How to Meal Prep on a Tight Budget

How to Meal Prep on a Tight Budget is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

Many of us aspire to live a budget-conscious healthy life. But let’s face it life can get crazy busy.  When you’re busy navigating through your daily life, the thought of cooking all of your own meals at home can sometimes feel impossible. No shocker here that food is one of the budget areas that many people overspend in. That’s because cooking dinners and making lunches can feel like a lot of work when you are busy. Here are a few ways you can meal prep on a tight budget. 

Meal Prepping

Meal prepping is when you prepare meals ahead of time to help you save time cooking throughout the week. It allows us to eat our favorite meals with pre-determined portion sizes to ensure you don’t overindulge. Having a collection of well-balanced meals on hand will help you regulate what you eat and help you stay on track with your personal diet goals.

Apart from the health benefits meal prepping, will help you save money as it prevents you from eating out. Along with this, meal preparation gives you complete control over ingredients, giving you the ability to selectively shop for groceries. With proper planning, you can prevent making unnecessary food purchases, saving you money and reducing food.

RELATED: How to Feed a Family of 5 For $350 Per Month

The Cost of Dining Out

The average American household spends about $3,000 a year dining out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (remember that one person spending only on him/herself counts as a household, too.)

10 Tips for Meal Prepping on A Budget

Keep it Simple to Start

Meal prep can be easy, but it does take some practice to get the hang of things. Keep your recipes simple and familiar to you for at least a couple of weeks while you master the best meal prep process. Start small by planning just a few meals for the upcoming week and add a few more each week as you become better at prepping.


Here are a few ways you can meal prep on a tight budget.
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Make a Shopping List 

The first step of meal prep is planning out your recipes for the week and making a grocery list based on that. Choose your recipes and then check your fridge and pantry to see what ingredients you already have. You can also start with the ingredients you have on hand and then select recipes to use them up.

Choose Easy Recipes

Do some research and select some recipes that call for affordable and minimal ingredients. Recipes with little prep time are ideal and make it easier to make a bunch of recipes at once.

Keep track of the recipes that you like so you can build up a collection of favorite meals over time.

RELATED: 5+ Best Meal Planning Ideas to Save More Money

Be Smart When Experimenting

You’ll never become a better cook if you don’t try new things, and varying up your meals will help you avoid menu fatigue. keep it slow and simple, it’s important not to go too fast, too soon on the challenging recipe front or you might end up throwing out more food than you eat. Over time, you’ll get a better grasp of what you like and what your capabilities are as a cook, which will help guide the recipes you choose.

RELATED: How to Eat 1,200 Calories a Day and Feel Full

Have Set Days to Meal Prep 

Select set days to do your meal prep. Doing all your meal prep in one go can be tiring, especially if you’re new to meal prep and don’t have a lot of stamina built up yet. Spread out your meal prep so you shop on Saturday and cook on Sunday (or whatever days work best for your schedule). This will ensure that you have the most energy and willpower to avoid costly impulse purchases and cooking mistakes.

Shop in Bulk

If you’re wondering how to meal prep on a budget, buying large quantities of ingredients is usually cheaper—as long as you use them up. Purchasing large quantities of ingredients that will keep for a long time, such as lentils, dry beans, and grains, can help you save money. You can also buy in bulk and select the exact quantity of ingredients that you need to avoid awkward leftovers.

RELATED: 13 Budget-Friendly Heart-Healthy Foods and Activities

Invest in Storage Containers

Another tip I highly recommend is to invest in some high-quality meal prep containers. Glass containers are perfect for soups and tomato-based products. Containers that are airtight, microwavable, and BPA-free will keep your food fresh for much longer and make the meal prep process more manageable as a result.

Cook in Large Batches

The same principle also applies to cooking your recipes. Larger recipes mean you can eat the food for more meals, which means you won’t have to cook as many different recipes and therefore won’t need to buy as many ingredients. If you can’t eat it all up before it goes bad, you can always freeze it and thaw it later.

Use a Kitchen Gadget

One way to meal prep on a tight budget is to use your kitchen gadgets to get the job done quickly and easily. For example, A slow cooker can save you time if you’re busy during the day! Just place your ingredients in the slow cooker, then turn on low for 6-8 hours, and come home to a meal that’s ready to serve.

Go Freezer-Friendly

Freezer-friendly meal prep items are a great way to save money. They’re also suitable for busy people who don’t have time to stop by the grocery store every couple of days!

It also allows you to cook in large batches, freeze for later, and eat the same meal for multiple days. Not only you’ll be saving time and money but also reducing waste – always a good thing to do.

Summary

Meal prep on a tight budget with these tips above requires preparation! It may feel overwhelming at first, but you will get the hang of it very quickly. Plus not only will you save money, but you will also reduce wastage, get you reusing containers and be more eco-friendly in ways you didn’t even realize!

Don’t forget to plan ahead. Always stick to a budget, make it fun and involve the entire family in the process.  

What are some of the ways you meal prep?

 

How to Meal Prep on a Tight Budget is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

How to Reassess Your Finances After Unexpected Job Loss

Going through life you can always expect the unexpected. It’s common for life to take an immediate and unexpected turn. It could be birth, death, a move, a marriage or a change in income. In all of these cases, it’s important to evaluate your household finances and decide how to best move forward. In the case of an unexpected job loss, here are 5 ways to reassess your finances to put you on your best path forward.

