April 17, 2014

Jumpstarting Your Credit After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can happen to anyone, and it could even be unavoidable for some. You need to move past the fact that it happened and just find a way to rebuild credit. For many people, this will need a change in economic philosophy and spending habits. Below is a list of ways to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy.

Stick to a budget

The most important part of rebuilding credit after bankruptcy is sticking to a budget. One must pay every bill on time, never make a late payment and no more negative marks on your credit report appear. Learning what the budget allows is important, since your borrowing power has changed even if your income has not. Getting credit just after bankruptcy will cost you more in finance charges and annual percentage fees. Living within ones budget starts with awareness. So, write it all down by making a chart or spreadsheet and whatever is available for a given item, stick with it, don’t budge and don’t get any more negative reports.

Image Courtesy of bankruptcy lawyer via Flickr.

Get a high-rate or secured credit card.

It is possible to get a credit card soon after bankruptcy and using it can put some positive marks on your credit report. One can get a credit card after bankruptcy, usually with a higher rate or by securing–depositing money that backs every penny you charge to the card. Remember to pay off the credit card every month, don’t carry a balance and account for these payments in your budget. The secured card is not like a check or atm card, one must still make the minimum payments. If one can successfully use any of these cards, positive marks appear on your credit report.

Take a small personal loan.

Remember, creditors are looking for positive marks on your credit report. It is critical to build it up once again, despite having bankruptcy on your credit report. Taking out a small loan which you include to your new budget helps a lot. These loans will likely have a higher rate than before because of your bankruptcy, but it can go a long way in positively changing of your credit report after bankruptcy.

There is no one magic move that fixes your credit after bankruptcy. to effect the credit score a clear plan and working month by month restoring trust in ones use of credit is the key. It will take time and effort. If the intent is to use credit in the future, it is worth regaining the trust.

5 Things to Consider when Settling on New Appartment

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Getting a new apartment can be an exciting time for anyone, but there is a note of danger to it. While it’s great when you find some luxurious amenities or when your commute is cut in half, you also have to look out for potential safety problems and not having anything nearby to do on the weekends. Ultimately, when you are looking for a new apartment you need to check it out first and decide on the following things.

Your Commute

How far is the apartment from where you have to go on a regular basis? If the nearest grocery store is halfway across town and your workplace is even farther in the opposite direction, you’re going to be annoyed more often than you’re satisfied with this living arrangement. Unless the place is really great and cheap, you might want to consider renting on another place.

Your View

A lot of people don’t think much about the view in apartments in Baltimore, but it’s the most unique trait of any place. What will you gaze out at when you’re just chilling and glancing out the window? A lake or a park is good. A brick wall or a dumpster isn’t so awesome. Think carefully about the view before you sign the lease.

The Floor Plan

How well is the place laid out? In a lot of cases you’ll find that the apartment is just okay, but it can bother you a lot down the line. Never underestimate what a good floor plan can do to make your quality of life better. A bad floor plan can lead you to stumbling around in the dark looking for the bathroom at night, or hunting around to find things in spite of having a place for everything.

The Neighborhood

Do you feel safe in the place’s neighborhood? Is this a high crime area, or would you be happy to walk around it at 3 a.m. with $20 bills dangling from your pockets? This is important because nothing ruins your day quite like having your car broken into or having shady people stare at you like dessert while you walk into or out of your apartment.

The Building’s Security

Even the best neighborhood needs some degree of security. Without it, crooks from other areas will just waltz up and burglarize the whole place at their first convenience. A secure building tends to have video cameras, security lights and metal-framed doors that lock separately from your main door.

When you go to find an apartment, you have a lot of things you need to think about. When you look at the neighborhood, the building’s security, the floor plan and your commute, remember how much each of these will impact your life while you live in the place. Even the view from your apartment is going to affect your quality of life, so consider all of these things carefully.

Playing Board Games with the Whole Family

Image: JD Hancock via Flickr

Turn off the television. Shut the laptops. Put away the iPads, iPods, and iPhones. It’s time to reconnect as a family without the help of any electronic devices.

You’re going to have some good old-fashioned fun, as it is time for a Family Game Night.

Benefits of Regular Game Nights

Playing board games is the perfect way to connect a family (especially a family with multiple age groups). It’s also the perfect way to beat the cabin fever blues: when it’s too cold to go mini-golfing or play soccer in the backyard, a family can gather around the fire with a game of Scrabble or Clue. Best of all, family game nights are the perfect way to reconnect a busy family with conflicting schedules.

