How to Survive Without Credit Cards – Part 1

Hotel without Credit Card Booking a Hotel without a Credit Card

Often when entering into a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal many people are concerned with how they can manage without the use of Credit Cards.  Two of the most common questions people face are, “How do I book a flight without a credit card?” and “How can I reserve a hotel without a credit card?” Although the process can sometimes be more complicated, it still is possible.  Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when facing this situation.

Plan ahead

When booking a hotel you will want to make sure you call ahead to the city or destination and see what hotels allow for debit or cash reservations.  When searching places to stay look for local, non-chain hotels or even bed and breakfasts as well as more common hotel franchises.

Prepare For Security Deposits

Make sure you also state that you will be paying by cash or debit and that you won’t have a credit card for a security deposit.  Some hotels will allow you to stay if you authorize a security withdrawal to cover incidentals, damage, or amenities like mini bar and pay-per-view.  This money will be refunded to you at check out, but be sure to check if there are any delays for refund as some hotels can hold deposits for several days.

Pay Upfront

Debit Credit Card Logos By paying for the stay upfront you ensure to the hotel manager that they will get the appropriate funds for the stay.  This is often a guarantee for hotels with credit cards.  An upfront payment on your room limits the risk and conveys a certain sense of responsibility and liability for the room. As well many debit cards now come with Visa and MasterCard logos making it easier to use debit as an alternative to credit.

Finally, remember to budget accordingly.  Make sure you set aside the appropriate amounts needed for the stay and still have extra finances and cash to cover your meals, gas and other travel expenses like souvenirs and attractions.  Preparation is the key to a great vacation.

Battling The Unexpected Personal Finance Problems

Battling Personal Finance Issues We’ve all been down this road before: something unexpected happens – maybe your car breaks down, or you need some special kind of medication – your insurance isn’t covering it all, and you’ve got to pay out of pocket. You’ve already smashed the piggy bank, and checked between the cushions but you’re just coming up empty. So how are you supposed to battle the unexpected? Until you find a way to predict the future, there’s a couple ways to get some quick money.

If you’ve ever walked around your city, chances are you’ve seen a Money Mart, or something similar that offers what seems to be an insane amount of money the moment you walk through the door. This option is called a payday loan, and your eyes don’t deceive you. Money Mart’s website notes that 99% of people who apply for a payday loan are almost instantly approved, and receive their money shortly following. All you need to apply: a pay stub, bank statement and blank cheque. Almost seems too good to be true, right? That’s because it is.

Before you even consider this option, research, research and then research some more. Where they get you with their enticing calls to action are the charges and interest rates.

Let’s put this in perspective: in Ontario, a loan amount can range from $120 to $1500, and you are charged around 20% for every $100 you borrow. So if you want to borrow $300 for a car repair, you’ll end up having to pay $363 at the end of your loan term – an ambiguous amount of time that is due on your next payday and can range anywhere from one week and 42 days.

So what if life gets in the way once more? What if you are unable to pay that $363 back on time? Like any other loan, you will be charged annual interest. So what is the annual interest on a payday loan in Ontario? 547.50%. No – you didn’t read that wrong…it is actually 547.50%! What if you miss your due date by two months? That’s 91.25% interest. That $300 you needed for your car payment is now almost $700! Many people fall into massive debt when it comes to payday loans, and this is mostly due to simply not knowing the interest rates or charges that come with the loan.

Unless you are incredibly diligent with your money, or are at your wits end and have exhausted all your options, it is always a good idea to avoid a payday loan. So how else can you get some money?

Budget: Do you really need a case of soda this week? Maybe you could skip on the new shirt for now. Ask yourself “do I really need this now?” before you make a purchase – at least until you’ve remedied your situation. Check out our Personal Budget Tool

Odd Jobs: Ask around for jobs you could do in your spare time, even if it’s just shovelling driveways or carrying boxes. Money is money at this point.

Borrow from family and friends: The people closest in your life are, more often than not, willing to help you. Swallow your pride and explain the situation. They’ll most likely be willing to help, so long as you pay them back.

Sell Things you don’t need: You know that old guitar you don’t play with anymore? That pile of video games you beat already? Sell them online! Use websites like eBay, Kijiji or Craigslist to make some money. Don’t sell yourself short, but keep in mind: the more reasonable the price, the faster someone is to buy it.

Secrets of Plastic Debt: Finance Infographic

We came across a very interesting article that shed a lot of much needed light on a very dark section of our wallet, the Plastic Debt! We were stirred up by many of the points and wanted to share some with you in a unique way. Hope you enjoy some of our favourite points!

  • The host of Til Debt Do Us Part, Gail Vaz-Oxlade tells the couples that she counsels to try and live on only cash for one whole month, create a budget and record all purchases.
  • When someone pays with cash, our first thought is “They were not approved for credit.” We couple the fact that someone uses cash to poverty. As if they are scrounging to get enough money together to pay their bills.
  • When someone pays with credit, we assume they have all their financial ducks in a row. When in reality, they either are well educated on how to use credit properly, or they are driving themselves further into debt.
  • Now a days, our issue is that most of us don’t really know what our income is. Our credit gives us the illusion of a bloated income, although reality is we are sinking in debt.
  • In order to put together a manageable and accurate budget, it’s necessary to do a spending analysis. In order to complete this analysis and come up with an honest review, you will need to consult both your credit and banking statements to get a full picture of your spending. For instance, your actual grocery list might average a total of $200 a week, but you are spending additional funds on lunches while you’re out and a coffee every day on your way to work. By examining every spending habit, your able to give yourself a better idea as to how much you are spending and where is feasible to cut your spending if needed.
  • Many financial experts say the best way to tackle a manageable budget is to seriously consider your needs vs. your wants, and to continually pay off as much debt as possible. These experts include Ms. Vaz-Oxlade of Til Debt Do Us Part, Don Allen, trustee and owner of Don Allen & Associates, and Jeffery Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada Inc.
  • Ms. Vaz Oxlade separates these into three categories, one being your “essentials needs”: debt repayment, savings, rent, transportation etc. The second being “nice to have needs” : clothing, addition food allowance. All extras fall into the third category. Although your income may be minimal or inconsistent, it is best to plan each budget a month in advance, to guarantee that  this month’s income will cover next month’s budget needs.
  • We know what you’re thinking, what about all those unexpected expenses that bust our budgets out of the water. It’s best to setup a fund for these expenses. This way when you need that new set of glasses, or a new part for your car, you can refer back to this fund. It may take awhile to build up this fund, but deposit whatever you can into it, whenever you can. Every penny adds up and every dollar counts. A good way to keep up with this, is to give yourself a challenge. Add a dollar every day to your emergency jar, or every time you come home, empty your pockets into the jar. Remember, this is your EMERGENCY fund, not your chocolate emergency fund.