Tag Archives: Finances

How To Save Money With Cash

Recently BuzzFeed ran an article with one of its editors in which she set out to save money over the course of two weeks by only using cash to pay for her necessities and to put her credit card away.  During the first week she set a budget of under $60.  This included buying food, going out for entertainment, and fun activities like going to get drinks with friends.  

The first few days of her first week were a success.  She walked down 35 blocks to attend the grand opening of a new Mexican restaurant where she was able to buy lunch and dinner for $2.  The next day she went to a local grocery store and bought dinner and coffee for $5.  She opted to stay home and cook dinner rather than going out to eat.  On her third day she found a new bar and went to get drinks with a friend because of a $2 special they were having.  By Saturday night though she had given into her old spending habits and the pleasures she had grown accustomed to and exceeded her budget of $60 by spending $75.

The second week she set a budget of $40 to cover all food expenses and entertainment.  This time she buckled down and made it happen.  Monday she went to McDonald’s to get her morning coffee and take advantage of their special of $1 coffee instead of going to Starbucks and spending $4.  For lunch she went online and found great new restaurants that were offering amazing specials for their lunch and dinner menu’s.  Tuesday she was able to spend $5 on lunch and dinner for the entire day.

Why did FIRMS just tell you about this one woman’s experience on setting a budget?  Because FIRMS is dedicated to helping you get out of debt and save more money.

This woman lives in New York City and was able to live for two weeks on only $115 for her food and entertainment.  Everyone has a budget and lifestyle they have become accustomed to and not everyone can live on $40 a week for food and entertainment, especially if you have a family.  However, everyone can cut expenses if they had to.

So how much debt do you have?  How much do you want to get out from the burden of debt and to remove those recurring monthly bills from your budget?

We suggest tracking your spending over the last two months.  Look and see how much money you have actually spent on food and entertainment.  Do you have the number written down?  Now take 25% off that and live on that remaining amount for the next month.  Why?  Because now you can take that 25% and apply it towards your debt payments for that month.  This might sound like a lot for you today but it’s not that challenging so long as you set a plan on how to live off the remaining balance and if you PUT YOUR CREDIT CARD AWAY!  USE CASH!  As we have mentioned in previous blogs, paying with credit cards always cause you to spend more money than you planned.

So set your budget, pay with cash, hide your credit card, and PAY OFF YOUR DEBT!

FIRMS is here if you have any questions or need any advice on how to properly set your budget and stick to it!

 

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Helping People To Get Results.

Helping People To Get Results.

The world of business and sales has continually developed over the years and successful companies have gone from trying to aggressively sell their products and services to potential customers to realizing and understanding that it is far more important to help their customers find a solution to their problems.  In the world of business we are realizing that it is far more important to help your customer find a solution, to help them through a difficult process in order to earn their business and also earn a customer for life.

FIRMS is a debt collection company that specializes in helping our customer work through difficult situations.  This is our area of expertise in the debt and financial world.  Whether it be helping local companies collect on outstanding debts, helping the customer we call to collect from in assisting them through difficult work related issues such as helping to build their resume or sending it out to assist them in finding new employment, or through this blog in helping you learn about the ins and outs of the financial world and how you can better manage and handle your money.

A lot of people may visit this blog produced by FIRMS and wonder why we write about topics like saving and paying off debt or managing your monthly finances through a budget.  For FIRMS we care about our customers, we care about anyone needing help or advice and education on managing their finances.  We care about local communities, we care about helping more Americans get out of debt and save for their families and their own lives.

FIRMS is a rare breed in the world of debt collection companies for one simple reason; we care about the customers and people we deal with every day.  You will never catch FIRMS focused on the almighty dollar, you will never find FIRMS only interested in collecting from individuals in any way possible.  You will always find FIRMS caring for our customers and helping people find positive solutions.

 

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Saving For An Emergency

Saving For An Emergency

A great way to get out of debt is to save and pay off your debts.  Right?  Sounds simple enough.  But there is also another step that comes before paying off debts, this is a step that a lot of people do not fully understand and can result in going further into debt.

