Debt Consolidation USA Shares Most Common Barriers To Household Formation

by Shelton on February 23rd, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation USA recently shared in an article how American consumers are taking a step back when thinking about household formation. The article aims to help consumers by looking at and understanding some of the most common hindrances to proceeding with household formation.

Miami, FL (PRWEB) February 11, 2015

Debt Consolidation USA recently shared in an article published recently how American consumers are taking a step back when thinking about household formation. The article titled “4 Biggest Financial Hindrance To Household Formation” aims to help consumers by looking at and understanding some of the most common hindrances to proceeding with household formation.

The article starts off by pointing out that household formation can mean different things to different people. For one, it can be about taking up a mortgage loan to have a house of their own. It can also mean for some couples that household formation is all about getting married and making a family of their own. And for some married couples, it can mean having children or adding more children into the family.

One thing is for sure whatever people’s definition is of household formation, it costs money and can have a significant effect on their finances. With this, it is imperative that consumers understand some of the most common financial roadblocks they might face when they try to push through with household formation.

The article explains that on the top of the list is that some people just has too much debt. It fills up their budget quickly that they do not have enough elbow room to move around and consider adding more items to the budget like a mortgage payment or saving for a wedding or for putting aside for another child.

Another reason is that a lot of American consumers especially the younger generation are saddled with student loan debt. This prevents them from pursuing other financial dreams because they feel they have to pay-off their school loans first before they even consider other financial tools.

Another thing that prevents consumers in pursuing household formation is low income usually from underemployment. This limits their options with their current situation and the thought of getting a house adding a big mortgage payment is not in the near future. To read the full article, click this link:

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

Start-up producer designs aquaponic system

by Shelton on February 23rd, 2015

filed under Personal Funding

POCATELLO, Idaho #x2014; Scott Richardson quit studying physics, but he#x2019;s found ample opportunity to be on the cutting edge of science in small-scale agricultural production.

In December of 2013, the 31-year-old Pocatello man built a #x201c;pilot#x201d; aquaponic greenhouse to test his theories about a sustainable production system capable of yielding a large amount of food from a tiny space.

#x201c;My main goal is to advance technology,#x201d; Richardson said. #x201c;I was looking at my life saying, #x2018;I need to do what I love.#x2019;#x201d;

The 15-by-40-foot greenhouse he constructed from recycled lumber, partially sunk into an earthen berm for winter insulation and summer cooling, includes a tank of tilapia to provide the nutrient source. Waste water from the fish is dripped into planters, filled with crushed coconut shells and expanded clay to absorb the moisture for the plants to use. Naturally occurring bacteria convert ammonia in the excrement into a usable form for plants. Produce production provides a natural filter to clean the waste water before it#x2019;s returned to the fish tank. The tilapia tank is heated, which also provides a sufficient winter heat source for the greenhouse. Richardson stacks the planters vertically to maximize space.

#x201c;We were doing 500 heads of lettuce on 50 square feet,#x201d; Richardson said.

Richardson tested his design virtually with 3-D modeling software.

He built the first greenhouse in Pocatello with $15,000 in personal funding. He#x2019;s taken the structure apart and plans to rebuild a 15-by-80-foot version this spring in nearby Arbon Valley, Idaho, raising additional funding through his Sustainable Pocatello online fundraising campaign on the crowd-funding website He#x2019;ll have 20 acres available at his new site, enabling him to raise some outdoor produce during warmer months. He plans to offer a community supported agriculture service and sell to the local food cooperative, area restaurants and at the local farmers#x2019; market. He said his broader goal, however, is to raise awareness about a method of agriculture that holds promise for urban areas with little open land, including the tops of city buildings.

#x201c;We#x2019;re excited to see their first crop. It#x2019;s cool technology,#x201d; said Evan Roberts, a Pocatello Co-op board member.

Emily Fisher, owner of Pocatello#x2019;s Efresh sandwich shop, has committed to buy his herbs to support local food production.

Richardson has visited hydroponic produce farmer Erik Cutter in Irvine, Calif., for ideas on how to set up his system, and market his food.

Cutter provided him with polypropylene planters he developed for his own vertically stacked configuration.

In Orange County, Cutter said traditional farm land is hard to come by. He said his system maximizes land, water and fertilizer while yielding quality produce, which he sells to high-end restaurants.


