Ultimate Guide of Christian Financial Gurus- Who you should Follow.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7

crossWhose wisdom you would follow in terms of financial advice is up to you and who seems to speak the truth for you. There are many financial gurus out there giving sound advice on living within your means and keeping away from financial ruin.

Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this. –Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey has the largest following on the internet with “The Dave Ramsey Show” has many internet resources he uses to communicate

Active on Google Plus, Dave Ramsey recent post:


 

He had tips on making extra cash while you start changing your budgeting including:

  •         Cello lessons
  •         Making cakes
  •         Poop-scooping service
  •         You Pick It Pumpkin Patch
  •         Driving Seniors to Appointments

His Youtube channel has many stories of people who get debt free by using his advice as well as even the discussion section of Youtube filling with people asking questions on what to invest or what they should o in their circumstances.

You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you. –Dave Ramsey

With an Itunes Podcast , the Dave Ramsey Show, and on his website daveramsey.com with books to sell on “The Legacy Journey”, what the Bible say about money and other books; classes on “Dave’s Plan –Take Control of Your Money!” which includes a DVD HOME STUDY kit “Financial Peace University”, online tools for creating budget,  newsletter and  speaking engagement tour. You can also get a “Total Money Makeover” with a software to carry on your laptop, mobile or desktop tracking your zero-based budget.

You can start with “Seven Baby Steps” and go on to create a budget and read about Budget basics and find out “How to Get Out of Debt” or “The Truth about Debt Reduction”.

It’s almost is easier to ask what software, hardware or media that Dave Ramsey doesn’t use than to list what he does with his Christian based financial business.  If Dave Ramsay resonates with you and his message of “Take Control of Your Money” then you should follow him.

so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17)

For a quieter Financial Freedom assistance, Rev. Bob Louder of Christian Financial Ministries with the motto “From Information to Transformation” can help with E-coaching on the internet with “Financial Freedom God’s Way On-Line Academy” in the privacy of your own home.  As well, you can hire Rev. Bob Louder as a personal coach or listen to radio seminars like “Financial Safety for Seniors” and read “A $ Word for Today” with a thought and a prayer for each thought.

Rev. Robert B. Louder, as mentioned on his website, is a Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of Nebraska, MBA through the air Force Institute of Technology from the University of North Dakota, Air War College. A Bible-based financial teacher, trainer, counselor, coach and consultant, Bob has worked with and/or developed and presented materials for organizations such as Christian Financial Concepts (Larry Burkett), Crown Financial Ministries, and the Lampo Group (Dave Ramsey).  His local, regional and national radio and TV experience including TV appearances on the 700 club, with the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and on the nationally syndicated Fox TV Network.  Bob authored several Bible-based financial E-Books and a wide variety of articles and reports for the Christian Post, The American Family Association, and several Christian newspapers and magazines.  He provides Bible-based financial newsletters to subscribers in 19 countries.

Join a Community of Christians who want to Live Debt Free and Give More

Christian Personal Finance is a resource for Christians to get practical tips, biblical revelation, and wisdom about how to handle our money. According to Bob Lotich, you should appreciate your wealth.


Bob used his passion for personal finance to launch his award-winning blog, ChristianPF.com, in 2007.

The site has seen over 20 million visitors since inception and his writing and advice have been featured in

Men’s Health Magazine, Forbes, Real Simple Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and many others.

Bob has resources including a ‘Getting Started’ course. a FREE 4-week email course containing 20 lessons that will give you actionable steps to help you save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a year, get out of debt, better organize and manage your finances, and help you begin planning and preparing for the future. As well he blogs about finances including

5 Question to ask yourself before you begin budgeting

Is Refinancing your Mortgage always a good thing?

And

5 ways men and women spend money differently

The Female side of Finances

For a female perspective with a financial side, Deborah McNaughton of Financialvictory.com writes on how to get out of debt, credit repair, the mysteries of FICO score and starting your own business. She has written “The Essential Credit Repair Handbook” and “Money Trouble” both available on Amazon.

Deborah is a monthly columnist for First for Women magazine and has been interviewed on hundreds of national television and radio stations, including CNN, Bloomberg Television, and Good Day New York. She has also been quoted as a credit expert in many publications, including Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Today ‘s Christian Woman.

These are some of the financial gurus out there on the internet who are giving money advice with a Christian theme.  Whether you will follow one of these gurus or others, it will depend on your beliefs and whether their message inspires you.  Do you have any other Christian Financial Gurus that you would like to include here?

Don’t Blow All Your Legal Funds Before You Get To Court

No matter what people think, there  aren’t  a lot of individuals who truly enjoy lawsuits. Yes, there are people who love justice, and those who enjoy the money they may get. But the process of a lawsuit can be daunting, dirty, emotional, and just plain exhausting. This is why you need to realize that if you’re going to enter into court as a plaintiff or a defendant, it will most likely be a marathon and not a sprint.

Famous Case

One famous lawsuit that changed how people received awards has recently come back into the spotlight. USAToday30.usatoday.com reported that nearly 50 years after the case was settled, German manufactures of Thalidomide came forward with an apology. The lawsuit decades before was because the un-recommended drug had been given to pregnant women for morning sickness and it caused birth defects that were:

Structural.

Functional.

Metabolic.

The lawsuit became famous because when the amount of money awarded to the plaintiffs was so big that it would have put the distributors out of business. This suit was the beginning of  structured settlements.

Games People Play

The reality is, court is expensive for everyone involved even before a decision is made about who wins or loses. And larger lawsuits can drain individuals of their personal fiance just to keep fighting. In fact, this can be a tactic for some defense teams. YJBLaw.com reveals, the defense is unwilling to pay an appropriate sum without forcing the plaintiff to wait longer and incur greater expenses in preparing for trial. A Forbes article recently discussed Mary Brown’s bankruptcy while she waiting on her lawsuit against Obamacare.

The Cost of Court

The American Intellectual Property Law Association reveals that it can cost a plaintiff over a million dollars to pursue a case for patent infringement. For a start-up company, or midsized firm, this can easily bankrupt them. Courts.Ca.gov walks you through what a simple slip and fall case might cost you versus what you would win.

Sue for $15,000-18,000.

Contingent lawyer fee (only gets paid if you win) will be approximately 1/3rd or $5,000-$7,000.

Other costs:

Witness fees.

Wages lost while attending court.

Notice to attend fees.

Filing fees.

Extraneous court costs.

Having to pay for someone beingserved

Expert fees.

Enforcement of judgment if the person won’t pay.

How to be Prepared

If you do a little homework and make smart decisions up front and along the way, you won’t have to lose your shirt waiting for a lawsuit outcome. Some pre-lawsuit tips from FindLaw.com include:

Make sure you have a good case to start with.

Make a final demand from the business or individual before you file.

Try to compromise or use mediation if the other side is willing.

Know for sure if you will be able to collect if you win the judgment.

Get an estimate from your lawyer for what they would charge, court cost, etc. Decide if it’s cheaper to settle.

Do the math on if you have the time and resources for a long, or drawn out lawsuit.

Are you able to meet the statute of limitations?

Is your claim small enough for small claims or conciliation courts?

Only you can decide if you would be able to afford a long trial, and if the lawsuit is worth it. Do the math, think it through, and make the decision that is best for you.

A Bank that Pays Down your Student Loans?

Smarter BucksHave you heard of SmarterBank ®? Probably not, and that’s unfortunate because it could change the way you pay off your student loans. We’re talking an online bank that actually helps you get out of debt instead of into it. Weird, we know. Here’s how it works:

Better online banking

Online banking is practically standardized these days. SmarterBank is no different, coming with all the features you want. You get an online checking account with no monthly fee for active users, a SmarterBank Visa ® Debit Card (with a network of over 40,000 free ATMs), free checks, free online bill pay, and more. Their banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, the same bank behind PerkStreet and Simple.   SmarterBank, however, distinguishes itself with SmarterBucks, their free rewards program.

Rewards that become extra student loan payments

SmarterBucks allows you to earn rewards on the money you’re already spending. But here’s where things get interesting: SmarterBucks rewards become extra student loan payments that are used to automatically pay down any student loan you choose, whether it’s private or federal. And redemption is automatic. Every month you have an earned reward balance of $15 or more, they’ll make an extra loan payment on your behalf. It’s a value proposition we’ve never heard before. And it’s one we like.

