Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ways to Raise and Lower Your Credit Score

This is what you could look like if you have a bad credit score.
photo credit: miguelavg via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You want to know how your financial actions affect your credit score. 

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I've talked on Money Matters about the basics of credit scores (also known as FICO scores). They range from 300 something to 800, and generally anything below 600 is considered "bad" credit. I want to talk to you guys about some ways to raise and lower your score.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: fastread Personal Finance

From Amazon!
"Money is an integral part of our lives and to be in control of its effects on your present and future is a significant step towards happiness." 

-Personal Finance (Part of the "fastread" series of books, p.ix) 
Adams Media Corporation 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

How My Money Comes and Goes

One of my dreams is to go to New Orleans and eat all the fried chicken I can. I need money to do that.
photo credit: joshbousel via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You are interested in knowing where all of my money lives. 

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When I earn money, I like to put it to work so that it can earn even more money. There's no point in having it just sit there if I know what else to do with it. I wrote this post to show you guys what I do, and if you're curious about any of the things I talk about, please let me know! :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Secured Cards: An Alternative To Credit Cards

Secured cards are a great alternative to those regular "unsecured" credit cards.
photo credit: Credit Tips via Good Credit Bad Credit cc

Read this if: 

1) You're worried that you might get into financial trouble if you start using a credit card. 
2) You want to start building credit but you don't want to get a credit card because you've heard horror stories about credit card debt. 

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I think we all know that credit card debt is a problem a lot of people have these days. There's something called a "secured credit card" that acts like training wheels for a "real" credit card (aka unsecured card). People use these secured cards to learn how to handle a regular credit card wisely, and sometimes use them to rebuild their credit after they experience semi-eternal financial ruin. It's also easier to get approval for secured cards, especially if you don't have much of a credit history.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rewards: Be careful what you're signing up for!

Getting credit card rewards is like getting little pieces of a dollar bill in exchange for spending money.
Well, until you become a high roller anyway.

Read this if: 

1) You are thinking about getting a new credit card. 
2) You wonder if all those rewards you get with cards is really worth it. 

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When I got my first credit card, one of the things I really focused on was researching what rewards came with the cards. I realize now that while getting rewarded for spending sounds like a great idea, there are many traps to get caught in if I'm not careful. Here are three to start with. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spending Money: It's never been easier.

Need I say more?
Armed with two of my mom's credit cards, about ten different coupons, and some cash, my little sister and I went shopping for things she needed to get for prom. When we set off to the mall, I felt almost giddy. There was a limit, of course, but she could basically get anything she wanted in the name of prom. I felt like buying everything she expressed a remote interest toward because it wasn't my money being spent and swiping those cards just felt so good.

Moral of the story: it's a lot easier to spend if you have the means. Carrying cash, credit cards, etc., can turn even a frugal person into a card-swiping nightmare. 

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Do you overspend? Are you trying to save? Do you have trouble remembering how much you spent and what you bought and when you bought it? 

Here's my advice!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Messages From Readers: Saving is Boring

A little condemning, but it's true. Life is so full of things to do, being bored almost seems like a crime.
I've heard a lot of common worries/criticisms/comments about personal finance and saving, and what this reader said comes up pretty often.

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"Personally, one thing that always keeps me from starting my own investments is my lack of time to research and find out all this stuff on my own.

And I also hesitate because I would rather use the money when I'm younger and have more potential and desire to go out and do things in the world...whereas, when I'm older in my 60s, I'll have less drive and desire to do those things with my money. And living in retirement money actually sounds a little boring to me...

Maybe it's just my lifestyle choice. I know I should be saving up and preparing, but I feel like its kinda preparing for the last years of my life, whereas I'd be satisfied with a meager retirement account and just spending my time doing humanitarian or volunteer work." 

-Anonymous

One Month Anniversary! :D

Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc

Hey guys! 

I started my blog a month ago on May 6th, and since then have gotten over 1700 views! 

Thanks to everyone who has read a post or all the posts, or anywhere in between. Thanks to everyone who shared my blog with others. I really appreciate it, and I hope you learned something! 

Again, please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or suggestions at moneymattersjoan@gmail.com, or just leave me a comment. Email is better because then I can guarantee that you'll see my response. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

-Joan 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Credit Scores: What are they, how do you see yours?

Each of the credit bureaus will calculate their own score for you, and they could all be different!

Read this if: 

1) You don't know what credit scores are.
2) You don't know how to see your credit score. 
3) You don't know when you should pay to see your credit score. 

What is it?

Your credit score is basically a measure of how responsible you are with your money. When you apply for a credit card, for example, the credit card company can check your score to see if you're responsible enough to be given a card. You can also get better interest rates with loans if you have a higher credit score.