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5 Tips for Creating Your Holiday Budget

5 Tips for Creating Your Holiday Budget

It can be easy to get caught up in the spirit of buying and giving during the holiday season, only to cringe with regret and remorse when you see your credit card statement come January. From buying gifts, attending holiday parties, decorating, and even keeping your car and home ready for a winter storm, there are expenses that inevitably come with the holiday season. This year, don’t let the holidays break your bank account and ruin your credit. Rather than let all of these seasonal costs sneak up on you year after year,  take some time to follow these simple steps that will help you stay in control of your finances without missing out on any part of the holiday festivities. 1.     Start early Don’t wait for the stores to tell you the holidays are approaching. Start saving months in advance, even at the beginning of the year, so you aren’t caught off guard with holiday expenses. Ideally, you should create a segment of your monthly budget dedicated to holidays and gifts so that each month an amount is put away for the holidays. This can fund not only the end-of-the-year holidays, but any birthdays or other holidays that come up during the other months as well. 2.     Look at the numbers first Before you even begin your shopping, look at your regular income and expenses for the upcoming months. Determine how much extra you can set aside for holidays. If it’s not as much as you’d like, review your budget to see if there’s somewhere else you can take money from, look into some side jobs, or work...
Do Credit Inquiries Hurt My Credit Score?

Do Credit Inquiries Hurt My Credit Score?

You may have heard that too many “credit inquiries” can lower your score. This is both true and false – only some kinds of inquiries can lower your score, while others are harmless. Whether you’re applying for a loan or checking up on your own credit score, it’s important to know which kind of inquiry you’re initiating so you can avoid the more damaging ones unless absolutely necessary. What is a “credit inquiry”? Anytime someone requests your credit report or score, that is called a “credit inquiry.” Examples of common credit inquiries include: When you apply for a credit card When you apply for a mortgage When an employer conducts a background check When you apply to rent an apartment When a credit card company determines if you qualify for a card or special offer When you check your credit score or request your credit report The purpose of a credit score – and a credit report, for that matter – is to determine your credit worthiness. A higher score indicates that you have a good history of paying off loans on time without missing payments, and a lower score indicates that you’re more at-risk for defaulting on a loan. This information is useful for all kinds of people, organizations, and corporations. For example, a landlord may want to know if a potential renter has a good history of making monthly payments. Checking your credit is a fairly good indicator of this. There are two kinds of inquiries: hard and soft. “Hard” inquiries can lower your score A hard inquiry may actually knock your credit score down a few points, so they should only...
How Often Do I Need to Check My Credit Report?

How Often Do I Need to Check My Credit Report?

Having poor credit can be financially paralyzing. But constantly checking your credit score or frequently pulling your credit report won’t necessarily fix your binding situation. To fully understand how often you should be checking your credit report, you should explore the answers to these commonly asked questions. What is a credit report? A credit report is a detailed report of your credit history. This document is prepared by a credit bureau and is used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness. Your creditworthiness is based on several factors including: Personal information Employment history Summary of credit history Account information Inquiries of your credit history Any accounts turned to a credit agency Why should you be aware of your credit report? Being aware of your credit report is necessary for several reasons, the most important being: Identity theft: With identity theft on the rise, you’ll be able to note any identity errors or reports of fraud on your report. Financial standing: If you aren’t aware you have poor credit, you’ll never begin to repair it. Errors: It’s not uncommon for reports to have errors that can damage your financial standing and credit worthiness. What is a credit score? When using credit, you are essentially borrowing money that you don’t have and promising to pay back the borrowed amount within a specific time period. Your credit score is a three-digit number that determines the likelihood of you actually paying back the money you owe. Your credit score is a number determined by the information provided in your credit report. Though credit bureaus have different evaluation methods, the most important factors a credit...
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