Small Business of the Week: Primal Health & Fitness

by Shelton on February 22nd, 2015

filed under Personal Funding

Health club zombies. We’ve all seen them, the treadmill-trudging, stationary cyclists staring intently into the distance in a bid to burn off the calories.

But their efforts may all be in vain, according to Liverpool-based Primal Health amp; Fitness.

The business, founded by James Slomka, Simon Langton and John Wright, provides personal training regimes and nutrition consultations for everyone from professional athletes, to the ‘weekend warriors’ who take to the amateur sportsfields across the country, or just clients looking to get in trim.

They argue that without the right advice many people could be wasting their time exercising or dieting.

James explained: “Some people have dieted for far too long and damaged their metabolic rate.”

They say Primal is in the forefront of personal training techniques, drawing on the very latest data from around the world.

James, Simon and John knew each other through a well known gym chain.

Simon and John were personal trainers and James was a member.

They set up their own businesses to provide an alternative to the conventional gym offering, then eventually formed Primal in 2009.

Simon said: “We set up Primal because gyms are just for people to come in and have minimal interaction with the staff.

“They put people on a treadmill and just leave them to it. They are not coached or guided.”

Their first base was a 1,000 sq ft site in Smithdown Road before moving to their current 5,000 sq ft site on Harlow Street’s Grain Industrial Estate in Toxteth last May.

Their bootcamp serves around 1,000 people a month and the three partners provide personal training services for hundreds of clients, having built up a loyal clientelle from the very start. Simon believes it is their unique services that continue to attract clients: “We were in Smithdown Road with no parking and no shop front, but because we provided a great service we had lots of repeat referrals.”

He explained: “We help guide people to a healthier and fitter life through exercise.

“Our ethos is #becomebetter, for anyone who has never exercised in their life, all the way to professional athletes.

“There’s nothing like us in Liverpool or the North West.”

Their clients include basketball players Colin Sing, of Sheffield Sharks, and David Aliu of Chester Phoenix, international lacrosse player Andrew Farrington, some of the Wrexham FC football academy, former Everton player Hope Akpan who is now at Reading, and Liverpool-born Perry Ng of Crewe FC.

But Simon added: “We cater for everyone, for male or female weight loss, muscle building for both males and females, and sports performance for anyone who plays sport.

“We give people a consultation, and then guide them through the process using our facilities and expertise.”

He said they are not a typical gym; there’s no treadmills or swimming pool, and there’s no set time limit for members: “We ask for a minimum of six months commitment.

“If someone hasn’t looked after themselves in their life it is not going to be fixed over six months. We educate and guide them.”

John said they can make clients look better or improve their performance levels, through setting them performance goals: “We give them performance goals to get them in the mindset of training, instead of training for what they look like in the mirror.

“We have to manage expectations. We say, ‘respect the process. It takes as long as it takes’.”

Classes start at £4 for 45 minutes, with an opening offer of £10 for 10 days. One-to-one personal training starts from £15 a session and a private service is charged from £30 a session.

The partners attend internships across the UK, Europe and America to keep abreast of the latest developments and they stage expert tutorials, including a session with a USA Olympic weight lifting coach this August Bank Holiday weekend, and a Canadian Olympic coach in September.

Simon said: “We believe we are really good at what we do. And we get results.

“There’s lots of ‘before and after’ pictures on the website.”

And he believes controls for the industry could be more stringent: “A lot of people do a 12-week personal trainer course and they are let loose on the industry.

“There’s a big divide in the industry – personal trainers are either very poor, or good.”

The business, which employs seven full time trainers, two physios and a cleaner, was part-funded by Merseyside Special Investment Fund, and personal funding from the three founders.

James, who graduated in sports science from Liverpool John Moores University in 2002, even gave up a six-year job in law costs to return to his preferred career.

The specialist strengthening and conditioning equipment accounted for most of their £50,000 start-up costs, and they are continually re-investing in kit from all over the world.

This year’s turnover should hit around £60,000, but the aim is to reach £250,000 in revenues within five years.

John said: “We are confident in our business model. If you are passionate and confident in your business, you don’t need to worry about the competition.”

Simon added: “We’re quite lucky in that a lot of our clients are successful businessmen and women who help us out and can offer us advice.

“It has been a steep learning curve, but we are happy with what we have done so far.

“We want to improve and we are continually striving to keep one step ahead of the competition.”

The business also has close links with charity organisation Tom Harrison House, a specialist facility that provides addiction treatment exclusively to military veterans, reservists, emergency personnel and their families.

