Double Your Down Payment Savings

Miscellaneous
Buying a home is a big financial goal, however saving for the down payment can be a major roadblock. There are several different routes to achieving this goal. When the lease on the apartment my boyfriend and I rent was nearing expiration, we considered buying a home. In the process, we discovered a savings program, called a ‘matched savings’ program, to help speed up down payment savings. Matched savings programs are also called Individual Development Accounts (IDA) and are generally offered by nonprofits and/or government agencies in local areas. There are three things these programs can be used to fund. Buying a homeOpening a small businessSaving for college/job training. As you probably gathered from the name, when you enroll in one of these programs every dollar you deposit is matched.…
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Money Talks. You Should, Too.

Money Talks. You Should, Too.

Budgeting, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Relationships & Money
I think we can all agree that talking about our finances is uncomfortable, especially if your finances are not in the best health. Fortunately, you  do not need to broach this subject with everyone you meet. However you do need to be able to communicate with your significant other about money, especially in serious relationships. The 2016 Stress in America Report produced by the APA found that 64% of women and 57% of men reported money and family responsibility as one of their most significant stressors. Because money is such a huge source of stress for many people, couples need to talk about it. Ensuring that you and your partner are on the same page with how you spend money and what your individual situations are helps prevent future arguments and…
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The Facts Behind your Credit Score

The Facts Behind your Credit Score

Credit, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement
By Julie Macc, Certified Credit and Identity Theft SpecialistWhat is Fico?FICO is an acronym for the Fair Isaac Corporation the creators of the FICO score.The FICO scoring system is used in the United States for extending or offering credit, employment credit checks, landlords, and in States that legally allow it, insurance rates.How is a score made? The FICO score is computer generated using mathematical models. The score takes into account various factors in five different areas to determine credit risk: payment history, current level of indebtness, types of credit used, lenght of credit history, and new credit.People that have a FICO score will range between 300-850.Not everyone has a Credit Score. In order to have a credit score, your credit file has to meet certain minimum standards. Failure to meet…
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Credit that Cares for You

Credit that Cares for You

Credit, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement
Real talk: Paying for medical care is stressful and expensive. Even if you are fortunate enough to have insurance through your employer, coming up with co-pays on top of the premiums can make your budget, or your savings, cry. When you pay for an individual insurance plan, the situation often becomes more stressful. This is a thorny issue. The cost of healthcare is prohibitive, yet sometimes you genuinely need to see a doctor. So what can you do to ease the financial burden? Unfortunately I have no solutions for the cost of insurance or healthcare. However, the CareCredit card can help make getting the medical care you need a viable possibility.CareCredit is a credit account specifically designed to assist with medical bills that insurance does not cover. Like a regular…
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Simple Ways to Establish Good Credit

Simple Ways to Establish Good Credit

Credit, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement
So, you are interested in building your credit history, but not sure where to start. Here are a few simple ways to begin building your credit. Always make sure that any credit you decide to use fits within your budget, especially if you choose to take out a loan.1. Start with a Credit Card The first option to build your credit is to apply for a credit card. There are some things to keep in mind if you choose this route. Credit cards can quickly become dangerous to your financial health if you spend more than you can afford to repay every month and become trapped by the interest rates attached to your card.To avoid this, limit your credit card spending to purchases you already make. A common strategy is…
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Credit 101

Credit 101

Credit, Miscellaneous
Credit often feels like a mysterious and treacherous aspect of personal finance when you are young and/or just beginning your money management journey. Despite its reputation, credit is a tool that with responsible use will improve your financial standing. Before you embark on the journey of seeking credit, it is important to know how credit and credit scores work so you don’t accidentally end up in hot financial water.So what is credit? Credit is money you borrow to use for goods and service and that you will repay at an agreed-upon time with any applicable fees and charges (usually interest). There are four types of credit.RevolvingChargeServiceInstallment.Revolving credit is typically associated with credit cards. When you use this type of credit, the lending institution approves you for a maximum amount of…
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Double Your Down Payment Savings

Double Your Down Payment Savings

Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Saving & Investing
Buying a home is a big financial goal, however saving for the down payment can be a major roadblock. There are several different routes to achieving this goal. When the lease on the apartment my boyfriend and I rent was nearing expiration, we considered buying a home. In the process, we discovered a savings program, called a ‘matched savings’ program, to help speed up down payment savings.Matched savings programs are also called Individual Development Accounts (IDA) and are generally offered by nonprofits and/or government agencies in local areas. There are three things these programs can be used to fund.Buying a homeOpening a small businessSaving for college/job training.As you probably gathered from the name, when you enroll in one of these programs every dollar you deposit is matched. Depending on the…
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Are the Budget Blues Bringing You Down?

Are the Budget Blues Bringing You Down?

Budgeting, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Take Action
If you’ve followed my writing, I’m sure you’ve noticed several articles on budgeting. Why so many? Because a budget is one of the most valuable tools for understanding, managing, and growing your money. Yet it seems to me that many people break-out in a cold sweat the moment I say “budget”. If the B-word induces anxiety in you to the point you can’t bring yourself to write one, try changing your terminology. A budget is just a plan for how you are going to spend your money, so try calling it a “Spending Plan”. Using a Spending Plan is a small lifestyle adjustment to help you reshape your spending habits. It takes time and practice to write and use Spending Plans that are reasonable and accurate, but as you develop…
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Plan your Meals; Plan your Spending

Plan your Meals; Plan your Spending

Budgeting, Goals / Taking Action, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement, Relationships & Money, Take Action
Making food at home is an easy way to trim your spending, but it can often feel difficult to fit in cooking, and clean-up, within daily life. A few months ago, my boyfriend and I started meal planning to save money and eat healthier and so far, we’re achieving our goal. There are different kinds of meal planning. In one of the most popular methods, you plan and prepare every single meal for the week in one day. We chose to adapt this method slightly and only plan our meals for the week, but planning and preparing on the same day is very effective for many people. Here is some more information on the strategy, as well as a guide to help you start out. Because Sunday is our day…
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How Do You Know What You Can Deduct?

How Do You Know What You Can Deduct?

Entrepreneurship / Making Money, Miscellaneous, Money in Your 20s/30s/40s/50s/Retirement
It’s tax time and that can be stressful. It can also be a time where people feel hopeful about receiving a large refund for taxes overpaid during the year. In order to fully understand this process, it is important to recognize that your refund is for taxes that you paid during the year that are more than your tax burden should be based on your income and expenses. This seems simple enough, but many people feel sheepish about taking the full benefit of their write-offs. This is silly however, because a write-off represents your expense while contributing to the the economic value of our economy. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is acceptable to deduct and what isn’t. Because most people would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than…
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