How to Vacation on a Budget

School’s out, the weather is nice and you’ve got some vacation days coming up – it’s time to plan a fun family vacation. But when it comes to a vacation, it’s common to go over budget with your spending. For many people, this can snowball into growing credit card debt, potentially even causing your credit score to take a hit. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to take a fun, memorable vacation without breaking the bank. We’ve stockpiled some of the most affordable vacation destinations and tips to save money in this post.

Affordable Vacation Destinations

Here’s a look at some of our favorite vacation hot spots for budget-conscious travelers:

  • The Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon isn’t just an amazing sight to see, but with campsites available for as little as $15 per night, it’s also an affordable destination for the outdoor lover.
  • Fort Myers, Florida: Florida has a lot of great beach towns, and Fort Myers is one of the best. There’s the beauty and fun of the beach itself, affordable lodging accommodations and lots of other fun things to do in town.
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: This is another fun, affordable beach town. Stay in one of the reasonably priced hotels on the beach and then soak up the sun during the day. There’s lots of other things to do in Myrtle Beach, like hit up the amusement park or stroll the beach shops.
  • Bar Harbor, Maine: If you want to head east, you probably won’t find a town more picturesque and affordable than Bar Harbor, Maine. It’s nestled right on the ocean and is great for the outdoor lover.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The western Pennsylvania city has earned the nickname “Kidsburgh” for all of the great affordable family-friendly activities and attractions it boasts.
  • The Mississippi Gulf Coast: If the Gulf Coast is more of your thing, anywhere in Mississippi makes for a great vacation location, especially when it’s not unusual to find a hotel room for less than $150 a night.
  • St. Louis, Missouri: We’ll round out this list with St. Louis, a city that blends history, great architecture and fun. Take a ride up in the Gateway Arch for a great view of the city and enjoy all there is to do on the mighty Mississippi River – all for a great value.

Tips to Vacationing on a Budget

If you want to be even more budget-conscious, here are some tips for saving money with your vacation:

  • Cash in your rewards: Consider using airline miles toward tickets or hotel rewards toward night stays.
  • Shop around: Don’t just book hotels, airfare or rental cars with the first provider you see. Shop around and look for discounts or promotional offers. Additionally, consider traveling during the week, when hotel and airline prices are generally cheaper than on the weekends.
  • Cook yourself: While it’s always fun to go out to eat while on vacation, consider hitting up the local grocery store and buying food items for breakfasts and lunches. This can help reduce meal costs, which is often a big overhead expense on vacations.
  • Ride share instead of taking a taxi: If you’re not renting a car, you might need to use a taxi to get around town. Forget the taxi on your trip and instead utilize cheaper ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

Protecting Your Child’s Credit Future






























































































When it comes to credit scores and personal finances, there are several threats that people need to be aware of. There’s the actual financial aspect of credit issues, such as credit cards, debt, loans and more that need to be properly managed to maintain a good score. Then, there’s the aspect of identity theft, a serious issue that was highlighted last fall by the massive Equifax data breach, where about half of all Americans had their confidential information potentially swiped.


















































































































Yes, maintaining good credit is about a lot more these days than just forming good financial habits – and if you have children, part of your responsibility is raising them to learn from some of your generation’s mistakes. Among all the other responsibilities that you have as a parent, ensuring that your children have the knowledge to pave the way for a successful financial future is an important one. With that said, here’s a look at some ways you can help protect your child’s credit future, both from a monetary and identity theft standpoint:

Tips for Protecting Your Child’s Credit Future

  • Their name: Preventing identity theft arguably starts when you name your child. For instance, while it’s important for some families to follow tradition in naming their kids after their fathers or grandfathers, this can actually potentially implicate them when it comes to credit reporting. For instance, if David Jonathan Jones, Sr., has a negative item on his credit report, there’s a chance that David Jonathan Jones, Jr., may also have that same negative item on his credit report.
  • Beware of your online postings: Parents are proud of their kids, which makes sharing photos of them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks somewhat routine online behavior for them. That’s fine, but try to refrain from posting their birth dates, the city they were born in and other information a potential thieve could use to piece together information to steal their identity.
  • Freeze their credit: Experian estimates that about 25 percent of all children will have been victims of identity theft before they reach the age of 18. Noting this, consider calling up the credit bureaus and freezing your child’s credit. This ensures that nobody will be able to take out a line of credit in your child’s name unless they go through a rigorous process, which is very difficult for thieves to do. When it’s time to open a line of credit for your child, all you have to do is contact the bureaus and unfreeze it. To freeze their credit, you can go directly to the bureaus websites.
  • Discuss responsible money management: Certainly the other big aspect of ensuring a successful financial future for your child is instilling good money management habits. Start early in educating them on this important responsibility, and continue to speak with them about it as they get their first credit card, buy their first car and more. Irresponsibly managing money can lead to negative items on a credit report and significantly decrease their credit score, which can seriously jeopardize the things they’re able to accomplish in life.
One of Every 10 American Consumers Doesn't Have A Credit Score

No Credit Scores – 45 Millions Americans

No Credit Scores
No Credit Scores- America is a country made up of about 319 million people. However, according to a new report recently released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), up to 45 million Americans either have no history with the major credit reporting bureaus or No Credit Scores that’s so outdated or limited that they’re classified as unable to be scored.

Think about that: that’s 45 million Americans, or roughly one out of every 10 individuals in the country.

Report Details of No Credit Scores

According to the report, 26 million Americans don’t have history with the major credit reporting bureaus and another 19 million have outdated or limited credit history. The African American and Hispanic demographics were found most likely to be classified in one of the two aforementioned groups, with a 15 percent rate of credit invisibility compared to 9 percent for Caucasians. Furthermore, low income consumers are 30 percent more likely to have credit invisibility, compared to just low single digit percentages in upper income areas. No Credit Scores for 45 Million Americans.

Young adults ages 18-19 make up the majority of this “no credit score” stat at about 80 percent, as the study indicated that many had little time to build credit history or use debit cards instead of credit cards, among other reasons. Credit invisibility or lack of adequate history is also high among those 60 years old and greater.

Importance of a Credit Score

Those 45 million who don’t have an adequate credit score are obviously at a major disadvantage when it comes to getting a loan – whether it be a home, auto or student loan. But thankfully, there are a number of ways one can either build – or rebuild – credit history:

  • Get a secure credit card: These cards draw on money that is deposited in a bank and don’t require a credit score to obtain. Just be sure the card you choose reports to the three main agencies, as not all of them do.
  • Credit builder loans: These are loans where the lender makes payments over a loan’s life and then receives the money, along with any accrued interest, after this time period is over. If you belong to a credit union, you should qualify for a credit builder loan.
  • First credit cards: Remember, about 80 percent of those without a credit score are 18-19-year-olds. Make sure you get your kids an entry-level, low limit credit card before they go off to college or after they graduate high school so that they can begin to build credit and learn about managing it responsibly.


So if you’re among the 45 million Americans with No Credit Scores, now is the time to do something about it. And once you do, don’t forget that in order to attain the low interest loan – and loan approval altogether – benefits that a good credit score permits, it’s essential to keep it in tip top shape so that a lengthy credit repair process isn’t necessary.

Why a Collection Agency Won't Remove a Record After It Has Been Paid

Paid Collections – Why Are They Still on My Report?

Are you one of many Americans who have collection accounts on your credit report? If so, you unquestionably want it to just go away. This is a pivotal part of credit repair but raising your credit score back up to a favorable status is much easier said than done. That’s because according to U.S. law, collection accounts can be reported in your credit history for seven-and-a-half years from the original date you fall behind on payments.


Seven-and-a-half years. That’s a long time a bad record can weigh down your FICO score. Even worse, it’s possible that you can settle your debt with a collection agency and the record will still weigh down your credit score. Why? Because collection agencies are required to report information that is both accurate and complete and that includes this negative aspect of your credit history.

So now that you know why collection agencies won’t wipe a record clean, even after you’ve settled your debt, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do? I mean, 7.5 years is a long time to wait out a bad record.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to wipe bad records from your report early, thereby allowing you to advance and repair credit. The bad news is these things are not sure-fire. Here’s a look at a few credit tips for working with collection agencies on this matter:

  • First, pull your credit history so you know what’s being reported. There’s a chance you might find an inaccuracy within the report, which can lead to a favorable outcome, as collection agencies aren’t legally allowed to report inaccurate or incomplete information.
  • Negotiate a “pay for removal” debt management deal: If you haven’t settled any debt yet, contact the collection agency and see if they will remove your record should you settle the debt. Many will likely respond and say that they’re unable to remove the record, as credit reporting agencies frown upon this policy. But it’s worth a shot.
  • Build new, positive credit: Part of your credit score is based on any new credit you’re building. So if you’re striking out with getting records removed from your credit report, it may just be best to cut your losses and focus on building new credit. As time goes on, these negative records will have less of an impact on your overall score, as long as your finances and credit history are headed in the right direction.

