Tag: car

The 5 Best Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Change has to start somewhere, and for many people that change is easier to make if the starting point has some meaning. It can be a birthday, an anniversary, or any other date with some symbolic weight. Most commonly, people choose the beginning of the new year.

If you’re looking for some New Year’s resolutions that will truly change your life, consider adjusting your financial strategy. Here are five things you can do in 2021 to take your money game to the next level.

Refinance Loans

Interest rates are at near-historic lows, which makes this the perfect time to refinance your debt. Refinancing means switching your loans from your current lender to a new lender in order to take advantage of a lower interest rate. Refinancing can save you thousands of dollars, depending on the original interest rate and total balance.

 For example, let’s say you have a $200,000 30-year mortgage with a 5% interest rate, and you refinance to a 3% interest rate. Your monthly payment will be $244 lower, and you’ll save $31,173 in total interest over the life of the loan. 

You can refinance auto loans, personal loans, and even student loans. However, if you have federal student loans, you may want to hold off on refinancing. Refinancing a federal student loan converts it into a private student loan. This means you’ll give up extra perks and benefits like income-driven repayment plans and deferment and forbearance options.

Transfer Credit Card Debt

If you have credit card debt, you can pay less interest by transferring the balance to a new card with 0% APR on balance transfers. These special discounts usually last between 12 to 18 months, during which time you won’t be charged interest on the credit card balance.

For instance, let’s say you have a $5,000 balance on a card with a 17% APR. If you only make the minimum payments, you’ll pay $1,223.61 in total interest. If you transfer that balance to a card with 0% APR for 12 months and repay the balance in that time, you won’t pay any interest.

There is often a small fee associated with balance transfers, around 3% of balance transfers. For example, if you transfer $5,000, you’ll pay a $150 fee. That still leaves a net savings of $1,073.61 in the scenario outlined above.

Decrease Your Fixed Expenses

One of the best things to do for your budget in 2021 is to decrease fixed expenses like your car insurance, internet, cable, and cell phone. Call those providers and try to negotiate a lower rate.

 Go through your transactions for the past few months and write down all the recurring subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and DoorDash. Then, group them into categories like “frequently use,” “sporadically use” and “rarely use”. Consider canceling anything you rarely use.

 See if you can get a better deal on your most popular subscriptions. For example, if you and your significant other both pay for Spotify Premium, get a Spotify Duo account instead, and save yourself $83.88 a year.

Open a Better Bank Account

Most people are missing out on an easy way to earn money through your bank account. You could be leaving hundreds of dollars on the table if you still have a traditional savings account.

According to the FDIC, the current average interest rate on a savings account is 0.05%. Many high-yield savings accounts offer rates between .40% and .60%. 

Let’s say you have $10,000 in a savings account with .05% interest. After one year, you’ll have earned $5.04 in interest. If you moved that amount to a high-yield savings account with .5% interest, you would earn $49.92 in interest over that same time period.

Start Investing

If you’re not investing for retirement yet, this might be the most important financial resolution you can make. Thanks to the power of compound interest, you can start investing now and see huge growth by the time you’re ready to retire.

IRAs and 401(k)s are the two main retirement accounts. Anyone can open an IRA, while only those who have access to an employer-sponsored 401(k) can open one.

 If you’re not sure how to invest in your retirement account, consider hiring a qualified financial planner through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

If you’re not ready to work with a financial planner, you can use a robo advisor like Betterment or Wealthfront, which will create a portfolio based on your age, income, and expected retirement age. Robo advisors have low fees and are designed to help beginner investors.

How to Keep Financial Resolutions

First, start small. Pick one habit to change at a time. If you try to accomplish five goals at once, you’ll burn out quickly and give up. 

When you decide on a resolution, break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, if your goal is to talk to a financial planner about investing, break it down into the following steps:

1) Research financial planners through NAPFA

2) Send introductory emails to three financial planners

3) Choose the one that seems like the best fit

4) Schedule a consultation

Give yourself a deadline to accomplish each of these tasks, and ask a friend to hold you accountable.

Another tip is to tie your resolutions to a bigger goal. Like dieting or starting a new exercise plan, changing your financial habits is hard. If you’re used to grabbing lunch with your co-workers every day, bringing leftovers from home instead will seem like a huge change.

The key is to imagine the future version of yourself who will benefit from the changes you make today. If your goal is to open and contribute to a retirement account, imagine yourself as a senior citizen living comfortably.

When you’re tempted to skip this month’s retirement contribution to buy concert tickets, think about your future self, what you’d want for them and how they would appreciate your sacrifice. It can also help to remember some of the financial mistakes you’ve made in the past, and how much easier your life would be right now if you had made a different choice.

The post The 5 Best Financial New Year’s Resolutions appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

We Earn $200,000 and Can’t Save. Help!

Mia, 35 and her husband Luke, 36, earn a combined $200,000 per year. But after paying their mortgage and rental property loan, as well as car and student loans, child care, and other living expenses, the Los Angeles couple has a difficult time socking away money in savings.

They do have about $10,000 in a rainy day account, which could cover their expenses for about one month. But adding to the account has been proving difficult.

Luke feels confident that if they ever run into a serious financial bind, they could always take advantage of their low-interest home equity line of credit. But Mia isn’t comfortable with that route. She’d prefer to have more cash on hand.

A bit more background on the couple and where they stand financially:

Luke recently transitioned to a new job as a government attorney, which he loves, but it also meant taking a 50% pay cut. That’s impacted their ability to spend and save as comfortably in recent months. It was an unexpected opportunity for which the couple wasn’t financially prepared.

Mia and Luke would like an objective look at their finances to discover ways to reduce spending, increase saving and possibly find new revenue streams. “I’d love to figure out a side-hustle, so that I can eventually leave my job and spend more time with the kiddos,” says Mia, who works in marketing. Other goals including affording a new car in a couple of years and remodeling their primary residence.

Here’s a closer look at their finances:

Income:

  • Combined salaries: $200,000 per year
  • Net rental income: $6,000 per year

Debt:

  • Car and student loan debt. $13,000 combined at 2%
  • Mortgage at primary residence $845,000 at 3.625%
  • Mortgage at rental property $537,000 at 3.5%
  • HELOC on primary residence: $200,000 (have not used any of this credit)

Retirement:

  • Mia: contributes about $1,000 total each month, including a company match
  • Luke: contributes about $1,000 total each month, including a company match

Emergency Savings: $10,000

College Savings: The couple has 529 college savings funds for both of their children. They allocate their cash back rewards from credit cards towards these accounts. Currently they have about $10,000 saved for their 4-year old and $5,000 saved for their 1-year old child.

Top Monthly Spending Categories:

  • Primary residence mortgage: $4,000
  • Primary residence property tax: $1,100
  • Childcare: $1,900 (daycare for both children, 3 days per week. Grandmother watches other 2 days per week)
  • Food (Groceries/Eating Out): $800
  • Car and student loan payments: $450

From my point of view, I think the biggest hole in Mia and Luke’s finances is their rainy day savings bucket. Relying on a HELOC to cover an unexpected cost is not really an ideal plan. In theory, the money can be used to cover expenses and the interest rate would probably be far lower than the rate on a credit card. But in reality, tapping a HELOC means falling further into debt. They do have $10,000 saved, which is good. But it’s not great.

If not for an emergency, the savings can allow them to achieve other goals. The couple mentioned wanting to buy a car in a couple years. This will probably require a down payment. Having cash can also assist with renovating their home.

Here are my top three recommendations:

Transfer Rental Income Towards Savings

Their previous residence is now a rental property. It nets them about $500 per month. The couple is using this money to pad their living expenses. Can they, instead, move this into their savings account for the next few years? The way I see it, they should have a proper six month cushion in savings to tide them over in an emergency and/or if they need money to address their goals. This rental income isn’t going to get them to this 6-month reserve too quickly, but it’s a start.

Carve Out Another $500 for Savings

While I don’t have a detailed breakdown of all of the family’s monthly expenses, I can bet that they can pare their expenses to save an additional $300 to $500. A few dinners out, some unplanned purchases at the grocery store (because you took the kids) and a couple monthly subscription plans can easily add up to $500 in one month. Whenever I want to save more, I schedule money to transfer out of my checking and into savings at the top of the month. I do this automatically and only spend whatever money I have left. I’d suggest doing this for the first month and seeing how it feels. Do you really notice the money is gone? If yes, revisit some of your recurring costs and decide on trade-offs. If Luke’s salary has decreased by 50% then the couple needs to make some modifications to their spending. The math, otherwise, won’t add up.

Can Mia Adjust Her Work Structure?

Mia is interested in a side hustle, too, to bring in extra income (which I highly recommend). Sites like tutor.com, care.com, taskrabbit.com and others can help you find quick work within her preferred time frame. In the meantime, can she and her husband find ways to adjust their work hours or commute, which saves gas, time and money?

Mia’s commute to work is one hour each way. That’s ten hours per week stuck in a car. And my guess is that while Mia’s driving, she’s paying for daycare, for at least some of those hours. Could she work from home one or two days per week to reduce her time in traffic, as well as her child care costs?

Bottom line: When Luke’s income dropped by 50%, the couple didn’t adjust spending. It may help to take pen to paper and imagine they were building their budget for the first time. Take all of their expenses off the table and rebuild the budget and lifestyle to better align with their adjusted income. Start with the absolute needs first: housing, insurance, food. And really scrutinize all other expenditures. Unless it’s an absolute need that they can easily afford it, consider shutting it off until they’ve reached a 6-month savings pad.

The post We Earn $200,000 and Can’t Save. Help! appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021

Do you want to know, “What can I do as a side job?” 

