste to your friends than you will to those random strangers leaving reviews on the internet. Sometimes a personal recommendation might even lead to a discount if brought up at the time of reservation. It’s worth a try!

Once you go through these four steps, you are very close to finding the ideal vacation spot for you. Instead of scrolling through websites for hours looking for something to pop out at you, take control of the situation so that you can get to your “paradise” sooner and with less stress.

How to Plan and Enjoy a Staycation

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep in mind that a traveling vacation is a luxury, not a right. Though time off from work is something mandated by government and required for the healthy functioning of employees, going away for a week or more is not always something that we can do.

There is a plethora of reasons for this, from responsibilities to your family, difficult to manage travel logistics, health restrictions, an inability to relax outside of home, to the most popular reason: a restrictive budget. Going away on vacation can quickly add up to be a huge expense, as you need to cover the cost of travel, accommodation, food, drinks, entertainment, and more. That’s why more and more people are opting to vacation at home, enjoying a “staycation”, instead than blowing their budget on an expensive trip to a different city or country.

However, when enjoying a staycation, it’s important that you don’t let this designated time off just become an elongated weekend without any memorable experiences. If you want to really make the most of your staycation and make it a restful and enjoyable time, try the following ideas:

  1. Designate Your Chore Time

It’s near impossible to be at home and not want to do at least some chores like deep cleaning the carpets, running the laundry, or restocking the pantry; all things you would never do if you were away on vacation. Embrace the need and dedicate one day to getting these errands out of the way so that you can relax the rest of the time. If anything else comes up during the week, defer it until later, as this is your vacation time and you need to take this opportunity to self-care and let loose. Besides, it’s normal that once you come back from a trip there will be a couple of loads of laundry to do and some unpacking going on. This way, you’re getting it done at the beginning so you can go back to work rested, not tired from the flight or drive home coupled with a night of unpacking.

  1. Discover Your City

Whether you live in a small town or a bustling city, there’s always something to do. Whether it means visiting the library and taking a couple of interesting books out, seeing the new exhibit at the local gallery or having brunch at a diner you always wanted to try, now is your chance. Don’t limit yourself with business hours and take this opportunity to see your home town through the eyes of a tourist or a guest. Alternately, plan a series of day trips within driving distance of home. Though you might spend a bit on fuel, you can always pack a picnic, and remember that you don’t have to get a hotel!

  1. Show Yourself Some Love

The point of vacation is that it gives your body and your mind a chance to rebound from the stresses of the everyday. Though some require an exodus from home to do that, many find that actually staying at home eliminates a lot of other stressors like finalizing travel arrangements, booking everything, making reservations, planning itineraries, and dealing with the credit card bill once it comes in. But other than just not having those additional worries, why not show yourself an especially good time? Engage in your favorite hobbies, drop in on some yoga classes or get a manicure pedicure that you otherwise wouldn’t treat yourself to. Remember, you’re saving money by not going away, so take some of those savings and apply them directly to your happiness and well-being. Find a beautiful retreat where spa, body, and facial treatment are offered by a team of highly trained and experienced therapists who know exactly what you need in order to recharge your “batteries” to 100%.

  1. Meet with Friends

When we are rushing between work, errands, responsibilities, and more, it’s easy to neglect relationships with those who we cherish. Take this time to schedule a couple of lunch dates with friends, go out for drinks in the evenings, and maybe meet someone new at a mixer which you would otherwise write off because you need to get up early the next day. Since you have a flexible schedule, it makes it easier to coordinate with friends who otherwise are also busy with everyday things. You won’t regret setting some time apart for rekindling and maintaining relationships during your vacation time.

  1. Have a Plan

Most importantly, if you don’t want to feel like the whole thing zipped by and you did nothing at all, make a sort of plan or guideline of things that you want to do during your staycation. It will keep you motivated to stay busy doing things you enjoy and creating memories you will be able to recount when you’re back at your desk working.

