April is officially Financial Literacy Month! Make it a tradition to celebrate with the children in your family and lead the way to maintaining healthy money management habits. Here are ways to celebrate Financial Literacy Month.
• Give them a finance related gift (It will make them anticipate Financial Literacy Month)
o It doesn’t have to be expensive! There are a number of finance management guides for kids/teens less than $15, for example It’$ My Money; a finance-guided journal specifically for young adults. You can purchase, here.
o Purchase a bond in their name from TreasuryDirect. In a certain number of years, it will gain interest and they will be able to retrieve their money from the bank. This will teach them about investments.
o Upgrade them from the piggy bank. Start them a savings account or a pre-paid card that they can put their earnings into. This will help them manage their spending early on.
o Sign them up for a kid/teen-oriented financial learning course. Reach out to one of their friend’s parents or younger family member to join. This way it will be a better experience
Looking forward to the sunny skies that come with spring’s arrival but dreading the tedious task of spring cleaning? Trust me. You’re not alone. Check out a few of our money making spring cleaning tips that can brighten your day.
Turn The “No” Pile Into Cash
Sorting through clothes can be tiresome. Donating your non-desirables to a charity of choice is an excellent idea. For those pieces in good condition but are no longer your style, you can sell to make some extra cash. How?
• Search your town for local consignment shops. They will go through your clothes and accept what they like and in return give you money.
• Snap a picture and sell. There are a number of online consignment websites and apps. Trusted platforms that are trusted include Ebay, Poshmark and Tradesy.
Time for A Tag Sale
I know it seems old fashioned. But whether it’s old furniture, a CD collection or odds and ends, there are more than a few ways to make a garage sale successful.
• Advertise your tag sale on sites like Craigslist, Gsalr.com and YardSales.net. These platforms are helpful because it helps those who are looking for something specific easily find it.
• Share it on Facebook. Post your best items for your friends to see. Don’t have a social media account. Ask a trusted friend to post it on theirs. Once someone makes an offer you can meet up to exchange.
Things People Overlook When Spring Cleaning
• Don’t throw out those old books! Try to sell them on BookScouter or Half.Com.
• Old Newspapers piling up? There are people looking for their “birthdate edition” and other historical moments on Ebay. This goes for classic magazine ads also.
• Prefer to sell things face to face? Set up a table at your next local flea market.
• Raid the Recycling Bin! Return bottles and cans for a deposit, and sign up with RecycleBank to earn rewards for all your recycling.
• Turn wine bottles into art! There a number of DIY (do-it-yourself) wine bottle tutorials on Pinterest. Host an art decorating event with your friends.
We love how Kristina Sutton , (@debtfreeblkgrl on Instagram) is sporting our It's My Money™ shirt! With our free giveaway contest, you can too! It's simple share a photo/post on your social media about your financial goal this year and tag/mention It's My Money's social media page for a chance to win! We'll be announcing the winners at the end of the month.
If you enjoyed Part 1 of our breakdown on credit scores, we dig a little deeper with in this post to show you just how much they matter.
Here is an example of buying a car that gives a good picture of what happens when you credit score is low:
Car for purchase:
2016 Nissan Versa - $12,000
36 months/3 year loan
Person A has a credit score of 720 and Person B has a credit score of 580. Both are able to get a loan for the car but check out the difference in interest, monthly payments and total interest each will pay.
Credit Score: 720
Monthly payment: $351.00
Total interest: $639.00
Credit Score: 580
Monthly payment: $416.00
Total interest: $2,960.00
Person A pays $12,639.00 for the car, while Person B pays $14,960.00. This is an example of how a person pays $2,321.00 more for the same item because they have a lower credit score therefore have a higher interest rate.
When your credit score is low, you pay more when getting loans or may not be able to get a loan a all. Creditors see loaning you money or extending you credit is a risk as your three-digit credit score gives them a picture of how you have paid on prior loans or credit cards.
Your current credit score:
If your credit score is 720 and above CONGRATS!! Keep up the great work.
If your credit score is not currently at 720 or above. Don't worry, you can start now on the path to increase your credit score. Managing your finances, pay your bills on time, don't open any more lines of credit, reviewing your reports and your scores begin to increase. It takes some time to have a less than desirable score, so it will take some time to increase it but it is possible. If you haven't read Part 1, you can check it out here.