Today, I have a list of over 80 possible side hustle ideas for 2021. With these side jobs, you can make extra money in 2021.

So, what is a side job? I say side job meaning something that you do on the side of your regular job.side job ideas for 2021

Side jobs are sometimes called side hustles, and the idea is that you put some of your extra time towards making more money. 

You can find side jobs online, side jobs from home, side jobs outside your home, and pretty much wherever else. There are many different options when it comes to finding side jobs for extra money.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time making extra money through side hustle jobs.

In fact, I paid off my $38,000 student loan debt in just 7 months by side hustling. I did several of the things on the list that you are about to read through.

Learning how to find a side job changed my life in a crazy way — it helped me to stop living paycheck to paycheck, pay off my debt, and leave my day job to pursue my job as a full-time blogger.

And, this is why I talk about making extra money through a side job so much — because I believe that it can change your life for the better.

What I like so much about the ideas on this list is that there is something for everyone. There are really so many different options. While I have included over 80 different side job ideas, there are many, many more out there. You can find something to fit your lifestyle, interests, and the amount of time you have to dedicate towards earning more money.

Whether your goal is to pay off your debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck, start saving for retirement, plan an amazing vacation, or something else, finding a side hustle idea in 2021 can make that a reality.

Making extra money through a side job can help you:

  • Save up for a big purchase, such as for a down payment on a house
  • Pay off your student loan debt, credit card debt, or medical debt
  • Save for retirement and even retire early
  • Leave a job you don’t love to pursue something else
  • Diversify your income sources
  • Save for emergencies
  • And more!

What some people don’t realize about making extra money is that it doesn’t have to take all of your time. You can dedicate as much or as little time to it as you want. I started this blog on the side of my full-time job. It took a lot of work, but I was in control of when I worked. 

That’s one of the reasons I love blogging and many of these other side jobs. Many of them are very flexible and let you pick your schedule. Below you’ll find great options if you work full time, are a parent, are in school, etc.

Besides starting a successful side hustle, there are some great small ways to earn extra money. The point is, there are so many ways to make money on the side with a full-time job that there is no reason not to start now.

Related content on how to make extra money:

  • How To Start and Launch A Successful Money Making Blog FREE Course
  • 12 Work From Home Jobs That Can Earn You $1,000+ Each Month

Below are over 80 different side job ideas.

 

Find an online side job.

There are so many side jobs that can be found online these days. The internet has introduced more possibilities, many of which have extremely flexible schedules.

Working an online side job allows you to create your own business in your spare time or work remotely for a company. These are some of the flexible options for 2021.

For me, I love being able to work online as it allows me to have a flexible schedule, there is no commute, and I simply enjoy working from home more than working in an office.

Below are ways to work an online side job:

  • Create a money making blog – This is the first thing I recommend to anyone interested in learning how to make money with an online side job, and this is because it’s exactly what I did! I have a Free How To Start and Launch A Money-Making Blog Course that you can join, and it will help you start and launch a successful blog! 
  • Answer questions online – Course Hero is a website that helps high school and college students with course-specific questions. Please read How To Make $300+ Weekly Answering Questions With Course Hero to learn more.
  • Get paid to answer surveys – Answering surveys online won’t make you rich, but it is one of the easiest ways to earn extra money online. Even though it’s a small amount of money, you can put it towards your debt payoff or savings goals. Survey companies I recommend include American Consumer Opinion, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Branded Surveys, and Pinecone Research. These survey companies are free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. To receive the most survey opportunities, it’s best to sign up for as many survey sites as you can.
  • Join a focus group – You can get paid $50 to $100 per hour by joining a focus group with User Interviews.
  • Write an ebook – Writing your own eBook is a great way to earn extra money online, and there is probably something super helpful that you could write about (even if you think otherwise!). In fact, my friend Alyssa self-published her first book and has sold more than 13,000 copies. She is now earning a great passive income of over $200 a day from her book ($6,500 in one month alone!). Learn more at How Alyssa is making $200 a DAY in book sales passively.
  • Run Facebook advertising for local businesses – Bobby Hoyt, a former band teacher who now runs the successful website Millennial Money Man, started running Facebook ads for local businesses to help him pay off $40,000 in student loan debt in only 18 months. In our interview you can learn about how Bobby got started, why businesses want to run Facebook ads, and how easy it is to start this flexible side job.  Also, Bobby has free training on this too. His free email course (you can sign up here) will teach you how to start this business even if you’re brand new, how to find paying clients, and more. Read the full interview at How To Make $1,000 Extra In Your Spare Time With Facebook.
  • Edit content for others – Websites, books, courses, and more all need editors to help them improve the quality of their content. No matter how many times a person reads a piece of content, something will usually slip through. If you’re a grammar-nut, then this can be one of the best side jobs from home ideas.
  • Sell printables online – Creating printables on Etsy can be a great side hustle. Because you are creating PDF files, you can create and sell them an unlimited number of times. You can learn more at How I Make Money Selling Printables On Etsy.
  • Manage social media accounts for businesses – Being a social media manager can be a fun job for the right person. If you have social media skills and don’t mind spending more time on social media sites, then it might be something to look into. Learn more about How I Started a Pinterest Consulting Side Hustle and why it’s more than just sharing random content online.
  • Get paid to search onlineSwagbucks allows me to earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded with points called SB for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points called SB, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up through my link!
  • Proofread for a living – In just one year, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 as a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations. If you are looking for a new job, or just a new way to earn extra money on the side, this may be something to look into. Learn more at Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader.
  • Help job seekers improve their resume – A few years ago, I interviewed a reader who ran a resume business. She showed me how others can earn money by helping people create the kind of resumes they need to land their next job. Because having a good resume is an important part of getting the job you want, this is an in-demand option. If you are constantly reviewing resumes for your friends because you’re so good at creating them, then you may want to turn your skills into a paying job!
  • Post on social media – If you have social media accounts, even just a personal Facebook account, it’s possible to earn extra money by posting small ads on your account. One popular company that I recommend is Izea.
  • Become a freelance writer – A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients, such as websites, blogs, magazines, and more. These writers don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing. Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.
  • Moderate forums – Some online forums will pay you to moderate their message boards. If there is a forum you visit often, you might want to see if they are hiring.
  • Become a transcriptionist – Do you know what a transcriptionist does? They take audio files and turn them into a text format. You can learn more about what this side job takes and how it’s possible to earn extra money on the side as a transcriptionist at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Transcriptionist.
  • Become a scopist – A scopist is someone who works from home and edits legal documents. Yes, this is a skill that you can learn. You can find a free course to learn more about how to become a scopist by clicking here.
  • Become a virtual assistant – Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing blog posts, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you get paid to do any task that needs to be done for someone’s business but doesn’t need to be done by them. You can read more about how Kayla is earning $10K per month working from home as a virtual assistant
  • Become a bookkeeper – Ben, founder of Bookkeeper Business Academy, explains how becoming a bookkeeper may be a possibility for you. Ben helps people start and grow their own online bookkeeping business with his online bookkeeping course. And, guess what? You don’t have to be an accountant or have any previous experience! You can read more about how becoming a bookkeeper at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.
  • Create an online store – Did you know that you can create your own online store to earn extra money? Jenn, a reader of mine, started her online business a little over four years ago and since then she has developed and grown three successful online ecommerce stores earning an average of $19,000 per month. Learn more at How Jenn Makes Over $10,000 A Month With Her Online Store In Less Than 10 Hours Per Week.
  • Become a Google Rater This is when you help Google improve the quality of their search engine results. You can learn more about this at Help Google Better The Internet And Make $1,000+ A Month From Home.
  • Build a course and teach others what you know – Before you think that you have nothing to teach, I want to tell you that you most likely do! Online courses are extremely popular right now, and you don’t need to have a blog in order to be successful with an online course. I use Teachable for my online course platform, and I highly recommend it. Here’s How I’ve Made Over $1,000,000 From My First Course Without a Big Launch.
  • Podcast editing – Podcasting has grown a lot in the past few years, and it’s estimated that there are now over 850,000 podcasts. Podcasters need help editing their audio and adding music, so if you have audio editing skills, this could be a fun side job. Listing your service on Fiverr could be a great way to find clients who need your service. Learn more at How I Make $1,500 A Month As A Podcast Virtual Assistant.
  • Teach English online to kids – Did you know that you may be able to make money from home by teaching English online to children? VIPKID is a company that allows you to work from home, create your own schedule, and earn $18-21 per hour (many teachers are earning over $1,000 per month) all while teaching English online. You don’t need a teaching degree, but you do need to have a four year degree in something. This is a great option for anyone who has a passion for teaching and looking for ways to earn extra money online. I recommend VIPKID and Education First.

 

What can I do as a side job?

Build a side business (or even a full-time business!).

If you’re looking for a side job, one possibility is to create a side business for yourself.

The ones you just read about above are online side jobs, but many of the ones in this section require in-person work. Not everyone wants to work online, and these side jobs will get you outside of the house and earning money. 

For me, my side business of creating a blog actually turned into a full-time business for myself. And, I am so happy that I made that choice!

