5 Steps You Need to Take to Repair Your Credit

5 Steps You Need to Take to Repair Your Credit

This post has been sponsored by Lexington Law.  All opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Have you ever applied for a credit card and only qualified for one with an extremely high interest rate?  Or applied for a loan to finance the purchase of a new car and been turned down?  If so, there may be items showing up on your credit report that are dragging your score down.  But don’t worry, there are steps that you can take to clean up your credit report and repair your credit score.

5 Steps You Need to Take to Repair Your Credit // Money Savvy Living #creditrepair

 

So what all goes into your credit score?

A credit score is a number ranging from 300-850.  Creditors use this compilation number to evaluate the risk of extending credit to you.  But your credit score isn’t just one number—you actually have three credit scores.  There are three different credit bureaus: Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. These agencies receive information about you from your current creditors and assemble that information into a credit risk score. Some creditors send and receive information from only one credit bureau, some use all three. Each credit bureau only uses the information—both good and bad—that is supplied to it by the creditors that utilize that particular bureau.

Your credit score is decided by several factors, including:

  • Number of accounts that you have open
  • Type of accounts
  • Level of debt, as compared to available credit
  • Length of credit history
  • Payment history
  • Number of recent credit inquiries

5 Steps You Need to Take to Repair Your Credit // Money Savvy Living #creditrepair

It is important to regularly review your credit report to make sure that the information reporting on you is accurate and up-to-date.  If old accounts are showing up or negative items have not been cleared, they may be damaging your score.  It is also critical to review your credit to make sure that no fraudulent activity is taking place.

How do I fix my credit?

If you find that your credit is less than perfect, don’t worry.  There are some steps that you can take to resolve credit disputes, fix your credit, and increase your score.

  1. Request a copy of your credit report. In order to know what you need to fix, you need to know what is showing up on your credit report.  You can request a copy of your credit report by contacting each credit bureau individually, or you can use a credit repair service to get a free copy of your credit report and a free credit repair consultation.
  2. Start making on-time payments. If you have accounts that you are making late payments on, try to get those caught up.  Remember, a payment is not actually reported late to the credit bureau unless it is 30 days (or more) late.  It can be really hard to catch up when you are in a cycle of making late payments, but moving that timeline up so that the creditors are reporting on-time payments will really boost your credit score.
  3. Only apply for credit cards that you need.  It may be tempting to apply for a store card to take advantage of a special discount or free gift.  However, you should only apply for and open credit cards that you need.  Having too many open accounts might actually be tempting you to use credit more oftencausing you to spend more than you would otherwise.
  4. Pay off or settle any bad debts. Old collection accounts can be truly detrimental to your credit score.  If you currently have any accounts that are in collections, see if you can negotiate a settlement amount with the creditor or collection company.  While the creditor would ideally like to collect the entire amount, including late fees and interest, they may be willing to settle and consider your account paid in full for a lower amount.  Trying to negotiate a payoff or settlement amount can be overwhelming on your own, so you may want to consider consulting a credit repair company to help walk you through the process.
  5. Get old or inaccurate items updated. Just because you paid off an old account or a collection account doesn’t mean that it was properly reported to the credit bureau.  So, if you have any accounts still showing up as outstanding, get a letter from the creditor showing that the account has been paid in full and that you are requesting that the account be closed.  Once you have this letter, you can send it in to the credit bureau to update.

5 Steps You Need to Take to Repair Your Credit // Money Savvy Living #creditrepair

How do I get started?

Even when you know the steps to take to help repair your credit, it may be that you need some help to navigate through the entire credit repair process.  That is where Lexington Law credit repair service can help.  Working with professionals who know exactly what to do and how to follow up will get your credit report cleared up quickly and accurately.

 

Related article: How Credit Score Affects Your Monthly Bills

How to know if refinancing your mortgage is a good deal or not

How to know if refinancing your mortgage is a good deal or not

Have you ever received one of those letters in the mail that tells you how you can save nearly $250 per month if you refinance your mortgage with their company?  No closing costs, low rate—sounds great, right?  Well, before you sign the paperwork on this, you need to read the fine print.  Saving $250 a month sounds great.  With the ever-increasing costs of food and other consumer goods, getting a break in the budget can be quite tempting.  But how do you know if refinancing your mortgage is a good deal?

