Budgeting & Saving

How to Fix Bad Credit?

Wondering how to fix my credit myself? Or how to fix bad credit? There’s no doubt that living in the modern world requires credit. Yes, you can live without a credit card and survive on cash or cashback debit cards.

I know because I did it for over two years as I paid off credit card debt. But what I really wanted to do was improve my credit score immediately.

However, when you are ready to buy a house, you’ll need to get your credit straightened out. In this post I’ll discuss getting a credit repair service as well as what steps you need to take if you decide you want to fix your credit score yourself. You might even be able to fix your credit in just 6 months.

These steps are so easy. Perfect guide for do it yourself credit repair.

Related articles from our approved partners:

How Can I Fix Bad Credit Myself? – 6 MonthCredit Repair Guide

First, watch this video from my friend Dominique over at Your Finances Simplified. He’s going to tell you exactly how to fix your credit.

Watched the video? Good.
Feeling overwhelmed at the next steps?
Yep. I understand.
Let’s take this step by step.

Take a deep breath. People think that having bad credit is the worse thing that can happen. But just calm down. You are taking the first steps which puts you on the right track.

Remember, it’s just money.

No one is going to die. Take control and get back in the driver’s seat!

Fix 1: Check Bad Credit

The first thing you’ll need is your creditor information. Get the most recent credit card statements, loan balances, and installment loan reports along with addresses and phone numbers. I recommend printing everything old-school style. It’s going to come in handy later.

Fix 2: Get a Free Credit Report

Then, take a second to get your free credit report from Each year you are able to pull your credit report for free from the three providers Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

Optional: Get Your Free Credit Score

You can check an approximation of your credit score for free at Credit Sesame one of our approved partners, but if you are trying to fix your credit, you probably already know your credit score looks a little like this….

bad credit personified

But that’s ok. We’re going to put you on the good foot.

Fix 3: Review your credit report for errors (highlight each error).

You’re getting ready to take charge and stop being a victim. Most people don’t even realize what they could get removed from their credit just because of errors.

What should you look for?

Wait a minute. So, you’re telling me you didn’t watch the video above?

Scroll back up for me right quick and you’ll find out exactly what you should look for.

Or keep reading…

Dispute incorrect names, addresses, SSN, and date of birth via the certified mail.

You will need supporting documentation and letters. You will have to write a dispute letter and include the specifics of the inaccuracies. You want to dispute inaccurate, erroneous, outdated, misleading, and unverifiable information in your credit reports.

Tired of being harassed by your creditors? Maybe you’d prefer that someone else handle all of this for you?

In that case, you might was to work with a credit repair company to improve your credit.

Are you ready to…

  • Remove bankruptcies to rebuild credit?
  • Permanently delete foreclosures and repossessions?
  • Erase debts that were in collection?
  • Completely get credit cards under control?
  • Get approved for loans?
  • Get the best financing on cars and homes?

In that case, check out our partner Lexington Law for more details on how they can help you clean up your credit report.

Finally, fixing your credit permanently also means creating good habits and getting out of debt.

How getting out of debt is like the MTV show, I Used to Be Fat.

I used to watch this TV show on MTV called I Used to Be Fat. The show documents young adults, usually high school seniors and high school graduates who want to lose weight before they start college. Each episode features a different teen. I absolutely LOVE this show. I like seeing the determination and perseverance of these kids, they are really focused on their goals. Most of them thought about quitting along the way but each one makes it to the end and they usually reach their goal.

I was thinking the other day about how the TV show is very similar to a battle with debt. When you’re in debt, it can feel like you’re carrying around a second person, experiencing frugal fatigue, or that you have a spare tire of bills around your waist. I know because I’m working on getting out of debt myself. I realized that there are 3 major points we can learn from the MTV show I Used to Be Fat when trying to take control of our debt.

Improve Your Credit Step 1 – Give Yourself a Deadline

Before the teens even begin a weight loss program, their coach/personal trainer gives them a large tear off number calendar to place on their wall. It has the total number of days until their program completion date, and every day they rip off the next number.

It is a good idea, when you are paying off debt, to set a deadline for your debt-free date, like 6 months. Setting a deadline is a way of making your goal specific. Every time you look at that calendar or see that date it will push your brain consciously and subconsciously to make it to your ultimate goal, to reduce spending and get out of debt.