The secret ingredient

Traditional rewards programs offer points or dollars you use to purchase something. SmarterBucks, on the other hand, uses those rewards to pay off your student loans faster. This actually increases the value of the rewards you earn. Here’s how: if you earn $15 in SmarterBucks and contribute that toward a student loan, you’ve not only paid off $15 in debt, you’ve avoided paying accruing interest on that $15 for the rest of your loan’s repayment period. Depending on your interest rate and where you are in your repayment period, your $15 payment could reduce the total cost of your debt up to 2-3 times that amount. They harness the power of interest to make your rewards worth more than they’re face value. It isn’t just a good idea. It’s a brilliant one.

Plus, earning rewards is easy!

With SmarterBank, you can earn rewards on everyday spending like groceries and gas, or coffee, or movie tickets, or restaurants. You get the idea. You get rewarded for the spending you already do. What’s better than that? Or earn bonus rewards in the SmarterBucks Marketplace by shopping with your favorite brands, including the Apple Store, Target.com, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Groupon, and more. You can even invite family and friends to contribute directly to your rewards balance via their credit or debit card. That means things like birthday presents, Christmas gifts, or any other special occasion can help you get out of debt faster. What’s even better? Come February, SmarterBucks will be giving you the power to have what they call Giftersââ”people who sign up and use SmarterBucks to earn rewards on your behalf. Basically your family and friends can soon earn rewards on the money they’re spending then give those rewards to you.

A company dedicated to college affordability

SmarterBank and SmarterBucks are brought to you by the team at SimpleTuition, a company that’s been dedicated to college affordability since 2006. They’ve already helped millions of students and families better afford their college education by teaching them to search and compare student loan options. Now they’re helping those same students get out of student debt faster. Now go sign up for Smarter Bucks!

0% Interest Cards With the Best Intro Periods in 2013

VISA credit card0% interest credit cards are a bit of a misnomer, since no credit card offers 0% interest forever. That would be cool, huh?

Credit cards billed as 0% interest cards actually refer to the intro periods these cards use as sign-up incentives. The best intro periods are the ones that charge no interest on purchases and balance transfers for a specific period of time.

Obviously, you want to to pay no interest for as long as you can, making the best 0% interest cards the ones with the longest intro periods. These cards are especially useful for consumers hoping to transfer their credit debt from one card with high interest to a new, zero interest credit card.

This is the most popular way to eliminate interest fees without paying back all of your credit at once. However, because some consumers have more credit debt than others (a recent report from the credit bureau TransUnion said that the average borrower owed close to $5,000 in credit debt alone), the best 0 interest credit cards are the ones with the longest introductory periods.

So if you’re hoping to save money on interest fees in the coming year, consider transferring your credit debt to one of the 0% interest credit cards below with the longest intro periods.

  • Discover itâ„¢ Card â“ 18 Month Balance Transfer

No 0% interest balance transfer card on the market today has a longer intro period than 18 months. That said, a full year-and-a-half is a generous amount of time to pay back your credit debt interest-free.

There are only a handful of 18-month intro period credit cards, and the new Discover itâ„¢ – 18 Month Balance Transfer Card is simply one of the best. An upgrade to their popular More ® Card series, Discover itâ„¢ offers cardholders a lucrative rewards program, with 5% cash back opportunities on rotating categories, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

It’s also especially useful for jet-setters since it charges no foreign transaction fees (as opposed to the usual 3%), and there’s no annual fee and they’ll even waive the fee on the first late payment you make (it’s $35 thereafter).

But this credit card from Discover is most useful thanks to its 0% intro period. If you’re hoping to back credit debt over time, you literally won’t find a better offer than the one afforded by the Discover itâ„¢ â“ 18 Month Balance Transfer Card.

  • Citi Simplicity Card

No credit card with 0% interest for 18 months is better suited for the consumer looking to simplify and consolidate their debt than the Citi Simplicity Card.

Like it’s name, this Citi card makes transferring debt simple; no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, no annual fees and â“ best of all â“ no late payment fees! OK, you should really avoid late payments since they’ll hurt your credit score, but it’s nice to know your wallet won’t get docked, too.

The only knock on this credit card with no interest is that it doesn’t offer a rewards program. That said, this an easy credit card to monitor in terms of payments and fees, and is one of the very best if your main goal is to alleviate credit debt in 2013.

  • Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee

Finally, the Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee Card is popular because, like its name makes mention of, it’s the only card on the market today that doesn’t charge a fee when you transfer a balance.

