Credit card debt

Heartbleed Bug and the Need for Vigilance, Tips for Online Safety

The Heartbleed bug, a virus that made information on so-called “secure” websites insecure, is just the latest piece of news in a longstanding reality that hackers are after your financial data. If there is good news in the revelation of the breach that has been going on for about two years, it’s that what you do to protect yourself from all data theft, works in this case, too.

Posted on Apr 14, 2014

How Do You Avoid Debt, Temptation of Credit Versus Cash

If you think you have too much debt, you are not alone. It isn’t hopeless, though. There are innumerable good examples out there of people who use credit and borrowing wisely. You can be one of them if you stay committed to a few principles.

Posted on Apr 11, 2014

American Financial Solutions Clients Highlighted in National Campaign

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC) today announced the six-month activity report of the Sharpen Your Financial Focus program. To date, more than 20,000 consumers from a diverse array of states have enrolled in the program, and have completed at least two of the three steps to increase their financial situations.

Posted on Apr 09, 2014

Personal Money Management Quiz

It’s Financial Literacy month! Start out with a quick personal finance habit assessment and then visit our main page and click on MyMoneyCheckUp to complete a free, full financial review!

Posted on Mar 31, 2014

Ask yourself what you deserve more

When you are in a department store, eyeing a new shirt or skirt or pair of shoes for your wardrobe, one of the messages you might tell yourself is, “I deserve this.” We won’t argue with that. You do deserve it. But you deserve something else, too, the peace of mind that comes from living debt free.  You also deserve the things you can buy with cash later because you have rid yourself of debt. So if you can spend cash for that piece of clothing you have your eyes on and enjoy the vacations, the car and the house in the future, then your purchase won’t cost you more than the number on the price tag. If, however, you need a credit...

Posted on Mar 21, 2014

Waiting for that second marshmallow in your financial life

You made it through Christmas and if you’re among the lucky ones, you did it without giving into the temptation to overspend. If that’s you, congratulations! What you might not have expected, though, is that delaying gratification was easier when you were geared up for it. Once you let your guard down, suddenly that flat-screen television, jewelry or the costly vacation looks tempting. Even if it is not that way for you now, chances are somewhere along your journey toward debt freedom you’re going to miss the way you did things before. That way was buying things because you had the credit to do it, as if that were the only justification you needed. You have now entered the world of delayed gratification,...

Posted on Feb 05, 2014

Watch individual credit balances as well as the overall picture

If you are on the path of improving your financial situation, chances are you are working to reduce your debts. There are obvious reasons to do this, such as lessening what you pay out in debts every month, having financial peace of mind, and creating less risk to you if your income drops. Lowering your debts may also improve your credit score. There is no way to calculate how individual actions affect your score, but one alteration in your debt reduction plan might improve your chances of raising your score faster. The main reason you want a higher credit score is because having a low score can be costly even if you are not borrowing money. A lower credit score can affect...

Posted on Jan 29, 2014

A Tax Break that can Boost Your Efforts to Reduce Debt

As tax time approaches one important federal tax program might provide you a good way to put some money away into savings as you work on improving your financial situation. Financial experts differ on how much you should have set aside, but agree that you should have something to prevent you from relying on credit to pay for emergencies. Like any federal tax incentive or credit that focuses on a particular group, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the accompanying Child Tax Credit might rise to the level of “political footballs” in the coming years. Both are scheduled for reduction in 2017. But they are still available now, for tax year 2013. As you prepare your taxes or have them done,...

Posted on Jan 24, 2014

Take a new view of the debt snowball

Just as there is no diet that works for everyone, the best and fastest way to reduce debt is whatever works for you. We all have different stories about how we got into debt and different personality traits will call for different strategies to get out. The good news is any of these plans will create financial freedom. The most commonly advised debt reduction strategy is called the “snowball.” Specifically, picture a snowball rolling down the hill and getting bigger. Usually you’ve seen that snowball as debt crashing down upon you. Instead, see yourself launching the snowball down the hill, watching it take out bigger chunks of your debt. The first step is to add up your monthly payments and figure out...

Posted on Jan 17, 2014

Simple Resolutions Can Make for a Financially Successful 2014

If you’re in a position where New Year’s Day 2014 finds you in a better financial situation than you were at the beginning of 2013, even if only a little bit, congratulations! If your situation is not better, take heart. Making a positive difference doesn’t necessarily mean making huge changes. With it being resolution time as the New Year begins, understand that small changes can, in the long term, net big differences down the road. You might be in a situation where you feel only major life shifts will fix things, but consider talking to a credit counselor to discuss some of the smaller steps you can take that will improve your financial outlook. Some of the steps you can resolve to do...

Posted on Jan 01, 2014

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