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Spring Cleaning Your Finances

As people thankfully lose sight of winter and gratefully greet the onset of pleasant spring weather, many individuals, families, and homeowners are turning to the old tradition of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is the time for families and homeowners to set themselves to work at giving their home a sufficient, quality and deep cleansing.

Spring cleaning is the time for families to take an inventory of their possessions, clean out the winter’s clutter, and get reorganized. While these principles are usually applied to physically cleaning out the home, this year a family may wish to consider applying the same principles of spring cleaning to their personal finances.

Save Big Money With Generic Products

And as long as the subject of spring cleaning is fresh on the minds of family members, a family might as well start their financial spring cleaning by saving money on their actual spring cleaning supplies. One of the best ways to save money on household cleaning supplies is by buying generic or off brand cleaners.

Generic brands, store brands, and off brand cleaners, as opposed to the well-known name brands, can be found at discounted prices and overall cheaper costs for the same basic cleaning ingredients that the more expensive name brands include in their cleaners. Buying generic cleaners over name brand cleaners has been shown to save consumers up to thirty eight percent on cleaning costs.

Take Advantage of Coupons and Sales

In addition to buying generic brands, a shopper can save money on spring cleaning supplies by being aware and looking out for discounts and coupons on cleaning supplies at local markets and grocers. Choosing to buy discounted cleaning supplies can be better accomplished by planning ahead for the upcoming cleaning projects.

Beyond saving money for the physical spring cleaning of the home, a family can take their spring cleaning ambition into cleaning up and revitalizing their finances. In some ways, spring cleaning the family’s finances is a very literal cleaning process, what with the various important documents and financial paperwork that will need reorganizing.

To keep better track of one’s finances, and thereby become more effective with their finances, a simple but clear organizational process is typically required. This can be either physical hard copies of important documents that will need to be organized in a clear manner or a digital organization of online or electronic documents.

It’s Time to Go Paperless

As a part of this, a family can greatly improve their organization of financial documents if they will shred those documents that can be found online. For example, if the family receives their monthly bank statement in the mail and online through an online banking system provided by their bank, then the need for the monthly mailed copy is superfluous.

In this situation, a family can contact their banking institution and ask that their monthly banking statements be sent to them through email or posted on their online account. In this way, a family can cut the clutter of monthly bank statements from their hard copy financial documents and thereby become more organized in their financial records. In addition to getting statements from your bank online, it’s also possible to sink your bank account with most of the popular budgeting apps that are on the market.

It is important for family to remember, however, that while they are going through their financial documents they should have a paper shredder on hand. Sensitive information such as birthdays, social security numbers and bank account numbers may be present on unwanted paper documentation and can be stolen, yes stolen, from the trash and used by identity thieves to wreak havoc on a family’s finances.

While some feel that hard copy financial records are more secure than online records from those who would steal their information, the truth is that with modern firewalls and protective servers in use by financial institutions a person’s records are much safer in electronic form than they are in a hard copy paper form. Because of this, as part of this year’s financial spring cleaning, a family may wish to consider talking with their banking institution about switching all that is possible into an electronic form of record.

Spruce Up The Family Budget

Lastly, a family that is undertaking the project of a financial spring cleaning will probably want/need to refurbish and revise their family budget. Budgets are vastly important tools for a family to use in order to stay financially secure and stable.

But the usefulness of a budget immediately decreases if a family chooses not to abide by the financial guidelines they have set out for themselves. Additionally, an outdated budget can lose its effectiveness quickly as fluctuations in family income or needs arise.

While performing their financial spring cleaning this year, a family might want to consider taking another look at their family budget. Revising where needed and reaffirming their commitment to living with a budget will add to the family’s financial success in the coming year. As always, when you start to focus on budgeting it’s important to stick to your budget and work towards your financial goals but also understand that things come up.

As you work on financial spring cleaning this season understand that there might be times when you come up a little short, if you find yourself in that situation Check City has several services that can help get you through until your next Payday such as cash advances or pay day loans.

Should You Be Filing a Tax Extension?