The average balance transfer fee is 3% of the total balance you plan on transferring. (That’s also the rate used by the aforementioned 0 interest cards above.) Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee is the only card that offers a balance transfer to its card free of charge. Note that no fee balance transfers are only eligible when made within 60 days of the credit card account opening.

The intro period attached to this card is slightly shorter â“ 15 months â“ but the fact that it waives the standard balance transfer fee make it one of the three best 0% interest credit cards of 2013.

This guest post was written by  Jason Bushey. Jason is a personal finance blogger and the editor of Creditnet.com.

photo by dahlstroms

Exploring Google Mobileâ™s Impressive Line of Free Smartphone Apps

GoogleMobileYou don’t have to be an Android fan to appreciate Google’s quite impressive offering of Google branded smartphone apps.   Since Android is a Google platform, all of the company’s mobile apps will work on Android devices.   Many of Google’s mobile apps will work on iPhone, Windows, Blackberry, Nokia/S60 and even some non-smartphones.   If you are using a non-Android device, you can visit m.google.com from your device browser to see which apps are available for your phone.   In the meantime, below are a few fun, innovative, must-have goodies:

Google Translate

This application allows you to translate back and forth between over 50 languages.   The voice input feature allows you to say a word or phrase to obtain translation.   There are also dictionaries in over 30 languages.   Perhaps the most interesting feature is conversation mode. Enable this to allow speech to speech translation, making it easy to have a conversation with someone who speaks a foreign language.

Google Sky Map

This open sourced app offers an impressive look at the night sky (although it does work during the day).   I like it because there have been numerous times when I am curious about a bright star or planet.   I simply point my phone to the sky and an exact map of the planets, stars and constellations appears on my screen.   You can also search for a specific star or planet.   Just type in what you want to locate, and the app will point your device directly to the object!

Google Talk

Google Talk allows you to chat or video chat with any other Talk user.   While this app is most handy on smartphones, don’t be afraid to download it to your tablet.   And, if you have a Gmail account and a front facing camera, you can enable it from your PC.   While iPhone users cannot download Talk to their devices, a third part app called Vtok by Skymobius, Inc. will allow you to make video calls to your Google contacts.

GoogleAppsAndroid

Google Play Books

Yes, there are a number of book apps out there, but Google’s rendition isn’t too shabby.   Books purchased are available on your computer and on all devices which you download the application (including IOS).   This versatile platform allows you to change reading font, save your page position and sync across all of your devices, and includes a night reading mode.

Google Earth

This popular desktop application is available for mobile devices.   The entire world is literally at the palm of your hands.   Search and zoom to anywhere you would like â“ from your own home to pyramids in Egypt â“ the possibilities are endless!

Google Goggles

Search the internet by taking a photo!   Want to know more information about a landmark?   Take a photo of it and Google Goggles will look it up and return information about it.   Another neat feature is the ability to scan a business card and add full contact information to your phone contacts without typing a single word.   The application also recognizes logos and artwork, and can translate text.   So, the next time you are in a foreign country and cannot read the menu, simply scan the menu item you would like to know about and Goggles will translate it for you.   Google Goggles was previously only available for Android, but now iOS 4.0 users can download the application as well.

Google Maps

This popular app offers accurate maps which pinpoint your location, voice-guided turn-by-turn GPS navigation and search features to locate restaurants, businesses, etc. near you. The Android version also offers Indoor Maps, 3D Maps and Street View.   Google Maps is now available for iOS user platforms.

Google Currents

Access your favorite blogs, publications and content in a user-friendly magazine format.   Download free editions of magazines from popular publishers, available for both high-speed and offline reading.

 GoogleAppsiOS

Google Shopper

Looking for prices, reviews, specs or other information on a product?   Google Shopper puts it all right at your fingertips.   Search by voice, barcode or scanning (books, CDs, DVDs and video games).   Find local stores as well as online offers.

I’ve highlighted some of my favorite Google mobile apps, but, of course, there are many others.   And, you can count on Google to continue expanding their app offerings, so be sure to check frequently to see what’s new.

So, what are you waiting for?   Grab you smartphone and start downloading!!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response.  Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

Five Ways You’ll Pay Too Much for a New Car

new carIt’s easy to pay too much for a new car. Getting a real deal on a new car isn’t nearly as easy. The reason that so hard to get a deal is that car buyers often start and finish the process at the dealership.

But there are steps that need to be taken before you start talking to a dealer that can change the whole outcome. Many people don’t do them, and end up paying way too much for new car.