It is the UK’s first addiction treatment centre for the military and emergency service sectors and Primal opens up its facilities twice a week as part of their treatment programmes.

10 Best Banks of 2015

by Shelton on February 22nd, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

By Christina Lavingia, Editor

This is the fifth installment of GOBankingRates third annual Best Banks series, connecting consumers with the best deposit accounts and banks of 2015. Come back each week of February for our rankings and reviews of this years best institutions and bank products, including online banks, military financial institutions, certificates of deposit, checking accounts and savings accounts.

gt;gt;See the 10 best online-only banks of 2015 here.

At the end of the day, you want to trust where you bank. Interest rates are near historic lows nearly anywhere you can deposit your funds or obtain a loan, making the difference between big banks, credit unions, local banks and online institutions relatively minimal in terms of dollars and cents on your account statements.

Whether because they have larger marketing budgets or a high volume of branches and ATMs, big banks still hold a huge portion of the market share for deposits and loans. In fact, their assets are growing. According to Fortune Magazine, assets for the six largest US banks in September 2013 were 37 percent greater than they were five years earlier. It seems that, despite the Great Recession, big banks are still an attractive option for depositors and companies.

Fortune also reported that one-third of all business loans were made by Bank of America in 2013, while Wells Fargo financed almost a quarter of all mortgages. JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley owned 67 percent of US financial assets.

Traditional banks do have their appeal: They offer convenience, access to funds and a wide variety of banking products, all of which are backed by the FDIC, meaning deposits up to $250,000 are insured against any losses.

Additionally, big banks serve an important function in the US economy. GOBankingRates found that the 51 largest banks employ nearly one percent of the US workforce (1.23 million people). These banks pay a few hundred million to a few billion dollars in corporate income taxes to their headquarter states each year and give away millions to charities and nonprofits.

For those who prefer to bank with an institution that has an outpost in nearly every city (and even, in some cases, internationally) GOBankingRates ranked the best banks of 2015. This study excluded online banks and military institutions, which were evaluated in separate rankings.


  • 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2015
  • 10 Best Savings Accounts of 2015
  • 10 Best CD Accounts of 2015

Review: 10 Best Banks of 2015

To determine the below rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the top 100 banks by assets, according to the FDIC, and evaluated each on the following criteria:

  • BauerFinancial Star Ratings for overall financial strength
  • Yields, fees or other terms on checking, savings and one-year CD accounts
  • Whether the bank offers auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, investment services and/or insurance services
  • Branch number and availability

Deposit rates are accurate as of Dec. 23 for checking and savings and Dec. 29 for CDs.1. Wells Fargo

Why: The most notable reason why Wells Fargo ranked No. 1 for brick-and-mortar banks was its branch availability: Wells Fargo offers the most branches of the 100 banks surveyed, at 6,353.

Review: Wells Fargo offers all five products GOBankingRates surveyed: auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, investment services and insurance, making it ideal for consumers looking to simplify their finances and bank all in one place. Wells Fargo boasts a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4 out of 5, and is home to $1.7 trillion in assets, making it the fourth largest bank by asset size in the US

In terms of social and economic impact, as an added bonus, Wells Fargo employs the most people of any big bank, at 265,000, and paid $1.9 billion in California state taxes in 2013. Additionally, in that year, Wells Fargo gave $275.5 million to 18,500 nonprofits.

How to join: Wells Fargos pervasive branch accessibility makes it easy to open an account in person, as well as online. With dozens of accounts to choose from, opening any one of them takes no more than 10 minutes.

2. BBVA Compass Bank

Why: BBVA Compass Bank offers depositors higher interest rates than Wells Fargo and has a higher BauerFinancial Star Rating. However, BBVA Compass Bank has just a tenth of Wells Fargos branch locations.

Review: The banks more limited accessibility put it in the No. 2 spot. Like Wells Fargo, BBVA Compass Bank offered all five of the other products we surveyed, but has a higher BauerFinancial Star Rating of 5. BBVA Compass Bank offers its customers a high one-year CD rate of 0.45% APY. Additionally, its checking account comes with no fee and its savings yield beats the national average at brick-and-mortar banks, as well, at 0.15% APY.

Customers have access to four different credit cards with BBVA Compass Bank, as well as ample mortgage options, covering everything from a first home to a second refinance, renovations, new construction and equity.