Start (or update) your budget

Hopefully, you already have a budget, but if not, now is the perfect time to create a budget. The word budget has a negative connotation with many people, but it doesn’t have to. A budget is just a tool, and like all tools, can be wielded for good or for bad. Start by tracking your monthly expenses, and compare that to the amount of income that you have coming in. That income could be from any severance you received, unemployment benefits or part-time work. It’s pretty simple to set up a budget in the Mint app and look at where your money is actually going.

Cut unnecessary expenses (be brutal)

The 50/30/20 rule is a popular budgeting rule that says that 50% of your income should go to essentials (needs), 30% to wants, and 20% to savings. The closer you have been getting to following that rule, the fewer changes that you’ll need to make to your budget after an unexpected job loss. If you are in a 2-income household where one member of the household just lost his job, you may find that you can squeeze things to live on only 50% of the income.

Now is the time to look through your recurring expenses and see how you might be able to simplify your finances. Be brutal – depending on how much money you have coming in, you may need to get rid of most or all of your non-essential spending until you have a new job and new income.

Stop saving and tap your emergency fund

Saving for a rainy day is important and having an emergency fund is one of the key principles of being on sound financial footing. Well, guess what – an unexpected job loss IS the rainy day you’ve been saving for! One of the first steps in reassessing your finances after an unexpected job loss is to stop any non-essential emergency or retirement contributions. You can always pick those back up once you’re back on your feet.

You can also stop contributing to your emergency fund. Now is the time to pull FROM the emergency fund if needed. It’s normal in a situation where you have a sudden loss of income to no longer be living below your means. The best thing that you can do in that situation is to minimize your shortfall each month. Calculate how much money you’ll be losing each month that you’re without an income and determine how many months your emergency fund will last you.

Of course, if you were just hit with an unexpected job loss and don’t have an emergency fund available to help tide you over, it does no good to tell you that now. The time to prepare is BEFORE the unexpected happens. So if you’re reading this article and are in a good financial situation, make sure that you are preparing yourself for an unexpected job loss or other financial misfortune.

Know your benefits (and when they expire)

If you’re facing an unexpected job loss, you’re likely eligible for certain benefits. Depending on your employment situation, you may have received a severance package. You’re possibly also eligible for health care through your former employer or a government agency. You’ll want to make sure to claim your unemployment benefits if you’re eligible as well. Take a look through all of these benefits and find out how much they are worth and most importantly, how long they’re good for.

Look for part-time or gig work

There are only two ways to make up a monthly shortfall. Either you can cut spending or you can increase income. Cutting spending is a good first step, but there are only so many gym memberships or iced cappuccinos that you can remove before you start cutting pretty deep. Once you’ve hit that point, you’ll want to concentrate your time and effort into increasing your income.

You’ll want to spend most of your effort into getting a new job in your field of expertise. No amount of part-time work or side hustles is likely to compensate you as well as returning back to full-time employment in your field of study. But in the meantime, here are a few ways to make extra money quickly:

  • Sell extra possessions that you no longer use or need
  • Join the gig economy (Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Airbnb, etc)
  • Focus on a side hustle

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you reassess your finances after an unexpected job loss and help you survive until you can get back on your feet.

The post How to Reassess Your Finances After Unexpected Job Loss appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

6 Cheap Fall Recipes to Keep Your Family Full

6 Cheap Fall Recipes to Keep Your Family Full is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

I love fall. The weather finally starts to cool down and in my opinion, it’s one of the most frugal times of the year. Fall activities are often cheap or free and it’s also the perfect time of year for soup and batch meals. You can feed your family well without much money at all during this time of year. Check out these cheap fall recipes to keep everyone full and satisfied while stretching your dollar.

1. White Chicken Chili

Switch up your regular chili recipe with this hearty white chicken chili this fall. About two years ago, my husband and I went to a potluck and tasted white chicken chili for the first time. Needless to say, we were pretty hooked and now it’s a regular meal that we prepare on cold days.

Instead of red kidney beans, you’ll use norther white beans (canned is fine) and whatever type of chicken you have on hand. You can make this chili as spicy or as mild as you want. We usually add some sour cream and canned chiles toward the end and it’s always delicious. Make a huge batch of white chicken chili to keep your family full for two to three days.

RELATED: 5+ Best Meal Planning Ideas to Save More Money

2. Stuffed Chicken

Another option for cheap fall recipes is to prepare some stuffed chicken with rice or steamed veggies. The great thing about stuffed chicken is that you can use any type of stuffing you want. Consider getting some Stove Top Stuffing mix to stuff your chicken breasts. Or, you can make your own cornbread based stuffing and add herbs like rosemary to give the meal a hearty flavor.

To add to the flavor, you can also prepare a gravy to pour over your stuffed chicken breasts to top off the meal. This easy stuffed chicken recipe uses a herb and cheese flavor and takes only 30 minutes to cook.