This is another common principle that a lot of financial experts advise their clients and fan base to pursue.  The principle is establishing an emergency fund prior to paying off your personal debts.  

For some of us, we went into debt in the first place because there was a form of an emergency that we were not prepared or financially equipped to handle at the moment and the way of handling the financial burden was to use a credit card or take out a no-interest loan that later became impossible to pay off in time.

An emergency fund is a great way to, well, prepare for an emergency.  A standard amount that most experts agree on saving is $1,000.  Now this is where things can get a little tricky.

We believe that you should work towards establishing this $1,000 emergency fund BEFORE you begin paying off your debts.  The logic is simple, if you begin paying off your debts and run into an emergency, you will still not be financially equipped to handle the emergency and will go further into debt.  

Despite what your expenses may be or what level your income stands, saving $1,000 into an emergency fund will be enough to handle most issues that may arise in your financial life.  Make sure your emergency fund is located in a liquid form.  You do not want to have the easiest access to your money, unless you have exceptional self-control, but you also need to insure that you have total access in the event there is an emergency.  A savings account is a great example while a CD or stuffing your $1,000 under the mattress may not be the best places to store your money.

Once you have saved the initial $1,000 you can begin paying off your debts little by little.

But the most important aspect to remember is that you are developing a healthier financial intelligence concerning your personal finances.  No matter how difficult it may seem to save the $1,000 remember you can literally do anything you put your time, energy, and thoughts to.  

Here’s to you saving money and paying off debt!

 

Expert Advice To Get Out Of Debt!

    wallettIf you’re one of the thousands of Americans who has committed to finally paying off your debt this year, then you might be wondering how to keep that promise to yourself. After all, people often build up debt not because they want to but because of unexpected life events, from an illness to job loss. The Nerd Wallet 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study, released last month, found that the average household has $15,355 of credit card debt (and $129,579 in total debt, including mortgages).  Paying it off is not going to be easy. But it is possible. U.S. News asked four money experts to shed light on how to get it done.

  1. Pick 10 micro steps.

“Often people get the big goals, but they don’t have micro action steps. Every macro win requires 10 micro wins,” says Lisa Nichols, life coach, TV personality and author of the new book, “Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today.” Focusing on baby steps helps prevent the paralysis that can come from feeling overwhelmed, she adds.

  1. Develop a new revenue stream.

“Most people only think about cutting expenses, which is necessary, but an abundant thinker spends more time growing their top line, too,” Nichols says. That might mean launching a side business helping friends organize their closets, for example. “With the money you make, write yourself a check and on the memo line, write, ‘funding my freedom’ — you write that a couple times, and, girl, you get real excited,” she says.

  1. Be patient.

If you’re paying off a lot of debt, it might take 18 months and not 90 days, Nichols points out. “Give yourself permission” to take the time you need, or else you could be setting yourself up for failure, she says.

  1. Fully commit to a debt-free life.

“We have to start with our minds and decide it’s important and possible to get out of debt,” says DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, and author of “Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom.” He started helping members of his church become debt-free after noticing how many of them, including relatively affluent, high-earning members, struggled with debt. “Being in debt prevents us from having emergency funds, from accumulating wealth, and from a spiritual perspective, it speaks to a spiritual flaw, that we don’t have discipline and self-control,” he says.

  1. Track your spending.

Back when Soaries was younger and routinely asked his father for money, his dad asked him where his paycheck was going. “I didn’t know — it doesn’t leave home when you’re sleeping,” he says. So he started tracking his spending by writing everything down, and he now encourages others to do the same. “You can literally give yourself a raise if you start by taking control of the money you have,” he says.

  1. Find an accountability partner.

You can sustain change by joining a money support group. “We work through church groups to celebrate each other’s victories and create positive peer pressure,” Soaries says. “If you don’t go to church, find one person to do this with. It’s harder to do by yourself.” Finding a friend who is also committed to paying off debt can make it easier to stick with your goals.

