Credit Building Hacks for the New Year

Credit Building Hacks For the New Year - Chic and Domestic
Credit Building Hacks For the New Year – Chic and Domestic

*This post contains referral links. I may be compensated for your clicks!*

My self lender account has been nothing short of a success for my credit. I was able to talk about just how helpful it was for my credit in my How To Build and Boost Your Credit post from my Purchasing Your Family Home series. With so many people gearing up to face their finances head on in the New Year, I’m getting more and more questions about not only savings and budgeting, but also ways to increase credit scores.

I don’t always get to talk about the importance of good credit and your credit scores, but because I’ve been blogging through our family home buying process the topic has actually come up a lot. I know that so many of my lovely subscribers (Are you one? Because you should beee!) are interested in purchasing their own family home in the future, so why not talk about it!?

Check out my post “7 Steps to Purchase Your Family Home” here!

So, a few things for the people who don’t know …

Self Lender is an online credit building CD account. It helps with boosting your credit score by reporting on time payments (as long as your payments are ON TIME) but the best part about it is how it holds your monthly payments for savings and distributes it back to you at the end! You essentially get a credit boost for an installment loan, but you’re really just paying yourself monthly, and tucking away your own money for savings. That’s a WIN.

You also don’t get a ding on your credit report for an inquiry, and it starts reporting almost immediately. I personally saw a credit increase of 50 points within the first 30 days of reporting, and 5 or 10 point raises after that. They have a few “loan” options depending on how much you can afford to save every month, and how quickly you plan to reach your savings goal. One is for as little as $25 a month.

A few more things to be aware of …

Now, because self lender reports as a (hopefully positive) installment loan on your credit report, if you are planning to make a big purchase sometime soon, like a house or a car, this “loan” will be viewed as a positive revolving debt on your credit report. No problem though, I would just recommend doing this and completing the CD before running your credit for your big purchase. You do have the option to pay in full at any time and close out your self lender account.

Overall, I can’t recommend self lender enough! I’ve been working really hard on my credit over the last year or so and seeing that big jump that simply trying out self lender has given me was well worth it. I chose to do the $25 option this time, but I actually plan to open another Self Lender CD with a larger monthly payment once this one is completed. You can honestly never have enough savings, and any boost on my credit report is a winner for me.

If Self Lender sounds like something that you’d be interested in trying in the New Year, check out my referral code and receive $10 towards your personal savings here!

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52 Week Money Challenge Hacks

52 Week Money Challenge Hacks - Chic and Domestic
52 Week Money Challenge Hacks – Chic and Domestic

With the 52 week money challenge being one of the more popular challenges for New Year’s savings, who would I be to not address all of the many many ways to hack the challenge to make it work for you!

Let’s be honest, all of our personal finances are not created equal. Our budgets vary slightly, drastically, and everything in between. Some of us are paid monthly, weekly, biweekly, often, and hardly ever. Yes, even inconsistent paychecks don’t disqualify you from a savings challenge.

Before we get to how to hack the 52 week challenge, let’s first discuss how the original 52 week challenge even works. It’s an incremental savings challenge so your weekly savings will vary. You’ll start week one by saving $1, continue on to week 2 by saving $2, week 3 you will save another $3, all the way through week 52 when you’ll be saving $52 and finishing out with a grand total of $1378 in savings. It’s just that easy.

If you happened to read How To Save a $1000 Emergency Fund, then you’ll know that I love the Qapital app for easy, pain free saving. They even offer the option to set a 52 week challenge rule that will easily transfer your funds for you. I swear by the app, especially if you’re serious about your savings goals. If you try it out today with my referral code you’ll be able to receive $5 FREE towards your first savings goal. Check it out here.

Be sure to check out my post “5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019” for more savings ideas!

Modified 52 week challenges
1. Reverse 52 Week Challenge
Maybe around the new year is when you have a little bit more cash to put aside for savings. The Reverse 52 Week Challenge would probably be right for you. You can still tuck away your weekly commitment, only you will start off by saving your $52 payment first, and end the challenge with your last payment of $1 towards your savings.

2. Modified 52 Week Challenge
The easiest way to modify the challenge to make it work for you is by saving your weekly payments the way you want to! Every week you will make a payment of $1, $10, $42, or $52, whichever one of your 52 payments you can afford that week. Maybe this week you have some extra money so you decide to save $52, but maybe next week you only have $10 to put aside.The easiest way to get this done is by keeping a detailed record and crossing off which one of your payments you’ve already made.

3. 52 Week Biweekly Money Challenge
For the people who get paid biweekly, maybe it will just be easier for you to make one large payment when you get paid rather than making an extra payment between paydays. You can essentially turn the 52 week challenge into a 26 payment, biweekly challenge by making 2 weeks worth of payments at one time. Week one you would be saving $3, and then $7, and then move on to $11, all the way up until week 26 when you put $103 into savings.

4. 52 Week Mini Money Challenge
Maybe you have a tighter budget but you’re still looking to get in on this 52 weeks of savings. No problem at all, you can easily modify the challenge to fit your financial situation. With the 52 Week Mini Money Challenge you can easily save smaller increments of money, and still be working towards a savings goal. You would start week one by saving 50 cents, and gradually increasing that amount by 50 cents every week. Your final 52 week payment should be $26, and you will still end up with $689 in savings by the end of the year.

