How to Be Productive When You are Looking for Work

Despite tough days, there are ways to grow and stay hopeful.

How to Be Productive When You Are Looking for Work
This is your chance for growth and self-reflection.

Looking for work can be stressful and tiring, especially if you don’t have a plan. Handing out resumes and making cold calls can be hard on your self-confidence, but being strategic about your job hunt can re-invigorate you and give you the motivation to keep going. Here are 7 things you should try to do while you’re looking for work.

GET SOME PERSPECTIVE
No matter how you found yourself unemployed, you need to decide what to do next. Think deeply about your last job – what did you like about it? What didn’t you like? What do you want to get out of your next opportunity? And then think beyond your career: are you happy with your house, your city, your friends? If you’ve been itching to move to a new place, meet new people, or change your career, you have nothing but time in front of you, so you have nothing to lose by taking that chance.

FIGURE OUT YOUR FINANCES
You’re no longer employed, so take this as an opportunity to build financial habits: create a spreadsheet of your monthly spending, build a budget, or even just make a list of all your expenses. If you create the habits now, it will be much easier to pay off your debts and make your money last when you’re once again employed.

PLAN YOUR DAILY JOB SEARCH OBJECTIVES
In the job search, the ultimate goal is to land a job offer as soon as possible. But, you can break down this goal into manageable, everyday tasks. Today, for example, your objectives might be: preparing your resume and cover letter for an open position and identifying and researching 3 more companies of interest. After planning your objectives for the day, though, you must also take action. To ensure you do, setting a schedule helps.

Schedule as many interviews as you can. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s still true. Your schedule is open, so if you can just find 30 minutes of the CEO’s time, you have a way to get in the door. It’s a great way to make connections, gauge your interest in potential careers, and meet someone who might lead to a job offer down the road.

SET NETWORKING GOALS
According to a survey, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. Experts suggests that this is a key way to learning about new job opportunities and build long-lasting professional relationships. Daily networking goals can include emailing contacts, setting up lunch meetings and contacting friends about potential openings.

GET ORGANIZED
Unemployment is an excellent opportunity to get organized. Embark on some spring cleaning, go through old boxes, and get rid of the things you don’t need. Streamlining your life will help you dive head first into the next chapter, plus it helps you feel like your unemployed time is spent productively.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Technology is accelerating, creating a skills gap that makes some jobs hard to fill, research has found. It’s important to keep learning and growing. Review job descriptions and identify skills listed in the posts that you may need to work on. Show employers you’re taking the time to invest in yourself and your future.

TAKE BREAKS
While it’s important to keep yourself busy and motivated while unemployed, it’s also important to build in times of rest and relaxation. Looking for a job can be one of life’s most stressful events, so building in some time for self-care – like exercising and spending time with friends – can keep you sane during the process.

Losing your job is hard, and we all handle it in different ways. But by following the tips shared above, you’ll be well on your way to landing on your feet. And, you might end up finding a job that’s even better than the one you had before.

4 Money Concepts You’d Want to Teach Your Kids

What exactly do your kids need to know about money?

4 Money Concepts You’d Want to Teach Your Kids
Help your kids understand money before getting their hands on it.

Oh, to be young and innocent, seeing the world in black and white. Money comes from the printer in daddy’s office, and food comes from mummy’s fridge. In a way, teaching your kids about the reality of money equals ruining a part of their innocence. Cruel, eh?

Well, cruel is letting your beloved kids go out to the wild world without proper knowledge. So, how do you teach them about money without ruining their childhood? What do they need to know and what will be too confusing for them? Read on to find out the money concepts you would want to teach your kids.

1. Where does money come from?
Younger kids may think their parents can print money whenever they want. So, teach them that money is gained by doing something. Have them do small chores, like mowing the lawn or washing the dog, and reward them with a little extra allowance money. One thing to remember is to draw the line between rewarding them and teaching them that not everything they do gives them money.

Once they get the gist of how to get money, introduce them to their first piggybank. They need to learn to set some money aside for a rainy day. This helps them learn both about savings and budgeting.

