Overdraft Fees: What Are They and How Can You Avoid Them?

Have you ever been hit with an overdraft fee? That could be one of the most infuriating things to happen to you on a given day. It’s led many to start questioning the point and even the morality of charging someone money for not having enough money. Where is the sense in that? But it is currently a fact of life, so we must learn what they are exactly and how we can avoid them whenever we possibly can.

ways to send money

What are Overdraft Fees?

According to Credit Karma, an overdraft fee is an expense charged when a withdrawal from your bank account exceeds the amount of money available in it. Your bank covers the extra cost through an overdraft protection service, and the fee is charged in exchange for the banks covering costs. This overdraft protection prevents you from having your card declined when you attempt transactions past your balance.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

  • Get Alerts for a Low Balance

You can automate your balance check ins by asking your bank to set up email and/or text message alerts for when your account balance is low. This way you can transfer some money straight into your account to avoid overdrafting or getting declined.

  • Track your Spending through Mint

If you struggle to watch your spending, then you likely need to improve upon that, not only for the sake of overdrafts. Unchecked spending can lead you to great financial anxiety and increase your likelihood to keep living paycheck to paycheck.

  • Opt Out of the Overdraft Coverage

This is the easiest solution to the problem of overdraft fees. Just simply opt out of the overdraft coverage program with your bank. After doing this, you may have to deal with the embarrassment of getting declined, but if you save a significant amount of money by doing so then it will likely be worth it.

Getting Out of the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle

People who suffer most from overdraft fees tend to be those individuals living paycheck to paycheck. A surprising number of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck and it is very stressful. A large overdraft fee would not make that situation any better. So, if your overdraft fees are a result of too little funds altogether rather than an oversight, here are a few ideas for getting out of that horrible paycheck to paycheck cycle:

  • Get Some Temporary Funding

Some individuals find getting some temporary funding helps them get back on their feet so they can make a budget or get a higher paying job. You can look into a home equity loan, personal loan, or a registration loan. Always be sure that you will be able to repay the loan in a timely manner, so you don’t end up defaulting, making your financial situation worse.

  • Get a Side Hustle

Think about getting a side hustle to lift yourself out of the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. Increasing your monthly income could allow you to start putting money aside for the future and give you a little extra cushion to see where you might be able to alter your budget. You could drive for Uber or Lyft, be a dogwalker with Rover or Wag, and any other number of great side jobs.

How to Get the Best out of the Dollar Stores

In 2020, there are several dollar stores in the United States. Typically these stores have a wide variety of items which they sell for a dollar or less than that. In some countries, this type of store is also known as a variety store. What makes shopping at a dollar store interesting is if you know the right way to shop in here, you could save plenty of money each month.

According to stat by Statista, in 2018, there were a total of 31,620 dollar stores throughout the United States. A thousand more than what it was a year ago. So, there are plenty of stores and you don’t have to worry about traveling far away from your home to find one. I am sure there is a dollar store, within just a few blocks from your home. If there isn’t, then maybe you could try the below-mentioned tricks the next time you visit another city.

How to Get the Best out of Dollar Stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General?

1) Fish For Information on Logistics

There is no point in being a dollar store customer of you are the last one to get to store and there is no stock left for you to take home for cheap. If the items you desire to buy are in demand, there is a possibility that the dollar store orders it every week. Talk to a staff member and find out on what day the delivery vehicles arrive at the store. 

2) Look for Opportunities Online

If you live in a remote location and don’t have access to a dollar tree store, it would be wise to do the shopping online. Stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General have their online stores. The shipping charges are also quite minimal. Just don’t forget to order in bulk. 

3) Make use of Manufacturer Coupons

For each item you purchase from a dollar store like Dollar Tree, you can use a Manufacturer Coupon to get an additional discount. In short, you can get the item even cheaper than a dollar. Dollar tree accepts one Manufacturer Coupon per item. In their terms and conditions (as mentioned on the website), they have made it clear that they do not accept more than 4 coupons a day.

4) Make the Best of the Holidays

Every holiday season, the dollar stores attempt to lure new customers by bringing fresh stock of items that you normally won’t find there. This is the time when you can purchase items worth a lot more than $1 for cheap. From exercise equipment to children’s toys, dollar stores order fresh stock about a month before the holiday season.

5) Have Lunch for Less Than a Dollar

lunch

You will be surprised to learn that–like 7Eleven–some dollar stores too have ready-to-eat lunch trays in the store. You can go for anything from a chicken salad to pasta macaroni. Some ready-to-eat meals are available in trays, others you can get them microwaved for free.

Conclusion

These are tips and tricks I have discerned by shopping in dollar stores. I hope they help you get a headstart for your next shopping spree. 

Places to Make Copies Near Me For Cheap

Not everyone has a printer at their home. Even if you have one, there is no point in buying a new cartridge for the sake of printing out a handful of copies. Depending on the make and model of your printer, a cartridge will cost you anywhere between $40-$100.