How to join: You can become a customer of BBVA Compass Bank from the comfort of your home. Simply visit its website, peruse its many bank products and services, and apply for whichever accounts you want online.

3. Bank of America

Why: Bank of Americas interest rates are on par with Wells Fargo, but it offers the same products, along with a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4 and 5,101 branch locations.

Review: Bank of America is committed to empowering its customers — and the public — with the financial literacy needed to grow wealth. In partnership with Khan Academy, Bank of America produced a number of videos and tutorials through its Better Money Habits series to help people reach goals of tackling debt, saving, budgeting and establishing credit.

How to join: As one of the largest banks in the United States, Bank of America is accessible to most depositors. Requirements to open an account include a Social Security number, a current residential address, bank account number or debit card to fund your account, co-applicant information if applicable, and a valid email address.

4. BankUnited

Why: For checking and savings accounts, BankUnited offers higher yields than the three banks ranked above it, and boasts the highest BauerFinancial Star Rating available of 5. However, the bank offers far fewer branches to its customers — just 106.

Review: For a major bank, BankUnited pays its customers yields that rival credit unions and community banks. Depositors earn above-average yields on savings and one-year CDs at BankUnited, at 0.25% APY and 0.55% APY, respectively. Despite offering its customers fewer branches for in-person banking, BankUnited has the same product offerings as the banks ranked above it.

With four checking account options alone to select from: Relationship Checking, Bonus Interest Checking, Signature Interest Checking and 50+ Signature Interest Checking, BankUnited provides a wide variety of bank products to meet varying needs.

How to join: Those who wish to join BankUnited can do so by opening an account, visiting a branch or calling 1-877-799-BANK.

5. First National Bank of Omaha

Why: First National Bank of Omahas product offerings are broad and it boasts a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 5; however, the banks more limited branch access places it in the fifth spot.

Review: First National Bank of Omaha offers all the same product offerings as the above banks, but with just 127 branches. Customers with a checking account from this bank enjoy paying no maintenance fees.

No matter your credit card preference, First National Bank of Omaha offers American Express, Discover, MasterCard and three Visa options to choose from. Wealth management services, from 529 savings plans for your toddler to tributary funds, are available as well.

How to join: This bank serves those residing in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas, with multiple branches in each state. Potential customers can apply online at the banks website.

6. Zions Bank

Why: Zions Bank charges no maintenance fee on its checking account and offers high savings yields. However, the bank has under 150 branches for its customers.

Review: Zions Banks savings account earns the highest yield of any bank on this list at 0.45% APY. Although Zions Bank offers auto and mortgage loans, credit cards, and investment services, it doesnt offer insurance. The bank boasts a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 5, but only offers 145 branches to its customers.

Zions offers rewards credit cards, along with an entire suite of bank products geared toward children and young adults, including student checking and savings, kid savings, and the Zions Bank Pays for As program.

How to join: Zion Bank has locations in many Western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. Customers can apply online for credit cards and accounts with Zions Bank.

7. BBamp;T

Why: With a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 5 and ample branch locations, BBamp;T ranked No. 7 among the best banks of 2015.

Review: Those who deposit their funds with BBamp;T get standard yields on their accounts when compared to other brick-and-mortar banks. BBamp;T offers all loan, credit, insurance and investment services GOBankingRates surveyed, and its customers have access to 1,852 branches to conduct their banking in person.

BBamp;T offers its customers ample resources on its website to tackle any financial issue you could imagine, from paying for college and managing life events to planning for retirement and investing.

How to join: Those looking to join BBamp;T can do so online, by visiting one of its financial centers or by phone at 888-BANK-BBT, where they can find answers to their banking questions and determine which products best meet their current needs.

8. Chase Bank

Why: Due to its relatively lower rates, Chase Bank fell to the No. 8 spot. However, branch access is a high selling point for banking here, with 5,710 branches available to Chase Bank customers.

Review: In terms of products, customers have access to auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards and investment services with Chase Bank; however, insurance products are not available. The bank has a strong BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4 out of 5.

Chase Bank is one of the most recognizable names in banking, and youll have ample access to your funds, both in-person and online. Services like Chase Quickpay make banking even more convenient on the go. When it comes to checking accounts alone, Chase Bank gives its customers plenty of options, with five products to choose from.

How to join: Joining Chase Bank is as simple as entering one of its nearly 6,000 branch locations across the US Potential customers can also open an account online.