2. Why do you give your money to bank?
Bring your kids along next time you go to bank. Teach them that saving money in bank is not only safer than home, but also more profitable. Tell your kids that the bank gives you interests and your money can grow overtime, but you can still take it back when you need it using your debit card.

3. Why do you borrow money?
This may be a little more confusing for kids. When you use your credit card, tell them you’re borrowing money from bank and you will repay it when the bank asks for it. Your kids may still wonder why you need to borrow from bank, so tell them something like this:

When you need a house and don’t have enough money for it, it’s okay to borrow money. Because if you don’t, then you won’t have a house to live in, right? As long as you can always repay the bills on time, then it is okay to take loans.

4. How do I get more money?
It’s time to teach the little ones about investments. Find easy things they can do that will teach them the concept of investing, like gardening. Have your kids buy tomato seeds and help them plant in the backyard. After a few weeks of nurturing the plant, help them harvest the red, juicy tomatoes – which can be either made into money or gifted to mum to cook dinner!

It is never too early to teach your kids about money. Remember to keep the lessons fun, memorable and easy to understand. Hopefully, this will help them grow to be responsible adults.

Buying Your First House? Follow These 6 Simple Steps!

We break down the process for you to help you get on the right path.

Buying your first house? Follow these 6 simple steps!
If having a house is on your bucket list, is it time to check it off?

A home can be a lot of things to a lot of people – a haven, a place to raise kids, a place to settle down, an investment… While it all sounds great, getting your foot in the door can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to do. Where do you start?

Understanding the steps to buying your first home will leave you in a better position to negotiate the right mortgage loan or accurately assess your cost of living to lock down your perfect home.

IF YOU WANT TO BUY, ASK WHY
If you want to buy a house, know why… Here are some common answers:
• Because I’m throwing money away on rent
• Because we want to start a family and owning a house, provides more stability than renting
• Because I want a place of my own
• Because buying is always a good investment

The purpose of digging into these questions is to test whether or not they’re based on objective, facts and sound reasoning.

DETERMINE YOUR PRICE RANGE
You need to determine how much home you can really afford. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between 25 and 30 percent of your income. Experts advise that your home cost be limited to two and half times your annual salary. If you spend too much on your mortgage you may not be able to meet your daily obligations let alone save for retirement. A smaller house is worth the peace of mind. If you are carrying debt (credit card or student loan), you should keep your house payments on the lower end of that amount.

CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Before trying to buy a house, you want to know where you’re at financially, which means checking your credit score.

“The loan you get to buy the property will be totally dependent on your credit rating,” says experts. Generally speaking, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate on your mortgage, and a lower interest rate can mean significantly lower monthly payments.

In other words, a high credit score means you’ll spend a lot less on your home in the long run. If your score isn’t great, consider taking some time to improve it before home shopping.

WORK WITH A MORTGAGE BANKER TO SELECT YOUR LOAN
Lenders have a wide range of competitively priced loan programs and a reputation for impressive customer service. You will have many questions when you are purchasing a home, and having one of our experienced, responsive mortgage bankers assist you can make the process much easier.

Every home buyer has their own priorities when choosing a mortgage. Some are interested in keeping their monthly payments as low as possible. Others are interested in making sure that their monthly payments never increase. And still others pick a loan based on the knowledge they will be moving again in just a few years.

FIND THE HOUSE
With your experts by your side and your parameters in place, it’s time to start searching for a house. Depending on the time of year and market conditions, you may find “the one” on your first day out or it could take a few weeks. May be even months. Be patient and be open – your perfect home might not check all your boxes at first glance.

CLOSE THE SALE
Finally, it’s time for the actual closing. A day before signing all the paper work, it’s crucial to do a walk through, to ensure that everything in the home is in working order. At the time of closing, you’ll be required to sign all of the paperwork, which will be required to complete the purchase of this property. Once all paperwork is signed, and adjustments are made, you’re now a homeowner and ready to move into your new home.

Buying a home might be very important you and your family. Make sure you understand the numbers and the issues before your emotions take over.

Non-Financial Goals That Help You Save Money

3 simple things to do that lead you to earning extra money.

Non-Financial Goals That Help You Save Money
Improve yourself and increase your bank account at the same time.

Some people believe that saving money can be done by making financial goals, such as investing. But, did you know that our non-financial goals can also help us save money and even gain extra money? Here are some examples of non-financial goals that you can add to your to-do list.

1. Learn New Hobbies and New Skills
Doing a hobby is a way to release stress from the workload. But, did you know that your hobby can make good money in the long run? For example, writing on blog is a hobby that is easy to do in your free time. You can write anything that you’re interested in. After a while, your blog can be seen by everyone through the internet. Then, where does the money come from? It will come to you after you put an advertisement on your blog. But, to go to the further step, you need to learn new skills in writing and ads. Learning these skills may take some time, but it will be worth it.

Doing other activities as a hobby also works. If you like doing sport, just keep practicing. Therefore, you will be good enough to join some competitions and win prizes that you can save.

Another hobby that you can try is collecting rare items like valuable art. You can buy arts that fit into your budget and keep it. Someday, you can sell it at higher price. But, remember that you need to choose the right arts that will have a high value for a long time.

2. Make New Friends
Expanding social life will broaden your connection. For starting up, you can join a community club. Someday in the future, the people whom you have met will come around and they might give you new opportunities. For instance, if they want to make an event, they may contact you to take part in that event. You will gain new experience and also an extra income. It is like what people say: new friends mean new opportunities.

3. Growing Plants, Why Not?
Have you ever dreamt about making salads from your backyard-vegetables? Vegetables that you have grown by yourself are healthier than the vegetables in the markets because you can avoid pesticide usage. Vegetables are not the only thing you can grow, you can also plant some delicious fruits in your garden. Eating your own vegetables and fruits will reduce your monthly expense, because you don’t have to buy them in the market anymore. In addition, you can sell your own vegetables and fruits at a good price.

Whatever goal you choose, it has to be useful for your self-development. The extra money that you will gain from your non-financial goal is only a bonus. Did you already choose a new hobby? What is your hobby right now?

What to Do If You Miss a Loan Payment

Take action sooner rather than later.

What to do if you miss a loan payment
Follow these tips as soon as possible.

We all know that it’s important to pay off our debt. But loan repayment can sometimes take a backseat when you’re trying to keep up with other bills and financial obligations. If you happen to miss a payment, there’s no need to panic. If you act quickly, you can prevent ruining your credit score.

KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS A PAYMENT

Late fees
It’s important to understand the consequences of missing a loan payment. Lenders typically begin to alert borrowers that they are late on the loan after a 10-day grace period, and they will charge a late fee. The exact amount that you’ll owe will depend on your lender’s policies and the terms you agreed to. But late fees are often a percentage of the missed payment amount.

At SpotMe, one rule applies to all – if your bank declines one of our direct debit instructions, you will be charged a $25 dishonor fee and may also incur an additional dishonor fee from your bank.

Lower credit score
Typically, if your payment is more than 45 days late, it will be reported to the major credit bureaus. This can cause a dent on your credit score, and it will take several months of on-time payments to boost your score back up.

Loan default
If you continue to miss repayments and your account goes into arrears, you will be charged a daily fee. At SpotMe, it is $5 to cover administrative expenses. This may continue until the total amount owed reaches 200% of the principal amount borrowed, at which point your account is then capped. At SpotMe, if we are unable to recover the money and close your account, we may pass your account over to an external collection’s agency. Should this happen, we are then legally entitled to register a default on your credit file, which could remain for up to 5 years.

This, however, is always a last resort. If you think you might not be able to meet your repayment obligations, do contact us straight away to discuss further.

HOW TO AVOID MISSING A LOAN PAYMENT
If you’ve missed a loan payment and are struggling to get back on track, there are a few steps to take:

Communicate with lenders
If you have taken a SpotMe loan and there is a good chance you are going to miss the repayment schedule, you must contact us immediately through our online chat, so that we can help you with options and potentially reschedule your next payments.

Switch to automatic payments
The easiest way to remember to pay your loan is to have the money taken out automatically. Certain lenders even offer a discounted APR for enrolling in automatic payments.

Pay more often
Instead of paying every month, make smaller payments every week or every other week. Incremental payments might feel easier to manage than a lump-sum payment once a month.

