Month: July 2015

8 Money Saving Tips For Back To School

https://flic.kr/p/97xw2S https://flic.kr/p/97xw2S%5B/caption%5D

As summer comes to a close our precious children or grandchildren will be going back to school. Just think of all the money you will save! No more summer camp fees, no more exorbitant utility bills and no more outrageous activity expenses— this list could go on. But then you start back-to-school shopping and suddenly find yourself spending just as much money if not more!
Well today I am here to give you a few tips that came in handy for me when my babies were getting ready to start a new school year. Read on and let me know in the comments, if this was helpful to you.
Shop At Home First-Everyone is in the mindset that they have to have all new everything. NEWSFLASH, you don’t. Items such as scissors, if in good shape, can be used again. Look through your drawers at home and see what items you can reuse.
Tax Free Weekend-Some states participate in the tax free weekend and if your state is one of them you better jump on that deal!
Recycle Clothing-When you are a parent of multiples like I was, this can save tons of money. First, go through all of last year’s clothes to see what fits. If it still fits in the waist but is a little too short for the height, you can easily cut them off and make shorts for girls or boys or make capri pants for the girls. Next check the clothes for spots and fading. If they are faded buy some RIT dye and refurbish them. Last year’s sweaters can be made into sweater vests by cutting the arms off and the sleeves can be used as matching leg warmers for the girls during those cold winter months.
Think Outside The Big Box Stores– Places such as Big Lots and Dollar stores are great places to purchase less expensive school supplies.
Host A Back-To-School Swap– Round up some of your friends, neighbors or relatives with children close to the same age and gender as yours and host an annual back to school swap. Here’s a bonus: you can even trade toys and books too and you will save a bundle.
Stick To What Is Needed– After you determine what is in your current inventory, make a specific list of what is needed and stick to that list. If you don’t stick to the list you may end up purchasing items that you really don’t need.
Find Coupons– Often times we receive circulars in the mail and consider them junk. Don’t throw that circular away, it may contain back to school coupons for supplies or clothes. Also be sure to check your Sunday paper for coupons. Who knows, with coupons you may be able to get some things for free.
Don’t Stop Shopping– I know that sounds crazy but it’s not, I promise. Continue school shopping throughout the year; we often miss some great bargains throughout the year because we don’t think of school shopping. Keep an eye out for sale items and bargains in the “off season” and when you find something buy it and put it up for next year.

BONUS TIP: Get social! Follow some of your favorite stores on Facebook and Twitter and watch for deals they post. Sometimes fans are offered deals that are not published for the public. Some stores will even offer you a deal if you check in on Foursquare or Facebook while you are there.

Happy Shopping

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Image by www.gotcredit.com via Flickr/CC
Image by http://www.gotcredit.com via Flickr/CC

One of the things I feared when I filed my bankruptcy was that my credit would be shot forever. That was as far from the truth as the east is from the west. Whether you have filed a bankruptcy plan, debtors court plan or credit counseling plan or not, here are a few tips that can assist you with improving your credit score.

  1. ORDER YOUR CREDIT REPORTS

First things first, order your credit report from the three credit bureaus: Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. Your credit report will contain a list of accounts that are hurting your credit score. You are entitled to a free credit report from each bureau once per year. To save time you can go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com and order all three for free. If you want to see your score there may be a charge to upgrade to include the score. You won’t know your credit score unless you order your credit report. You will need to have all three of them, because each report differently and you will need to see how your accounts are being reported on each one. Don’t just assume that each report contains the exact same information. Remember, you can’t improve your score if you don’t know exactly what you need to work on!

  1. DISPUTE ANY ERRORS

Now that you have your credit reports review them for errors, such as, accounts that are closed but are still being reported as open, any erroneous accounts that may not belong to you, or anything that you know to be incorrect. Write the credit bureau or the creditor and have this information removed. THIS IS YOUR RIGHT!! Errors hurt your credit report more than you think. For example, payments that are reported inaccurately can bring your credit score down anywhere from 60-110 points.

  1. REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF DEBT THAT YOU OWE

The amount of debt you are carrying makes up 30% of your credit score. You will need to start paying off your debts in order to improve your credit situation. Come up with a payment plan that will put most of your available budget for debt payments towards the highest interest credit card or account first, while paying the minimum on the remaining credit cards or accounts.

  1. PAY BILLS ON TIME

I know that should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Paying your bills on time will only have a positive effect on your credit score. As a matter of fact, paying your bills on time is one of the biggest contributing factors to your credit score. Write down all of your bills and their due dates. Keep them posted where you can see them and make sure that you paying on or before the due date.

  1. AVOID NEW CREDIT APPLICATIONS

Since you are in credit repair mode, you should avoid making new applications for credit since some inquiries hurt your credit score.  New accounts can hurt your credit score as they lower your average credit age.  So stick with the accounts you have and work to improve their standing.

 

Be patient and persistent during this process. You didn’t ruin your credit overnight and you can’t repair it overnight. Continue to make your payments on time each month and watch your credit score improve over time.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Why You Need To Start Investing TODAY

Image by www.gotcredit.com via Flickr/CC
Image by http://www.gotcredit.com via Flickr/CC

No matter what your age, you will retire one day. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to retire just to have to pick up a few hours at my local Wal Mart greeting customers to make ends meet. And this why I started investing. I know investing is a scary word for some, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s pretend for a moment…

There was a 65 year old gentleman with a median net worth of $170, 156. Let’s pretend that all of that net worth is invested in assets that will earn him an annual return of 7%. This is a reasonable return for a fairly conservative stock and bond based mutual fund. Let’s also pretend that he expects to live for 25 more years to the age of 90. That means this $170,156 has to last 25 years.

Based on these assumptions, this gentleman will have just under $15,000 to live on each year. That is barely above the poverty line for a one person household. No less than half of all retirement-age residents of the U.S. have only that much to their name.

Can you see the dire situation that this gentleman is in?

No matter what your age, it is time to start investing in assets that will earn you more money. This is the key principle that makes some people wealthy while others get stuck living paycheck to paycheck. If you set money aside, invest it and learn to live on less than you earn, you will end up with more than those who spend their money as soon as they earn it, or worse, before they earn it.

Here is another illustration to show, the difference between beginning your investing at the age of 25 versus starting later in life.

Most 25- year- olds think they have their whole lives ahead of them, and they do, but let me tell you those years pass by quicker than you think. People in their 20s may think they don’t need to save for retirement because that feels so far away. Boy, are they wrong. If at the age of 25 you start investing just $50 a month into a plain old mutual fund that earns a long-term average of 10% per year, then at age 65 those $50 per month will be worth about $265,000 and you will have only actually invested $24,000 over those 40 years.

I know what you are thinking: I don’t have that kind of money to invest right now. I’ll have to wait until I’m a little older. Let’s take a 35- year- old. They will have to invest $134 per month, (totaling over $48,000) to have as much as the 25-year-old in the previous illustration by age 65. That’s twice as much! And a 45- year- old will have to invest $386 per month totaling $93, 000 over those 20 years from 45 to 65.

If you want to save for retirement I have two suggestions for you:

  1. Invest your money. Use it to buy assets that pay you back and
  2. Invest early. Start as soon as you possibly can

Whatever your situation, I suggest that you take a moment and think about your golden years. You really can’t afford not to invest today. Whatever you do, do it now!!! None of us are getting any younger.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail