5 Ways to Financial Relief – Fall Financial Check-Up

Fall Financial Check-Up

Let’s take a financial challenge. Do you think you could save more than $1,000 in four hours? We think you can save more than $2,000 year if you really dig in. There is no better time than now to negotiate and try some new habits. Try to schedule a financial check-up at least 3 times per year – January, April and August.

We’ve put together 5 Ways for a Fall Financial Check-up.

  1. Cars – On average, it costs over $700 per month to own a car. Many people are working from home and may be for the foreseeable future. Kids are e-learning or hybrid learning with fewer extracurricular activities. Have these factors changed your driving habits? Take a look at your situation and determine if you can sell a second car or if you need a car at all.
  2. Subscriptions – Subscription services can be great and convenient but over time you may not be getting the full value. At first, it was Netflix then you added Spotify, and Disney+ which added on Hulu and ESPN+ then YouTube TV, and the gym membership and food delivery service and on and on. The $4.99 here and $6.99 there and this and that. Suddenly you are paying hundreds of dollars a month for the convenience of watered-down subscription service you do not use. Take a few minutes to evaluate subscription services you are paying for then decide which ones you love, which ones you can consolidate and which ones you can cancel.
  3. Insurance – Have you seen all of the car insurance commercials. Feels like I should be saving a lot more. In Texas, the average person pays $117 per month per car. Insurance is competitive so at least once a year compare rates. There are several websites and apps that will show you competitive rates and it only takes a few minutes and switching insurance is not complicated.
  4. Bank Fees – The average checking account costs almost $15 per month plus ATM fees. Several banks offer free check but is it really free and what are the requirements to get free checking. Do you need a high minimum balance and direct deposit? There are several free checking account options with full features like debit cards, free ATM usage and refund out of network fees, provide checks, online bill pay, and mobile banking apps. A few minutes could save you more than $100.
  5. Credit Card Debt – This one is uncomfortable and stressful. We often don’t want to look at our debt but could save hundreds of dollars. The average American carries over $6,000 of credit card debt with an interest rate over 18%. That means you are paying over $1,100 per year in interest alone. Remember, credit cards are revolving debt so will always owe money, but it you get a loan to consolidate these debts, you could pay it off and be debt free.

When you need a little help to get from where you are now to where you need to be, CashMax can help:

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5 Ways to Improve Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-school shopping can be stressful. First, it can be very expensive. School supplies, backpacks, clothes, sneakers, electronics and technology can add up to nearly $700 per child. There never seems to be enough time, supplies and selections can be limited, and shipping may be delayed. Add in pre-teens, tweens and teens to the mix and you can have an anxious couple of weeks.

Here are 5 ways you can improve back to school shopping:

  1. Start Early – Some are better than others and luckily many schools are starting later this year so use this time wisely. 2-3 weeks should be enough time for you to prepare list and your kids wants, create a budget, search for deals, then shop. Most importantly, don’t procrastinate like my son on his American History project.
  2. Make a List – Organization is key to reducing back-to-school shopping stress. It also allows you to create a budget, compare prices, find deals and shop on your time.
  3. Create a Budget – There is a lot of uncertainty right now about how school will go in the COVID-19 fall semester and a lot of challenges facing moms and dads. On average standard classroom supplies cost $117, new sneakers cost $136, computers and electronics around $200, and fall fashions nearly $240. That’s almost $700 per child which does not include the need for more technology this year, added expense of increased utilities for e-learning or “school” lunches.
  4. Search for Deals – There are several ways to save on back-to-school necessities. First, take inventory at your home. Most of us have drawers, cabinets, and boxes full of useful school supplies. Search online for more expensive items and coupons or promo codes. There are also swapping sites. ABC News created a great link to help you find “Digital Ways to Save”
  5. Start Online, Finish Retail – And finally, start the process by shopping online first then as you make runs to the store pick up items as you go. Of course, many of us will wait until the last minute like we did in school cramming for that chemistry test so the late-night dash to the big box store is in many of our futures.

