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. 

Here Are a Few Reasons You Shouldn’t Carry Your Social Security Card

Crime scene tape due to social security card theft

In 1975, American Express reminded you that there were some things without which you should not leave home, their credit card being their main focus. Still, it was a good and useful reminder for a lot of things. Indeed, some things are so important that we really shouldn’t leave home without them. I can’t honestly say that an American Express card is one of them. But certainly, if you have a credit card, bring it with you.

It is also a reminder that there are some things we most certainly should leave home without. You should leave your social security card at home unless you are going someplace where you know it will be needed. Don’t treat it like a default carry. Treat it like a special carry. There are some situations that require a social security card. You will find that many of those places will accept a picture of your social security card.

On the rare occasions you have to carry your social security card, don’t keep it in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, your social security card will be safe. Otherwise, don’t carry it at all. Here’s why:

Your Social Security Number Is Attached to Everything Important

The one piece of information about you that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands is your social security number. The last 4 digits can unlock a credit check. All 9 digits unlock everything else there is to know about you. If you are going to lose a card, let it be your credit card. That can be easily and quickly canceled and changed. Your social security number is forever.

If you lose your card, find a good guide on how to report a lost social security card. After contacting the SSA, you should immediately do the following:

  1. Contact your bank.
  2. Reach out to the credit bureaus.
  3. Put a credit freeze on your account.
  4. Establish fraud alerts for further transactions

Lose your credit cards and you might lose some money. Lose your social security card and you lose your identity.

You Can Lose Your Good Credit

There are things debt will stop you from doing. You don’t want to be in debt if you can help it. And that is exactly where you will find yourself if you let your social security card fall into the wrong hands. If you carry your card with you everyday, the risk of losing it far outweighs the reward of having it when you need it.

There is a remarkably short period of time between losing your social security card and having new credit cards fraudulently obtained by thieves. They can even use your current credit cards because they have a key piece of information for gaining access to your account. At that point, you are done. You will spend the next several months fighting fraudulent charges and trying to get your credit rating back up above 500. Once your social security number goes up for auction on the dark web, your credit score goes down in the real world.

A Picture Is Often Enough

There are many situations when a social security card is required. But a substitute will be accepted. A picture of your card is often a good enough substitute because what they want is the information on the card and not the card, itself.

Not only is a picture good enough in many cases, it is more secure. To get to the pictures in your phone, you have to get into the phone. Even with a weak passcode, that can be rather difficult to accomplish. You can keep the picture in notes and lock the note.

There are some things you certainly don’t want to leave home without. And there are other things that you want to leave at home pretty much all the time. Leave your social security card at home because in the wrong hands, it places your identity at risk. It is tied to your credit worthiness, and more secure substitutes will often do the trick. 

Tips for Saving Money by Troubleshooting Appliance Repair

Appliances in need of repair

From subscription services for coffee and tea, meats, and even movies, people are constantly trying to save money on the things they use and love. However, when it comes to household appliances such as the fridge, dishwasher, stove, or washer and dryer, instead of trying to troubleshoot what’s wrong with their appliances, they either call in the professionals or simply replace them instead. 

In reality, you’ll save a lot more money by downloading appliance troubleshooting guides, such as DIY refrigerator repair manuals, than you will by replacing the appliance instead. In this blog, you’ll find some of the ways you can save money by troubleshooting and DIY repairing instead of calling a repair service or replacing the appliance. 

Repairs Cost Less/Add Years of Use

Think about it, spending a little bit of money on parts and tools for an appliance beats spending hundreds for a repairman or thousands to replace the appliance. Not only does the troubleshooting guide work you through what could be wrong with your appliance, once you fix it, it’ll add years to the life of the appliance as well. What’s not to love about that? Less money and extended years of use make it a win-win for sure. 

Older Is Usually Better Made

While newer is sometimes considered to be better, in reality, older appliances are just made better and are much sturdier. While older appliances aren’t as energy-efficient, they do have better parts than newer appliances do. The appliances of yesterday were made with quality metal parts, today’s appliances are apt to be made cheaper with a lot of plastic that breaks easily involved. If possible, it’s better to repair than replace, even with the energy-efficient models on the market, if you want the appliances to last you for years to come. 

Newer Appliances Use Complicated Computer Technology

While everyone has to eventually be dragged into this highly tech-driven world, you can prevent that with your appliances by repairing them yourself instead of calling someone or replacing them. Technology tends to break easily and you’re stuck with an appliance that you don’t know how to repair, so why not stick with what you know as long as you can and save money at the same time? Modern kitchen appliances have their place in the world, but not while your old ones are still useful. 