Here are some side business ideas:

  • Pick up garbage – This might not be the most exciting way to make extra income, but did you know that you can get paid $30- $50 an hour to pick up trash in your local area? Please read Get Paid $30 – $50 Per Hour To Pick Up Trash to hear more about this side hustle idea.
  • Sell on Amazon – If you want to learn one of the many real ways to make money from home, then you may want to start an Amazon FBA business! Jessica Larrew, of The Selling Family, explains how selling on Amazon may be a possibility for you. She is a friend of mine, and I am blown away by her success! In the first year that Jessica’s family ran their Amazon FBA business together, working less than 20 hours a week total, they made over six figures profit! If you are looking for a new job, or even just a side hustle, this may be something that you want to look into. Learn more at How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA.
  • Maintain and clean yards – You can make money by mowing lawns, killing/removing weeds, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, and so on. Because every season offers the opportunity for some type of yard maintenance, this can turn into a year round job.
  • House sit for others – House sitting is becoming more and more popular these days, and there are many websites out there for house sitting. You may be paid to watch someone’s house, take in the mail, water plants, and so on. House sitting doesn’t just have to be in your own town either. It can be something you do while taking amazing vacations. You can read more about it at How We Became Professional House Sitters In Europe & Saved Over $5,000.
  • Rent out your RV – Many RVs sit unused in storage lots, driveways, and backyards, so why not try to make a little extra money while you’re not using your RV? Learn more at How To Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your RV.
  • Share your car – Did you know that you can share your car with travelers on a daily, weekly, or even on a long-term basis and make extra money? I’m talking about listing your car and making money on Turo, which is like Airbnb for cars. It takes as little as 10 minutes to list your car, and you can earn up to 90% of the trip price.
  • Walk dogs and/or pet sit for extra money – If you love animals, then this is one of the best ways to make money on the side! Walking dogs and pet sitting can be a lot of fun because who doesn’t love animals!? With this side hustle, you may be going over to your client’s home to check in a few times a day, you may be staying at their house, or the animals may be staying with you. Rover is a great company to sign up for if you’re interested in becoming a dog walker and pet sitter. 
  • Groom pets – This is yet another animal related side business, and it could be a good one for you. With a mobile pet grooming business you will go directly to the pets rather than needing to find and set up a permanent business location. 
  • Become a local tour guide – Do you love showing off your city to friends and out-of-town guests? If so, you can earn extra money as a tour guide in your city. You can create any kind of tour you like — touring restaurants or bars, historical tours, bike tours, and more. Tours By Locals is a great site to connect with if you’re interested in learning more.
  • Become a landlord – Whether you rent out a room in your home or start buying up properties to invest in and then rent out, this could be one of the more lucrative ways to earn extra money on the side. Check out my blog post to learn more: How This 34 Year Old Owns 7 Rental Homes.
  • Shovel snow – We no longer need to have our snow shoveled, but it was definitely something we didn’t enjoy doing while we were living in St. Louis. If you get snow where you live, then you may be able to knock on your neighbors’ doors to see if they would like their driveways and sidewalks shoveled. If you want to go a little further, you could even invest in a plow and market your services.
  • Become a TaskerTaskRabbit is an online platform where people list odd jobs that they need done, like assembling furniture, running errands, or cleaning. You can find one-off jobs in your area using TaskRabbit to earn extra money.
  • Babysit and/or nanny children – When I was just 14, I was making $10 an hour babysitting for a neighbor. I babysat 40 hours a week and it was a great way to make extra money! If you have any special skills or can provide extra work, such as cleaning up around the house, teaching the child how to speak another language, picking up the child after activities, and so on, you will most likely be able to charge more than $10 an hour.
  • Become an Uber or Lyft driver – Spending your spare time driving others around can be a great money maker, and many rideshare drivers earn $15-$20/hour. Read more about this in my post How To Become An Uber Or Lyft Driver.
  • Help people fix things around their home – If you are a handy person, this could be a great option for you. Word of mouth is big when it comes to finding clients, but you can also post your services on Craigslist, post flyers to bulletin boards around your town, and more.
  • Clean homes – Cleaning is something that many people dread. If you are good at cleaning and enjoy it, then you may be able to find clients who want you to come to their home to clean. This can pay around $20 an hour or more in some areas. Because cleaning for others is such a personal job, you will often find loyal customers who want you to come back over and over again.
  • Help people move – Moving is another task that many people dislike. Movers can earn a broad range when it comes to hourly pay, but it’s usually somewhere around $25-$50 an hour if you run your own business.
  • Become a photographer – Do you love photography? Then this is a great way to earn extra money while doing something you love to do. Learn more at How To Make $25,000 – $45,000 A Year As A New Photographer.
  • Write and self-publish romance novels – This definitely isn’t something that most people will think about, but it is a growing and profitable industry. You can learn how Yuwanda Black, a freelance writer, started writing and self-publishing short romance novels in this interview. She earned over $3,000 in one month alone!

 

Find a part-time job.

Online side jobs are becoming more and more popular, but you can still make good money with more traditional part-time jobs.

I know many people who have part-time side jobs, and they love that they are low-commitment ways to make extra money. 

You can find a part-time side job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), and so on.

  • Deliver items through Postmate – Postmates is a service that lets people use their phones to order food, drinks, and groceries. Delivering those items is where you come in! Because the holidays are a busy time, many people are looking to make their life easier with delivery services like Postmates. And, you can deliver for Postmates with your car, scooter, motorcycle, or bicycle. How much can you make with Postmates? Postmates says that you can earn up to $25 an hour with their platform. Click here to check out Postmates and sign up.
  • Deliver RVs to dealerships – RVs are huge, and the majority of the time they can’t be transported by semi-trucks because of their size. Due to that, someone has to drive them from the manufacturer to the RV dealership. We met a couple who did this for a living, and they both loved what they did. They were able to travel a lot, earn a living, and got to see new RVs all the time. To make extra income doing this, you can contact transport companies in your area, RV manufacturers, RV dealerships, and more.
  • Find a part-time seasonal job – If you have a job that gives you the summers off (or whatever season), then finding a part-time seasonal job could be a good way to earn extra money during your time off. Employers like Starbucks, REI, and Costco even offer part-time jobs with benefits, which adds even more value to these side jobs. 
  • Bartend – With bartending experience, you may be able to find a bartending job at a bar, restaurant, catering company, and more. Since the hours for this are usually later at night and on the weekends, it could easily fit with your regular 9-5 job schedule.
  • Work at a restaurant – You could be a host, wait tables, bus tables, and so on. You may even get to eat delicious food and receive a discount when dining out at the restaurant you work for.
  • Substitute teach – I know quite a few people who substitute teach both part-time and full-time and love it. Sometimes the schedule can be tricky as you may be called at the last moment, but other times you may secure a long-term position. In some places, substitute teaching can pay around $100 per day.
  • Teach during summer school – If you are a teacher, then spending part of your summer teaching summer school is a great way to make extra money. My brother-in-law is a teacher and he earns around $3,000 for three 4-day weeks of work, and they aren’t even full days. He and his wife use that money to fund their summer vacations.  
  • Work at a hotel, motel, hostel, resort, etc. – There are many jobs in the hospitality industry. If you love meeting new people who are visiting your area, this can be a great way to earn extra money. When we were RVing, we met several RVers who make money at RV parks and campgrounds while they are full-time RVers.
  • Work at a retail storeI worked in retail for over five years and made lifelong friends in the process. The income is okay, but you usually receive a good discount when working in retail.
  • Deliver pizza – Pizza delivery drivers make $15/hour or more delivering pizza in their spare time. It might not be the most glamorous side job, but it’s a good way to make extra money.
  • Lifeguard – You could be a lifeguard at a community pool, a private pool, a water park, and so on. You don’t have to be a teenager to be a lifeguard either!
  • Work as a referee – Did you know that soccer refs for local community centers can make around $25/hour or more? You’ll have to know the rules to work as a referee, and you can learn more by contacting the community or sports center in your area.
  • Deliver newspapers – Delivering newspapers can be a good way to make some side money. You may have to wake up early, but maybe those are the hours you are looking for.
  • Run errands for others – Being someone’s assistant can be an interesting way to earn extra money. You may get paid to do someone else’s laundry, clean their home, pick up their food, answer phone calls, and more.

 

Sell items to make extra money.

There are so many different types of items that you can sell to make extra money.

You may be able to find things around your home that you can sell, or you may even search for items online or in-person to buy and resell for a profit.

