How I Plan To Get My Credit Card Debt Under Control By Summer 2021

Brice Capital logo

I never considered myself the most financially stable person, but things were a bit more manageable before the pandemic began. I had a job that covered the bills, a little money set aside in savings, and a system for keeping my debts under control. I even had some extra cash to splurge on things like vacations, fashion, and entertainment. Then March 2020 came, and everything changed. 

The world came to a halt, and my finances went out the window. I was furloughed and had to rely on a reduced income to cover my expenses. Within a few weeks, I had completely emptied my emergency fund. I had no choice but to start relying on credit cards to survive. I’d charge everything from the groceries to the utilities believing I would get things back on track once things calmed down. 

Health Crisis Turned Financial Nightmare

Although I was fortunate to return to work in December, I quickly realized the damage was already done. I fell behind in just about every bill you could imagine. I had no nest egg for unexpected expenses. Not to mention, I had wracked up so much credit card debt that creditors were calling me multiple times a day. Feeling overwhelmed with stress, I realized I had to do something to get things back on track. 

Summertime Goals

I did some research to learn more about my options and found a few that I’m optimistic will help me reach my financial goals. I believe that if I stick to this plan, I’ll have my debt under control by the summertime. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, perhaps these tips will help  you too. 

Facing The Music

The first thing I decided to do was face the music with creditors. Continuing to duck and dodge their phone calls and notices would only make matters worse. I learned that if you simply reach out and explain your situation, many of them are willing to work with you. So, I found some time to contact each of my credit card companies to let them know why I had such high balances and few payments. The representatives understood and removed late fees to reduce the amount I owed. 

Debt Consolidation

Although I had managed to get late fees removed from my credit card accounts, the balances and interest rates were still too high. The minimum payment would barely cover the accumulated interest, which meant I’d be paying off credit cards for years to come. So, I decided to consider debt consolidation. I found a site called BriceCapital.com, where I completed a short form. A representative contacted me to discuss my credit card debt to determine if I was eligible for a consolidation loan. It wasn’t long before Brice Capital stated they could help me. I was approved for a loan that would allow me to lump all my credit card balances into one loan. Since the debt consolidation loan had lower interest rates, it would save me a ton of money in the long run. 

Responsible Borrowing

Brice Capital gave me a second chance at getting my finances back on track. They took on those high-interest high-balance credit card payments. It stopped the collection calls, eliminated the late fees, reduced interest rates, and enabled me to free up cash that could be used for other areas of my life. If I was going to reach my goal and get my credit card debt under control by summer 2021, I had to be a responsible borrower. 

I set reminders on my phone to notify me when loan payments were due. Any extra money I received from income taxes, stimulus checks, or overtime in the office, I applied to the Brice Capital debt consolidation loan to get the balance down faster. If I continue this pattern, it will begin to reflect in my credit, and I’ll be on my way to becoming debt-free. 

Who wasn’t financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? Although things are still difficult, things are once again starting to shift. The only way to be prepared for what lies ahead is to hunker down and get your finances back in order. By negotiating with creditors and working with Brice Capital to consolidate my debt, I have no doubt that summer 2021 will look a lot brighter. 

How to Market Your Business While Maintaining Your Budget

Marketing a business

Marketing your business can be difficult to say the least. With 2020 posing challenges for many small businesses, it may be time to consider ways to market to a wider audience while also saving money. From business closures due to the pandemic to paying your employees, it may seem like you can never catch a break.Thankfully, due to the digital era, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the internet to market your business successfully. 

Need some great ideas to help you make marketing a priority? We’re here to give you a list of inspiration!

1. Social Media

With Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn becoming popular social media platforms, it is an excellent move to make a business account on these platforms. There are also exclusive features for businesses on these sites. Start by building an audience and following other local businesses or loyal customers you are in touch with. You can potentially partner with other businesses and ask them for a shoutout or to tag you on a post. 

After you’ve built an audience you can work to keep them engaged by creating fun content. For instance, Instagram has a story feature where you can post for 24 hours until it expires. Stories appear at the top of a users page– meaning they are more likely to see it over a post. On the other hand, LinkedIn is great for networking and making business connections. If you are able to manage your time correctly, you can use as many social media sites as you’d like for free.

2. Google My Business 

Google My Business (GMB) offers small businesses a free account– essentially Google wants your business to succeed and be able to compete with larger businesses. When you create a GMB account, you have access to enter all the necessary information your business needs like the address, phone number, and name. You can connect with customers through Google search or maps and create a great first impression. With Google being the largest search engine in the world, creating a business page will most definitely get your name out there in your local area. 