3. Italian Butternut Squash Soup

I’ve never been one to eat squash during the fall. However, recently, I realized how cheap this vegetable is so I’ve been intrigued to find a good recipe. Squash soup is tasty, filling and very easy to make. You can go completely vegetarian or you can add a protein like some sausage to your soup.

This Italian fennel-spiced butternut squash soup is one of the best cheap fall recipes that can be prepared with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. The recipe calls for beans, fresh garlic, heavy cream, and red bell pepper – all cheap ingredients.

RELATED: Why Purple Carrot is an Awesome Budget-Friendly Dietary Inclusive Meal Delivery Option

4. Slowcooker Enchiladas

Slowcooker enchiladas are really easy to make and will be a nice treat for your family if you don’t eat them often. You may think that you need special cooking skills to prepare this meal but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This recipe just involves a few basic ingredients that you may already have on hand. All you’ll need is enchilada sauce, tortillas, shredded cheese, cream cheese, and jalapeno peppers (optional).

The key is to just allow yourself enough time to prepare this meal in the slow cooker since it will take about 3 hours. I love slow cooker meals because you just prep and dump the meal in the crockpot. Then, you can go about your day and do other things while the meal is being prepared. It’s nearly impossible to burn your meal or mess something up when using a slow cooker. So as long as you can follow the prep directions, you’re basically good to go.


Check out these cheap fall recipes to keep everyone full and satisfied.
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5. Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

There are so many cheap fall recipes for breakfast. If you like pumpkin, you can literally make a quick and filling breakfast with pumpkin puree whether it be pancakes, bread, etc. These pumpkin oatmeal bars are tasty and will provide a great energy boost for those quick mornings when you’re on the go.

You’ll just need a few basic ingredients like rolled oats, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pecans, and some spices. You can sweeten the pumpkin oatmeal bars as little or as much as you’d like. This is a fun meal the whole family can make together and it will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

RELATED: 3 Delicious Fall Treats to Make With Your Kids on a Budget

6. Butternut Squash Sausage Frittata

If you prefer a filling low-carb breakfast, this butternut squash sausage frittata is perfect. You can make the sausage from scratch with a few seasonings or use store bought sausage. You’ll cut the butternut squash into cubes and roast it before adding it to this quick dish. Use whatever herbs you have lying around the house even if they’re dried herbs. This meal only takes 20 minutes to prepare and will keep the whole family full until lunch.

Summary: Cheap Fall Recipes You Won’t Regret Trying

Fall is one of the absolute best seasons to relax at home and cook more of your meals. Soups, stews, and easy breakfast dishes with hearty flavors will really stretch your dollar and free up more of your money for the upcoming holiday season. This list of cheap fall recipes just barely scratched the surface. Get creative and try out new dishes this season with fall flavors and ingredients that are not only affordable but equally as delicious.

What are your favorite cheap fall recipes? 

6 Cheap Fall Recipes to Keep Your Family Full is a post originally published on: Everything Finance – Everything Finance – Its all about Money!

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

How to Throw a Bridal Shower on a Budget: A Guide for the Frugal Host

Between impressive floral arches and customized sugar cookies, throwing a picture-perfect bridal shower aimed at being a social media showstopper can be pricey.

CostHelper.com, a website that compares the cost of services, reports that a typical bridal shower can run from $15 to $40 per person for a luncheon or party in a private room at a mid-range restaurant. If you’re going all out with an elaborate bridal shower, you could be talking $40 to $150 or more (gasp!) per person. Even a small, elaborate bridal shower (think 15 guests) could cost between $600 and $2,250—and that’s before invitations, decorations and cake.

The good news is you can actually honor the bride and your budget at the same time. A bridal shower with simple refreshments at the host’s home, for example, can cost $10 to $15 or less per person, according to CostHelper.com. You just need to employ some creative tips for budget bridal showers to make the event more affordable.

What is the best way to plan a bridal shower on a budget? Follow these six tips as you prepare to shower the bride, and there’s a good chance you’ll have more fun and less financial stress:

1. Zero in on important goals

Before you even begin to plan a bridal shower on a budget, you need to know the goals upfront so you can understand where you should be investing your time and money. Sit down with the bride (or, if it’s a surprise, consult a friend or family member of the betrothed) and establish expectations and a budget to match.

Personal finance coach Emma Leigh Geiser shares her starting tip for budget bridal showers: “Plan an event that honors who the bride truly is and what you can provide, without sacrificing your financial well-being.”

Geiser, who helps women in their 20s and 30s with personal financial challenges, recommends learning what the bride envisions for her celebration and which traditions are most important to her. Be upfront about how much you can realistically afford to spend on the bridal shower, Geiser says. And don’t be shy about saying the bridal shower is your gift to the bride.

If the bride’s priority is to have her bridal shower at a high-priced restaurant, find creative ways to lower other costs to still plan a bridal shower on a budget. Bring your own cake to the venue, for example, exclude alcohol from the menu or keep the guest list small. If the bride is a foodie and wants guests to dine on gourmet dishes, you could spend most of the budget on a favorite caterer, but then consider hosting the event at someone’s home and doing minimal decor so budget isn’t needed elsewhere.

Finding out what's truly important to the bride can help you plan a bridal shower on a budget.