9. KeyBank

Why: With over 1,000 branch locations and no checking account maintenance fees, theres good reason to choose KeyBank for your deposit and loan needs.

Review: KeyBanks Hassle-Free account was ranked highest among the top 10 banks. Additionally, it offers all of the other banking products surveyed and boasts the highest BauerFinancial Star Rating possible of 5. There are 1,030 KeyBank branches to serve its customers needs.

KeyBank also offers its customers a unique Financial Wellness Center, budgeting and debt consolidation calculators, as well as education planning and mutual fund options.

How to join: Those interested in joining KeyBank can do so by opening an account online or contacting the bank via telephone 800-KEY2YOU. The bank operates its branch locations in 14 different states.

10. US Bank

Why: US Bank boasts ample branch locations and comprehensive product offerings, though its slightly lower rates knocked in down in the rankings.

Review: US Bank customers get to take advantage of a slew of services and products, from loans and credit cards to investment and insurance options. With 3,239 branches and a BauerFinancial Star Rating of 4, customers of US Bank enjoy ease of access and peace of mind.

GOBankingRates has previously recognized US Bank as the best bank for getting your first bank account. Its Student Checking account has a low threshold to open — just $25 — and is one of two accounts from the bank geared toward minors (those 17 and under can obtain a Star Savers Club Account as well).

How to join: US Bank offers its applicants instant decision within two to three minutes when they apply for a checking account or credit card from the bank. Applications can be submitted online or at any bank branch.


Institution selection: In order to determine its Best Brick-and-Mortar Bank rankings, GOBankingRates examined the top 100 banks by asset size according to the FDIC, excluding non-active institutions, those with less than $1 billion in assets, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts.

Criteria for rankings: Banks were scored from most to least favorable in the following categories: (1) BauerFinancial Star Ratings for overall financial strength, and the rankings previously assigned through our survey of (2) checking accounts, (3) savings accounts, and (4) one-year certificates of deposit. Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable in comparison to the category average (weighted equally). Banks were then scored according to whether they offered each of the following services, all of which contributed to a single weighting: (5) auto loans, (6) mortgage loans, (7) credit cards, (8) investment services and (9) insurance services. The final criteria was the (10) number of bank branches, as reported by the FDIC. Banks were then ranked according to overall score. Data was compiled via the GOBankingRates interest rate database and verified against the individual institutions websites.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in this ranking are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are 100 percent objective and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.

Joburg’s ‘rosy finances’ a lie

by Shelton on February 21st, 2015

filed under Finances

The city lost R1.5-billion due to unauthorised electricity consumption and a further R742-million as a result of non-technical causes. File photo

Now could be a great time to borrow from your 401(k)

by Shelton on February 21st, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

The the 401(k) loan is an often-overlooked source of funds for debt consolidation and interest rate reduction.However, to some financial advisors, the 401(k) plan is the third rail of debt management strategies — a source of capital that should never be touched.


JR Robinson, NerdWallet

5 tips to help accomplish a debt free 2015

by Shelton on February 20th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

  1. Be aware

The first step in solving a problem is admitting that a problem exists. Start taking a serious look at what you are spending and why. What is causing your spending or financial crisis? Are you underemployed? Do you have medical or personal issues that reek havoc on your budget? Regardless of the reason your finances are in trouble, the first step in fixing them is changing your habits and acknowledging the situation.

  1. Select a strategy

There are various methods and books written to assist in the goal of eliminating your debt. Two of the most used are the avalanche method and the snowball method. The avalanche approach begins with tackling the highest cost debt first. Debt with higher interest rates grows faster than cheaper debt so beginning with this debt will loosen up large amounts of your budget as you pay off larger items. The Snowball method pays smallest debt and uses the sense of accomplishment and the freed money in the budget to give confidence and finances to keep “the ball” rolling.

  1. Debt consolidation

Debt consolidation is essentially a loan. Debt consolidation only works if you’ve completed step #1 and are certain that you have tackled the issues that encourage your overspending. By freeing up the debts on all your credit cards and moving them to one place and creating one bill, you are better able to manage your debt; however, you’ve also freed up your access to available credit. So, beware.

  1. Work out your target

Your target is not always the sum of your total debt load. You can prioritize expensive debts like credit cards and auto loans. Cheaper debt like student loans and mortgages are usually less expensive debt and are far less detrimental to your financial health.