Motherboards Are at Risk

Many consumers don’t realize that today’s high-tech operated appliances are at risk just because they are tech motivated. A power surge or a storm can easily fry your new appliances even if they aren’t being used, just because of the motherboards that operate them. This will end up costing you more money than it would have to download an appliance repair manual and fix your old appliance DIY style. This isn’t to say that an appliance can always be fixed, but you should do what you can to fix the one you have until you can’t. 

Helps to Protect the Environment

Finally, though it won’t save you much money, repairing your appliances means that you’re doing your part to save the environment. So many old appliances end up in landfills, which pollute the earth to no end. While eventually you will have to replace every appliance, no matter how good you are at your DIY repairs, you can put this off by downloading troubleshooting manuals and at least giving it a try. 

These are just a few of the ways that you can save money by downloading troubleshooting manuals to repair your own appliances instead of replacing them, or calling in outside help. While they will eventually have to be replaced, it won’t be today.  

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. 

5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Car

Buying a car

Buying a car can be an exciting process. However, the excitement can blind a person to the point where they can’t see the difference between a deal and a dud. The following are five factors you need to keep in mind when buying a car.

1. Considering Lifestyle

Your lifestyle should play a factor when buying a new car. For example, if you’re someone who drives through various types of terrain for work or just for fun, you need a vehicle that can handle it. If you have a large family, then a small car won’t serve you too well. The trunk of your vehicle has to be large enough to accommodate your needs. In essence, you want the vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing to solve as many issues in your life as possible. This is how you know you’ve made a good choice.

2. Thinking About Finances

It’s essential to think about your finances when making this purchase. A new car shouldn’t cause you a headache, and that could happen if you don’t budget right. A vehicle that’s too expensive will stretch you too thin and make it challenging to pay the installments. The good thing is if you’re looking for auto loans in Fresno and other major cities, a company will loan you what you can comfortably afford. They’ll do this by looking at your credit report and assessing your cash flow.

3. Out for a Spin

The test drive is usually overlooked. Of course, everyone takes the car out for a spin, but it’s usually done to drive the car or for fun. You need to take the test drive more seriously and avoid letting the salesperson control the ride. Don’t get suckered in by the gadgets, the satellite radio, or any of those little things. These are factors the auto dealership will dangle in front of your eyes. Yes, they might be nice, but you want to pay attention to how the vehicle handles curves and turns. Try to look around the vehicle. Are there blind spots your old vehicle didn’t have?

4. Look at the Reputation

You should be sure to pay attention to the vehicle’s brand reputation. It may not seem like much, but the reality is each brand has its weaknesses and strengths. If you care about safety, then look for a brand that consistently scores high with safety ratings. Those who care about convenience may want to look for perks like keyless entry and other little things like that. You should also find out if the vehicle’s brand makes cars that are hard to repair or not. Some brands build their vehicles with easily replaceable parts.

5. Incorporating the Weather

The weather is another thing you have to keep in mind when purchasing a vehicle. If you live in a seasonal climate or like to drive through areas that get too cold, then be sure your vehicle can handle it. For example, you might want to have heated seats and a heated steering wheel for your comfort. You might want to consider a few cooling features like ventilated seats for hot areas like Southern California. You might also want to have dual-zone automatic climate control, which gives you a chance to control the temperatures for each passenger.

Try to incorporate these factors as you start the car purchasing process. The more you address, the better your choice will be, and you’ll probably be happier, too.

Management Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Credit Cards

Couple sitting in the park with credit card

Whether you’re trying to establish or improve your credit history, a credit card is a viable solution. They’re a lot easier to qualify for than a personal loan and can be used as many times as you’d like to make purchases (as long as you continue to pay down the balance). However, all too often, people obtain credit cards and mishandle them, resulting in an accumulation of debt and poor credit history. 

Essentially, the most effective way to reap the benefits of being a cardholder is to be financially responsible. Whether this is your first or fifth credit card, the tips listed below can make credit cards more comfortable to manage. 

Select The Right Card

Not all credit cards are the same. As such, it is essential to do research to determine which is best for you. More than the credit limit, you want to apply for a card with low-interest rates, minimal fees, and perks or rewards programs that you can use to your advantage. 

Review Paperwork

It’s exciting to receive an acceptance offer from a credit card company. However, keep in mind that accepting this offer is like going into a contract with the creditor. In exchange for a line of credit, you agree to repay the balance in full, along with any interests and fees. So, before signing on the dotted line, however, you should review all the paperwork. You want to ensure that you’re aware of what you’re getting into. 