Not doing your homework

Probably the biggest single biggest mistake you can make when buying a new car is relying on the car dealer’s knowledge. It’s not that he doesn’t have the knowledge, but rather that he has more of it than you do.

In order to get the best price on a new car, the first thing that you have to do is to close that knowledge gap. The best way to do this is by doing your homework before you even begin the buying process.

The Internet has done a lot to level the playing field when it comes to knowledge about just about everything, including cars. You can find out a lot about the car you want to buy and about its true value by going to sites on the web that specialize in that information. Excellent sources include Automotive.com, Edmunds.com, and Kelly Blue Book.

Before you talk to a car dealer, do some research on the sites and get the information that you need to negotiate intelligently, particularly in regard to the price of the car. You need to know what the value of the car truly is, and not rely on representations made by the dealer. Some research will help you do this, and do it confidently.

Buying a new car before your old one is paid for

You can be bitten by the new car bug at just about any time, but if it happens before your old car is fully paid off, it can end up costing you a lot more.

If you need financing for a new car, but you still owe on your old car, the dealer will gladly accept your old car as a trade-in, and then roll your old loan into the loan on the new car. This can put you into a situation of being “upside down” on your new car. That means that you will owe more on your new car than the car is worth.

If for example, you need an $18,000 loan in order to buy a $20,000 car, but you still owe $5,000 on your old car, the dealer will roll the two loans together into a new loan. That means you will owe $23,000 on a car that has a sticker price $20,000. The minute you drive the car off the lot, it will be worth even less.

You can avoid this situation by paying off your old car before buying a new one.

Trading in your old car

It’s much easier to trade your old car to a dealer than to sell it yourself. But it will also cost you more to do it that way.

There are two problems with trade-ins, and neither of them work in your favor. The first is that the dealer is typically giving you less than what the car is worth. This is because he has to sell it at a profit, and in order to do that he has to buy it on the cheap from you.

The second problem is that a trade-in is actually an allowance, not a hard number. During the course of price negotiations for the new car the value of the trade-in allowance can fluctuate depending on how well the negotiations are going from the dealer’s standpoint.

You can start out with a $5,000 trade-in allowance on your old car but by the time you’re done negotiating on the new car the amount of that allowance can seem to disappear. It’s a sleight-of-hand technique the dealers can use on a trade-in.

When you sell your old car yourself, you’re guaranteed that you will get the amount you sold it for. No games will be played after the fact. And you’ll almost certainly get higher price than what you would on a trade-in.

Letting the dealer get your financing for you

When you rely on the dealer for financing you’re accepting that he will give you the best terms available. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it’s not.

If nothing else, when you obtain your own financing you gain leverage with the dealer. By obtaining a written auto loan approval from an outside lender, you can use it to get a better deal from the car dealership. Show them what you have, and challenge them to make a better offer.

Dealer financing is only an advantage if it’s better than what you can get from an outside lender on your own. By getting that approval yourself, and forcing the dealer to top it, you’ll be certain that that is what has happened.

Loading the car with options

A car can have a low base price, but the cost can skyrocket when you begin adding options. There are certain options, such as automatic transmission, air conditioning, and certain safety equipment, that will truly add value to the vehicle. But there other options that are completely unnecessary.

Dealerships make proportionately more money on options than they do on the basic car price. They have a vested interest in loading a car with as many options as they can. Some of those options add significantly to the cost of the vehicle without providing any real benefit. Some examples are credit life insurance, undercoating and heated car seats.

The dealer’s job is to get you to add as many options as possible. When purchasing your new car, your job will be a make sure that doesn’t happen.

Are there other techniques you have used to avoid paying too much for a new car?

photo by NRMA New Cars

First Steps in January to Sorting Out Your Debt

JanuaryJanuary is often a depressing month for many of us. We are still in the depths of winter, Christmas and Hogmanay have both been and gone and worst of all, we are left with the expectation of a series of hefty bills at the end of the month. From high energy bills to the credit cards you used to fund those special Christmas presents, it’s easy to be daunted by it all. The key is not to let it get to you, and to follow our tips on how sort out your finances in January!

1) Firstly, sit down at the start of the month and try to find out how much your bills are going to be. For your energy bills, try looking online- most suppliers have a system that allows you to check how much you owe. Even make a note of your meter reading and compare it to the value on your last bill, so you can estimate how much it will cost you come the end of January. This will help with the next stages. You should also look up extraneous bills, such as credit card bills, etc.