Improve Your Credit Step 2 – Check in Regularly with a Coach

Every week, the kids had a weigh in. Their personal trainer was making sure that they were on track with how much weight they were supposed to be losing at each stage in the process. Sometimes they were attempting to lose one pound a day! I never thought that was possible or healthy, but most of the teens actually accomplished it under the supervision of their coach.

If you really want to prioritize your goal of becoming debt free then you really have to give yourself check points. You can enlist the help of a friend or even a debt counselor to help you along the way. Having a good support system can make all the difference.

Improve Your Credit Step 3 – Get Rid of Old Habits and Create New Ones

When one of the teens was at a restaurant with her friends, she ordered a lean meal instead of the greasy french fries that her friends had. The personal trainer also taught her how to cook healthier meals so that she would be able to maintain her new lifestyle change.

Becoming debt-free is not a one-time goal. It has to be a lifestyle change. When I decided to start getting out of debt, I had to first evaluate why I was in debt in the first place. I had to eliminate my habit of impulse spending and replace that habit with a good habit. Now I impulse buy stocks and my portfolio loves it! It’s not easy to change a habit that took years to cultivate, but with a good support system, it is entirely possible.

Are you ready to make a change?

Some of you may be thinking, I’m still young, so why should I care about my credit score? Lots of people have debt and less than stellar credit, but they’re still enjoying a cushy lifestyle. As long as I’m able to buy the things that I want, why should I be concerned? The answer is simple. Life is easier when you have good credit.

Take a look at it this way. Landlords, employers, and lenders need to determine whether they can trust you, and they look at your credit score as an indicator of your financial reputation. You may not think credit affects you greatly, but it does. When you ruin your financial reputation (a.k.a. credit score), it will take you a long time to restore it.

Poor credit affects your ability to rent, buy a car, get a home loan, and even open up accounts. Creditors don’t want to work with people with bad credit because the risk of not getting paid is very high. How can they trust that you will pay them back if you haven’t even paid others? If you’ve already tarnished your credit, here are some tips to help you fix your credit score and reestablish your life.

Improve Your Credit Step 4 – Make Your Payments on Time

This may sound trivial, but we all know that money can be tight, and skipping payments on one bill can help pay for other expenses. But, timely payments are the biggest factor affecting your credit score. Keep a budget, and make sure you have sufficient funds to make your credit card and loan payments on time.

Improve Your Credit Step 5 – Consider Getting a Secured Credit Card

Obviously, it will be very hard to get a regular credit card if you have bad credit. If you don’t qualify for a credit card, you can get a secured card instead. This is when the bank gives you a credit line equal to the deposit you make. If used wisely, a secured card can help nurse your poor credit to better health.

Improve Your Credit Step 4 – Add an Installment Loan

You can improve your score quickly if you show that you can be responsible for both major kinds of credit: revolving (credit cards) and installment (mortgages, auto, student loans, etc.). If you don’t have an installment loan and feel you are ready to handle one, consider adding a small personal loan. Stay away from expensive finance companies and “teaser” deals, and use a company that reports the loan to all three credit bureaus.

Improve Your Credit Step 5 – Avoid the Minimum Payment Trap

Credit cards come with high interest rates. We all know how our $2,000 computer ended up costing $8,168 because we only made the minimum payments at 20% on our credit card. Ouch, that hurts! Keep constant payments on your credit card (and don’t run them up again) and your balances will drop.

Improve Your Credit Step 6 – Use Your Credit Cards Lightly and Check Your Limits

Even if you pay your bills on time and in full each month, having big balances can hurt your score. Try to limit charges to 30% or less of your card’s limit. Lenders typically like to see a big gap between how much you’re charging and your available credit limit.

Improve Your Credit Step 7 – Keep Old Credit Cards

Don’t close out old credit cards. The longer your credit history, the better. Leave the accounts open but once you pay them off, stop using them. Closed accounts tend to bring down your score.

Improve Your Credit Step 8 – Suspend Credit Inquiries

The more credit inquiries you have, the more your credit score drops. Fix your credit and wait a while before allowing your credit to be pulled again.

Improve Your Credit Step 9 – Get a Goodwill Adjustment

If you have been responsible about paying your credit cards on time, the lender may agree to erase a late payment from your credit history. For more troubled accounts, communicate with your lender about possible options to erase previous delinquencies. If the lender agrees, it will improve your overall record.

Improve Your Credit Step 10 – Check Your Credit Report for Errors

You can check your credit report without negative scoring (once per year, for free) with the three credit bureaus at Make sure to look for any mistakes that could be hurting your score. If you see something wrong, make the effort to have it corrected.