Make sure to fill out all the necessary information on Google My Business. Additionally, optimize your business page by using keywords you want your business to show up for. For example, if you are a yoga studio you may want to include “hot yoga” “yoga membership” or “ vinyasa yoga”. That way, when users are searching for any of these terms, your business listing will show up!

3.  Create a Blog 

Blogs are great opportunities to extend your digital marketing strategy by implementing keywords and building your SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and with more keywords, you could rank higher amongst other businesses. A blog is a great way to build your SEO and get more potential customers to visit your website– meaning more future sales.

4.  Build Reviews 

Reviews are a driving force behind consumer decisions. A positive online reputation is so important these days. Yet, with so many review sites out there, it can be difficult to keep up. Most review sites offer free business profiles. Everyone has heard of Yelp reviews; they seem to run supreme as one of the biggest review platforms in the US. Yelp cannot be overlooked as the company made over $900 million in revenue in 2019 alone. Additionally, sites like Google and Facebook also offer customers to write reviews for your business– meaning you will reach a wider audience. 

5. Create Ads

Once you feel you’ve built an audience on social media and the internet, you can begin making ads. There are many different types of ads that are available to your business. Facebook and Google are your best bets to target the customers you truly want. The best part is you can put a small amount of money towards your ad spending in order to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.  

If you’re feeling intimidated or confused by ads you can hire a digital marketing agency to help you get started. For instance, if you are a law firm that handles DUIs, you can invest in DUI lawyer marketing to get the ball rolling. You can also work with someone to get a low rate!

6. Offer discounts and create great customer service

Lastly, customers love discounts, so try to offer an incentive to get them to start business with you. Anything that gets customers talking about your business and the great deals they’re getting! Additionally, once a customer decides to do business with you, ensure that they are pleased with their service. There is nothing worse than having a first-time customer leave a bad review on something that could have easily been avoided. 

Save Money with These 10 Subscription Services

A collection of makeup brushes and powders.
Save money on makeup with a subscription like Ipsy.

Subscription boxes are popular today, and it is easy to see why. Everyone loves getting mail, especially packages. Like Julie Andrews sang, “Brown paper packages tied up with string,” have sweet suspense, like a gift on Christmas morning, and they are one of our favorite things.

Subscriptions are great for several reasons. First, they can actually save you money. By paying a flat rate each month, you can save money on products you already buy or would like to try. Secondly, they are like giving yourself a treat. Thirdly, they are a delightful gift idea, and truly a gift that keeps on giving. 

Here are ten fun AND useful subscription ideas you might not have known about:

#1 Clothing

The options here are endless. There are boxes for men, women, children, and babies. Is it more T-shirts you need? Socks you are always losing? Maybe a fresh monthly pair of undies, or some new activewear? How about some trendy pajamas? There is a subscription box for you! There are also companies that send you complete outfits based on your style choices. 

#2: Produce and meat

Do you want to eat healthier, but find it expensive? A subscription to Imperfect Produce or Misfits Market could be the key. They will send you a package of fresh fruit and veggies that are discounted because they could not be accepted by a grocery store because of a misshape. This not only saves you money, but it also causes less food waste. 

Carnivore Club and ButcherBox are two meat boxes you can subscribe to that send you specialty cuts of the meats of your choice. 

#3: Coffee and tea 

With a good coffee subscription, you can get your morning started right. Some companies offer coffee from around the world. Trade Coffee Co. has the best french press coffee, and they totally customize your coffee experience by allowing you to choose what types you enjoy, the grind setting, and how often you receive it. 

For those who would rather a cup of tea, Sips By is a good choice. They have so much variety that it is a tea discovery box. They let you set preferences for flavors and types with their quiz, which you can retake as often as you want. 

#4: Makeup

Ipsy is an inexpensive subscription that sends you five beauty supplies each month. This way, you get to try new products, other companies, and different shades and colors without breaking the bank to be your most beautiful you. 

#5: Period supplies

Monthly and Co., Period Packs, and Tampon Tribe all offer period supplies like tampons, pads, feminine wipes, and other self-care necessities for those days. With a monthly subscription, you will never be caught without period supplies when you need them. 

#6: Cleaning supplies

Clean & Green supply you with laundry care that is fresh and natural. The Honest Company can send you personal products like shampoo and hand soap, but they also have a cleaning line of cleaners for every area of your home. 

#7: Contact lenses

Hubble Contacts and SightBox have subscriptions for contact lenses, so you never run out. 

#8: Books

A book box subscription is a great gift idea for kids, and there are many choices available. Or, if you are a reader yourself, try an adult book subscription. The Hygge Book Club sends books AND other fun trinkets, like fuzzy socks, notebooks, and tea. 

#9: Cheese and Wine

The Gold Medal Wine Club is a fancy wine subscription that offers only gold-medal awarded wines. While you are at it, pair your wine subscription with a good cheese from Curdbox so you can enjoy the full experience. 

#10: Crafting

Adults and Craft Crate will focus on a different type of craft and send you a starter kit with the tools and instructions each month. 

Whatever you enjoy, whether it be snacks, healthy eating, fitness, jewelry, or your pets, there is a subscription box that you would enjoy. Have fun treating yourself.

How One Man Conquered a $50K Debt in 5 Years

A case full of money

For most of my adult life, money was a topic I never discussed. When I would go out and socialize with friends, I was the person who would pull out their credit card and cover the bill. When I would travel to a location and see something that caught my eye, I’d whip out that plastic card faster than you could say ‘booyah!’

But as the years mounted and I became wiser, the bills started rolling in. There were even months where I couldn’t pay the minimum on my cards and this, ultimately, crushed my credit score. 

Then, one day, I hesitantly sat down with a financial advisor to see the damage I had caused myself after decades of undisciplined spending; I was over $50,000 in debt! To say that I was embarrassed by my behavior would be an understatement. Although this may sound like a recipe for disaster, I can safely say that I am currently debt-free and living life on my terms. If you’re interested in how I did it, you’ll want to keep reading.

Initial Momentum

Although debt is one of the most black-and-white topics you could ever discuss, paying it off is a game of managing your emotions and internal monologue. Often, when we get our paycheck deposited into our bank account, our initial inclination is to hit the mall, buy some clothes or look at holiday deals for new cars. 

The area I struggled with the most when lowering debt was allocating resources to an account that I would use to target my issues. If you want to pay your debt off as I did, start by visiting your bank or credit union’s website and opening a secondary account. It helps if you can find banks with no overdraft fees.

From here, I set up my pay so that a portion of every check I received was placed into that account. Then, I used auto-pay services so that each bill was paid, in full, at the same time each month. When money was out of my sight, and it wasn’t easily accessible, my mind adjusted to living below my means. Over the years, this paid off big time!

The Avalanche Method

For me, the avalanche method was a lifesaver. Without going into the technical details behind the method, financial experts found the most effective means of paying off debt was by targeting areas with the highest interest rates first.

Once you target the high-interest debt, you set up your accounts on the other debt to make the minimum monthly payments. With the remainder, you tackle the area with the highest rate. Although the total debt amount of that area may not be the highest, it saves tons of cash that can be applied to other debt areas.

Motivation

Humans are creatures of habit and need incentives to keep moving forward through difficult times. Knowing this, I began rewarding myself when I would make a payment on my debt.

I spent my weekends and spare time researching podcasts and videos about families that had finally pulled themselves from debt. In combination with that, I hung up motivational posters and quotes around my home that dealt with wealth creation. And on special occasions, I would treat myself to a cheap reward such as a movie or a discount t-shirt from a store. These purchases were made with cash and never tapped into my financial plans.

Although you and I are different in many ways, we both need to stoke the motivational fires from time to time. Realize that a debt-free life is possible by getting creative with your motivation!

Final Words of Advice

Once you successfully pay off your debt, breathe a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back. Many people never put in consistent effort to work towards a better life, not only for themselves but for their family and loved ones. 

It’s crucial that you remember the behavior that got you into this predicament in the first place. While you may have new lines of credit open up to you, avoiding the vicious cycle of debt is the key to financial success and wealth creation. Do what I did: start small, plan for the future, and maintain consistency. If you use the tools and tactics I implemented to get out of debt in 5 years, you can’t go wrong!

9 Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

Startup company office

The surge in startup companies has been one of the most important trends of the past decade. Entrepreneurs with solid plans and a determination to succeed have managed to launch successful businesses in all sorts of fields. Society is changing fast, and people have new needs, challenges, and desires that didn’t exist a few years ago. If you’re an entrepreneur eager to strike out on your own and start a new company, the current climate is certainly favorable. Here are nine business ideas to consider. 

#1: Graphic Design

As more of our interactions (both business-related and social) go virtual, people are going to need graphic designers to help them create professional-looking and easy-to-use content. Learning a little about this trade will put you in a position to start your own business and take advantage of a booming industry.