It’s April 15, 2013 and that means that the mad dash to midnight has begun. For the tens of thousands of Americans who have left their taxes until the last minute it’s decision time, do you try to rush and get your taxes done and risk the chance of missing out on hundreds or thousands of dollars in missed tax deductions or do you file an extension and possibly prolong the stress of tax season. Well regardless of which route you decide to go Check City Lighting Tax Services can help. Here are several of the ways that our Lightning Tax services can help you this season.

File an Extension- If April 15th snuck up on you this year and you haven’t even begun to think about doing your taxes then you’ll probably want to consider applying for a tax extension. If you need help with this you can stop by any of our Check City locations for help with filing a tax extension including help with filling out the tax extension form and putting together a plan to get your taxes done as quickly as possible. One thing to keep in mind with a tax extension is that just because you file a tax extension it doesn’t mean that you no long have to pay on taxes you owe. In a recent study it was found that almost half of Americans weren’t aware that they still had to pay taxes even though they had filed a tax extension.

Still Do Taxes- While it may seem like very last minute, if you have all of your information ready but you’re intimidated by all of the tax forms there is still time to stop by your local Check City location and get your taxes filed. By taking advantage of our Lighting Tax program you can also see if you qualify for one of our tax return loans so that you can get your money more quickly. Also, it’s important to point out that if you don’t actually owe any money to the government they are more lenient on the tax deadline.

Set Up Payment Plans- Many people have no idea that you can actually set up a payment plan with the IRS. More and more people are using this option ith as tough as the economy has been in recent years. If you find yourself in the situation where you know you owe money but won’t be able to pay it all off right away you can stop by one of our many Check City locations and have our knowledgeable tax professionals help you file a payment plan. The great thing about these payment plans is that you can outline what you feel is reasonable and what you can work into your budget , however, it is up to the IRS to accept or reject your proposed payment plan.

Short Term Loans- If you know that you’ll have the cash within a couple weeks to pay off your taxes but you just don’t have the money right now then we recommend utilizing one of our many services to help you get the cash to pay off your taxes right now. If you own your car one of the best options right now is to take advantage of our 30-Day Interest Free Title Loan. By taking advantage of this interest free title loan you’ll be able to pay off your taxes now and not have to pay an interest on the loan for 30 Days! If you don’t have a title in hand with any of your vehicles then another option would be to get a cash advance or payday loan. As always we recommend being responsible with these loans so if you don’t think you’ll have the money to pay them off within a few weeks then the tax payment plan may be a better option for you.

If you have any tax questions feel free to stop by your local Check City or leave them in the comment section below.

Understanding the Basics of Payday Loans

We’ve all been there. It’s 3 days before pay day, and you’re totally out of money. What are you going to do? You could try borrowing money from a roommate or friend, but that could strain your relationship and make things awkward. You could, heaven forbid, borrow money from your parents, but the same consequences mentioned earlier could apply. Many people every day find themselves in quite the pickle when something like this happens to them. But there is help out there. Check City offers you the chance to receive a payday loan, which will help you get out of this situation.

Let’s first discuss what a payday loan is. A payday loan is a short-term, unsecured loan extended to a borrower from a lender. The loan is given to the borrower with the idea that they will pay it back by their next payday. Payday loans, despite the name, do not have to be connected to the borrowers’ payday, however. You can work with the lender to determine when you will need to pay back the loan.

Getting a payday loan is easy and hassle-free. Visit www.checkcity.com and fill out an online application. The people at Check City will review your application and within a short 24 hour period, the money will appear in your bank account. It’s really that simple. If you would rather take out a payday loan in one of our stores, that is also an option. Simply walk into a Check City location, fill out a personal check for the amount of money you need (plus standard fee), and walk away with cash in your hand. Check City will then cash the check on the date you specified and that is how you will pay back your loan.

In order to receive a payday loan or online payday loan, you’ll need a steady source of income, a state or federal ID, and a checking account. But with these 3 things, you are all set to receive your own payday loan.

It is important to realize that payday loans shouldn’t be used as a long-term financial solution. Payday loans should be used responsibly and just when you need money quickly for a specific reason. If you want to know more about payday loans and to see if taking out a payday loan is a good option for you, simply visit one of our Check City locations and we can give you the advice you need.

Payday loans are often the right choice because they can save you money. If you are behind on a payment, and you write a check for money you don’t have, there is a very real possibility that that check could bounce. Bounced checks can present huge problems. You can be arrested and taken into court for having a check that bounces. Your future job opportunities could be jeopardized if you have a bounced check on your record.

Avoid Bounced Check Fees

The average bounced check costs $27, and that is just the cost from the bank alone. If you have to write several checks in one day, there is a likelihood that the bank will cash the largest ones first, which could lead to some of the smaller ones bouncing. In this situation, you will only be charged more in fees from the bank and the situation will increasingly worsen.

But you have to consider the cost that the company or lender that cashed the check may charge you as well. These costs can be up to $25, if not higher.

The list goes on. If you write a bounced check to a company that reports to credit bureaus, it is likely that the late payment will show up on your credit. Bounced checks can even be reported to consumer reporting agencies. These agencies keep track of any problematic financial history you may have and can share that information with financial institutions and even businesses that accept checks. This information will stay in their system for five years. Do you really want that blemish on your record?

Overdraft Fees Can Be Costly

Another thing to think about is overdraft fees. If you withdraw money from your bank account when you don’t have any money in your account, the bank will charge you a fee. The fee continues to add up the more days pass that you don’t pay the fee. If you don’t pay the fees for 60 days, many banks will close down your account and report you to one of the above mentioned consumer reporting agencies. This information will go down with the agency and could very likely prevent you from opening up another account at a different bank.

It is important to continue to think of the consequences that could ensue if you don’t pay your debts in the time that they are due. If you are late on your rent payment for the month, your landlord could very likely quick you out of your apartment or condo. Where will you go then? There are not always going to be family or friends nearby to come save you when you’re in a bind. You need the money to pay your rent now.

Payday loans have also been proven to be helpful in scientific studies. In 2009, Professor Adair Morse of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business conducted a study to see how effective and helpful payday loans were. His findings showed that in natural disaster areas where payday loans were available, people did better financially than the people in areas where payday loans were not available. Professor Morse also found that less people in areas served by payday lenders needed to be treated for alcohol and drug addiction.

It’s easy to take out a payday loan and simply forget to pay it back. Budgeting is important in this process because it will help you to section off the money that you’ll need available to pay back your loan. At Check City, we work with each customer to devise a payment plan that works best for their individual situation. You do not have to sign for the loan until you are comfortable with the payment plan we’ve outlined with you.

Budgeting can seem daunting, but it is really not difficult. The main thing you need to remember when you’re trying to pay back your loan is to not spend money unless it is absolutely necessary. You need to have all the extra money you can spare in order to pay back your loan. This is not necessary, however, if you’ve already factored into your monthly budget enough money to cover the loan. Chances are, though, that you’ll need to make adjustments in order to successfully cover the added cost of the loan.

As stated earlier, budgeting is not hard. All you need to do is try to cut back on a few of your luxuries. For example, in order to save money, you could consider cutting back on how much you eat out at restaurants. Oftentimes, buying groceries at the store and making meals in your home can save you a lot of money. It is important to remember to have a grocery list when you go to the store; otherwise, you could end up buying lots of extra items that you don’t really need. Make a grocery list and stick to it when you’re in the store.

You could also try employing the “30 day rule.” This rule applies to when you’re about to make a purchase, such as a clothing item or a household item. So you don’t get sucked into impulsive buying, wait 30 days to buy the item. Then, before you actually buy it, think about if you still want or even need this item. This can help you to reduce the amount of items you buy without thinking it through properly.

Another way to save money is to repair your clothes instead of going out and buying new ones. If an item of clothing has a hole or is missing a button, repairing the item rather than replacing it can save you great deals of money. This is especially true if you like expensive, high-quality clothing. It can also be beneficial to not fall prey to the idea that you need to buy and have the latest fashions and trends. Try to be happy with the clothes that you have, at least for now.

Payday loans are available to you if you need them through Check City. When used responsibly, they can help you manage your money through times of financial stress. Get your payday loan through Check City today to minimize the financial stress you feel. If you’re unsure as to whether getting a payday loan is the right choice for you, come in and talk to us. We’re friendly and we want to help. Payday loans can be the next step that you need to take in order to reach financial stability.