Expand Your Game Collection

If the only two board games you have are Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, you’re going to get bored of weekly game nights really fast.  Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular board games on the market to help you expand your collection.

  1. Clue. This classic “whodunit” mystery game is fun and challenging for the whole family. It’s a terrific choice for families with mixed age groups. If you’ve got a family of young children, you may want to consider Clue Jr. as an alternative.
  2. Settlers of Catan. This strategy-based tile game is a lot less intensive than high-strategy games like Risk, so it’s a good compromise for strategy lovers and those less strategically minded. Players compete to gain resources and build roads, towns, and armies. The game is fun and relatively easy to learn once you master the setup rules. It’s also a terrific game for families with older children (pre-teens and teens).
  3. Apples to Apples. This card game is one of the hottest party games ever invented. Players compete to win the favor of a rotating judge by choosing nouns that best fit a particular adjective in play. This hilarious game isn’t as much about knowing the game as it is about being familiar with the judge…and you can expect to end most rounds in fits of laughter.
  4. Fluxx. This fast-paced card game operates under one principle: there are no rules. The rules are constantly in “flux,” making it impossible to hold up a long-term strategy. Since you learn the game’s rules as you go (they’re printed on each card you play), it’s easy to introduce new players to the game. This is another terrific game for mixed age levels.  In fact, Fluxx is so addicting that you may find Mom and Dad playing when the kids aren’t home.

Don’t stop here: take a look at the best board games for 2012 to find out which are this year’s hottest new games. Soon those same teens who were groaning over Family Game Night will be the ones begging to play just one more round of Apples to Apples or Fluxx.

The Difference Between Installment Loans and Credit Cards

There are many options available for people who are looking for additional funds. However, two of the most widely used options are credit cards and installment loans. While they both share vast popularity, these two options are very different, and are thus used for different situations. Here is a short overview of each, and the different ways that they are commonly used.

Image via Wikipedia

What is an Installment Loan?

An installment loan is a loan for a varied amount of money. They provide a structured repayment plan that consists of an equal monthly payment spread over a set time. The payment includes the interest of the loan, providing a unique transparency to the borrower that makes the monthly payments easy to manage. Due to the ease of access to funds through installment loans, they are most commonly used in situations that require fast funding.

Below are some of the most common reasons that people turn to installment loans.

  1. Urgent Utility Bills. Installment loans are regularly used to cover urgent utility bills such as water, electric or gas that are on the verge of disconnection.
  2. Unexpected Medical Expenses. An unexpected medical expense is not only stressful, but overwhelming on immediate finances. Installment loans offer an easy solution to cover co-pays and deductibles that you might not have the funding for presently.
  3. Avoiding Late Fees in Between Payday. It is easy to rack up droves of debt through late-fees associated with late payments. You can avoid such late-fees in between pay periods by utilizing an installment loan for a quick and easy cash advance.

What Are Credit Cards?

Credit cards differ from installment loans primarily in how they are structured. They function as a consistent line of credit that can be run up, and then paid off for repeated use.

Credit cards are most often used in a non-emergency manner. They help consumers purchase products or services that might be out of their budget by using their credit limit of the card to cover the tab. Consumers then have the option to pay down the balance by making minimum monthly payments, or paying it down completely to avoid covering too much interest. Unlike installment loans, credit card payments vary from month to month depending on the balance on the card.

The differences between credit cards and installment loans are very important to note. When the time comes for you to decide between either, consider this information to make sure you choose the right option for your situation.

Low-Priced Tickets to Oahu

No one can contest the fact that Hawaii is an expensive state. Since most things have to be shipped in, literally, most goods are at a premium on their best day. However, just because a state is expensive to be in doesn’t mean cheap flights have to be mere flights of fancy. You can still get a great deal on the plane trip, even if you admit to yourself that being there is going to be pricey.

 

Image via Flickr

Plan Ahead

You won’t find cheap flights without looking for them. While it would be great if awesome deals came to you, they typically won’t. So you need to think ahead about when you intend to go on your vacation. If you are planning to go when everybody else is going, specifically November to March, you’d better be prepared to pay the full “retail” price.

However, a little willpower and some planning can go a long way. If you are willing to go during the spring or summer months, you can reap the benefits of a lower price and less intense heat. Not to mention the fact that since the tourists won’t be out in as large a force, you will be able to spend more time on the beach and less time getting distracted by hawkers trying to sell you “authentic” junk.