2) Next, have a look at how much money you are going to have coming in this month, from benefits, income support or your wages. This will make up your income.

3) Then, make a list of all the essentials you need to cover for living expenses in January (this is where looking up your bills comes in handy). Bear in mind that you should only include your essential bills such as energy and mortgage etc. Try to account for as much as you can though and also be sure to think long and hard about whether what you’re spending your money on is an â˜essential’ or a luxury. This will make up your expenditure.

4) Once you have both of the above, then you can sit down and compare your income to your expenditure.

5) Whatever you have left over is what we call disposable income. This is where you can see how much money you have to service any credit card bills or loans etc. that you’ve taken out. You should be able to estimate how much your minimum repayment bill will be by comparing the balance of your card/ new purchases with your terms and conditions.

If your disposable income doesn’t cover the cost of paying towards your various credit cards/ loans then you know that have to do something about it. You can sometimes speak to your lender and ask about extending your loan period or maybe having a payment break, but often this is difficult to get. If you are in serious trouble then you need to seek some expert advice. Your Debt Expert offer free and impartial debt advice on a range of topics. So if you follow our guide, and still find yourself panicking, try out the debt calculator from Yourdebtexpert or give us call and we’ll help you sort out your finances.

For more Debt news and advice follow Peter Dean on Twitter – @your_debtexpert

photo by aunto

Top Tips for Finding a Bankruptcy Lawyer

bankruptcyIf you are faced with a large accumulation of debt, it may seem next to impossible to tackle each dollar one by one and find a light at the end of the tunnel. There are countless reasons why people fall on hard times and fall behind on their bills, when you can’t pay your debt back or paying back your debt would place a tremendous financial burden on you and your family, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. Because there are so many different laws and provisions when it comes to bankruptcy, the first thing you need to do is look to hire a bankruptcy attorney who specializes in debt consolidation as well as any special concerns you may have related to your case in your specific state.

Free consultation

One of the best ways to find a bankruptcy lawyer is to select one who offers a free consultation. You can typically find a lawyer offering a free consultation through advertisements on the television or radio, as well as at some debt consolidation firms. This is especially beneficial when you are facing extreme financial woes and can’t afford to pay for any type of consultation fee. Some attorneys do charge consultation fees and they can run anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on your location and their fees. A free consultation allows you to speak one on one with a lawyer either in person or over the phone. Make sure the lawyer answers all of your questions regarding a bankruptcy including what type you qualify for, any type of provisions that need to be followed, how the process works and how much the entire bankruptcy will cost.

Yellow pages

Finding a good lawyer may be as simple as opening up your local phone book’s yellow pages. While some lawyers may have websites or blogs, most generally local lawyers still advertise in the yellow pages to attract customers who many not have access to the internet. Within the yellow pages you can easily see what lawyers specialize in, especially the types of bankruptcy including chapters 7 and 13 as well as various types of debt consolidation. This is a great time saver so you prevent contacting lawyers who have specialties other than bankruptcy.

Lawyers you know

If you have seen a particular lawyer in the past for a personal matter such as probate or divorce and you trust that lawyer, it may be beneficial to contact him. If he has handled a lot of your legal issues in the past, he is familiar with the best options for you and your situation. If he can’t help he can refer you or put you in touch with a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy court.

Contact local and state organizations

If you are researching lawyers in your area or who might be best qualified to take on your case, you may want to do some investigating as well. Contacting your state bar association is a place to start. They will be able to tell you if a particular lawyer has had any disciplinary action against them as well as how long they have been practicing.  For example, I live in San Diego so to contact  bankruptcy  lawyers in San Diego, I would contact local organizations in my community.  And once I do find a bankruptcy attorney in San Diego, I would call up other people who had experience with them to make sure I’m getting someone qualified.

Taking all things into consideration, you should shop around for a good lawyer before hiring him to take on your case.

photo by ralphandjenny

Advantages of Renting a Conference Room

conference roomMeetings that need to be held off-site or in a neutral location can be done by renting a conference room or meeting space. A rented conference room may also be needed because existing space is not available for the number of expected attendees. Renting conference rooms is an ideal way for a small business to conduct meetings and benefit from many advantages.  One such company leading the way in this industry is Cliftons Hong Kong.  They offer various conference rooms in Hong Kong at reasonable prices and tastefully decorated!

