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Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

book review

Dave Ramsey is a best selling author of many popular self-help books about getting your finances together. He’s inspired many with his simple, no-hassle philosophies on how to manage money. He also has a radio talk show called the Dave Ramsey Show, that you can listen to anywhere you listen to podcasts. He even started his own company built on his financial philosophies called Financial Peace University. Dave Ramsey and his colleagues have loads of resources you can find helpful in your own personal money management journey. Whether you are managing a household or a small business, Dave Ramsey has the financial advice you need to be successful and smart with your funds.

Today we’re going to take a focused look into one of Dave Ramsey’s most prolific publications, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. You’ve heard of fitness journeys and makeovers that change your style into something fresh and new, but Dave Ramsey takes all that and puts a financial spin onto it. With Dave Ramsey’s baby step plan you can exercise your financial abilities in ways you never thought possible and finally get into shape where your wallet is concerned.

What Kind of Book is The Total Money Makeover?

book cover

The Total Money Makeover is written as a self-help book. It’s even been compared to popular self-help books like, Your Best Life Now and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because of the reader-friendly way it is written. It’s an engaging book with lots of real-world examples and stories from real people who have actually gone through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and seen results. These short anecdotal stories throughout the book help all of Dave Ramsey’s concepts make clear common sense.

The book also includes a lot of motivational help along with the tips and advice. One of the biggest factors that holds people back from taking full control over their finances is the proper motivation and encouragement to make necessary changes to their lifestyle. Dave Ramsey helps with that too, giving you the fresh outlook you need to understand your goal and the rewards you can gain.

Dave Ramsey is also a Christian, so his books often have a religious undertone. So you may find him referencing Bible verses every so often in this book, and tackling religious views and practices with regard to money as well.

What’s in the Book?

The Total Money Makeover is essentially a step-by-step guide for how to go about your own personal money makeover journey. These steps are based on Dave Ramsey’s key money philosophies. Dave Ramsey has strict beliefs about not ever using debt, loans, or credit cards. He believes that our society today is too dependent on credit and that true financial freedom only comes when you live a completely debt free life. So the first steps in his plan are all about helping you get out of debt, and then setting you up to never get into debt again.

Simple and straightforward advice.

Dave Ramsey’s book became so popular probably because of how easy it is to follow his clearly set plan. Each step is specific enough to leave no doubts about what exactly you need to do, making his plan one that anyone can follow and find success. It also helps that he is never vague about his advice, but rather he is extremely straightforward, open, and honest.

Dave Ramsey has no get-rich-quick schemes. He’s more about using honest work, responsibility, and common sense to reach your goals. So you won’t find any crazy secrets to financial stability and success in his book, you’ll just finally learn to implement the basics in a way that really works.

A change in perspective.

Another reason people enjoy Dave Ramsey’s teachings is because he doesn’t pretend that money is what brings happiness. He’s realistic and believes that money is a tool to create stability and contentment in our lives, not the secret solution to all our problems.

He eloquently tackles many mental barriers and misconceptions many of us have about money, and works to not only change your behavior with money, but your perspective about money as well. One thing he talks about a lot is getting over the need to “keep up with the Joneses.” Often in life we compare ourselves to others in unhealthy ways, and sometimes those comparisons can lead us to make poor financial decisions for superficial reasons. So, when you read the Total Money Makeover be prepared to gain a whole new outlook on the purpose of money, and break free from comparing yourself to others.

The Money Makeover Baby Steps:

The main event of this self-help read are the baby steps the reader can take to reach financial peace and freedom. You can read a more detailed article about each of the 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey will go through in this book, but we’ll go over a quick outline of those steps here too.

Emergency Fund

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is to basically get your financial life in order. The road to stability starts by setting up your finance in a certain way. This begins with setting up an emergency fund. You can start with at least $1,000 in your emergency fund but eventually you’ll want to work your way toward having at least 6 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund at all times.

Debts

Once you start getting your emergency fund in place, it’s time to focus all other monetary efforts toward annihilating all your debts. He goes into more detail about this in the book. For example, he suggests you start with your smallest debts first and work your way up to your larger ones. He also recommends you save paying off your mortgage for last. But eventually the idea is to throw everything you can at your debts until they are all completely wiped out.

Build Wealth

Now it’s time to build wealth and continue saving. Since Dave Ramsey argues you should pay for everything in cash, continually building up your financial stores is an important aspect of the Dave Ramsey lifestyle. You have to have enough in savings to cover all your costs completely with cash.

In the book Dave Ramsey goes into more detail about what savings you should prioritize. He advises that you first complete your 6 months’ worth emergency fund if you haven’t gotten there already. Then he suggests you work toward saving for retirement and (if you have kids or plan on having kids) your children’s college funds.

