5 Personal Loan Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make

The versatility of personal loans makes them attractive to consumers in need of extra funds. Personal loans can be used for helping consolidate debt, to renovate or remodel your home, financing travel, or anything you desire. Whatever you need the financial help of a personal loan for, you can’t afford to make mistakes when choosing the best personal loan for your needs. Mistakes could hurt your finances for years to come.

To get the best personal loan for your circumstance and to keep your finances healthy, avoid these mistakes:

1. Failing to compare options

Don’t settle for the first personal loan offer you receive. Interest rates, fees, and terms can vary immensely between lenders. In addition to checking with your bank or credit union, check with online lenders for offers. Competition between online lenders is stiff, so many will offer you lower rates than you’ll find with your bank or credit union.

2. Overlooking fees

Many borrowers are looking at the loan rates when comparing loan offers. Borrowers who overlook the fees and costs of each loan may end up paying far more than expected. Many lenders charge an origination fee. The origination fee is typically calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed, usually 0.5%-2%.

3. Lying on the application

Not only is lying on your application illegal, but it can also hurt your chances of getting approved for a loan. Not all lenders check all details of your application so a lie may not be noticed, but if a lender realizes you gave inaccurate information, they can deny the loan. If the loan has already been issued and the lender realizes you lied, they can consider the loan a default and immediately ask for repayment. Be honest with lenders.

4. Skipping over the fine print

Before signing a loan agreement, lenders should always review ALL of the contract. Reviewing allows you to notice things like fees or terms that may differ from your first offer. Be on the lookout for hidden details because they can be proof of the lender being a predatory lender.

5. Not changing spending

If you’re borrowing a personal loan to consolidate debts or because you’ve mismanaged your money, you risk ending up in a worse financial situation if you borrow a loan and don’t adjust your habits. Before taking out a loan, borrowers should revaluate spending. Adjust your budget to avoid being in even more debt after you take out a loan.

Become Healthier and Wealthier by Kicking These Bad Habits

The connections between health and wealth are numerous but easily overlooked when we’re too focused on improving one or the other. It’s easy to forget that health issues can devastate our finances and poor health may lead to us making bad financial decisions. On the contrary, the benefits of maintaining good health can include better productivity, less time off sick, and a more positive outlook on life, all of which make it easier for us to make smart financial choices.

Here are a few bad habits that if kicked, would make you both healthier and wealthier:

Smoking

Cutting our cigarettes is an easy way to add years to your life. You’ve heard the health risks that come with smoking: heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, coronary heart disease and more.

In addition to the money you’d save on purchasing cigarettes (an average of $6-$8 per pack), stopping smoking will also save you on health care costs. Insurance premiums for smokers almost always cost more than those of nonsmokers.

Poor Diet

Cut the excess calories from fast food and high calorie processed foods. A balanced diet leads to a healthy weight. Being at a healthy weight means better health both mental and physical.

In turn, better health means you’ll have lower insurance premiums as well as lower life insurance rates. It’s estimated that healthy people save, on average, $1,429 more each year than people who are obese.

Physical Inactivity

You don’t need to follow an aggressive exercise program to be active. Merely adding a 30-minute walk each day can drastically lower risks of developing a chronic health problem.

Adding exercise, even if it’s minimal, is similar to the way we increase wealth. Exercise includes setting goals, staying disciplined, and maintaining positive habits. If you can do one or the other, exercise or saving, you can do the other.

Whether you aim to increase your wealth or to better your health, work to find a balance between improving both.

Home Upgrades That Pay For Themselves

When most of us hear home upgrades, we think of costly projects that are likely to break the budget. For those of us unable to afford a large-scale remodel or renovation, there are smaller, simpler home upgrades that we can invest in that will pay for themselves in the long run.

Try Smart Home Tech

Not at all uncommon these days, smart home tech is making it easy for many homeowners to conveniently save money on things like water, electric, and utility bills. Smart home tech may seem expensive upfront but quickly pays for itself in money you’ll save on bills. Installation can be done yourself, and in addition to making your life easier with features like controlling your thermostat through an app, smart home tech adds value to your home.