When you need a little help to on the extra cost of back-to-school shopping, CashMax can help:

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5 Ways to Improve Your Work from Home Space

Working From Home - Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Working from home is hardly new, but with COVID-19 it is quickly becoming the new norm. Many professionals are now having to set up makeshift home offices and with that comes quite a few challenges.

Here are 5 ways you can improve your work from home space today.

  1. Find a Dedicated Space – Even if you don’t have a separate room to set up an office, finding a space in your home that you can dedicate to your workspace is crucial. Make sure the space is well lit with natural light if possible and will give you privacy, even if that means setting up a room divider. Since you are working from home, your work needs to stay in your WORK space.
  2. Make it Welcoming – Create an environment that you want to work in. Add a plant, light a candle, surround yourself with beautiful pictures. Amazon has great office space knickknacks that can turn your little nook into a private oasis you look forward to working in every day.
  3. Invest in a Desk – You can create a desk from just about anything. It doesn’t have to be expensive but having a desk gives your space (however big or small) a work environment feel that can help keep you focused.
  4. Get a Good Chair – No office space is complete without a comfortable chair. It’s hard to stay productive if you aren’t comfortable and without a good chair you could be facing back and neck problems.
  5. Use good Tech Tools – You are probably used to having certain tools available to you while at the office. Make sure that you get the tools that you need for your own home office space. A few key tech tools that can make a difference are noise cancelling headphones, a good keyboard with a wrist pad, webcam for video conferencing, microphone, surge protectors, printer, scanner and don’t forget the coffee maker!

We’ve compiled an Amazon Idea list for everything you need to create your dream home office workspace here.

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3 Ways to Save on Utility Bills

3 Ways to Save on Utility Bills

This is the time of year when utility bills can be the highest which can cause a financial strain. The stress of monitoring your thermostat, keeping doors closed and turning off the lights, just to keep your electric bill in check. Here are a few ways to help lower your electric bill in the summer, and maybe throughout the year.

  1. Energy Ogre – This is a service that searches multiple utility providers to find the best rates and savings programs in your area. Use this special link to see their savings calculator: https://www.energyogre.com/savings/?ref=11SFG
  2. Get a programmable thermostat that monitors and adjusts based on the activity in your home.
  3. Keep doors, windows and curtain closed. Keep heat out and the cool air in.

When bills get out of control and you need a little help to get you through summer expenses, CashMax can help:

  1. Get pre-approved for a cash advance up to $2,000 or title loan up to $5,000 over the phone from one of our knowledgeable associates.
  2. You can start the process of getting a cash advance or title loan online.
  3. CashMax has 38 convenient locations in Texas to serve you:

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3 Apps to Help You Manage Your Money

Money Management Applications

Balancing your everyday financial needs is challenging and it is important to have complete access and control of your finances. There are several apps that help you save, manage, budget and control your money, as hard as it can be. We’ve put together a short list of apps for you to investigate.

  1. Stash – Stash is an app for banking, saving, learning and investing. Stash a little bit at a time and watch it grow. “Stashers”, as they call their clients, can track their spending, use free educational tools, and invest or stash a to build an emergency fund. Use our click our partner link to get $20.
  2. PocketGuard – PocketGuard is great because it helps you manage your spending. It is a money managing app that syncs all of your accounts so you can track them in one place, which helps with visualizing your spending. Seeing your expenses in one place can also help you catch unexpected charges and reoccurring expenses that have been forgotten. Another great feature of PocketGuard is that is features a list of services that its users can pay less for, given users options to lower their spending costs.
  3. Acorns - Are you looking for an app to help you save without having to do ANYTHING? Not only does Acorns help you find extra cash to save, it automatically invests it for you. The Acorns app can round up your everyday purchases and automatically invest them. For example, if your weekly grocery bill is $52.45, Acorns will draw $0.55 from your account and invest it. You can choose the stock portfolio that fits your preference, but don’t worry Acorns will give you suggestion curated by experts that align with your preferred level of risk. You can also partner with other businesses and Acorns will add the extra cash to your investment account…kind of like a cash back program.