Things You Can Do Differently:

Dave Ramsey’s primary goal in all of this is to help people get out of crippling debt and stay out of it. But there are modifications you can make to his more rigorous financial plan.

You can choose how much you want in your emergency fund.

If you’re a college student then putting aside even $1,000 may be more difficult for you. But that’s ok! Just put aside what you can. Even just adding $5 to $10 a month into an emergency fund is better than having no emergency fund at all.

Likewise, if you’re more settled in life it might be easier for you to put even more than $1,000 aside into an emergency fund. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters most is that you start accumulating that safety fund in order to be more prepared for surprise expenses in the future.

You can still use credit cards and loans.

Dave Ramsey may believe in using only cash to pay for things but there are advantages to using credit cards and installment loans. When used responsibly using credit can help boost your credit score and get you the things you need to have a comfortable life. Credit cards can also provide lots of perks outside of boosting credit scores. Some credit cards come with special points that can go toward paying for things like groceries and traveling. So long as you understand your limits and include loans and credit payments in your carefully calculated budget and financial plans, you’ll be just fine.

Should I Read This Book?

You may now be wondering whether you should give this book a read or not. You should definitely read this book if . . .

  • you are in debt
  • you have trouble managing your money or realizing where your money goes
  • you have trouble making a budget

If you are looking for a book with more specific details about financial topics (like investing, or small businesses) then you should check out Dave Ramsey’s other books that go more in depth on complex financial topics. The Total Money Makeover doesn’t expound upon these topics too much since it was written more as a beginners guide to Dave Ramsey’s financial baby steps.

 

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Check out some other helpful reviews about Dave Ramsey’s book, the Total Money Makeover:

Review: The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover Review

Goodreads


The Best Books by Dave Ramsey

dave ramsey books

Table of Contents:

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author, and a radio show host on the The Dave Ramsey Show. You can find his books wherever you buy books and you can listen to his radio show wherever you listen to podcasts or the radio. All of his books are also on Amazon, where you can find the kindle versions for your e-reader, or audiobook versions so you can learn all about finances on the go.

When getting into Dave Ramsey’s books people often wonder which book they should start with? If you want to read Dave Ramsey’s books in order there are a couple routes you can go. You can read them in the order he wrote them, or read them in order of the things you learn in each book.

Dave Ramsey’s Books in Chronological Order:

If you want to read all of Dave Ramsey’s books in order, you can follow this master list of all his books so far.

1992 – Financial Peace

1993 – Dumping Debt: Breaking the Chains of Debt

1998 – The Financial Peace Planner

1998 – More Than Enough

1999 – More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny

2000 – How to Have More Than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

2002 – Cash Flow Planning: The Nuts and Bolts of Budgeting

2002 – Financial Peace for the Next Generation

2003 – The Total Money Makeover

2003 – The Great Misunderstanding: Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving

2004 – The Money Answer Book

2008 – Relating with Money: Nerds and Free Spirits Unite!

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s High Performance Achievement: Accomplishing the Extraordinary

2011 – EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

2014 – Smart Money Smart Kids

2014 – The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity

Dave Ramsey Kid Books: Life Lessons with Junior

kid books

4.38 stars on Goodreads

Life Lessons with Junior is a series of children’s books written by Dave Ramsey. In them he goes over all the most basic concepts of money management. Following Junior’s adventures can teach your kids all about monetary responsibility in clear simpler terms they’ll understand. He goes over everything from spending, debt, saving, work, giving, contentment, and integrity. Don’t miss out on gracing your household shelves with these great childhood reads with life lessons your kids will keep with them all their lives.

Smart Money Smart Kids

smart money smart kids

4.26 stars on Goodreads

Smart Money Smart Kids is a book that Dave Ramsey wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze. It is a book that teaches parents all about how to teach their kids about money. Part of good parenting is preparing your kids to be responsible, independent adults someday and a big part of being an adult is knowing how to manage your money. In this book Dave Ramsey and his daughter will tell you all about how to raise kids who are smart about their money.

If you’re looking for something from Dave Ramsey that can specifically help your teens, check out his article, “A Teenager’s Guide to Building Wealth.”

Dave Ramsey also has a great recommendation for a college 101 bundle that includes Debt-Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal and The Graduate Survival Guide by Anthony O’Neal and Rachel Cruze.

Financial Peace

financial peace

4.31 on Goodreads

Financial Peace is one of Dave Ramsey’s first books, but he has since revisted the book, renaming it, Financial Peace Revisited: New Chapters on Marriage, Singles, Kids, and Families. This newer edition of his first book now includes more information for married couples, singles, children, and families. This book is also where he introduces the KISS rule, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s about getting out of debt and staying out of debt and the idea that you should use contentment to make your financial decisions. It also goes over how to manage money flow and investing.