How to know if refinancing your mortgage is a good deal // Money Savvy Living #mortgage #refinance

Should I refinance my mortgage?

There are four major details of the offer that are important to know before deciding if it is a good deal or not:

  1. Rate—Make sure that the low rate the bank is offering is fixed, so that it doesn’t fluctuate after an introductory period. If it is only a three-year fixed rate and then adjustable after that, your $300 per month savings will dwindle quickly once the rate adjusts.  In fact, depending on the terms of the loan, the rate can adjust, only a certain amount each year, but could end up being several percentage points higher than the original introductory rate.
  2. Loan Points—Are you having to pay points to buy the rate down to the low rate that is being advertised. If it is going to cost you several thousand dollars, even if the amount is rolled into the loan, then the costs could end up out-weighing the benefits.
  3. Closing Costs—Does $0 closing costs really mean there are no closing costs? While you may not be expected to come up with closing costs out-of-pocket, they may be rolled into the loan or there may even be a large pre-payment penalty if you sell your home or refinance within a certain amount of time.
  4. Term—what they don’t usually point out in big, bold print on those marketing letters is that it in order to achieve the $250 per month savings, you are going back to a 30 year term on your mortgage. If you have already been paying on your current mortgage for 10 years, going back to a 30 year term may actually cost you money.

 

Related post: Renting vs. Buying: How to Know When Renting is the Best Option

 

When should I refinance my mortgage?

So how can you figure out if the offer is a good deal?  Follow these simple calculations, and you will know for sure:

Example Scenario: Current mortgage—30 year fixed rate of 5.5%, $150,000 original loan amount, with an $852 monthly payment (principle and interest only—do not include any portion that is paid to homeowner’s insurance), and you have been paying on it for 10 years (120 payments).  What you need to calculate is how much you have already paid (total of payments), what you have left (mortgage payoff balance), and total cost of payments of both mortgages.

Calculate Total of Payments:

Monthly Payment x Number of Payments = Total of Payments

$852 x 120 months = $102,240

Calculate Mortgage Payoff Balance:

This is easy because the remaining balance should show up on your monthly mortgage statement.  However, you would want to call your mortgage company for an exact payoff amount because if there is any prepayment penalty that would have to be added to the balance.  You can also use an amortization calculator to estimate a payoff balance.

How to know if refinancing your mortgage is a good deal // Money Savvy Living #mortgage #refinance

 

Related post: How Credit Score Affects Your Monthly Bills

 

$123,527 Mortgage Payoff Balance

Calculate Total Cost of Payments of Current Mortgage: 

(Yes, this is a big number!  You should have seen it on the Truth-In-Lending when you signed your original mortgage papers)

Monthly Payment x Term of Loan = Total Cost of Mortgage

                                $852 x 360 months = $306,720

Calculate Total Cost of Payment of New Mortgage

If your new mortgage is going to save you approximately $250 per month, (with a lower rate of around 4.17%), then your new principle and interest payment would be $602 per month.

                Monthly Payment x Term of Loan = Total Cost of Mortgage

                $602 x 360 months = $216,720

The cost of this new loan is lower, however, you need to add the amount that you have already paid to this balance because it is actual cost to you—which you have already paid.

$216,720 + $123,527 = $340,247

Now, just compare the two Total Cost of Mortgage values:

Current mortgage, total cost of mortgage: $306,720

Potential New Mortgage, total cost of mortgage: $340,247

So even though the new loan offers a lower rate and monthly savings, by taking you back to a 30 year term, you will actually pay more than if you kept the current mortgage that you have.  So if you are comfortable with your current payment, keep the current mortgage that you have; if however, your situation has changed and you absolutely need the monthly savings it might make sense to make the change.  You can always pay more toward the principle once your financial situation allows it again.

 

 

*Example scenario for illustrative purposes only.

 

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

One thing that I have really been focusing on lately is reducing food waste.  This is way more than just not letting food go bad sitting in the refrigerator.  I am trying to use things that I might have just thrown out before.  For instance, when I make Beet Root, Carrot, & Apple Juice, I would normally throw the pulp out and just drink the juice.  But why throw it out?  I have washed and prepared all of those healthy fruits and vegetables, so I may as well use the fibrous part too!