Improve Your Credit Step 11 – Seek Professional Help

If you are overwhelmed with debt and don’t feel you can handle the problem on your own, consider working with a professional debt relief agent. They can help you explore your options and give you guidance on this post

It’s very easy to ruin your credit, but it takes time to build it back up. No matter how bad your credit is, you can take steps to make it better.

Sometimes we mishandle our budget, and we spend more than we should. (You know that you shouldn’t have bought that expensive flat screen TV). And, sometimes we end up in tough financial situations because of things beyond our control. Whether you have experienced job loss, illness, or another type of financial disruption, it’s important to know that you can turn things around.

It may not be easy, but step by step, you will be able to fix your financial situation. Just don’t delay facing the issue. The longer you wait, the harder it is for you to recover.

Budgeting & Saving

6 Easy Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund

There’s nothing more terrifying than an emergency – especially one that costs you a fortune. Life doesn’t always go exactly as planned. Building an emergency fund is a perfect way to be prepared for whatever life may throw at you.

According to Investopedia, emergency funds help you “improve financial security by creating a safety net of funds that can be used to meet emergency expenses as well as reduce the need to use high interest debt, such as credit cards, as a last resort.” As young people, starting your emergency fund as soon as possible will help pad yourself financially against future unexpected expenses. Such expenses can stem from the loss of a job, illness, a car accident, and more.

This post was really helpful. Easy tips I can use.

How Much Should You Save?

The general rule of thumb is to save three-to-six months worth of your income. However, this can vary depending on a number of factors. For example, during the economic recession, many experts recommended keeping nine months to one year’s worth of income on hand. That’s because jobs were sparse.

How much you save will depend on a dollar amount that makes you comfortable. If you have dependents, you may require more emergency dollars than someone who does not. The reliability of your vehicle, home, and other daily essentials may also impact just how much you should keep on hand. There’s no universal answer.

The first step you should take when starting an emergency fund is laying out your monthly expenses in a month where they are highest and basing the amount you save on that number.

Ways to Start Building Your Emergency Fund

Now that you know how much you want to save, it’s time to starting building your emergency fund. But how? Here are some quick, easy tips to jump start the process:

  1. A little at a time. When looking at three-to-six months worth of your income, the number can be pretty daunting. Where do you even start? Well, you start small. 10% of your paycheck doesn’t look like much, but it will add up over time. Choose an amount that’s reasonable based on your current expenses and begin putting that money away.
  2. Earn extra cash. There are several ways you can earn extra money. You can try getting a second job. (I work as a weekend receptionist at a nursing home on top of my regular full-time job.) You can drive for Uber or Lyft. You could even try babysitting. Find ways to get a little extra cash and put that towards your emergency fund.
  3. Cut a habit. Do you buy Starbucks every morning? Eat out every night? Cut that out! That bi-weekly nail appointment? How about doing your nails at home? That money would go really nicely in your emergency fund, trust me. And you’ll begin to see it grow faster than you realize.
  4. Sell your old stuff. I’m a big fan of Plato’s Closet. It’s a quick easy way to get rid of old clothes and shoes and (hopefully) get a little bit of cash. You can also try selling items on Craigslist, such as old furniture or electronics. Once you cash in on your crap (yes, I just called it crap because you probably don’t need it or use it anymore), you can put that money straight into your emergency fund.
  5. Choose the right account type. When setting up your emergency fund, it’s worth doing your research into the type of account that is best for you. High interest savings accounts will help you save while earning a little bit of interest… and who doesn’t love free money?
  6. Set it up automatically. Automatic deposits to your account of choice will make the saving feel, well, automatic. Being automatic means you won’t need to make a conscious effort to save. How great does that sound?

Experts agree that an emergency fund is a financial necessity. Yet a significant number of Americans do not have one. With these easy tips, you should be able to start building your fund right away.


When it comes to saving, every little bit counts.

Small change here and there can build up over time. Small cuts in your spending can build up over time. But, in this day and age, everything is automated or monitored online. While the saving resources made available by the advent of the Internet are vast and extremely helpful, what about the ways we used to save before online banking? I was recently inspired to get creative in the ways that I save money… in addition to all those excellent online tools!

Plus, having multiple ways that you save money can’t hurt.