2. Delegate tasks

If you’re wondering how to throw a bridal shower on a budget, know that you don’t have to foot the entire cost of the party yourself. Consider co-hosting with the rest of the bridal party or one of the bride’s family members, or delegating specific tasks to willing volunteers.

When personal finance blogger Becky Beach had her bridal shower, catering was delegated to her sister-in-law. “She knows how to throw a bridal shower on a budget,” Beach says. Deputized to handle the food, her sister-in-law served inexpensive bites purchased from a wholesale club, including sausage-roll appetizers, crab cakes, apple crisp tartlets and cream puffs. (With this lineup, who needs a main meal?!)

Assigning smaller purchases to other bridesmaids and close family members is a good tip for budget bridal showers because it can make the overall cost of the event much more manageable for the host. For example, if you delegate tasks or items that cost $30 each to six people, you’ll save $180. Some popular responsibilities to dole out include:

  • Appetizers
  • Dessert
  • Drinks
  • Invitations
  • Favors
  • Games
  • Prizes for games

3. Let the theme choose you

You don’t have to necessarily come up with a theme first. Among the tips for budget bridal showers is to take inventory of what props or decorations are available to you for free. Do you know someone who threw a bridal shower and has leftover decor or favors? Perhaps a friend’s home decor items will fit the bill—like globes and vintage-inspired items, which can be transformed into an exotic travel theme.

If you're wondering how to throw a bridal shower on a budget, keep an eye out for decor items that can create a theme−not the other way around.

Even store clearance items can be repurposed to help dictate your theme’s direction. For example, a home decor or craft store might have steeply discounted artwork. The trick is to look past the art and focus on the frame, Beach says. Can you replace the artwork with a picture of the happy couple? Maybe you can remove the glass altogether, glue twine to the back and use it for hanging wedding wishes from the guests.

Learning how to throw a bridal shower on a budget becomes easier if you’re able to snag off-season items from a party or outdoor store—such as tiki lamps or beach house decorations—which could make for a wonderful fall island or Hawaiian theme.

When planning a bridal shower on a budget, don’t forget to ask friends and family members if you can borrow other party items, such as cake stands, vases and tablecloths. They might even have unopened gifts or stationery sets that you can use as prizes for games.

4. Do the invitations, games and decorations for less

Sending out mid-range traditional invitations by mail can cost $3 to $4 per guest, according to data from CostHelper.com. Invitation costs can add up quickly when you are trying to plan a bridal shower on a budget.

“Plan an event that honors who the bride truly is and what you can provide, without sacrificing your financial well-being.”

Emma Leigh Geiser, personal finance coach

If you’re open to skipping snail mail, you can leverage online invitation services that allow you to create your own designs and send to however many guests you’d like for free, Geiser says. You can easily save around $100 on invitations for a guest list of 30 by going the route of a free online invite. Some services may provide you templates to choose from, or they may include advertisements, but they do the trick nicely.

If you’re wondering how to throw a bridal shower on a budget and still keep guests entertained, search online for bridal shower games that can be printed for free or a nominal cost. You could also go the DIY route if you’re so inclined. For example, have guests try to guess what is in the bride’s purse—it’s even more fun if the bride doesn’t know this game will be played.

As far as decorating goes, focus your efforts on one area that will make the biggest impression. If the bridal shower is hosted in someone’s home, go all out decorating only one room. If the bridal shower is at a venue, like a restaurant, work on fancying up only one wall. Whether at a home or a venue, this area can serve as the focal point of the event and give the bride and guests the perfect spot for photos.

5. Make low-cost venues work

When you’re planning a bridal shower on a budget, opt for a low-cost venue that has built-in unique characteristics. “Choose a space that is its own fantastic backdrop,” Geiser says. She recommends a house with natural light and great landscaping in order to cut down on decorating costs.

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Hosting the party at a bride’s friend’s or family member’s home is ideal, since it would be free. “We all know at least one person who has a killer house; ask them if they wouldn’t mind hosting,” Geiser says. (Be sure to preview the site in advance of the bridal shower.) Another good choice: Apartment buildings and condos often have clubhouses or event rooms that can be used for free or rented for a nominal fee. See if any of your bride’s family or friends have access to these areas.

Other local resources can serve as low-cost venues when you’re working on how to throw a bridal shower on a budget. A park, for example, might have a nice garden or even an indoor space that could be used. Research your town’s online municipal pages for tips on how to secure local venues. Some sites might require a nominal fee, early bookings or have other restrictions, so work on booking a space as soon as you have a bridal shower date in mind.

6. Cut food costs by keeping things simple

Whether you are hosting the bridal shower at a restaurant or at someone’s home, schedule a morning brunch or appetizers and salads in the late afternoon when guests are in-between meals. Breakfast dishes, such as an egg casserole or French toast bake, can often cost less to make than a meat-centered entree, Beach adds.

Keeping food simple is a great tip when you're trying to plan a bridal shower on a budget.

If you are in charge of preparing food, stick with quick and easy options as a tip for budget bridal showers. “You don’t have to cook and create everything yourself,” Beach says. “There are so many beautifully crafted hors d’oeuvres you can get prepackaged.”