  1. Get help.

Leslie Tayne, author of “Life & Debt” and a debt resolution attorney based in New York, often negotiates new, lower payments with lenders on behalf of her clients, who can’t keep up with their payments. Her typical client has $60,000 to $80,000 in credit card debt. “This time of year, our phones are ringing much more, and people are motivated to take a look at their finances and make a change,” she says. While sometimes her advice is as simple as canceling orders for big-ticket items that haven’t yet arrived, she also works out new payment plans.

“Theoretically, you can try to do it on your own, but most people are not that successful with it. You don’t know whether the creditor is telling you accurate information, and you want to be careful because there are nuances when resolving debt. You want certain things in writing,” she says.

  1. Transfer balances to lower interest rate cards.

If you are paying off debt on multiple credit cards with different interest rates, you can reduce your payments by transferring balances to the lowest interest rate card, or even taking out a 0 percent interest card if possible, suggests Lynn Pettus, partner and national director of employee financial services at Ernst & Young. (Just be sure to pay off the remaining debt before that 0 percent introductory rate expires.) “Make sure you don’t get more and more credit cards but consolidate,” Pettus says.

  1. Focus on credit card debt first.

Unlike mortgage interest payments, credit card interest payments are not tax-deductible, Pettus points out, and they usually have a higher interest rate than student loans or mortgages. That makes paying off those credit cards a top priority. If you get a tax refund this year, consider putting that money toward the debt to get even closer to paying it off. Then, going forward, save up money in advance for big expenses, such as a vacation or holiday gifts, so you can avoid building up debt again, Pettus advises.

After all, the easiest way to pay off credit card debt is to avoid it in the first place.

Characteristics of Debt-Free people

    Let’s talk about goals.  But first we need to get real with ourselves.  

Let’s assume you have personal debt.  According to credit.com 80% of Americans are currently in debt of some sort whether it be student loans, credit cards, car loans, or home loans.  My question for you is this; how does it feel?  Do you like having those debts?  Does it feel good to make payments month after month with those interest rates adding to the amount of money you owe?  I will take a stab in the dark and say your answer is no, you do not like paying those bills every month.  Wouldn’t it be nice to not have those payments?  The average American carries over $15,000 in credit card debt alone!  Imagine not having that account any longer.  What could you do with that money?

    I am writing this post at 8:25PM on Wednesday January 13th.  I have been told that tonight at 10:59PM the Powerball lottery numbers will be chosen and someone, or a number of people, will win over ONE BILLION DOLLARS!  I am sure a lot of you are dreaming about what you could do with that much money, and I am sure that in your top ten list of what you would use the money for paying off debt is not listed.  Whether you win the Powerball lottery or not, I want to provide you with a strategy that will help you pay off your outstanding debts.  The following is a list of some characteristics of debt-free people.

  1. They are wise.  Debt-free people are not as concerned with their FICO score as they are with their net worth.  While you are focusing on paying off your debt you should consider debt as being a very bad thing.  Do not go into debt while you are trying to pay off debt.  It is not wise and debt-free people are wise.
  2. They are patient.  Debt-free people are focused and secure in their goals and their strategy and they do not fly by the seat of their pants.  They wait patiently for their opportunity.  You should not go into debt to buy Powerball tickets hoping to pay off your debts!
  3. They are not materialistic.  You do not need the latest iPhone, especially if it will cost you paying off your credit card debt.  You do not need to go spend $200 at the bar or at the newest restaurant in town.  Never allow your need for materialism to get in the way of you being debt-free.      
  4. They are willing to make sacrifices.  You may need to sacrifice your morning Starbucks and make coffee at home in order to pay off a credit card earlier.  You could save $250 a month by simply making coffee at home rather than buying your morning cup of joe at a local coffee or donut shop.

Set goals, make a vision board.  Determine what you are going to spend all your money on when you are debt-free.  Plan that dream vacation you will be able to afford when you don’t have all of those monthly debt payments to worry about and then stick to the principles above to get yourself out of debt and on your way to financial freedom!