So something that I normally wouldn’t even bother using is going to be the sweetener and healthy boost to some healthy oat bran & beet muffins!  And the beautiful color that the beet adds to these muffins make them the perfect festive treat for Valentine’s Day or a Mother’s Day brunch.  Not to mention… they truly are guilt-free muffins!

I have to say, the thing that I like most about these muffins is that they are not sweetened with sugar… honey is used instead. Of course, the beet, carrot, and apple pulp is pretty sweet too!  The only sugar in this recipe is totally optional, and that is the glaze that goes on top. Sometimes you need to allow yourself to indulge a little…

 

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free baking mix
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup beet, carrot, and apple pulp (*This is what I have left over from juicing earlier today)
  • **For a bit of a healthy boost, replace the baking mix with Vanilla Juice Plus+ Complete)
  • Glaze **optional**
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk (add one at a time and stir until proper consistency)
  • just add a few drops of the beautiful beet, carrot & apple juice that is left over from juicing to get a beautiful pink glaze...

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine baking mix, Vanilla Juice Plus+ Powder, and oat bran.
  3. Add applesauce, egg, honey, vanilla, and baking soda.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Add in mashed banana and beet pulp mixture.
  6. Spoon into muffin tin.
  7. Bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  8. ** Drizzle with glaze while muffins are still warm.
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*to order Vanilla Juice Plus Complete for a nutritional boost to this recipe, click here.

 

These muffins are so sweet and tasty… and it’s a sneaky way to get your kids to eat something that is actually good for them and they won’t even know it!

Enjoy!

3 Easy Ways to Quickly Grow Your Pinterest Following

Any blogger or business owner knows that a strong social media presence is key to success in today’s virtual community.  So, if you want to grow your online business, you need to know how to gain followers on social media and know how to direct traffic to your website.  Pinterest is one of the best platforms to help you grow your social media following. 

 

While the algorithms of each social media outlet seem to be ever-changing, one of the biggest platforms for bloggers and business owners still remains with Pinterest.  So, to increase your reach on this platform, there are three easy ways to quickly grow your Pinterest following.

3 Easy Ways to Quickly Grow Your Pinterest Following

MiloTree

MiloTree is a pop-up that you can customize to showcase your Pinterest account to attract new followers.  (MiloTree also can connect with your Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or email list as well!)  I would normally recommend against pop-ups; however, this one you can customize how often it will pop-up when a visitor comes to your website– so you don’t annoy your audience.  There are both FREE versions and paid versions, so it is a very affordable resource to help grow your blog.

 

Group Boards

Group Pinterest boards are a great way to post high quality content and also find other high quality content to share.

I am a member of several group boards started by other people, but I also have started by own group boards.  I’m going to leave the links for them below and if you find that one of these boards suits your niche, just follow the board directions to be added:

  • Beautiful Budget Life—anything that has to do with frugal living. It can be recipes, DIY, budget travel, everyday money saving ideas, inexpensive family fun… you get the idea!
  • Blogging Tips, Tricks, & Advice—share your great blogging hacks and tips to help other bloggers grow…
  • Bloggers United—pretty much any topic (family friendly only!)
  • Christmas Roundup—bloggers can post their own original posts and agree to allow other bloggers to use them in roundup posts for Christmas.

Why do I love group boards so much? 

Well, because Pinterest loves it when we share other people’s pins and content!  Of course, we have to share our own, but part of the equation is sharing other content as well.  I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure that I am sharing good content.  So having access to group boards is a great way to know that my content will be shared with a lot of other people and I also have a huge pool of high quality pins to re-pin from… and this helps all of our numbers increase!

 

Auto-Pinning vs. Manual Pinning

So then the next question is, should I pin manually or automatically?

Short answer: Both!

I have not done any scientific studies on this, but from my personal experience, I saw my number skyrocket when I started using Tailwind!  So I am a believer in auto-pinning… but I haven’t given up on manual pinning.  My strategy is to use Tailwind to make sure that I have my own pins, as well as some other pins scheduled so there is always activity in my account, but then I also go in and manually pin every day as well.  This is the only auto-pinning resource that I have used, but I love it!  Tailwind gives you insight into the best pinning times for your audience, what their interests are, which pins are high-performing, etc.—lots of great info to know if you’re trying to grow your Pinterest account!

 

A great resource that you might want to check out is Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell.  She really knows her stuff when it comes to using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog!

 

Happy Pinning!

 

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.