Shop Around

Remember to look around for tickets to your cheap Oahu flights. While it might be tempting to just go to one website and plunk down your money for the first deal that you can afford, a few more minutes of research can yield a tremendous amount of additional savings. While you don’t need to search all night, you do need to make certain you have at least looked at a few different deals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Spend

You work all year for the money to take a nice vacation. At some point, you should either put your money into your “rainy day” fund or shell out for something really special. This is called conscious spending, and it’s okay. As long as you are being responsible and saving on other parts of your life, it is all right to spend on a great Hawaiian vacation. For instance, you can take cheap Oahu flights and stay in nicer hotel rooms.

When you go to Hawaii, you’d better be ready to spend. It is an expensive place; but despite the expense, you should always look for a good deal on expenses like your flight and lodging. Whatever you do, don’t try to get cheap on your vacation. Relax.

Emergency Loans for People with Bad Credit

Children are an extraordinary blessing, but raising a child takes a lot of patience, imagination, a good dose of courage and a lot of financial planning. Of course, the stark reality of the financial commitment that child-rearing entails also goes beyond its appeal. Most parents already find it hard to provide make ends meet so they usually enter a state of panic whenever unforeseen expenses arise.

 

This is especially true for parents who have less-than-perfect credit scores. Most lenders require a credit rating of 620 or better so you might have a hard time qualifying for a loan if your scores are lower than that. Fortunately, short-term loans do not enforce thorough credit checks so you can apply for one regardless of your current credit rating.

 

Image via Flickr

Choosing a Reputable Lending Company

 

The first step to getting a short-term loan is to look for various lending companies online. Now that most companies already have websites that explain the loans they offer in detail, you will no longer need to get out of your house and drive around town to compare their rates. Compare at least five companies that cater to the needs of people with bad credit before making a decision.

 

Do not fall prey to fly-by-night companies that are only in the business for your money. Look for legitimate institutions that can provide you with a small amount of cash that you can easily repay when the pay period arrives. If you are completely unfamiliar with loans, you may want to get a personal loan from Plain Green Loans, a state-licensed company with a hassle-free online application process.

 

Short-term loans vs. Other Types of Loans

 

At first glance, credit cards and long-term loans might seem better than short-term installment loans. However, it is actually more practical to apply for the latter because it does not come with high interest rates and other hidden costs. In addition, installment loans will only take a few hours to process, so you can easily get enough money to pay for emergency expenses.

 

Gone are the days when you have to fix your credit scores and visit several companies before applying for a loan. With short-term installment loans, you can easily borrow enough money that will put an end to the temporary emergency-induced financial crisis that you are facing. All you need is an email account, a checking account and a regular source of income to qualify for these loans and get quick cash for unexpected expenses that you can’t delay any further.

Vienna Attractions

If you’re looking to visit one of the most beautiful and culturally vibrant cities on earth, do not overlook Vienna, Austria. Known to the natives as Wien (pronounced with a “V”), this metropolitan city comprises 23 districts, radiating out from the first district at the center. The center districts are home to most of Vienna’s political and cultural structures, so if your stay in Vienna is short, concentrate your touring in this area. Here’s a look at some of the wonders of the heart of Vienna.

Image via Wikipedia

St. Stephan’s Cathedral

St. Stephan’s Cathedral (Stephanskirche or Stephansdom) is in the center of the first district. Founded in 1137, this icon was at one point in its history the tallest structure in Europe. It witnessed both the wedding and the funeral of the great musician Mozart. This cathedral has survived several fires and has been reconstructed to even greater glory after each rebuilding. The roof of the building is covered in multi-colored tiles, giving it a distinctive and eye-catching appearance.

The inside of this cathedral is just as beautiful. The baroque High Alter depicts the stoning of St. Stephen, the patron of the church. The Wiener Neustadt altarpiece is composed of two triptychs with gilded wooden figures depicting the Virgin Mary between St. Catherine and St. Barbara. The stone pulpit is unusually placed; instead of standing in the front of the church, it stands against a pillar out of the nave. This position made it easier for the congregation to hear the sermons.