#2: Web Design

From small business owners to individual contractors, everybody needs a website in today’s day and age. Many people know they need an online presence, but they have no idea how to create their own content. That’s why they count on web designers. Once you learn the basics of web design, you can market your services to the countless people who need a website but lack the technical know-how to create one. 

#3: Manufacturing

Americans love stuff, and that’s not going to change any time soon. In order to manufacture and sell the products beloved around the country, consider setting up an operation in Mexico. Moving south of the border allows you to cut costs while working with a neighbor keeps operations close enough to home to avoid logistical headaches. The Mexican workforce is skilled in a number of areas, and shipments almost always arrive on time. And now with companies like NAPS International, you can have someone with experience to help with logistics, payroll and benefits management, and scaling–all under the umbrella of Mexico shelter companies.

#4: Tutoring

Knowledge is key in the modern economy, so millions of Americans are eager to further their education and add to their resumes. You can take advantage of this trend by creating a tutoring business. From immigrants looking to perfect their English to laid-off workers hoping to build new skill sets, there are countless people out there eager to learn. Offer to tutor people in subjects you’re strong in, and you’ll likely find the clients piling up faster than you can deal with them. 

#5: Photography

In the social media era, photography has become even more important than it was before. People want to document all of life’s major events, from weddings and baby showers to a child’s first day at school. If you’re at all handy with a camera, consider sharpening your skills and starting your own photography business. You’re bound to find clients quickly since photographers are in such high demand. 

#6: Translations

Every day the world seems to become smaller. Globalization is a constant force, and it requires us to engage across cultures and language barriers on a regular basis. If you’re bilingual, then you can take advantage of your unique set of skills to serve as a translator. Any global business needs people like you to carry out its daily operations. 

#7: Digital Marketing

More marketing takes place online than ever before, and making the most of digital platforms is key to advertising success. Lots of business owners know this, but lack the tech literacy to forge their own digital marketing plan. If you learn the ins and outs of the best practices, you can charge clients to do their marketing for them.

#8: An Organic Restaurant

Every year, more Americans opt to eat a healthier diet and leave artificial additives behind. You can take advantage of this new level of health consciousness by opening a restaurant that specializes in organic food. People will enjoy meals that are delicious, healthy, and safe, while you can feel good about doing your part to make the world a better, healthier place. 

#9: Fitness Instruction

Millions of Americans enjoy working out but lack the knowledge and motivation to exercise by themselves. They count on fitness trainers to put them through their paces and keep their exercise plans on track. If you’re an outgoing person who enjoys pushing others to be the best versions of themselves, then this could be the perfect career for you. 

How to Write Better Online Reviews

Customers leaving online reviews

As a budget-savvy consumer, it has never been a better time to share your thoughts and opinions about a product you ordered online. Whether you realize it or not, the people that want to purchase the same item will often read reviews–negative and positive–before they decide whether the product is worth their time, effort, and money.

If you’re someone that wants to give clear and concise online reviews that will help other shoppers make their final decisions, here’s what you can do to improve your outreach.

Constructive Criticism Is a Fine Art

For many shoppers, the idea of giving constructive criticism is an excuse to scold and attack a vendor or product sold by a specific entity. Don’t be “that person” that goes online and argues with individuals. Instead, use these points as a way to finetune and craft your insights:

  • Instead of critiquing a product in its entirety, be specific. What was the defining detail that made you dislike the product?
  • Keep the critique personal, and don’t encourage other people to chime in on your review or add criticism unnecessarily.
  • While your first inclination may be to focus purely on the negative aspects of a product, make sure to incorporate what you enjoyed about the item as well.
  • Avoid overly-dramatic and negative tones when writing your review. By doing this, you help both the shopper and the vendor make better decisions in the future.
  • Ask yourself this question before submitting a review: If someone were to speak to me this way, would I become upset or enraged?
  • You must realize an Amazon seller might have the opportunity to delete your Amazon review if you violate the website’s terms of service or use abusive language. Knowing this, don’t turn a review into a platform to launch an all-out attack on someone.

These tactics, when taken into consideration, will help you not only express your dissatisfaction but help the vendor create high-quality products in the future.

Tell the Vendor How They Could Improve the Product

An often underutilized approach when leaving an online review is how the vendor could improve their product or service. Have you ordered a product from the internet, and while you had high hopes, you found yourself disappointed? If you take a closer look at that experience, you may have noticed how the vendor could have improved the product or service to meet your standards.

Although it may be challenging to do, put yourself inside the shoes of a person selling products online: If you sold items to a crowd of people that were unsatisfied with their experience, wouldn’t you want them to discuss how to improve your product?

Corporations, both medium and small, spend exorbitant amounts of money annually to make high-quality products and services. While a small business owner or online vendor may not have the budget to perform these tests, customer reviews give insight into how they can improve their outreach. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your words and criticisms help sellers grow and expand.

Don’t Forget the Human Element

When you have friendly and pleasant customer experiences, find a way to weave that interaction into your online review. With the growing presence of technology and automated software systems, dealing with another living, breathing human becomes rare. And when that human genuinely wants to help you with your shopping experience, it’s something to behold.

Don’t be afraid or shy away from telling people the type of interaction you had; good or bad. Many up-and-coming vendors and sellers maintain their status within the market purely on their pleasant customer service. While it’s OK to talk about these individuals, refrain from leaking personal information or details that could identify that person. In today’s online world, maintaining a sense of privacy and anonymity while writing a review is critical.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

As our society pivots toward online shopping platforms, make sure you share the moments that caught your attention. These small events, whether we realize it or not, make the marketplace better for both sellers and customers in the future. Who knows, your online review may be the defining moment that finalizes a customer’s purchasing decision!

9 Financial Tips for Newlyweds

Newlyweds on a honeymoon

Getting married is a significant life change. You’ll want to think about your plans for the future together. Well-honed financial goals are the foundation of any good marriage. These tips are easy to follow and will set you on the path to a tremendous joint financial future. 

#1: Talk About Budget as a Team Effort

One of the first things you should do is talk about your budget. Set up a list of your expenses, including everything from housing costs to how much you’re spending on lunch. Allow each partner some leeway, but try to stick to the overall budget. 

#2: Talk About Your Financial History 

Most people have a financial history before they get married today. Now is the time to reveal that history to the person you’re going to marry. Each party to the marriage should know about the other’s credit score and any previous debts and assets they bring the marriage before heading down the aisle. 

#3: Talk About Your Educational Plans 

If you haven’t completed your educational plans, tell your partner. You might have a bachelor’s degree in literature when you really want a master’s degree in library science. Maybe one of you wants to go to medical school. Now is the time to make future educational plans clear before you make any further moves. 

#4: Talk About Life Insurance 

Insurance is there to provide for you in the event of an emergency. As a young couple or a newly married couple, you might be wondering how much life insurance do I need. Many employers offer a basic policy that includes a year’s salary. If you face specific circumstances such as prior dependents or lots of expenses, find out if you can increase the amount. That offers more protection at less cost. 

#5: Get Started Retirement Planning Now 

It’s never too early to begin planning for retirement. Getting married offers the perfect time to examine your finances and think about where you’re headed right now. You should ideally agree with each other about your plans for retirement. 

#6: Talk About Where You’re Going to Live 

Your first home together is not necessarily where you intend to live five years from now. Have a discussion about where you want to live in the future. You might be dreaming of a cottage by a lake. Meanwhile, he’s into a pied-a-terre in the city. It would help if you told each other this before you get married. You can always make compromises that satisfy both parties, such as living in the center of a small town with a lake in the backyard. 

#7: Talk About an Emergency Fund 

Let’s face it. Emergencies happen. One day the car breaks down. Next, you need to bring the dog to the vet. Now is the time to start an emergency fund if you don’t have one in place already. The ideal emergency fund has at least three months of living expenses in a safe place, such as a CD. Many people find it best to add another three months just in case something big goes wrong. This way, they’re prepared for anything. 

#8: Talk About the Distant Future

In the rush of a marriage, it’s important not to lose sight of the coming years. Even if you’re marrying past the average marriage age, chances are you’re going to have plenty of time together. Now is the time to make plans at reasonable intervals. For example, think about what you hope to accomplish after the first year of your marriage. You might want to aim for a certain amount of funds in the bank, a promotion at work, or enough money for a down payment on a house. As the years go by, you’ll want to examine these plans in detail. See what goals you’re meeting and objectives you might need to work on further. 

#9: Talk About Your Bank Accounts 

Your bank accounts play a major role in the management of your finances. Think about the kind of banking plans that are going to work best. You might want to opt for a joint bank account. That can simplify your record-keeping and make it easier to see where the money’s going. However, it can also be useful to have separate accounts to allow each partner certain financial flexibility.