  • Flip items – Melissa’s family was able to make $42,875 in one year through buying and flipping items for sale, and they were only working about 10-20 hours per week. Learn more in How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items.
  • Sell/donate eggs and sperm – Yup, both of these can be sold for a price, and you can definitely earn extra money by doing so. Depending on your characteristics, women can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more for their eggs. Egg donors are typically under the age of 30 and healthy. African American women and Asian American women usually make the most money as there is a larger need for their eggs. This is not easy money, though. There are a number of doctor visits, and extracting the eggs requires a medical procedure. For sperm, the average donation pays anywhere from $50 to $100, and some men donate as often as 2-3 times each week.
  • Sell items on eBay – Whether it’s clothes, a car, electronics, and so on, eBay is a great place to sell all sorts of things online. eBay also has a worldwide reach, which can be great if the market in your area isn’t large enough for what you specialize in. I know many people who earn extra money selling on eBay, and it’s very easy to get started.
  • Sell items on Craigslist – Craigslist has gotten a bad rap in the past, but I have always had great success when I have bought or sold things through this platform. Craigslist can be a great way to sell your items, while often earning a higher value for them too. However, be safe, because you will have to meet with strangers to complete the transactions.
  • Sell things on Facebook Marketplace – Facebook is a great place to sell your items to earn extra money. You can find buyers in your area, but for larger items, like cars and furniture, buyers are often willing to travel. Plus, because you are probably already on Facebook, this is one of the easiest ways to sell your stuff, and it’s free.
  • Sell on Poshmark – Poshmark is one of the most popular places online for people to buy and sell gently used clothing, shoes, and more. You should always be honest in your listings, take great photos, and ship items out as soon as they sell.
  • Sell to second hand stores – There are many second hand stores out there that will take your clothing and shoes. Stores like Plato’s Closet, Hut No. 8, and Buffalo Exchange will pay you upfront for on-trend young adult clothing, and they take all of the legwork out of selling items, which is really helpful. There are also second hand stores for designer items, women’s clothing, children’s items, and more. Some pay upfront, whereas others may not pay you until after the item has sold.
  • Sell your gently used sports gear – Play It Again Sports is one of several second hand stores that buys and resells sports equipment and workout gear. These kinds of items also sell well on eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell on Etsy – Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items, vintage finds, and craft supplies. If you are a crafty person, definitely check out this website if you are looking for ways to earn extra money.
  • Sell your gift cards – If you have gift cards that you aren’t going to use, why not sell them to earn extra money? There are many, many websites out there that will pay you cash for your gift cards. Gift Card Granny, Cardpool, and Raise are just a few. 
  • Sell items through a garage sale – A garage sale can be an easy way to make extra money because people come straight to your house. The only downside is that you usually don’t make as much for your items as you would if you were to sell them on sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.
  • Sell your old books – Back when I was in college, I sold my textbooks as soon as the class was over. This helped me regain the amount that I originally paid for the book. You can sell your books online, and most university bookstores have a buyback option.
  • Flip cars, mopeds, or scooters – In addition to teaching summer school, one of the ways my brother-in-law makes extra money is from buying vintage moped and scooters, fixing them up, and selling them for a profit on online marketplaces, like Facebook or Craigslist. In one flip, he made more than $900 profit. This is a very specific skill, but worth looking into if you know what you’re doing. 

 

 

Make extra income at the day job you already have.

If you’re already employed and not interested in starting a side hustle, by starting an online business, or taking on a part-time job, you can still learn how to earn more at your current job.

  • Work overtime – One way to earn extra money at your job is to see if your company will allow you to work overtime. In many cases, overtime is welcomed, and you can earn a decent amount of money by doing so. Plus, what’s an extra hour or two when you’re already there?
  • Ask for a raise – Asking for a raise may be the best way to earn extra money at your current job, as the work is the same and you most likely won’t be adding additional hours to your work week. Many people never ask for a raise, which means you might be leaving money on the table. Over numerous years, this can add up to a significant amount of income! If you’ve just successfully completed a big project or taken on new responsibilities, then it might be time to ask for a raise.
  • Get a promotion – If a raise is not possible, then you may want to try for a promotion that comes with a pay bump. Sometimes companies can only pay you so much for the job you currently have, but perhaps a promotion with different and/or additional job duties, a possible move, etc. may result in an increase in pay.
  • Earn bonuses – Depending on the industry and the company you work at, you may be able to earn bonuses. Bonuses often come in large chunks which makes them ideal for paying off large amounts of credit card or student loan debt. Or, you could even invest your bonus to earn even more in the long run. 

 

Miscellaneous ways to make extra money in 2021.

Of course, I can’t include every single side job in this blog post, as there are way too many options to list in one place. But, here are some more that didn’t fit one of the categories above.

  • Cuddle with strangers – Did you know that you can get paid to cuddle with people that you don’t even know? Surprisingly, there are many cuddling companies out there, and this option seems to be growing more and more each year. Some people even make a few hundred dollars a day by cuddling with others. 
  • Scoop poop – Okay, like picking up trash, this isn’t going to be the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it. 
  • Place advertisements on your car, home, or even on your body – Yes, there are companies out there that will pay you to place an advertisement on your car, home, or even your body (such as a tattoo on your forehead). If there’s space on your car or fence that you don’t mind placing an ad on, then look into this! Carvertise is one company I recommend checking out if you’re interested in advertising on your car — they pay around $100/month.
  • Help crew a sailboat delivery – Because you need sailing experience to do this, this won’t be for everyone. But, if you know your way around a boat, then you may be able to earn extra money delivering sailboats. Wes actually helped out on a couple of sailboat deliveries in the past few years, and he traveled to many amazing places along the way, such as visiting several European countries. 
  • Be an extra in a movie or TV show – If there’s a movie or TV show that is being filmed near you, you can apply to be an extra to make some money on the side. You won’t have to do much, and it could be a lot of fun, especially if you are able to meet someone famous!
  • Start investing with spare change Investing through platforms like Acorns makes investing even more approachable. You simply link your bank or credit cards and Acorns rounds every transaction up to the next dollar. Read more at How To Start Investing With Little Money.
  • Sell breast milk – Only recently did I realize that some women do this as a side job. If you are breastfeeding, then you may be able to sell your breast milk to make extra money. Breast milk often goes for $1 to $2.50 per ounce, and sometimes it sells for as much as $4 per ounce. There are many people who are looking to buy breast milk, not just mothers. 
  • Receive bonuses and rewards for using a credit card – There are many credit cards out there that will give you cash back just for using them. If you are good with credit cards (please skip this if you are not), this is something to look into as you can make money without having to do much. Read more at How To Take A 10 Day Trip To Hawaii For $22.40 – Flights & Accommodations Included.
  • Take part in medical research studies – Medical studies allow you to help with the research and study of diseases, medicines, treatments, and more. To find paid medical research studies, I recommend checking out your local Craigslist, contacting universities in your area, and seeing if there are any medical testing companies around you. Most cities have these options, and you just have to look for them.
  • Enter contests and giveaways – There’s no guarantee that you will win anything when entering contests, but if you get lucky, this would be a really fun way to earn extra money. You may win cash, gift cards, vacations, electronics, and more. The key here is to enter as many as you can. And, many stores and restaurants post drawings and giveaways at the bottom of your receipt.
  • Mystery shop – Yes, you can actually get paid to shop at stores and eat at restaurants. A few years ago, I mystery shopped a lot to earn extra money. I made anywhere from $150 to $200 a month mystery shopping and received free meals, makeup, and more as a mystery shopper. I used Bestmark for mystery shopping, so I know that they are a 100% legitimate company. Learn more at Want To Make An Extra $100 A Month? Learn How To Become A Mystery Shopper.
  • Use InboxDollars – InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend if you want to find ways to earn extra money on the side. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free!
  • Travel the world and be an au pair – In 2016, my sister was an au pair in Italy. It was an interesting experience, and she shares how you can become an au pair and travel the world in her blog post How To Become An Au Pair And Travel The World.
  • Open a high yield savings account. Savings accounts at brick and mortar banks are known for having really low interest rates. That’s because they have a much higher overhead — paying for the building, paying the tellers, etc. Betterment Everyday is an online option, which means they have lower costs, then passing the savings on to you. Simply click here and sign up.

 

How do I make an extra $1000 a month?

How do I make an extra $1000 a month?

If earning $1,000 a month or more is your financial goal, there are lots of different approaches. 

You can run Facebook ads for small businesses, deliver food for Postmates, start a freelancing side job, and more. Or, you can combine several smaller side jobs.

If you are willing to put in the work, starting a blog is something that can help you earn $1,000 a month or more. It takes time to grow your blog, but with time and effort, you can well exceed $1,000/month in blogging income.

 

How can I make money on the side?

There are so many different ways to make money on the side in 2021, and I just gave over 80 different ideas. 

Look through the options above and make a list of the ones that interest you. Think about what skills you have, how much time you want to dedicate to your side job, and how to get started with each option.

There are honestly options for anyone, no matter how much time you have to spare. And remember, even just a $100 extra a month can begin to make a dent in your debt, can be invested for your future, or help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

 

Have questions about finding a side job?

If you have any questions about finding a side job, I recommend heading to 10 Of The Most Common Questions About Having A Side Job.

Some of the questions I answer in that blog post include:

  • How do you find a side hustle?
  • How much money can I make from a side job?
  • How do you get paid with a side job?
  • How can I find time for my side job idea?
  • How can I balance my day job, side job, and life?!
  • How can I grow my side income? How can I find clients?
  • What is a good side job?
  • Should I tell my boss about my side hustle?
  • Do I have to pay taxes on a side job?
  • How do I avoid side job scams?

Out of the side jobs listed above, which one interests you the most? Which side job would you like to learn more about?

The post 80+ Best Side Job Ideas To Make Extra Money in 2021 appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

Different Types of Debt

Debt comes in all shapes and sizes. You can owe money to utility companies, banks, credit card providers, and the government. There’s student loan debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, and much more. But what are the official categories of debt and how do the payoff strategies for these debts differ?

Categories of Debt

Debt is generally categorized into two simple forms: Secured and Unsecured. The former is secured against an asset, such as a car or loan, and means the lender can seize the asset if you fail to meet your obligations. Unsecured is not secured against anything, reducing the creditor’s control and limiting their options if the repayment terms are not met.

A secured debt provides the lender with some assurances and collateral, which means they are often prepared to provide better interest rates and terms. This is one of the reasons you’re charged astronomical rates for credit cards and short-term loans but are generally offered very favorable rates for home loans and car loans.

If the debtor fails to make payments on an unsecured debt, such as a credit card, then the debtor may file a judgment with the courts or sell it to a collection agency. In the first instance, it’s a lot of hassle without any guarantee. In the second, they’re selling the debts for cents on the dollar and losing a lot of money. In either case, it’s not ideal, and to offset this they charge much higher interest rates and these rates climb for debtors with a poorer track record.

There is also something known as revolving debt, which can be both unsecured and secured. Revolving debt is anything that offers a continuous cycle of credit and repayment, such as a credit card or a home equity line of credit. 

