Get Rid of Your Credit Card Debt in 7 Easy Steps Using Avalanche Method

Credit card debt is an unsecured consumer debt which you incur when you use your credit card to pay for goods or services, or withdraw money to pay off previous debts. Debt keeps accumulating through the interest charged and interest rates on credit card debt can be as high as 10-30%.

Further, if you don’t pay your credit card debt on time, the credit card issuing bank or company charges a late payment penalty which further raises the amount you have to pay. Apart from that, it also reports late payment to credit rating agencies that lower your credit score. Once your credit score is lowered, even the other creditors whom you might have paid on time may increase the interest rates they are charging you on their loans. Thus your credit card debt spirals exponentially and you realize it only when you are deep inside the trap.
However, you can definitely get out of your credit card debt if you plan wisely and proceed according to that.

There are several strategies for doing this. Today, we are going to tell you about the Avalanche method. In this method, we dedicate every extra dollar towards the debt with the highest interest rate. When you follow this method, you will end up paying less as you will save all the interest charges.

Here is how to eliminate your debt using Avalanche method:

1. First, list all your credit cards. Write down the details of the interest rate, outstanding payment and minimum payment against each. You can easily find this information on the last monthly statement of each card.

2. Arrange the cards on the list in the descending order of interest rate. The card with the highest rate of interest will go at the top while that with the lowest will come at the bottom.

3. Add up the minimum payments. The amount you get is the absolute minimum payment you have to make each month. However, to get out of your credit card debt, you must pay more than the minimum.

4. Therefore, check your budget and see how much you can pay apart from the minimum each month. Don’t bother if it is a small amount, every little bit counts.

5. As your payments fall due, pay the minimum amount on each card except the one which is at the top of your list. That one carries the highest interest rate and costs you the most. So, whatever extra money you have found in your budget, pay it on that card.

6. Continue with the process until you pay off your first card. Now transfer the extra amount you were paying to the second card on your list, while continuing to pay the minimum amounts on other cards.

7. Go on with the process until you pay off all your credit card debt in this manner.

How It Works?

Your minimum credit card debt payments are not fixed; they are calculated as a percentage of the outstanding balance on the card. If you keep on paying only the minimum amount, it may take years to pay off your credit card debt, as your outstanding balance remains more or less the same, or even increases – after all, you have to use the cards from time to time for your various requirements even while you are trying to pay off the credit card debt.

However, when you follow the Avalanche method of paying as much extra money as possible on the highest interest bearing card, the balance slowly begins to come down and with it, the minimum amount payable also comes down. However, if you ignore this fact and keep on paying the same minimum amount you had decided earlier, more money will start going into paying off your credit card debt each month.

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7 Things to Check Before You Book a Taxi Online

Are you looking to hire a taxi to pick/drop you at the airport? Nowadays, you can easily book a taxi online for your airport transfers. However, if you are new in the city or if you are not familiar with routes, you must be careful and do a thorough research before you book a cab.

Here are few important things which you should keep in mind before hiring a taxi-

  1. Well reputed company: If you are booking your taxi online, go for a well reputed company. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. Also check for the reviews of the service online. See what others have to say about that company.
  2. Presentation of driver and vehicle: It is an important factor to consider. See how the driver comes across to you. If you think that he is not at ease or looks like a thug, then don’t take chances. Call the company and verify. Also look how the vehicle is. If it is shabby and unclean, ask for another vehicle.
  3. Check for the on-time record of company: When you are booking your taxi online, look the punctual and on-time service, even if that means a few extra bucks. After all no one wants to get stranded at airport, alone and waiting for their taxi to arrive and pick them up.
  4. Driver training and competency: Before you book your taxi online, check whether the drivers are well trained and competent. Are they certified to drive a taxi? Are they punctual and well aware of all the traffic rules of the country? The drivers are qualified for the job if they have a passed current CRB check.
  5. Ease of use: The website of the company should be easy to use and access. The booking service should be hassle free.
  6. Your safety Guarantee: It is the minimum basic guarantee which any taxi service should always provide. Also ensure that all the vehicles are insured. If the company is insured, it means that the insurance guys found them fit enough to insure them.
  7. Secure site: The website of the taxi service should be https: if you wish to book online and it should be SSL too. An https extension and SSL site means that doing online transactions are safe on that site. A status of https: is granted by proper authorities so you can rest assured that all the transactions and your financial data on that website are safe. 
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Why and How to Use Facebook for Your Business?