  1. Reward yourself

The economics of the situation is simple; people are motivated by goals, typically intrinsic goals. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself for your hard work. When you’ve set your target and achieved it treat yourself to something special. Don’t be afraid to spend your money after you’ve paid your debt. Your goal should be responsible spending because that is a healthy goal.

Debt Consolidation USA Shares Tips In Looking For Debt Relief Companies

by Shelton on February 20th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation USA recently shared in an article published recently on how consumers who are deep in debt can look for debt relief companies that can help them get out out of debt. The article points out some tips in making sure that consumers are not scammed in the process of looking for a reliable debt relief company.

Miami, FL (PRWEB) January 12, 2015

Debt Consolidation USA recently shared in an article published recently on how consumers who are deep in debt can look for debt relief companies that can help them get out out of debt. The article titled “How To Find Reliable And Trustworthy Debt Relief Companies” points out some tips in making sure that consumers are not scammed in the process of looking for a reliable debt relief company.

The article starts off by explaining how looking for a debt relief company may not be on top of the priority list of consumers at the start of the year. But the article points out that consumers need to make their personal finances a priority all throughout the year. It needs to be main concern at all times.

It is also because of the fact that there are some parents who, over the holiday season, preferred that their children would have a great Christmas season at the expense of their finances and this is the time to face those purchases. And while it is ideal to take care of the debts on their own, there are some people who either needs help with the process or just does not have enough time. In these cases, it is best to look for debt relief companies.

The article points out that starting the search using the database of a reputable industry organization is a great start. Some examples would be with the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). The reason for this is that scrupulous companies would not waste time getting accredited with industry watchdogs.

It is also a great idea to ask around and get referrals from people that you trust. They might have gone through some financial troubles and needed the help of debt relief companies. The article just reminds consumers that what worked for some people may not exactly work for them. Each has different circumstances that has to be taken into account.

To read the article, click this link:

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

7 Ways Lifestyle Inflation Is Harming Your Finances

by Shelton on February 19th, 2015

filed under Finances


If you believe money is meant to be spent, not hoarded, and most of your financial decisions are based on the motto you only live once, you may be suffering from lifestyle inflation.

Lifestyle inflation is getting a holiday bonus and rushing out to the mall to buy a new wardrobe. Its getting a nice raise and, rather than increasing your retirement contributions or putting money towards your kids college fund, buying a bigger house in a nicer ZIP code — not because you need it, but just because you can. Its taking any extra money you receive and using it to instantly gratify your way towards a bigger, better, more expensive standard of living.

Lifestyle inflation is rampant in our consumerist, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses culture, and it puts many people in precarious financial situations even if they make a decent amount of money. Here are seven big ways lifestyle inflation can seriously hurt your financial situation.

1. You Dont Have a Budget

If youre more focused on upgrading your lifestyle than managing your money, any thoughts of a budget go out the window. You may have a vague idea how much is coming in and going out each month, but you dont pay much attention to it.

Financial management 101 involves creating — and sticking to — a budget. We know, we know: budget is a bad word. It immediately makes you fall asleep.

But consider this: budgets dont have to be complicated: it can be an easy two-category budget or detailed into dozens of line items. Pick whichever style suits you best. Any budget at all is better than wondering where your money has gone.

2. You Dont Save Much

When you spend almost every dollar you bring in, theres almost nothing left over for savings. Thats dangerous.

Your savings can safeguard you against the future. You dont know what might go wrong with your home, your car, your health — but you do know something is likely to go wrong at some point, and you likely wont have warning of when it will happen or how much it will cost.

If youre not regularly saving now, you wont be prepared to handle unexpected expenses that may arise, and you definitely wont be prepared for your retirement.

3. You Feel Like You Have to Work All the Time

The more your standard of living increases, the more hours you have to spend working to finance that standard of living. All those great things youve purchased — the vacation home, the motorcycle, the theater-grade sound system — are things you rarely get to enjoy because you spend all your time at the office. You trade your time for money.

And what do you do when you finally have an hour or two for yourself? You treat yourself like royalty, because you feel you deserve it — which only makes the cycle continue.

4. Youre Under Constant Stress

Worrying over your growing credit card balances. Stressing over keeping up appearances. Straining your personal relationships. The endless hamster wheel of lifestyle inflation can put you under serious stress, which can lead to even more splurges as you try to make yourself forget or feel better momentarily. Again, the cycle keeps repeating.