4 old school ways to save money

  1. Bring Back the Coin Jar

I was inspired to find new ways to save by a heavy wallet full of coins. I rarely used cash in purchases, let alone coins. So I thought, why not start a coin jar? When I was a kid, we had a huge coin jar to which the family contributed change.

When the jar was full, we cashed it in and went on a vacation. I hope to do the same with my coins now. Basically, having the intent to save your change can add up over time to allow you to travel, make a big purchase or do something for yourself you’ve always wanted to do.

  1. Implement a Cash Budget

Part of the automation of banking is credit and debit cards giving you constant access to your money. While this is great, it can also lead to excessive spending. Back in the day, if you didn’t have enough cash on you, you couldn’t spend.

Installing a weekly cash budget, and therefore restricting your credit and debit card usage, will cut unnecessary spending and ultimately open up more of your income for savings.

  1. Host a Garage Sale

Okay, so not exactly a way to “save,” but definitely a way to make a little bit more cash to contribute to your savings. Clear out your basement, attic or garage of all that old junk that you never use anymore – you’d be surprised what people will pay for your “junk!”

But how do you get people to come?

Nowadays, there are so many ways to get the word out about your garage sale: social media, Craigslist, word of mouth, etc. Check information about your neighborhood, some will have a designated weekend for a neighborhood garage sale. You’ll have people lining up before you know it.

  1. Hide it Under the Mattress

I don’t mean literally.

Back in the day, if you wanted to save money, you hid it under your mattress. Or in a box under your bed. Or in a sock drawer. While I’m not suggesting you do this, the concept is still valid. Set aside a small amount of cash each week into an envelope or box that you keep in a safe place.

Over time, those small amounts will become a big amount. Use that money for emergencies or a special treat to yourself.

  1. Bonus Tip! The “So Many Days” Rule

Another great way to limit your spending, and ultimately increase your savings, is to apply the “So Many Days” Rule to your luxury purchases.

After a special purchase, shopping spree, new electronics, expensive dinner, etc., designate a certain number of days (e.x. 30 days) that you must wait before another special purchase.

By giving yourself a measurable amount of time to follow, you can limit the big ticket items and put more money into savings.

It’s hard to remember how people kept track of their money before things like online banking and ATMs. But the old times may be on to something! As clever, creative ways to save money, the above options are great inspiration.

However, remember: these ideas are meant to complement a significant savings strategy, not supplement it. You should always have a bigger plan in place, but the little bits do count – literally!

The days of living paycheck to paycheck on your meager part-time income are over. Your bank account has finally reached multiple digits and you can’t wait to make use of your new disposable income. But… should you? As they say, with more purchasing power comes more responsibility. (Or do they say that?)

Eventually, you may need to start paying student loans. Or a cell phone bill. Or a car payment and insurance. Or maybe you want to take that international vacation you’ve always dreamed of. Whatever it may be, and whether you acknowledge this now or not, you have to change your behavior now to create more financially responsible habits in the future.

The first step to more responsible finances is budgeting.

You probably know you need to create a budget for yourself, but are stuck on where to start. First and foremost, you need to determine where your money is being spent. A smart way to do this is by categorizing your expenses into two groups, essential expenses and discretionary expenses.

Essential Expenses

Rent, insurance, car payments, utilities, bills, loans. Any one of these can be considered your essential expenses. Often described as “needs” versus “wants,” these are the expenses essential to basic living functions and survival. Pretty self-explanatory.

However, be honest about which expenses you consider essential. A shopping spree every month or bar tabs will likely not fall under this category.

Discretionary Expenses

As you can imagine, discretionary expenses are basically… everything else. Anything not required for living. Alcohol, non-essential clothes shopping, vacations, movie tickets, salon visits, whatever it may be for you.

Once you’ve categorized your expenses, you can begin budgeting. Analyze your expenses and determine where you can spend less. Set restrictions for yourself and stick to them. I read somewhere once that budgeting can be like a diet – you set out with good intentions, but after a few weeks you begin to stray from your plan. Don’t let that happen o you.

If you follow your budget, you should now have some extra money in the bank. Can you guess what you should do? Complete the second step to responsible finances: Save it.

Standards for saving vary based on the person you’re talking to, but I’ve always believed that you should have 3-6 months living expenses in your savings. In the event of an emergency, or unpredicted event such as job loss, you need to have a plan. At the end of each month, put away the money you saved by reducing spending through your budget.

No doubt about it, budgeting takes a lot of self-discipline. Building a budget, sticking to it, and tracking it frequently all are a challenge. But hopefully these tips and tricks will help you get over the initial hurdle of creating your budget so you can move on to better responsible financial habits.