Staycationing is an easy way to keep your budget on track. However, remember to make the most of your time off from work and that you return rested, happy, and satisfied with how you spent your vacation.

How important high quality equipment are in the mining business?

In the mining business, workers often spend numerous hours’ miles under the surface. Deep inside the Earth, the stone caverns in which their brave men do work are treacherous and having visibility at all times is a must.

Along the years, it’s been proven that the most practical and useful device for providing light in dark places for people in the mining industry is the cap lamp. It’s designed to have a strong battery, a small weight and a long lighting time for extended jobs. Falling down and being exposed to underground water are common occurrences, so these features are a staple when it comes to cap lamps.

The necessities

In order to make sure the lamp is placed correctly, you should first be in possession of a stable and resilient cap, both for stability and protection. Even the best cap lamps are pretty much worthless if they fall from the cap and aren’t placed right.

You should then wonder about the depths you will be descending to and choose the light accordingly. In general, it’s better to overpay and be safe. Having your light die out in the middle of work is not the solution. Just because you wanted to save money, you should not compromise on an ordinary lamp.  Be wary about other reviews, ask around with colleagues and take some lamps for trial periods, if you are able to. Then only time you should descent with a lamp is when you’ve made sure it fits right, it functions right and it runs long enough.

During the job

Maximum resilience is also a must when purchasing a cap lamp. Water resistance should be on top of your priority list when buying a lamp. Underground rivers are very frequent, especially in copper and coal mines. If a stream of water splashes on you, don’t try to touch around the lamp too much. The water might enter it and cause it to stop working. Remember, water resilience is only for the outside parts!

Shock resistance is very much connected to the point we’ve mentioned earlier – a stable and fitting cap. Generally, it doesn’t matter how shock resistant your cap lamp is if it falls away because it can’t be strapped in strongly enough.

Always operate it when you aren’t holding a heavy object or working. Make sure both of your hands are completely free, so that you can concentrate accordingly. Not being concentrate leads to accidents and injuries. Be careful!

Taking care of the cap lamp

In between jobs, make sure to check the glass for cracks often. Although you may not notice it, crack in the lamp glass can cause obstructions when emitting light. Every little photon is important when working several miles under the ground. Don’t hesitate to wash the glass so that it stays clear and provides you with maximum vision down there.

Also, make sure the light doesn’t flicker and don’t hesitate to test the battery to see if its life decreases and time passes. Every miner and the underground worker should have few spare bulbs by his side at all times. It’s somewhat common for the battery to be almost full but for the light to malfunction. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

These simple guidelines and tips should advise you both on how to  purchase the right cap lamps for mining and underground use that are highly shock and water resistant and how to take care of it both during and after work. A safer and much reliable lamp is all you need to perform efficient mining.

Enjoy and mine safe!

4 Essential Purchases to Jumpstart Weight Loss

You can run, but you can’t hide from the onslaught of weight loss marketing campaigns. You see them on TV (even on the cooking channel!), you hear them on the radio, and they even pop up in our Facebook and Instagram feeds!

The truth is that a great segment of the North American population is unfortunately overweight. This affects our health, our self-esteem, and our relationships in a negative way. That’s exactly what all those ads are reminding us of, whether or not we want to hear it.

However, before you fall for the first marketing campaign that hits you, remember that in most cases, the main motivation behind these companies is to make money! So before you stock your weight-loss arsenal with detox teas, belly wraps, and a ton of supplements, reflect on what you actually need to attain your goals.

Though there are some items of dubious effectiveness, there are others which happen to be essentials to really getting to a place you want to be within the timeframe you imagined. All that, and with your health and wallet intact.

  1. A Nutrition Plan

There’s no way around it, in order to lose weight, you need to change your diet. The best place to start is in a medical professional’s office, whether that’s your family doctor, a holistic wellness specialist, nutritionist, or dietician. Based on your current diet and your state of health, they will be able to put together anything from loose recommendations to a very specific meal plan for you to follow. Though the quality of the plan itself is very important, it’s even more important that you follow it as closely as possible to see results.

  1. A Healthy Grocery Haul

As soon as you start changing your lifestyle, there’s one very important shopping trip you will need to do: the initial grocery haul. Before you go, throw out or give away all the food that has been blacklisted: simple carbs, salty junk food, canned meals, sugary treats, etc. If you don’t have it at home, there’s a much lesser chance that you will be tempted and end up eating something you shouldn’t. Then pack your reusable shopping bags and hit the store, buying fresh, nutritious items that you will need to make your new eating habits come to life.

  1. A Tracker

We’re not saying you have to go out and get the newest FitBit, but it’s important to track progress throughout your journey. Everyone has their own favorite way of doing it, depending on their specific goals, but regular weigh-ins, measurement taking, and picture snapping are popular options. Obviously, there is also a plethora of tech-y options from mobile applications to upscale pedometers, but remember that they are not essential to your losing weight. Track your progress as you like at regular intervals, whether weekly, biweekly, or monthly, and it will keep your motivation up!

  1. Protein

Many weight-loss diets are focused around getting your protein level up while decreasing your intake of carbs, sugars, and bad fats. Since cooking high-protein meals can get expensive and laborious, the market has evolved to offer a range of protein powders and supplements to mix into your meals or drink as shakes. As calorie-restricted diets can often limit your nutritional needs, many professionals will recommend using ProtiDiet protein products and nutritional supplements to assist you in your weight loss program. Just remember to look at the quality of the products you are buying so that you are getting the best value for your money.

Losing weight can be a very important and significant accomplishments in our lives. It teaches us about determination, health, and discipline while putting us on a journey of a lifetime!

What to Look for When Buying a Company Vehicle

Depending on your line of business, you might be looking to purchase or replace your company vehicle. This can be an incredible expense and should be treated as an investment, therefore researched and deliberated properly. Buying a company vehicle is different than buying your own personal “whip” and most will end up using an entirely different list of criteria.

This happens for a few reasons. First of all, the needs of your business can vary greatly from what you do in your personal life. For example, if you are a plumber, your best bet might be a company van or truck, even if you personally like zipping around in a sportier car or a SUV. The opposite can also be true. If you are a real estate agent and drive clients around in your car frequently, you might not want to have a huge truck which they could have issues getting into and out of.

Another reason for the disparity is the price. Many of us like to keep our business and personal expenses as separate as possible. In your personal life, the budget for a vehicle could be vastly different than what your company can afford for your daily use. This is especially true once you calculate your potential return on investment or how essential certain features are to you in a personal versus professional sense.

When shopping for a company vehicle consider the following points:

  1. Does it Suit Your Needs?

This is the basic and most important question you have to ask yourself when choosing a company vehicle. Can it do the job? Whether you are a traveling salesperson and need something small and comfortable, or an electrician who needs to be able to store equipment in a fiberglass utility body for pickups or trucks, it has to suit your company’s needs.

  1. Does it Fit Your Budget?

Everyone has a different budget to shop with before they step out onto the dealer’s yard. Though a car is an expense, especially if it is solely used in a company capacity, but don’t be under the impression that you will be able to claim it all at once during this tax year. Shop around in the market and compare prices for vehicles which suit your needs. After a while you will have a better understanding and feel for when something is overpriced as opposed to being a great deal.

  1. Is it reliable?

Choosing a company car is not the time to go with some new brand without a good reputation. You need a vehicle which will spend minimal time at the garage, and have an abundance of parts readily available if something were to happen. Time off the road can easily translate into loss of business, especially if this is your sole vehicle and you don’t have a back-up.

  1. How Fuel Efficient is it?

If you travel short distances or only use your vehicle a few times a week, fuel efficiency might not mean a lot to you. However, with rising fuel costs, companies are getting more and more sensitive to the fuel efficiency of cars. That’s why there is an increasingly large number of hybrids and electric vehicles on the road with taxi signs or company decals. They higher initial cost is clearly worth the savings in fuel throughout the lifespan of the car.

