Shop Smarter: Best Times to Buy

We’ve scoped out the best times of year to buy some higher-ticket items so that YOU can save money throughout the year and stay on budget. Each month is listed with items that are most likely to be priced the best they will be all year, plus we’ve included the holidays when you’ll find major sales. Make sure to plan your shopping calendar and your budget accordingly!  January  Electronics: There are typically sales AFTER Christmas to encourage additional purchases after the holidays. You’ll probably find that some of your favorite electronics are on sale.  Fitness Equipment: Retailers know that people make resolutions to…

January 10, 2022Borrowing Basics, Wallet Wins No Comments

We’ve scoped out the best times of year to buy some higher-ticket items so that YOU can save money throughout the year and stay on budget. Each month is listed with items that are most likely to be priced the best they will be all year, plus we’ve included the holidays when you’ll find major sales. Make sure to plan your shopping calendar and your budget accordingly!  January  Electronics: There are typically sales AFTER Christmas to encourage additional purchases after the holidays. You’ll probably find that some of your favorite electronics are on sale.  Fitness Equipment: Retailers know that people make resolutions to…

9 Things to Consider When Buying a Car 

9 Things to Consider When Buying a Car  Whether you’re in the market for your first car, or it’s just been a while since your last vehicle purchase, you may have some questions. We put together a list of nine things you should keep in mind as you prepare to buy your car.   1. Set Your Budget  Consider how much you want to spend on your vehicle. If you’re taking out an auto loan, think about how much you want to spend on your monthly payment. Don’t forget to include tax, tags, and auto insurance in the cost. Here is an easy-to-use auto loan calculator…

December 27, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

9 Things to Consider When Buying a Car  Whether you’re in the market for your first car, or it’s just been a while since your last vehicle purchase, you may have some questions. We put together a list of nine things you should keep in mind as you prepare to buy your car.   1. Set Your Budget  Consider how much you want to spend on your vehicle. If you’re taking out an auto loan, think about how much you want to spend on your monthly payment. Don’t forget to include tax, tags, and auto insurance in the cost. Here is an easy-to-use auto loan calculator…

How to Score a Better Deal on Your Next Car 

Buying a car is an exciting time. There are so many possibilities! But, although your heart may be into the shiny sports car on the lot, your mind tells you a nice, modest sedan is actually what you can afford. This guide will help you focus so you can score a better deal the next time you buy a car.  Focus on Price First  Buying a car may be serious business to you, but the salesperson at the lot may view selling a car as a game. Their goal is to score the best deal for the dealership… and a higher commission check for themselves. Your mission,…

October 4, 2021Borrowing Basics, Wallet Wins No Comments

Buying a car is an exciting time. There are so many possibilities! But, although your heart may be into the shiny sports car on the lot, your mind tells you a nice, modest sedan is actually what you can afford. This guide will help you focus so you can score a better deal the next time you buy a car.  Focus on Price First  Buying a car may be serious business to you, but the salesperson at the lot may view selling a car as a game. Their goal is to score the best deal for the dealership… and a higher commission check for themselves. Your mission,…

How to Boost Your Credit Score for Better Rates

It’s usually not until you apply for a loan that you realize just how valuable an excellent credit score can be. Lenders typically price loans based on your creditworthiness. Lower credit scores lead to higher interest rates. The difference between a C and B credit score, or B and A, could mean saving hundreds, or possibly thousands of dollars in interest, depending on the size and length of the loan.  You may feel that lenders are punishing you, but the reality is that financial institutions are trying to protect themselves from potential losses. Your credit score gives them a bird’s-eye view of your money management abilities. Lenders will perceive you as a higher risk if you struggle…

September 20, 2021Borrowing Basics, Wallet Wins No Comments

It’s usually not until you apply for a loan that you realize just how valuable an excellent credit score can be. Lenders typically price loans based on your creditworthiness. Lower credit scores lead to higher interest rates. The difference between a C and B credit score, or B and A, could mean saving hundreds, or possibly thousands of dollars in interest, depending on the size and length of the loan.  You may feel that lenders are punishing you, but the reality is that financial institutions are trying to protect themselves from potential losses. Your credit score gives them a bird’s-eye view of your money management abilities. Lenders will perceive you as a higher risk if you struggle…

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers 

Buying your first home can seem like a daunting task. Between figuring out your budget, considering various neighborhoods, and being shown multiple properties, finding the perfect home can be time-consuming and exhausting. But the truth is, if you know what to expect from the first-time home-buying process, you’ll have a much easier time!  Since buying your first home is one of the most important decisions of your life, we’ve decided to put together a handy guide for you. In this guide, we’ll help you better understand what to expect, what costs are involved and offer some useful tips. Here’s everything you need to know about buying your first home: …

September 20, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Buying your first home can seem like a daunting task. Between figuring out your budget, considering various neighborhoods, and being shown multiple properties, finding the perfect home can be time-consuming and exhausting. But the truth is, if you know what to expect from the first-time home-buying process, you’ll have a much easier time!  Since buying your first home is one of the most important decisions of your life, we’ve decided to put together a handy guide for you. In this guide, we’ll help you better understand what to expect, what costs are involved and offer some useful tips. Here’s everything you need to know about buying your first home: …

Raising Financially Savvy Kids: The Ins and Outs of Loans

When teaching your children about money, we know that actions speak louder than words. So how about an activity to show them the way?  The Chief Revenue Officer of a software company was shopping with his six-year-old daughter when they came across a popular doll with a $20 price tag. The girl, a bit dismayed, only had $15.  Typical responses you might have given your children at any given time include:  Give her the $5  Lend her the $5  Buy the toy yourself  Tell your child she’s out of luck  The girl’s father, being a savvy money manager himself, decided to teach a different lesson. He presented her with three different options:  Buy something cheaper. She would receive instant gratification but likely wouldn’t love what she got.  Continue to save. After all, she was only $5 away.  Invest…

August 16, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

When teaching your children about money, we know that actions speak louder than words. So how about an activity to show them the way?  The Chief Revenue Officer of a software company was shopping with his six-year-old daughter when they came across a popular doll with a $20 price tag. The girl, a bit dismayed, only had $15.  Typical responses you might have given your children at any given time include:  Give her the $5  Lend her the $5  Buy the toy yourself  Tell your child she’s out of luck  The girl’s father, being a savvy money manager himself, decided to teach a different lesson. He presented her with three different options:  Buy something cheaper. She would receive instant gratification but likely wouldn’t love what she got.  Continue to save. After all, she was only $5 away.  Invest…

Should You Have a Credit Card in College?  

Graduating from high school to college is a big milestone in a teen’s life and brings many changes. Since some of these changes are linked to finances, teenagers and their parents often wonder if having a credit card while they are in college is a good idea. Here are some pros and cons of credit card use during college, and some tips to avoid overspending.   The Upsides of Credit Cards  Despite their potential drawbacks, credit cards can also have significant upsides for college students. While the following benefits can be true for anyone, they can be especially useful for students who often have limited financial resources and short credit histories. With a credit card, students can:  Pay for emergency items, like car repairs  Purchase school…

July 19, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Graduating from high school to college is a big milestone in a teen’s life and brings many changes. Since some of these changes are linked to finances, teenagers and their parents often wonder if having a credit card while they are in college is a good idea. Here are some pros and cons of credit card use during college, and some tips to avoid overspending.   The Upsides of Credit Cards  Despite their potential drawbacks, credit cards can also have significant upsides for college students. While the following benefits can be true for anyone, they can be especially useful for students who often have limited financial resources and short credit histories. With a credit card, students can:  Pay for emergency items, like car repairs  Purchase school…

