How to Handle Life’s Embarrassing Moments

DIY Locker ‘Emergency’ Kit for Teens

DIY Locker ‘Emergency’ Kit for Teens

Create your own locker emergency kit so you’re better prepared for whatever obstacle life throws your way!

Stay Fresh.

Whether you were in a morning rush, got a little to sweaty in gym class or sat next to a coughing, sneezing kid in homeroom, keeping bad breath, germs and offensive odors away at school is important. Keep these items packed so you never have to worry about being that smelly kid in study hall.

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Mints
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues

Look Your Best.

These items will help ensure that you’re dressed and looking your best from homeroom to 8th period.

  • Hairspray or gel
  • Hair ties or bobby pins
  • Emergency makeup
  • Extra shirt or set of clothes
  • Stain stick pen for any spills

Be Prepared.

Here are a few more items to help you manage paper cuts, rain storms and hunger pains.

  • Band-Aids
  • Umbrella
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • $10 (at least) for emergency funds

Use these ideas and your own to create a personal locker kit today. Stash your kit somewhere safe in your locker or book bag. Stay away from adding any type of medication though, since most schools have strict rules against students medicating themselves. For real emergencies, always talk to your teacher or school nurse.

How is your credit score calculated?

If you’re like most of us, you may temporarily blackout anytime someone mentions the words “credit score”. It’s a number that means so much, yet many of us barely pay it any attention. In fact, according to TransUnion, a popular credit reporting agency, nearly 70% of Americans say they have little to no understanding of credit scoring.

Unfortunately, you can’t ignore your credit score for long. If you’re carrying a low score, for example, you’ll likely pay more interest on loans, could see your insurance premiums increase and be unable to buy a home or car, land a job or rent an apartment.

Here’s a simple breakdown to help you see exactly what affects your score and where to focus your efforts to keep your score nice and high.

Credit Report Breakdown

35% Payment History

This is the FIRST thing that any lender wants to know; if you have had payments in the past and how you handled paying them. Missing a payment or making only minimum payments will have an effect on how this score is created.

30% Amounts Owed

This is calculated by all the amounts owed such as credit cards and other installment loans, i.e. car loan. Having a very small balance without missing a payment shows that you have good credit responsibility that can create a better score than having no balance at all.  Closing unused credit cards without a balance and or with good credit standing will not raise your credit score. However someone who is “maxing out” cards and using a lot of credit shows that they may have trouble making payments in the future and it will be reflected in this part of the credit score.

15% Length of Credit History

This area is taking a look into how long your credit accounts have been established (the age of your oldest account) and how long it has been since you used the credit accounts. Generally, a longer use of credit or someone who is new to credit will have a higher credit score, depending on how the rest of the report looks.

10% Types of Credit Used

This will take a look at the variety of credit (retail and credit cards, installment loans, finance accounts and mortgage loans). It will review what experience you have with these various types of loans and the total number of accounts that you have. This is checking to see your overall use with credit and looking to see if you have too many accounts for your specific “credit picture.”

10% New Credit

Someone who may open several accounts in a short period of time may show to be a higher risk individual especially if that person is new to using credit. It is recommended that you should wait at least 6 months in between opening a new credit account.

Now that you understand how credit is calculated, whenever you review your credit score you will have a better idea why a certain number is reflected or what steps you can take to raise the number. Setting up a long and healthy credit history is a great way to pave a positive future with lenders.

Source:
“What’s in My FICO Score.” FICO Credit Score Chart: How Credit Scores Are Calculated. MyFICO, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

Unwanted Gifts? No Problem!

Now that the holidays are over, have you walked away with some gifts that have left you unsatisfied? You are not alone. Last year, 11% of people said that they either trashed or returned items that they really didn’t want.

Here’s how you can make the most of those unwanted gifts, and maybe make a little money in the process.

Return It

Some stores like Nordstrom, Walmart and Khol’s accept returns even if you don’t have a receipt. This isn’t a bad option if you know the where the gift was purchased. Don’t count on getting cash back though because you’ll likely be given store credit instead. Shop around and exchange the item or just hold out for something in the future.

Swap It

They may only cater to a type of product (electronics, movies and games at Goozex.com or books at BookMooch.com) but the process is simple. You place the items you want to swap and create a wish list. If someone wants your item, you earn points/credits and put that toward things that you want to acquire. They also offer alerts when an item you are looking for becomes available.

Sell It

Craigslist and eBay are wonderful outlets for almost any item you can dream of finding or in this case, selling.

If you get a gift card that you simply don’t want, consider selling it for something better. Visit a site like GiftCardGranny.com.  You may only get 85-92% what the card is worth, but that’s better than holding onto a card you’ll never use.

Donate It

Give your unwanted gifts or gift cards to charity. Make someone else’s day and walk away feeling good about your contribution.

 

Sources:

  • Gustke, Constance. “5 Ways to Ditch Unwanted Holiday Gifts” Bankrate. 30 Dec 2013 <http://www.bankrate.com/finance/frugal/ditch-unwanted-holiday-gifts.aspx#slide=1>.
  • Bergen, Jennifer. “How to Sell or Swap Your Unwanted Gifts” PC Mag. 31 Dec 2011. PC Magazine. 30 Dec 2013 <http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398232,00.asp>.
  • Bowsher, Karla. “5 Ways to Make or Save Money with Unwanted Gifts” Money Talks News. 20 Dec 2011. Money Talk News. 30 Dec 2013 <http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2011/12/20/5-ways-to-make-or-save-money-with-unwanted-gifts/>.

How to Choose the Right Credit Limit

As it may be flattering when a card issuer has given you a high credit limit, that does not mean that you have to accept it. Being new to credit cards or not having a steady income can create issues whenever it comes time to pay your credit card bill. With a higher credit limit, you can be tempted to charge more than you could possibly pay off. So how do you decide what limits you should have for a credit card? A good rule of thumb is to do what is called the “20-10 rule of limiting debt.”

What is that is the 20-10 rule?

You should never borrow more than 20% of your yearly net income (money after taxes) and your payments shouldn’t exceed 10% of that monthly net income. It is really that simple and here is an example on how to figure this out in your own life.

If your net income is $500 a month, you would multiply that by 12 months to find that your annual net income.
$500 x 12= $6000.

Then you would calculate 20% of that amount and use that as your limit of what to borrow.
$6000 x 20% = $1200 credit limit (So, you will never want more than $1200 outstanding in debt and this is a good idea of what you should set as a credit limit.)

Also, you would not want your monthly payments to be more than 10% of your monthly take home pay. Starting again with your $500 a month of net income, you would calculate what 10% of that would be and you would not want to exceed that in monthly payments.
$500 x 10% = $50 per month

Having these rules will help to ensure that you will be able to pay off your bills on any loan (yes, a credit card is a type of a loan) that you sign up for, but a good idea to gauge your credit limit. You can always adjust the credit limit later down the line if needed, but these rules will always help at any point in your life.

Source: Lesson 4: Credit Cards/Practical Money Skills for Life  <https://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/foreducators/lesson_plans/college.php>