  1. How is it on Insurance?

No one likes paying for insurance, however it’s a normal part of life and is especially important for your business. If you are just starting out and are especially cost-sensitive, you might want to call up your insurance company and ask for quotes for the models you are considering. There could be significant monthly cost differences which could help you decide on which is better suited for your business.

Selecting a company vehicle should never be on impulse, rather should warrant a process of careful research and deliberation. From evaluating your true needs to calculating the lifetime cost of each vehicle, remember that this investment should bring your business positive results, not become a source of frustration.

Investing in Your Own Health

Everyone has assembled their own health care team over the years. It usually takes quite some time to find health professionals we are happy with in terms of compatibility, quality of service, as well as value. Though this process seems perfectly normal and reasonable to some, others might be puzzled as to why take the time to research and meet potential doctors, dentists, massage therapists and more. In the grand sense of things, you don’t even really see the that often, do you? We can see that the logic seems at little flawed at first, but let’s delve into this a little deeper…

  • You only have one health

This might have been a saying which your mom would repeat to you over and over again, but it doesn’t make it any less true! If you have a car and you miss a couple of oil changes, you risk having your engine clog up. Worst case scenario, you completely destroy the engine and either replace it or the entire car. Now consider your body. If you have spent years neglecting regular maintenance like going to doctor’s appointments, meeting with a nutritionist to ensure you are getting the right fuel, or getting your teeth cleaned at regular intervals, you risk putting your body in a state which can be difficult, if not impossible, to recover from.

  • There is a difference in care

If you think that every doctor or dentist provides the same level of care, you are sadly wrong. Though there is a standard they must adhere to in order to get licensed, there is a lot of things they can differ on. Some have their own clinics and invest in the newest technologies and services while others are satisfied with having access to the bare minimum. Choose a doctor or a dentist who invested in the best available technology to serve you better. The health field is constantly advancing and you don’t want to be stuck with a practitioner using old-school methods when there are newer and better alternatives available!

  • Mitigate further costs

One thing which is true with most things, including your health, is the better quality something is, the better value it ends up being in the long run. For example, if you purchase an high-quality dining table made of solid materials and professional craftsmanship, though it might cost more at first, ends up serving you for many more years than a cheap one which you would have to replace after just a short time. Over the years, while your solid table might have cost a lot initially, its per year cost goes down while the lower quality option was only a fraction of the cost but had to be replaced 5 times over the same span of time. The same goes for your health. For example, if you are having problems with your hip, it’s better to take the time and money to treat it properly, be that with rest, physiotherapy, or surgery under the hand of the best doctor, than have this be a reoccurring health problem throughout your life. Over a few years, if quality treatment isn’t applied, you might find yourself taking unpaid leave from work, having to go on disability, or have to deal with a combination of personal, professional, health, and economic stresses.

Many find it difficult to justify spending money on getting good quality vitamins, seemingly expensive medical and dental services, and supplementary things like therapeutic massages or chiropractor visits, when they have a strict budget in place. However, it’s important to remember that you do only have one health and that your life literally depends on it. Treat your body well by giving it all it needs and everything else will fall into place.

7 Unexpected Costs People Run into After They Retire

Many of us think of our retirement as an extended vacation: a time to travel, relax, and spend time with the ones we love. However, it takes a lot of time and foresight to plan a retirement like that. Budgeting expenses during our working years and putting money away in an account is just the minimum which most of us have to do to “get by” after retirement. If you really want to enjoy yourself and “live it up”, it’s essential that you plan not only for the good times, like for a river cruise down the Seine, but also for the bad times, like when your furnace and car break down in the same week.

In order to live your retirement dream, you have to financially plan for a retirement nightmare in which many “what-ifs” come to life.

