Is Being Debt Free Worth it?

I had a great talk with Millennial Money Man yesterday and my favorite piece of advice he gave me was to “write what you’re passionate about.” It took me literally five seconds to think of the one thing I’m really passionate…

The post Is Being Debt Free Worth it? appeared first on Modern Frugality.

Source: modernfrugality.com

Debt In The United States

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Let’s face it, debt in the United States is a problem. From our national debt, student loan debt, and consumer debt. Debt in the United States is a problem on all levels. Why is that? I’m a firm believer that it starts with…

The post Debt In The United States appeared first on Debt Discipline.


Debt In The United States was first posted on November 18, 2019 at 6:00 am.
©2019 "Debt Discipline". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at brian@debtdiscipline.com

Source: debtdiscipline.com

What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a law originally passed in 1978 to protect consumers and regulate the tactics used by debt collectors. If you have had debt collectors hounding you over a…

The post What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act? appeared first on Crediful.

Source: crediful.com

How to Negotiate Your Medical Debt

Let’s face it: The worst thing about having to go to the hospital to receive medical treatment is being slammed with a huge bill afterwards. Sometimes, these medical bills are so expensive that you simply don’t have the means to pull it off right away, especially without health insurance. While we may find it easier in the short term to pretend that our unpaid medical bills don’t exist, avoiding the problem could only make it worse. Many medical providers are aware of this, which is why there are ways that you can negotiate your medical debt when you are unable to pay in full. In this article, we will discuss the different ways you can go about taking care of those medical expenses so that they don’t stack up later and wreak havoc on your credit.

Negotiate for insurance rates

Without health insurance, you’ll most likely be charged a much steeper price. If you want to negotiate your medical bills, one thing you can do is research what the fair market value is for whatever treatments you received. Usually, this is the price that insurance companies have to pay medical providers, and most of the time, it’s a lot cheaper.

Once you’ve found the dollar amount you’d like to ask for, you will need to get in touch with the billing department. If the person on the phone turns you down, ask to speak to their supervisor. It’s important to remain calm and polite while doing this but be persistent. Continue to ask to speak to a higher ranking individual until you reach someone who agrees to make a deal with you.

Pay it in cash

Cash payments are hard to turn down in most cases. if you want to negotiate a lower price on medical bills, you can offer to make a cash payment. Call your medical provider or the billing department and ask them if they would be willing to knock down the price of your bills if you were to pay in cash. Explain to them that if they can’t offer you any other sort of financial assistance, then this is another route you can take.

Not only will this save them money on credit card fees and hours worked by office employees, but it will also save time spent on processing paperwork. This is a smart offer to make, as instant cash payments as opposed to electronic payments are a lot harder to say no to for any business or institution.

Ask for a payment plan

There’s a good chance that even after you’ve asked for a lower price and offered to pay in cash, your medical provider will be unwilling to give you a deal. When this happens, there is still one more thing you can try. Before readily handing over your credit card, ask them if you can make payments on your bill. Most companies will allow you to do this and are used to working with people who are unable to pay their bills in full. Be honest about how much you are able to pay at a time.

It’s likely that they will try to negotiate a higher payment amount, but politely tell them that it’s not feasible for you. Most of the time, they will be understanding and take whatever payment they can get. If you’re struggling financially, making small payments on your medical bills is the best way to go to keep your credit score in tact. As long as you are making payments on your bills, the companies will not report you to the credit bureaus.

Take precautionary measures

A lot of medical providers and medical facilities have programs that offer financial assistance, but you are going to have to ask them for it. Be transparent at the time of or even before your medical treatment occurs. If the treatment you are seeking is not a medical emergency, ask ahead of time if there is a cheaper option or if you can get a discount. If you don’t have health insurance, this needs to be explained as early on as possible. Let your doctor know if you are living off of low income or if you are in the midst of some other type of financial hardship that is keeping you from being able to pay for service.

If you are successful in negotiating your medical bills, you might want to get it in writing so that you have proof. In some cases, you may even want to make your request in writing so that you have it on record in case anything goes wrong later. Once a deal has been agreed upon by both you and the medical provider or billing department, type up a summary of the conversation including key details of who you spoke to and the prices that were negotiated.