Every business needs a Facebook page. Why you ask? Well for starters, currently there are more than 800 millions active users on Facebook. How can you afford to miss such a huge demographic of potential customers. Here are some other benefits which answer “Why you should use Facebook?” :

1. Marketing channel: A Facebook business page is one of the best direct marketing channel in these times of social media marketing.

2. Market research: Facebook provides real time market research and also the much required exposure of the product and brand.

3. Instant: As a social networking site, Facebook is always instant and up-to-date as news is shared by people instantly and if relevant, it spreads like a wildfire in online world.

4. Relations: You can build long term relations with your consumers if the interaction on your Facebook page is productive. If the posts and queries are replied properly and instantly, more people will like to express their opinion and hence better the chances of them remembering your brand and product when they go shopping.

5. Potential consumers: Facebook offers an opportunity to turn visitors into consumers. You can simply offer some discount etc. to the people who “Like” your page. Just from a simple curiosity click, you can visitors into consumers.

As you can see here, a Facebook page is very important for your business. The next question which pops in mind is how to do so?

a. Understand your target market: You can’t create an effective Facebook page until and unless you don’t know who your consumers are and what do they really want. These are vital information for the success of any brand.

b. 3 R’s: If you want a successful Facebook page, there are 3 very important R’s to keep in mind. These 3 R’s are real, relevant posts and a relaxed atmosphere on the page. Keep it real if you want to make a connection with your fans.

c. Balance the update frequency: You should define how regularly you will provide updates like 10 times a day or once a year or somewhere in between. This is important because you want your fans to remember you but you don’t want to spam them with hundreds of updates a day.

d. What to update: The best updates and posts can be a great conversation or quotation or an attention grabbing picture or relevant links or even your latest products. 

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Everything You Want To Know About Solar Cells

There has been a tremendous growth in the renewable energy markets across the world with solar energy constituting a major part of it. An increasing trend has been observed in people preferring clean and affordable energy generated from renewable sources over the conventional non renewable sources. The main reason for this switch is the constantly increasing electricity prices, but environmental awareness by various government agencies and NGOs has also been crucial. It is due to this reason that Google has equipped its headquarters with solar panels and plans to make the establishment completely self sufficient in the coming years. A range of solar appliances are in vogue today, some popular appliances being solar water heaters, solar cookers and the most commonly spotted – solar road lamps. But what powers these devices is the solar panel constituting of numerous little Solar Cells made up of silicon. Let’s get in detail about this solar cell which is going to create a revolution in our energy system in coming times.

What are Solar Cells?

A solar cell or a photovoltaic cell is an electrical device, which converts the sun’s light energy directly into electrical energy by the photovoltaic effect. It is a type of photoelectric cell. When it is exposed to light, it generates an electric current without taking the help of any external electrical source. The conclusion – without getting into the technical details is that the light rays falling on the solar panel is captured by the silicon made solar cells, which then convert it into electrical energy through some chemical and physical processes.

Applications of Solar Cells

Solar cells have a wide range of application in general as well as research and technical purposes.

  • Electronic watches, calculators and other low power consuming equipments derive their power from solar cells.
  • Energy generated from solar cells is used to provide electricity across many parts of the world, especially rural areas.
  • Many lighthouses and buoys are powered by solar panels to act as ocean navigation pointers.
  • Radio transceivers on mountain tops and telephone boxes are solar-cell driven.
  • On research level, scientific research stations, weather stations, seismic recording equipments work on photovoltaic energy.
  • Space vehicles like satellites and telescopes such as Hubble are powered by thousands of solar-cell panels.

Working of Solar Cells

Large numbers of photovolataic cells are used to make modules to generate electricity from solar energy. Multiple groups of integrated assemblies oriented in one plane constitute one module.

Cost of Solar Cells

If you are planning to install solar cells to your home, you might be wondering about costs. The initial setup for the same is a little costly; however, given that it’s a onetime affair, you will recover the cost once the panel is functional. The cost of a solar cell is given per unit peak of electrical power. The solar panel must not only be chosen on price alone. You should also check for the area to install, government subsidies, performance, warranty and recovery costs of power produced.

Lifespan and Longevity of Solar Cells

Most solar cells that are available for commercial usage last for at least twenty years. The panels have an extended life, lasting from 30-35 years.

Types of Solar Panels

Based on efficiency, there are different types of solar cell panels:

  • Mono crystalline silicon
  • Polycrystalline silicon
  • Thin film
  • Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV)

Important Technical Know-How Before You Buy a Solar Appliance:

1.      Materials Used

While purchasing for the solar panels, quality must be thoroughly examined. The higher the silicon, the more will be the efficiency.

2.      Tolerance and Resistance

This is the parameter that checks the withstanding of the solar panel. A positive tolerance means that a panel might produce more than stated under standard testing conditions.

3.      Coefficient of Temperature

This is important to determine the impact of heat on panel. The lower is the coefficient, the better is the performance.

4.      Efficiency of Conversion

The efficiency determines how much power is to be generated.

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Top 10 Reasons: Why You Should Choose Freelancing?

If you work a regular 9-to-5 job and if you have a good knowledge of your field, then at least once in life, you must have considered working freelance. If you have had made the switch, kudos! If you are still not sure, here are top 10 reasons why you should work freelance:

Emotional benefits: There are many positives if you work freelance than a regular job and here are just the emotions-related to start with.

  1. Freedom: History has many proofs that we humans love nothing more than our freedom. Our nations have become free long ago but are WE really free when we are working a regular job and working on someone else’s whims and fancies?

Freelancing gives that sense of freedom, of being your own boss. That feeling of freedom alone is worth of leaving full time job.

  1. Happiness: Our happiness level increases many times when we feel free and spend time with our loved ones. You can watch your kids grow and enjoy lunch and dinner with family and can be happy and content.
  2. Power of choice: You get to choose your Employers and Projects. And you have the choice to say “No”. When you work freelance, you have the power of choice.

Personal Growth: When you work freelance, there is a huge scope of personal growth. Here is how:

  1. Industry Trends: When you do freelancing, you have to be up-to-date about the latest trends in industry. Otherwise you will be left behind in competition.
  2. Learn everything: you manage your accounts, taxes and even employees sometimes. SO get first-hand knowledge of everything.

Every other reason: Now apart from these reasons, there are many other reasons to work freelance. Here are those:

  1. No security in full time job: Massive layoffs have proved that there is no such thing as a job security anymore. It is same in both freelancing world and full time job.
  2. Economic recession: Most people are scared to switch because of the recession. But on the contrary, this is the best time ever. This is because companies are cutting back on budgets and hence, are more willing to hire a freelancer on contract than hiring an employee on full time basis.
  3. No dress code or confining cubicles: Say Hurray! You can work in your pajamas and no one cares about it. Also, no more of those cubicles which feel so suffocating and confining instead of providing privacy.
  4. Own schedule: You no longer have to beg for a leave to attend your daughter’s play. You can plan your jobs in advance and can be there when she is searching for you in the audience.
  5. Better working conditions: You can work freelance from wherever you want- beach, restaurant, mountains, home, café, balcony etc. You can sit back in balcony with a cup of coffee and enjoy a sun rise or sunset, while being at work. What can be better than this? You can eat, drink, smoke and do whatever you want, whenever you want, without any staring colleagues.

 

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Buying A House: Why Choose Pre Foreclosure Houses?

Pre foreclosures are known as properties that have reached the final stages before they get repossessed or taken back by the lender or bank.  The owner is still in complete control of the property or home, although the bank or lender will repossess the home if the owner doesn’t attempt to rectify the situation.  Normally, if the owner makes things right with payment, the pre foreclosure will settle and things will go back to normal.

When buying real estate, there are several benefits to pre foreclosures.  Although there are several ways that you can buy a home, pre foreclosure is one of the best.  Even though it is one of the best ways to buy property, many people miss out simply because they aren’t familiar with pre foreclosures and all of the benefits that come with them.

The best thing about pre foreclosures is the prices that are associated with them.  In most cases, the owner has no choice but the sell the house, and therefore will listen to just about any offer that he receives.  Due to this very reason, you can find pre foreclosures for sale at nearly 50% off market value.  This is an ideal time to purchase, especially if you are looking to save a lot of money.

