How to Get a Personal Loan with Good Credit

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There are times when you might want a chunk of cash, but you don’t want to pay the fees that come with a cash advance — and you certainly don’t want the high interest rate. In these cases, a personal loan can help. If you have good credit, it’s possible to get a personal loan at a reasonable rate, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.

What is a Personal Loan?

A personal loan is a (usually) unsecured loan designed to allow you to get a certain amount of cash for nearly any reason. Rather than being tied to a specific purchase, such as a car or a home, a personal loan can be used for almost any purpose. Some lenders like you to disclose what you’re using the personal loan for (moving, debt consolidation, wedding, or some other purpose), so be prepared to answer those questions.

Personal loans are also installment loans, unlike credit cards, which allow you to keep borrowing as long as you pay down what you owe so you still have a balance available. With a personal loan, you are given a finite amount of money, usually as a lump sum, and you are expected to repay it using installments over a specific period of time (usually between three and five years).

It’s Here… The MoneyBuzz Podcast

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Just over a week ago, the ReadyForZero content team was holed up in the depths of the Marriott New Orleans, finalizing our schedule for the annual financial blogger conference: FinCon 2014. We’d touched down in the city late on Wednesday evening, had already experienced the first bang of humidity (my baby hairs were fully frizzed, my clothes sufficiently stifling), and waxed poetic about our first beignets.

For the weeks prior to the conference we’d been in contact with an awesome line-up of financial bloggers we reached out to interview for our upcoming podcast: MoneyBuzz. FinCon was the perfect opportunity to meet some of the online talent face to face and suffice it to say…

We. were. pumped.

We also had no idea where we would be conducting these interviews.

Topics We’re Talking About: Streamlining a Debt Repayment Plan

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There are few things I enjoy more than talking about my debt. I know, it’s weird. I’m the one who shares her financial mapping to strangers. The one who could list off her total debt number, her interest rates, and her projected pay off debt (seriously… I’m always checking in on my ReadyForZero plan).

But I wasn’t always so financially open, believe me. For most of my life I was more than happy to keep my earnings and my net worth to myself. That being said, I’ve become increasingly comfortable talking about my debt… and there’s a reason for that.

Much of financial conversation is spurred by experiencing the trenches of a financial challenge firsthand. For those with debt, you know what I’m talking about. Your debt becomes a deciding factor in your life decisions. All of a sudden, all your financial to-dos are questioned…

Should you contribute to retirement when you carry debt?
Can you really afford to have an emergency fund?

These questions aren’t easy nor are they considered to be particularly energizing fodder for conversation. And yet these are the questions that begin to take over your brain when you’re in debt. You’re thinking about them. You’re worrying about them. In some cases, you’re actively avoiding them.

For me, I felt paralyzed by these questions. It was only when I finally started talking about these concerns with others that I hit my financial turning point. By really looking at (and talking about) my supposed financial limitations, I actually opened up more paths and options. During these exchanges I not only learned new ways to approach my financial goals but also the best ways to implement these new strategies. For instance, how to speed up my repayment plan (shoutout, biweekly payments!), ways to save time, and tips for lowering my interest rates, etc.

Now, I’m all about talking finance.

So this week, I thought I’d take a look at a topic that’s come up in my conversations time and time again: streamlining a repayment plan. Read on for some of the online inspiration for my real time money conversations! Perhaps you’ll be inspired to start a conversation of your own?

Saying “I Don’t” To Wedding Party Expenses

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The food, the dress, the… finances. Whether we like to admit it or not, weddings aren’t built purely on the currency of love and a great party. And now, more than ever, taking part in someone’s special day can snowball into a much larger financial commitment. With the engagement party, the wedding shower, bridal parties, and bachelor/bachelorette parties a single day can turn into a much bigger commitment of time and money – sometimes too much for a single budget. While having to admit you’re unable to partake in all the festivities can leave you feeling vulnerable and embarrassed, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Plus, you can still celebrate and contribute to the wedding in a meaningful way within the means of your specific budget.

Here are some tips to help you effectively on the topic of money or budgets while showing your support:

How to Survive a Night Out On the Town When You’re On a Budget

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When I was first living in San Francisco, I passed my weekends eating Costco tubs of animal crackers and watching free Hulu. It wasn’t as un-fun as it sounds (c’mon… online sitcoms are almost an initiation for recent graduates into the real world) but it also prevented me from taking advantage of some of the amazing activities in the city.

It’s not that I didn’t want to explore. The issue arose from the simple fact that I was broke and San Francisco nightlife was expensive. When I did go out, I inevitably spent more money than I wanted to (or had available)… thus, I stayed in.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), animal crackers aren’t much for conversation. Faced with the prospect of hitting the town with friends or hosting cookie zoo, I chose to focus on opening up my social circle to real people. That, of course, meant I had some spending strategy to implement.

What Are the Late Fees for Capital One Credit Cards?