For more information on how to repair your credit after a collection you can request a free consultation by filling in the form below.

maximize your fico with different tradelines

Different Types of Credit – How to Maximize Your Score?

There are five main factors that make up a FICO credit score – payment history, amounts owed, credit history length, new credit and types of credit used.

While the “types of credit” category only factors for about 10 percent of your overall FICO score, it can mean the difference between a good score and a great score, so it’s a category not to overlook if you’re on a mission of credit repair.

First, it’s important to note that there are two main types of finance loans: revolving and installment. Installment loans consist of things like auto loans and student loans — money that is loaned with the expectation that it will be paid back in a relatively short period of time. Revolving loans, which are things like credit cards and bank cards, involve debt that is accrued and, ideally, paid off on a monthly basis (i.e. debt management).

For the best possible credit score, it’s recommended that consumers try to establish a good balance between installment and revolving loans. But here’s a credit tip — there’s one other type of loan that can greatly aid your credit score for the better in the long-term: a mortgage.

When you’re first approved for your mortgage, it’s likely that your credit will take a hit in the near-term. But a mortgage is good for your credit score in the long run for two big reasons. One, it qualifies as a type of credit used. And two, if you make on-time mortgage payments, it will reflect well in the payment history portion of your credit score, which makes up 35 percent of your FICO score.

With all this being said, it’s also worth mentioning that just because you have a variety of installment, revolving and real estate loans to your name doesn’t mean you’ll have a pristine credit score. Like we mentioned above, on-time payments are key. And it’s also key that you don’t have any unpaid loans that are taken on by collection agencies, as it’s hard to repair credit when you have something that could stay on your record — and influence it in a negative way — for up to 7.5 years.

So while diversifying your credit is important, it’s important not to overlook other factors that go into the makeup of your overall score as well.

Cash or Credit

Cash or Credit – Key Credit Repair Tips and Advice

In order to avoid debt and overspending, many Americans have moved away from credit cards and loans and instead save up cash for purchases. The thinking behind this practice is that they’ll never have to embark on any credit repair or debt management mission, as paying with cash only ensures that they’re never spending beyond their means.

Paying only with cash also ensures that consumers are paying the lowest possible price for items, as they can avoid interest rates that can make large purchases even larger in the long run.

But is paying cash for everything all the time really the right way to go about your finances? While it certainly carries some benefits, one area where this practice can hurt you is how it pertains to your credit score.

Yes, your FICO score, that three digit number that’s essential for getting approved for loans and credit cards and also for cell phone plans, employment opportunities and more. Building credit is important for a variety of reasons, and while many people may be scared off by falling into debt and having to repair credit, a favorable credit score can help you with more than just home and auto loans and credit cards.

Here’s a look at some other reasons why paying cash for everything may not be the best financial strategy:

  • Your FICO score is composed of five factors: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used. If you pay cash for everything, you won’t have a credit report. And while many people are OK with this, there’s the chance of being denied for a credit line in the event of an emergency or being turned away for a job or cell phone plan. Like we mentioned earlier, your credit score is important these days for more than just loan approval and favorable interest rates.
  • You can have a credit card and be responsible. One argument for paying cash over credit is that you’ll never have to worry about spending getting out of control. But there’s another way to use a credit card and keep spending within means — by being responsible. Here’s a great credit tip to build your score and keep debt down: Make payments on time. Not only does this save on interest, but it’s also the most heavily weighed aspect of your credit score.

So while many are spurning credit cards altogether and opting for a cash-only approach, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds, so your credit score as well as your finances don’t suffer.