One of the primary keys to understanding your finances and being able to take control of them is to manage the flow of your money. A lot of people just let money flow as it does, not really thinking too much about where it’s coming from and where it disappears. But if you learn to take full control of where all your funds are going then the problem of disappearing funds won’t happen to you and you can find financial peace.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

total money makeover

4.28 stars on Goodreads

A large part of what makes makeovers so fun is the joy of reaching your goals and having a different life and a different you at the end of your journey. But have you ever thought about going on a similar makeover journey with your finances? Dave Ramsey will show you how.

The Total Money Makeover may be one of Dave Ramsey’s most popular books. He talks about some of his most famous money tips all while debunking myths about money. He brings a simpler, more straight forward approach to money management that anyone can understand and utilize in their life, no matter their financial situation. Dave Ramsey says that this book can work every time, all you have to do is follow his steps.

Complete Guide to Money

complete guide to money

4.44 stars on Goodreads

In this comprehensive guide Dave Ramsey goes over all his basic financial tips and lessons—How to Budget with Dave Ramsey, how to save, how to get out of debt, how to invest, mortgages, insurance, marketing, bargain hunting, and giving. Anything you want to know when it comes to money, you can find in this master guidebook.

The Money Answer Book

money answer book

3.82 stars on Goodreads

The Money Answer Book is a quick read with questions and answers to more than 100 common money questions! It’s a fast guide that goes over budget planning, retirement planning, shopping tips, saving for college, giving to charity, and so much more. If you need something you can quickly leaf through to find the answers you’re looking for.

How to Have More than Enough: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

more than enough

4.11 stars on Goodreads

How to Have More than Enough is the newest version of Dave Ramsey’s earlier book, More than Enough. Once you have gotten out of debt, he has more down to earth advice about building wealth. Dave Ramsey’s perspective is unique because he doesn’t just talk about monetary wealth, he talks about having a wealth of happiness. He takes it a step further by talking about finding wealth in relationships and in your family. In this book he goes through 10 traits you need to be prosperous in life beyond your financial situations.

EntreLeardership

entreleadership

4.21 stars on Goodreads

In EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey talks about how he built his company, and how to be a strong leader. He talks about how to grow as a leader and the questions you should ask yourself in order to develop yourself. This book has doable, step-by-step guidance to follow to become a better leader and watch your business grow as you do.

He talks about inspiring and unifying your team, handling your business finances, and reaching your business goals. If you are making your own business and you need some pro tips about leadership, this book is what you want. But you can find great insights in this book no matter what you are doing with your life right now. If you are a parent you can use it with your family or at work you can use it with your coworkers! This is because leadership is really all about functioning efficiently as a team and reaching your goals together.

What Books Does Dave Ramsey Recommend?

We’ve talked all about books that were written by Dave Ramsey, but what about books that Dave Ramsey recommends? There are many other great financial reads you can find on Dave Ramsey’s website. You can also read more about Dave Ramsey’s steps to reach financial steps by reading, “Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps.” Here are just a few book suggestions from Dave Ramsey:

Dave Ramsey’s Book Club

If you’re interested in really tackling your finances with Dave Ramsey’s sage wisdom you can actually join Dave Ramsey’s official book club! All you have to do is create an account on his website and then join the book club (fees may apply). Then, at the beginning of each month you’ll receive Dave Ramsey’s book club book of the month in the mail. You’ll also get an email with details about when the live book discussion will happen on the private book club Facebook page along with a study guide to use as you read.

For more answers to any questions you may have about the Dave Ramsey book club, just visit the book club’s FAQs Page.

 
Dave Ramsey along with his many inspiring books have helped a lot of people get back on their feet financially. You can take on his financial fitness challenge too and manage your money like never before.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

dave ramsey baby steps

Are you trying to get out of debt? Do you want more financial stability and freedom? Are your finances one of the bigger stresses in your life right now? If any of these sentiments apply to you then Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps might be just what you need to cure your money blues.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund
Step 2: Focus on Debts
Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund
Step 4: Save for Retirement
Step 5: Start a College Fund
Step 6: Pay Off Your House
Step 7: Build Wealth

Dave Ramsey is a guy who, through personal experience, was able to get out of debt and find financial peace of mind. He is now a financial expert with courses and books to help the everyday person get in control of their finances.

The best place to start when trying to regain control over your finances and achieve a full “money makeover” is to start with his 7 step plan. This plan has 7 baby steps that you follow to reach more financial stability and get to the point where you can start building wealth.

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund

car maintenance

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is, “Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund.”

One of the main reasons people struggle with money is because necessary emergency expenses (like medical bills, car bills, or home repairs) come out of nowhere and drag you deeper and deeper into debt. But if you are preemptively prepared for these surprise expenses then they won’t take you off guard again.