Do you have any tips for new budgeters?

Originally posted 2016-08-28 08:00:14.

Budgeting & Saving

How Can a College Student Build Credit?

Before we go into how can a college student build credit, let’s focus on the uses of credit.

The primary reason you will want to build credit history is to borrow money or show a person or a business that they should have faith and depend on you to keep your word.

Awesome tips! I had no idea that I needed to do this to build credit. Now I can start saving for my dream home! :D

How Do You Get a Credit Score?

Once you turn 18, you will be eligible to build credit. First, you must have a source of income. If you don’t have a job or a regular source of income where you can make money in college, then you should work on that first. The worst thing you can do is open up lines of credit without the means to pay them.

With an income, you will be ready to get your first line of credit. Borrowing money and repaying that money is the way that you as a college student can build a credit score.

Think you might have a credit score? Check it here for free.

The Five Components of a Good Credit Score

There is no denying that a high credit score is important for purchasing a home, renting an apartment and even being hired by certain employers. When you have poor or no credit, it is important to know how to build a good credit score.

Improving your credit score hinges on 5 key components as outlined below.

1) History of Credit

Determining your credit worthiness is, in part, decided on by how long you’ve been holding credit. The longer you have successfully been using varying types of credit, the better a consumer you will be, thus making your credit score higher.

If you have an older account that you are not using, keep it open. This will continue to help your credit history thus improving your credit score.

2) Payment History

Nothing affects your credit score more than your payment history. If you have maintained on-time payments over a course many years, your credit score is going to reflect that. The best way to improve a bad credit score is to make on-time payments each and every month without fail.

3) Credit Limit to Balance Ratio

The ratio of how much credit you are provided to how much you actually owe is another large component of a credit score. Lenders are looking to make sure that you have not over extended yourself. Aiming for a 20% debt ratio or lower is best. That is to say that you should hold no more than 20% of your credit potential in debt. If you are extended $10,000 in credit, you would want to make sure that your total debt is less than $2,000.

4) Types of Credit

Credit lenders are also looking at the types of credit you are holding. A mixture of store credit cards, major credit cards and loans shows that you are capable of managing the different payment types and credit limits that comes with them. That will help you build credit. Credit cards typically have small minimum payments and a lender who is looking to extend a loan with a larger payment will want to feel confident that you can handle a regular payment that may be significantly higher.

5) Frequency of New Credit Received

Credit lenders are also looking at how often you are applying for and receiving new credit. A large number of new credit cards could indicate that you are having troubles with your financial situation. It could also indicate a potential for over extending credit. Conversely, lenders are looking to see if there are frequent inquiries into your credit as well. This could indicate financial problems as well.

The exact amount that each of these components affects your credit score is unknown but diligence with each one will ensure you a high credit score as well as maintain a healthy financial situation.

Should I Get a Credit Card or Store Card?

Most young adults automatically think of a credit card when they think to build credit but that is not the only way to build credit. Many stores offer lines of credit in house, such as Best Buy and the Gap. The difference between a Visa or Mastercard credit card and a store card is mainly the terms. Generally store cards charge higher interest rates and have higher fees associated. But you won’t have to worry about that. Also, store cards do not offer cash back. The best cash back credit cards will not be store credit cards but rather a card like Visa or Mastercard.


How Can I Use Credit Wisely?

The best way to build credit without going into debt is to charge a small amount each month, maybe your cell phone bill or other monthly bill, to your card and pay it off immediately. That way you will begin to build a stable credit history without accumulating debt.

Once you get started building credit, it’s important to be responsible with the credit that you have. In most cases, bad credit is worse than no credit at all.

As someone who has experienced the ins and outs of debt and credit I would like to help you start on the right financial footing. It makes no sense to apply for and open a credit card if you do not know how to use credit wisely.

Today, I’m going to give you 4 easy ways for you to use credit wisely as a millennial.

1) Open and Use Credit

Firstly, you have to borrow money in order to start building a credit history.

It is important for you to have a credit history, because it will help you in the future when you want to borrow money.

It could also help you with employment. There are many employers that look at your credit history before offering employment.

To start building a clean credit history, get a credit card but just put a monthly bill on that credit card.
DO NOT use the card for going out to eat or taking vacations. Use the card as part of your monthly budget.

This is a great habit to get into and the best way to use a credit card.