Serious Credit Tips

Credit Mistakes to Avoid at Any Cost – Credit Tips

Credit Mistakes to Avoid- If you’re in need of credit repair, it’s something that you have to devote time and energy toward working on. Repairing credit takes commitment and a proper understanding of how credit is configured. And while improving your credit score isn’t something that’s easy or fast to do, harming it is something that is.
With that being said, here’s a look at the five most common blunders people make that harm their credit score. Knowing these could be the credit tips you need to keep your score favorable and not poor:

  1. Not paying bills on time: Payment history accounts for 35 percent of your FICO score, specifically if you’ve made on-time payments. A late payment won’t just incur late fees and possibly higher interest rates, but it can immediately dock your credit score of anywhere from 80 to 110 points.
  2. High debt-to-credit ratio: Ideally, it’s recommended that you keep debt-to-credit ratios at about 30 percent for the best possible score. So if you have one credit card and a credit limit of $10,000, keeping it no higher than $3,000 is ideal. Anything more will drop your credit score, so take debt management seriously.
  3. Bad debt: Simply put, don’t let any bills go to collections. Not only will they stay on your credit report for up to 7.5 years, they’re not good for your overall finance picture.
  4. Hard credit pulls: Hard credit pulls are done any time someone is officially approving you for some sort of credit line. They also impact your score by about 5-10 points for every pull and stay on your report for up to two years. Simply put, know the difference between a hard pull, which docks your score, and a soft one, which doesn’t. Many consumers don’t and are surprised to see their score so low.
  5. Check your credit report: You should regularly check your credit report – ideally, once a month. Why? Because it’s estimated that up to 40 million Americans have some sort of mistake on their report. By staying on top of your report, you can monitor and dispute incorrect information, which could be bringing down your credit score.
closing accounts

Closing Out a Credit Card – Does it Damage Your Credit?

So your credit score in unfavorable and you want to get your finances in order. However, credit repair is a big part of getting your FICO score back in favorable order. So what’s there to do?

To put it simply, there is not one tried and true “fix” to turn your credit score from poor to stellar over night. No, instead you need to take a look at the areas where your credit score is lacking luster and then make appropriate changes, whether in regards to debt management, making on-time payments, etc.
But one way people think they can magically improve their credit score quickly is by closing out credit card accounts. This is what we like to call a “repair credit no-no” when it comes to upping your FICO score. Here’s why:

  • Your FICO score takes into consideration what’s called a “credit utilization ratio.” Simply put, this takes into account your total credit amount versus the amount of credit that is currently being used. Generally speaking, you want to keep this credit utilization ration around 30 percent, meaning that you’re only carrying a balance at or below 30 percent of what your total limit is, for the best possible score.
    • If you close out a credit card, you’re also eliminating parts of your total credit amount. Say, for example, you have two credit cards. Between the two of them, you’re at a 30 percent credit utilization ratio. You close one of them, thinking it will help, except now your credit utilization amount will rise about 30 percent, hurting your FICO score.

So if someone offers “closing out a credit card” as one of their credit tips, don’t be fooled. The best way to repair credit is to simply make on-time payments, enact debt management strategies to pay down loans and credit card debt and be mindful of the types of accounts you open.

factors making up your fico

Payment History – Why It’s So Important?

Of the five categories that make up a FICO score, “payment history” is the one that carries the most weight. Specifically, payment history accounts for 35 percent of your total credit score, while amounts owed (30 percent), length of credit history (15 percent), new credit (10 percent) and types of credit used (10 percent) round out the rest of what goes into your score.

But just why is payment history so important? Here’s a look:

  • The whole point of a credit score is to inform a lender of whether you’re a reliable borrower. And a big part of being a reliable borrower is making on-time payments. That’s the biggest thing that the “payment history” category tells a lender — whether or not on-time payments have been consistently made on things like credit cards, retail accounts and loans.
  • A common query many consumers have is whether a late payment here or there will harm their credit score. And the answer, in most cases, is no if your score is otherwise favorable. However, if you have regular late payments, credit repair is necessary. Luckily, in this case, it’s simple to repair credit — just make on-time payments.
  • What’s in the score? Specifically, when it comes to late payments, a FICO score considers not just how many late payments there are, but how late they were, how much was owed and how recently each one occurred.

Like we already noted, the good news regarding the payment history portion of the credit score is that it’s easy to correct. There’s no debt management involved, just the matter of making on-time payments. So take these credit tips from us as it pertains to your finances. Make sure your credit history is in check. It’s the biggest piece of the FICO pie.


Bad Credit Score – It Hurts!

Bad Credit: It Hurts!Everyone knows that a good credit score is essential to getting approval for everything from car insurance to car loans—and for getting the best possible interest rate that’s currently being offered—but what many people don’t seem to realize is just how much of a toll a poor FICO score can have on you.

So if you have a poor score, it’s important to take it seriously and enact credit repair, whether it means deploying debt management techniques or implementing good bill-paying habits. Here’s a look at how a poor credit score can hurt you and your finances.

  • High credit card interest rates: Credit cards are notorious for the high interest rates they charge. After all, it is how the card companies make their money. However, if you have poor credit, you can anticipate paying 22 percent and upward, should you even be approved. That’s a far cry from the 10 to 19 percent that’s likely with a good score.
  • Loan interest: How much more can you expect to pay on a car loan with a poor credit score? Possibly up to 2 whole percentage points of interest! Mortgage loans, too, can mean you that you will have to pay potentially tens of thousands more over the course of a loan with a poor score. Repair credit, and take it seriously to avoid these preventable expenses.
  • Miscellaneous: Can you imaging trying to sign up for a cell phone plan only to find out at the store that you’re ineligible because your credit score isn’t good enough? It happens. The same goes with car insurance. Presently, 47 states are permitted to check your credit score to determine the rate.

As you can see, a poor credit score can really hurt! So if yours isn’t satisfactory, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to correct it.

More Insurance Tips

Understanding General Insurance coverage: Suggestion For The Smart Consumer

When it comes to dealing with insurance coverage, it may seem like it is you versus the globe in some cases. With the huge quantity of information available online, it can be almost overwhelming at. This article will certainly offer much practical info for you to obtain begun on the appropriate course.

When you make any sort of improvements to your house that price over a specific amount, you should make sure to call your insurance company and allow them find out about it. If requirement be, many insurance carriers make you state renovations to them that cost a lot so that your plan can be readjusted.

Keep your broker or insurance firm updated on anything that may affect your policy or protection. If they do, then they could propose the next program of activity in concerns to your insurance coverage plan.

When you decide on insurance coverage for your auto, certify your insurer. Evaluating protection, it is additionally in your best passion to look for evaluations on their client solution, case responsiveness and also also rate increases. Understanding which you are dealing with ahead of time can aid you set assumptions with your insurance firm.

Commonly, you will want to get in touch with other client testimonials of specific insurance policy business just before spending your cash in their policies. By speaking with sites like Angie’s listing as well as other such customer remarks, you can acquire a sense of the current popular opinion towards an insurance policy business. If the majority of the firm’s patrons are pleased, that may aid you develop a choice, and also vice-versa.

Have your insurance coverage company reconsiders your scores if your credit history rating has gone up. Insurance business do base component of your preliminary premium on your credit report. Without your consent though, they could just inspect it when they initially supply you protection unless you have had a lapse of insurance coverage. If you know your credit has risen, having your credit rating reconsidered could possibly bag you a reduction in your costs.

When comparing insurance business, the wise customer will certainly take their own loyalty right into account. An insurer that has supplied years of reliable, hassle-free and also reputable service need to not be deserted the instant a slightly more affordable different becomes available. It is fairly most likely that an insurance firm that provides rock-bottom prices is cutting corners somewhere in the solution they provide their clients.

An annual review of their insurance plan is a routine every person ought to exercise. Make certain that all details on your plan is correct and also update it with any type of adjustments. See to it you are receiving credit report for such points as automated seat belts on your automobile policy and safety surveillance on your property owner policy.

In summary, you would like to do all that you can to learn concerning insurance policy. There is a lot of information available, yet we have given a few of the most essential pointers. Ideally we have supplied you with sufficient details to not only provide you a strong background, however additionally further spark your passion to come to be a professional in it.

If they do, then they could recommend the following course of action in regards to your insurance policy. Typically, you will certainly want to speak with other consumer assessments of certain insurance coverage companies just before investing your cash in their plans. If your credit history rating has gone up, have your insurance provider company rechecks your ratings. Insurance policy firms do base part of your initial premium on your credit rating rating. An annual testimonial of their insurance policies is a routine every person need to engage in.