If you are hosting the bridal shower at a restaurant, ask if they offer a buffet option instead of sit-down catering: Choosing a buffet meal is typically about 30 to 50 percent cheaper than a sit-down meal, according to Eventective, which helps you find venues and event services.

If you’ve got your heart set on sit-down dining, narrow down the menu options in advance. You or the restaurant can make a simple printout of a few entree choices and not share full menus with guests. (Adding the bride’s name to the top of a personalized menu is also a nice touch.) In addition to being a tip for budget bridal showers, this strategy can also streamline the ordering and serving process so you have more time for games and opening gifts. Win-win!

Choosing a buffet meal is typically about 30 to 50 percent cheaper than a sit-down meal.

Eventective, special event and venue services

Keep track of the expenses when planning a bridal shower on a budget

You can master how to throw a bridal shower on a budget if you determine the guest-of-honor’s goals from the start. Another tip to remember when you plan a bridal shower on a budget is to track your expenses throughout the planning and hosting process to make sure you’re staying on budget.

If you are splitting costs with friends and family, remember to get reimbursed—preferably before the event, so you don’t have to worry about tracking people down to talk about business while celebrating.

As Geiser says, “What actually makes the event are the attendees, the conversation and the fun you create as a group celebrating the bride.”

The post How to Throw a Bridal Shower on a Budget: A Guide for the Frugal Host appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

Source: discover.com

8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score In 2021

improve credit score

It’s been a difficult time for everyone. But coming into the new year, many have found the past twelve months have landed them with lower credit scores than ever before. This can damage not only your financial reputation, but also your prospects. So, what’s the effect of a high or low credit score, and how can you improve yours? 

Why Is a Good Credit Score Important?

It’s like a digital record of financial viability, which is reflected in a credit score. Purchases made using credit cards and monthly debt repayments boost your score. A low credit score makes borrowing money, securing credit cards with good interest rates, or qualifying for a mortgage difficult. Conversely, maintaining a good credit score can:

  • Increase loan amounts available      
  • Lower interest rates on loans
  • Increase the probability of loan acceptance
  • Provide access to buy now, pay later credit offers

Boosting Your Score Is Easy

Knowing everything about your credit score is important. So, you must check it whenever possible to see where you can give it a boost. Let’s discuss eight easy ways to improve your credit score In 2021.

#1 – Know Your Score with a Free Credit Report

To improve your credit score, you need to know what it is. There’s plenty of companies out there that can give you a free credit report card, such as TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Most of these provide paid services to keep on top of changes. If you have the spare income to subscribe, it can significantly help your credit score. Keep reading to find out how.

With companies like Experian, you are entitled to one report free annually. And you may even be eligible for another if you’ve recently been refused a loan or employment based on a poor credit score.

Get Your Free Credit Report Card

#2 – Check If Your Report Is Accurate

Identity theft and credit fraud are rife these days. Once you have your report, take the time to review your accounts and dispute any you know aren’t right. Even if you don’t get lost money back, having false debts removed from your credit report can boost your score.

#3 – Pay Your Bills on Time

Perhaps the most frequent cause of lowered credit scores is late payments. To give your credit a boost, make sure to pay any bills and loan repayments on time. Using direct debits is a reliable way to make sure payments reach their destinations on time. And monthly reminders on your phone or work computer can help if you’d rather not automate your payments.

#4 –  Open a Secured Credit Card

The main benefit to get this card is that you’re more than likely to get approved if you don’t have stellar credit. You’ll need to make a deposit upfront. And they often don’t require a credit check to apply. Another huge benefit is you’re going to build your credit just like any normal credit card would, if the issuer reports to the credit bureaus. When choosing any credit card to help boost your credit, make sure they report to the bureaus before applying. 

Compare Secured Credit Cards

#5 – Get a Credit-Builder Loan

To get a credit-builder loan, you don’t need to have a good credit score. You just need to prove that you have enough income to make the payments. 

You regularly can’t get to the cash until you have completely reimbursed the advance, which implies you can work on your savings and your credit simultaneously.

#6 – Check Your Credit Report for Errors

The first thing to do is to look at your Credit Report. Second, You can get one from each of the major bureaus. You’re entitled to a free copy every 12 months. Once you receive these, pay detailed attention to any errors such as an incorrect address, the spelling of your name, open accounts being reported as closed, outdated information, and many more. Check here for more information.  

#7 – Get a Credit Card, and Request More Credit

Spending credit is the best way to earn better credit. So, look for a credit card that fits your needs. You can use it for predictable expenses you can pay off as soon as you get paid. Simply using the card and paying it off at the start of every month shows you can use credit responsibly, which should allow you to request more credit to use and improve your debt ratio, which also affects your credit score. These things can help boost your credits score effortlessly.

#8 – Patience Is a virtue

Repairing your credit score won’t be fast or without hurdles. Take your time to think through all your financial choices, limit your access to new credit avenues unless they fit into your overall credit goals, and keep on top of payments. It may take months for the results to show, but once they do, it’ll be worth it. Hang in there!

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The post 8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score In 2021 appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

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6. Open a New Credit Account

If you want a nice boost to your credit and you want to help improve your credit utilization ratio, you can consider opening a new credit account. This is especially helpful if you find that your current credit utilization ratio is much too high.