    At FIRMS we are dedicated to making America a better place by helping businesses stay open by assisting them in collecting debts owed to their business and helping the average American in debt by giving them useful tips and information to become debt-free.

 

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resolutions1

New Year’s Resolutions!

Happy New Year!

    Welcome to 2016!  Today people everywhere are making New Year’s resolutions.  They are setting goals they hope to attain this year to enhance their lives.  The goals could be to lose weight, to write a novel, to make more money, to save more money, to get out of debt, to eat healthier, to join a gym, to learn how to play a musical instrument.  Whatever the resolution may be, the point is that people everywhere are making them.  You have probably already made a list yourself, I know FIRMS has made our list of changes for 2016.  One of the resolutions at FIRMS is to help more people, just like you, get out of debt and give more information and advice through this blog.  With that in mind, today’s post will focus on how to stay focused on your New Year’s resolution to pay off debt.

Did you know that more than 65% of Americans who set a New Year’s resolution have broken that goal within the first month of the New Year?  It’s true!  So here are a few tips on how to make sure your goal of paying off debt will stay intact all year long!

  1. Make it something you really want.  Set a reason for why you want to pay off debt.  Maybe you need to move into a larger apartment or house.  Maybe you want to pay to go back to school.  Maybe a vacation you want to take this summer.  Make sure you have a specific reason for paying off debt and then write it down and post it in a place where you will see it everyday.  
  2. Make your goal specific.  Don’t just say “I want to pay off debt.”  But set a specific goal.  “I want to pay off $3,000 in debt this year.”
  3. Help yourself by automating your savings.  Set up a savings account where $50 is automatically deposited from your paycheck or checking account every month.  That way you can take yourself out of the equation and guarantee some progress no matter what happens.  Also, companies such as Acorns can help you save and invest.

    Some tips from resolution masters to keep on track and not forsake your goals are:

  1. Keep a journal.  Keep a little notebook with you and write about your experience in maintaining your resolution.  What is difficult about keeping your resolution?  What is easy for you?  Write it down.
  2. Take someone with you to reaching your goal. Maybe it’s your spouse or a best friend.  Encourage someone to go along with you to reaching the same goal and then get together to talk about the progress you have been making.
  3. Don’t make your resolution too extreme.  Don’t set a goal of paying off $25,000 in debt if you only make $30,000 a year, that is not possible.  Set a manageable goal, something that will push you but something you will be able to accomplish.

    Remember, you can do this.  Every journey begins with the first step forward.  Don’t let anything keep you down, set your New Year’s resolutions today and get out there and accomplish your goals.  FIRMS is always here if you have any questions about one of these topics and we would be happy to help.

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FIRMS Goal for 2016

    Today is the end of a year, 2015, and what a great year it was!  Tomorrow is a new beginning, a new start, a new opportunity for individuals and businesses to grow and to change and to reach the goals and accomplish those tasks that have been on the to-do list for awhile.

At FIRMS we take great pride in being one of the premier debt collection companies in the industry.  Our focus has always been and will continue to be helping doctors office, small businesses, and any other company stay open and profitable by helping to collect on outstanding debts.  FIRMS is very unique and vastly different from other debt collections agencies because we are not just focused on collecting money but on making sure we change the debt collection game in the process.

We have written before about some of the ways FIRMS is unique.  Whether it be our focus on making the account management fast and simple for office managers, or our dedication to helping those individuals we contact to collect from by writing their resume and helping them find work when they are unemployed, or it could be our wanting to change the debt collection industry by offering our clients complete transparency when it comes to the collection process and account updates.

FIRMS is making 2016 a year of growth and change.  We are more committed than ever to help our clients collect on those outstanding debts and to help local communities by collecting in a friendly, uplifting, and effective process.

If you have been reading and are curious as to how FIRMS can help your business, now is the time to contact our offices.  Don’t put off for tomorrow what you should be doing today.