Here is a list of unexpected costs which retirees have trouble dealing with if not thought of in advance:

  1. Taxes

You have been paying your taxes for all these years, and now you finally get the chance to benefit from them, right? Sort-of. Though you will get a check every month if you had been paying into the government’s retirement fund, and an income based on what you have saved, that total gets taxed as well! That’s right, the money you get from tax-payers gets taxed again. So, if you have squirrelled enough away to have a comfortable living during your retirement years, remember that it will be taxed and you might end up with less than you initially thought.

  1. Supported Living

No one plans to have a stroke or to develop a condition in which they can no longer live at home. Many people plan to live in their homes or apartments for the rest of their lives, ignoring the fact that there is a large probability that there will come a point in time when they will have to move to a facility in which they can have more support. Unfortunately, these places are often quite expensive, so if you don’t want to burden your family with your life costs, save enough that if the need arises, you can pay your own “rent”.

  1. Transportation

Right before you retired, you bought a new, good-quality car which will last you ’til the end of your days. That’s just wishful thinking. On top of maintenance and fuel costs, which are constantly on the rise, there will come a time when there will be nothing to salvage of your vehicle. Did you financially plan for that? Or for the possibility that you won’t be able to drive and will come to rely on taxis or public transportation to get places?

  1. Funeral Planning

Nobody wants to think about death, but it’s as much of a part of life as birth is. Funerals are expensive and having to cover the cost of your spouses and/or your own final arrangements can be overwhelming at a time when you aren’t making a real income. Chose a funeral home that helps families commemorate the lives of their loved ones, respecting their wishes, faith, and budget, and research their options regarding pre-arrangements. This might be something you invest in while still working so that you can lock in the price as early as possible.

  1. Child Support

How can you say no to your child, especially when this child is having a hard time with life and has just found itself at its mercy? Many adult children run into financial situations in which they turn to their retired parents for assistance, mostly in the form of a payout or a loan. No one plans for these things to happen, but as you are setting aside money for retirement, it’s something that you should expect at some point or another.

  1. Uninsured Health Costs

If you purchased or have the benefits of having health insurance, you are one of the lucky ones. But even you can fall prey to issues which are not covered by your policy, whether that is dental work, or a fitting for a prosthesis. These uninsured health costs can mount quite quickly, so if possible, put some money aside monthly for this kind of situation.

  1. Rise in Cost of Living

Many of those putting money away for their retirement are planning for the future based on today’s economy and today’s costs. Unfortunately, we can tell by looking at the experiences of our elders that cost of living goes up, and there’s no way around it. Many financial advisors agree that saving for today’s conditions instead of future ones is a major mistake that many of their senior clients make.

Retirement can be everything that you wanted it to be, but first you need to plan for it to be devoid of huge and unexpected costs you forgot to plan for.

Is Dry Cleaning a Waste of Money?

It seems like in every movie those underpaid assistants are constantly running around with their boss’s dry cleaning. Why do we never see them dropping off their own clothes at the dry cleaners? Our first thought is that this is an expensive service and only the wealthy type with personal assistants can afford it. However, we’ve decided to further examine this phenomenon to get a better understanding of how there are still so many dry-cleaning places open everywhere.

When to Dry Clean

There’s no reason for you to take your basic t-shirts and socks to the dry cleaners. If you do, you will most likely be made fun of, but go ahead and give it a try. The point behind dry cleaning is to refresh and spot clean items of clothing which cannot be safely washed in a normal laundry machine. Think items like wedding dresses, suits, leather jackets, etc. These outfits would be ruined if you gave them the same treatment you give your cotton t-shirts. There are also certain fabrics which should never be washed in a conventional washing machine, like silk, fine wool, viscose, and anything with special embellishments like beading and sequins.

So if those aforementioned assistants couldn’t afford a good quality suit, then there is probably little reason for them to visit the dry cleaners with their wardrobe anyway.

Worth it?

