2 ways to battle your credit card debt

If you’re an adult living out in the real world, then there is a more than likely chance that you have credit card debt. Expenses always keep coming, and sometimes, your income can’t keep pace. So, you turn to the credit card to keep the wheels rolling.

Some people have to do this more often than others. Of course, these people may find themselves in a bit of predicament after a little while. Excessive credit card debt shouldn’t be taken lightly, and if you aren’t careful enough, you’ll find that you’re stuck making minimum payments each month.

I can attest to that!

the #1 way to protect yourself in the case of a data breach

I actually found out about the Equifax data breach on Twitter (because, you know, that’s where I get all my news), and while many brushed this off as another case of potential identity theft in a time of many, I knew it was so much more than that. And it got even worse when I verified that I was one of the 143 million people who had had their information compromised. Oy vey.

the best tool to keep your child out of student loan debt

For some of you, children might be the furthest thing from your mind right now (says the girl who’s drinking a Bloody Mary as she’s writing this), but if you’re entering your late-20s/early 30s, they seem to be everywhere.  One minute you’re pounding tacos at 2am after a night at the bars and the next you’re going to bed at 10pm to be prepared for a farm-themed 1st birthday party the next morning.  It’s inevitable, and even if you don’t want children, odds are some of your friends will. Get ready.

how making this one move in college could save you major $$$

Did you know that if you take out a $30,000 student loan during college, you could end up having to pay back a balance larger than that? 

College graduations are just wrapping up, which means in 6 months, those who are entering the work force are about to meet their worst enemy: student loans. And for many, they may be surprised that their balance is higher than they originally planned. This week, I'm featuring a guest post from Drew Cloud, Founder of the Student Loan Report, that explains how your balance can increase and the insanely good move you should do to make sure it doesn't. Parents, this is a must read for you, too.  Check it out and afterwards, head over to his site and learn more about how you can  better manage and save on your student loans.

why i'm choosing not to pay off my mortgage early

Exactly 4 years ago around this time at the ripe old age of 26, I was smack dab in the middle of house-hunting. I had been saving for a down payment for a few years and had finally hit my goal, so off I went into the world of starter homes and cute bungalows to find a house for this single gal that would be mine and all mine.  Well, mine and the bank’s.  At least for 15 years.

Luckily I didn’t have to deal with some of the house-hunting nightmares that others have had to endure, and I found a cute little place in the area I wanted for a great price.  We were still coming out of the recession so it was a buyer’s market, and with interest rates so low, I jumped at the deal.

7 tips to increase your credit score quickly (and save thousands!)

I know most of you think your credit score isn’t a sexy topic, but did you know having a crappy one could potentially cost you a year’s salary?

When I bought my home in 2013, we were just beginning the incline out of the recession that had blindsided (most of) us in 2008. It was a buyer’s market, meaning homes were priced to sell and there were a lot of the market.  On top of that, my credit score was sitting pretty in the high 700s, meaning I qualified for the lowest interest rate on my mortgage. Did I know prior to that point how much money that score saved me? Absolutely not.  But when I started crunching the numbers on my house situation, I soon found it.

increasing your credit score: 7 hacks every college student needs to know

You know the saying “I wish I would have known then what I know now?” This is one of those things they’re talking about.

College is synonymous for long hours in the library, unpaid internships, and the place where you perfect your beer pong skills. But it can also be a time where you lay the groundwork for a financially fit post-college life, and this article from Brett Napoli at Credit Updates gives phenomenal information on how to do just that.  So have a read and start setting up your future self for a life where you can have your cake and eat it, too.  Because you know we all love cake.

how to cut your student loan payment in half

Guess which generation has been burdened with the most student loan debt in history? Yep, we millennials.  And it’s not getting any better.

We owe $1.3 trillion in student loans alone (and that’s not even getting into auto or credit card debt) with an average balance of $28,400 per borrower.  60% of all students who graduate college do so with student loans to repay.  And 11.8% of us are defaulting on those loans[1] (which, by the way, you have to repay no matter what – bankruptcy can’t even get you out of those). Even for those of us blessed with graduating without any, we see the strain on the people we date, our best friends, our family members and feel the pressure to save for the ungodly amount our children will undoubtedly need. How’s that for a positive outlook?

the true story of how i graduated college debt-free

Honesty moment: If you asked me what one thing I attribute my financial success to, I would say graduating college debt-free.  Without hesitation.  Not the fact that I’ve landed well-paying jobs or am frugal to a fault or have been driving the same car for 9 years.  No, it’s the lack of those student loans. I recognize that not having a $500 (or more) payment per month has allowed me to do things that many others can’t, like add more to my retirement fund, save for and buy a house, go to Peru to hike the Inca Trail, remodel my godforsaken bathroom…you get the picture.  And I feel incredibly fortunate for it.  And something I hope I can someday do for my children.

So this is my story of how I made my way through college without student loans.  It is not a “how-to” guide to help you figure out how to do the same because, to be honest, I don’t think it’s a plan everyone has the opportunity to follow. This is just my real life story, and I hope you can glean at least one thing from it that will help you (or your children) someday do the same.

credit cards: the good, the bad, and the best one for you

Time warp back to 2009, and you’ll find yours truly, a recent college grad ready to take on one of the scariest financial plunges for any young 20-something:  opening a credit card.  I had heard of all the risks, and while scared beyond reason that I would forget to pay one month and a) be penalized with extremely high interest and b) ruin my credit, I still signed up because I thought I needed it to build credit.  I began by using it only for gas, but after a law was enacted in 2011 that caused most companies to end their debit card rewards programs, I started paying for most of my expenses with my credit card.  Hey, if I was going to be spending the money anyways, I might as well earn a little cash back on it, right?

If you’re a listener to the popular finance guru Dave Ramsey, you’d know that he would probably call me an idiot for doing so. Per his philosophy, credit cards are the root of all evil, causing you to spend more and pay ridiculous amounts of interest if you aren’t responsible with them.  And for that, he’s got a point: