1. Paying interest is one tough chore
Let’s be real: Making monthly credit card payments isn’t fun. But the pain compounds (literally) when you’re paying interest on top if it. With many credit cards carrying an interest rate above 12% or missing even one payment can result in a large (and painful) interest payment.
2. Even a half-percentage interest-rate reduction matters
Negotiating isn’t always on the docket for financial literacy programs, but it’s worth mentioning — some numbers carry more wiggle room than you’d expect. When opening a new line of credit, negotiate your interest rates. Although you may not always get your asking interest rate, you and your lender could very well land on a number lower than the original offer. And, yes, even a 0.5% reduction matters when it comes to paying interest. A $1,000 loan with a 17% interest rate reduced to a 16.5% interest rate would save you $5 a month.
3. Credit cards offer greater protections against fraud
Quick, what’s the safest way to make a purchase: cash, credit, or debit? Answer: credit. Choosing to use a credit card instead of swiping your debit card can offer greater protections against fraudulent purchases. Most credit card companies will remove fraudulent purchases as soon as you alert them to unusual/suspicious activity. Credit cards also cap your liability at $50. Claiming fraud for a debit purchase, on the other hand, may require you to file a more complicated claim — and fraudulent purchases may not be reimbursed for up to two weeks.
4. Credit doesn’t build itself
This one may sound annoyingly similar to Mom’s “the bed won’t make itself” thing. But really, credit doesn’t build itself. Be proactive. A good credit score can save you a lot of money in the long run. For instance, strong credit can help you lock down lower interest rates and empower you to make large financial decisions like applying for a mortgage to buy a home( https://www.facebook.com/pg/mortgageloansdelivered/services/ ). A smart way to begin building your credit is to start soon and start small. Make small purchases using a credit card and then immediately pay them off. You could also start with a secured credit card. This “small beans” approach to minor, easily paid purchases can help build good credit habits early on.
5. Credit limits aren’t “suggestions” (stick below a 30% credit utilization rate)
Opening that first credit card can often be confused with a windfall. But being approved for a $2,500 credit line doesn’t mean you have $2,500 at your beck and call. In fact, credit bureaus recommend that you stick below a 30% credit utilization rate. That means spending only up to 30% of your credit line. To avoid maxing out your credit (or spending above your means), be deliberate in the way you use your credit card for purchasing. Additionally, approach every purchase with a game plan by asking, “What’s my timeline for paying this loan back? Is it realistic?”
Call me if you have questions about your credit, I can help you improve it for free.
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*****We Bought The Worst Home On The Best Block*****
An overgrown yard and an interior in serious disrepair didn't keep this couple from creating their dream house on their dream street.
When Heather and Jason Picrillo, both 32, began looking for a house to buy, they were in the market for a fixer-upper. Jason has a background in construction, and he knew they’d get more for
their money if they bought a house that needed some work. “With our budget, anything we found that was turnkey was super-small with no yard,” he says. With three young kids, yard space — and
a great, safe street — took priority for the Picrillos. Here’s how they landed in a neighborhood they originally thought they couldn’t afford.
**************The perfect neighborhood************
The couple first narrowed their search to Riverside, CA, a city with highly rated schools, affordable tax rates, tons of kid-friendly activities, and easy access to Corona, CA, where Heather works as a nurse. And there, on a quiet block of Colonial-style houses with perfectly manicured lawns, sat the ultimate fixer-upper: a ranch-style home whose yard was so overgrown, the house itself was barely visible. Bags of garbage filled the interior, the floors were rotted, the roof leaked, and the backyard swimming pool hadn’t been tended to in years.
While many first-time buyers would have run the other way, the Picrillos knew they had found their future home. “I saw instant equity and potential in the layout and size,” says Jason. “This house was our way into a neighborhood full of well-manicured homes, where our children would enjoy growing up. I was just going to have to work for it.”
“It certainly didn’t scare me off,” agrees Heather. “My mom thought we were nuts. Most people did. But I could see us living here. The neighborhood had so many places for the kids to safely bike and walk. And the nearby schools are excellent.”
*************A numbers game***********************
The Picrillos discovered their “dream” house had two mortgages on it, but the bank agreed to a short sale rather than letting the home fall into foreclosure. The couple qualified for an FHA loan ( https://www.loansdelivered.com/financing/ ), a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration, which lets borrowers put down only 3.5% and roll their closing costs into the mortgage. Doing so allowed Heather and Jason to put more cash toward the extensive renovations the home needed.
****************Rebuilding a house into a home**********************
Once the property was theirs, Jason set to work making their dream home a reality. For the next five months, after putting in a full day as an electrician, he’d make the 40-minute drive to the house, work on it until midnight, and then drive home. Only to wake up and do it all over again. Their new neighbors stopped by on the day the Picrillos closed to thank them for “saving” the neighborhood’s property values and then promptly pitched in to help. “They’d watch the house for us when Jason wasn’t there, they helped cut down trees, and our next-door neighbor’s teenage son and his friend would haul things to the dumpster and help with the demo,” recalls Heather. “We paid them with pizza, but they came because they wanted to. It’s a really supportive group.”
***************************For what it’s worth***************************
Now almost three years later, Heather, Jason, and their three children are happily entrenched in the Riverside community. While there is still work to be done on the house, the risk has paid
off — literally. Their work has raised the value of their house and their equity, cash that will come in handy if they decide to upgrade to a larger home in the same neighborhood in the
future. For now, the Picrillos are enjoying their newly renovated abode and the picturesque neighborhood. “It’s worth the effort to give your kids a nice neighborhood to grow up in,” says
Jason. “Location really is everything.”
Have you made compromises to live in a neighborhood you love? Share your story in the comments below!
I received a phone call from Upland California the other day and it went "Would adding a cosigner to my loan help me with my credit score?"
Well, the lowest middle range Fico score of all borrowers is the one that counts no matter what the cosigner score is. Cosigners wouldn't make up for low scores although they would help in regards to short incomes, they would help simply by adding more income to the table.
FYI- interest rates would also be based on the lowest middle range Fico score of all borrowers. If you need any help analyzing and improving your credit situation so you can become a home owner don't hesitate to call me for help, it's a free service to you!!