5 Hidden Costs of Homeownership

If you enter just the price of a house in a mortgage calculator, you might think that the cost of owning a home is less than renting. Well, not so fast. While the pros of being a homeowner include investment in generational wealth, a sense of stability, and predicable mortgage payments, keeping up a home takes a lot of work—and money.   Budgeting for your new house requires you to think about more than just loan principal and interest payments. Let’s go over the hidden costs of owning a home so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare.  Look Out for These 5 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home  Along with your monthly mortgage payments, include these easy-to-miss homeownership costs when budgeting:  Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by city, county, or even by the school district. If you can’t find the current property…

May 31, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

If you enter just the price of a house in a mortgage calculator, you might think that the cost of owning a home is less than renting. Well, not so fast. While the pros of being a homeowner include investment in generational wealth, a sense of stability, and predicable mortgage payments, keeping up a home takes a lot of work—and money.   Budgeting for your new house requires you to think about more than just loan principal and interest payments. Let’s go over the hidden costs of owning a home so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare.  Look Out for These 5 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home  Along with your monthly mortgage payments, include these easy-to-miss homeownership costs when budgeting:  Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by city, county, or even by the school district. If you can’t find the current property…

Steps to Take Before Applying for a Mortgage 

Buying a home is an exciting achievement, but it’s also a huge investment. Before you begin the home-buying process, you need to know what lenders will look for to approve your home loan. You should also get a sense of what the upfront home-buying costs will be. Here are some ways to make sure you’re ready to buy your dream home.   Check Your Credit Score.  Check your credit score so you’ll know where your creditworthiness stands. Most lenders would consider a credit score that’s 750 or higher very good. Still, even if your credit score isn’t that high, it doesn’t mean lenders won’t approve you for a home loan. But it’s still in your best interest to improve your score before applying for preapproval. A good credit score might save you thousands of dollars in interest over time. Here’s a list of things to do before applying for a home loan:  Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to get a copy of your credit report and check…

May 3, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Buying a home is an exciting achievement, but it’s also a huge investment. Before you begin the home-buying process, you need to know what lenders will look for to approve your home loan. You should also get a sense of what the upfront home-buying costs will be. Here are some ways to make sure you’re ready to buy your dream home.   Check Your Credit Score.  Check your credit score so you’ll know where your creditworthiness stands. Most lenders would consider a credit score that’s 750 or higher very good. Still, even if your credit score isn’t that high, it doesn’t mean lenders won’t approve you for a home loan. But it’s still in your best interest to improve your score before applying for preapproval. A good credit score might save you thousands of dollars in interest over time. Here’s a list of things to do before applying for a home loan:  Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to get a copy of your credit report and check…

Understanding Closing Costs on Your New Home 

Are you searching for your first house? As a first-time homebuyer, you’ve got a lot of work ahead to find a “home sweet home.” You’ll need to find a realtor, hunt for the perfect house online by tearing apart the MLS and other property listing sites, go to showings, compare home values, and more. But the labor is worth the reward!   But before all of this happens, you should be preapproved for your home loan and have your down payment saved up so you can have the smoothest closing possible. And not only that, but you should also have money saved to pay the closing costs.  Fees for Services Associated with the House Sale  Closing costs are fees paid to third parties that facilitate the home closing and transfer of ownership. These third parties could include lenders, title companies, insurance companies, city/county public…

April 1, 2021Borrowing Basics No Comments

Are you searching for your first house? As a first-time homebuyer, you’ve got a lot of work ahead to find a “home sweet home.” You’ll need to find a realtor, hunt for the perfect house online by tearing apart the MLS and other property listing sites, go to showings, compare home values, and more. But the labor is worth the reward!   But before all of this happens, you should be preapproved for your home loan and have your down payment saved up so you can have the smoothest closing possible. And not only that, but you should also have money saved to pay the closing costs.  Fees for Services Associated with the House Sale  Closing costs are fees paid to third parties that facilitate the home closing and transfer of ownership. These third parties could include lenders, title companies, insurance companies, city/county public…