We wish you a very happy New Year and look forward to working with you!
     – FIRMS

Positive Tips To Getting Debt-Free

    At FIRMS we are aware that most you are probably still trying to get used to the fact that a premier debt collection agency, such as FIRMS, would actually want to help you get out of debt.  Well, trust us when we say that a major part of our pride is helping people just like you learn to better manage your finances and become financially healthy so you can avoid going into unnecessary debt.   While most debt collection companies might try to intimidate you and remain focused on simply collecting your money, FIRMS is dedicated to helping you learn to get out and stay out of debt.

One of the more serious factors in the life of someone stuck in the debt cycle is their mindset.  It is not just the mindset of finances and understanding money but the mindset of negativity that keeps us outside the place of growth and change.  One of the most important aspects to getting out of debt and making better financial decisions is staying positive in your thinking and your views about where you are going.

FIRMS has developed three changes you can make starting right now in your life to help you get out and stay out of debt.

  1. Stay Positive in your thinking.  NEVER allow your thoughts or feelings go to a negative place concerning your finances.  If you currently have some outstanding debts, don’t have negative thinking keep you in the debt cycle.  Change your thinking to be positive.  Tell yourself that yes, you do have some debt, but you are going to have everything paid off soon and you are making better financial decisions.  
  2. Set a goal and complete it.  Start with something simple like you are going to cook dinner at home more often rather than eating out.  Don’t start with your first goal being something along the lines of paying off your home.  Sure, you can pay off your home but that could take a long time.  We are looking for short term goals that you can complete soon and get some momentum going in your favor.
  3. Set a savings goal.  Set out to save $100 and then take that $100 and put it towards one of your outstanding bills or debts.  Write your goal down on a piece of paper and set it somewhere you’ll see it often.  Maybe tape it to your refrigerator or inside your car where you can see it.  Now work towards saving that $100.  Look in your house and car for spare change, maybe make your coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks. Once you have saved your $100 go and put it towards an outstanding debt.

These are three actions and changes you can make RIGHT NOW that will help you get out of debt and actions that will make you much better and managing your personal finances and having far better financial health.

    Leave your comments below and let us know some of the ways you work to become better at managing your finances.  And as always, leave any questions you have below and we will answer them in our upcoming blog posts.  FIRMS is dedicated to helping you get out of debt.

 

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FIRMS, helping people all year.

        As we come to the holiday season, with Thanksgiving having gone and Christmas being just around the corner, we approach a time of the year when everyone begins to place others ahead of themselves.  We think about the loved ones in our lives, friends and family, and we also consider those less fortunate than ourselves and how we can help them have a better holiday season.  From charitable donations and donating to the red cross, to paying it forward, we are surrounded by love and kindness this holiday season brings.

At FIRMS, we work to help those in need or in tight financial positions in life on an everyday basis.  Part of our mission at FIRMS is to help those who could benefit from a little assistance.  While most debt collection agencies in the debt collection business focus only on collecting the debt due and blurring the line between harassment and due diligence, FIRMS places our focus on collecting debt for our clients and also helping those who are in tight financial binds.

FIRMS realized that some people are simply in tight spots and need help wherever they can get it.  Our specialists at FIRMS will often contact individuals who have fallen behind on their bills due to a loss in employment.  While most debt collection companies may continue to call and send letters demanding immediate payment FIRMS has decided to take a very different approach.  FIRMS specialists will assist individuals in not only creating and improving their resume but also in sending their resume out to various job search websites to help them find employment and get back on their feet and on their way to financial freedom.

At FIRMS we are not only focused on collecting outstanding debts for our clients, that is our chief focus, but we are also very interested in helping people live a better life and building strong ties in the communities where we provide our top tier services of debt collection.

       At FIRMS we never just see dollars and cents but we see families and individuals and we see businesses thriving and communities strengthened and brought closer together.

We feel that FIRMS can make a positive and lasting impact not only for your business but for your customers who may have fallen behind on their bills and in the community where you do business.  Remember when it comes to debt collection companies and debt collection services, FIRMS stands above all the rest.

 

  • FIRMS.