Finances

Popular logic when you are trying to improve your finances is to consider drastic measures to create a noticeable difference but making these major moves is not always the best course of action and a series of small changes can have just as much impact, if not more.

Here are some savvy financial tips to consider and some insights on how you can implement some lasting positive changes to your financial situation. Including a suggestion to take an alternative view on reaching your goals, why you need to analyze your monthly costs, plus some tips that should help you keep more of your cash.

Think small to improve the bigger picture

It’s easy to adopt the mindset that paying an extra $30 or so extra toward your credit card debt payments is hardly worth the bother and won’t really make much of a difference.

It is perfectly understandable that you look at the balance and think how can I clear the debt in one go? But it often pays to take an alternative approach to clearing your debts and adding to your savings pot.

Those seemingly insignificant additional payments actually make a substantial difference to reaching your goals and rather than keep wondering how you are going to raise a chunk of cash in one go, start chipping away at your balances with these small additional sums of money.

It is a good strategy to think small as those extra payments will ultimately get you to where you want to be a lot quicker than if you keep holding back trying to raise enough cash to make what you might consider a meaningful contribution.

When you are committed to clearing debt and putting more toward your savings, don’t try to do it all almost immediately, make regular additional payments when you can and also try to make small changes to your finances to help you free up extra cash. ...continue reading

improve your credit scoreIf you’re having a difficult time getting approved for credit because you have a low credit score, working to improve your credit score can seem like a task that can take years to solve.

There are few quick shortcuts to improving a credit score, but there are some big moves that can raise it dramatically.

Here are some of the biggest moves you can make to improve your credit score:

Know your credit score

Start by checking your credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com for free. The three credit reporting companies must give you a free report once a year, so you can either get all three at once or spread them out by getting one every four months.

The score you receive represents your credit risk at a point and is meant to measure your future credit risk. Scores from the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, are most widely used, with scores ranging from a low of 300 to a high of 850.

The higher the score you have, the more likely you are to be approved for credit and get the best loan rates for auto loans, home loan and credit cards, among other things.

Here’s a breakdown of what the scores generally mean: ...continue reading

credit unionInterest rates remain low, though that’s no reason to stow your money under your mattress.

Hiding your money at home won’t earn you any interest on it, and that’s one of the benefits — no matter how small — that banks and credit unions can offer customers. But banks and credit unions have different benefits and drawbacks, and knowing how each work can make it easier to decide where to put your cash.

Here are some differences between credit unions and banks:

Profit vs no profit

The first thing to note when comparing banks to credit unions is that  banks are in business to make money and credit unions are not for profit. This can allow credit unions to offer better interest rates, as we’ll get to shortly.

Credit unions are cooperatively owned by all members and run democratically by members who volunteer as board members, who decide interest rates and other factors.

To join a credit union, you may have to be a member of an employee group, association or some other specific affiliation, and may have to live in a specific geographic area. ...continue reading