Here is Credit Karma’s take on what’s a good credit score: “A good credit score is crucial for financial success. A credit score is a three digit number calculated from your data-rich credit report and is one factor used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage, loan or credit card. Your score can affect whether or not you are approved as well as what interest rate you are charged. A good credit score is generally considered to be 720 or higher. Lenders, however, can each have different standards for what they consider to be a good credit score, so it‘s important to keep building your score to receive the most favorable interest rates and highest rates of credit approval.” (creditkarma.com)
If you’re serious about spending less on groceries like my wife does, Aldi is the place to shop for groceries with rock-bottom prices. Here are some things you might not know about shopping at Aldi.
- It’s one of the world’s biggest retailers, coming out ahead of Target, Publix and Home Depot.
- In an effort to cut cost, you have to bag your own groceries so it’s a good idea to bring in your own reusable shopping bags.
- To use a shopping cart you need a quarter to use. You will get the quarter back once you return the cart.
- Even though Aldi stores carries store brands, which are cheaper than name brands, but more than 90% of the products found at Aldi are private brands. So the quality and taste are comparable with name-brand products.
- Credit cards and checks aren’t accepted, so make sure you bring debit cards or cash.
- All of Aldi’s store-brand products have multiple barcodes on them to make checkout faster.
Eric R. Eide and Michael J. Hilmer in The Wall Street Journal caution that attending a prestigious school might not automatically translates into a higher salary after graduation. An analysis of the salaries of thousands of college graduates a decade after they got out of school found that prestigious diplomas boost earnings significantly for some professions with business and other liberal arts majors. However, in fields like science, technology, engineering, and math, the average starting salary differs by less than $1,000 for engineering graduates of the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania and those of Texas A&M, for instance, but the tuition difference is more than $167,000. That means STEM students could be ringing up unnecessary debt going for a brand-name degree instead of going to state’s flagship school like University of Alabama. (wsj.com)
Theda Muller writes: “Not everyone is dishonest, or avoiding creditor calls or even unwilling to repay their debt because there are many debtors with huge integrity, who need that chance to meet their commitments because surely nobody likes receiving these very rude calls.” Consideration should be ‘order of the day.’ (emirates247.com)
According to a survey by personal finance website NerdWallet, Midwesterners are the ones most embarrassed to admit they have credit card debt, but they are the least likely to have it. On the other hand, Southerners have the highest debt-to-income ratios in the country and the lowest average credit scores. Overall the the average American household owes $15,355 in credit card debt. (nerdwallet.com)
David Adams writes: “After spending over 15 years between accounting and financial planning, and helping advise nearly 2,000 families, I’m convicted that it’s the small things that contribute so much to meeting long term financial goals. Saving $100 on one meal, or one holiday like Valentine’s Day, starts to add up over a 20 year plus time frame. Then you factor in investing that money saved, and you start to see momentum, which leads to increased confidence and excitement towards seeing the ability to reach you goals.” Here are three ways to make this Valentine’s Day as the start of your financial freedom:
- Marketers know that as females you are expecting a gift, prove them wrong.
- Money can’t buy love, but handmade gifts can.
- Instead of spending money, discuss money.
It’s a human nature to keep the old habits even though frugality like cutting back on unnecessary spending can save us some big bucks. After all, $100 a month saved from frugality is the same as $100 a month earning from working. An article posted on Simple Dollar shows 5 reasons why people fear frugality and why those reasons are wrong. Here are the 5 fears about frugality that are wrong:
- Fear #1 – I will have to give up all of this stuff I like
- Fear #2 – It’s a lot of extra work
- Fear #3 – You don’t save much money anyway
- Fear #4 – I don’t want to live like a weirdo
- Fear #5 – The store brand is terrible
Yearly, $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds was claimed by crooks using stolen Social Security numbers. IRS has tried to beef up the security and some states even require residents to wait longer to receive their tax refunds. On Kiplinger, Sandra Block has a good advice to prevent fraudulent refunds: “Your best defense is to file your tax return as soon as possible. That won’t stop crooks who have stolen your Social Security number from filing a fraudulent return, but they can’t hijack a refund you’ve already claimed.” (kiplinger.com)
Congrats on your special day! As you begin your journey together, you should talk about money. Here are 5 things every newlyweds should know from Wise Bread: “Confidence is not the same as skill. You probably have different comfort levels with risk. Your best first investment may have nothing to do with the stock market. You have some control. The future arrives faster than you can imagine.” (wisebread.com)
The top two reasons why couples fight are sex and money. Well, you can avoid one of them by learning how happy couples manage finances from a guest post on The White Coat Investor. To maintain a financially happy relationship you need to create financial roadmap, define roles and responsibilities, and manage money together. Other strategies include transparency in dealing with money, communication with each other, time as the most precious resource and total money control. (whitecoatinvestor.com)
The one thing that’s certain in the the stock market is that it’s always uncertain. Since the start of 2016 the majority of global stock markets have had a nightmare. The panic in stock market triggers gold buying spree that pushes gold buying to the highest level since financial crisis. To shelter from the volatility, nervous investors have been rushing into gold funds. The cycle of panic in financial market will continue. For individual investors that accept the uncertainty in stock market, they can relax since that’s reality in life. (telegraph.co.uk)
A study by Michel J. Dugas, Patrick Gosselin, and Robert Ladouceur observers about uncertainty and worry: “Considering that daily life is fraught with uncertain situations, individuals who are intolerant of uncertainty may perceive several ‘unacceptable and disturbing’ events in the course of a single day.” If you’re watching CNBC or Fox Business, you will hear all the news about the market downturn. That fear can induces investors to make hasty decisions based on the feeling of uncertainty even though it’s a bad idea. To accept the uncertainty in our our financial life, Carl Richards on The New York Times says: “We can build a portfolio that matches our goals. We can own lots of different kinds of investments, with the knowledge that most of the time, they won’t all fall sharply at once. We can keep the costs of those investments down. But after we’ve nailed down all those things, there’s still going to be uncertainty in the air. The sooner we can accept that the better. That’s life. That’s reality.” (nytimes.com)
Did you just receive a promotion and a pay raise? Have you paid off your mortgage or student loan? Then you need to beware of the lifestyle creep as your discretionary income rises. You will have more money to eat out, splurge on necessities, upgrade to a better car or buy a bigger house. Here’s how to easily avoid lifestyle creep: Stay on budget, pay off debt, fund college savings for your children and max out retirement accounts. (castlebaram.com)
According to GasBuddy, more than 50 Oklahoma stations already sell gas for under $1.15 per gallon. Some station even sell gas at $1.11 and we might see 99 cent gas on the way. The national price for an average gallon of gas is still at $1.72. But the International Energy Agency (IEA) report that global oil demand growth is considerably stalling out due to slowdowns in Europe, China and the United States. AAA experts also agree that in the near term gas prices are likely to remain close to their lowest price point since the Great Recession. (247wallst.com)