Getting Help with Your Finances

Most of us are in debt. We’ve got credit cards, loans, overdrafts, store cards, and car financing plans. Some of us even owe money to our utility providers and landlords. Even those of us that aren’t are cutting it fine. We want to save, we even open savings accounts, but find ourselves struggling to put any money in them. Many of us want to set up businesses and build home offices, but our financial situations won’t allow it.

But, just as many of us are doing nothing about it. We’re getting by paying the minimums back on our debts.We’re letting any savings that we do have just sit there, instead of finding ways to make them grow. We’re living paycheck to paycheck without taking the time to improve things.

This is often because we’re embarrassed. We don’t want to admit that we need help or that we’re in debt. We don’t want to ask for advice on how to save or make our money grow because we are ashamed to admit that we don’t know already or that we’ve been wasting our money up until this point. We are afraid of speaking to an accountant only to find that we’ve been recording our profits incorrectly and our small business accounts are in a mess. We bury our heads in the sand because we are embarrassed and afraid. But,there’s really no need to be. There’s plenty of help out there, and plenty of people that need it. You just have to make that first move. Here’s a look at some of your options.

Visit a Financial Advisor

If you’ve got debts, you might find that their repayments are crippling. That you’ve got very little disposable income each month because paying off your debts is eating it all up. It doesn’t need to be like this, but it’s so hard to see a way out when it’s your money.

A financial advisor can take a look at your situation and help you to find ways to improve it. They’ll look at your income and expenses and recommend consolidation loans or other options that could help. They can even help you to create a budget to manage your money.

Most banks offer a free financial advisor service. But, remember your bank is only likely to recommend their own products. You may have to pay to see an independent advisor, but you could be offered a wider range of options.

Get Help with Investments

Investing your money is a fantastic way to watch it grow. But, it’s complicated and confusing. If you’ve never invested,you might worry that you can’t because you don’t know enough. The good news is,you don’t even need to meet an advisor in person, read another option that’s great for beginners and novice traders.

Hire an Accountant

If you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you might try to manage your own finances to save money. But, it can be all too easy to make costly mistakes. Hiring an accountant can actually save you money. They’ll ensure you are claiming any tax deductibles that you are able, and they’ll make sure you don’t face a hefty fine because you’ve either missed your tax return deadlines or made a mistake in your working out.Read more about deducatbles at

Traveling for Business: 5 Ways to Make it Hassle Free

If you are like Tom Stucker who has flown more than 18 million miles in his life as a business executive, then you may already know all the travel tips. Alternatively, if you are just starting out, then use these five tips to help you manage your corporate travel. Even if you are a pro, reconsidering the basics can never hurt as you may have forgotten key information over time.

Use Analytics

You need good travel analytics to make sure that the amount of traveling that you do is worth the effort. Look for business travel management companies that have elements designed to keep travelers safe and can help deliver emergency messages. Consider a company that has a variety of tools available with a special emphasis on mobile tools. The best analytics examine many possible factors before arriving at the best scenario and presenting it to the business traveler.

Choose a Travel Credit Card

Booking all your travel on one credit card often allows you to rack up points faster. These points can then be exchanged for things that you would normally pay for like free miles, hotel stays and dinners. Check your company’s travel policy to see if you can use your points to treat yourself while traveling.

Pack Light

If you can get all your stuff into a carry-on bag, then you have more options if something goes wrong. You can grab your carry-on and head to another line at the last minute if weather or plane trouble prevents you from catching your original flight. Once you board a flight, consider putting your carry-on in the overhead across the aisle from your seat. This allows you to watch so that other people do not accidentally grab it or smash its contents.

Count on Airport Lounges

If you are a frequent traveler, then choose to fly as much as possible on one or two airlines. This will give you access to their lounge. Depending on your credit card, you may also have access to some lounges. These locations usually have free food, drinks and quiet places to work. Some even have showers for the traveler who does not have enough time in their itinerary to head to a hotel.

Pick Your Hotel Room Carefully

Try to choose a hotel room that is not on the bottom floor, but is low enough that most emergency vehicles will be able to reach your location easily. That is often on the first 10 floors or so in well-developed locations while it may only be on the second or third floor in less-developed areas. Provide only your first initial and your last name when you are making reservations. Make sure that all windows and doors lock properly.

Following these simple tips will help you become a business travel pro. When all else fails, count on your own intuition as it will become stronger as you gain even more experience. Soon, you may be like Mr. Stucker and flying over 2 million miles each year.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Payment Methods Matter to Your Customers

If your business brand is not getting the attention it deserves, there could be one or multiple reasons why that is the case.


For instance, you may be lax when it comes to marketing your brand, be it a tight budget or just not knowing how to properly go about it.

You may also be turning a blind eye to social media, something that too many businesses still do on a regular basis. In doing so, they miss out on a golden opportunity to give their brand a strong push.