Other options for paying bills

There is no one-size-fits-all way of clearing your medical bills once and for all.  Some people have insurance, some can afford to pay in full, and some are going to have to negotiate a lower price. If you have already tried negotiating medical bills and were unsuccessful, there are other options to explore. Here are some other ways you can go about paying your medical bills:

  • Medical credit cards: There’s no guarantee that your medical provider will accept a payment plan. However, most of the time, they will accept payment with the use of a medical credit card. If you have no other choice, ask your doctor’s office about how you can apply for a medical credit card. Usually, you are able to apply at the office right then and there. Most medical credit cards offer zero interest for up to 12 months. If you can manage to pay off the medical debt within that timeframe, then perhaps a medical credit card is a good choice for you. Be wary of this if you already have poor credit.
  • Personal loan: If you’ve already been through all of your other options and were unable to make something work, it might be time to look at taking out a type of unsecured credit, such as a personal loan. If you have a significant amount of medical debt looming over your head, this might be a good idea as you can usually take out anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000. Once again, if you don’t have a good history with using credit, seriously consider the pros and cons of doing this.
  • Interest free credit card: If you don’t end up qualifying for a payment plan or a medical credit card, you can use a 0% interest credit card to pay the tab as long as you have good or outstanding credit.
  • Hire a medical bill advocate: If you feel overwhelmed by the task of reading through your medical bills and looking for errors, you can hire a professional to do it for you. Medical bill advocates are familiar with common procedures and the prices of treatments. If you have been wrongfully charged or overcharged, a medical bill advocate will be able to find this right away. Aside from pinpointing any errors, experts in medical bills will also do the negotiating for you.

Final Thoughts

If you are feeling overwhelmed by a large medical bill, remember that you have several options for taking care of it. It might be tempting to ignore the bill altogether but doing this could really damage your credit. Being honest with your medical provider from the beginning can prevent you from having to deal with extra costs. However, sometimes medical bills are ineveitable and we have to pay them. Consider payment plans or a medical credit card, but whatever you do, don’t let your unpaid medical bills be a show stopper!

How to Negotiate Your Medical Debt is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

6 Reasons You Will Fail at Getting Out of Debt

The post 6 Reasons You Will Fail at Getting Out of Debt appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Whenever you make decisions to improve your life, it can be scary. For instance, when you first start out with your debt plan, you are excited and ready to go.  Sadly, many will fail at getting out of debt.  And, it may happen to you too.

making a debt plan

You might look at your debt plan and think that this time will be different.  You will start out thinking that this time you WILL do it.  Then, something happens, and you find that you are once again right back at where you started.  Before you know it, you’ve failed so many times that you just don’t think it is worth it.

I’m here to say – it is.  Please.  Don’t give up.

If you are struggling  with paying off your debt, these folks may be able to help:
Call 866-948-5666.

Believe it or not, there may be actual reasons as to why you fail.  Of course, there are the issues such as unexpected financial setbacks. However, it is more often out of a failure to have the right debt free plan in place.

Here are six reasons why you will fail at getting out of debt — and what you can do to make sure that this time really IS different.

WHY YOU ARE NOT GETTING OUT OF DEBT

1. You are not mentally ready.

Before you can ever make any change to your life be it healthy eating, exercise or even getting out of debt, you need to make sure your mentally ready. You need to look at your debt plan with a positive mind.

Instead of looking at the amount you owe and feeling like you will never do it, look at it as I can do this.  It is important to me, so I am willing to put in the work to get the reward.  Consider yourself strong and tell yourself that it is worth it and you know you can and WILL be successful this time.

 

2. You have no plan at all.

It seems that this should go without say.  However, it is the #1 reason why you will fail when it comes to getting out of debt.

If you tried to go to a town you had never visited but did not have a plan including a map or directions, how would you get there?  You probably wouldn’t.  At least, not without getting lost and off track several times.  You may even end up back at home having to try it again.

