Are You Ready for a Credit Card?

What many first time credit card users don’t realize is how beneficial proper credit card management can be. A credit card can be a great first-step to building a positive credit report.

What many first time credit card users don’t realize is how beneficial proper credit card management can be. A credit card can be a great first-step to building a positive credit report.

Having an excellent credit report and score makes you more likely to be approved for credit in the future and receive a lower rate (which will come in handy in if you want to buy a house someday), but it may also be easier for you to rent an apartment, get good rates on your insurance, and perhaps even get a job (yes, some employers check your credit).

It’s no accident that many of us WANT a credit card. After all, large companies and financial institutions pay a lot of money for flashy advertising.

It’s up to you to take a moment and think about if you really NEED to pump your wallet full of plastic. Ask yourself:

  • Can I currently pay for anything that I need with cash or a debit card?
    If so, you may not need a credit card.
  • Do I pay my existing bills on time?
    If you do, commit to always paying your credit card balance at the end of the month to minimize interest charges. This helps build your good credit history that will help you on later in life when getting loans or applying for a mortgage. Remember, your payment history is one of the largest factors in determining your credit score and this is a score that will follow you for the rest of your life.
  • What will you use the credit card for?
    Avoid using your credit card to finance your education, pay for living expenses or for purchasing things that you really do not need. A good way to decide if you should use the card is to ask yourself if you would pay for item(s) if you did not have the credit card. Deciphering what you want and need will eliminate a bunch of superfluous costs that can accumulate quickly when you are not paying attention. In the end, you will have to pay for whatever you charge and if you cannot do it when the bill comes in, you will spend more money than intended on those purchases with accumulating interest charges.

Stay Tuned for our next posting Choosing the Right Credit Card next week!

Source:
Use Credit Cards Wisely in College/Jeremy Vohwinkle http://financialplan.about.com/od/students/a/studentcards.htm

Credit Card Secrets You Can’t Live Without

You want to know the secret to successfully managing a credit card? I’m happy to tell you, it’s really not a secret. It basically boils down to simple common sense

You want to know the secret to successfully managing a credit card? I’m happy to tell you, it’s really not a secret. It basically boils down to simple common sense.

  • Stay out of debt.
    It doesn’t take long for a few purchases to add up to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Don’t charge more than you can afford to repay the balance when the bill arrives.
  • Pay it off.
    If you do get into debt, commit yourself to getting debt free as soon as possible. Pay more than the minimum, and don’t charge more on the cards until your balance is at zero.
  • Pay on time.
    If you miss a payment, your credit score can take a quick and hard hit. Furthermore, you may be charged a late payment fee and the late pay may stay on your credit report for years.
  •  Limit the number of cards you have.
    (2-4 is usually a good number.) The more open credit lines you have, the more you may be tempted to spend beyond your means. Also, applying for credit too often can hurt your credit score.

Stay tuned for our next posting Are You Ready for a Credit Card next week!

Source:
“The Road to Financial Independence: A Guide for 20-Somethings” BALANCE™ Financial Fitness Program. <https://www.balancepro.net/roadtoindependence/index.html>. 08 February 2013.

Planning a Wedding on a Budget

The first step of planning a wedding on a budget is determining what you can afford to spend. How much do and your fiancé have in savings and what percentage of it do you want to spend on the wedding? If you are expecting family to help, get clarification on the amount now. Add all of the contributions together to see what your maximum budget is.

If your savings or the amount of assistance you are receiving is limited, you may have thought about putting some expenses on your credit cards. Is that really such a bad thing? If you can pay it off in a couple of months, probably not. If you can’t, though, you could be burdening yourself with debts that take years to pay off and cost you thousands of dollars in interest charges. Do you really want to still be paying for your wedding twelve years from now?

After you know how much you have to spend, the next step is to determine where you will spend it. You may have to make sacrifices somewhere – think about what is a priority and what is less important. Write down how much you will spend for each expense on a piece of paper, and don’t forget about it once you start shopping.

Avoid looking at things that you know are above your budget. You may also want to create a detailed shopping list before you set foot in the store or talk to a vendor. If at some point you feel that an estimate for a particular expense was unrealistic and you want to spend more in that area, look for other places that you can reduce.

Want additional advice on keeping your finances on track while planning for a wedding or have other concerns about your finances? Apple FCU has partnered with BALANCE to provide you with FREE, confidential financial education and assistance. Their certified counselors can answer your questions, review your credit report and help you create a budget – call 888-456-2227 or click here for more information.

Money Lessons

5 Money Lessons Every New Graduate Needs to Know

The big day ‘Graduation’ has come and the reality of the next step is in full view. Your mind is filled with all sorts of thoughts and questions on just what that next step is.  In today’s society and economy, your financial well-being should top the list of ‘next steps’. Being in control of your finances is one of the most important aspects of being successful and being able to live up to the saying “On to bigger and better things.” Here are a five money lessons that every new graduate needs and should know… Read Full Article.

Article provided by Adam Levin – former Director New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs; founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911; posted on HuffingtonPost.com, 4/26/13.