5 Ways to Take Advantage
of America Saves Week

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What do primetime TV commercials, Pinterest and Starbucks have in common? They all entice you to spend, spend, spend. In the name of America Saves Week, the overspending stops here.   The annual event is designed to spread the word about healthy financial habits while providing tips and tools to take control of your own savings plan. You can take their savings plan assessment, download a poster to keep your goals in focus or test your savings knowledge.   If nothing else, consider this a good time to evaluate your spending habits and savings. Whether you’re starting from scratch or well on your way, we’ve got a tip for you.  Open a spreadsheet or log in to your favorite finance app, and take advantage of America Saves Week. Here are 5 ways to update to your savings … [Read more...]

Protecting Your Credit and Financial Reputation

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Most people use their credit and debit cards every day with little thought regarding the fact that criminals are desperately trying to get access to your card information so they can run up fraudulent charges, create counterfeit credit cards, withdraw cash from ATM machines  (if they can intercept your pin number) or sell your information to other criminals.   And I am not talking about the random thief who steals a wallet or purse and uses the cards to rack up a couple hundred dollars at a nearby convenience store.  I am talking about highly sophisticated fraud rings led by really smart people who leverage advanced technology to access credit and debit card information on a larger scale.   Case in point – recent data breach notifications by Target and Neiman Marcus … [Read more...]

5 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Financial Health

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2013 wasn’t a banner year for personal finances. In fact, 77% of consumers admitted to having financial worries, and 40% of adults gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance.Sound familiar? Change starts now.   Taking control of your finances and credit is one of the most important things you can do for your future (think retirement, a new home or a college fund). As we ring in 2014, make a new year’s resolution for your financial health. Here are five resolution ideas to get you started.   Resolution 1: Improve your FICO® Score This isn’t a quick fix, but you can definitely make substantial improvements to your credit score over the course of the year. You can view your FICO credit scores to get a baseline, and make an improvement … [Read more...]

Credit Card Holiday Tips to Help Protect Your FICO Score

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The holiday shopping season is now in full swing and retailers are aggressively tugging on our emotions implying that true happiness and the ultimate expression of your love can be only be achieved through the purchase of gifts.   I know firsthand how easy it is easy to get caught up in the hubbub of the holidays and potentially over spend or make credit-related decisions that may have longer term negative impacts.  Here are some helpful tips to consider that can help protect your credit rating as you migrate through this hectic time of the year!   Be selective when applying for a store credit card:  Retailers aggressively “hawk” their credit cards and loans products to holiday shoppers often promoting free gifts and/or incremental discounts on that day’s purchases … [Read more...]

Emergency Funds Could Save Your Credit Score

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FICO® Scores can take a hit from any direction, and many times it can be avoided if you think ahead. Performing simple, 5 minute tasks can aid in making sure you don’t miss a payment, such as setting up calendar reminders every month or automating the payments each month to be withdrawn from your bank. Some consumers even ignore payment requests and reminders, naively thinking they will just disappear or won’t affect their score. Two years ago Omar Al Chaar discovered that if you have unpaid parking tickets, your score will drop. Most people don’t know this.   What about those unavoidable expenses that pop up? One of the top reasons low and middle-income households in America see a drop in their credit score is due to emergencies. Here are some supporting facts: 40% of … [Read more...]

The Government Shutdown and Your Credit

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As “Closed” signs surface across various Federal government offices and sites, it is likely to affect most of us in some manner as the government services we rely on may be temporarily unavailable.   For the overwhelming majority of consumers, this closure will have no effect on your personal credit as most of us do not work for the Federal government and credit related functions are generally managed by private businesses.   You may be impacted, however, if you are in the midst of a securing financing for a home loan. If you are doing a FHA loan, HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) stated that they will be able to continue processing single family loans during the shutdown.  They did share there will be a limited number of FHA staff available … [Read more...]

New School Year, New Savings

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The new school year is right around the corner. For some, the biggest concern is getting the right type of backpack, while for others it’s getting the right type of loan. Regardless of the new school affecting your life, you will most likely need to go shopping for supplies. Here are a number of helpful tips to let you get the best bang for your buck.   Coupons   For simplicity’s sake, a lot of the nationwide pharmacy chains offer weekly ads. CVS and Walgreens both offer a weekly ad accessible through the mail, in stores, and even online. With these you can find deals on essentials not just for the first day of school, but for projects and supplies all year round. Remember these are more than just pharmacies with school supplies – they sell groceries, seasonal goods, and … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Summer Time Savings

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School is out, the temperatures are rising, and you just want to save some money away.  Well now is the best time to do it. We're halfway done with the year, so you have plenty of time to save for the holidays, pay off some cards, and unless you like to splurge on fireworks, there aren't any major spending events until the school year starts. You have a few months but you don’t have to open a lemonade stand to make additional cash this summer. Instead, take these steps to save your hard-earned dollars:   Turn off the AC! Now we’re not saying you have to turn your home into a hot box, but when you aren’t there, no reason to run up your electric bill. Last person to leave for work in the morning should set the AC to the upper 70s – like 79. And after a rain or when the … [Read more...]

Father’s Day Financials

Father's Day

This Sunday is the day we celebrate that male influence in our lives: your father. Every dad is different, and likewise every Father’s Day festivity and gifts are different.  There is a chance the celebration entails you not even see him the whole day. Personally my father likes to receive a card, and then be left alone until treated to his favorite Italian or Japanese restaurant. And this works for me and my sister, but it can still be a costly day - the man loves his shellfish. So how do my sister and I split the check?  By knowing we have the savings to do so.   Start Saving Early Sometimes it feels like you just keep getting hit by expensive months – the Holidays in December, Valentine’s in February, Mother’s Day in May, and now Father’s Day in June (it keeps going for me as … [Read more...]

4 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Credit

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It’s that time of year where the days are getting longer, birds are chirping and the sweet smell of spring is in the air.   As we come out of winter’s hibernation, we also take notice of those areas and items so easy to brush aside in the winter months that now need attention – painting the fence, trimming the hedges, cleaning the windows, washing the salt and soot off the car, etc.   A thorough spring cleaning is an annual ritual for many people as spring time signals a new beginning and fresh start.  It is also an ideal time to check on your credit, clean up any potential reporting errors and present the most attractive view of creditworthiness should you plan on applying for credit in the next couple of months.   Several credit related “spring cleaning” … [Read more...]

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