Cut Water Consumption

The kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms – all use water. Because of this, homeowners water bills can take up a chunk of monthly budgets. Making a few simple adjustments can drastically cut down your water consumption and substantially decrease your water bill each month. Things such as replacing your old water guzzling dishwasher with an Energy Star Efficient one and installing a low flowing shower head in bathrooms are easy projects guaranteed to cut your water bills.

Keep Cool With Ceiling Fans

Keeping your home air-conditioned in the summer months is expensive. While they probably won’t eliminate your need to use the air-conditioning, ceiling fans can definitely help you lower the temperature of the thermostat by a few degrees. Installing ceiling fans in rooms is an easy long lasting home upgrade bound to add to your savings.

Set Up A Home Security System

Whether or not your home is burglarized, having a home security system set up can save you money on insurance. Most insurance companies provide customers with discounted premiums if they have home security systems. In addition to lower premiums, a home security system will give you peace of mind.

Install Solar Panels

As solar panels have become more efficient, now is an excellent time to invest in installing them. Decreasing prices of solar panels have reduced the time until the investment pays itself off so get started now. Don’t let the upfront cost scare you away before you consider all of the benefits they provide in the long run, environmentally as well as financially.

While all of these home upgrades have initial costs, they’re all likely to quickly pay for themselves in savings. These upgrades will increase the value of your home and save you money in the long-run.

Interested in upgrading your home but don’t have the upfront costs? Consider a personal loan. Get the money you need to start upgrading your home today.

Simple Ways to Save Money on Food

The majority of Americans spend most of their money on three things: rent/mortgage, transportation, and food.

When you’re trying to save money, cutting your food costs may be an excellent place to start.

You don’t have to spend hours cutting out coupons or buy more in bulk than fits in your freezer to save money on food. There are simple methods you can easily employ to cut down on your food costs.

Cook at home

The is the obvious and most likely to save you the most money way to save on food. Many of us avoid cooking our own meals — whether it’s because we feel we don’t have time, we’re tired, or take out is just too tempting. Eating out is far more expensive than cooking our own meals at home so if you’re trying to stretch your food budget, start by increasing the number of meals you prepare at home.

Share meals

If you’re not ready to eliminate eating out, try sharing meals at restaurants instead. Plus, you’ll find it’s easier to avoid overeating when you share, and you’ll be cutting down on food waste.

Set limits

Set aside exactly how much you want to spend on groceries. Stay within your limits. It’s helpful to know your limits before you head off to the grocery store.

Go generic

“If it costs more, it must be superior,” doesn’t always apply. Many times, when buying name-brand groceries instead of the generic, you’re only paying more for the name and advertising. There are products where the name-brand may be superior to the generic but for many groceries, staples like flour, coffee, and spices, you’ll probably be better off going generic and saving the extra money.

Buy bulk

Not everything of course! Buying in bulk is only wise if you know you’ll use all of it.

Pass on pre-cut

Instead of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, purchase whole. Pre-cut and packaged fruits and vegetables on average cost between 30-50% more than if you had bought whole and cut them yourself.

Stay in season

The cheapest fruits and vegetables are going to be those that are in season. Follow a list of available fruits and vegetables by season.

Give grocery ads a glance

Before you head to the grocery store, give your store’s ads a look. It requires a bit more thought, but by planning around what’s on sale, you can save a lot.

Freeze leftovers

Save money as well as avoid adding to food waste by freezing leftovers. Pick up some containers and freeze what you know you can’t eat. Pull these containers out anytime you feel too tired to cook a full meal.

Use membership cards

Most major stores have membership or club cards that will increase your savings. These cards allow you access to sales and special lower prices if you take the time to sign up. Some stores even allow you to earn cash back when you use your card.

Shop online

Online grocery shopping might seem like it would be expensive but depending on your needs, it may actually end up saving you money. Without the stress of roaming aisles, you’re less likely to spend on impulse buys.

Adjusting your food budget takes a little time and effort, but with these simple changes, the money you save may be worth it.

Credit Inquiries: Hard vs. Soft

Let’s talk about credit inquiries. There are two ways that potential creditors go about checking your credit (“pulling your credit”): hard inquiries and soft inquiries. What are the differences? And how does each type of inquiry affect your credit? We’ll explain it all:

What is a soft inquiry (“soft pull”)?

A soft inquiry is when an institution or an individual checks your credit. Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score. Examples of soft inquiries include: reviewing your own credit, employment verification, applying to rent an apartment, “pre-qualified” credit card and insurance quotes, lenders or brokers doing pre-approval, utility and mobile phone providers, and applying for loan rates and offers.

What is a hard inquiry (“hard pull”)?

A hard inquiry is an inquiry that you’ve consented to. Hard inquiries may include when you apply for credit, a mortgage, or when finalizing a loan. Hard inquiries can influence your credit score, but the effect is minimal and unlikely to affect whether or not you are usually approved. Hard inquiries aren’t so bad but avoid applying for many credit cards within a small time frame. These multiple inquiries can make lenders cautious to work with you. Instead, trying spacing out credit applications.

Unauthorized hard credit inquiries

It’s essential to check your credit report regularly. Look out for hard inquiries that you did not consent to because they can be a sign of identity theft. Any unapproved inquiries should be disputed as soon as possible.

Hard inquiries you have consented to cannot be disputed. These authorized hard inquiries take about two years to disappear from your credit report. However, if you’re shopping for rates for mortgages, auto loans, or student loans, all of the inquiries that are made within 45 days will be considered a single inquiry on your credit report.

A final word

Soft inquiries are nothing to worry about, but you should be careful when allowing hard inquiries to be made. While a hard inquiry may only shave a few points off your credit score, too many inquiries could start to influence your credit score negatively and affect your financial well-being.

6 Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

Are you looking forward to a tax refund? Before you splurge on something unnecessary from your wishlist, consider this tax refund as an opportunity to do something meaningful for your finances.

1. Pay credit card debt

Many of us are carrying around high-interest credit card debt. Use your tax refund to pay down your credit card balances. If your refund doesn’t allow you to pay off your entire balance, you should apply the refund to your highest-interest credit card debt.

2. Fund that emergency fund

If you don’t already have three to six months of income stashed away in an emergency fund, consider putting your tax refund towards your emergency fund. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one. Can’t put away three to six months worth of income? Put away what you can. Any emergency fund is better than none. Putting your refund towards your emergency fund will provide you with a peace of mind.

3. Put the money towards your retirement account

Whether it’s your 401 (k) plan, IRAs, or HSAs, putting your tax refund into a retirement account goes far in boosting your retirement security.

4. Save for an upcoming major purchase

Planning to buy a new car soon? Maybe you’re looking at buying a home. Whatever major purchase you have coming up, putting your tax refund towards this purchase will save you stress later.

5. Donate to charity

Unlikely to help you financially, donating your tax refund to a charity or cause close to your heart is a great feel-good way to spend the extra money. Think of it as paying it forward. Remember to hold on to donation receipts so you can itemize your deductions on next year’s taxes.

6. Spend on an experience

Spending your refund on an experience such as traveling or taking a class is a satisfying way to increase serotonin. The memories you gain from experiences last a lifetime.

What To Do If You Owe More Than You Can Pay In Taxes

It’s tax season! For some, this means we have cash to look forward to. For the remainder, it means another bill. Tax day 2018 is Tuesday, April 18th. If you’re one who owes and find yourself unable to pay, what should you do? First, you should make sure you at least file your taxes. Don’t let your inability to pay to keep you from filing. There are options if you find that you’re unable to pay:

Get a short-term payment extension

You can apply for a short-term payment extension through the IRS if you know you can pay the full amount owed in 120 days or less. The application can be done online at IRS.gov or by calling the phone number on your tax bill.

Apply for a payment plan

Using Form 9465, you can apply for a payment plan if you owe $50,000 or less. The process can also be completed online or on the phone. The IRS charges a low fee for payment plans, but it may be your best option depending on your credit card rates or financial issues.

Settle for less than you owe

The IRS may offer you the option of an Offer in Compromise (OIC). The OIC allows you to settle the tax amount you owe for less. Offers can vary, but it’s worth looking into if you find yourself struggling to pay your tax balance.

Consider a personal loan

Depending on your credit card rates a personal loan may be the best option to pay your tax debt. Personal loans often offer lower rates than those on credit cards and may offer a fixed term, rate, and monthly payment for you. You can check your rates and offers without impacting your credit score by filling out our quick form.

Pay with a credit card

Not the ideal option, but an option nonetheless. The IRS accepts the major credit cards, and payment can be done online or by phone. Credit card payment should not be the first option you choose because the interest and fees you’ll pay can add up quickly and hurt you financially.

Whatever your situation is, don’t avoid the IRS. Tax bills won’t just disappear, and failure to pay can lead to your passport being seized. Don’t be afraid to give the IRS a call. They’re willing to work with you if you reach out.

6 Easy Money Moves You Can Make Today

If you’ve been putting off organizing your finances or if you get overwhelmed when you finally sit down to do it, stay calm and let us help you tackle your finances. Don’t let your big goals scare you, remember that big goals are accomplished after a series of small goals are achieved.

Start tackling your finances today with these six easy money moves:

1. Look into debt consolidation

If you’re dealing with various loans and credit cards, consider debt consolidation or refinancing. You can receive a personal loan offer in minutes. Use the loan to pay off your multiple debts and save yourself from the hassle of keeping up with many payments and due dates. Consolidation and refinancing can also significantly reduce your interest rate and can be obtained same-day in many cases.

2. Check your credit score

Haven’t checked your credit in a while? Take a deep breath and get a free copy of your credit report. Once you fully understand your financial situation, you can start to prepare a plan to achieve your financial goals.

3. Automate to save

Set up an automatic payment to transfer an amount into your savings as soon as your paycheck cashes. When the money is automatically put into your savings, you have less temptation to spend it.

4. Earn extra money without extra work

One way to earn extra money right now is to sign up for a rewards site like Ebates. Ebates provides you with cash back when you shop. You even get a gift card for just signing up.

5. Negotiate with your bill providers

We all hate sitting on hold with internet/phone/cable companies, but this temporary bother could save you money immediately. Most major providers will offer some discount if you ask.

6. Create a budget that works for you

Sit down and do it. It’s an integral part of managing finances. Get an idea of the income you have coming in as well as your spending habits before you try to set up a budget. There are many different budgets out there, and your first budget may end up needing to be adjusted later. Keep trying, and you’ll figure out a budget that works for you and your lifestyle.

How to Apply for a Cash Loan and Get Approved Quickly

Applying for a cash loan is a simple process:

Check the qualification policy to make sure you qualify. Check that someone is available to answer any questions you may have. Lenders should not leave you wondering what the status of your application is. Although the price is important, customer service is also important. What if you are sent the wrong amount, or there is a billing issue? TCA Loans only deals with lenders that have a solid reputation.

What are your options if the unexpected happens and you can not pay off your loan? The best thing to do is to contact the lender as soon as you find out that you can not pay them (due to your employer changing paydays, or other reasons). It helps if you can provide documentation or contact (such as your boss, or payroll company), to verify your situation. Most lenders are flexible, and would rather get paid late, than not at all.

Being honest will help your situation. Some people think that exaggerating may help them (more extended time on the job than they have, higher income than they have, etc.) If a lender feels that you are exaggerating or lying, they will decline your request for a loan. This is because it takes too much time to find out the truth from you. If they see that you are honest, then they are more likely to approve your loan.

Once you get a loan, remember the following valuable tips:

Do not default on your loan. If you do not, this causes you all sorts of problems, like extra NSF fees from your bank if the payments bounce, and possible fees charged by the loan service. Also, the lender may send your account to a third party collections agency. This will also show negatively on your credit report and can cause problems for years.

Keep your NSF (non-sufficient funds) charges down in your checking account. If you have too many, it is also a red flag. Keeping the “red flags” to a minimum will result in a better approval rate for you.

If you need a loan, TCA Loans can help. These tips will help you better manage your money and reduce the stress that comes with financial difficulty. Once you have submitted your application, approval can occur within about an hour, and all of our lenders are discreet.

Disclaimer: Modern Lending Solutions (modernlendingsolutions.com) is not a lender. We offer a matching service for connecting potential borrowers with financial institutions. Loan amounts, rates, and terms will vary based on lender’s decision, and approval is not guaranteed.
Offers provided to customers feature rate may no greater than 35.99% APR with terms from 61 days to 180 months. However, your actual rate depends on credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history, and will be agreed upon between you and the lender. An example of the total amount paid on a personal loan of $5,000 for a term of 36 months at a rate of 10% would be equivalent to $5,808.09 over the 36-month life of the loan.