10 YoungMoney Shopping Hacks

Did You Know About All These?shopping

Halloween weekend is upon us and almost everyone is looking to unwind after midterms. In the spirit of this, I’ve decided to change things up this week and write about a few shopping hacks I know of that many people aren’t aware of! Whether you’re in the market for a last-minute costume, cheap booze, or getting a price match, I’ve got 10 YoungMoney tips that might save you some cash.

1) You Can Buy Alcohol At Costco Without A Membership

A lot of people aren’t aware of this and it isn’t something Costco advertises. Many states have a law that requires you be able to buy alcohol from warehouse clubs like Costco without a membership. I don’t know why it’s a law, but thankfully, California is one of the states that has it. To do this (besides be 21), all you have to do is let the greeter at the entrance of Costco know you’re there to only buy alcohol. They will give you a paper slip that you must present to the cashier at checkout. Note that you will not be permitted to buy anything else. I have personally witnessed people do this (including my friends), multiple times. If you don’t believe me, Click here.

2) Kirkland Alcohol Vs. Name Brand

Costco has better alcohol deals than just about anywhere. Especially if you purchase one of their Kirkland brand liqueurs. A well-known rumor/conspiracy theory you may have heard is that Costco’s Kirkland brand Vodka (French One) is actually Grey Goose Vodka. Although Costco or Grey Goose will not comment on this, they have never denied it. Actually, Costco doesn’t bottle any of its own Kirkland alcohol. They’re not a brewing company. They instead pay distributors to bottle it for them in a Kirkland bottle. Just Google “Costco Vodka Grey Goose” and you’ll get pages of articles. Many of the Kirkland brands are rumored to actually be very familiar name brands you know.

In the case of the Vodka, a bottle of 1.75L Grey Goose at a local Costco in San Diego sells for between $35-40. The Kirkland brand sells for $19.99 for the French Version and $13.99 for the American Version (rumored to be Tito’s Vodka). So don’t shy away from Kirkland!

3) Getting Free Shipping On Your Halloween Costume (Or Anything)

Let’s say you’ve waited until tonight to decide what to order for Sigma Kappa Delta Omega Gemini Catfish Superman’s amazing annual Halloween mega party this weekend. Even your Amazon Prime won’t get it here in time! Don’t worry, you can almost always get free 1-day shipping from big retailers. Big retailers want to please customers. Especially online shoppers who now make up a majority of their businesses. If you need something in a hurry, don’t bother paying the expensive shipping fees. Quickly hit the customer chat window and ask for free shipping. It will take you 2 minutes, and the worst they could say is no. But often times, they’ll say yes. Especially if you come up with a good excuse like “I need it for a last-minute gift”, or “It’s a clothing item I need for an event tomorrow night”.

This has worked for me SO many times. I’ve gotten free shipping (sometimes up to a $30 value) from Amazon, Macy’s, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Zappos, any many others. Amazon especially is extremely accommodating to these requests. Try for yourself!

4) Walmart Will Price Match Amazon In Stores

Amazon is really starting to scare Walmart. So much so that Walmart has invested big money into improving its online retail experience. Including starting its own 2-day shipping membership program and giving away 30-day free trials. Walmart has also begun to price match Amazon which it did not use to do. Find something on Amazon that is cheaper than what Walmart is selling it for? Just pull it up on your phone and show the cashier. I’ve personally done this a couple of times and it’s saved me $20 on a TV stand and $7 on a memory card. When you’re living the YoungMoney life, it all matters. Take a second and price check Amazon to see if you can save yourself a few bucks. I haven’t tried this at Target yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do the same.

5) Abandon Your Online Cart

Many online retailers will email you a discount offer if you put items in your shopping cart and just leave the website. You might have to wait a few days, although some sites follow-up within minutes! Retailers use data like your shopping history and where you live to help determine what kind of offer you’ll get, or if you’ll get one at all. They’ve figured out that customers who get that close to placing an order can sometimes be coaxed into completing the transaction with a little extra incentive like a 15% off code. BONUS: always check sites like RetailMeNot.com for coupon codes before you press “Place Order”. Again, this takes seconds and you could end up finding a code online that would save you 10-20%.

