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finances

How to Get Your Finances Back on Track This Year

The festive season is a welcome diversion in the depths of winter, but it can leave you with a financial hangover that lasts well into the new year. A fairly frugal celebration can still mount up, and if you get carried away by the spirit of the season, you can easily spend way over your initial budget, putting yourself in a tricky financial situation. Now we are well into the new year, have you been brave enough to calculate the final bill of your festive expenses? Or are you hoping your battered finances will sort themselves out if you carry on as you are?

You probably already know this, but hoping for the best and avoiding doing the sums isn’t the way to go, and could end up costing you even more. Far better to grab the bull by the horns and see exactly where you stand. You never know, it might not be as bad as you fear; and if it is, then the only way to improve your situation is to muster the facts and take the actions required to resolve any problems.

Assessing your financial situation
If you use a personal budgeting spreadsheet, get your figures up to date, and you’ll soon see how any Christmas expenses have affected your forecast. If your budget is well-planned, you’ll have set aside a certain amount for Christmas, for example, and it’s worthwhile comparing what you budgeted with what you spent so you can update for next December. If you don’t have a personal budget – which is a valuable tool that you would do well to start using – reconcile your bank statements, credit card bills, and other expenditure to get an accurate picture of your current funds and debts.

Taking action to improve your financial situation
This is where a personal budget can be so helpful because it gives you a quick way to see how well you’ll recover from any bout of overspending or unexpected expenditure. If you have a modest amount of credit card debt, you could see how much extra you’d need to allow each month to pay it off, and work out where you need to economise if necessary. Credit card debts can soon spiral when the interest is added, so if you aren’t going to be able to pay the cards off and avoid large interest payments, have a look at balance transfers to see if you could save money and buy yourself more time by juggling your debts between zero interest accounts. It may cost a fee or percentage to switch, so work out which options represent the lowest overall cost before making any decisions.

If you’re concerned about being able to repay what you owe, you could consider a consolidating loan that gathers all your debts into one, reducing your monthly repayments and giving you some breathing space. Be careful if you choose this option, and make sure the loan repayments aren’t being charged at high interest, otherwise, you won’t be any better off.

What Is a Credit Reporting Agency and Why Should You Care?
Credit reporting agencies are definitely something you should care about, because the information they hold about you could have a significant impact on your ability to get credit, including loans and mortgages, and may affect other critical areas of your life, such as being able to rent a place to live. The agencies gather data about your spending and financial management, recording the amount of debt you have plus any missed payments or other indicators that you may have problems repaying debts.

Every time you apply for any form of credit or an agreement with a financial component, the organisation with whom you’re transacting will do a check with a credit reporting agency before reaching a decision as to whether to lend to you, and if they do, what rates of interest or other special provisions should be applied. Therefore, you need to keep on top of your debts and manage your credit facilities effectively to avoid any repercussions down the line.

The most important action you can take is to find out what state your finances are in. Once you know, you can either breathe a sigh of relief, or be able to look at the best ways of managing any debt you’ve accrued and pay it off before it gets any worse. It’s always better to have the information, and take steps to resolve any problems, so if you’ve been avoiding the issue, don’t leave it any longer or you could still be paying off debts well into the year.

Grace Eline and The Valerie Fund

Last month, Morris County resident Grace Eline was one of 13 guests invited to the State of the Union by President Donald Trump and the First Lady. #HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino sits down several special guests, including Grace herself.

Bunny Flanders, Director of Communications at The Valerie Fund, shares the incredible mission that was started by Sue and Ed Goldstein in 1976, after the loss of their daughter Valerie to childhood cancer. They experienced first-hand the added burden of traveling to Manhattan for treatment, and the high costs of treatment. Sue and Ed vowed to help families in similar situations gain easier access to more customized care.

Now, the Valerie Fund treats 6,000 children per year at seven treatment centers. They also award post-secondary scholarships to children as another way of easing the financial burden on these families.

Grace’s grandfather, Dan Reichard, saw the expert care being given to his granddaughter, and was himself, inspired. Dan’s idea was to create a “show house”, which showcases the talent and vision of some of the area’s most extraordinary interior designs. You can find more information on the house, located in Plainfield, NJ on The Valerie Fund’s site.

Grace, who is now cancer-free, speaks very highly of her time in the White House. She says Melania Trump, who “smelled like…Chanel” was very nice, and even extended an invitation to return to the White house anytime!

Now that her priorities have shifted back to just being a kid, Grace enjoys playing sports like basketball and softball, gymnastics and painting. She has even served as the honorary captain of the New York Jets!

The Valerie Fund clearly had a profound account on Grace, who discusses her time at sleep-away camp, Camp Happy Times, as being special to her because of the comradery between her and other children who have shared experiences. At only 10-years-old, Grace already want to use this experience to help others, by hoping to one day become a doctor. She hopes that her experiences and first-hand account of treatment to help her patients.

To learn more about the Valerie Fund and the April 25th Grand Opening of the show house, visit: thevaleriefund.org/showhouse/

Audrey Davis: Get Your Goddess

Get your goddess on with #HipNJ’s Lisa Marie and CEO of Get Your Goddess, Audrey Davis.

Audrey Davis is a strong woman on a mission. She hopes to encourage ‘Goddesses’ to come together and create a greater message for the younger generation. Get Your Goddess is an organization dedicated to celebrating what is RIGHT and BEAUTIFUL about YOU!

Audrey empowers women by teaching the goddess basics of embracing your goddess: Power, Beauty, Movement, Music and Achievement. Embrace your inner goddess, laugh at yourself, turn up the music, dance what you feel and love who you are.

Audrey creates and holds powerful workshops designed to inspire and motivate women to embrace their natural beauty and ignite their inner Goddess through movement, music and self-reflection. For her, “Get Your Goddess is moving through this world powerfully with confidence and designing the life that you love!”

Audrey discusses the reasons why it is difficult for most women to embrace their inner power. The underlying messages that women are getting again and again that they are not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not good mothers enough, not good enough at their careers. The fear within them that these messages create, stops them from embracing the goddess they have.

Audrey’s message to all women is that being a Goddess  is a mindset and a decision. When a woman decides to ‘get her goddess‘, she unleashes ‘a free & fearlessness to be who she is in all of her glory!

To learn more about Audrey Davis and her goddess mission ,watch the video above and check out her website! To get a little dose of goddess inspiration everyday follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

You can win a gorgeous “Get Your Goddess” gift basket  from #HipNJ! Here’s how to enter our giveaway:

  1. Follow @HipNewJersey on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.
  2. Find our “Get Your Goddess” contest post.
  3. Refer to the post’s rules.

One lucky winner will be picked at the end of March!