If you are looking to invest in a minimalist wardrobe made up of high-quality items, it might actually be worth regular dry cleaning to keep your clothes in good shapes and give them a longer life-span, meaning they don’t have to be replaced as often or as quickly. Otherwise, if you dress in more basic materials and outfits, you’d only be wasting your money. Of course, there will always be exceptions like having a fancy dress cleaned before a wedding or freshening up a suit before a funeral, but no need to make the dry cleaners a part of your everyday routine. Your home washing machine and dryer should be more than adequate to handle the bulk of your laundry needs.

What to Look for When Choosing a Dry Cleaner

If you do find that some of your clothing items would benefit from a session at the dry cleaners, here are a couple of things you should have your eyes on:

  • Is it clean? This might seem pretty logical, but you would be shocked at the filth on the floor in some of these places. If it’s not clean on the customer’s side, you can only imagine what it looks like on the other side of the service desk. You wouldn’t want your silk delicates falling on that, would you?
  • Is it organized? Are you leaving your most expensive clothing items in the hands of people who can’t even run an efficient filing system? Does their conveyor seem to be working? There are a variety of garment conveyors that cover the requirements in today’s garment handling industry which should keep ready items sorted, clean, and wrinkle-free. Ask about the process at the facility you are considering and when you can expect to have your items ready by. Remember to always take a picture of whatever you are getting cleaned in case it goes missing or has damage done to it.
  • It is affordable? This is a no-brainer for many, but sometimes you would be surprised at your options. Even more expensive location might have weekly or daily sales which bring you to a lower price point than even the cheapest guy on the block. Do your research or ask around for the best deal.

If you are wondering if you are missing something by not frequenting the dry cleaners, you’re not. However, if you are looking to invest into some high-quality items, it might be worth checking out your options and looking for the best dry cleaning service in your area that will help keep your wardrobe in top shape.

Cosigners or Collateral? Weigh Both Properly When Seeking A Loan

Borrowing money is something everyone has to do at some point. Not everyone, however, presents the same level of credit-based worthiness and risk to a lender. While lenders are in the business of issuing money at interest, the lenders do need to take extra precautions when someone has weak credit. Borrowers are not entirely concerned with the business matters of lenders. They would just like to collect the funds they ask for. Things are not always so simple. Sometimes, extra steps are required to garner an approval.

Two very common approaches are employed by those who may not otherwise be approved for a personal loan. The would-be borrower could request someone co-sign the loan or he/she could put up some form of collateral. Some may seriously weigh a designer to ask a cosigner to help out or to go the collateral route.

The Benefits of a Cosigner

If a cosigner puts his or her signature on the loan application, the loan may be easily approved. Granted, the cosigner would need excellent credit in order for such an outcome. Finding the right cosigner is critical to be approved. A cosigner with weak credit is hardly going to be much help to the cause. An individual with good or better credit score may aid with a quick approval and the receipt of a lower interest rate.

The problems with a cosigner may give some pause for thought, though.

The Drawbacks of a Cosigner

Borrowers may have trouble finding a cosigner. Not everyone is willing to put his or her name — and obligation to pay — on someone else’s loan application. Those who need a loan quickly might be too pressed for time to locate a cosigner.

Even when a cosigner agrees to terms of the loan, he or she might not actually stick to them. In other words, if the primary borrower defaults, the cosigner may default as well. The “safety net” of the cosigner making payments disappears. Both parties end up in trouble.

In the event of a default, the borrower and the cosigner are probably going to end up with a very strained relationship. Borrowers do need to ask if such a risk is worth it.

Collateral and Its Benefits

When collateral is put up for a loan, the loan is considered secured. Collateral alone might not be enough. Financial institutions don’t want to go through the trouble of seizing collateral to resell it. Hence, the lenders do look closely at the credit history of the borrower. A person with bad credit might be turned down even if he/she is putting something of tremendous value up as collateral.