6) Grocery Store Apps

If you regularly shop at a grocery store chain like Vons or Ralph’s, you definitely need to sign up for a club card. It’s free and can save you tons. Most people know that. But, did you know many grocery stores now have apps that can save you more money? Vons (and parent store Safeway) have an app that gives additional coupons on top of your club discounts. The best part is it’s super easy to use. The app will track the regular purchases on your club card and recommend coupons to you. Especially if you regularly buy an item each week (like Oreos) and then all of a sudden stop buying Oreos. They might send you a coupon for half of Oreos. They also will give percentage or dollar discounts to your purchase. Special offers pop up every so often that give you $5-10 or 10% off your entire purchase that day. Pretty nice if you regularly do your shopping there.

7) Shop For Items On Specific Days

Many retailers like Target mark down items on specific days of the week. For example, Target has these discounts each week:

Monday – Electronics, Office Supplies

Tuesday – Women’s Clothing, Domestic Items

Wednesday – Men’s Clothing, Toys

Thursday – Shoes, Housewares

Friday – Cosmetics/Make-Up, Automotive Products

Many stores follow this strategy as well. It’s all about how the stores turn over their inventory and bring in new stuff. These specific days are when they restock on new items and need to clear out old stuff. If you’re planning to go shopping, maybe pick a specific day to stop in!

8) Free VISA Gift Cards

Free money? That is about as YoungMoney as it gets. Many car manufactures want you to test drive their cars and offer promotions multiple times a year to do it. They often will give away $25-50 VISA gift cards and sometimes up to $100 for just test driving their car. But YoungMoney knows you don’t want to march down to a dealership and spend an hour doing this. So here’s a hack I’ve been doing for years. Now, disclosure, this is not the most ethically upstanding thing to do and isn’t something I can truly recommend. But here is a way to get the card by doing nothing.

  • Google “Test drive gift card” every few months. Find a car company doing the offer
  • Sign up for a test drive online, enter your email and whatever else they want (use a junk email address so you don’t get all their marketing emails all the time)
  • Get the email from them for your scheduled test drive
  • Call a local dealership for that car brand. Ask for a salesperson and ask them what the dealer code is for that location. Don’t tell them why you want it. It is not illegal in any way to ask for this and it is public information.
  • Open the link you got, enter the dealer code and the salesperson name from the phone.
  • Send the gift card to your house.

It’s that easy. That’s all the information you need to fill in for them to send it to you. My friends and I have done this for years and gotten hundreds of dollars in these gift cards. Again, I can’t claim this is the most honest thing to do. But, it is what it is. You can make this decision for yourself if you wanna do it.

9) Free 2-day Shipping Membership From ShopRunner

ShopRunner.com offers free 2-day shipping membership to anyone with an American Express Card. Go to their website and enter your card number. You’ll get free 2-day shipping from hundreds of retailers including GNC, Under Armor, NFL shop, and many others. If you have an AMEX card, it’s a great freebie.

10) Check Your Credit Card Offers

Many retailers partner with credit card companies and banks to offer you extra cash back for shopping on their website. I have a Wells Fargo Credit Card and got an offer this month for 10% cash back from Starbucks all month-long. Plenty of stores do this. Log onto your cards website and check for offers that might save you some money!

Have a great Halloween weekend and I hope everyone did great on their midterms! (Sorry if you still have more exams)

See you next week! Subscribe below for more YoungMoney101!

-Matt Dalton

Why You Need An Emercency Savings

You Need This Before You Do Anything Else!

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If you’ve been reading my blog closely, you’ve noticed the last few articles I’ve written have all mentioned setting up an emergency savings account. Today, I want to share with you why you need one before you save for (or buy!) anything else.

Why This Topic?

From my own experience, I’ve noticed very few people around my age seem to have one of these. If something were to happen like their car breaking down, scholarship money not being received, or getting fired from their job…they would have nowhere to turn except hoping their parents might help them out. For many, their parents are the emergency fund, and that’s fine for now. But what happens for these people when their parents can’t/won’t help them OR they graduate college and need to begin figuring things out on their own?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Could I cover an unexpected expense of $500-1000 if I needed to? (Average cost of a car repair)
  • If yes, would that unexpected expense kill my budget for a month, two months, or more?
  • Would an unexpected expense keep me from being able to pay other obligations?
  • Would I resort to having to put that expense on my credit card?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, you definitely need an emergency savings. An amount of money set aside to easily dig you out of situations when you need it.