Besides, you will only be needing to make copies once or twice a year. Particularly, during the tax filing season or exam period(if you are a student). Why waste a hundred bucks when you can make copies near your home or workplace for free?

Here are a few places near your house or workplace to make copies for cheap or free.

1. Your apartment complex

Every apartment complex has a maintenance office where things like a copy machine, stationery, spare copies, printer, etc are present. Ask your apartment maintenance guy to use the copy machine for a few minutes. You can also use the paper and the stapler available there. This is free of cost way of making copies.

2. Ask your neighbor

Not every neighbor gets creeped out with the thought of interacting with other people in the apartment complex. Make friends with a sociable neighbor and use his/her printer for making free copies. You can return the favors by buying them a coffee or a doughnut sometime in the future.

3. At your school or college

Most schools or colleges let their students use the copy machine for free. Generally, there is a copy machine somewhere around the student section where you can ask the person in charge to make some copies for you. This free of cost way of making copies will save you a lot of money.

The amount you save depends on how much study material you need to be copied. Law students use a ton of study material. So do engineering students.

4. At your workplace

Making copies at your workplace without permission from your employer can get you in some trouble. But it is fine if your company allows it’s employees to use the copy machine for free. You can also take your seniors permission, in case you need something urgently printed.

5. Costco

Everyone knows how unusual Costco is. Now they also have made it possible for you to upload your material(that needs to be printed) on their website and pick the copies the next day. You can do all this for $0.17 per print(4×6 prints).

If the Costco Photo Centre is far away from your home or you don’t have to the time to visit them, you can also order the copies directly at your doorstep(in 5-7 business days).

Costco is cheap to get regular A4 size copies(needed in tax filing, exam preparations, school assignment submission). It is a bit expensive for posters and collages.

6. A local store near you

local store

This should the obvious choice for most of you, but it will cost you a few cents per copy. If spending a few bucks is not a big deal, head straight to your local copy store and get your copies in minutes.

Usually, these stores are run by local businessmen. And they are located near a University, school, a busy area, business street, or near a court.

According to a report by OfficeLink, a black and white copy can cost an average of $0.05 to $0.08, and a page with color costs around $0.12 to $0.15.

Summary

This post may seem unnecessary for some people as no one wants to fuss about making free copies. But for those who are learning the ways of frugal living, it can be a great lesson to learn. By successfully getting free copies, you can break the spending pattern and learn how to communicate with people in your vicinity and get things done without paying for it.

Best Careers for Bilinguals and Multilinguals

Are you fortunate enough to speak more than one language?

Maybe you migrated to the United States recently or you took classes to learn a new language. Being able to read, write and speak fluently in more than one language(being Bilingual or Multilingual) has a ton of career benefits that you will get to know when you join one of the following careers.

careers

Here are the best careers for Bilinguals and Multilinguals.

1. Human Resources Specialist

As a Human Resource Specialist, your job is to develop new relationships with potential employees, network, hire, conduct job interviews, screen candidates for the job interview, etc. All of the above tasks require you to have excellent verbal and written communication in one or more languages.

Salary: $59,180 per year.

2. Translator

Translator or Interpreter is another great career choice for Bilinguals and Multilinguals. Having the ability to speak more than one language is the only skill that qualifies for this job.

Salary: $47,736 per year

3. Teacher

Become a teacher of foreign languages if you have the ability to speak more than one language. A foreign language teacher specializes in one foreign language only. You can teach courses at the university or work independently on platforms like Udemy and SkillShare.

Salary: $63,129

4. Customer Service Representative

Working in the customer service department of an organization requires you to have excellent communication skills. You will also need to be able to speak multiple foreign languages(usually the ones where the customers of the organization you work for reside or belong to).

You don’t need to be an expert in multiple languages but should be able to help a customer out on phone or via chat. This job is well suited for multilinguals.

Salary: $38,037 per year

5. IT Consultant

Information technology consultant is one of the most lucrative career choices for Bilinguals and Multilinguals. However, it is not easy to become one. You need prior education in Information Technology or Computer Science; preferably a college degree. And also some experience working in the software industry.

An IT consultant has to travel and meet prospects and customers in many different countries. Multilinguals have better shot at excelling in this career.

Salary: $78,031

6. Diplomat

Diplomats are government officials who work for the foreign affairs department. Your job as a diplomat is to travel and meet high ranking people from all over the world. This is the right career for anyone who loves to travel and hate spending nine-ten hours each day in a cubicle. However, due to limited seats, there is massive competition for this job. This is what makes it the highest paid job on my list.

Salary: $87,245

Summary

The career choices listed above are for people who want to take full advantage of being Bilingual or Multilingual. And it makes complete sense as the competition in the job market is increasing day after day and job seekers are willing to learn new things that will give advantage to them over others.

Lastly, the salaries mentioned above are average salaries for a newbie or intermediate. The data is shown from reputed sources like PayScale, Indeed, and CollegeGrad.

How to Get a Student Loan Without a Cosigner

Having a cosigner at the time of applying for a student loan is great. It makes the whole loan approval process smooth and stress-free for both you and the lender. But have you ever considered the downsides of taking a student loan with your mom or dad as a cosigner? Moreover, you are not unlucky if you don’t have a cosigner to help you get your student loan approved.

Here are a few Federal student loan options you have while applying without a co-signer.

1. Stafford Loan

Stafford loan is a federal loan offered to college students and professionals taking a vocational course in the university. Most students use the Stafford loans to pay for large expenses like tuition fees and accommodation. They are also known as direct loans. A student when accepted into a college or university accredited to accept federal loans have to fill up the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form on the FederalStudentAid website.

There two types of Stafford loans:

a) Subsidized Stafford loan: The interest on subsidized loans is paid by the federal government for a certain period. This loan is only for a student who has extreme financial difficulties. The student is supposed to demonstrate that his/her poor financial condition. 

b) Unsubsidized Stafford loan: Most students would fit into this category. To get approved for an unsubsidized loan, you just need to fill up the FAFSA form. You are totally responsible to pay off this loan and no cosigner or government aid will be considered.

2. PLUS Loan

A PLUS Loan is a federal loan available to graduate and undergraduates students or their parents. Usually, PLUS Loans are used by the parent of the student. They can use this money for their personal expenses without any restrictions. But this loan can also be used by a student who doesn’t have a cosigner.

To apply for this loan you have to complete a FAFSA. You don’t have to worry about demonstrating a financial need to get approved for this loan. Just make sure that you are enrolled in a school that participates in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.

3. FundingU-“Let your hard work co-sign for you.”

If for some reason, you do not qualify for the Federal loans(without a cosigner), you must take a look at the private lenders like FundingU. Offering student loans without a cosigner is what makes them the best private lender. In fact, it is their motto to let the student continue their education even if they don’t have a cosigner. You can check the eligibility in less than 30 seconds, and once approved, borrow $3,000-$10,000 each school year.

Summary

This might sound a bit morbid. But what will you do if your co-signer passes away and you find yourself completely unprepared to pay-off the loan? Also the risk of putting your parent in harm’s way as they now have to worry about your student loans on top of their retirement woes. A wise financial decision would be to apply for the student loan without a co-signer.

How to Deal with Outstanding Student Loans

Student loan debt is so bad that it’s now considered a crisis, with over $1.5 trillion owed among 44 million borrowers in the U.S. alone. These astronomical numbers are second only to mortgage debt and a number of students are suffering with the burden of paying off student loans well into adulthood.

People who graduate with student loans are often trapped in a vicious cycle of constantly being in debt because of an inability to keep up with payments. Even if a student manages to find a job right after graduating, the income alone is often not enough to keep up with student debt as well as the standard cost of living (especially when rent is high). In turn, young adults resort to relying on credit cards to pay for basic things like food, transportation, internet, etc., pushing them even further into debt.

Student loan

So what can be done to offset the burden of student loans? While there are options out there, you’re going to have to do a little leg work to find them.

Debt Consolidation

Instead of paying off all of your loans from multiple creditors and at different interest rates, you can consolidate your debt into one single monthly payment. The Credit Canada debt consolidation program is a great option for people who need a helping hand when it comes to managing their bills and money.

You’ll work with a certified Credit Counsellor who can combine all of your unsecured debt into one monthly payment. They will also negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to either stop or lower the  interest on your debt. From there, they will work with you to create a plan with a specific end date as to when you will pay off everything you owe. To achieve this quickly complete a student loan consolidation form and compares rates to find reduced interest plans.

The goal is to create a repayment plan where you pay off your debt rather than just paying the interest on your debt. With a lower or zero-percent interest rate on your debt moving forward, every payment you make goes towards paying down the principle rather than just covering the interest. This is extremely helpful for people who have more than just student loans to deal with because managing other debts can make paying off your student loan much easier and more manageable.

Budgeting

A number of students are familiar with living on a budget, and it’s something that many adults are going to have to keep up with if they want to pay off their debts. There are a number of useful tools out there for building a budget that works for you, but the most important factor is that you stick with it. Easier said than done, but a budget is the number one way to pay off your debt and secure money for yourself in the future.

Hold off On Major Life Changes

While it’s not something anyone wants to hear, a number of young adults are holding off on major life events like getting married or buying a home in order to save money. With the average cost of getting married sitting at over $30,000, it’s no wonder that couples hold off from tying the knot. Buying a home and settling down to have children is even more expensive, so it’s best that you have your debts in order before even thinking about making these huge financial commitments.

Despite the grim picture, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Keep working towards your goals and you’ll eventually get there.