Not all collateral loans require good credit. A car title loan would be a type of secured loan in which poor credit borrowers and the unemployed could be immediately approved. How title loans work is fairly easy to understand. Essentially, the title — ownership — of the car is put up as equity. The loan amount is going to be lower than the full resale value of the car. Interest rates may be very high. For some, a car title loan may be the only option available due to financial and credit history circumstances.

Other collateral loan options exist. Those who own property may explore home equity options, a low-interest endeavor. Borrowing from a pawn shop has become a popular form of secured borrowing thanks to television shows highlighting the industry.

Think Things Through

Any borrower who cannot be approved for a personal loan has to look for alternatives. In addition to looking at viable alternatives, serious thought must go into making any decisions. This prudent approach may help with avoiding a number of problems — financial ones — that otherwise might occur.

4 Easy Steps to Reduce Payments on Your Debt

This is a guest post from Pauline of investmentzen.com

We have all been there. Debt payments are creeping up, and it is starting to get hard to keep up with them.

Whatever the reason you got indebted in the first place, this is not the moment to blame yourself, or to give up. It is time to take action, to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and you get back on track for a solid financial future.

Paying of debt is tedious. It’s like losing weight. You enjoyed that meal last week, but you don’t really want to spend your Sunday at the gym to work it off. Yet, if you don’t, things will get worse, and soon you’ll be overweight.

So let’s tackle your debt, one step at a time.

Step 1: Reduce the interest on your debt

You owe a certain sum of money, and we will see later what we can do about that, but for now, let’s try to lower our monthly payments by reducing the cost of our debt.

Make a list of all your debt:

  • Credit cards
  • Car loans
  • Student loans
  • Personal loans
  • Mortgage
  • etc…

And next to it write down the interest rate you are paying on said debt. It might look like:

  • Credit card A 19.9%
  • Credit card B 12%
  • Student loan 6.9%
  • Mortgage 4.3%

Your priority is to reduce the interest you are paying on your debt. A $1,000 balance over 12 months at 19.9% is costing you a whopping $199! Look for a 0% balance transfer and move all your credit card balances over there. If your credit score is too low for that, try calling your credit card company and let them know you would like your rate lowered, because paying off your debt is becoming increasingly difficult. Lowering the rate will be cheaper for them than chasing a customer in default so they might oblige.

Step 2: Reduce capital payments on your debt

Doing so will likely lengthen your debt repayment period, so that should be an option only if your current payments are too hard to honor. Unless you had a grace period on that 0% balance transfer. In which case, you should pretend like you are making the repayments, and put the money on a high yield savings account in the meanwhile, so it earns a little bit of interest for you.

Remember to put a date in your calendar for when your 0% deal is over, to pay the full balance, or it will revert to a super high rate. That is how companies make money. If you are still short, make another 0% transfer.

Step 3: Refinance your mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage is one of these “big wins” that won’t take a lot of time and can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. A quick online search will tell you what the current rates are depending on your credit, and then a mortgage repayment calculator will tell you what your new payments will be.

Like with credit cards, if you keep your mortgage payments the same, you will be overpaying a little every month, and can shave months or even years off the life of your loan by doing so.

When refinancing, you might be tempted to open another line of credit to pay off your credit card balance. The catch is, you are switching from unsecured debt to secured debt. That means if you don’t pay your line of credit, your creditors can sell your house. If you don’t pay your credit card, the debt is not secured against an asset.

So now that you are aware of the risks, that might be worth considering if you were unable to get a 0% balance transfer.

Step 4: Refinance your other debt

Refinancing your student loans and other kinds of debt can be done over the same term, for a lower interest rate, or over a longer term, in order for you to have some breathing room in your budget thanks to lower payments. BUT if you go for a longer term, the final amount you’ll end up paying will probably be higher than the original loan figure.

So make sure you understand what the implications are before you sign anything. You can refinance all your loans together, also known as debt consolidation, or go on a per case basis with each lender.

All these steps are pretty straightforward and can not only save you a bunch in interest, but also lower your payments and help your cash flow right now. Even if you are able to make your current payments, why pay more in interest?

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