So the very first thing you should do when getting your money in line is to get an emergency fund started. Save up an emergency fund in a separate bank account, until you have at least $1,000 in the account. This will be the start of the emergency fund that will keep sudden necessary expenses from plunging you into deep debts because you weren’t prepared.

Step 2: Focus on Debts

debts

The second step in Dave Ramsey’s plan is to “Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using the Debt Snowball.”

The snowball method that Dave Ramsey refers to here means that you start by paying off small debts first, and work your way up to the bigger debts. Debts can include paying off your car, credit card debts, and student loans.

First, make a giant list of all your debts, every single one, except for your mortgage if you have a house. Then, put your list of debts in order from the smallest debt amount to the largest. Then you go through knocking out each debt by eliminating the smallest debts first and working your way up to the largest debt last.

Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund

medical bills

The third step is to “Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.”

Now that you’ve gotten all your debts out of the way, it’s time to finish your emergency fund. You can use the same money you were using to pay off debts each month and put it toward your emergency fund until it has enough to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses and bills. Then you’ll really be prepared for anything.

Reasons to Have an Emergency Fund

  1. If you lose your job.
  2. You won’t have to worry because you’ll have enough to last you 6 months. This will give you the time you’ll need to find a new job.

  3. If your car breaks down.
  4. You’ll be able to pay for the necessary repairs, the tow truck, or even for a new car in some cases.

  5. Medical bills.
  6. Don’t let your health and necessary medical bills keep you from staying afloat financially.

  7. Home repairs.
  8. If something happens to your home you’ll be able to fix the problem rather than living with it.

Having an emergency fund is THE key to keeping you out of debt in the future. After getting yourself out of debt, an emergency fund is what will keep you from getting back into debt in the future.

Step 4: Save for Retirement

retirement

The fourth step in the Dave Ramsey plan is to, “Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement.”

After your debts are gone and your emergency fund is taken care of, it’s time to start seeing to other important savings like a 401K. Dave Ramsey recommends you take 15% of your gross monthly income and put it toward a retirement fund each month. To figure out how much you should be putting into your retirement fund each month, take your monthly income and multiply that number by 0.15.

Step 5: Start a College Fund

college funds

The fifth step to Dave Ramsey’s plan is to, “Save for Your Children’s College Fund.”

Avoiding student loan debts can be one of the biggest factors in staying out debt as a young adult. If you can pay for your kids college tuition then you’ll ensure their financial security in the future, as they’ll better be able to stay out debt. Dave Ramsey recommends using either a 529 college savings plans, or an education savings accounts (ESA). Talk to your bank or credit union about setting up these accounts for these specific purposes.

Step 6: Pay Off Your House

mortgage

The next to last step in this 7 step plan is to, “Pay Off Your Home Early.”

Put all the extra monthly income you have into your mortgage so you can finish paying it off early. After this step you will officially have no debts whatsoever! All of your earnings will go to you instead of getting drained away in large debts and payments.

Step 7: Build Wealth

wealth and legacy

Finally, it is time to, “Build Wealth and Give.”

Congratulations! Once you’ve reached the 7th step in Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, you can start focusing on building your wealth and leaving a legacy. Don’t forget to keep and maintain those financial safety nets like a healthy emergency fund, retirement account, savings account, and college funds.

Now you are officially in charge of your money rather than it being in charge of you.

Financial freedom is possible for you! Everyone can do it and Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps can help you get there. Dave Ramsey also has other resources that can help you implement this plan. You can participate in Dave Ramsey’s program, books, and podcasts.

You can take the actual course with Financial Peace University.

Dave Ramsey also has a free customized plan and assessment that you can do right now, in just 3 minutes!

Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show anywhere you listen to podcasts or radio.

 
Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom can help you with so many aspects of your life. They can help you decide when to buy a house or help you get situated for saving for a house. It’s a checklist program that can help you get rid of loans and debt (like student loans), or even help you get to where you can budget for a wedding.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.
 

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Browse Dave Ramsey’s online store for more great financial resources to help you on your financial journey.

Read more helpful articles on the Dave Ramsey Blog

Learn more about the debt snowball, “How the Debt Snowball Method Works.”

Read Dave Ramsey’s full article on his 7 baby steps, “What Are the Baby Steps?

Stay out of debt through college by using these tips, “How to Stay Debt Free through Grad School.”


Getting Your Credit Score Back to a Healthy Number

When you find that you have bad credit, it is important that you try to fix it as soon as possible. Having bad credit can keep you from a variety of financial opportunities and you want to take the time that you need to fix your credit quickly and as effectively as possible. Whether you have had problems getting your bills paid or you have defaulted on a loan, you should understand that you are not alone.

There are millions of people in the United States that have bad credit and the frustration that you feel when dealing with a bad credit score is normal. While you are looking to obtain a loan or even get a credit card, you may find that your bad credit severely inhibits your ability to do so.