No matter what the reason or reasons for your brand’s inability to get the traction it needs to succeed, you have to come to the realization sooner (rather than later) that brand promotions are a necessity in today’s business world.

That said how you go about letting customers pay for their purchases can go a long way in determining just how successful a year you will have when you look back at your sales numbers.

So, will you ultimately boost your brand and take credit for it?

Payment Methods Matter to You and Your Customers

For some business owners, they are effectively still residing in the dark ages of retail, only accepting only cash payments.

Now, before one gets all upset about that statement, take note that some businesses are quite content not having a credit/debit card component (or checks for that matter) to deal with. On the other side of the coin, countless other business owners would be nothing short of miserable if they did not accept plastic, not to mention checks.

So, where do you find yourself residing when looking at how credit cards boost your business?

If you have been operating up to this point as a cash-only business, you are quite literally missing out on some golden opportunities.

For starters, many consumers tend to buy more when they are charging their purchases as opposed to using cash.

As an example, if someone comes into your store to initially just by an item or two, they may come across some great sales offers, some of which are too good to turn down. As a result, instead of getting their wallets out and reaching in for some green, they reach in for the plastic. Before you know it, you have rung-up quite a lot more in merchandise than you likely would have.

Take Your Show on the Road

Another way credit card acceptance can help grow your brand is by taking the show on the road.

For instance, if you attend trade shows, chamber of commerce events, local fairs etc. there are oftentimes potential customers just waiting for you. By having a free credit card reader to take with you on the road, you can ring-up sales before you know it.

Another way to look at it is that you make many more customers happy when they can buy something at the drop of a hat, not having to wait until they get home in front of a computer or have chance to stop by your business one day.

Finally, accepting credit cards makes it much easier for you (and the consumer of course) to track where the money went.

On your end, you have a nice paper trail (or preferably a computer trail) of where money went, not to mention for what goods and/or services.

Meantime, the consumer can use those paper receipts to also track his or her spending, something that is harder to do when spending cash (unless they keep each single receipt). They can also use the comparisons between cash spending and credit card spending, seeing if in fact they are running up a more notable tab with their plastic.

While credit card payments are not a requirement in running your business, they open up a lot more doors for both you and the customer.

Whatever the reason or reasons you have not accepted credit cards up to this point, give serious consideration to changing that idea moving forward.

As you do so, you are likely to see an uptick in business, not to mention more satisfied customers overall.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

Credit Card Scams: How to Avoid Them

creditcardIf keeping your finances safe and secure is a top priority, then you need to be vigilant when using your credit cards.

There are a growing number of credit card scams out there and fraudulent credit activity can strike at any time.

Here are just a few credit card scams going around and how you can avoid them:

Card Skimming

One of the fastest growing credit card scams taking place is card skimming. With card skimming, a vendor or an employee runs your card on a secondary device in order to obtain your financial information.

An example of this is a restaurant waiter who leaves the table with your credit card and runs it on a personal skimming machine. Your card is still processed through the restaurant, so charges appear as normal. However, the waiter has the option of using your credit card information to make purchases at any time.

To avoid this scenario, make sure you only dine and shop at reputable, trusted businesses. Likewise, also make sure you check your credit card statements on a regular basis and keep an eye out for any unfamiliar charges.

Modified Card Readers

As the following article looks at, if you haven’t heard of modified card readers, then you need to stay alert for this new credit card scam because it’s taking place all across the country.

With modified card readers, thieves actually install a device on top of credit card machines that can copy and store your credit card number. To avoid this scam, make sure you pay close attention to the swipe section of the credit card machines you use.

Thieves can easily install these on any credit card device, even in trusted retail stores. If the credit card machine looks suspicious, have the checkout attendant run your card manually.

Email Phishing Scams

Credit card email phishing scams are also growing in popularity due to their effectiveness.

With an email phishing scam, a cyber-criminal sends an official-looking email from your card provider asking you to log into your account and take immediate action for something finance related.

However, the login link actually goes to a separate site and the information you provide is used by the thief to login to your actual account. To avoid this scenario, never follow a link to your credit card account through a suspicious email.

Instead, go to your credit card providers’ official site and login through the homepage.

If you ever receive an email from your credit card company that requires immediate action on your part, it’s best to ignore it and call your provider directly.

Choose the Right Credit Card Company

At the end of the day, you want a credit card provider who is on your side when it comes to scams and fraud. That’s why it’s important to choose a provider who offers fraud prevention features that help keep your finances safe and secure.

Most of the major credit card providers regularly monitor your account for suspicious or unfamiliar transactions.

Additionally, most providers also offer account alerts and pre-purchase verifications, which come in handy when shopping online.

When it comes to keeping your finances safe, keep an eye out for the credit card scams mentioned above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including financial security and credit card theft.