For example, when I started using credit cards again after a two year hiatus, I linked my cell phone bill as an automatic monthly charge.

I’m using the credit card each month and I’m paying it off in full each month. Doing this will help establish your credit history.

2) Keep a Low Utilization Ratio

Secondly, you should keep the amount that you borrow, as a percentage of your total credit, to a low percentage.

This is called the utilization ratio.
Anywhere between 30 to 40 percent is a good starting point, and lower is better.

Here is the example.

If you’re able to get a credit card that has a 1,000 dollar balance, you should carry a maximum balance of 300 dollars.

Although it can be tempting, do not charge up to the thousand dollar limit. Keep a low utilization ratio.

3) Pay Credit Cards in Full, Don’t be Late

This tip may seem like a no brainer but for some reason it is frequently ignored.

Pay your bills on time. Pay them early.

To make bill paying systematic, set up an automatic bill pay each time your statement is sent.

I still recommend that you check your statement for errors but keeping your finances simple is a great way to stay on track.

4) Keep an Eye on Your Credit Report

Finally, you should keep an eye on your report. I use to get a copy of my credit report each year.

It’s free and you are allowed to obtain a copy from each of the credit bureaus.

If you would like to see your free credit report more than once a year then only request one copy from one of the credit bureaus each 4 months.

That way, 3 times a year, you will be able to see a copy of your free credit report from each credit bureau.

Want to see your credit score? Click here to get it for free.


Originally posted 2016-07-19 08:00:57.

Budgeting & Saving

How #TheRoad Can Improve Your Financial Wellness

The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. #TheRoad is a 15,000+ miles road trip through 50 states. We’ll be hosting and participating in events all across the country: from The Smile Lifestyle Events, financial wellness seminars, book signings and training. We’re going to break the social taboo about money and empower a generation to live their dreams by understanding financial wellness.

When it comes financial wellness, millennials are one of its most important demographics.

Millennials are struggling with student loans, low salaries and higher costs of living. The only way to combat that? Financial wellness.

Financial Wellness Means Doing More

What is financial wellness? For millennials, it means focusing on what you can do, instead of what you can’t. You can choose to pay off your loans early and save for a down payment. You can decide to get a cheaper apartment and use the savings in your 401k. You can decide to get a part-time job or side hustle to help pay your bills.

Having financial wellness means that you’re aware and active when it comes to your finances. It means that you have a budget, you track your expenses and you plan ahead. You can’t bury your head in the sand and expect to be ok. You have to act.

The Road to Financial Wellness

The road to financial wellness for millennials begins with tackling their loans. Most millennials are paying off their student loans. Many also have car payments and credit card debt on top of that. Before you can think about growing your wealth, you have to erase your debt.

At the same time, you have to take advantage of the one thing that millennials have over other generations: time. When you’re young and not making a lot of money, time is the one thing that can surpass even the most meager of salaries.

If you haven’t started, check into your company’s 401k or start an IRA. Even if you can only afford to put in $25 or $50 a month, start there. It might seem silly to put in so little, but the power of compound interest is mighty.

You don’t have to be a financial genius to put away money for retirement. You don’t even need a six-figure salary. All you need is to care about your future enough to do something about it.

Smart Financial Wellness Habits

Another great habit for millennials is learning how to budget. Budgeting is like meal planning – it helps you to eliminate waste, stay healthy and know what’s going on. If you start budgeting while you’re young and have fewer obligations, you’ll find it easier to do when you’ve got a mortgage, spouse and two kids to manage.

The biggest stop on the road to financial wellness for millennials is creating good habits while you’re young and eliminating the bad ones before you get any older. Now’s the time to cut your expenses, figure out what you really want and learn how to live within your means.

If you learn to save while you’re 25, then you won’t have to worry about retirement when you’re 55. If you learn to avoid debt when you’re 30, then you won’t have an underwater mortgage at 60.

Everything you do now – good and bad – will affect how you treat money in your later years. Don’t think just because you’re young that what you do doesn’t matter. Caring about your finances is not something to do when you’re older – it’s something that starts now.

Get the book! You Only Live Once written by the founder of The Road, Jason Vitug.

Jason is a financial motivator, lifestyle expert, speaker and founder at Phroogal, a financial education startup and lifestyle brand. He is the author of, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.

Originally posted 2016-07-03 08:00:43.