Mortgages and federal student loans may also be grouped into separate debts. In the case of mortgages, these are substantial secured loans that use the purchase as collateral. As for federal student loans, they are provided by the government to fund education. They are unsecured and there are many forgiveness programs and options to clear them before the repayment date.

What is a Collection Account?

As discussed above, if payments are missed for several months then the account may be sold to a debt collection agency. This agency will then assume control of the debt, contacting the debtor to try and settle for as much as they can. At this point, the debt can often be settled for a fraction of the amount, as the collection agency likely bought it very cheaply and will make a profit even if it is sold for 30% of its original balance.

Debt collectors are persistent as that’s their job. They will do everything in their power to collect, whether that means contacting you at work or contacting your family. There are cases when they are not allowed to do this, but in the first instance, they can, especially if they’re using these methods to track you down and they don’t discuss your debts with anyone else.

No one wants the debt collectors after them, but generally, you have more power than they do and unless they sue you, there’s very little they can do. If this happens to you, we recommend discussing the debts with them and trying to come to an arrangement. Assuming, that is, the debt has not passed the statute of limitations. If it has, then negotiating with them could invalidate that and make you legally responsible for the debt all over again.

Take a look at our guide to the statute of limitations in your state to learn more.

As scary as it can be to have an account in collections, it’s also common. A few years ago, a study found that there are over 70 million accounts in collections, with an average balance of just over $5,000.

Can Bankruptcy Discharge all Debts?

Bankruptcy can help you if you have more debts than you can repay. But it’s not as all-encompassing as many debtors believe.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most of your debts, but it won’t touch child support, alimony or tax debt. It also won’t help you with secured debts as the lender will simply repossess or foreclose, taking back their money by cashing in the collateral. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works a little differently and is geared towards repayment as opposed to discharge. You get to keep more of your assets and in exchange you agree to a payment plan that repays your creditors over 3 to 5 years.

However, as with Chapter 7, you can’t clear tax debts and you will still need to pay child support and alimony. Most debts, including private student loans, credit card debt, and unsecured loan debt will be discharged with bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy can seriously reduce your credit score in the short term and can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, so it’s not something to be taken lightly. Your case will also be dismissed if you can’t show that you have exhausted all other options.

Differences in Reducing Each Type of Debt

The United States has some of the highest consumer debt in the world. It has become a common part of modern life, but at the same time, we have better options for credit and debt relief, which helps to balance things out a little. Some of the debt relief options at your disposal have been discussed below in relation to each particular type of long-term debt.

The Best Methods for Reducing Loans

If you’re struggling with high-interest loans, debt consolidation can help. A debt consolidation company will provide you with a loan large enough to cover all your debts and in return, they will give you a single long-term debt. This will often have a smaller interest rate and a lower monthly payment, but the term will be much longer, which means you’ll pay much more interest overall.

Debt management works in a similar way, only you work directly with a credit union or credit counseling agency and they do all the work for you, before accepting your money and then distributing it to your creditors.

Both forms of debt relief can also help with other unsecured debts. They bring down your debt-to-income ratio, leave you with more disposable income, and allow you to restructure your finances and get your life back on track.

The Best Methods for Reducing Credit Cards

Debt settlement is the ultimate debt relief option and can help you clear all unsecured debt, with many companies specializing in credit card debt. 

Debt settlement works best when you have lots of derogatory marks and collections, as this is when creditors are more likely to settle. They can negotiate with your creditors for you and clear your debts by an average of 40% to 60%. You just need to pay the full settlement amount and the debt will clear, with the debt settlement company not taking their cut until the entire process has been finalized.

A balance transfer can also help with credit card debt. A balance transfer credit card gives you a 0% APR on all transfers for between 6 and 18 months. Simply move all of your credit card balances into a new balance transfer card and then every cent of your monthly payment will go towards the principal.

The Best Methods for Reducing Secured Debts

Secured debt is a different beast, as your lender can seize the asset if they want to. This makes them much less susceptible to settlement offers and refinancing. However, they will still be keen to avoid the costly foreclosure/repossession process, so contact them as soon as you’re struggling and see if they can offer you anything by way of a grace period or reduced payment.

Most lenders have some form of hardship program and are willing to be flexible if it increases their chances of being repaid in full.

Different Types of Debt is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

50 Ideas To Help You Get Out of Debt!

The post 50 Ideas To Help You Get Out of Debt! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

When it comes to trying to get out of debt, I’ve seen and heard it all.  From the person who gets three jobs to the guy who sold his dream car – just to make it all happen.  It got me to thinking – what are some of the craziest ideas out there to help you find your way out of debt?

find money to pay off debt

I decided to make a fun post about the craziest ideas people have tried just to try to get their debts paid off.  The funniest thing is that these really do work!  Who knows?  Maybe one of these will inspire you too!

If you are struggling  with paying off your debt, these folks may be able to help:
Call 866-948-5666.

50 IDEAS TO HELP YOU GET OUT OF DEBT

SELL ITEMS

Things are that – just things.  They don’t define us, and they don’t always make us completely happy.  My husband and I sold so many items when we were trying to get out of debt that we were able to raise more than $1,000.  The thing is – I can’t even remember what we sold (which proves that they were things we obviously did not really need).  Here are some unconventional ideas of things you can sell:

1. Hair.  This may sound bizarre, but people will pay for long hair!  Crafters often use it for making dolls, so they will pay to buy it.  You will need to have at least 10″ or more to sell, and the price will vary greatly. You can visit eBay to learn more and get started.

2. Toilet paper / paper towel rolls.  Have you been on Pinterest and seen the number of craft projects which require a paper towel or toilet paper tubes?  They are all over the place!

You can get onto local sites such as Wallapop, Craigslist or even visit eBay and list your products for sale.  It may sound crazy, but it actually can work.

3. Gift cards.  If you get a gift card for any reason, be it a return or even a gift, you can turn around and sell the card.  You won’t get quite face value for it, but you also can at least get paid cold hard cash.

They don’t have even to have the full value on them.  For instance, if you had a $100 gift card to your favorite sporting goods store, but you only have used $26.48, you can still sell your card, and another person can use the remaining balance.

Visit Raise.com to learn more about placing your gift cards up for sale.

4. Daily Deal vouchers.  Did you buy a deal on LivingSocial and haven’t yet redeemed the voucher, you can sell it.

5.  Sell things you don’t need.  Use eBay, Craigslist or LetGo to sell the stuff you do not need anymore.  Go through your home and decide what you need and what you could sell to raise some quick funds to pay off your debt!

 

SIMPLE IDEAS

These are things that just make sense and most people think about…but you may not have thought of every one of them!

6.  Budget.  Of course, it seems this should go without saying, but it is not always obvious. If you don’t have a budget, you have no control of your money.  Learn How to Create a Budget.

7. Coupons.  Start using coupons to save as much as you possibly can at the grocery store.  Then, use the amount you save to pay towards your debt! Read more about How to Use Coupons.

8. Change where you shop.  If you live near an Aldi, start to buy groceries there.  Skip the clothing store and find consignment stores to find gently used clothes.  Read more about How to Shop at Aldi.

9. No more dinners out.  This is a tough one, but it works.  Best of all, its not something you will have to give up forever!  Just think, if you spend $100 or more a month dining out that is more than $1,000 to pay towards your debt in just one year!

If you do have dinner out, skip the soft drinks and go for water instead, which is free!  Make sure you also pass on the appetizers and consider splitting a larger entree to pay less.

10. Give up your hobbies.  If you are an avid golfer, you might give that up for some time and use the monthly dues to pay towards debt.

11. Menu plan.  By planning your meals, you not only know what you will have for dinner, but it also helps you plan your shopping trip.  That ensures you have all you need on hand when you get ready to cook all of your meals – saving you from running to the store for that “one item,” which often leads to more.  Read more about How to Create a Menu Plan.

12. Ask for rate reductions.  Contact your creditors to see if they would lower your interest rate at all. This is not always something that works, but it is definitely worth a few calls to see if it won’t work for you. Learn the tricks to asking for a rate reduction.

13. Avoid paying monthly fees.  If your bank charges monthly fees, ask them to waive them.  If they will not, consider moving to another one which offers free banking.  Even $5 a month is $60 a year that you are giving to them, just to have your account.

14. Keep the change.  I always use cash.  I don’t even pay with change.  If the total is $6.42, I hand over $7 and keep the change.  I roll all of this once a year and usually have quite a nice amount saved up.  Best of all – I never miss it!

15.  Overbudget.  This is a fun way to get extra money.  We may budget $300 for groceries every two weeks, but I will do what I can to keep my shopping way under this amount.  Then, I take anything left over at the end of that two weeks and save it (you could use it towards your debt). It’s a fun way to challenge yourself to see how little you can spend!

16.  Change insurance.  Make some calls to find out of you can get a better rate on your auto and home (renter’s) insurance.  You can sometimes find a better deal by bundling or even by increasing your deductibles a bit.

17.  Skip the evening movies.  If you love to visit the movies try the matinee instead!  You can usually pay less by catching the afternoon show. Make sure you pass on the snacks too, as those can add up quickly!

18.  Don’t buy books.  Instead of buying books, visit the library or get free Kindle books.  No need to buy them at all, when there are ways you can get them for free!  Find out more ways to get free books.

 

EXTREME IDEAS

These are ideas which do not work for everyone, but have worked to help others get out of debt very quickly!

19. Stop retirement contributions.  If you are in debt, you might want to take that 15% you were saving for retirement and throw it all towards your debt.  As soon as you are debt free, you can start that contribution again (and maybe even do more than that to other accounts).

