Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, Credit Cards, Debt Free, Financial Freedom, Winning with Your Money, You and Your Money

Awesome Budget Tips – Carrie Wilkerson

As promised on this week’s broadcast/podcast, I am sharing these great budget tips from @CarrieWilkerson.  She is a fellow motivational speaker and author and when I read this, I knew you needed it, even as a reminder, because I did.  What I loved about it is she, like me, didn’t sugar coat it.  Sometimes we share dessert with you, making what we have to say go do smooth.  But every so often we need to give you meat & vegetables to keep you healthy in your life and in your finances.  I hope you will read this the way it was intended – with lots of love and support.

You can win in your finances – you will win in your finances!  But the decision is yours.  You are the author of your own story!  Write a best seller!

Some budget tips…

[SPEND LESS]

+ If you want to make more, spend less. #truestory
+ If you’re complaining about being broke, spend less.
+ If you’re stressed about minimum payments or juggling dollars, spend less.
+ If you’re mad at yourself or your spouse or fighting about money, spend less.
+ If you’re jealous of other folks because of ______ then spend less.
+ If you want more choices about where to live, what to drive, where the kids go to school, quitting your job or having some options… SPEND LESS.

This is where it STARTS. YES – you can make more with your business. YES – you can still work to change your circumstance- but first SPEND LESS.

[BE AWARE]

Evaluate EVERY expense. Is is NECESSARY or just something you ‘deserve’?

What if you did ‘without it’ for a few weeks/months? Would it change your quality of life?

Print out 3-6 months of credit card and debit card statements.

+ Highlight EVERY recurring charge.
+ Highlight EVERY disposable thing.
+ Highlight EVERY spontaneous purchase.
+ Highlight EVERY expense for something you don’t wear/play with/use/cook with/read or watch anymore.
+ Highlight EVERY unlicensed therapy expense (meaning you were self medicating with food/shopping/movies/girl time/drinks/etc.

Then… (here’s the hard part) – STOP THOSE THINGS.

Also – evaluate insurance, credit card rates, cable plans (unplug it), phone plans (downgrade) and new clothes (seriously. stop)

When I’m getting ahold of my sloppy financial habits again (this is a process, you know I’ve paid off boatloads of debt MORE THAN ONCE #slowlearner) —-

I ALSO DO THESE THINGS….

[BLINDERS ON]

I UNSUBSCRIBE from email ‘sales and newsletters’ – can’t buy what I don’t see!

I THROW AWAY catalogs that come in the mail – they don’t even come INTO THE HOUSE. Do NOT fool yourself ‘I’m just getting ideas, I’m making a wishlist, I’m just planning for when I can afford it.’ – NO NO NO NO – THROW IT AWAY. It will still be available for purchase when you can afford it. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER SALE.

I do NOT click on Facebook ads (those things follow you around and wear you down until you cannot help but buy. STOP IT)!

I do NOT attend home parties or demonstrations or trade shows or craft fairs or open houses or garage sales or ANYTHING WITH THE CHANCE TO BUY. Not when I’m reining it in. NOPE.

I TAKE THE APPS off my phone… Amazon, Starbucks, Instacart, ZigZag, Macys – ALL OF IT — OFF THE PHONE. Y’all – they have us figured out… if we can purchase with a click and without a brain, they WANT THAT. STOP THAT MESS. TAKE OFF THE APPS.

During commercials on TV I pick a project. I might tidy the sink or move a load from washer to dryer or go outside with the dogs – I AVOID MARKETING MESSAGES. YES – this is extreme. So is debt. So is financial stress. So is bankruptcy. So is NOT PAYING YOUR BILLS.

I SHOP in my CLOSET. IF I see an outfit I like on someone else or on FB — I go into my closet and drawers and put together something similar. Or do without.

I grocery shop ONCE a week and plan meals ahead of time to avoid mealtime meltdown and drive through overspends.

I use cash instead of cards.
I think in terms of effort… “how many xx do I have to sell or hours do I have to work to pay for this delivery pizza instead of doing a frozen pizza?”

YES DELIVERY TASTES BETTER… but debt free tastes BEST. #TrustMe

Don’t be a victim to marketing messages, bad habits, lack of will power and deserve levels.

Think of what you what MOST (financial stress-lessness and freedom) instead of what you want NOW (cute shoes or a top).

Think of WHY you’re so quick to spend and what you are self-medicating about or delaying…

You can do this.
I do a spending freeze at least once a year. It’s not fun but it keeps me in check.

This is a TOUGH time of year to do it – but HONESTLY… the MOST EFFECTIVE time of year! If you wait until JANUARY… how many more THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS will you have overspent??

Change your habits. Change your life. #DareYa

#1 — SPEND LESS
#2 — BE AWARE
#3 — BLINDERS ON!

 

Have a blessed day and please share this great information with your friends and followers!

Look out for Debbi’s new book, “50 Shades of Money”, in a few months.  Until then, check out her best selling , award winning book “The ABC’s of Personal Finance” on her website, http://www.debbiking.com or anywhere books are sold!

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Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, Credit Cards, Debt Free, Financial Freedom, Saving for Your Future, Winning with Your Money, You and Your Money

The Credit Score Game – Part 2

lg_understanding-credit-score

Your credit score is your financial reputation.  It is the only accurate picture the world – and you – has of how you handle your money.  And we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.  We should never become obsessed about our score, but we should all understand what it means so that we can make good financial decisions that will move us forward and not backwards in the area of our finances.

Last week, we talked about the biggest part of the pie – your payment history which makes up 35% of your score.  Today’s factor makes up 30% – which means that just these two things make up almost 2/3 of your score.  In my mind, that means that they are pretty important.  These two things show us very quickly how we handle our finances.  The first factor shows whether we honor our commitments and use tools such as budgets and spending journals to make sure we can follow through on our promises.  It also shows whether we are prepared for emergencies when they arise.  The next factor shows us how much we rely on debt in our finances.  Let’s take a look at factor number two!

Part 2 – 30% of your score is your credit utilization.  This is the percentage of your credit limits you use.  For example, if a credit card has a limit of $5000 and you have a balance of $1000, your utilization is 20%.  Here is a huge factor when it comes to the utilization percentage – it is the balance as of the statement date.  This means that even if you pay your cards in full every month, your utilization can be high.  In a minute, I will share a tip on how to avoid this.

The ideal percentage to keep a good score is 30% and below.  However, if you stay below 10%, your score will get a boost as that is considered excellent.  If you are a person who relies on debt to buy stuff, it may take a while to get this into a good position.  The only way to do this is to pay off your debt.  Unlike part one where you could start today and see results pretty quickly, this will take a little longer based on where you are and how much credit you have access to.  If you owe $400 on a $500 limit, you can knock that 80% down in one month.  But if you owe $5000 on a $10,000 limit, it may take months to get that 50% down.  This factor isn’t about timing so much as it is about the math.  And depending on where you are getting your score from, your percentage can be based on each individual account or can be an overall average of accounts.

There are two keys to helping this as soon as possible – one if you are a pay in full person and one if you are a debt person.  If you pay your card in full every month, the key is to make sure that your payment post before the statement date.  Paying it off then can be the difference in an 80% utilization and a 0% utilization.  Big difference!  If you are a debt person, the best thing you can do is start attacking your debt smallest to largest.  This will start to show zero percentages on cards and will lower your average utilization.  This will weigh heavy on the positive side especially the more you pay down.

The one thing you need to know about all of the parts of your credit score is that what is done is done.  You can’t go back and change it.  However, you can make better decisions going forward which will begin to outweigh the bad ones.  Trying to do it all can seem very overwhelming which is why I wanted to talk about the top 3 factors so that you can begin there.  You may not be able to start paying everything on time immediately if you have struggled with this for a while, but there is no better time than today to sit down, list out all of your bills with their minimums, set up a budget and begin to make it happen.  Doing this will automatically improve your utilization – lower debt = lower utilization.  You can do it!  I was $200,000 in debt making just $10,000/year with a 560 credit score when I started the process.  And look at me now – debt free, making way more than 10 grand, and my score is over 800.  It is not impossible and I hope that these small tips that I will be sharing will help you to start the journey now.

Credit is a part of life – we need it for things other than debt in today’s world.  It is your financial reputation.  And it’s okay if your reputation is scared a little right now.  Just make the decision to start over – start today making one better financial decision, pay one bill on time, pay one debt off, anything!  Today is your day!

Posted in Buying Your Dream House, Credit Cards, Debt Free, Financial Freedom, Winning with Your Money, You and Your Money

The Credit Score Game – Part 1

credit-score-report-historyWhen I was getting out of debt, I was told numerous times, credit scores mean nothing.  However, I learned that that is not exactly true.  Your credit score is your financial reputation – plain and simple.  When necessary, it shows people how you handle your finances – the good, the bad and the ugly.  I agree that your primary focus in your financial life should not be your credit score.  However, when you make positive financial decisions, your credit score will reflect that and in essence take care of itself.

In order for you to understand how that happens, you need to understand how the credit score works and what positive, on purpose money decisions you can make to help your score along.  So for the next 3 blog posts, we are going to cover the top 3 most important factors of your score and I will share tiny tips that you can do to raise your score simply and easily.  When I started focusing on getting out of debt and making positive decisions, my score went up 100 points in just one year – some take longer, some are quicker, but you have to start somewhere.  So here we go!

Part 1 – 35% of your score is your payment history.  That is over 1/3 on just this one thing.  And this is where many of us go way wrong.  Anytime you are overextended financially, someone doesn’t get paid.  If you don’t have the right health insurance and emergency fund, medical bills don’t get paid and end up in collections.  When you go credit card crazy and look up and owe hundreds every month that you don’t have, bills end up in turmoil.

Your payment history is very important to your financial reputation.  It shows people whether you have it together or not.  People don’t have to look at your bank accounts to know if you have a proper emergency fund – they simply need to look at your credit report.  You don’t have to show anyone your budget for them to know if you are doing one or not.  It is all reflected in your credit report.  Many people fall on hard times and if you are not properly prepared, it will affect your credit history and your financial reputation.

But don’t worry – it is never to late to fix it.  The first thing you need to start doing is get on a budget and pay every bill’s minimum payment every month on time or early.  If a bill is due on the 20th, pay it no later than the 15th – I mean the payment posts on the 15th.  Online payments usually posts within a day, but mailed payments can take 10-20 days to post.  Take this into consideration.  If you have to start with one, then another, then another and so on.  This is better than every single bill being late every single month.

Once you have everything being paid on time or early, begin to work on cleaning up any collection items that may be sitting out there.  They are already being reported as not being paid, but once you settle them (even if it is for a written settlement partial) it will show paid and raise your score.

The one thing you need to know about all of the parts of your credit score is that what is done is done.  You can’t go back and change it.  However, you can make better decisions going forward which will begin to outweigh the bad ones.  Trying to do it all can seem very overwhelming which is why I wanted to talk about the top 3 factors so that you can begin there.  You may not be able to start paying everything on time immediately if you have struggled with this for a while, but there is no better time than today to sit down, list out all of your bills with their minimums, set up a budget and begin to make it happen.  You can do it!  I was $200,000 in debt making just $10,000/year with a 560 credit score when I started the process.  And look at me now – debt free, making way more than 10 grand, and my score is over 800.  It is not impossible and I hope that these small tips that I will be sharing will help you to start the journey now.

Credit is a part of life – we need it for things other than debt in today’s world.  It is your financial reputation.  And it’s okay if your reputation is scared a little right now.  Just make the decision to start over – start today making one better financial decision, pay one bill on time, anything!  Today is your day!