WHAT IF I NEED FINANCIAL HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE?
If you need to apply for Financial Hardship Assistance, please contact your lender right away. They will discuss with you the process for completing a Financial Hardship Application Form and what supporting documents would be required.

You also have the option of applying through the courts to have your loan contract amended. However, we recommend you seek legal advice first before going down this road.

MISSING PAYMENTS: IT’S NOT WORTH IT
Missing payments and failing to repay your loan can have serious financial consequences both now and in future, and can damage your ability to acquire credit for many years. If you now facing financial difficulties and may struggle to make repayments, speak to your creditors to see what options and help they may be able to provide.

Transform Your Money Setbacks Like Millionaires Do

How to get back on your feet after an unexpected money setback?

Transform Your Money Setbacks Like Millionaires Do
What you need to do to come back stronger after a money setback.

Even the most successful people experience at least one money setback in their lives. But if people had given up every time a hiccup had happened, the world wouldn’t have known names like Warren Buffet or Oprah Winfrey. So what do we do when money setback attacks?

1. Prepare for the worst
Inspirational quotes may tell you to always, always stay positive, stay faithful and the universe will lend you a helping hand. But in reality, you need a good balance between hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Don’t let yourself fall in the pit because you only see the good things and denying that bad things could happen to you too.

2. Panic is the worst thing you can do
Although panic is a natural response, getting rid of it is the very first thing to do when a financial setback happens. Tell yourself every single day, “Stay calm, you can get through this.” This way, you avoid making hasty decisions that could lead to more damage.

3. Take some time off
A money setback is a loss. So if you go through unemployment, bankruptcy, or other kinds of setback, take time to let grief, anger and depression pass and let acceptance seep in.

In this time off, you can also start talking to a financial advisor, relook at your debts and bills, and create your monthly inventory. This is a necessary step where you can reflect on your past financial decisions and consider what to do next.

4. Be responsible
During difficult times like these, it is very tempting to blame the world. “It wasn’t me. It was my weird boss. It was the bad investment company.” Well, you know, denial.

Instead of denying, it is better to accept that you’re responsible for every decision you make. Let’s take time to reflect: your boss may be weird, but did you do something to upset him? The investment company may be bad, but it’s you who chose them, right? So, accept that you make mistakes, move on and take actions to fix what you’ve done wrong.

5. Be creative
Being creative helps you see a million new ways to turn money setbacks into a success. Losing a job? Maybe it’s time to start pursuing your passion as a career. A steep fall in business? Maybe you can start making your beautiful drawings into money. Or maybe it’s time to continue your education and learn something new!

If you see it from a positive point of view, a money setback can be a sign to start doing what you’ve always procrastinated. Make sure you make the best out of every setback you deal with – hope you don’t have to deal with a lot, though. Remember that getting help is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to a financial advisor if you need to figure out how to manage your money or visit SpotMe if you need extra money to help you rebuild your business.

Settle Your Financial Problems With Payday Loans

Payday loans provide quick infusions of cash that can help you make it to the next paycheck.

Settle Your Financial Problems With Payday Loans
Payday Loans Have Some Key Advantages

We understand – you work hard at your job but nearly all of your money goes to paying bills and debts, with may be a few extra dollars to put in savings or to spend on pleasure. Then, emergency strikes and you are in a financial crisis. A car breaks down, a cell phone is lost, or an accident sends you to the hospital. You don’t have the money available to pay off these unexpected expenses.

However, getting a portion of the salary before being paid, can often lead into more responsible financial behavior which is the reason why a payday loan can be a useful tool for borrowing a small amount of money for a short period of time. When used correctly and with good intent, you can have a positive experience with a payday loan that will yield the results for which you set out.

Key advantages of payday loans:

1. Instant availability of loan: The entire application, verification and approval process is quick and money gets transferred to your account quickly. The whole process usually doesn’t take more than 24 hours.

2. Good credit score not a mandate: You will be eligible for payday loans even if you don’t have the best credit score or debt service ratio. Your credit history won’t be an eligibility criteria in getting a loan.

3. Extremely convenient: All the formalities can be completed online and you won’t need to go to a brick and mortar store. You will have the choice to either collect a check from a store or accept a direct transfer to your registered bank account. There is hardly any lapse of time.

4. No need to provide collateral security: Payday loans are available without collateral security. The rate is higher but you don’t risk losing your house, car or other valuable assets at any point in time.

5. Loan amount determined by income: You will only get a percentage of your monthly income. So, even if you want to borrow more, you can’t and this acts as a check on irrational borrowing.

Additionally, payday loans are flexible. You use the money for anything, unlike a car loan. For a car loan, you make payments to the lender for the car. With a cash advance loan, you decide where the money goes. This flexibility gives you independence. Young people who are just starting out often like this option. It keeps them from having to ask their parents for money when they run short at the end of the month.

Ready for that curve ball?
Hopefully, you won’t need to take out a loan. But if you do, it’s good to know that payday loans are an option. If you are interested in a personal loan and would like SpotMe to help you with it, please request now.

Money Management: How to Boost Your Credit Score?

Learn how to build your credit score from scratch or improve a poor one.

Money Management: How to Boost Your Credit Score?
Yes, You Can Achieve That Excellent Credit Score!

Credit score plays a significant role in all kinds of loans. Without a good credit score, you can’t apply for loans or credit cards. Yet, you can’t have credit score without taking out a loan or credit.

Yes, loan and credit score are inseparable. So whether you’re just getting started on building a credit history, or already have one but want to boost it, read on to find out easy steps to help you along the journey.

Start with a secured credit card
If you have zero credit history but want to start making one, a secured credit card is the option you may want to consider. A secured credit card works just like the normal, unsecured credit cards. The difference is that a secured credit card requires you to pledge a number of collateral money and the credit limit is usually the same amount as your collateral. Use it well, never miss a payment, and you’re on a good start to apply for unsecured credit cards or other kinds of loan.

Pay 100% on time
We know that you are setting aside some of your money to save for bigger things – house, car, marriage. And sometimes you might want to pay just the minimum amount of your phone or credit card bills to speed up your saving process. Credit score wise, this is not something you should do. Missing a payment date or failing to pay in full leaves a bad impact on your credit score. So keep saving, but don’t neglect your regular bills.

Keep an eye on your credit card balances
To boost your credit score, make sure your credit utilization is low. The optimum credit utilization is 30% of your credit limit or below. This means, if you have $1,000 limit and want to keep your credit score excellent, never charge more than $300 on your card.

Don’t close your unused credit cards
How many credit cards do you have? Do you use all of them? We bet you don’t. So here’s a quick tip: use only 1-2 credit cards and leave the others unused, but keep them around – unless they charge you with costly annual fee. This way, you improve your overall credit utilization and age of credit, which leads to a better credit score.

Another thing to note is that charging $100 on one card and $50 on another may hurt your credit score. So pay off all the small balances, and stick to 1-2 cards only.

Never apply for a credit or loan just because
Applying for too many credit or loan may improve your credit utilization. But at the same time, it also hurts your credit score because it lowers your age of credit. So only apply for a new credit or loan when you really need one.

It is never too late to boost your credit score, no matter what it looks like now. After all, managing credit score is not so different from managing money. Start improving your score and enjoy the ease of applying other, bigger loans!

For short-term loans with low interests and easy application, visit SpotMe.

4 Simple Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Imagine how wonderful it would feel to have no monthly house payment.

4 Simple Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early
Enjoy Living in a House That’s Truly Yours

Purchasing a home is a dream for pretty much everyone. But, taking on that massive debt can prevent you from retiring earlier, or sending the kids to a better college, or taking that dream vacation. Like any other debt, if you’re able to get rid of your mortgage as soon as possible, the better off you’ll be down the road.

This may sound like an uphill task, but if you follow expert advice, you may be able to actually pay your mortgage off within a decade.

Make sure your home loan works for you
When it comes to choosing a home loan that suits your needs and works with your lifestyle and goals, look at more than just the interest rate. For example, a home loan that offers an offset account may come with a higher interest rate than a competing product, but could actually save you more money over time.