20. Cancel cable completely. If you really want to go drastic, you need to take all steps necessary to do so.  Cable can run more than $100 (or even more than $150) per month.  If you can cut out cable entirely, you might quickly free up $100 or more every single month!

21. Sell your car.  If you are leasing a vehicle, that is a simple way to throw money away, as you will never own it.  Turn in the vehicle and then take out a loan to purchase a much older car, where you will pay less per month.  Best of all, you will own it in a few short years!

If you have an expensive vehicle, you can also sell that and then purchase an older car, which will reduce your monthly overhead (and possibly taxes and insurance).

22. Move.  If you are renting or even if you own your home, consider downsizing to pay less each month.  I know many people have opted to sell their home and use any income to pay towards debt, and then they rent until they are debt free.  Then, they save to get the house of their dreams, which they can purchase debt free!

23.  Turn off your home phone.  This can run $30 or more a month.  Just use your cell phone and cancel your home service.

24. Downgrade your cell phone.  Try to reduce the data you use to see if you can’t lower your monthly payment on your cell phone.  Stick with your home internet for most of your data usage, and you can use your phone less and less and rack up the savings.

25.  Swap services.  Instead of paying for babysitting, exchange time with another couple.  You watch their kids for free, and they can do the same for you.  You might be able to swap your tutoring for haircuts or your lawn mowing for handyman repairs.

26.  Make gifts.  Instead of buying people gifts for birthdays and holidays, consider making them yourself.  You could even offer a “service” gift where you will babysit once a month for a year, etc.  Find a way to give from the heart instead.

27.  Budget bill your utilities.  If you can, arrange for budget billing with your services.  This can make it easier to include your budget and will avoid those swings in the summer or the winter when certain utilities may be more expensive.

28.  Drop the gym or country club.  If you have a membership of any sort, just cancel it.  If you work out at the gym, try to find free videos you can follow at home or create your own workout plan. If you like to golf, go with a friend instead of paying for your membership.

29.  No more coffee trips.  Make your coffee at home each morning and cancel that run through the drive-thru.

30.   Take your lunch.  It is great to go out to lunch every day, but pack your lunch, and you’ll ensure you eat up leftovers.  Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll also save a nice chunk of money every month.

31.  Carpool.  Take turns driving to work and save money on fuel and also wear and tear on your vehicle.

32.   Set up no spend months.  This is a tough one, but see if you can go a few weeks without spending anything more than you need to survive.  That means no dining out.  No entertainment.  No clothes.  Just food and fuel and that’s it!

 

MAKE MONEY

This is a bit different than working from home.  These ideas help you make a bit more money just doing things you might already do – like search the internet, shop, etc.  These sites will pay you money to do just that.  Then, turn around and apply anything you make towards your savings.

33. Swagbucks. Use this site to get paid for doing searches and other things you normally do online!  Click HERE to learn more about Swagbucks.

34. Sell crafts on Etsy. If you are good at crocheting, woodworking or anything at all, look at selling your wares on Etsy. It is a simple platform and the costs are very low, which allows you to keep most of what you make from each sale.

35. Rent a room in your home.  If you have a walk-out basement, consider renting out the space to make more money.  Just check with your local laws and homeowner’s association to ensure this is allowed before you jump in to start this one.

36. Sell stocks.  If you have investments, considering selling them and using the proceeds to pay towards your debt.

37. Give music lessons.  If you know an instrument or you can sing, consider selling your time to help teach others.

38. Tutor.  Find your expertise and teach others.  You never know who you might be able to help!

39. Start a blog.  You may not get rich with your blog, but it can turn into a nice stream of income!  Learn more about How to Start a Blog.

40.  Visit garage sales and upcycle.  Find items very inexpensive at a yard or garage sales.  Put in some elbow grease, paint and creativity and turn them into something you can sell for a profit.  Check out flea markets and farmer’s markets for larger items and for places where you can sell your items.

41.  Find holiday work.  When the holidays roll around, many stores hire employees for a short 6 – 8 week period.  Sign up and put in some extra time after your regular job and make some extra cash you can use to pay down your debt.

42.  Become a mystery shopper.  This is a great way to get some things for free.  This is not a way to get rich but is an excellent way to get some of the things you need for free (which allows you more money to pay towards your debt).

43. Become an eBay master.  Purchase items on clearance or at deep discounts and then sell them for a profit on eBay.   You can still offer prices which are less than in the store, but more than you paid.

44.  Ask for a raise.  Don’t be afraid to ask for one.  Make sure you share the additional work or responsibilities you’ve taken on as a reason why.  Or, if it has been a while since you last had a raise, you can mention that too.  It never hurts to try.

45.  Sell an eBook.  If you are an expert in any field, or if you love to write, create a book you can sell on Amazon!

 

MENTAL

While there are things that you can physically do to save or to make money, you need to get your brain into the right mindset too.

46.  Make your goal visible.  If you want to get out of debt so you can afford to save for a vacation, tape a photo of the destination where you see it each day.  It could be on your office wall, bathroom mirror or the refrigerator.

47.  Learn to be happy with less.  Sure, a new TV might be fun to own. It could be enjoyable to go out to dinner.  However, do you need those things?  Probably not.  Find a way to be happy spending time at home spending no money at all, and you’ll realize how much those things don’t matter.

48.  Learn to say no.  You may need to tell friends you can’t go out to dinner.  It may mean telling the kids that they can’t get that treat at the grocery store. You may need to say to yourself that you do not need to grab that afternoon latte.  Learning to say no can easily keep more money in your pocket.

49.  Give more.  This may seem crazy, but it actually works.  When you give more of yourself to others, you feel better.  Best of all, giving is not always financial. It can mean your time or even your prayers.

50. Surround yourself with the right people. If your friends encourage you to spend money, then you might want to distance yourself from them (at least until you can get better control over your finances and self-control).  Find other people who think like you do so that they can encourage and build you up.

There you’ve got it.  Fifty ways to help get you out of debt!  Which are you getting ready to try?

ideas to help find money to pay off debt

The post 50 Ideas To Help You Get Out of Debt! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

Visa v. Mastercard: How These Financial Tools Are Similar & What Makes Them Different

visa and mastercard difference

You apply for a credit card and the bank sends you one when you’re approved. Whether it’s a Visa, a MasterCard or another type of payment card doesn’t factor into the process. Or does it?

Find out whether you should choose Visa or MasterCard when applying for credit cards and what other information you should know about these companies before selecting a credit card.

The Difference Between Visa and MasterCard

The only real difference that stands between Visa and MasterCard is that your card works on the payment network that the company operates. A Visa card won’t work on MasterCard’s network, and vice versa.

Ultimately, any other differences in cards come from the specific card you have. Not all MasterCard cards are the same, and not all Visa cards are the same.

How Are Visa and MasterCard cards similar?

Visa and MasterCard are both card networks. That means they manage the payment networks on which their cards work, but they don’t actually approve or issue cards to consumers. When you receive a Visa or MasterCard credit card, you get it from a bank such as Chase, WellsFargo or other organizations.

This is in contrast to how cards such as Discover and American Express work. These companies operate payment networks, but they also sometimes issue cards directly.

One benefit of the way Visa and MasterCard work is that they are able to foster much wider acceptance than other credit card companies. Visa’s network is 28 million merchants strong. MasterCard’s network features 30 million merchants. It’s rare that one of the types of cards is not accepted when another is. You’re much more likely to find a merchant that accepts Visa and MasterCard while not accepting Discover or American Express.

Other Similarities Between Visa and MasterCard

Because the specifics of your card depend on what kind of Visa or MasterCard you have, both types of cards offer a variety of options. Here are some of the considerations and options you’ll find whether you choose MasterCard or Visa.

1. Credit scores are required for cards.

The credit card companies don’t decide whether you’re approved for a card or not. It’s the bank sponsoring the card that makes the final call because they’re the one taking the financial risk to extend you credit. Some cards require good to excellent credit scores for approval, while others are approved for individuals with lower credit ratings.

Some banks may even offer credit repair cards for individuals with even lower credit ratings. These tend to have very low credit limits and may come with higher interest rates. Often, cards with the best benefits are approved only for those with good credit ratings.

Find out more about credit scores and what is typically considered a strong score before you apply for any type of credit card.

2. Rewards cards are an option.

Both MasterCard and Visa work with banks that provide rewards credit cards. These can include:

  • Travel rewards, such as points toward discounts on hotel stays, airfare, dining or even Uber rides
  • Store-specific rewards, such as points at retailers like Best Buy or Home Depot
  • Food and beverage rewards, such as free beverages at Starbucks or discounts at favorite restaurant chains
  • Cash back earned on each dollar you spend

The type of rewards you earn with your card depend on the card program, which is offered by the banks, and you can find Visa and MasterCard options for all of the above.

You can find some of the best options for rewards and other credit cards via the Credit.com search tools. That’s true whether you’re looking for MasterCard cards or Visa cards.

3. Fees can range for each card.

Fees are typically set by the banks and not by Visa or MasterCard. What you pay in over-limit, balance transfer, late fees or foreign transaction fees depends on the bank, the credit card offer and the agreement you sign. Don’t rely on the name on the card, and instead, make sure you fully review the offer before you agree to it so you know what fees you’re on the hook for.

4. Apple and Google Pay are options.

Most MasterCard and Visa credit cards work with smart wallet options such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. This is good news for credit card holders who are worried about the security risks that come with swiping a card. Instead, you can link your card to the app on your smartphone and pay via your phone at any payment station that accepts these methods.

5. Credit card holder discount programs.

If you use a business credit card, you may be entitled to save money on various purchases. Visa offers its Visa SavingsEdge program which features discounts of up to 15% or more on qualifying merchants that are automatically refunded to cardholders’ statements. Participating merchants include gas stations, hotels and car rental agencies.

