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3 Important Things To Know About Internal Control Systems For Your Business

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Important Things To Know About Internal Control Systems For Your Business

If your company is growing and does not have an internal control system in place, you may want to consider hiring a forensic accounting firm to design and implement a system for you. Internal control systems are designed to reduce the chances of fraud taking place in an organization, and they are important for all types of companies. Here are three things you should know about internal control systems. What Is An Internal Control System? An internal control system refers to procedures and processes used to limit the risk of fraud taking place in a company. When a system is designed and in place, it reduces the chances of money laundering and other types of fraudulent activities. A system can only work if it is thorough, detailed, and followed. Once you have a system in place, it is important to monitor and test the system from time to time. This is something you can do through a financial audit of your company, or you could hire a forensic accountant to evaluate it. At times, you may need to make changes to your system if there are areas that were not covered in the initial system. What Other Goals Should Be Included In Your Internal Controls? In addition to reducing fraud, a good internal control system should also be set up to ensure that financial records are kept and reported properly, accurately, and legally. This typically means hiring competent workers to maintain the books and prepare the financial statements. It also requires following accounting principles and legalities surrounding the way financial information is presented on statements. What Are Some Of The Common Elements Of Internal Control Systems? All companies create unique internal control systems to meet their own individual needs; however, there are certain elements that are usually present with all internal control systems. These include: Segregation Of Duties Segregating duties involves spreading out duties among numerous employees. This principle is often referred to as limiting the powers of each employee. The purpose of this is to hold a series of individuals accountable for certain tasks in the accounting system. By limiting the power of each person, there is a lower chance that something fraudulent could occur. An example of this is hiring one person to prepare bank deposits, another person to make the deposits, and a third person to reconcile the bank accounts. Safeguards Safeguarding your business refers to the things you take to protect your assets and company information. An example of this is giving each person their own log in information for their computers. In addition, you may want to have a computer system in place that records what is done under each log in name. With this system in place, you can have a paper trail of what occurs on your computer system. Safeguards can also include having locks on office doors and safes, and keeping all important documents sealed away from your employees that do not need access to the information. Measures A third component to have in place is a system to measure how efficient your internal control system is. Measuring the effectiveness of a system is vital to ensure that it is working properly, but you may also want to measure it to make sure that the system is cost-effective. Developing a system...

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What Is Overdraft Protection And Is It Good For A Checking Account?

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Is Overdraft Protection And Is It Good For A Checking Account?

When you open a checking account, one of the questions the bank may ask you is if you would like to enroll in overdraft protection. If you’ve never had a checking account before or never heard of overdraft protection, you may want to learn more about this feature before you agree to it or decline it. Here are three things you should understand about overdrawing your account and the way overdraft protection works. What Does It Mean To Be Overdrawn? A checking account is something you can use to deposit money and make payments or purchases. When you put money in the account, you are free to use all of the money to pay for things. You can do this by writing a check or using a debit card tied to the account. If you spend more money than the amount in the account, your bank account will be considered overdrawn. If this happens to your account, the bank may do several things, including: Charge you a fee – When you spend more than the amount you have, you will have to tap into the bank’s money. Because of this, the bank will charge you an overdraft fee. This fee could be around $35, and you could get charged the fee multiple times if you made more than one purchase that resulted in overdrawing the account. Return the checks – If you wrote a check that caused your account to overdraw when it cleared, the bank could return the check. This means that the bank would not pay the person the check was to, and you would then be responsible for paying the person you wrote the check to. Decline debit transactions – In addition, the bank could also put a stop to your debit card until your account is in good standing. If this happens and you try to use it, the transactions will be declined. Being overdrawn is never a good thing. It is costly and can cause big problems. If you find that your account is overdrawn, you will need to immediately make a deposit to cover the balance you owe. Failing to do this could result in additional fees. How Does Overdraft Protection Work? Mistakes happen with checking accounts, though, and banks realize this, which is why most banks offer a feature called overdraft protection. Overdraft protection is something that offers two key benefits to you as the customer: The bank will not return checks if they bounce – You will not have to ever worry about the bank returning a check if your account does not have sufficient funds. The bank will not cut off your debit card privileges – In addition, the bank will allow your debit transactions to go through, even if you do not have enough money in your account. While banks are not trying to encourage checking account holders to be irresponsible with their accounts, they are simply trying to make it easier if mistakes happen. When you have overdraft protection on your account, the bank will pay all the transactions for you; however, they will charge you fees when this happens. What Are The Pros And Cons? For some people, overdraft protection is a wonderful thing. For others, it is not the best option in the world. Overdraft protection...

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Don’t Get Jipped – Weigh Old Gold Jewelry Before You Sell It

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t Get Jipped – Weigh Old Gold Jewelry Before You Sell It

Whether you’re cleaning out your jewelry box or you’re in a bind and need some money quick, selling old gold jewelry is a great way to get cash fast. To ensure you don’ get jipped, you need to know how to properly weigh gold jewelry so you can estimate it’s value. Once you have an approximate price value for your gold, you will know if you’re getting a good deal or not when you sell it. Keep reading to learn how to properly weigh gold jewelry to obtain its value before you sell it: Supplies Needed: Gold jewelry Magnifying glass Scale, preferably a gram scale Calculator Newspaper or Internet access Paper Pencil/pen Step 1: Locate The Karat Stamp Every piece of gold jewelry is stamped with a karat number that indicates its purity. The greater the karat number, the purer the gold is, and the higher the value is for that piece of jewelry. The most common numbers you’ll see stamped on gold jewelry are 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k. Pure, solid gold is 24k. In order to find the stamp, look on the inside of rings, the backside of pendants, and near the clasp on bracelets and necklaces. The stamp will be small, so you’ll probably need a magnifying glass to read it. As you find the karat stamp on each item, sort the jewelry into piles by karat number. Step 2: Weigh The Jewelry With your gold jewelry sorted by karat number, it’s time to weigh each group and write the figure down on paper. A gram scale is best, but if you don’t have one, you can multiply the number of ounces by 28.3495231 to get the weight in grams. Step 3: Get The Current Price Of Gold Next, you need to find the current price of gold. You can find this information in your local newspaper or online. Write the price down. Note that gold is typically weighed in troy ounces, which is slightly different than a regular ounce. A troy ounce equals 31.1034768 grams. Step 4: Find The Price Per Gram In order to properly weigh your gold jewelry, you have to convert the price of gold per troy ounce to grams. This is done by dividing the current price of gold by 31.1034768. Write the results of this calculation down. Step 5: Calculate The Price Per Gram For Each Karat Number Now, look at your piles of gold jewelry, which are sorted into piles by karat. Start with the lowest karat number and divide it by 24. Then, take this number and multiply it by the price of gold per gram, which you calculated in the previous step. Now you have the price per gram for that specific karat number. Write this number down. You will need to do this calculation for each karat of gold you want to sell. Step 6: Find The Value Of Each Karat Group Now take the price per gram for one of your karat piles and multiply it by the weight of that pile in grams. Write the number down, because this is the value of that pile of gold. Do this for all of your piles. Step 7: Determine The Total Worth Of Your Gold Jewelry The easiest calculation of them all is this final step....

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Should You Use An Appraisal Management Company When Selling Your Home?

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should You Use An Appraisal Management Company When Selling Your Home?