The same is true with debt.  You need to create an action plan including your debts to pay, budget and then a plan of action to attack them.  Once you have a plan, post it where you can see it (every day), so you don’t forget what you need to do to reach your goal.

Read more: How to Get Out of Debt (Even on a Lower Income)

 

3. You don’t have a budget.

I know, I know.  You hear this one every time you turn around.  There is a reason for that.  Any successful debt plan absolutely must have a budget.  You just can’t do it without a budget.

The reason is you need to see where your money goes.  Then, and only then, can you see how much money is available for your debts so help you do what you can to pay them off as quickly as possible.

Read more: How to Create a Budget (Even if you don’t know where to start)

 

4. You are easily distracted.

If you turn on the TV, go online or even pick up a magazine you are constantly being shown ads.  Retailers are trying to sell you on their item and telling you why you can’t live without it.  Sadly, many allow these influencers to affect their spending, forcing them further in debt.

You must find contentment with what you have.  You might also want to be like your neighbors, but how do you know that they are not as deeply (if not further) into debt than you are.  Find a way to be happy with your life and don’t fall into the trap that “things” will make you happy and leave you feeling fulfilled.

 

5. Your plan is not realistic.

As much as we’d all love to pay off hundreds (if not thousands) towards our debts each month, that is just not possible.

You need to be completely honest with yourself when it comes to your plan.  You might think that you can eliminate clothes from your budget and just not buy anything new, but is that really going to work?  Can you truly not spend anything on clothing  — ever?

 

6. You don’t have an emergency fund.

Your emergency fund is mandatory when it comes to getting out of debt.  Why do you ask? Well, if you do not have an emergency fund, what happens when the air conditioner needs to be repaired?  Chance are you will go further into debt to get it fixed.

Make sure you have a minimum of $1,000 in the bank before you even think about trying to tackle your debt.  That way, when the unexpected happens (and trust me, it will), you can pay for it without having to rack up more debt and end up throwing your debt plan out of the window.

Read more:  How to Create an Emergency Fund

 

Once you change your attitude, outlook and spending habits, you will be on the path to financial freedom and quickly be on the road to getting out of debt.

 

The post 6 Reasons You Will Fail at Getting Out of Debt appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

3 Ways to Beat Debt Burnout

3 Ways to Beat Debt Burnout

Paying off debt with “gazelle intensity” is a great way to get rid of debt quickly. Cutting your budget to a nearly bare-bones level and working hard to increase your income, speed up debt payments and save up for retirement will help you make great progress on your financial goals, but most people can only live on a strict budget for so long before they begin experiencing debt burnout.

Find out now: How much do you need to save for retirement?

What is Debt Burnout?

Burnout is feeling exhausted with your day-to-day routine or the lack of flexibility in your budget. Some people get tired of not having extra money in their food budget to go out to eat occasionally or buy a wider variety of foods at the grocery store. Others grow tired of having little to no budget for entertainment and fun. Burnout leaves you feeling fatigued, frustrated and ready to give up on your debt-free dreams.

Beating Debt Burnout

After you’ve diagnosed yourself with debt burnout, it’s important to take immediate steps to correct it so you don’t end up un-doing all the progress you’ve made toward paying off your debt. The steps to beating burnout don’t have to be drastic. It’s possible to do it by making a few simple adjustments.

1. Reassess Your Budget

After you’ve paid down some of your debt, it’s common to start feeling some burnout from the lack of flexibility in your budget. This may be a good time to reassess your budget and perhaps give yourself a little more money for things you enjoy, like increasing how much you spend on entertainment or giving yourself a little more money for going out to eat with friends and family. This may decrease the amount of money going to debt payments, but that’s better than getting burnt out and going on a crazy credit card shopping spree down the road.

2. Plan a Fun Trip or Event

While your family is paying off debt, it’s common to give up all vacations, trips and fun events. But when you start experiencing debt burnout, planning for one of these events is a great way to stay motivated and give your family something to look forward to. The trip or event doesn’t have to be a huge and expensive ordeal. Even a short day or weekend trip is something to look forward to when you are living on such a tight budget. Try planning for when you hit a milestone – paying off half of your debt or even for when the whole thing is paid off.