MasterCard offers its similar Easy Savings program with discounts for qualifying purchases from gas stations, hotels and car repair chains. In both cases, cardholders must enroll their cards to realize these savings.

Can You Choose Your Own Payment Network?

In cases where banks work with both MasterCard and Visa, you may be able to contact your credit card company to ask for a specific network. This is true even if you were already issued a card on one of the networks already.

Because the bank determines APR, terms and rewards programs, there is often no reason to get into this level of detail when requesting a card. However, Visa and MasterCard both do back some benefits associated with their cards, including rental car insurance, buyer protections, extended warranties and travel insurance. If one of these benefits is extremely important to you, it may be worth it to change to the card network that offers the best option.

Regardless of whether you choose a Visa or a MasterCard card, apply for a credit card right here on Credit.com. Need to know your credit score before applying? Find out by signing up for a free Credit.com account.

The post Visa v. Mastercard: How These Financial Tools Are Similar & What Makes Them Different appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

If left unchecked, extensive amounts of credit card debt can cripple your finances. The good news is there are many ways to handle debt, though each requires a dedicated effort on your part. But if you can manage to consolidate credit card debt, you will reduce your burden relatively quickly. In the process, you’ll avoid the exorbitant interest rates that accompany most credit cards. Below we take a look at some of the most effective techniques you can use to make this goal a reality.

Find Out Your Credit Score

Before you can work on improving your credit and minimizing your debt, you have to know where you currently stand.

Many credit card issuers allow cardholders to see their FICO® credit score free of charge once a month, so check out if any of your cards include that free credit score. The three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax – also give out free annual credit reports. If that’s not enough, websites like Credit Karma™ and Credit Sesame provide a free look at your credit score and reports as well.

It is vital to review your credit report with a fine-tooth comb to ensure the accuracy of the information. If you find errors be sure to let the credit bureau in question know so the issue can be eradicated as soon as possible.

Zero Interest Balance Transfer Cards

Although it might seem counterintuitive to apply for another credit card to lessen your debt, a zero interest balance transfer card could really help. These cards typically include an introductory 0% balance transfer Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for six months or more. This ultimately allows you to move debt from one account to another without incurring more interest. However, once the introductory offer concludes, any leftover balances will revert to your base APR.

These offers aren’t totally free, though. Most cards also charge a balance transfer fee that’s usually between 3% and 5% of the transfer. Even with this initial payment, you will almost always still save money over leaving your debt where it stands currently.

If you want to consolidate credit card debt, here are three different balance transfer credit cards you could apply for, with varying introductory interest rates and transfer fees:

Balance Transfer Credit Cards Card Intro Balance Transfer APR Balance Transfer Fee Chase Slate 0% APR for first 15 months; then 16.49% to 25.24% Variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness No fee for first 60 days; then $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater Citi Double Cash Card 0% introductory APR for 18 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening; then 15.49% to 25.49% Variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater BankAmericard® credit card 0% APR for first 15 billing cycles; then 14.49% to 24.49% Variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness No fee for first 60 days; then $10 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater Take Out a Personal Loan

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

The thought of taking out another loan probably doesn’t sound too appetizing to consolidate credit card debt. But a personal debt consolidation loan is one of the speediest ways to rid yourself of credit card debt. More specifically, you can use it to pay off most or all of your debt in one lump sum. That way, your payments are all merged into a single account with your lender.

The APR and length of the offered loan and the minimum credit score needed for approval are the main factors that should go into your final decision on a lender. By concentrating on these three components of the loan, you can map out what your monthly payments will be. As a result, you can more easily implement them into your financial life.

Applying for a personal consolidation loan can have a detrimental effect on your credit. Unfortunately, most institutions will run a hard credit check on you prior to approval. However, many online lenders don’t do this, which might ease your mind depending on the severity of your debt situation.

These loans are available through a wide variety of financial institutions, including banks, online lenders and credit unions. Here are a few examples of some of the most common debt consolidation lenders:

Common Debt Consolidation Lenders Banks Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank Online Lenders Lending Club, Prosper, Best Egg Credit Unions Navy Federal Credit Union, Unify Financial Credit Union, Affinity Federal Credit Union Auto or Home Equity Loan

If you own assets like a home or car, you can take out a lump-sum loan based on the equity you hold in them to consolidate credit card debt. This is a great way to reuse money you paid toward an existing loan to take care of your debt. When paying back your auto or home equity loan, you’ll usually pay in fixed amounts at a relatively low interest rate. Even if this rate isn’t great, it’s likely much better than any offer you’d receive from a card issuer.

Equity loans are technically a second mortgage or loan, meaning your house or car will become the loan’s collateral. That means you could lose your house or car if you cannot keep up with your equity loan payments.

Create a Budget

Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

To build a budget, you first need to figure out your approximate monthly net income. Don’t forget to take into account taxes when you’re doing this.

You can then start subtracting your variable and fixed expenses that are expected for the upcoming month. This is where you will likely be able to identify where you’re overspending, whether it’s on food, entertainment or travel. Once you’ve completed this, you can begin cutting back where you need to. Then, use your surplus cash to pay off your debt one month at a time.

It shouldn’t matter if you’re dealing with substantial credit card debt or not. A monthly spending budget should always be a part of how you manage your finances. While this is likely the slowest way to eliminate debt, it’s also the most financially sound. At its core, it attempts to fix the problem without taking funding from an outside source. This should leave very little financial strife in the aftermath of paying off your debt.

Professional Debt Counseling

Perhaps since you’ve found yourself in serious debt, you feel like you want professional help getting out of it. Well the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) is available for just that reason. The NFCC® has member offices all around the U.S. that are certified in helping you consolidate credit card debt.

These counselors won’t only address your current financial issues and debt. They’ll also work to create a plan that will help you avoid this situation again in the future.

Agencies that are accredited by the NFCC® will have it clearly displayed on their website or at their offices. If you’re not sure where to look, the foundation created an agency locator that’ll help you find a counselor nearby.

Borrow From Your Retirement

Taking money early from your employer-sponsored retirement account obviously isn’t ideal. That’s means borrowing from your retirement is a last-ditch alternative. But if your credit card debt has become such a handicap that it’s affecting all other facets of your life, it is a viable option to consolidate credit card debt.

Because you are technically loaning money to yourself, this will not show up on your credit report. Major tax and penalty charges await anyone who has trouble making payments on these loans though. To make matters worse, if you quit your job or are fired, you’re typically only given 60 days to finish paying it off to avoid incurring a penalty.

Tips To Consolidate Credit Card Debt

  • If you take the time to come up with a budget, don’t let it go to waste. While you might find it tough to stick to, especially if you’re trying to cut back, it is the best way to manage your money correctly. Even if a budget becomes habit, stay vigilant with where your money is being spent.
  • Although a financial advisor will cost money, he or she might be able to help you keep your finances in check while ultimately helping you plan for the future as well. However, if this isn’t an option for you financially, stay on track with your NFCC® debt counselor’s plan.
  • There are so many ways to gain access to your credit score that there’s virtually no excuse for not knowing it. It doesn’t matter if you do it through one of the top three credit bureaus, FICO® or one of your card issuers. Just remember to pay attention to those ever-important three digits as often as possible.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Liderina, ©iStock.com/ferrantraite, Â©iStock.com/cnythzl

The post Tips to Consolidate Credit Card Debt appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

Why It’s Harder to Get Credit When You’re Self-Employed

Around 6.1% of employed Americans worked for themselves in 2019, yet the ranks of the self-employed might increase among certain professions more than others. By 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that self-employment will rise by nearly 8%. 

Some self-employed professionals experience high pay in addition to increased flexibility. Dentists, for example, are commonly self-employed, yet they earned a median annual wage of $159,200 in 2019. Conversely, appraisers and assessors of real estate, another career where self-employment is common, earned a median annual wage of $57,010 in 2019.

Despite high pay and job security in some industries, there’s one area where self-employed workers can struggle — qualifying for credit. When you work for yourself, you might have to jump through additional hoops and provide a longer work history to get approved for a mortgage, take out a car loan, or qualify for another line of credit you need.

Why Being Self-Employed Matters to Creditors

Here’s the good news: Being self-employed doesn’t directly affect your credit score. Some lenders, however, might be leery about extending credit to self-employed applicants, particularly if you’ve been self-employed for a short time. 

When applying for a mortgage or another type of loan, lenders consider the following criteria:

  • Your income
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Credit score
  • Assets
  • Employment status

Generally speaking, lenders will confirm your income by looking at pay stubs and tax returns you submit. They can check your credit score with the credit bureaus by placing a hard inquiry on your credit report, and can confirm your debt-to-income ratio by comparing your income to the debt you currently owe. Lenders can also check to see what assets you have, either by receiving copies of your bank statements or other proof of assets. 

The final factor — your employment status — can be more difficult for lenders to gauge if you’re self-employed, and managing multiple clients or jobs. After all, bringing in unpredictable streams of income from multiple sources is considerably different than earning a single paycheck from one employer who pays you a salary or a set hourly rate. If your income fluctuates or your self-employment income is seasonal, this might be considered less stable and slightly risky for lenders.

That said, being honest about your employment and other information when you apply for a loan will work out better for you overall. Most lenders will ask the status of your employment in your loan application; however, your self-employed status could already be listed with the credit bureaus. Either way, being dishonest on a credit application is a surefire way to make sure you’re denied.

