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5 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Borrow Money For Free

5 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Borrow Money For Free

There’s no shame in borrowing money. Almost everyone does it, whether it’s a mortgage, credit card, or line of credit.

There are very good reasons to borrow and many times, it can be a smart financial decision, like when borrowing to buy a home that appreciates in value, or buying a car that gets you to and from work. Other times, borrowing can help alleviate an emergency situation, like when used to fix a leaking roof.

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What we want to focus on, are the opportunities to borrow for free. Most of these opportunities are riddled with landmines intended to trip you up. But, play your cards right and you could be funding your dreams with someone else’s money.

Credit Card Grace Period

Almost every credit card will give you an interest free period from the time that you make a credit card purchase, to the time your minimum payment is due. The period between the time you receive your credit card statement to your payment due date is called the grace period. It’s usually between 21 and 28 days long. That means you get to use your credit card, earn points, and once you receive your statement, get an additional 21 days to make your payment, all without ever incurring interest.

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Just make sure you’re never late making a payment. If you’re late by an hour, most credit card companies will remove your grace period privilege the following statement period, and start charging you interest from the day you make a purchase on your credit card.

Balance Transfers

Balance transfers are an incredible opportunity to borrow money interest free for an extended period of time. Let’s say you currently have a credit card balance with a 19.99% interest rate. A balance transfer shifts the debt from the higher interest rate card to a balance transfer card that often comes with an introductory rate of 0% for 12-20 months.

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Because there are so many 0% balance transfer offers in the market, you can be pretty aggressive in exploiting them to your advantage, probably the most common is call balance transfer surfing. Essentially, a month or so before the expiry of your 0% introductory rate, you will get another 0% balance transfer card and transfer your balance yet again. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Deposit Transfer

Let’s say you have a credit line you need to pay down. A balance transfer won’t do you any good, since it only pays down existing credit card balances. What you can do instead with a deposit transfer is shifting money from your credit card to your checking account at 0%. You can then use that money for anything you like, including paying down your line of credit. Although not as prevalent in the United States, several balance transfer credit cards in Canada and the U.K. also offer deposit transfers.

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0% Intro Rate

If you don’t have a credit card balance, but you need to borrow money and you want to do so at 0%, look for credit cards that offer 0% on purchases. These deals will typically allow you to borrow up to your credit card limit during the first 90 days or so, and then have a 0% interest rate for the following 12-24 months.

No Interest, No Payments Sales Financing

Ever walk into a furniture or hardware store and see an advertisement for 0% financing for 12 months? These are great deals, where the retailer is paying you to take the item now, versus later. Some of these sales financing loans don’t require you to make any payments during the 12 month period, others require you to make some interest-free fixed payments. Whatever the case, always be prepared to pay the loan back in FULL on the due date. If you miss your payment, often times the lender will retroactively charge you interest from the first day you took the loan.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to borrow at 0%, whether you’re looking to cut interest rates on your current debt, or looking for a new loan. The one recommendation we have is to always set-up automatic repayment of your loans, so that you’ll never be late.

Featured photo credit: Flickr creative commons, Benjamin Smith via flickr.com

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Marc Felgar

Marc Felgar is an aging, health & senior care expert focused on improving the lives of mature adults.

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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