Planning for the near and long-term future is important, but when you need cash today, here’s 3 ways CashMax can help:

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COVID-19 Financial Assistance

COVID-19 Financial Assistance

COVID-19 has caused many stresses including financial stress on some of the most vulnerable Americans. Government Stimulus checks and unemployment may be a very short-term bridge, but you may need help with your most important expenses like housing, utilities, cell phone, WIFI so your kids can school and you can work from home.

Many banks and financial institutions offer temporary assistance. Some banks are offering extending due dates or forbearance programs. If you need assistance with your rent or mortgage, utility bills, credit card payments, mobile phone or insurance, be sure to contact your bank or service provider immediate to find out what programs they are offering.

CashMax is open to help you with immediate financial relief. Our teams are knowledgeable, friendly and ready to help you. The process is easy and you can have the cash you need in your hand today.

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How to Track Your Stimulus Check

Tracking Your Stimulus Check

Stimulus relief payments started hitting bank accounts last week and the government is lining up paper checks to go out this week. The IRS has built an online tool to help you track your check called Get My Payment.

If you are eligible and would like to track your payment, using this online tool may be the fastest way.

  1. Go to https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
  2. Click the blue Get My Payment button
  3. Agree to the use of the system
  4. Complete the information – Social, Date of Birth, Street Address, Zip

CashMax locations in Texas are open and ready help you through these challenging financial times. Our employees are taking enhanced procedures to keep themselves, our customers and communities as safe as possible. The process is fast and easy.

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21 Resources to Find Financial Help

Financial Help

Over 6.6 million Americans have filed job loss claims over the last few weeks, which is a new record for the U.S.

While there are many financial aid programs being created, it can be hard to navigate which ones are available to you and your family. Here are 21 resources created to help individuals in varying industries.

Air Force Aid Assistance

  • Program name: Air Force Aid Society
  • Type of assistance: No-interest loans and/or grants
  • Minimum qualifications: Air Force, Airmen, and families

Amazon

  • Program name: Amazon Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Up to two weeks of pay to all employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine
  • Minimum qualifications: Amazon delivery drivers and seasonal employees

*Amazon is also hiring 100,000 new full and part-time fulfillment center and delivery positions across the United States. Regular pay of at least $15/hour will be increased by $2/hour.

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Fifteen Companies Hiring Right Now

Companies Hiring

With jobs being cut left and right, it can be hard to stay positive about finding any job opportunities ahead.

Good news is that there are companies hiring thousands of people right now. Here are the top ten companies who are mass hiring this month.

  1. CVS Health
  2. 7-Eleven
  3. Albertsons
  4. Dollar General
  5. Dollar Tree/Family Dollar
  6. Kroger
  7. PepsiCo
  8. Publix
  9. Walgreens
  10. Wallmart
  11. Lowes
  12. Amazon
  13. Instacart
  14. Pizza Hut
  15. Papa John’s

These companies have pledged to hire for more than 860,000 jobs.

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Where Does Your Money Go?

Where Does Your Money Go?

It’s already March so let’s do a quick check-in on where we are spending our money. Here are the 6 most common areas where we spend most of our money:

  1. Housing
  2. Transportation
  3. Food
  4. Insurance & Healthcare
  5. Entertainment
  6. Clothing

Does your monthly budget look similar to this? Most families spend about 33% of their budget on housing, 16% on transportation, 12% on food, 19% on insurance and healthcare, 5% on entertainment and 3% on clothing. That only leaves 12% for everything else on your list. No wonder living is just so expensive and so many people feel the financial crunch week in and week out.

When you need a little help to bridge the gap before your next paycheck, CashMax is here with 38 convenient locations in Texas.

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