Improve your credit score
Credit scores measure your credit worthiness, meaning how reliable you are as a borrower. Credit scores are simply a measure of how good your are at managing debt.
This is an unfortunate system because in essence you have to get into debt to have a good credit score, but this is the reality we live in and we have to deal with the cards that we have been dealt.
Having a good credit score is essential in order to be able to get a home loan or a car loan, and also to be able to get the lowest possible interest rates.
If you have a low credit score, here are some ways you can improve your credit score.
Ice cream makes everyone happy
Many of us think we’re invincible and that we are going to live forever. And even though we’re living longer – around 80 years, which is about 30 years longer than people living 100 years ago – that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to be healthy all our lives.
We all know having health insurance is a must, but many of us don’t know that health insurance doesn’t cover long-term care.
Long-term care is not medical care, but rather a variety of services which help meet both medical and non-medical needs of people who cannot care for themselves over a long period of time due to a chronic illness or disability. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with basic personal needs of everyday life, such as bathing, dressing, etc.
Many people know that having insurance is a good thing. We all insure our cars in case of accidents or in case they get stolen; we are also all required to get health insurance in case we get sick; and we should all have emergency insurance in the form or an emergency fund. We also know that if we have a house, we need home owners insurance so we’re financially protected in case something happens to the house.
But the one thing that many people ignore is renters insurance. Renters, for the most part, don’t think about insurance because the place they are renting is not theirs or they think their belongings are insured through their landlord’s insurance policy.
Landlords have insurance on the apartments, but only for structural damage, not for the things that are inside the apartment, a.k.a. your things.
Is it just me or was October the longest month ever? It seemed as if it was never going to end. Maybe I just wanted it to be Halloween already, or maybe it is because my November vacation can’t come fast enough.
Another factor that might have an effect on the extra length of October is that I was extremely busy with personal stuff and with work. The only thing that kept me sane was knowing that vacation was coming soon. Did I mention vacation soon?
As many of you know, I set a few goals for myself this month. The first one was a fitness challenge where I had to work out at least three times a week. The second goal was a writing challenge in which I had to write at least 500 words a day, every day.
Now, let me start by saying that I accomplished half of my goals. That is, I was able to complete one of them, but failed miserably on the other.
All I want for Christmas is You
Ahh Christmas is almost here. Christmas season is the best time of the year for many, but it could also be one of the most stressful times for people who are in debt and can’t afford to buy gifts.
There is just so much pressure put on us to buy everybody and their mother a little something something for Christmas. If you don’t, then you are just like Ebenezer Scrooge.
The pressure comes from everywhere. There are countless Christmas commercials telling you what you should buy, there’s Christmas music everywhere (doesn’t tell you to buy stuff, but it reminds you two months in advance that it is Christmas season and that you should start getting ready), and there are also those who keep asking, “What are you getting [INSERT NAME] for Christmas?” It is not even November yet!
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. It is a time to get together with your family and loved ones. Everybody seems to be happy – maybe tired of the Christmas songs, but happy – some of us gets a little break from work, and we get gifts.
Yes, I like gifts too. The problem I have is when people get into debt just to buy somebody else a gift.
No more annual fees!
Being an avid reader of personal finance blogs/websites for the last year or two, I’v noticed that there are two schools of thought when it comes to credit cards. Those who say credit cards are pure evil and avoid them at all cost, and those who embrace credit cards and use them to play the rewards game.
I’m in neither of these camps.
I definitely don’t avoid using credit cards. Not because I don’t think they are dangerous – they certainly could be in the wrong hands – but because they are very convenient. I use credit cards more that I use cash. However, I only use credit cards when I know I have the cash to pay for whatever I buy.
For example. I budget $150 for groceries per month, but instead of paying cash when I go food shopping, I pay with my credit card. I know I can’t spend more than $150 because then I’ll go over budget. At the end of the month, I take the $150 that are in my bank and pay off the credit card.
This allows me to not have to carry cash all the time and also earn some rewards.
Now, I like earning rewards, but I don’t play the rewards game. The game where you sign up for 10 or 20 credit cards and spend X amount of dollars a month to get X number of points. I’m impressed by the people who are able to do this, but I’m just not one of these people.
I spend what’s in my budget and if I get rewards then cool, and if I don’t get rewards then also cool. I don’t try to manufacture spending to claim rewards… or maybe not yet.
Getting into debt is very easy. Just start buying stuff with your credit card and don’t pay it off each month. But getting out of debt is very difficult.
The average American family with at least one credit card has around $16,000 in credit card debt (2012 data). Many of these families are trying to erase that debt but are having a hard time accomplishing that. There might be many different reasons why this is so, but one of those reasons might be that they’re not approaching it the right way.
You could still tip, though.
I’ve never worked at a restaurant, but I know some people that have worked at one… I’ve also eaten at a lot of restaurants. What can I say? I like food. And this experience gives me the right to ask, “why don’t restaurants pay its employees a decent wage?”
The federal minimum wage for tipped workers, such as servers, is $2.13 per hour, and has been so since 1991. This is pure insanity. How can somebody make ends meet making $2.13 an hour?
I understand that tips could make up for the low wages, but not every server makes money from tips. If you are a server and are scheduled to work during the slow hours, you are out of luck.
Because of this, servers experience almost three times the poverty rate of the workforce as a whole. Servers also rely on food stamps at nearly double the rate as the general population.
Cut the cord, man.
Okay let’s admit it. We’re TV addicts.
The average American watches 5 hours of TV per day, according to a report from Nielsen. Five hours a day! That’s a lot of TV watching. But that’s understandable, I mean how else are you going to keep up with the entire Kardashian family?
But just because we are addicted to TV doesn’t mean we have to pay over $100 a month to watch our favorite shows. And $100 is a low number. It is estimated that the average price of cable TV will hit $123 a month next year. That’s $1,476 a year!
I’m not suggesting you stop watching TV – I watch more TV than I’d like to admit – all I’m saying is that you should consider paying less for your services.
I haven’t had cable for over a year and I don’t miss it at all. True, I have to wait a day to watch my favorite shows, but as long as nobody ruins it by telling me what happens, one day is not that long of a wait. I’ve noticed that people nowadays are pretty good at not telling me what happened. They usually ask, “Oh man, did you see it last night?” No, and don’t say anything or I’ll karate chop you in your throat.
Anyways, below are a few ways you can replace cable and save money in the long run.
I believe I can fly!
Oct 10th – Oct 16th
Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five. This is where I share what I consider the week’s top-five money related articles from around the web. There are a lot of great personal finance websites publishing amazing content daily and I feel that I must share them with you. I hope you enjoy my five favorite articles of the week.
If you haven’t, please read this week’s posts on How To Track Your Spending and on Living On Campus Cost More than Off Campus (Infographic). Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Google+, and like Million Dollar Ninja on Facebook.
In no particular order here are The Friday Five