So What Is An Emergency Savings?

This one should be pretty obvious. An emergency savings is a separate savings account from your primary savings, checking, retirement accounts, and all other monetary accounts you have. It is set up to be used only in case of an emergency. You never spend anything out of this unless you absolutely HAVE to. This isn’t for when you spent too much money in PB last night.

Why Do You Need One?

Even if you do have coverage from your parents right now if an unexpected expense were to pop up, you’re going to thank yourself in another few years if you start learning to build one now. At some point, your finances will all (hopefully) be on you. If you learn to put money aside for emergencies now, you may end up with more money to put towards other things down the line. My own personal emergency savings is set up to cover me up to a year without working and covers living expenses, bills, gas, car payments, food, fun. I could honestly take a year off and change nothing about my style of living. Pretty nice, right? I want you to have that kind of security too.

So What Is Supposed To Be Used For Then?

Primarily, people set these up to cover them in the event of job loss. If you started working full-time and lost your job for whatever reason, an emergency savings is traditionally used to cover a few months worth of living expenses while you search for a new job. It’s like insurance in a way. You hopefully won’t need it. But you’ll sure be happy you’ve got it when/if you do.

However, this has been expanded by financial experts recommendations to also cover smaller emergencies such as a car repair, family issue, or whatever else is truly a critical emergency and you need money. Your pet monkey BoBo gets taken by kidnappers and holds him for ransom. You need cash. You get it.

How much do I need to save? The 3-6 Month Rule

So here is something that is really tricky to answer. Honestly, it depends on you. Someone working full-time and supporting a family probably needs more than a college student looking to learn to build their financial chops.

A broad guideline from many experts is three to six months’ worth of the money that you need for all non-discretionary expenses (such as health insurance, your rent, food, other essentials to live on). That way, you have enough that if you were to lose your job, you’d be able to continue paying your bills while you looked for another one.

The Problem With The 3-6 Month Rule

This assumes no variability. Some people go into professions that are more secure than others. Someone working for a Fortune 500 company has a lot more job security than a freelance photographer lets say. The more secure your job is, you could save maybe just 3 months. If you’re going to be working in a job that is less secure, you’ll probably wanna stash away a bit more in case something happens.

What Financial Experts Recommend: F**k 3-6 Months. You need more.

Many financial experts now recommend having 8-12 months of salary stored away. This also deals with people’s tolerance for risk. If you’re not someone who worries as much, you may me comfortable with only 3 months living expense stored up. Someone like me who is more risk averse when it comes to this subject, has saved an entire year up*.

Financial experts also recommend having some money saved for small expenses or emergencies such as car repairs, etc..

(*Side Note: my savings is accounting for a full year on my estimated living expenses after college. If you really wanna know how much I’ve saved, you can ask me personally or shoot me an email on the contacts page).

How Much You Need (as a college student) – Start With $500-$1,000

Now, I totally realize saving tens of thousands is hard to do. Although it is possible. BUT, for many readers this may seem overwhelming. So start small. Saving $500-$1,000 would be a good place to start. It’s where I started.  Keep it for when something happens and replenish it if you have to use it.

This small sum can get out of a lot of tricky situations. It’s enough to pay a speeding ticket, average car repair, a forgotten bill, losing your wallet in Vegas, and most other issues that may pop up for you.

Saving just $1,000 would make you better off than most American’s

Read this link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-have-less-than-1000-in-savings-2015-10-06

“Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account, according to a new survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted this month by Google Consumer Survey for personal finance website GOBankingRates.com. “

Did you read even that little excerpt?! 21% don’t even have a savings account? Holy Sh*t. And 62% have less than a thousand. That’s so scary. By just saving a thousand, you’ll be better off than 62% of the United States.

Where To Save

Don’t listen to any other baloney out there. You want your emergency savings locked up tight in a savings account. Not the stock market, not a money market, not bonds. It needs to be liquid and easily accessible – FDIC backed.  If the rate of return on that account is small, that’s okay. After all, says Greg McBride senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, “It’s not an investment—it’s a safety net.”

I personally recommend an online savings. They pay a lot better on these than anyone else. I use Ally.com for my emergency savings. But you can keep it wherever. Just needs to not be touched and left for when it is needed.

Subscribe to YoungMoney!

Hey, I would really appreciate if you’d subscribe to my email list below. I know it’s a long scroll on your phones, but go to the bottom of the site and there’s a box to type your email in. You won’t get a ton of emails all the time. Just when a new post is published. It would really help for me to know how many people are regularly coming back to read and also helps build the site. Thanks in advance.

Have a great weekend and see you again next week!

-Matt Dalton

Having More Money In College

Help! I Spend All My Money.

save


Here we go. The top question I’ve gotten since the launch of this site.

How on earth did I save so much money during college? The answer to this question is honestly pretty boring.

People asked me a lot of ridiculous questions after I published how much I’ve saved. Let me just start by dispelling any rumors.

I didn’t win anything. I didn’t get a ton of money by receiving scholarships. The biggest scholarship I ever got was the $732 middle-class scholarship (Thanks, Obama).

Here is the big one: “Did you make all that investing in the stock market?”

The answer is no. Actually, the only investing I do currently is through my retirement accounts.

Like I say in my introduction to this website, it all has come from simply saving money I’ve made from working throughout college.

What Do You Mean No Stock Market?

I’d like to actually address the stock market question specifically. Stocks are sexy apparently, because that’s what everyone assumes is the sure-fire way to make money. Don’t get me wrong, it is. But any finance professional will tell you the stock market is a long-term play unless you’re a wiz like Warren Buffett. Even then, you’re going to need a bit of knowledge and a ton of luck to beat the markets.

You also have to understand where you’re at in life. As a college student, I can’t imagine you’ve got tens of thousands in capital just lying around at your disposal to invest in the stock market. Well, then again, I suppose many reading this went to Del Norte High School. Scratch that, you might.

All kidding aside, the amount of money you could put into investing would buy you probably a handful of stock shares. Not thousands. Unless you’re going to do some penny stocks, Jordan Belfort sh*t. If you are, god speed. A handful of shares even getting you a huge return (20%+) would make you a small amount by the time it went through Short Term Capital Gains Tax. As any accounting student will tell you, it’s hefty if you sell a stock if you haven’t owned it for over one full year. Yes, less than one year is considered short-term by the IRS.

Save More Today Than The Stock Market Will Make You

Here’s some food for thought. Let’s say I think Twitter is bound to shoot back up in value after Disney & Apple both decided to not purchase it today. (Did you know Twitter is for sale?) I put in $500 in order to purchase 25 shares at $20 a piece. Twitter comes through for me and shoots up 20%. This is a HUGE gain. I mean, seriously read that as a Donald Trump HUGE.

The stock price is now at $24. I made $4 on every share I own. My $500 turned into $600. HELL YEAH. Let’s cash out. I made 100 bucks doing nothing. BUT…now it is time for taxes.

Short term capital gains is done by your income tax bracket. Let’s say I’m in the 25% bracket. My 100 gain is now only 75 bucks. Thanks again, Obama.

So you made $75. You know where else you could have gotten $75 from? By just saving $75 from your paycheck instead of spending it. Chances are, you can end up with more money by just saving that you can make doing short-term sales in the stock market without investing a lot.

The Truth Is That Saving Money Is Boring.

To get better with money, you have to start by learning to save. People hate this. Mostly because it takes a while to do and also to get good at doing. It takes the commitment of making it a habit. You can’t half-ass it and do it for two weeks like people who promise to get themselves into the gym every new year.

But let me tell you something I learned.

You Learn To Love It

It took me a while to get going, but once I was consistently saving money, I loved it. You get excited to see your bank account balance growing and begin to set mini-goals for yourself. The more you start to save, you’d be surprised how much more you watch every aspect of your spending.

So How Do I Spend Less? I Have Bills, BRUH.

So do I. And I also love going out with my friends and buying stuff. But it can be done! Slowly but surely.