Opening the new account adds to the available credit you have and will show that with the new balance, you are using less. However, this is not a good option if you are already juggling multiple accounts. You may end up hurting your credit instead of helping it if you try to stretch your credit too thin.

7. Open up Negotiations

Have you taken a closer look at the current debt you owe? Have you considered negotiating the debt you have in collections to rebuild your credit? Many collection agencies will be willing to negotiate because they really won’t be losing any money on the debt if you are able to settle for less because they most likely bought the debt account for a minimal price.

It never hurts to open a negotiation to try and settle the debt you have for a smaller and more manageable amount on your credit accounts. If you find that you are unsure about this process, or if you don’t know if it is something you should do, you can always seek the help of a credit counselor to help educate you on the process and offer suggestions as to what you can do otherwise.

8. Become an Authorized User

Another fast way to boost your credit could be to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit account. For this to be a viable and recommended option, you will need to find someone you trust, such as a close friend or relative, that is financially responsible and is willing to do this for you to help improve your credit rating.

As an authorized user on someone else’s account, their account will still show up on your credit report, and their payment history, credit utilization ratio, and credit card balances will become part of your credit history and may award you with a good credit score.  Not all credit card companies report authorized users however, so you will want to make sure that if you do become an authorized user, that the account information will show up on your credit reports.

9. Make On Time Monthly Payments

In addition to paying on your accounts twice a month, you should also make sure to make your payments on time every month. Your payment history makes up approximately 35% of your FICO score.

If you find it hard to remember your due dates, consider placing your accounts on auto pay with reminders so it reminds you that the payment is coming due and it will then automatically make the payment for you.

10. Mix Up Your Credit Choices

Finally, make sure you are mixing up your credit choices instead of focusing on using just your credit cards, for example. Using different types of credit can boost your score fast – even though it wouldn’t be a significant boost.

If you need an appliance, instead of using your credit card, you should consider a small personal loan instead. It shows that you can effectively and responsibly utilize different types of credit.

Fastest Way to Boost Credit After a Bankruptcy

One of the biggest hits to your credit is a bankruptcy and people are often anxious and ready to begin boosting their credit following their bankruptcy. In theory, someone looking for credit after a bankruptcy may actually appear to be less of a risk because they are not able to qualify for Chapter 7 for another eight years.

Following your bankruptcy, it is recommended that you make all your payments on time, learn how to manage your money efficiently, and find ways to reestablish your credit without trying to borrow money too soon and this could prove to be the fastest way to build credit.

You should also keep a very close eye on your credit reports and credit scores from the major credit bureaus and look for any errors or inaccuracies including any mistakes with your address, employment, or personal contact information.

The best way to start improving credit following a bankruptcy is to open a secured credit card account and make your first deposit into the account.

Conclusion

Although these ten strategies are a good start to finding the fastest way to boost your credit, you need to remember that it still may take several months for the credit reporting agencies to report the improvements on your credit report.

While they may be “fast” methods, they are certainly not miracle credit cures, so you need to have a fair amount of patience when it comes to seeing the positive effects on your credit report.

Be sure to dispute any errors you find with the credit bureau in question (you go here to learn how). You can also view two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com as you monitor your progress toward building better credit.

The post What’s the Fastest Way to Boost My Credit? appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

Here’s Why You Need ExtraCredit®

It’s hard to imagine that your entire financial situation can be controlled by a three-digit number. But the fact of the matter is, you need your credit score for a lot. Credit cards, loans, mortgages, APRs, even renting an apartment—whether or not you qualify is based a lot on your score. And if your credit score isn’t in good shape, it can make your life that much harder.

We get it. And we want to help. Enter ExtraCredit® from Credit.com. ExtraCredit is a comprehensive credit solution, with specific and encompassing features that helps with every dimension of your credit. But ExtraCredit isn’t your typical credit solution. Think of it as a lifestyle change. Think of it as a way to take control of your financial life. 

What You Need to Know

We know that ExtraCredit could be the credit solution you need. But you don’t know that yet. Ready to learn more? Here’s what you can expect:

  • What’s ExtraCredit?
  • Who’s ExtraCredit For? 
  • The Breakdown
  • The ExtraCredit Breakdown
  • ExtraCredit Reviews
  • The Bottom Line

What’s ExtraCredit?

ExtraCredit is total and complete credit coverage. With five killer features, we’re keeping a close eye on your credit—and giving you the tools to you get where you want to go. Whether you’re in need of identity protection, credit score tracking, a discount to credit repair company or even identity protection, ExtraCredit is here to help. 

ExtraCredit has five features, each created to cater to your unique financial situation:

  • Reward It
  • Track It
  • Guard It
  • Build It
  • Restore It

It seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Well it is, but we’ve got some good news for you—you can get complete credit coverage for one low, monthly fee. 

Who’s ExtraCredit® For?

You’re a unique person with your own unique financial situation. And ExtraCredit can help. With five features targeted towards specific financial areas, ExtraCredit is a great resource that you can use to get a handle on your situation.

With that said, you might find some features more useful than others. Let’s say you’re new to the credit world and need to build your credit history. You’ll probably find Build It particularly useful. But since you don’t really have a credit history, you might not get a lot of use out of Restore It.

Think of ExtraCredit like this—you’re getting at least one feature that helps you tackle the exact credit goal you are working on. The other features? Well, they’re a little bonus. You might not need to use each feature right now, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t later on. 

The Breakdown

ExtraCredit has five features that were designed to help you stay on top of different aspects of your financial and credit health. Let’s dive right in: 

Reward It

You finally decided to sign up for ExtraCredit? Great! Because you made such a smart choice, we’ll send you an ExtraCredit debit card loaded with $5. That’s what Reward It is all about—but it gets better. When you take a look at Reward It, you’ll see a slew of financial and other types of offers that you most likely qualify for based on your credit score. When you get approved for one of those offers, we’ll celebrate with you by loading up your ExtraCredit debit card with reward amounts of up to $2500. You read that right—up to twenty-five hundred dollars. All for you, because of your smart financial decisions.

Track It

A lot of apps and services out there claim to have the only and completely accurate score you need. But the thing is, you have dozens of scores. And different lenders see different credit scores. So how can you keep track? Enter Track It. ExtraCredit will gather all your FICO® Scores and show which lender pulls which report. It’ll also keep track of all 28 of your credit scores. But it goes one step further by showing you which credit score is best for what you’re applying for, whether it’s a house or a credit card. Think of it as your lending cheat sheet.

Guard It

Here are some statistics for you: according to the Insurance Information Institute, the FTC received 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports. Not only that, but identity theft reports have increased by 45% since 2019. 

Identity theft is no joke. So how can you stay safe? Guard It can provide the services you need, including:

  • Dark Web Monitoring: We’ll continually scan hidden websites and file-sharing networks for data breaches.
  • Compromised Account Monitoring: Worried about your finances? We’ll catch unauthorized bank changes and accounts opened with a stolen identity
  • Identity Theft Insurance: You’ll receive $1,000,000 identity theft insurance, because you’re worth it. 

Does all this security feel like overkill? We don’t think so. Your identity is important, so Guard It is here to protect it. Better safe than sorry.

Build It

Sure, credit card payments play a huge role in your credit score. But that’s only half of the payments you make, right? What about your other bills, like rent and utilities? That’s why we created Build It. Use Build It to report your rent and utilities to credit bureaus as credit tradelines. 

Restore It

So your credit’s not where you want it to be. And you need help. You’re in the right place. Restore It will connect you with an experienced credit repair service that can take a look at your situation. You’ll get a discount to work directly with the credit gurus at CreditRepair.com, a credit repair service that has a killer track record. If they’re not available in your area, you’ll get that discount with another leader in credit repair. 

The ExtraCredit Breakdown

Okay, we know that there are a lot of credit solutions out there. You’ve probably seen other services that offer things like rewards, ID protection and credit monitoring. But here’s the thing—no one offers a comprehensive service like ExtraCredit®. 

With ExtraCredit, you get five killer features all wrapped up in a box with a bow on top. Here’s a breakdown of about how much the ExtraCredit services would typically cost on their own:

  • Basic Credit Repair: $25 value
  • Rent Reporting: $10 value
  • Credit Scores: $20 value
  • Dark Web Monitoring: $35 value

With ExtraCredit you get all five services and more, starting $24.95 a month. 

ExtraCredit Reviews

Okay, we could just keep going on about how great ExtraCredit is and how it’s the credit solution that you need. But ExtraCredit has been out for a little while, so you’re probably wondering: what do ExtraCredit users actually think? 

Luckily for you, the ExtraCredit® reviews are in. We’ll let them speak for themselves: 

“A lot of features for one great price. While others offer additional services or features at additional cost, Credit.com offers some of those at one price. I recently found out that there are about 28 credit scores depending on what you’re shopping for. Credit cards, vehicles and general loans, etc. With the three bureaus. I’m glad I found them and discontinued my services with two other companies. Their site is easy to navigate through and you can see where you stand. They’re are helpful in ways in raising your score, too. I highly recommend them.”

  • Faustino D. 

“I was a little careless with my credit in my early life, but eventually became responsible and started paying attention. I had my identity stolen several years ago, and I wanted to monitor my report from all three credit bureaus in one place at an affordable price. ExtraCredit solved my problem and offered more than what I expected. My favorite ExtraCredit feature is the ability to view 28 of my FICO(R) Scores from all three credit bureaus.”

  • Khalid S.

Disclaimer: Current users were solicited and in some cases compensated in exchange for an unbiased review about their experience with ExtraCredit.

We have to admit—these reviews sound pretty promising. Wondering if it’s all too good to be true? You can try ExtraCredit out for yourself.

The Bottom Line

Sure, there are a lot of credit solutions out there. But here’s the thing—ExtraCredit impacts every dimension of your credit. So you could go with the one-dimensional credit solutions provided by the other guys. Or you could go with ExtraCredit, which offers so much more. 

ExtraCredit is here for you. It’s like a team of credit pros, all focused on monitoring your credit and providing the information you need to satisfy your credit score needs. When you work with us, ExtraCredit can help you get a handle on your finances. 

Sign up for ExtraCredit today!