Make more frequent payments
Instead of making one monthly payment, you can make a half-sized payment every two weeks. In other words, if your usual mortgage payment is $1000 a month, you would instead pay $500 every other week. This will have the nearly the same impact on your budget as one monthly payment, but because there are 52 weeks in a year, a biweekly payment schedule will result in 13 full-sized payments a year instead of the normal 12.

Pay off the principal
Depending on your circumstances, you may want to steer clear of interest only loans. Choosing to only pay the interest on your loan for a set period of time will mean that once the interest only period expires, the required principal amount will need to be paid off at a higher propensity. Attacking both the principal and the interest is the best way to get your home loan paid off faster.

Re-finance to a shorter-term loan
If you have a 30-year loan, you can re-finance to a 10-15-year loan. While your monthly payments might be bigger than before, you’ll pay off the loan in a fraction of the time. Let’s say you got a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for $200,000 at 4.5 percent. Five years later, you re-finance into a 15-year loan at 4 percent. This pays off the mortgage 10 years earlier and saves you more than $60,000.

Shorter-term loans tend to have lower interest rates than 30-year loans. Unless you can secure a loan lower than the old rate, you can skip re-financing.

Put your windfalls into your mortgage
Many taxpayers get a tax refund every year. If you use most, or all, of that money as an extra payment on your mortgage, you can make serious progress in getting your house paid off. Other potential windfalls include a bonus from work, a successful garage sale, or a gift from a relative. And if you get a raise, consider putting all the extra income into your mortgage. For example, let’s say your monthly take-home pay was $4,000 and your 3% raise means that you’re now getting $4,120 per month. Put the extra $120 into your mortgage every month and you won’t even miss the money, since you’re not used to having it.

There’s no point paying for things you don’t need, or overpaying for things you do, so find where you can make some cuts. You could use the extra cash to make additional payments on your home loan and help to secure a debt-free lifestyle much sooner.

5 Tips to Make Credit Cards Work for You

The only right way to use credit cards is to get benefits out of them, not the other way around.

5 Tips to Make Credit Cards Work for You
Get the Best Out of Your Credit Cards

Let’s do a little throwback: how old were you when you got your first credit card? Twenty one, twenty four, thirty? Back then, did you know how to use your card wisely and avoid getting stuck in unnecessary debts? You probably didn’t. But, now that we’re older and wiser, let’s learn some tips so you know exactly how to make credit cards work for you, not the other way around, so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

1. Always pay in full and on time
The first way to make sure you get trapped in the pool of credit card debts is either by paying only the minimum amount or paying late. When you don’t pay your credit card bill in full, you are charged with around 3% interest per month. And it’s even worse when you forget to pay on time. Not only will you be charged with late fee, your interest rate will also be increased. So, grab your phone now and set a reminder to pay your credit card bill at least five days before the latest date.

2. Use credit cards to manage your money
Every month or week, you set a budget for your daily life needs, don’t you? Why not use your credit card as a means to set your budget? Let’s say your credit card limit is $500, make that your living budget for a month – $100 for each week and another $100 for emergency. This way, when you get your monthly income, the only thing you have to do is pay your credit card bill. No more budgeting hassle!

3. Use credit cards for costly stuff
If you have high limit credit cards, use them only for buying costly stuff. For example, you need a small fridge for your new apartment. Why don’t you pay with your credit card 0% installment? Other than ease of payment, this also helps keep yourself from overspending with your high limit card. Double benefits, check!

4. Master how points and rewards work
Credit cards offer so many benefits you might not remember all of them. Well, you just need to get to know the rewards that will be beneficial for you – discounts on your favorite restaurant, cashback on your grocery store, hotel loyalty points, or travel insurance. And if you use your card frequently, you may collect the loyalty points which you can use to pay annual fee or redeem it and get various gifts – cash, merchandise, vouchers, and many more.

5. Keep your card for a long time
Credit cards play a role on your credit score. If you use your cards frequently and never miss a payment, this will be very beneficial for you future credit score. You will appear trustworthy from the eyes of the lenders by actively using your card and always paying on time. And in the future, this will make it easier for you to apply for mortgage or other kinds of loan.

Credit cards are not the enemy. The irresponsibility in using credit cards is. So, always use your cards wisely and you will get yourself a lot of amazing benefits!