Extra Steps to Get Approved for Self-Employed Workers

When you apply for a mortgage and you’re self-employed, you typically have to provide more proof of a reliable income source than the average person. Lenders are looking for proof of income stability, the location and nature of your work, the strength of your business, and the long-term viability of your business. 

To prove your self-employed status won’t hurt your ability to repay your loan, you’ll have to supply the following additional information: 

  • Two years of personal tax returns
  • Two years of business tax returns
  • Documentation of your self-employed status, including a client list if asked
  • Documentation of your business status, including business insurance or a business license

Applying for another line of credit, like a credit card or a car loan, is considerably less intensive than applying for a mortgage — this is true whether you’re self-employed or not. 

Most other types of credit require you to fill out a loan application that includes your personal information, your Social Security number, information on other debt you have like a housing payment, and details on your employment status. If your credit score and income is high enough, you might get approved for other types of credit without jumping through any additional hoops.

10 Ways the Self-Employed Can Get Credit

If you work for yourself and want to make sure you qualify for the credit you need, there are plenty of steps you can take to set yourself up for success. Consider making the following moves right away.

1. Know Where Your Credit Stands

You can’t work on your credit if you don’t even know where you stand. To start the process, you should absolutely check your credit score to see whether it needs work. Fortunately, there are a few ways to check your FICO credit score online and for free

2. Apply With a Cosigner

If your credit score or income are insufficient to qualify for credit on your own, you can also apply for a loan with a cosigner. With a cosigner, you get the benefit of relying on their strong credit score and positive credit history to boost your chances of approval. If you choose this option, however, keep in mind that your cosigner is jointly responsible for repaying the loan, if you default. 

3. Go Straight to Your Local Bank or Credit Union

If you have a long-standing relationship with a credit union or a local bank, it already has a general understanding of how you manage money. With this trust established, it might be willing to extend you a line of credit when other lenders won’t. 

This is especially true if you’ve had a deposit account relationship with the institution for several years at minimum. Either way, it’s always a good idea to check with your existing bank or credit union when applying for a mortgage, a car loan, or another line of credit. 

4. Lower Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is an important factor lenders consider when you apply for a mortgage or another type of loan. This factor represents the amount of debt you have compared to your income, and it’s represented as a percentage.

If you have a gross income of $6,000 per month and you have fixed expenses of $3,000 per month, for example, then your DTI ratio is 50%.

A DTI ratio that’s too high might make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage or another line of credit when you’re self-employed. For mortgage qualifications, most lenders prefer to loan money to consumers with a DTI ratio of 43% or lower. 

5. Check Your Credit Report for Errors

To keep your credit in the best shape possible, check your credit reports, regularly. You can request your credit reports from all three credit bureaus once every 12 months, for free, at AnnualCreditReport.com

If you find errors on your credit report, take steps to dispute them right away. Correcting errors on your report can give your score the noticeable boost it needs. 

6. Wait Until You’ve Built Self-Employed Income

You typically need two years of tax returns as a self-employed person to qualify for a mortgage, and you might not be able to qualify at all until you reach this threshold. For other types of credit, it can definitely help to wait until you’ve earned self-employment income for at least six months before you apply. 

7. Separate Business and Personal Funds

Keeping personal and business funds separate is helpful when filing your taxes, but it can also help you lessen your liability for certain debt. 

For example, let’s say that you have a large amount of personal debt. If your business is structured as a corporation or LLC and you need a business loan, separating your business funds from your personal funds might make your loan application look more favorable to lenders.

As a separate issue, start building your business credit score, which is separate from your personal credit score, early on. Setting up business bank accounts and signing up for a business credit card can help you manage both buckets of your money, separately. 

8. Grow Your Savings Fund

Having more liquid assets is a good sign from a lender’s perspective, so strive to build up your savings account and your investments. For example, open a high-yield savings account and save three to six months of expenses as an emergency fund. 

You can also open a brokerage account and start investing on a regular basis. Either strategy will help you build up your assets, which shows lenders you have a better chance of repaying your loan despite an irregular income. 

9. Provide a Larger Down Payment

Some lenders have tightened up mortgage qualification requirements, and some are even requiring a 20% down payment for home loans. You’ll also have a better chance to secure an auto loan with the best rates and terms with more money down, especially for new cars that depreciate rapidly.

Aim for 20% down on a home or a car that you’re buying. As a bonus, having a 20% down payment for your home purchase helps you avoid paying private mortgage insurance.

10. Get a Secured Loan or Credit Card

Don’t forget the steps you can take to build credit now, if your credit profile is thin or you’ve made mistakes in the past. One way to do this is applying for a secured credit card or a secured loan, both of which require collateral for you to get started.

The point of a secured credit card or loan is getting the chance to build your credit score and prove your creditworthiness as a self-employed worker, when you can’t get approved for unsecured credit. After making sufficient on-time payments toward the secured card or loan, your credit score will increase, you can upgrade to an unsecured alternative and get your deposit or collateral back.

The Bottom Line

If you’re self-employed and worried that your work status will hurt your chances at qualifying for credit, you shouldn’t be. Instead, focus your time and energy on creating a reliable self-employment income stream and building your credit score.

Once your business is established and you’ve been self-employed for several years, your work status won’t matter as heavily. Keep your income high, your DTI low, and a positive credit record, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved for credit. 

The post Why It’s Harder to Get Credit When You’re Self-Employed appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

Source: goodfinancialcents.com

National Get Smart About Credit Day

Depending on the time period in which you were raised, many young children and adolescents had differing opinions (and ideals) about what credit was and how it should or shouldn’t be utilized. While some were privileged enough to understand the complexities and importance of credit, others had to learn at the expense of their own mistakes along the way. No matter where you were or where you are currently, luckily there are always actionable steps that can be taken to clean up, improve, and get smart about your credit – let’s explore. 

Become familiar with what can impact your credit 

There are five key components that are factored into your credit score. 

Payment history 

Your ability to make timely payments plays a huge role in your credit score. Lenders want to have the confidence that you as the borrower are capable of paying back any debts on time. If there is ever a situation that can impact your payment history, it’s best to notify your lender as soon as possible to avoid any negative remarks on your credit report.  

Credit utilization 

In order to determine your credit utilization rate, divide the amount of credit currently in use by the amount of credit you have available. For the best possible scores, keep this percentage under 30%. This shows creditors you have the ability to manage debt wisely. To optimize and improve your score, make it a goal to utilize less than 10% if possible.   

Length of credit history  

Lenders will take an account of all creditors and the length of time each account has been open. In order to improve this average, try your best not to close any accounts as this can have the potential to decrease your overall credit score.  

Credit mix  

Car, student loan debt, mortgage, and credit cards are all varying types of revolving and installment loans. Lenders view this as favorable when you’re able to manage different types of credit. A good rule of thumb for using a credit card is charging a small amount each month and paying it off in full to avoid any interest payments. Not only does this impact your score positively, but it also creates good habits that don’t require you to solely rely on credit cards for purchases.  

New credit 

Any time you apply for credit, you’re giving lenders the right to obtain copies of your credit report from a credit bureau. Soft inquiries do not have an impact on your score, such as pulling your own credit report or a potential employer pulling your report as a part of the screening process. Applying for a new credit card, requesting a credit limit increase, financing a car, or purchasing a home are all examples of hard inquiries. For processes such as auto purchases, student loans, or mortgages these are typically treated as a single inquiry if done within a short scope of time such as thirty days. Be mindful of the number of inquiries outside of these scenarios – this mainly relates to retail store credit cards. Inquiries have a greater impact if you have a short credit history or a limited amount of active credit accounts.   

Review your credit reports and dispute errors if necessary 

Carve out some time to obtain a free credit report from one of the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion or Equifax) to review. Familiarize yourself with everything that is listed. In the instance something doesn’t appear correct, follow the proper protocols to dispute errors. Completing this exercise at least once a year after initially cleaning up any errors can help correct any mistakes, but also ensures accuracy. The credit reporting agency and the lender must be contacted in order to jumpstart the process of resolution. Even in the instance, there are no issues found, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the due diligence has been done.  

Communicate and be honest with all creditors 

If you are experiencing any type of financial hardships due to unforeseen circumstances, make it a priority to communicate upfront with all creditors. Explaining your personal situation while proposing reasonable solutions may work in your favor. Refrain from avoiding creditors due to emotional reasons or negative thoughts; your pride cannot overshadow your personal needs. When discussing finances, most of us don’t want to disclose any personal information – however, if this can result in bettering your personal finance journey and credit score simultaneously; there’s no way to lose. Make your requests known and be proactive so the best solutions can be provided.  

Create a plan and remain completely committed 

Commit to at least three goals that relate to improving your credit. This could simply start with paying all of your bills on time and regularly checking in with creditors to ensure good standing. If credit card spending is a challenge for you, commit to limiting your credit card usage while paying more than the minimum balance. Rally the assistance of your family and friends to serve as your accountability partners to make sure you achieve your goals. No matter the personal goals you decide to set, commit to staying the course. Often times our personal lack of patience leads us to believe that the hard work that’s being put forth is in vain. If nothing else, commit to improving your credit for you and your families’ wellbeing.  

Protect your hard work (and your credit) 

Once your new credit score emerges and is here to stay, the first order of business is to celebrate – congratulations! Your hard work and dedication have indeed paid off. In order to make sure your credit score stays in tip-top shape, don’t be too quick to take your foot off of the gas just yet! Be sure to stay informed about any tactics or strategies to keep your credit score in the best shape possible. We’re all on our phones throughout the day, so make it a regular occurrence to do a quick internet search on ways to improve your credit score. Continually staying educated about various credit improvement opportunities  

The post National Get Smart About Credit Day appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com