If you’ve begun to take steps to prepare your home for sale, you may be nervous about the upcoming appraisal. Not only will this value assessment help determine your home’s listing price, it will also set the maximum amount potential buyers will be able to borrow against your home without additional collateral. And with recent federal regulations governing “arms length” real estate transactions now being strictly enforced, many lenders have opted to partner with appraisal management companies (AMCs) to ensure that the appraised value of a home is truly accurate and verifiable. Read on to learn more about what you should do before seeking an appraisal, as well as how enlisting the services of an AMC for your appraisal may help the final sale go more smoothly. What is an AMC? AMCs have begun to boom in popularity since the Great Recession, after a number of banking laws were changed to prohibit artificial price inflation and ensure transparency and accountability in the appraisal process. AMCs employ a number of certified real estate appraisers, and are contracted on behalf of the owner or buyer’s bank to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest in the appraisal transaction. In addition to the federal appraisal regulations, AMCs have additional rules for their appraisers that can help you, as the seller, know exactly what factors went into your appraised amount. One advantage of having your lender enlist an AMC in appraising your home is the knowledge that this appraisal is independently verifiable and should be accepted by other lenders as an accurate value for your home. This can help future sales transactions go more smoothly, as well as reduce the borrower’s expenses (giving you more room to negotiate on the back end). What should you do to your home or property before seeking an appraisal? You may wish to find out if your lender has a preferred AMC to determine which factors will go into your appraisal — this can help you know which changes and fixes are most important in assessing the final value of your home. But in general, you’ll want to perform as much deferred maintenance as possible before seeking your appraisal, as any changes made afterward may require an additional appraisal at full cost. If you’ve been putting off fixing a nagging but not crucial problem (like an unfinished third bathroom, or a warped baseboard), now is the time to fix it. The process of preparing your home for sale should include repainting any rooms with older or brightly-colored paint in eggshell or a neutral color. You’ll also want to declutter — remove or rehome “piles” of anything (books, papers, or toys) and oversized furniture, as these can make rooms look and feel much smaller. If you’re planning on hosting open houses after the appraisal, you’ll likely also want to remove any personal mementos or family photographs. If possible, these touch-ups should be done before the appraisal takes place, as they will help your home be more photogenic and appealing to potential buyers. What information should you or your realtor provide to the AMC? The AMC’s appraiser may contact you or your realtor prior to the appraisal for some background information on the square footage of your home, the year your home was built, and whether there were...

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3 Fast Cash Loan Options

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There are many different reasons why you might need a loan. If you need a loan to start a business, buy a home or buy a car then you have small business loans, mortgage loans and car loans at your disposal. However, there are moments when you don’t need a loan for any large purchase, but you do need a loan fast, and conventional bank loans just won’t do due to the processing time that it takes from the time you apply for your loan to when the cash arrives in your hand. Luckily, there are a number of different fast cash loans from places like EZ Check Advance out there that can get you the money you need in anywhere from minutes to a few days. You have a number of options when you need a loan fast. Pawn shop Loans Pawnshop loans are a great idea for people who have valuable things that they don’t longer need or that they won’t miss for long periods of time. When you get a loan from a pawnshop, they give you cash in exchange for an item. Most pawnshops will take any item of value, which includes things like CDs and DVDs. The pawnshop will give you cash, and then you will have to sign a document agreeing to pay the pawnshop back in full by a certain time. If you don’t pay back the shop by the time agreed, they pawn shop will put your item up for sale. Some people will pawn items that they no longer want, and just never pay the loan back. This is fine, as long as you are prepared to lose whatever you gave to the pawnshop! Tax Refund Loans If you are working full-time and expecting a refund during tax season, you might want to consider taking out a tax refund loan. These loans become available in January, and are based on the amount of money that you anticipate getting back when you file your taxes. These loans arrive quickly, and can be applied for before you even file your taxes. Keep in mind that you do have to pay them back in full, and you might even have to send your tax refund directly to the lender to ensure that it gets paid. Overdraft Loans You might not think as overdraft protection as a loan, but it is just that. If your bank offers overdraft protection, then you can draw money from your account even when your account holds a balance of zero. That means that in a dire situation, you have the opportunity to charge something to your account when you don’t have the money and the bank will pay for it as if you did have money in your account. Unfortunately, overdraft protection comes with fees. Every time the bank pays for something that you charged to your account when it had a zero balance, you will be faced with a fee. This type of loan is best used in do or die situations, as well as in situations where you know you will be able to re-pay the bank, along with the fee, quickly. It is important that you do not abuse overdraft protection, as the fees charged by the bank can quickly add up. Before you take...

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Healthcare Costs Got You Worried? Make Your Money Go Farther With These Tips!

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Having health insurance is a great way to lower your medical costs, but it’s not the only way. If your policy leaves a little to be desired, you don’t have to settle for paying more than you want to pay. Instead, try one of these ways to minimize health expenses without skimping on care. Preventative Care Might Just Be Free Under the new healthcare guidelines set forth by the US government, your insurance policy might just get you free preventative care.  Policyholders who are insured by major insurance companies, and whose coverage began after 2013, are eligible for quite a few free preventative measures, including one free wellness checkup every year. Additional health screenings, vaccinations, prescriptions, and other treatments may also be available for free depending on your current health conditions, age, and gender.  If you are at risk for certain conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes for example, you should get in touch with your insurance company and inquire about whether or not you qualify for free screening. Physical health isn’t all that’s covered, either. You may also qualify for free mental health screening, diet assistance, substance abuse assistance, and a host of other programs designed to prevent serious health complications down the line. Researching online can give you an idea of the services available, but be sure to contact your insurance company before you schedule any appointments, just in case. Don’t Rely On Your Policy Alone To Lower Prescription Prices Your insurance coverage may be able to significantly lower the cost of prescription drugs, but it’s possible you’ll still find yourself paying a hefty copay if you rely solely on the insurance company to help you save. If you want to keep more of your money in your wallet, it pays to be proactive with your drug costs. The number one person who can help you save on prescription drugs is your pharmacist. Whether it’s pointing you toward inexpensive over-the-counter alternatives or helping you switch to generics priced as low as $4 per refill, pharmacists are experts at saving their customers money. Even if you can’t take a less expensive alternative medicine, talking to your pharmacist about the cost may help you save money, even with insurance. Many pharmaceutical companies offer rebates to needy customers, including those who are insured. Pharmacy staff can act as your advocates in requesting such a rebate if you ask them to, and the result could be up to hundreds saved on expensive prescription medicines. Get The Inside Scoop Before Appointments Are Made In order for a healthcare provider to be in your insurance network, they first have to negotiate pricing with the insurance company. Fortunately for you, not all negotiations arrive at the same dollar amount for the same services across different providers. The next time you need to schedule a healthcare procedure, be it a checkup or a surgery, make sure to do a little research with the help of your insurance representative. Because providers charge insurance companies different amounts for their services, finding out which ones charge the lowest price could save you a pretty penny on more expensive medical bills. If you haven’t met your deductible or your yearly limit for out-of-pocket costs, a lower charge for your insurance company will translate directly into less money you have to...

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Three Ways To Save Money You Didn’t Even Know You Were Spending

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When people think about saving money, their thoughts often turn to setting aside a defined amount each month in a savings account. While that is a wise principle, there is much more to saving money than depositing a lump sum on a monthly basis. Instead, saving money should be a principle and habit of daily living. The truth is that most people fail to think in those terms, and thus their everyday lives cost them much more than necessary. Below are three ways that you can tighten up your wallet and slow down the hidden spending that can cost you a bundle:  If you use a lot of it, buy a lot of it at the same time You should always buy in bulk whenever you consume a product on a regular basis. This may not seem like much of a secret, since everyone knows about warehouse shopping clubs. However, when you step back and look at the items you buy repeatedly, you may be surprised at just how much you can purchase in bulk. Here are a just a few of the possibilities: Paper goods – towels, plates, toilet and facial tissue Toiletries – razors, shaving cream, shampoo, soaps, hair products Pantry staples – canned soups, pasta, sugar, flour Household items – garbage bags, light bulbs, pet food Avoid convenience purchases by planning ahead Another area that might be surprising to you, if you look at your bank statement, is learning how much money you spend on convenience purchases. Convenience purchases are best defined as those things you buy because you didn’t make plans ahead of time to buy them at a better price. Convenience stores cover the United States; there are literally tens of thousands across the landscape to draw you in. These stores make money from your lack of foresight; in most cases, purchases could have been made elsewhere for less money. The best way to save money is to evaluate your daily habits. For example, do you drink coffee in the morning? Is it your habit to stop at your local convenience store and grab a cup to go? Do a little math exercise and add up the cost of your daily coffee purchases, then go to the grocery store and take a look at the aisle where coffee is sold. That same amount of coffee could be brewed at home for a fraction of what it costs at the convenience store. As a challenge, keep a listing of your convenience purchases minus gasoline in a notebook for one month. At the end of the month, add them up, and you will almost certainly find ways to save several dollars. Buy used items that are just as good as new items Yard sales are a national passion as nearly 700,000 Americans per week buy something from a garage sale. Thrift stores are also popular with the buying public. If you aren’t one of these shoppers, you should make a decision to become one. In many cases, used items are an absolute bargain when compared to buying new, and they are just as good at doing their jobs. Below are several things that you should strongly consider purchasing used: Sporting goods – golf clubs, practice balls, tennis rackets, baseball gloves and bats, bicycles Hardware – hand tools, power...