Find Out Where You Stand

The first step in improving your credit score is figuring out where you stand. You should know your exact credit score. If you find that your credit score is below a 760, there is room for improvement. Making strides with your credit score will ensure that you are able to obtain loans in the future, get good rates on credit card interest rates and be eligible for financial opportunities in the future.

Repair Credit With a More Credit?

After you know what your credit score is, get a credit card. This may seem counter intuitive, but when used wisely your credit card can be a great tool to help you rebuild your credit. Start by taking the time to find a credit card that you will be able to be approved for. Once you have found this card, use it but make sure that you are using it wisely.

You should never put anything on your credit card that you are not going to be able to pay for when your statement comes. As you rebuild your credit, simply use your credit card rather than your debit card. Spending within the range of money that you are making is a great way to ensure that you are able to build your credit.

Try to keep your spending within 30% of the limit of the credit card. That way, you can be sure that the use of the credit card is beneficial for your credit score. When you are able to control your spending and keep your balances down on the credit card you will find that your credit card spending can be extremely beneficial.

Pay Down Existing Balances

If you already have credit cards and you have an outstanding balance on those credit cards, start to pay down those balances. When you pay down those balances, you can be sure that you are able to portray that you are responsible with your credit card. Paying down that balance can be a great way to help you increase your credit score.

Loans Can Help Build Credit

When you are in the position to take out an installment loan, you may find that this can help you credit score. Taking out a personal loan, a school loan, an auto loan or even a mortgage can be a great way to show that you are responsible with money. When you take out your loan, you should be sure that you are always making your payments on time. As you make your payments on time you may see an increase in your credit score.

As you look through your credit history you may find a late payment that you have made. If you have been a quality customer of your credit card’s institution, you may want to ask for some goodwill. There are many institutions that will simply erase a late payment to help you with your credit score. Contact your lending institution when you recognize that there is something on your credit score that could possibly be taken off by them.

Getting your credit score back to a healthy score can be a long process. Don’t be afraid to be patient with the work that you are doing. Although it can be frustrating, you should understand how you are going to slowly but surely work back to a strong credit score. Take your time paying attention to your finances and make sure that you are not afraid to talk with a professional should you have any questions. Getting your credit score back to a quality score may be time consuming, but it will be well worth the effort. You will find that the financial opportunities that are opened with a strong credit score can help you in a variety of ways throughout the rest of your life.

Exploring Your Options to Get Out of Debt

When it comes to getting out of debt it can oftentimes seem like a insurmountable task. Depending on the cards life has dealt you, the extent of your debt will vary. Regardless of the amount of debt you may have incurred whether personal or business below is a list of options you might consider to get out of debt.

Credit Card Debt Consolidation

What is it? Credit card debt consolidation is the process of taking all of the debt you’ve accumulated on multiple credit cards consolidating it into one debt consolidation loan that you pay monthly.  It was created as an aid to help people with multiple credit cards pay off their debts rather than default on them.

It is extremely helpful to people that struggle with various interest rates. All credit card debt is added together into one bill that is given a particular interest rate. In some cases, that interest rate will be lower than that of many of the cards taken into consideration. Debtors then have a more manageable sum of money to pay back.

It is also wonderful for those that truly struggle to remember all of the deadlines associated with their credit cards. Consolidation into one monthly bill will help ensure that the credit card companies get paid. They fear one thing and one thing only: not getting the promised money back in a timely manner. Credit card debt consolidation helps that process go through more reliably.

Other Benefits

The added benefits include a sense of relief for finding a light at the end of this very long tunnel. Managing multiple accounts is extremely stressful. They take a lot of energy and worry. Bringing them together into one relieves much of that burden. The payments are more manageable in the mind this way.

The creditors and collection agencies also lay off the pressure. Your phone lines are clear and threats are diminished.

Everything happens behind closed doors. Your debt consolidation services work under discretion. They talk directly to your creditors and in essence, explain the situation. They petition for reduced interest rates and help meeting the debtor in the middle to ensure they get paid.

The main danger with credit card debt consolidation is finding someone honest to do it for you. Unfortunately, just as in every business where money is involved, there are the sharks that will ruin it for the rest of us. They will try to scam you. Their tricks will leave you in a worse position than when you began.

There are a few things you can do to make sure you are properly informed and prepared to go through this process.

First, call your creditors yourself (since this is what debt consolidation companies would do for you anyways). Explain your situation and express your desire to pay them back. Many times, they will be willing to work with you to negotiate a new payback plan. This can include lowering your payments, interest rate, late fees, etc. They will often take a lower payment to bankruptcy any day, as you may actually pay your debt back when they meet you in the middle.

Second, seek out the help of a professional. This can mean you go to a reputable debt consolidation company. It can also mean you visit a credit counselor, or a bankruptcy lawyer. Any of these options can help guide you to a payment plan that actually works for you.

Third, do some research on the companies and professionals you talk to. One of the best reporting sites on the web right now is the Better Business Bureau. If people are having trouble with a business, it’s reported to the Better Business Bureau. More and more rating sites are showing up on the web. Yelp and Google are just a few examples of places looking to give you honest ratings. See what you can find to validate that these guys know what they’re talking about on the web.

Credit Card Debt Consolidation might not be the best thing for you either though. If you would rather just grit your teeth and punch your way through this thing, there are a couple of other options to consider.

Work another job

If you can, add another job to your list. Working two jobs can be an uncomfortable experience, but it can sometimes give you just the money you’re looking for. You’re not the only one that could take the extra job though. A wife or older child could help out as well, if you asked.

Find an investor (if you’re starting a business)

Find someone who believes in your work enough to invest in your company. Investors can help you out of tight spots occasionally.

Bankruptcy

What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is a way to stave off the creditors when things get really bad. When you file for bankruptcy, you are alerting the public that you are unable to pay off your debts. There are a number of different “chapters” under which you can file for bankruptcy. Each means something different to the law (and your creditors) and each absolves you of certain responsibilities (if your filing is approved). The following are the 3 most common.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the most popular type of bankruptcy. Under Chapter 7, you liquidate all valuable property to pay off a debt. You essentially sell everything worth something; put the proceeds in the debtor’s hands, and whatever’s left of the debt is no longer your problem. This type is extremely difficult to qualify for and various parts of the law vary from state to state. The main effect is that you get to start over with a fresh slate as a Chapter 7 will clean up the loose ends.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is essentially a re-evaluation of the current payback plans. Whatever the reason you cannot pay back your debt according to the current payback plan. As you can imagine, most collectors aren’t very lenient on this matter. You want to pay it off, but can’t seem to find a way. That’s what Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for. Debtors come to the court system waving a white flag and asking for a more lenient pay back schedule.

To qualify, you must have less than a million dollars in secured debts and less than $360,000 in unsecured debts. The exact numbers adjust according to the current consumer price index, so be sure to check what the true limit is before you try filing. Any more than these amounts will disqualify you on the spot.

They come forward with more than just a white flag though. The law requires you give a full disclosure of your assets, income, debts, and other financial information pertinent to your current situation. You must also have a steady source of income and present a proposal of a payment plan you can afford to pay off over the next 3-5 years. The benefits are amazing. You get to keep your current assets and get a more manageable plan to work with, a plan that your creditors can’t demand more from over the course of the bankruptcy.

When you receive the green flag to go through with the new payment plan, you must keep to it.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is most popular with people in the business sector. It is the next resort for people that have secured, or unsecured debts that exceed the limitations of Chapter 13. Very few individuals have opportunities to be in that much debt (hence the reason businesses tend to take advantage of it more often).

Chapter 11 offers companies some time to continue operations as normal until their case is completely reviewed, even though they are in considerable debt. In filing for chapter 11, the debtor agrees to only purchase things needed for day-to-day operation; not sell any major piece of equipment, a part of the company; and not expand in any way. This can sometimes lead to closing locations, laying off employees or renegotiating existing contracts with unions.

If it doesn’t look like the company is going to operate profitably while making payments, their filing may be converted into a chapter 7 case.

What are the consequences of filing for bankruptcy? Filing for bankruptcy is detrimental to your credit. It is the ultimate breach of trust in a person. Consequently, it may be almost impossible to get good credit again for years to come, chapter 7 cases taking longer than 13. Your credit history sticks with you for a very long time too. Bankruptcy may be a good way out of your current predicament, but it sticks to you like a black eye for years to come.

You also become ineligible to apply for bankruptcy again for a further 8 years, meaning that you need to get responsible with your credit again if you want to make it through the coming decade.

Filing for bankruptcy can also hurt your future career opportunities. If you drove your personal finances into the ground, what are the odds that you’re going to do well by the company, especially if you were a director or spender of money? Your career can plateau pretty quickly when you can’t be trusted with the expenses of the company.

Going for bankruptcy isn’t always your best option when it comes to getting out of debt. It is a great way to legally extend your time to pay back your debts, but you will be hurting over it for a long time to come.

There is a way out of nearly every situation. Regardless of which option you choose to get out of debt Check City is here to help you out. Whether it’s a cash advance to by you a little time until you decide which option is best for you, or a deb consolidation loan to get all of your payments into one convenient payment we can help. Take your time deciding which route is best for you, it’s important to know your options and choose one that will work for you.

 

Budgeting as an Empty Nester

When your children move out of the home, becoming an empty nester can be a big adjustment. When you move into this stage of life, it can be a good idea to learn how to eliminate your debt once and for all. Downsizing your home is a great way to minimize the money that you are spending each month and you may even be able to make money off of your home if you purchase a smaller home.