Reduced Expenditures

Renting a conference room is a great way to reduce expenditures for a business. Maintenance costs that are often required for an on-site conference room are eliminated. This means that money can be saved on any cleaning and maintenance that is required. Many conference rooms will be wired to an internal network for Internet access and communication. If your business has yet to perform any type of upgrade, then using a rented conference room is a great way to reduce costs.

Space Availability

The need for increased space is often not met by an on-site conference room. Most conference rooms in a building have a certain occupancy. This means that only a certain number of people will be able to get inside the room. If a conference room is rented, then a specific size room is available to accommodate a large group or meeting. Space is available to allow for easy movement and plenty of leg room.

Convenience Factor

A conference room can be rented in an area that is easy for all attendees to access. A company that is in need of a parking ramp or access to a downtown area can easily select the best location. One benefit of a rented conference room with access to a downtown area is available public transportation that can be used instead of driving a car to the location. Car pooling to a downtown location is also an option.

 

Available Technology

Rented conference rooms often have the latest technology available. This is an advantage that is not an option with most on-site conference rooms. A meeting may require access to the Internet. Access to the Internet is typically provided via a wireless connection. Businesses that are giving a presentation need a way to display video. Video playback is often provided by a video hookup to a computer or by using a DVD player.

Additional Options

Many conference rooms for rent will have a variety of seating options. This may include an ergonomic chair or a beverage station. Catering services may also be available if a meeting is scheduled to last an entire day. If your office does not have many of the features expected by clients, then the use of rented conference room space is a good solution to this problem.

photo by Christian Church of the Hills

7 Inexpensive Ways To Build An Art Collection

art collectionAs someone who studied history, I have an immense appreciation for art and culture. While I love to gaze at large paintings and peruse art galleries, the prices for such treasured items are (to say the least) well out of my price range. However, that hasn’t stopped me from filling my home with several beautiful pieces of art. So, how do I do it? Check out my tips and tricks below.

1. Reuse and Recycle

One of my favorite pieces of art is a drawing of two little lovebirds sitting on a tree, which I framed in an inexpensive picture frame. The image actually came from a friend’s wedding invitation. I simply cut off their names, which were on the bottom of the invite and  kept the image on the top. It’s a cute little reminder to always tell my husband I love him.

2. Shop College Students’ Art

College students who are enrolled in art classes can certainly have immense talent. One of my favorite sculptural purchases came from a tent sale at a college. A class of ceramic students decided to sell some of their items for charity, and I picked up a gorgeous two-toned handmade bowl for my mother for mother’s day. You can also take a class and learn how to make these items yourself!

3. Learn Photography

Many people overlook photography, but it is certainly a serious art form that can tremendously transform your home. Invest in a quality camera or simply use trial and error with the one you already have. You’d be surprised how many good shots you can get when you have beautiful scenery and a ton of natural light. Blow up your favorite pictures at your local drugstore for a few dollars.

4. Shop Etsy

Etsy.com  is an incredibly community of artisans that sell jewelry, antiques, and incredible art. While there are definitely some expensive sellers on the site, many of them are quite affordable. Plus, you are supporting small businesses while you search for gifts for yourself or your family.

5. Scope Out Thrift Stores

One of my husband’s favorite pieces of art in our home is a print of a massive vintage map that I scored in its original frame at a Goodwill for $20.00. It certainly fits in with his style, and I hope he can hang it in his office someday when we upgrade to a larger space.

6. Go To Auctions & Stay Until The End

I used to work as an assistant at an auction house back in my grad school days, and I was always amazed at the great prices at the end of the sale. Most people went to the auction for a specific item and left once they got it. Others simply got tired and left. Essentially, just a few people were left at the end of each show, and I was constantly amazed that quality art pieces went for as low as $20.00 every. single. time.

7. Barter

You can barter on Craigslist or in your local newspaper. Essentially you can offer up some of your talents whether it be electrical work, carpentry, or a great haircut and offer to trade that for a piece of art. You never know when a local photographer or artist is looking for your services but doesn’t have the cash to pay for it.

Over the years, once you frequent garage sales and auctions and then purchase art for your spouse as gifts, you can certainly grow your collection to include many quality pieces that you can enjoy for a lifetime.

Do you have any other tips for inexpensive ways to build an art collection? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

photo by qthomasbower