The post Here’s Why You Need ExtraCredit® appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

7 Unexpected Benefits of a Good Credit Score

Benefits of a Good Credit Score

Do people understand the benefits of a good credit score? Everyone knows your credit score is important, but what exactly are the benefits?

In the United States, 28% of its citizens rely on credit when running out of money. While it’s good to use your credit, it’s not always wise to carry over a balance from month to month. If you can’t pay it back, your credit score will take a hit.

Most Americans know that your credit score is a golden ticket to a more manageable financial life. Whether you’re looking to maintain your credit score or increase it, the right motivation is essential.

That’s why we’re going to talk about the benefits of a good credit score. To keep you motivated to strive for more and let you know what’s waiting on the other side.

7 Unexpected Benefits of a Good Credit Score

We all know that having a good credit score is something everyone should want. If you need some extra motivation to increase your credit score or are curious what a high credit score will mean for you, here are the unexpected benefits of a good credit score.

1. Starting and Owning a Business

According to Forbes, consumers owed $323 billion on personal loans in 2020. The banks limited loan opportunities because of the increasing risk of default.

On a different note, loan applicants with good credit scores will have a much better chance of receiving an approval for the funds needed to set up a business or start a side hustle. Though some lenders may consider people with lower credit ratings, lenders have a habit of charging them with a higher APR (Annual Percentage Rate).

2. Less Hassle Getting Approvals

Imagine being denied something as common as a network provider subscription. Applications for basic household utilities and other post-paid subscriptions usually require credit reports. It also applies when you’re going to rent a space and need to pass a rental credit check, where the approval will depend on your ability to meet monthly payments on time.

While having a good credit score doesn’t mean you’ll get approved for every loan, it can increase the chances of approval. You can ask for new credit or new loans, and they will be quicker to grant it to you when you have a good credit score.

3. Better Risk Means Lower Interest Rates

Aside from having a better shot when applying for loans, you won’t have to worry about being charged exuberant amounts of interest with a good credit score.

Poor credit scores can lead to having the loan denied or charged at a much higher rate. Lenders assume a low credit score means it’s probably harder to settle the credit on time. It brings a higher risk that they need to offset with higher charges.

High credit scores imply that you have settled outstanding credit on time in the past. That’s why you’re charged lower interest rates on credit card balances you carry or loans you have.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a personal loan, mortgage, student loan, or are carrying a balance on your credit card. Your credit score influences the interest rates at most places.

When you’re charged with a lower interest rate, you could pay off your debt faster and use the money toward other things.

4. Lower Insurance Rates

When you’re getting your mortgage or your car loan for a lower interest rate, you can also save on the insurance when you have a high credit score.

Insurance companies have their way of calculating the probability that you will make a claim, their so-called “insurance score.” The input comes from your credit report, and the variations between the two are minimal.

Insurance companies believe that when you have a lower credit score, you will file more claims. Whether that’s true or not, they base their decisions on it.

If you have a good credit score, be sure to compare insurance companies before you settle for one.

5. Great Credit Card Deals

If you have a good credit history and want to continue increasing it, know that you can get excellent credit card deals when you have a strong credit score.

These credit cards can have lower interest, offer credit card rewards, airline miles, or cash back on your purchases. It will make sure that you keep using your credit card, which will help you keep your credit score up. Plus, it will help you save money with cash back rewards.

The important thing here is that you make payments when they’re due and try to close as much balance as you can at the end of the month.

6. Room To Negotiate

It’s always better to negotiate. That’s also the case with your credit score.

When you’re looking for something specific, be sure to ask around and see if anyone can offer you a competitive rate. If you have a high credit score, you can ask companies for a price decrease or an interest rate decrease because you always pay on time and have a good credit history.

Companies have less room for negotiation when you have a lower credit score because specific standards and procedures need to follow.

7. That Special Requirement When Landing A Job

According to CNBC, 72% of employers still do background checks, and 29% of those employers check credit reports. If a poor credit report reveals bad financial habits, it may influence the decision to hire someone.

Of course, this depends entirely on the position. When you’re handling other people’s money or holding a public function, it’s more relevant than when you’re behind a computer doing web development.

Some Consumer Facts:

  • Around 21% of the American population has a good FICO® credit score.
  • In 2020, the average credit score in the US was 710. This is a record high, despite the pandemic.
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the average credit card debt decreased by 14%, from $6,194 to $5,315.
  • 35% of your credit score is based on Payment History. This may include payment information on credit cards, mortgages, installment loans (auto loans or student loans), retail accounts, and consumer finance company accounts.
Monitor Your Credit with ExtraCredit

Conclusion

There are a lot of ways to keep ourselves within the boundaries of our spending capabilities. Set a goal, spend less than you earn by creating a budget, and maintain a good credit score.

A good credit score can mean unexpected benefits like quicker approvals for credit or loans, utilities, phone plans, and even renting a place. You will get better credit card deals, pay lower interest, get lower insurance rates, and can get a loan quicker to start your own business. When you have a high credit score, make sure you negotiate your rates down, as that can save you even more. Employers will also value a good credit report, which may get you the job quicker.

If you want all of these benefits and aren’t sure how to get there, here’s tips on how to improve your credit score.

The post 7 Unexpected Benefits of a Good Credit Score appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com