Budgeting & Saving

How to Budget for Apartment Expenses

Moving? You’ll need to figure out your apartment expenses. If you’re thinking about moving out and trying to figure out if you can get your own place, then it’s time to set up a budget. Your budget changes as you change and it should adjust especially when you make new decisions such as moving into an apartment.

When I decided to get my first apartment, I knew there were a couple of things that I was going to need, namely all the little things that go into an apartment, like furniture, tables and chairs. And then I also wanted plants. There are many things that you need to include in your moving out budget. Here are four steps to help you budget for an apartment, so you will be ready to move out.

Perfect! I found this just in time. Getting ready to move out and I need to know what apartment expenses I should expect. Saving this!

Set a Monthly Apartment Expenses Budget

Set the monthly total that you’d like to pay for rent. If you make $1000 a month and you think you can afford $500 a month, you might need to wait until you earn more money. Your monthly rent expense should be no more than about 23% to 25% of your take home pay. If you bring home $1000 a month, then 23% to 25% is $230 to $250. It seems like a small amount, but you probably need to get a roommate or you probably need to wait until you’re really ready to move out.

4 things you should save up for before moving out.

Include a Budget for Utilities

Include a budget of about 10% a month for utilities. Your total housing payment will total about 33% to 35% a month. That’s a good place to be when you’re thinking about renting a new place or moving out to an apartment. When I got my first job, I had a take home pay of a little over $2,200 per month and my first apartment was $680. I paid about $640 a month in rent, and then about $40 more in utilities. I was spending about $680 to live on my own, and I was able to maintain that payment without stress because I used that percentage rule.

Set a Short Term Moving Budget

Then you should budget for all of those little expenses that tend to come up while moving. Also, you need to set a budget for furniture and groceries. I was on an all cash budget because I was in the process of paying off my credit card debt. I decided to go to IKEA because it was a great place where I could get inexpensive furniture and furnish the apartment. I bought furniture a few pieces at a time. I didn’t furnish the entire apartment when I first moved in because that would have increased my monthly expenses. Instead, I set aside a little bit of money each paycheck in each month in order to furnish my apartment.

Set a Budget for Unexpected or Expected Apartment Expenses

Then finally, set aside some cash just for the little stuff, food that you’ll eat on move-in day and any other last-minute surprises. For example, I had a gas bill that I had to pay from my previous apartment. I had no idea that I would have to pay that. That was an immediate $47 that came out of pocket. I had to make sure that I had some extra cash saved up in order to take care of those expenses.

Those are my tips on budgeting for an apartment. Now that you live on your own, think of all the fun stuff you get to do. For example, you could start your own YouTube channel.

Here are all of the apartment expenses I had when I moved into my apartment.

If you didn’t know, I am, well, moving out.

I am moving my personal residence. I’ve been living at home and even though I love my family, sometimes it’s time to move on.


Actually, on the day that you are reading this, I’m probably in the middle of moving already. But there have been so many different expenses that have been coming up related to moving. Here is what I have so far.

7 Important Apartment Expenses When Moving

1) Security Deposit: $300 This just secures my claim on the apartment and covers any costs that may arise when I move out.
2) Renters Insurance: $279 I decided to pay this month to month instead of upfront to spread out the costs so I will be paying about 24 dollars a month.
3) Electricity: $0 This cost me nothing just to get electricity turned on, but I am not looking forward to seeing my first bill.
4) Natural Gas: $220 I paid a deposit to get my gas turned on and when my first few bills come in, they will pull from this deposit until it is gone and afterwards I will start paying month to month.
5) Internet: $100 This covers the initial 50 dollar device fee and the first month’s payment. Afterwards it will be 50 per month to keep at my blog.
6) Misc Supplies: $180 This covers the basics I will need to move in, toilet paper, towels, spices, cleaning supplies and all of the other little things that add up.
7) Movers/Moving Truck: $0 Since I don’t have that much I’ve decided to move everything with the help of a friend.

On top of all of this, I will also be spending money when I first move in to get my refrigerator stocked. I have a lot of supplies and basics from my old apartment that used to be sitting in my parent’s basement so I will save money moving that.

When you move you have to think about all of the costs before you get started. You should have at least $1000 in the bank for emergency moving expenses. I didn’t know that I would have to pay a deposit to get my gas turned on but because I was ready, it didn’t affect my normal budget. Here are some more expenses that I am considering.

Living Room

TV (I have a small one and I may get a bigger one eventually)
Cable (No cable for me, I will use free Hulu and Crackle and maybe Redbox)
Couch (I have a small couch that I need to move)
Table (I don’t have a coffee table but, hey who needs that anyway?)
Internet (Yes please!)


Dishes (I’m all set here)
Food (This will be at least $200 if I get everything at once)
Cleaning Supplies (I’ve been buying these when they were on sale for the past few months so I should be ok.)


Bed (I will be getting a bigger bed when I move)
Dresser (I need a dresser also)
Curtains (I have these as well)

I think that should be it. Is there anything I’m missing? How did you handle your apartment expenses when you moved out?

Originally posted 2016-06-21 08:00:00.

Budgeting & Saving

Here’s Your Quarter-Life Crisis Survival Kit

The concept of the mid-life crisis is common. You grow up, work for a bit, get married, and have kids. A decade or two down the road you feel lost, unsatisfied or unexcited with where your life is going.

The concept of a quarter-life crisis is similar. Only you are often younger and may not have much stability in life just yet. Most people in their 20s might joke about the idea of having a quarter-life crisis until it actually happens to them.

If you’re feeling uninspired and unfulfilled with most aspects of your life, whether it’s your job, your finances or your relationships, you may be experiencing a quarter-life crisis. The worst part is having no idea what your next step will be.

If you’re eager to re-evaluate your life, this quarter life crisis survival kit will equip you with the mindset and skills needed to get things rockin’ again.

Great post to help me get my life together. Listen Linda! This is exactly what I needed.  I'm hitting my quarter-life crisis now. :/

Realize That It’s Okay to Feel Lost Sometimes

Practically everyone goes through a stage in life where they have to stop and ask themselves what path they really want to take and what will make them happy. If you’ve just reached a major goal like graduating college or landing a new job, things may not actually be what you expected. Or you may just be looking for your next move (literally or figuratively). Stop trying to fit a square puzzle piece in a circle’s spot.

Instead of jumping into the next phase of your life and taking a path that may be unclear, it’s important to stop, revisit your passion and and evaluate how far you’ve come already.

[Tweet “It’s okay to feel lost at times.”]

Take One Day at a Time

Don’t try to solve every problem and doubt in your life all before sunset. When you slow down and stop focusing so hard on your life path, ideas, people and experiences will come your way daily and offer inspiration and guidance.

For example, you may meet your next business partner in a coffee shop or your friend might tell you about a killer job opening.

These instances happen in during day-to-day occurrences and often can’t be planned for ahead of time.

Stop and Re-Evaluate Your Budget and Spending

Your finances can play a large role in your quarter life crisis. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough money. Maybe you feel like you waste too much money on unnecessary things. Whatever the case may be, it’s extremely hard to feel like your life is on the right track when your finances are on shaky ground.

Add up all of your monthly income, total up your debt, and start tracking your spending. You can sign up for a free account with to connect all your bank, credit, investment, and debt accounts in one place and start setting financial goals.

After you’ve tracked your spending for at least 30 days, recreate a specific budget that is going to allow you to pay off high-interest debt, put money into a savings account, and spend consciously on the things that matter to you and not on impulse purchases.

Find a Mentor and/or Life Coach

If you’re feeling lost in your current career or in need of some guidance, you should talk to a coach or mentor who can help you redefine your purpose and skillset so you can secure a fulfilling job.

Being able to speak to someone about your thoughts, failures, successes and aspirations will help motivate you and restore the drive and determination needed to land a job that makes you happy.

If you are not having career issues, you can always reach out to a life coach to talk to you about more specific and personal topics in order to help get your life back on track.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to others is the worst thing you can do during a quarter-life crisis. Everyone is on their own life path and dealing with their own personal insecurities. These reasons make it unrealistic to compare where you are in life with anyone else.

Take some time away from social media if you can and focus on yourself.

Start Setting Mini-Goals Each Day or Week

Grab a planner, and start organizing your day and setting small goals that can be achieved. Think about things that need to get done around your house and in your life. Stop procrastinating and start checking those tasks off each day.

If you feel like you never have enough time in the day to accomplish things, getting organized and planning out your day will save time.

If You Can, Create a Rough 3-5 Year Plan

You may not know exactly what you want to do. But imagine what your dream or ideal week would be like. Determine where you will live, what type of work you will be doing, and what you will do for fun or entertainment. Then, you can start establishing smaller goals based on those ideas to help you reach them.

A lot can change over the next few years so it’s best to create a rough plan and be open to change!

Originally posted 2016-06-20 08:00:24.