5. Youre Never Really Happy

When your main focus is on getting more, more, more, its hard to ever really feel content with what you already have. You trade in your family sedan for a sporty luxury car, and youre happy with it for a little while — but then you want a new car, a faster car, one with the latest features.

The irony of chasing a better life is that you never really feel youve gotten there. Theres always further you could go.

6. You May Live Like Youre Rich, But You Feel Like Youre Poor

Youve heard of being house-poor — owning a big house that looks lovely but that maxes out your budget so much you can barely afford anything else.

Well, lifestyle inflation can leave you status-poor or possessions-poor. On the outside, your life looks lavish and rich, but when you sit down and really look at your finances, you realize youre on ground just as shaky as those in lower-income brackets. You have little savings to fall back on, youre not prepared for retirement, you wonder how you can pay all your bills, and if a sudden emergency befalls you-like serious illness or a job loss-it could all go under in a heartbeat.

You never really feel like you get ahead, no matter how many promotions, raises or bonuses you get. Youve traded stability and security for stuff and status.

7. Youre in a Ton of Debt

When youre always upgrading your lifestyle, even your income increases cant keep up with your wants and expectations. Theres a reason some celebrities and sports idols go bankrupt, and its because theyre trying to live above their means — even though their means are more than sufficient by most peoples standards.

Every dollar you take out in debt is a dollar youll be paying several times over for years to come. Why not make time work in your favor — through investment earnings – rather than against you, through the interest youre paying on your debts?

Paula Pant ditched her 9-to-5 job in 2008. Shes traveled to 32 countries, runs a popular finance blog and is a successful real estate investor. Her blog, Afford Anything, is the groundswell of a rebellion against stodgy, uninspired financial advice. Afford Anything shows you how to crush limits, create wealth and maximize life.

Spacious Condo – Unlimited Utilities

by Shelton on February 18th, 2015

filed under House Loan

DescriptionMy loss is your gain! My monthly payment for this condo is under $835.00 and that includes unlimited utilities! I have a high interest rate, and yours would probably be less, so cheaper for you. You can buy it at a great deal and then maybe rent it out or sell it and bring yourself some returns down the road! Why am I selling? Because I just qualified for a new mortgage and I want a bigger new house loan by selling the condo (though I could I rent it out and draw extra income, which Im about to have to do, that is why the price is slashed today). But now I want to move it and fast, and you can benefit! $66,900.00, as is, OBO. 1072 Sq. Ft.
Some of its lovely features are: Vaulted ceilings (127 high) in the living room and in the middle bedroom (the high ceilings are beautiful and roomy). Unlimited utilities are included with the Homeowners Association. Central air in every room. New, beautiful Bathfitters cream and beige marble color bathtub as of May 2014, remodeled bathrooms with new granite counter tops with oak vanities, and full interior paint as of 2014, a new air conditioner as of 2013 (transferable warranty;) and a complete new roof as of 2010.
3 bedroom, 2 bath, one bathroom has a bathtub/shower and one bathroom has a big shower with sliding doors. The dining room has track lighting. Its on the second story, and an end unit, all one level. It is quiet because the walls and floor are thick. It comes with one nearby covered carport and ample additional parking, and laundry rooms are close by with coin washers and dryers. There is also an outdoor pool with a hot tub, a large BBQ grill by the pool, a classy clubhouse with a pool table and a gym, as well as an outdoor basketball court, located on the other side of the grounds so you dont hear it.
There are nightly security patrols with a 24 hour on-call security company, and security cameras are located throughout the grounds and parking areas. The landscaping, grounds and snow maintenance, as well as litter pick-up are also well maintained. It is located within 75 yards of beautiful Palmer Park wilderness, cliffs, and trails. Its a pet friendly community with doggy stations throughout the grounds.
This condo is in an excellent Central Location! — Its only 3 miles from UCCS, and 2 blocks west of Academy Blvd. Address: 3140 Van Teylingen Drive, 80917. For sale by owner. Please note: Less costly without realtors. I found a good, reputable, realty company who I pay to do all the buyer and seller paperwork, and they can help you with the buyers checklist, if you would like, which is included in my costs (it just doesnt cover the buyers appraisal fee and other misc. buyer fees.) Let me know if you are interested!
Its a great bargain and I am going to make it a rental soon if nobody wants it for themselves.
Text or call me at (719) 465-9035.