The Benefits of a Secured Credit Card

Unable to get a credit card? If so, it may be harder for you to build a good credit rating, making everyday life tasks like making a hotel, plane or car reservation a little more difficult. The same goes for loan approvals.

A secured card can help those who dont qualify for a regular credit card to establish or repair a poor credit history. But what is a secured credit card and how do you get one?

You’ll Need a Deposit
These cards use your cash as a deposit for your spending funds, unlike regular credit cards which don’t require collateral.

For example, if you put $1,000 in the account, you can charge up to $1,000 with the secured credit card. You wont be able to charge more than that unless the bank extends your credit limit because you made timely payments or you add more money to the account. The deposit is taken by the lender if you dont pay your credit card bill on time.

Where to Get One
Banks offer secured credit cards, though you might have more luck getting one from a small bank or as a member of a credit union. The annual fees may be waived and interest rates should be lower at a credit union.

Some issuers may only give secured cards to people who are new to credit.

Look Out for Fees
Be sure to shop around for a secured credit card. Dont apply for one that charges an application fee”there are plenty of options that don’t include this fee.

Most secured cards charge an annual fee. Read the contract carefully and look for other fees so that you know how to avoid them.

How to Best Use Them
The main benefit? You can build up your credit score. Although some choose this option to avoid carrying around a lot of cash.

To improve your credit score with a secured card, pay off the card every month. The card wont allow you to spend more than your deposit, but it wont stop you from making late payments. Set up automatic payments, if necessary, and only keep a secured card for as long as you need it to build your credit. Why? Because they have higher annual fees and interest rates than regular, unsecured cards.

You dont want to dig a bigger financial hole for yourself by paying more in interest and fees with a secured card. The point is to improve your credit, so try to keep that as your end goal.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 17, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Design Your Home Bar

Here are a few tips to help design the perfect home bar.

Identify the Details

Determine where the home bar will work best.

Consider seating, storage, as well as equipment that will be needed, and try to incorporate it into or nearby your entertaining areas.

Get Inspired

Think about the atmosphere and dcor of your favorite bars or restaurants.

How can it be replicated in your home bar?

Tailor to Your Tastes

The style of the bar should be both consistent with your homes aesthetic and a reflection of what you enjoy drinking.

Presentation

Its all in the details, like a mirrored backsplash or moody lighting that sets the tone.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 15, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

3 Ways to Add Creativity to Your Day

Creative-types can feel stalled if they don’t have a frequent creative release. But with work and family, it can be hard to make time for yourself and your creative endeavors. Below are three ways to add creativity to your day.

Do it first thing. Self-care is essential, and if creativity is a part of your make-up, filling your creative cup first thing in the morning can completely change the mood of the day. Do you like to journal? Sketch? Make music? Stoke your creative fire by spending 30 minutes in the morning doing what you love while savoring your coffee or tea.

Surround yourself with art. You don’t necessarily need to be doing something creative to feel creatively stimulated. Surrounding yourself with the artwork of others can help, too. Find a few favorite pieces and hang them by your desk so you can see them while you work, or by your bed so you start the day with a creative charge.

Find a social media group. If you’re a social butterfly, you may make more time for creativity if you can do it in a group, even online. If photography or writing is your thing, find a club of like-minded folks. Not interested in getting creative with strangers? Invite your friends to a virtual hangout and catch up. Even something simple like writing or singing together, even virtually, can be a creative release.

Hope you enjoyed this information! Contact me for more tips and tricks.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 15, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

The Good and Bad of Zero-Interest Credit Cards

The offer of a zero-interest credit card can look enticing when it arrives in the mail. Who doesnt want to avoid paying interest on credit card charges?

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to using 0-percent credit cards. Here are some facts to consider before you respond to that offer:

Balance transfers: The 0-percent interest offer is a smart way to transfer balances from one card to another. Moving a high balance from a high-interest card to a zero-interest one can save you thousands of dollars.

Check the introductory period: Zero percent interest is only available for a certain amount of time, usually from six to 18 months. If you have a balance beyond that introductory period, youll be paying interest again.

Avoid fees: Some 0-percent credit cards will wave transfer fees of 3-5 percent for new cardholders, and waiving the first years annual fee is common. If the credit card provider wont offer these benefits, ask for them. If you do pay the fee, it will be rolled into your credit card balance.

Apply quickly: Balance transfers ” which are the most common reasons for accepting a 0-percent credit card ” are only available for a limited time when you get the offer. If youre sure its going to save you money, then make the switch before the deadline ends ” usually 30 days but sometimes as long as four months.

Pay on time: A late payment of only one day can void the 0-percent APR, causing the interest rate to climb high and fast.

Pay in full: If you are going to use a 0-percent credit card to your advantage, pay it off entirely before the offer of free credit ends. Any amount that isnt paid in full before the 0-percent interest deal expires will be charged the full interest rate back to the date of purchase.

Dont transfer again and again: Promotional balance offers may arrive in your mailbox often. Only use one to pay off your credit card debt at zero interest, and dont apply for another card to transfer the balance to if you cant pay off the second card before the promotional term expires. It can cost you more money and can hurt your credit score.

Now that you know what to look for when your mail carrier arrives with an offer from a credit card company, you may be tempted to go on a spending spree. Dont. If so, the best solution may be to toss the offer in the trash.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 13, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

Minimizing Clutter by Maximizing Storage

Looking for space to store your things at home?

Everything you own is competing for space in your house. Everyday items, such as clothes and exercise equipment, along with seasonal things like pool toys and Christmas decorations, are taking over your limited square footage.

You can create more space by moving some things around, but that doesnt always solve the problem. Here’s where you can find additional storage space in a cluttered home:

Under the Bed
Dont let the space under your bed go unused or gather dust. Buy some plastic bins and use them to store seasonal items such as winter clothes. Put your heavy sweaters in them during warm weather, and switch them out with your bathing suites and shorts during colder months.

If you have more space under your bed, store shoes, linens, blankets and other things you dont need every day.

Vacuum Storage Bags
Some clothes are bulky and can take up a lot of room in a drawer or closet. Vacuum storage bags are sold at home supply stores and can hold your winter clothes for a few months. Use your vacuum cleaner to remove the air and collapse the bag. They can also be used for other bulky items like comforters, sheets, blankets and towels.

Over-the-Door Organizers
This hanging organizer can look like something out of your old dorm room, but it still comes in handy. Hang it over the back of your bedroom door to store shoes, baseball hats, belts, scarves and jewelry.

Charging Station
You may not notice them immediately, but there are probably tangled charging cords all over your house. They don’t usually cause a huge storage problem, but they create clutter and can be ugly to look at.

Buy a charging station that can conceal the cords and keep your phones and other electronic devices accessible in an area that looks pleasant.

Garage
A garage can easily become one of the most crowded areas of a house. Clean it up by putting things in bins, donating what you dont need and hanging a peg board to hold your tools.

Everything should have its own space, especially in the garage where things can get cluttered quickly. Use a thick marker to draw an outline on the peg board for each tool. When you see an outline without its tool in place, youll know that a tool is missing. It should also help you put tools back where they belong after using them.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 13, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Start Building Your Credit

Your first credit card can be the start to building your financial future. Just remember, how you use it can affect you for years down the road.

For example, build a good credit score and you could see lower interest rates on home and auto loans, and receive better credit card perks. Make too many mistakes with a first card, however, and you could have less financial flexibility. Landlords, lenders and utility companies could view a low credit score as a risky customer for them and deny you services, or at least charge you more for them.

Start by only using your new credit card for emergencies. Dont use it for everyday purchases. Set up an emergency fund with auto-transfer capabilities to pay for any unexpected costs”such as a broken car, hospital stay or other emergency”and then pay the credit card bill in full when they happen.

Once youve set up an emergency fund and have a household budget to follow, start to add some recurring charges to your credit card. These can be a cellphone bill, utility bill, Netflix or other monthly payment.

If you can handle those bills without a problem”meaning you can pay them in full and on time each month”then its time to start making everyday purchases on your credit card if they fit in your budget.

Paying your credit card bill in full each month (and on time), will mean you wont pay interest charges or late fees. Those two steps are the best things you can do to raise your credit score. If you cant pay your bill in full each month, at least make the minimum payment and dont charge anything more until youve paid off the balance.

Having a credit card balance is okay, as far as a credit scores go, as long as its less than 30 percent of your total credit card limit. A higher debt-to-credit ratio and creditors could see you as a risk because you may be spending more than you can afford.

From time to time you may get blank checks from your credit card company. Dont use them. Theyre cash advances on your credit and carry higher interest rates than regular charges do.

After getting your first credit card, youll likely get more credit card offers in the mail from other credit issuers. They may offer all types of rewards and better rates than your current card. Dont go for them until youve established a good credit report for at least a year. Having too many credit cards can only complicate your finances and make it easier to overspend.

Lastly, read your credit card statement carefully each month. Look for fraudulent charges and other errors, and report them to your credit card company immediately. And get in the habit of checking your credit report for free at least once a year from the three main credit reporting agencies to check for errors on your report.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 11, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

How LEED-Certified Homes Benefit Your Health

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Posted on February 10, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

Making the Most of Your Credit Card Rewards

Using a credit card to earn rewards is pretty simple. Just use the card to buy things and youll get cash back or reward points from your credit card company.

Getting that free money of 5 percent or even more on every purchase is easy, but there are some things you should pay attention to if you want to get the most rewards possible.

Register for Bonus Categories

To get the most out of a cash-back credit card, look for a card that gives bonus rewards on certain purchases.

While 1 percent cash back is common on all purchases, some cards offer a 4 percent bonus for a total of 5 percent for buying from certain types of merchants. These can include restaurants, travel, grocery stores, gas stations, airfare or hotels.

The categories may change every quarter, with airline purchases earning 5 percent back for three months, then changing to movie theatre purchases for the next three months, for example. The category may even have a cash back limit.

To get in on these bonus categories, some cards require you to opt in each quarter and manually select which category you want to earn money back on. Some credit cards make it as simple as registering your card online, logging in to your account and clicking a button.

Use the Right Card for Bonuses

If you have a few credit cards, it can be difficult to juggle them and remember which card has which bonus for the purchase youre making. With the bonus categories changing each quarter, it can be difficult to remember which card to use to get the most cash back from it.

Using a cash-back card that you thought had a bonus at gas stations but instead had a bonus at department stores can leave you with a lot less cash back than you thought youd be earning.

Avoid an Annual Fee and Interest

Paying an annual fee on a rewards card is normal, but be aware of how much more money youll have to spend to earn enough cash back or rewards points to make up the difference between the fee and what a no-fee card charges.

If a cash-back credit card has an annual fee of $75, for example, and pays 5 percent cash back for grocery store purchases, it would require spending $1,500 to get that $75 fee back. Thats a lot of groceries to buy before getting money in your pocket.

Another area where cash rewards can be eaten up is by card holders who dont pay off their balances in full each month or on time and pay interest on their credit card balance. People who pay interest each month are often charged a higher interest rate on their cash-back card than if they did the same thing on a credit card with no rewards.

If you regularly carry a balance on your credit card, look for a card with the lowest interest rate. Dont look for one with rewards.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Posted on February 10, 2021 at 6:00 am
Savannah Scott | Posted in Uncategorized |

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