Purchasing Food Wisely

In case the average consumer has not noticed or has not been informed, the average cost of food for American families has steadily increased over the recent years.  Economic and agricultural issues have attributed to this consistent rise in food costs and they are obviously subject to change in the future.

Now, whether this change will be a decrease in costs or an increase is only something that can be projected short term. The uncertainty in the food industry is therefore something families and individuals across the nation should be taking into consideration while planning their monthly budget.

Many families and individuals are struggling financially in today’s economic situation and monthly bills and expenses quickly drain the family’s income.  One of the necessities of a family’s monthly budget is the food costs.

Food costs are and should be an integral part of any family’s budget and should be given priority over most other expenses.  The United States Department of Agriculture publishes a monthly report on the average food costs that a family can expect to pay in order to provide their members with nutritional meals.

In this monthly report, called the Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, the USDA provides average food costs of four differing amounts of available budgets ranging from thrifty to liberal food costs.  For a family of four persons the USDA finds that it will take an average of around $500 a month to provide quality and healthy meals under the restraints of a thrifty budget.

With this in mind, a family can see the importance of not overspending on food costs.  Avoid high food costs by shopping wisely and looking for discounted food items and those things that can be purchased in bulk.  Using small payday loan from Check City may also be one way that a family can get in the black enough to maintain a stable food budget.

Why You Should Have Good Dental Hygiene

When people think of oral care they typically think of preventing bad breath or having brilliantly white teeth. We have all been told to brush, floss and use mouthwash for a healthy mouth. However, many people may not realize how vital our dental health is to our body’s overall health. Recent studies have shown that oral and dental problems can contribute to many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and even a stroke.

The human mouth is the portal through which the majority of known diseases enter our bodies. The cleanliness of an individual’s mouth can be directly linked to that persons overall health. It is important in so many ways to have good dental hygiene.

Cavities

Cavities are the most commonly known dental problems for people of all ages. Untreated cavitieis can cause pain and are not good for our dental health. However, socioeconomic issues can contribute to whether dental care is received in a timely manner.

From the years of 1999 to 2004 over 59% of children ages 12 to 19 had signs of tooth decay present on their permanent teeth. Cavities have affected millions of Americans but are generally preventable by practicing traditional dental care such as brushing one’s teeth and flossing. It is very important to floss and brush your teeth properly. If you don’t know how, seek a professional to help teach you how to properly brush your teeth, and how to floss your teeth. Start practicing good dental hygiene today, and prevent cavities.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease of the gums also affects millions of Americans. The disease is caused by bacteria under the gums. The bacteria begins to destroy the bone and gums and eventually the teeth become loose, making chewing difficult. The teeth may need to be extracted.

Recently periodontal disease has been linked to inflammation in other parts of the body, causing damage to organs and extremities. Some studies suggest that this inflammation can be linked to such diseases as diabetes, strokes, heart disease and even birth issues.

Good Oral Health

Oral health is often taken for granted, but it is an essential part of our everyday lives. Good oral health enhances our ability to do many things. For example it enhances the way we speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and even the way we convey our feelings and emotions through facial expressions. However, oral diseases cause pain and disability for millions of Americans each year. It is important to get professional help with your teeth regularly to prevent these diseases. Have a professional teach you how to brush your teeth and how to floss your teeth.

The good news is that most diseases are preventable. With a few common habits, you can keep your teeth in good order and your health from declining due to oral issues. In addition to a sense of well-being, good oral health affects your pocket book.

Start practicing good dental hygiene today! Thanks for reading.

Fewer Americans are Opening Bank Accounts

A shocking number of people are not opening bank accounts these days. They say flat out that they do not need a fancy institution to hold onto their money for them. Instead, they’d rather invest their money other places and keep a store of cash under the mattress in the bedroom.

A lot of the trouble comes from being unable to afford the demands of today’s banks. Opening and funding a bank account is more expensive than ever before.

Some families simply can’t afford the financial burden of claiming a spot in the vaults of a major bank. They don’t make enough money to justify that kind of investment.

Minimum Balance Requirement Banks also demand a minimum balance be kept within the account at all times, meaning that you are instantly penalized if you do not meet those requirements. For some families, they are just earning enough to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, they can’t afford to not have access to some of the funds at the bottom of the barrel.