HOW TO START SAVING

  1. Figure out how much you’re spending.
    • This might hurt. It’s like waking up after a night out and checking your bank account.
    • Start by going back through your bank account and determining all your spending for one full month.
    • You can’t start saving unless you know how much you’ve got to manage
    • Many banks offer a tool to check your spending categories and break it out for you!
  2. Determine money spent on needs vs. wants
    • Figure out what you have to spend money on (Rent, food, utilities, gas, etc..)
    • Figure out how much you’ve been spending on wants (Going out, drinks, eating out, movies, dates, your Amazon cart)
  3. Make A Budget
    • You can do this easily in Excel if you like that or I recommend Mint.com.
    • THIS IS KEY TO STARTING TO SAVE
    • Figure out how much money is coming in. (Paycheck)
    • Take away all money you must spend on your needs
    • You’re left with money you probably normally spend all on wants
  4. Determine How Much You’ll Spend On Wants OR how much you want to save
    • This can start two ways. People who are looking to really start saving may decide how much per month they want to begin saving. They save and then the left over is “spending money”
    • This might be tough for those who go out a lot currently or feel like they’re always low on cash. So start by deciding how much you’ll spend on those wants. $200 a month, $300 a month. Whatever it is.
    • The rest will be your savings
  5. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET
    • This is all your own self motivation. You have to stick to the budget. Divide your monthly spends into weeks so you have $50 a week to spend instead of one big sum you blow through at the start of the month.
    • Set limits through your bank. If you really have issues with this, you can tell your bank to cut you off. You can set a limit on yourself that once you spend a certain amount, the card stops working.
  6. Save
    • Put money into you savings account. Ideally one that might be separate than the bank you use for your checking/debit card. That way it’s harder to touch. So you’d have to request a transfer and wait a couple of days before getting it in your account.
    • Don’t take it out. You’re only hurting yourself.
  7. Watch your money grow!
    • This isn’t rocket science. It’s easy to do but hard to stick to doing. Just like going for a short run everyday isn’t that hard, but the hard part is you have to keep doing it.
    • You also don’t have to only save money for no reason. Save towards something. You first need an emergency savings for when stuff comes up. After that, you can save towards a vacation, a car, Coachella. Whatever. Learning to save really benefits you.

I really hope this helps to put you on the right track if you’ve been needing it. Ask any questions in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Matt Dalton

Hack Your Credit – A YoungMoney101 Guide

After publishing an article a couple weeks ago on what makes up your credit score, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how you can improve it. So here we go.

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5 Ways To Hack Your Credit:

1) Get A Credit Card (3 ways)

This may seem obvious, but it’s going to be hard to effect your credit if the only outstanding information on your report is your student loans. You can’t change those right now (besides paying them off) and they’re just sitting there on your report. A lot of people I’ve come into contact with seem to be afraid to open one up. I’ve heard things like, “I don’t want a bad score. So I just won’t open a credit card.”

Credit is a good thing! You definitely want to establish it. Read more about that in the article I wrote on it HERE.

But, “Yo, YoungMoney guy…my bank won’t let me open one.”

Open a college credit card

Okay, so I’ve heard this argument too. First things first, you probably can’t qualify for a normal credit card right off the bat if it’s your first one. But lots of banks have college student specific credit cards! They keep in mind you don’t have a ton of income and limit your balance to a sum much smaller than a normal credit card. If you’re looking to get into one of these, I’d recommend checking with whatever bank you’ve been with for years for a checking/savings account. They’ll be more likely to approve you for this. It’ll also help you if your grades are higher and if you have a part time job to prove some income.

Secured credit card

If you can’t get a college card, check out a secured credit card. I won’t go into too much depth about these, but you can read about them HERE. I’ve never had one, but I have friends who speak highly of their ability to establish your credit. Basically, it works by instead of having a bank lend you money, it involves you putting down a deposit. You lend to yourself. You put down $500 for example, and then can borrow against your money as credit.

Sign up with your parents

Shoutout out to mom and dad. You can be a cosigner on their cards and get the credit history as they pay their bills. Definitely a smart move if your parents are down.