If you are still in debt, work on paying down the high interest debt first. When you can pay down the high interest debt, you will be able to minimize the total amount of money that you are going to have to pay. Sit down and figure out which debt you will want to pay off first, this way you can be sure that you are able to minimize the total amount of many you pay towards your debt.

When you are tempted with using credit cards, try to keep your future in mind. If you know you are going to be on a fixed income, you will not want to be spending money that is going to make it harder to make ends meet on that fixed income. If you know that you have some money headed your way, but you are not going to be able to pay your bills before the money comes Check City can help. Stop by any Check City location and take out an Installment Loan. Our installment loan has been designed to make it easy for customers to pay the loan back. This way, you can avoid late fees and be on your way to financial freedom. Getting yourself out of debt as an empty nester is a great step towards financial freedom as a retiree.

Tips for Being a Good Renter

When you are renting a home it is important that you know how you are going to take care of the rental unit. There are a lot of people that end up paying money in fines and fees because they are not caring for their home properly. If you know that you are going to be renting, be sure that you are prepared to be the best tenant that you can be. This way, you will be able to work well with your landlord and ensure that your home is comfortable.

First, be very familiar with your contract. Make sure that you know what is expected of you and how you are going to fulfill the agreement that you made. Take time to read through the contract on a consistent basis so you do not forget what you are responsible for. Part of your contract will require you to pay rent by a certain date. Be sure that your rent is paid on time and that your landlord does not have to remind you to pay your rent. If you are a little short on your rent payment, stop by a Check City to take out an Installment Loan. Our Installment Loans are safe, secure and easy to pay back. This way, you will not have to deal with any problems or late fees with your landlord.

Second, make sure that you do not do any damage to the home that you are renting. Usual wear and tear on a unit is expected, but you should not be doing any more damage than that. If you do damage something, be sure to have it fixed promptly. If your contract requires you to tell your landlord, contact your landlord as soon as possible to show the damage to your landlord.

Renting can be a great opportunity. Make sure that you learn to be a good renter before moving into a rental unit.

5 Great Steps When Starting a Community Garden

5 Steps to Create a Successful Community Garden

If you are interested in getting more involved with your community, there are many ways that you can start to involve yourself. Community gardens are becoming more popular and are a great way for you to become more involved with those around you. Not only will you get to know your neighbors, but you will also help grow nutritious food for your community to eat and enjoy.

Here are some great steps when planning how to start a community garden:

Step 1: Invite Your Community

If you want to start a community garden, don’t be afraid to talk about your idea to the people in your area. You may be surprised at how many people around you have an interest in this as well.

Once you know there is enough motivation and people who can support it, you can then form a planning committee and get the ball rolling for a community garden in your area. Having a community to participate with you is a very important step when starting a community garden.

Step 2: Find Resources

You will need to figure out what types of tools, materials, funding, and volunteers may be needed to keep your garden running smoothly.

While doing this research, try to identify all of the available resources that you and your planning committee can utilize. Starting a community garden can be expensive so it’s a good idea to utilize the skills and resources within your own community before you consider looking for outside help.

It may be beneficial to find a sponsor for your community garden. Some churches, private organizations or businesses may be willing to sponsor your community garden to ensure that it is successful.

After you have your funding in place and a list of materials, tools and members, you can decide if the garden will be open to any willing residents, or if you will require membership dues.

By requiring a small participation fee, the garden will be self-sustaining and you can be sure that as long as people are interested, the garden will continue to run well.

Step 3: Locate a Garden Site

Once your committee is set, you know you have funding and/or sponsors, and a community ready to garden, your next step is to find a location! Search your city for land that may be available for lease or purchase and contact the landowner.

While searching for the perfect location, remember that it is recommended that your plot of land get at least six hours of direct sun daily and has an easily accessible source of water.

Your garden can be as large or as small as you wish, but ultimately the size will be determined by how big your community is, and how many people will participate. Finding the proper location is a very important step when planning how to start a community garden.

Once you have a plot of land secured, make sure you obtain all the necessary liabilities and fees.

Step 4: Arrange Your Garden Plot

After you have figured out everything above, you can then move on to the garden itself. Plan the size and lay out of the garden to ensure that it is user friendly and protected.

Make sure your garden is easily accessible for people of all ages, but also protected from any wildlife that may destroy the garden. Depending on your area, you might be concerned about vandalism as well. Make sure your garden area has a secure tool storage when starting a community garden.

Step 5: Grow Your Produce

Most of the hard work is done, now it’s time to do the fun part: plant your garden! To get off to the best start, test your soil and see if you need to add any fertilizers for better growth.