Overdraft Fees, should a family forget their balance and overdraft, they are penalized $35 on average for the overdraft protection. True they managed to walk out with whatever they were purchasing, but often times, they would rather be without that purchase instead of with it and 35 extra dollars in the hole.

Many American families are turning away from the notion of a bank account because the rates are getting unaffordable. Instead, they are finding alternative ways to cash, save and spend their hard earned dollars. Prepaid plans, cash checking and payday loans are just a few of the ways they are managing. And they are doing it without the culturally pressured bank account. Guess what? They are doing just fine.

Advantages to Getting a Payday Loan

Payday loans hold many potential benefits for you and your family. They can offer a great monetary, emotional or opportunity based blessing that can change your life when you need the change most.

Unexpected Expenses

No matter what your circumstances are, you are never safe from disaster striking. In fact, karma has a bad way of catching up to you when you need luck on your side. It’s these times that you your car breaks down, you break your arm playing football or a meteor crashes through your roof requiring immediate attention and extreme financial discomfort. You can’t leave any of these things alone as your car, arm and roof are needed for your day to day activities. Payday loans will help you get the extra money you need to fix these more immediate problems now.

Emotional Safety

Payday loans offer you a way to get a loan for without having to approach your family for money. Asking a parent or loved one for a bit of extra cash is an extremely hard thing to do. It damages the pride of every house-hold provider. They would prefer a way to get the money they need in a discreet way that doesn’t (a) draw attention to the fact that you need money, and (b) potentially strain a relationship with a beloved family member.

No Credit Check Required Payday Loan

Many locations allow you to take out a payday loan without needing a credit check. All you need is proof of consistent pay checks over a small period of time. You can get the money you need. Bad credit often reflects a bad time of life. It also disables you from being able to make significant improvements in your life because you are allowed less opportunities. Payday loans take a chance on you again.

Budgeting for Summer Expenses

As summer time rolls around there may be a lot of unexpected costs that pop up. When you are planning to spend time on vacation or even if you are just taking a few days off to enjoy the warm weather, the cost of taking time off can add up quickly. To ensure that you are not overspending while you are on vacation, you may want to start by developing a budget for yourself. When you create your budget, you can be sure that you have enough money to enjoy the activities you are most excited about, while still being able to pay your rent when you get home.

After you set your budget, you will then want to make sure that you take out the cash that you are going to spend. Making your reservations ahead of time and paying ahead of time can also be a great way to ensure you are not spending more than you thought you were going to spend. It is important that you understand how to keep yourself and your money safe if you are going on vacation. When you are travelling, you may want to only use a credit card, so you can be sure your money will be safe when you are travelling.

If you are going to use a credit card, keep track of your spending. Then, when you get home make sure that you pay off your credit card as soon as possible, this way, you will be able to ensure you are not wasting any money on your interest rates or late fees.

If you find that you have spent a little too much money while you were on vacation, stop by any Check City location and take out a payday loan. This way, you can pay your bills and avoid late fees.

Getting the Cash You Need

When you are short on cash, there are many different ways that you can get the cash that you need to pay your bills. Sometimes, it can be more stressful than others to try to look for the cash that you need. When you find that you are strapped for cash, start by looking for ways that you can earn the money. You may have a friend that has an odd job for you to do or you may be able to get a quick part time job with an advance. No matter what you do, make sure that you have the money that you need in enough time.

Sometimes, you need the money so quickly that you do not have time to look for a way to earn the money. Make sure that you take the time that you need to understand how you are going to look into taking out a loan with an institution that you know you are going to be able to trust. Check City has a wide variety of short term loans that customers can choose from to ensure that they have the money that they need, when they need it.

As you are looking through the different loans that Check City provides, do not be afraid to talk to a staff member about which loan will fit you the best. Take the time that you need to understand how you are going to choose the loan that will work well for you, this way you can be sure that you are able to pay it back quickly. Often times, the loan will be much better than the late fees or even the problems you may have with your credit if you endure a late fee or any type of penalty. So, the next time you find yourself in a tough spot with money, stop by Check City to see how we can help.

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