3. Find Some Support

When you start to feel burnt out and unmotivated to continue your debt payoff journey, seeking out an accountability partner is a great way to help you stay on track. Single people can especially benefit from having someone to confide in and bounce ideas off of. But even couples and families can use the outside perspective of an accountability partner to help them keep focused on their financial goals and beat debt burnout.

Debt burnout is a real thing that many people struggle with as they work their way out of debt. The more debt you have to begin with and the longer the time frame for paying it off, the more likely it is that you’ll face burnout at some point.

Find out now: Should I get a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage? 

What other ways can you think of to help beat debt burnout?

Photo credit: flickr

The post 3 Ways to Beat Debt Burnout appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

Here Are 9 Options for Finding Free or Cheap Audiobooks

Though I own hundreds of books, I rarely find time to sit down and crack one open. I do, however, make use of my time in the car to listen to audiobooks.

But how do you get the audiobooks you want without paying a lot of money? There are a number of audiobook services available, but the options can be overwhelming.  Finding the right audiobook service is a matter of finding the right one for how you like to read.

9 Services for Cheap Audiobooks

Here’s our rundown of some of the best services where you can grab a book for your ears.

1. Audible

Audible is a big name in audiobooks. As a part of Amazon, it’s heavily marketed and easily available, but it has its pros and cons.

Pros

  • Audible boasts one of the largest audiobook libraries out there with more than 600,000 titles and 100,000 podcasts, according to a company spokesperson. Whatever you like to read, you can probably find it on Audible.
  • You get to keep any titles you read even if you cancel your subscription.
  • Your membership also gets you access to a number of podcasts, as well as subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
  • You also get daily deals and an extra 30% discount on additional book purchases.
  • You can download the books you choose and listen offline.
  • You can try Audible out with a no-cost, 30-day trial period.

Cons

  • Audible is a subscription service with five different subscription plans, the cheapest being $7.95 per month. At that lowest tier, though, you are unable to earn extra credits, and you won’t get discounts on premium selection titles or access to exclusive sales.
  • The other membership plans are pricy. They include monthly subscriptions of $14.95 for one credit per month or $22.95 for two credits per month. Annual plans are also available; they cost $149.50 for 12 credits per year or $$229.50 for 24 credits per year.
  • Unused credits expire after one year. They also expire when you cancel your membership.

2. Audiobooks.com

Audiobooks.com is another subscription service, much like Audible.

Pros

  • Very large selection with over 200,000 titles.
  • Access to over 88 million podcast episodes for free.
  • Your subscription includes one book per month.
  • You can buy extra credits as needed. One credit equals one book.
  • You get free extra VIP books each month with no additional charge. VIP titles are older, less popular books, but they aren’t all obscure. For example, one book currently on the list is Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”
  • With a  free 30-day trial you get one book free and can also select from the VIP collection.
  • You can stream books or download so you can listen offline.

Cons

  • It’s expensive at $14.95 per month.
  • VIP titles are limited and may not be of interest to you.

3. Scribd

A woman listens to something on her headphone while laying on a bean bag chair.

Scribd is a subscription service that allows you to access “unlimited” audiobooks and also offers features like ebooks, podcasts and even sheet music.

Pros

  • At $9.99 it’s cheaper than Audiobooks.com and you get to listen to as many books as you want.
  • There are a lot of extras like Kindle books, magazines and even sheet music available with your subscription.
  • It includes a 30-day free trial.

Cons

  • The term “unlimited” isn’t 100% accurate. Users in the iPhone app store complain that after two or three popular books, your ability to read new and popular titles  becomes very limited for the rest of the month.
  • You’re renting rather than buying the books, so you cannot keep them.
  • The platform is not loaded with extras like some of the other services.

4. Downpour

For $12.99, subscription service Downpour gives you one credit (good for any one book) per month. You can spend them as you go or save them up. Or you can simply rent or buy books without a subscription, but you’ll pay a little more for each title.