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Late fees for charges on your credit card sting! Not only are you charged interest on your credit card balance because you did not pay it off within the grace period, but you also have to pay a hefty penalty on top of it.

Obviously the easiest way to avoid a late fee is to pay your Capital One credit card on time (you can use our new Android app for debt payment reminders). But if you are beyond that and found yourself slapped with a late fate, you should know that it doesn’t mean you cannot get the fee removed altogether and start with a clean slate.

Let’s dive into Capital One late fee information so that I can show you what I mean.

How to Decide if It’s Worth Taking Calculated Risks for Financial Gain

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Entrepreneurs are often thought of as the ultimate risk-takers. It takes guts to leap into the unknown without a regular paycheck and cushy company benefits.

Starting your own business is certainly one big calculated risk. And things can go wrong fast if your calculations were off before you took that leap.

I speak from experience: I recently took this calculated risk for financial gain myself. I was working in a low-pay, dead-end job, and started thinking that I could do better with my career and my earnings if I tried to go out on my own and work for myself.

I decided the risk was worth it because I was prepared on all levels.

I had run my own business on the side of my day job for seven months before I quit to become a full-time entrepreneur. I focused on bootstrapping my way from side business to full-time business and have always kept my overhead as low as possible.

These actions helped me see that my business was sustainable and low-budget. I was well on my way to financial gain!

I also considered the flip side: what if I wasn’t successful? What if I failed?

For me, the worst-case scenario was not making enough on my own and needing to return to working for someone else. But even that was likely to lead to a better financial situation. With all the new skills I had acquired in growing and running my business, I had made myself more marketable if I ever needed to go back to working within someone else’s business.

So far, my risk has provided a big reward. I’m making almost twice what I did at my old job, and I’m endlessly happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled than I was before I decided to make this change. The risk was completely worth it — but only because I had planned ahead first.

Here some other examples of common risks you can consider taking for financial gain.

The High Cost of Sleep Deprivation

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We all know sleep is important, but it seems that these days more and more people are being deprived of it. I recently experienced this at FinCon, a conference that financial bloggers from around the country look forward to each year (by look forward to, I mean anxiously count the days until we can all nerd out over personal finance and blogging together). It’s a chance to network, expand your skills and reach, and finally meet in person the people you’ve been communicating with all year online. In short, it’s a blast. But it’s also jam-packed.

In four days, I got four hours of sleep (or less) per night. This isn’t because I was out partying (although many do), it’s because I wanted to eek out every opportunity I could to network. Impromptu late night community management brainstorms in the hotel lobby, for example.

While fun, I’m feeling that lack of sleep now – even two days after getting home. I harken back to my college days of working 2+ jobs while taking a full load of classes and wonder how I was able to do it for so many years. Luckily, this is no longer a part of my daily life.

But for many, this lack of sleep is a part of daily life – and it can cost them. Do you find yourself prioritizing all things over sleep (even if you don’t feel like you have a choice)? Here’s why sleep should make its way further up the totem pole of your daily priorities.

The Power of Specificity Turns Your Passion Into Financial Success

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When I graduated from college, I had a big challenge in front of me. Namely, a few (tens of) thousands of dollars in student loan debt, a creative writing degree, and a general uncertainty about what I wanted to do with it. This I say with absolutely no embarrassment. I was (and am) a proud BA holder and in spite of my debt, I know attained an amazing education. That being said, pride and optimism aren’t always transferable to a measurable career. I might have had the gusto to pursue professional writing, but I had absolutely no idea how to do it.

There were a few issues at hand: inexperience, sky high expectations, and impatience. But the biggest issue of all came in my lack of direction. People advised me to pursue my passion but when hard pressed, I realized I didn’t actually know what the details of my passion were. That of course made it impossible to capitalize on my passion and incorporate it into my future career choices. As a consequence, my happiness suffered, my financial security suffered, and even my optimism suffered. Enthusiastic as I was, I was floundering in a sea of possibilities. It was only after I worked to truly define my passion that I finally felt in control of decisions.

Feeling overwhelmed by the task of pursuing a passion happens can happen at any stage of life. That means that we benefit from checking in periodically with our goals and our direction. Your passion 10 years ago may have shifted or changed entirely. As it relates to finance, your passion can give you the direction you need to take control of your decisions and to create life goals that are compatible with your financial goals.

If you’re ready gain control over your decisions and your future, here are a few tips to help you define your passion:

Defining Your Passion

“Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.”  Familiar with that advice? It was a phrase I turned over and over in my mind when I first entered the workforce. What exactly was it that I loved doing?

Is Your HELOC Draw Period Coming to An End Soon? What You Need to Know

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We talk a lot about credit card debt here at ReadyForZero but there are many types of credit that impact a consumer’s financial health. From student loans to mortgages, credit isn’t confined to a piece of plastic. Recently, one specific type of credit was given extra attention in the news: the Home Equity Line of Credit. The reason? For many borrowers, the draw period for these loans is coming to an end. But before we get into the details of what this means, let’s look at the basics.