Along with the great prices you can get with pre foreclosures, you’ll also have the luxury of dealing directly with the owner – no third parties involved.  This is a great advantage, with buyers being in total control of pre foreclosure sales.  In the event that the home owner decides to turn down your offer and cannot find another buyer, he will lose everything.  Even if you offer the owner a small price, he will be able to make a little bit of money selling the home.

You can find pre foreclosures that up for sale pretty much the same way that you can find homes in which the bank already has control of.  You can look in the local newspaper, on the Internet, or by calling the lender directly.  There are several options that you have in terms of finding pre foreclosures, giving you plenty of options. Once you have found a pre foreclosure for sale, it’s up to you to seal the deal and get the home of your dreams at a very affordable price.

When you compare foreclosed properties with pre foreclosed properties, you’ll find that there is less competition involved with pre foreclosures.  Pre foreclosed homes are a great purchase, as they will normally come at a very affordable price.  Those of you who have been looking for a new home shouldn’t hesitate to check out pre foreclosed properties.  They are a great investment – and can indeed be very profitable in the long run.

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Buying a House: Owner Financing vs. “Subject to” Financing

Owning a house is one of the best long term investments you can make, whether as a person looking for a home or as a real estate investor looking for properties to buy and sell. And the best way to buy real estate is by putting minimum investment from your side, minimizing risks and earning good returns.

Here are some ways of buying a house where you invest a minimum and still get good returns. Read on to know the pros and cons of each method.

Owner Financing:

In times when getting an affordable loan/ credits from banks seem like a distant dream, owner financing is the way to go. In fact, in 1970s and 1980s, owner financing was one of the most popular choice when buying homes as the interest rates were as high as 18%. So what exactly is owner financing?

In owner financing, the buyer gets a loan from the owner of the property, instead of banks. Both the buyer and seller agree on terms and complete a promissory note which has details like the interest rate, what will be the repayment schedule and consequences in case all the terms of the deal is not met from either side.

Pros:

  • The amount you pay as a down payment is flexible as there is no need to meet the minimum down payment criteria which is set by most banks when giving out a loan. Buyer and seller can discuss and determine what the amount will be.
  • Reduced over head costs: The buyer is relieved of bank fees and broker commission. Moreover, there are some tax benefits.
  •  Quick Deal: Both, the seller and buyer look for a hassle free and quick deal. Informal owner financing saves months of time in the loan period and getting additional formalities.
  • It is a good option when you don’t want (or can’t) opt for the big loans.

Cons:

  • Buyers have to pay a higher interest rate. But it can be subsidized by the benefits it offers over other methods.
  • Although you don’t need to get a loan approved by a bank, but you still have to build your credibility to win over the seller’s trust.
  • Buyer will need to make sure that the house he intends to purchase with help of owner financing is clear of all mortgages and debts.

“Subject to” Financing:  

“Subject to” financing is one of the best and quickest ways to buy a property. So what exactly it is? A ‘subject to’ property means that the property is not clear of the debts yet and hence, is still a subject to mortgages. Buying such property usually means that the buyer starts paying off the mortgage, instead of the seller and then this due amount is added to the down payment being offered by the buyer.

Pros:

  • Quick closing of deal as there is no time consuming process, like applying and qualifying for loans, involved.
  • No need to qualify for loans and credits because as a buyer in the “subject to” purchase, you are not the one applying for loan.
  • Since the buyer is not directly in the loan documents, the mortgage payments do not show up in their credit report.
  • Low Interest Rates: Since the buyer has to pay the mortgage installments on the old interest rate, he can save a lot as the interest rates have gone up very sharply in the recent times.
  • No need to make huge down payments as the mortgage installments are added to the current down payment of buyer. Also, the buyer can even have flexible balance repayment method.

Cons:

  • Due on Sale: According to this clause, if you try to sell your property before the complete payment, the seller or the lender will demand instant payment of the remaining amount and failing to do so will result in foreclosure of the property.
  •  As you will become the owner, don’t forget to include the repair and maintenance costs.
  • As a real estate investor, if you fail to put out the property for rent, you will have to pay complete 100% of the mortgage installments.

Each of these methods comes with their pros and cons, but as you can see above, the pros outnumber the cons.

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