Develop a Management System

To be a responsible cardholder, you must develop a system to keep up with your accounts, due dates, and payments. When you’re unaware of what you’re spending, when payments are due, and how much is owed, you run the risk of missing payments. Missed payments then lead to late fees, penalties, accrued interests, and a negative credit rating. 

Fortunately, there are several strategies and tools to manage your credit card accounts. You can install a debt payoff app that can assist you with payment reminders, automatic payments, and late payment protections to keep your accounts in order. You can also use debt management apps, calendars, and automatic bill pay services through your local bank. 

Make Timely Payments

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to pay your credit card bills on time. Review your card statement to identify the due date. Then set up automatic payments or put a reminder in your calendar to ensure they are paid by that date. If you’re short on funds for one month, at the very least, you should pay the minimum amount to avoid late fees and poor credit ratings. 

Keep a Reasonable Balance

Just because you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit on it doesn’t mean you should spend the entire $1,000. Most account holders fail to realize that the utilization rate is a factor used to calculate your credit score. A utilization rate is how much you owe compared to your card’s credit limit. Lenders and service providers use this information to determine your ability to handle your bills. Keeping your credit card balance at 35% or lower is advised. So, if you have a $1,000 credit limit, you try and maintain a balance of no more than $350. 

Make Informed Purchase Decisions

When you have an extra few hundred or thousand dollars, it can be tempting to spend it on things you really want. What’s important to remember, however, is that you have to repay the balance with interest. While you don’t have to pay it upfront, the interest and fees accrue over time, increasing your outstanding debt. You could spend years trying to pay off that flat-screen television or that new wardrobe you purchased. So, it’s best to make informed decisions when using a credit card. If it’s not something you can repay in a few months, chances are you should wait. 

Credit cards can be a real gem when used correctly. They can be the foundation for establishing credit, enabling you to acquire anything from loans to affordable car insurance without an issue. To reap the benefits of credit cards, you must manage them responsibly using tips like those provided above. 

5 Ways to Save Money on Home Repairs

Doing home repairs

Believe it or not, home repairs don’t have to be incredibly expensive. There are plenty of ways that you can save money on essential fixes.

1. Set a Budget and Keep to It

First, set up a dollar amount that you’re comfortable with spending. Next, contact your contractor and see how much a repair will take. If it ends up going over your budget, see if the repair can be done with cheaper materials while ensuring that more affordable doesn’t mean shoddier. If it’s an essential repair that you can’t live without, like a burst pipe or broken furnace, then see if your contractor will set up a payment plan that fits your needs and wallet.

2. Have Repairs Done During the Offseason

Demand for certain home improvement services goes up and down throughout the year. Because of this, homeowners can save money by opting for services in the offseason. Take repair services for heating and cooling in Santa Rosa, for example. If you need AC repairs, try having them done when temperatures are cooler. If you need furnace repairs, late spring or summer is a good time for them. Insulating your plumbing can be done in the summer before frozen pipes become an issue. This way, you’re more likely to get a good deal for the job since these are in lower demand.

3. Perform DIY Repairs Whenever Possible

Simple fixes, like snaking your drain or repainting peeled paint, can be done without the need of an expensive professional. Even replacing window panes can be done by yourself with little difficulty. All you need to do is keep your skills and limits in mind. If you don’t know how to do something safely or can’t learn too easily, then a professional may be a better option. If you can learn quickly, however, you can look up simple fixes on YouTube videos or a whole host of websites.

4. Keep Preventative Maintenance a Priority

DIY preventative maintenance can cost money, but it costs a lot less than a massive repair job down the line. Cleaning gutters and sealing cracks can prevent roof leaks and basement flooding. Taking care of pests can keep you from repairing structural damage caused by termites or carpenter ants. Fixing pipe leaks can keep you from having to undertake expensive plumbing replacements. Changing an AC filter every month can also keep unnecessary repairs away while cutting down energy costs.

5. Prioritize Your Repair Needs

Not all repairs have to be done right away. Before you contact a professional, think about whether or not the issue at hand will lead to more significant problems down the road or if it’s just an inconvenience that you can live with. Is the issue an immediate safety hazard? Can it cause bigger issues if left unaddressed? If any of these can happen, then contact a professional right away. If not, leave it until you can save enough money to have it done without breaking your bank.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll not only save a lot of money on repairs, but you’ll prevent a lot of repairs from happening in the first place. You’ll also gain the skills necessary to undertake simple repairs yourself and save hundreds of dollars by not calling a professional contractor.