Make the most of your garden by using plants that grow well in your climate, including native plants, incorporate mulching or composting, and if legal in your area, install a rain barrel to use for watering plants or cleaning supplies.

As you go through these steps to create your community garden, do not get too upset at small setbacks. With many people coordinating, you may find that there are problems and differences of opinion.

If you run into problems with your funding, stop by a Check City location to take out an Installment Loan. These loans are safe, quick and secure. They are also developed to ensure that customers are easily able to repay the loan. With some time and patience, you can be sure that you have a community garden that you know you will love.

7 Amazing Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

Planning an Easter Egg Hunt

There are only a few holidays every year that allows the entire family to get together, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Every family has their own traditions that they like to do, but most families participate in an Easter egg hunt with all of the young children. Here are 7 amazing Easter Egg Hunt ideas.

Use Plastic Eggs

Another Easter tradition among most families is to paint real eggs and decorate them. However, using these same eggs in Easter egg hunts can have several draw backs for several reasons. For example, if you hide any inside the house and they aren’t found and you forget where it’s hidden, those eggs will become rotten and start to stink up the house.

Real eggs, even hard-boiled eggs, are much more easily breakable than plastic eggs. In the process of hiding or finding them, the shell can easily break and make a mess. You can avoid all of these issues by using plastic eggs instead of real ones.

Color Code the Eggs

Once you’ve got your plastic eggs, separate them into at least 3 different colors. This will allow you to hide different prizes for 3 different age groups – the elementary age kids, the middle school kids, and the junior high (or older) kids. Before the hunt, inform the kids which color they should be hunting for and throughout the hunt remind them to leave eggs that aren’t their designated color hidden.

This allows you to hide the eggs in different levels of difficulty. It’s understood that younger children have a harder time finding hidden objects than older children. The eggs that are meant for the younger children can be hidden in plain sight more so than the eggs for the older children that can be hidden in high places and made more of a challenge.

Extra Challenge

If you want to add an extra challenge for the oldest kids you may even want to write letters on the eggs that you have hidden. Then, at the end of the hunt, have the kids make as many words as possible with their letters and you can award the child that can create the most words.

Remember the Weather

When you are filling the plastic eggs, fill them with treats that are going to last in the weather. If you are going to be setting up an Easter egg hunt in the heat, take that into consideration as you fill the eggs. If you are in a cold climate, keep in mind that some of your treats may freeze or become difficult for younger children to chew. Find substitute treats that won’t freeze up.

Motivate Older Kids to Participate

While most young children don’t need to be told twice to participate in Easter egg hunts, older children have less motivation. After participating in the hunts for several years, some teens just don’t feel the need to continue, while others get frustrated by their younger siblings or cousins.

You can motivate them to participate by placing money in their eggs rather than candy. However, you’ll want to keep track of every location that you place an egg with money in it or else you may end up losing that money for good.

If you don’t want to put the money in the actual egg in case it gets lost or there is particularly bad weather, you can put a coupon in the egg, allowing the teens to redeem their coupon for cash.

Additional Games

Although you may give everyone a chance to participate in the hunt, there will be those kids that don’t find as many eggs as others. To allow them to go home with just as many treats as the rest, you’ll want to create additional games and competitions for them. For example, see who can design the prettiest egg, or who has the best outfit. If need be, you can rig the games to ensure that everyone goes home with a prize, and everybody has fun.

Get the Supplies You Need

As you are looking for the supplies that you need and you are short on cash, you should be sure that you stop by Check City. An installment loan is a great way to get the cash that you need to plan your Easter egg hunt. With an installment loan you will be able to get the cash that you need and pay back the money quickly to ensure that your installment loan is a wise financial decision.

Starting Your Spring Yard Clean Up

When the snow starts to melt away and your grass re-emerges from its winter hiatus, you have to be prepared to start caring for your yard. This year, make sure that you are ready for spring to roll around by preparing to care for your yard. There are many ways that you can get yourself ready, so your lawn is in full bloom as spring progresses into summer.

 

First, you should be sure that you have all of the gardening and maintenance equipment that you need.  If you know that you are going to need this equipment, but you do not have the resources to purchase this equipment stop by Check City to take out an installment loan.  Quick, easy and transparent, the installment loan is a great way to ensure that you are prepared to start taking care of your lawn properly. Stop by any Check City location today and be on your way with the cash that you need.

 

Second, you want to make sure that you dedicate time to working on your yard.  You want to make sure that you are consistently working on your yard to ensure that it never gets too out of control.  While you are working on your yard, you have to be sure that you have a plan and that you stick with your plan.

 

Finally, be sure that you consult with a professional if you feel that you are in over your head.  You may need some help creating a plan or you may need some help executing a plan that you have created to ensure that your lawn is going to be well taken care of. No matter what you need, if you get an early start you can be sure that you will have a yard you can be proud of.

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