2) Continuously Pay During Each Month (Micropayments)

This is more a way to trick yourself into always paying your bills. Some people complain that by the time their bill comes each month, it’s just too high for them to pay all at once. So they just make the minimum payment and get that interest charge. Instead, try paying each week or even every few days after you make a charge on the card. I personally do this. It just helps me budget better. There is no limit to how frequently you can pay down your balance. It might help you keep on top of your payments and never get the chance to only pay the minimum each month!

3) Keep That Utilization Low

The absolute biggest factor you can influence is your utilization. You can’t do much about the length of your established history and credit card companies know that. So influence the 1 big factor you can. How much of your available balance you’re using! Figure out when your billing period closes each month. It’s on your statement. Pay your bill down before the closing date and your monthly amount is recorded. You ideally want to keep your utilization between 2%-5% at bill closing. This doesn’t mean don’t pay your whole bill, but instead let the billing period close with a small balance of 2-5% of your total available credit. Then when the statement closes, pay the rest of it off.

4) Increase Your Limit! The Big Hack To Credit

This will instantly bump up your score and is really the biggest hack you can do. At anytime you are allowed to call your credit card company and ask for a limit increase. By doing this, you lower your total utilization we just talked about above. I just did this a couple months ago.

If my limit is $1,000 and I spent $100 this month, my utilization is 10%.

If I increase to a $2,000 limit, I’m instantly down to 5% utilization.

See how big of a difference that can make?

Now it is important to note, you shouldn’t ask for a limit increase if you haven’t been paying your bills (duh) or opened the card within the last year. Wait one year to ask for one to allow your bank to establish some history on you first.

5) Ask Your Landlord To Report Your Payments To Credit Bureaus

You can ask your landlord to tell credit companies you’ve been paying your rent. You can also ask utilities companies to do this. Like SDG&E or Cox. They send a report each month saying you’re paying your bills. You’d be surprised how much this can help establish your credit.

*BONUS*

Always check your credit. At least once a month. It’ll only take you 2 minutes on www.creditkarma.com! Being on top of what your score is keeps you thinking about how you can improve your spending habits.

Keep your credit in good standing will save you money for the rest of your life!

You’ll qualify for lower rates on loans and save thousands when getting new auto, home, or student loans.

Thanks for reading and please subscribe to my email list! I’ll send money tips right to your inbox. Comment below any thoughts you have!

Matt Dalton

 

Credit: What The Heck Is It?

3 Most Common Question I Get About Money:

  1. How do I start saving more money? And where do I save it?
  2. Should I invest in the stock market?
  3. I don’t know what my credit is like. How do I find out?

Today, I’m going to answer the third question. Now, most commonly when someone asks me this, they’re asking how their credit is effected based on how they use their credit cards. But your credit is decided by far more than that.

I’m going to explain how your credit gets decided and where you can check it.

Your parents or someone in your life has most likely told you that building good credit is critical.

And it is.

SO WHAT IS CREDIT?

Your credit is defined by a variety of factors. These factors are weighed differently so that some matter more than others. Based on the calculation of the various factors, credit reporting agencies give you a credit score. Different ratings agencies decide on their rating scales differently. But the most common scale is rated between 300-850. This is known as the FICO score.

In the Untied States, there are 3 big credit reporting agencies. ALL of them have your information. Even if you don’t have a credit card.

These 3 are…

reports

 (1) Equifax

 (2) Experian

 (3) TransUnion

 

WHAT DETERMINES MY SCORE?

  1. Credit Card Utilization (High Impact)
    • The amount of your total available credit that you’re using on your credit cards.
      • For example, lets say my credit limit is $1,000. I spend $100 this month. My utilization is 10%. Easy, right?
  2. Payment History (High Impact)
    • Hey, are you paying your bills on time? (This can include credit cards, auto loans, student loans, your rent, utilities)
  3. Derogatory Marks (High Impact)
    • The number of collection accounts, bankruptcies, foreclosures, civil judgments or tax liens on your report
      • Hopefully you have none!
  4. Age Of History (Medium Impact)
    • How long have you had credit accounts for?
  5. Total Accounts (Low Impact)
    • How many credit cards or loans do you have right now?
  6. Credit Inquires (Low Impact)
    • How many lenders, possible landlords, employers have asked about your credit?
      • There is a difference in credit inquires called Hard Pulls and Soft Pulls.