Pros

  • Less expensive than Audiobooks.com.
  • You own the books and can keep them even if you cancel.
  • You can download and listen offline.
  • You have the option to buy or rent books outside of the membership. Rentals are less expensive, but, if you buy the book, you’ll pay more than you would with a membership.

Cons

  • Smaller selection with just 80,000 titles (and counting).
  • No free trial.
  • Each credit expires after 12 months.
  • Books for purchase are pricy, though there is a tab for “Daily Deals” with sections for downloads under $15, $10 and even $5.

5. Chirp

Chirp is a sister site of Bookbub, an e-book site. When you sign up for the service, you get a daily email featuring special deals. Many of the deals are $3.99 or less for each book.

Pros

  • No subscription needed, so you only pay for what you buy.
  • You buy rather than rent the books, so they’re yours to keep.
  • You can purchase from a wide selection of books at regular price.
  • There is a “my wishlist” section where you can list out the books you want to listen to and get alerts if they go on sale.

Cons

  • The deals are random and not catered to your taste, so you may or may not see books on sale that you actually want to read.

6. Apple Books

A couple listen to an audiobook from one of their devices.

Apple Books is a store for iPhone and Mac users to purchase audiobooks. It’s not a subscription site, just a pay-for-what-you-want store.

Pros

  • New and popular books are available, as well as classics.
  • Apple editors curate general lists to help readers find new books.
  • You keep your audiobooks right on your phone.
  • You can download books and listen to them from your Apple Watch while you workout.
  • No pressure to download books to justify a monthly expense.

Cons

  • Limited to iPhone and Mac users.
  • Individual books can be expensive.

7. Google Play Books

Google Play Books is much like Apple Books, but for Android and PC users, and with a few more perks.

Pros

  • No subscription, just buy what you like.
  • Listen to previews before committing.
  • Good sales and prices overall.
  • Can be used on iPhones and Macs.
  • Large selection of audiobooks.

Cons

  • No freebies.

8. Librivox

The Librivox audiobooks website declares “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain.” So what does that mean? Basically, it’s a free library of audiobooks that are old enough to have outlasted their copyright. They are read by volunteers.

Pros

  • Completely free to use.
  • Lots of great classics like “Moby Dick,” “Frankenstein” and “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglas.”
  • Available in the Apple app store.

Cons

  • Limited selection (50,000) with no recent titles.
  • No extras, such as podcasts..
FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM
No spend challenge
Debi Hoyt
Looking for a Financial Accountability Partner
K
Saving money
r
Credit Karma Savings Account
Leslie Kay
See more in Save Money or ask a money question

9. Your Public Library System

Of course, you can go to your local library and check out audiobooks on CD, but that’s so 2005. These days most library systems are hooked up with apps like Overdrive or Hoopla so you can check out audiobooks digitally on your phone.

Pros

  • With a library card, it’s completely free.
  • Not limited to your local library but connected to a large network of libraries, so there are many titles available.
  • You can place holds on titles you want if they are not currently available.

Cons

  • You may not find every book you want.
  • Books are checked out just like non-digital copies, so they are limited and you may have to wait for certain books.
  • New and popular books frequently have a very long waiting list.
  • You do not keep the titles, just borrow.

Happy listening!

Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How We Paid Off Over $45K of Debt in 11 Months

It seems pretty normal to me now but people still drop their jaws when I tell them we’ve paid over $45K on our loans in less than a year. We still have a year to go and most days I…

The post How We Paid Off Over $45K of Debt in 11 Months appeared first on Modern Frugality.

Source: modernfrugality.com

Debt is a Four Letter Word

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. For most of my adult life, I never really considered debt a four letter word. You know the type I mean. Those coarse, offensive type you start using as a teenager to act cool around your friends. I always viewed debt as a necessity, a…

The post Debt is a Four Letter Word appeared first on Debt Discipline.


Debt is a Four Letter Word was first posted on September 27, 2019 at 8:25 am.
©2019 "Debt Discipline". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at brian@debtdiscipline.com

Source: debtdiscipline.com