State Opera

As a historic music epicenter, you can’t overlook the sites of Vienna’s great musical heritage. Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler and Hayden all lived and worked in Vienna. The State Opera (Staatsoper) was built in the first district in 1869 in the Neo-Renaissance style. The halls and theater of the opera are lavishly decorated in red, gold and ivory. The theater houses an exquisite chandelier that is almost 23 feet in diameter. Pick up an opera schedule while you are visiting to see which opera or ballet is running. If you don’t mind standing throughout the show, inexpensive standing-room tickets are available, requiring only casual attire. Operas are performed in the original language, but translation screens are provided.

Image via Wikipedia

Museums

Two famous museums are located in Vienna’s seventh district in a region called Museum’s Quarter (Museumsquartier). Home to a wide range of museums, the two most recognizable buildings in this quarter are the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum) and the Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum). The two museums are a pair; they have identical exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Art and natural history lovers will find hours of entertainment in these two massive houses of history.

Traveling through Vienna to see these amazing sights will be even more convenient if you choose a car hire service. So, rent a car and get to sightseeing!

Treating Your Patients with the Use of Reading Materials

 

Image via Wikipedia

As a therapist in the speech pathology employment field, you will be responsible for helping your patients relearn skills that they have either lost or perhaps never learned. One of the best ways to help them grasp the concepts that you are trying to teach is to use reading materials to supplement your regular method of therapy.

 

Reading together during your therapy sessions is a great way to help your patient learn how to use the words you are teaching them in the correct context. Simply teaching them single words may be an effective way to help them sharpen their memorization skills, but it often leaves the patient unable to understand the social cues that are associated with the word or phrase.

There is no wrong age to start reading out loud with your patient – literacy is a valuable skill and can be taught at any age. While you are working in speech pathology employment, you will probably find that reading materials are more useful in certain situations – like helping autistic children. You can use flash cards and small books, as well as a variety of other reading materials to enrich almost any therapy session.

One of the most important things to remember when you are supplementing with reading materials is that you can’t allow yourself to get ahead of your patient – let them practice and learn at their own pace, don’t start doing all of the reading for them. There are two different ways to teach literacy – you can read along with your patient, or you can have them read alone while you follow along.

Tools that Help Online Learners

Benq laptop

Image via Wikipedia

Education is important, but not everyone is able to go away to college to learn. This could be because they can’t afford the costs of living away from home. Or it could be because they can’t afford to quit their job and so they need something that is flexible. Whatever the reason, there are now ways for students to attend college online. Here are some tools needed by these online learners:

Computers

The first thing that is needed is a computer. Many students choose to purchase laptops because they are portable, allowing the student to take them to work, the library, and home. They’ve also become very affordable in the past few years, making it easy for students to purchase them. It’s standard now for laptops to come with Wi-Fi, allowing students to connect anywhere where there’s a hotspot. This makes doing homework very convenient.

E-Readers

With so many programs now available online, including getting a master degree at EarnMyDegree.com, textbooks are also becoming virtual. This is a great advantage to the students because it allows them to carry their “books” without breaking their backs. It also allows them to search for keywords, making studying for tests easier.

Going to college has never been easier. It used to be that students had to rearrange their whole schedules in order to attend classes. Now students just have to go online, which makes getting a degree very convenient, whether for a bachelor’s degree or beyond.

 

Best Books for Reluctant Readers

Cover of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" 

Cover of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Children and young adults don’t always love reading; many prefer video games or television to picking up a book. If you’re a parent of a reluctant reader, take strides to encourage them to develop an interest in reading. Recommend books for them that are ideal for reluctant readers; these books have accessible, engaging storylines and are written for readers who aren’t yet comfortable with reading difficult books. Here are a few books that are good for reluctant readers.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

This beloved series by Jeff Kinney follows the middle school student Greg Heffley as he details the difficulties of being a scrawny pre-teen. When his best friend Rowley joins the popular crowd, he must take great strides to keep his friend. Comic illustrations are included throughout the book and will help keep kids entertained.

Frindle

Frindle, by Andrew Clements and Brian Selznick, features the mischievous ten-year-old Nick Allen, who routinely aggravates his fifth-grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Granger. He must write a report on how new entries are added to the dictionary, and, while writing it, he decides to coin a new word: frindle, his new word for pen. Soon everyone in the school is using the word, and the word’s popularity sweeps the nation.

Wintergirls

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is for young adult reluctant readers. It features intense emotions and vivid language and covers a topic that is relevant to teen girls. Wintergirls is the story of Lia and Cassie, who had been best friends since grade school. Each of the girls has an eating disorder, and, after Cassie commits suicide, Lia’s guilt and her need to be thin become nearly unbearable.