Learn more about these factors HERE.

There ya go! You now know how your credit is determined.

WHAT IS A GOOD SCORE?

Credit Score Range Definitions (Sourced from Experian.com)

  • 800 +: Indicates an exceptional FICO Score and is well above the average credit score. Consumers in this range may experience an easy approval process when applying for new credit. Approximately 1% of consumers with a credit score of 800+ are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.
  • 740 to 799: Indicates a very good FICO Score and is above the average credit score. Consumers in this range may qualify for better interest rates from lenders. Approximately 2% of consumers with a credit score between 740 to 799 are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.
  • 670 to 739: Indicates a good FICO Score and is in the median credit score range. Consumers in this range are considered an “acceptable” borrower. Approximately 8% of consumers with a credit score between 670 to 739 are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.
  • 580 to 669: Indicates a fair FICO Score and is below the average credit score. Consumers in this range are considered subprime borrowers and getting credit may be difficult with interest rates that are likely to be much higher. Approximately 28% of consumers with a credit score between 580 to 669 are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.
  • 579 and lower: Indicates a poor FICO Score and is considered to be poor credit. Consumers may be rejected for credit. Credit card applicants in this range may require a fee or a deposit. Utilities may also require a deposit. A credit score this low could be a result from bankruptcy or other major credit problems. Approximately 61% of consumers with a credit score under 579 are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.

OK, SO WHY DO I NEED A GOOD SCORE?

This is why:

  • Having good credit shows your ability to pay back debts
    • Whether that be on a credit card, student loan, auto loan, mortgage, etc.
  • Building credit is also evaluated by your potential landlords or employers (to evaluate your ability to repay something)
    • Apartment companies or landlords will more often that not pull your credit when evaluating your potential as a renter
    • Employers frequently check your credit during their background checks on you
      • Companies say they primarily do this to prevent or reduce theft (More Info On that Here)
  • Building good credit will qualify you for lower interest rates over the course of your life saving you TONS of money.

Matt, I don’t have any credit cards, student loans, auto loans, rent payments, or utilities payments in my name. This is useless information to me, dude!

It’s not! Here is why you should still check your credit.

Fake accounts get created all the time. It’s called identity theft. Someone out there can easily be using your name to open accounts. Heck, your own bank could be opening accounts without telling you! If you haven’t heard, Wells Fargo opened millions of UNAUTHORIZED customer accounts without people knowing. They’ve been convicted and owe $185 Million in fines. That happened last week. (Sept 2016) Learn more about that HERE. I personally bank with Wells Fargo. I’m not leaving them. I’ll write a future post on it.

Don’t let someone mess up your credit without you knowing. Check it.

Also- If you’re an authorized user on one of your parents credit cards (even if it’s not in your name), it’s still on your credit report.

FINE, WHERE DO I CHECK IT?

Federally mandated law requires you have access to 3 free credit reports a year. One from all the big 3 companies I mentioned above.

CREDIT REPORTS HERE: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

You can report fraud, misinformation, and get a good idea of what’s out there for you. This website is 100% safe. I recommend checking one of them every 3-4 months so you have year round coverage of your credit report for free.

BUT WHERE IS MY SCORE?

Your credit report doesn’t give you a score. In the past you had to buy it from one of those 3. But this is 2016, my finance curious friends.

Many banks are beginning to offer the score for free on their websites when you log in. Not all do, but see if your bank does!

WHERE I GET MY SCORE: CREDIT KARMA  —   https://www.creditkarma.com/

You’ve seen a commercial for these guys. Have you thought it was a gimmick? It’s not. I promise you. I’ve been using them for years. They will give you your score AND your credit report from 2 of the 3 FOR FREE. Anytime you want, as much as you want.

(It doesn’t effect your credit because it is a soft pull)

It’s super user-friendly and I’ll go into detail about why I love CreditKarma so much in a future review. CreditKarma is not paying me to say this. I truly love their site.

You can see your credit score each month super easily. (Mine got a nice boost this month as you can see)

my-scofre

Even break out possible scenarios!

my-scofre-w

Super handy!

SO NOW GO CHECK YOURS!

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Thanks for reading!

-Matt