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Haunted By An Old Arrest Warrant? Here’s How To Clean It Up

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you a responsible adult who, at some point in your life, was issued an arrest warrant? Have you long since moved away from the issuing jurisdiction and sometimes wonder if the warrant is still pending, or if you’ll be arrested should you ever return to that place? Stop worrying about the past by taking care of your old arrest warrant once and for all. Read on to find out how. Make Sure Your Warrant Is Still Pending It’s not common for an arrest warrant to disappear, but it’s not unheard of, either. Normally, once an arrest warrant is issued, it is renewed every year until you are arrested. Warrants do not expire, nor do they have statutes of limitations.  In rare situations, though, very old warrants for small criminal offenses may be released by prosecutors in order to make room for more pertinent cases in the court dockets.  To find out if your arrest warrant is still active, contact the police or sheriff’s department in the city that the warrant was issued in. The person you talk to will be able to look your name up on a database and quickly determine whether or not there is an existing warrant for your arrest. Contact A Lawyer Once you’ve established that your warrant is still active, it’s time to visit your lawyer. Your lawyer can contact the issuing court, plead your case, and ask that an arraignment be scheduled for your case. This arraignment is an agreement to meet in court without you having to actually be arrested. In many situations, where the warrant is old and you are not considered a risk to anybody’s safety, the court will be willing to oblige because it simply isn’t worth their time to have you extradited or to waste their resources on booking you.  If the issuing court is unresponsive to this request, you’ll unfortunately need to walk into the issuing courthouse and turn yourself in. Call A Bail Bondsman Before you turn yourself in, though, call a bail bondsman at a place like All Star Bail Bonds. Upon informing the court that you have an outstanding warrant, you will likely be placed under arrest. Do not let this embarrass you or discourage you from taking action — you’re doing the right thing by settling old matters and the court is simply following standard procedures. In order to spend as little time as possible in jail, though, you’ll need to make arrangements with a bail bondsman before turning yourself in to the authorities. Make sure the bondsman has your personal information, and ask them what sort of collateral they accept so you can bring the appropriate paperwork with you when you travel to the city who initially issued your warrant. If upon turning yourself in you are held on bail, you’ll be able to get out of jail by providing the bail bondsman with a fraction of the total cost of your bail. Your bondsman can usually get you freed within a matter of hours, and many bail bond agencies offer their services 24 hours a day. Make Your Court Date There are a few stipulations your bail bondsman will explain to you. You will not receive your bail deposit back (it’s their service fee), and you must return to court on...

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4 Tips For Fixing Financial Fiascoes Without Credit Cards

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Credit cards might seem like universal residents of consumers’ wallets, but they aren’t. If you don’t have any credit cards, a financial emergency becomes even more stressful because you have no way to resolve the situation. If you find yourself in such dire financial straits, follow these four tips to get back on your feet. 1. Check Your Credit Report Just because you live without credit cards doesn’t mean you don’t have access to cash. If your credit score is high enough, with no serious negative marks, you might be able to qualify for a personal loan. In 2012, Fox Business reported a 6.5% increase in personal loan approvals over the year 2010. Consumers often prefer personal loans to credit cards because it is not a revolving debt, which means that it is no longer an issue once it is paid off. There are other benefits of personal loans, such as: No collateral: You don’t have to sign over the title to your house or vehicle to obtain small personal loans. Fast access: It doesn’t take long to apply for a personal loan or to obtain the cash, especially with direct deposit and electronic transfers. No equity: A second mortgage or refinancing of an existing mortgage requires a certain amount of equity, which isn’t available if you are underwater on the loan. 2. Apply for a Payday Loan If you do not have a good enough credit score to qualify for a traditional personal loan, payday loans offer a simple alternative. You must meet the lender’s qualifications to obtain the loan, which might include: Employment: Many lenders require you to have held a job for a certain period of time Income: The amount you are able to borrow depends on your verifiable income Identification: You must be able to prove who you are If you decide to take out a payday loan, request only the amount you need to resolve your financial emergency. Pay off the loan as quickly as possible to reduce interest payments and other fees, then start an emergency savings account to prevent further trouble in the future. 3. Raid Your Attic One method to obtain fast cash is to sell something you do not need anymore. Pawn shops, consignment stores, and secondhand shops are all options if you have no other way to obtain money when you need it. Items to consider for sale might include: Outdated electronics that are still in good shape Designer clothing that no longer fits Jewelry made with precious metals or stones Appliances you have replaced but not thrown out If you are selling something of considerable value, consider having it appraised first. In a financial emergency, you might be so desperate or panicked that you sell a valuable item for much less than it is worth. 4. Ask About Payment Schedules When you are caught in a financial fiasco, you might be able to work out a deal with the person to whom you need to pay money. For example, if you suffer a serious injury or illness, consult with the hospital or treatment center about payment plans. Financial emergencies are so common that even some auto mechanics and repair shops offer payment plans. This allows you to fix your mode of transportation without having to come up with...

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How To Make Sure You Can Repay Your Payday Loan On Time

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Unforeseen circumstances that deplete your bank account and put you in a precarious financial situation can make you feel desperate for the cash you need to pay your regular bills. If you are in between paychecks and completely broke, you can apply for a short-term payday loan to tide you over until you get paid again. However, when you apply for a payday loan at a place like Money 4 You, you need to make sure that you understand the terms of the loan and that you can repay the cash advance on time. Do Not Skim Over Loan Details and Paperwork When you are in a dire financial situation and losing sleep over paying major bills like your mortgage and car note, you may be tempted to gloss over the details of a payday loan because you simply want to get cash as soon as possible. However, it is in your best interest to take the time to read over the terms of the loan especially the repayment clauses. Most payday loans are due on your next payday. If you are unable to repay the cash on time, you need to know if you can apply for a loan extension. Many payday loan companies will provide you with an online account so you can apply for an extension from your computer. Each state has specific regulations on maximum loan amounts, extensions and finance charges and these details should be included in your loan agreement. Make a Budget and Earn Extra Money If you are not completely out of cash but need a payday loan, make a short-term budget for your finances until you can repay your loan. Every cent that you spend should be accounted for in your budget. Cut out any extraneous spending such as eating out for lunch or renting movies from store kiosks. You should also brainstorm for ways to earn cash in a short amount of time. Hold a garage sale Sell items that you find in your attic or basement online via an auction website Look for weekend temp jobs If you have friends or family that owe you money, contact them to ask for repayment Make Sure Your Bank Account Has Enough Funds to Repay the Loan Typically, a payday lender will withdraw the amount of your loan directly from your bank account on the day the loan is due. If you have income from other sources that do not get automatically deposited into your bank account, you need to make sure you deposit those funds as soon as possible. If the lender is unable to withdraw the amount of the loan, you will be subject to late fees. The amount of fees a lender can charge and actions they can take to obtain a payment varies by state. However, in most cases, the longer you take to repay, the more fees you incur over time. If you are unable to acquire enough money to repay your loan, ask your family or close friends for help. In addition, contact your local government, church and area non-profits to find out about emergency assistance programs. In addition, if you have utility bills due as well, call your energy and water providers to negotiate an extension on paying your bill so you can take care...

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