Need help managing your finances, follow me @itsmymoney_ or email for a one on one consultation at email@example.com
Hello savvy savers! We’re talking credit scores again. Why? Because it is a major factor in what you can get out of life. It impacts your approval for loans, leases and so much more.
I hope by now that you all have received and reviewed one or all of your free credit reports. If not, I encourage you to do so. You can find info on my recent blog post, here.
Now, I’d like to share information about "Knowing Your Credit Scores".
What Is Your Credit Score?
Basically, your credit score is a three-digit number that represents how you have paid back money you have borrowed or how you used credit that have been extended to you. It summarizes your full report into three digits using a percentage scale.
You can obtain your credit scores from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. It is important to get your scores from each of these national credit bureau as more often than not the score may vary because the information in each is different.
Below is a breakdown of how each credit score organization works and how it can effect you:
The FICO Credit Score:
• Calculated by Fair Isaac Corporation
• Used by most top lenders
• Ranges from 300 - 850.
• The lowest number represents a low or bad score and the highest number is a high or good score.
• A good credit score is 720
It is important to note, there are other types of credit scores, such as Vantage (2.0 and 3.) and Plus, and they use a number range and/or a letter grade as the measurement.
Below are the factors that affect your score:
1. Payment history - 35%
This has the largest impact to your score; The secret to this one is simple - pay your bills on time. A few options that may help you pay bills on time are. It effects you negatively when making payments late.
2. Amount of debt or amount owed: 30%
This is the next largest impact to your score. Try not to have more credit card debt then you can afford. Work each month to pay the balance(s) in full. A good rule of thumb is to not owe more than 30% of your credit limit. If you have a credit card with a $500 credit limit, try not to carry more than $150 if any balance if any at all.
Negatives: Maxing out your credit cards effects your score negatively. “Max out” means your credit limit is $500 and your balance (amount you owe) is $500, the entire amount of the credit line.
3. Length of Credit History - 15% - How long you have had each line of credit is taken into consideration.
4. New Credit - 10%
Opening up too many accounts around the same time is not a great thing. Try to refrain from opening cards just because you get a % off the purchase the day.
5. Types of Credit or Credit Mix - 10%
It is good to have different types of credit, such as credit cards, mortgage, and car loan. It is not required but if you have a good mix and paying them all time then that is favorable to your credit score. There is typically a small charge to get your credit score from the national credit bureaus.
Here are a few apps where you can get your credit scores for free. When access your credit score from these apps be sure to know which the of score method they use.
1. Credit Karma: https://www.creditkarma.com where you can easily download on your smart phone and check you credit score for free.
2.Creditwise by Capital one: https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/benefits/creditwise/
3. Credit Sesame: https://creditsesame.com
Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will demonstrate how credit score can effect you in different scenarios! Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @itsmymoney_ .
Talk of credit can often make some people afraid or confused. This blog should help you answer some of the important questions and start your 2017 Financial Planning by getting copies of your credit reports!
Your credit report identifies you by:
• Your first name
• Your last name
• Your Social Security Number (SSN)
• Your addresses
• Your current and former employers
Your credit reports contains:
• All of the above items (1st and last name, SSN, addresses, employers)
• A list of business that have extended credit to you
• The amount you owe each business
• You payment history, have you paid on time, late or not at all
• The length of time you have had each credit line
• And other factors regarding your credit obligations, such as judgement against you or bankruptcies
Who maintains all of this data?
One or all of the three national credit bureaus:
1. TransUnion (www.transunion.com)
2. Experian (www.experian.com)
3. Equifax (www.equifax.com)
Creditors can report and update to one, two or all three of the bureaus. The bureaus should ensure the information is accurate but just in case you want to help them out by get copies of your credit report and reviewing for accuracy.
You may now be saying to yourself, since my credit report has so much information on me and my payment history, how can I get a copy to see what is on my credit reports.
Yes, you are entitled to a free credit report, every 12 months, from each of the three above credit bureaus. I encourage you to get a copy from each as oddly enough one may contain a line item that they other does not. I also encourage you to use the following strategy in getting your credit reports - get one from one of the three bureaus in January, in February get a copy from the next bureau and in March get a copy from the next bureau. Using this strategy will allow you to get all three reports, in three different months which maximizes how often you can see you credit history for free.
You can obtain your FREE credit report in one of three different ways:
1. Online at www.annualcreditreport.com: This one is most popular as you will see the results right away. I encourage you to print and file away. Highlight the date you pulled ti so you know you can get another one for free 12 month later.
2. Phone - 1.877.322.8228: This is a good option if you don't have access to a computer and printer. You will be asked a few questions to verify it is indeed you and then the report will be sent to you.
3. Mail: There is a form that you can download at www.annualcreditreport.com, complete and send it in on the address on the form and get a copy of the report mailed to you.
When you receive your credit report, PLEASE review it thoroughly.
Check things like:
• The spelling of your first and last name - is it correct?
• Your complete address - is it correct?
• The varies accounts listed - are they your accounts?
• Employer (current and former) - are they correct?
What if something is incorrect on my credit report?
• You can dispute anything that is not correct.
• The bureau must respond to you in writing within 30 days of your dispute.
• Their response should include the response to your dispute
• If the response reveals you are correct, then they should provide an updated credit report
• Please note, if you get a disputed corrected with TransUnion it will not correct the item on the Experian credit report. If the error is on another one of your credit report you will have to dispute it with the other bureau.
Monitoring your reports regularly will also help you detect any identity theft.
Your credit report is reviewed:
• When you want to buy a house
• When you want to rent an apartment
• When you want to buy a car
• When you are getting quotes for car insurance
• By some employers
• When applying for credit cards
• By creditors you currently owe
Based on the information contained on your credit report, you are given a Credit Score. This score will determine if you are extended new credit, denied additional credit, reduced credit limit or extended credit at a higher interest rate.
Up next, blog on Credit Scores.....you don't want to miss it!
It’$ My Money™ Author, Patrina Dixon has been making her rounds and spreading the word about finance management all around the community. In October she sold a number of books and was a guest seller at multiple events. Want to know what she’s been up to? Patrina had a successful pop-up Sale at Windsor’s Stop and Shop, she also had a table at the YWCA Hartford’s Money Conference where she met best-selling author, Michelle Singletary, she was interviewed on Brandon Frame’s Building Mind Forever Talk Show and sold a number of books at Hartford’s Stomp The Violence event where she chatted with the performers and Hartford Mayor, Luke Bronin. Patrina also made guest appearances to talk about It’s My Money at the New England Minority Nursing Conference. And, she has also joined Global Communication Academy as an instructor for Finance Management. What an exceptional month. View pictures from the events below.
As 2016 comes to an end, there are a few things we all look forward to – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and of course, Black Friday.
You don’t have to wait for the New Years to get started on your money saving resolution. Get a kick-start by planning to do Black Friday on a budget. We all know the point of Black Friday is to save money on items we’d usually spend more on. But, often times we ultimately. End up overspending. Here are some tips to keep you in check this Black Friday:
Set A Hard Limit -
Easier said than done, I know… But, if you look at the bigger picture. When planning a joyous holiday, there are a number of other things you have to pay for. Let’s work hard to make sure we have more than enough left over even after the big sale ends. So, set a hard amount you want to spend and stick to it. It may be easier to do this after crafting a list.
Use A List -
Seems like a no-brainer. But, a majority of people go into Black Friday with no plan. Make a list of the exact items you want to get as gift and for who. That will help you to stop shopping once you’ve covered everyone on your Christmas giving list. Choose the stores you will attend based on the items you are looking for. If you’re looking to buy interior décor pieces, you know that you won’t find them at H&M, so why go there? Think ahead and you’ll be destined for Black Friday Success.
Use Cash and Leave The Cards At Home -
Leave the cards at home or if that’s impossible to you, at least in the car. You’ll only leace the long lines in the store to run to your car if you really need to buy something. Leaving them at home is even better because you’re forced to stop shopping once the cash runs out. Therefore you will be abiding by the limit you set for yourself.
Do Your Research -
And last but not least, do you research. Black Friday deals aren’t always the best deals. Research shows that better prices often pop up the day before or a few days after Black Friday when they don’t expect shoppers o be in a rush. So know the original sale or retail price of an item to determine if it truly is a deal before you hand over the cash.
Are there other ways you avoid overspending on Black Friday? Comment and share below.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.