5. 52 Week Double Money Challenge
Say your financial situation is great right now and you can afford to put a little bit more into savings every week. You can easily double your weekly savings by starting week 1 off at $2, week 2 would be $4, week 3 would be $6, and at week 52 you would be putting aside $104, and ending up with a grand total of $2756 at the end of the year. Look at those savingsss!

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5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019

5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019 - Chic and Domestic
5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019 – Chic and Domestic

With the New Year literally right around the corner, I always see people making goals to save more money. It’s great to finally, or continuously put your finances in plain sight, and start and finish the year off strong. I always like to commit to some sort of money challenge, or make an actual commitment to myself to stay consistent when I’m talking about savings, but let’s be honest, calling it a challenge makes it that much more fun!

This year I figured I would share a few of the many many options there are out there to try out to reach your 2019 savings goals.

1. $5 Challenge
I see people rave about this challenge all the time. It doesn’t personally work for me because I’m not someone who carries around cash too often, but if you are, this could definitely work for you. You essentially save every 5 dollar bill you receive, whether it be from cash purchases, or cash back, and tuck it away for safe keeping until the year is over. Once the year comes to an end, you get to break the bank (and no, I don’t mean crazy spending) and see just how much you managed to save over time.

2. Change Jar

This is one of those oldie but goodies, and perfect for someone who carries cash. You simple transfer all of your loose change from the bottom of your purse, car cup holders, and pants pockets and actually give it a designated spot to be saved until the year is over. Money that we all know you just keep sitting around. See, savings doesn’t have to be complicated at all.

3. 52 week savings challenge
One of the more well known savings challenges would have to be the 52 week savings challenge. It’s an incremental savings challenge, so you start week one by saving $1, continue on to week 2 by saving $2, week 3 you will save another $3, all the way through week 52 when you’ll be saving $52 and finishing out with $1378 in savings.

Be sure to check out my 52 Week Money Challenge hacks for a few modified options here!

4. 365 Penny Challenge
For someone with a tighter budget, all of these larger numbers in savings might be a little bit intimidating. The biggest savings challenge of all is being able to stay consistent. So, the 365 penny challenge might just be right for you. Like the 52 week savings challenge, the penny challenge is also incremental. Every day, (365 days to be exact) you’ll add to your total savings by saving enough pennies to correspond to what day you’re on. Day 1 you’ll save 1 penny, Day 2 you’ll save 2 pennies. By day 365 you should be putting $3.65 into savings, and at the end of the year you will have a grand total of 667.95 in savings.

Savings Hack: If keeping up with daily savings is too hard to remember, just add up the weekly totals and save it that way.

5. Round Up Challenge
I LOVE the round up challenge. If you’ve seen my previous post about How to Save a $1000 Emergency Fund, you’ll know that I utilized the Qapital app and it made it extremely easy for me to set this rule up to make my transfers for me. This is great for someone like me who doesn’t carry cash often, but also wants an easy savings option. All you’re doing is essentially rounding up to the nearest $2 and tucking the change away as savings.

If you try it out today with my referral code you’ll be able to receive $5 FREE towards your first savings goal. Check it out here.


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7 Simple Steps to Purchase Your Family Home

7 Simple Steps to Purchase Your Family Home- Chic and Domestic
7 Simple Steps to Purchase Your Family Home- Chic and Domestic
7 Simple Steps to Purchase Your Family Home- Chic and Domestic 7 Simple Steps to Purchase Your Family Home- Chic and Domestic[/caption]

Getting closer and closer to closing, I feel like I’ve learned so much during my journey from renting, to becoming a homeowner by 25. Especially with being a young couple, we can’t afford to make mistakes… at least not too many mistakes. I’m having a great time being able to share every tidbit of my experience, tips, and some hiccups that we’ve encountered along the way, and if I can save someone else a little bit of trouble on their own journey, even better!

Many people don’t think that they’re capable of home ownership, and other people have no idea where to even start. It’s a lot of overwhelming information in the beginning, but nothing that you can’t get past with some research and preparation. SO, without further ado, here are my 7 Simple steps to take before purchasing your family home.

1. Take a Homebuyers class
Whether you plan to start your home buying journey next month, or next year, I would highly recommend taking time out to take a homebuyer’s class in your community. It will be a great tool to put you in line with home buying terminology, local lenders, grants and down payment assistance, and some courses will even match your saving contributions during the timeline of the course. Taking a class gives you so much information to absorb to get on the right track, and it could even put you on notice of alternative purchasing options.

2. Check Your Credit
I know I know, sometimes it’s scary to see where your credit currently is, but if you’re looking to purchase your home in the future, you want to know your credit score! You don’t want to come to a lender without some idea of what your FICO scores and mortgage scores are. You don’t want to multiple inaccuracies on your credit report, and you also don’t want to be running your credit multiple times if you don’t have to. I recommend using My FICO to check your fico scores for a small price when you know that you’re serious about getting your home.

Check out my post on how to build and boost your credit score here!

3. Save
Whatever path you take to purchase your home, you will need to SAVE! Save, save and save some more. There are so many monetary things that come up during the home buying process, and you want to be prepared or somewhat prepared for them all. You might need to save for a down payment, closing costs, a home inspection, unexpected repairs after closing. Just save, save, save. There are many ways to get around some of these large expenses, but they aren’t always guaranteed, and you don’t want anything to put a halt to your home buying momentum.

4. Research Home buying Do’s and Do Not’s
There are so many resources and communities to give you an inside scoop on home buying Do’s and Do Not’s. This is why I’m here, to provide you with additional information, and give you a piece of my personal home buying experience. Join a Facebook community, google your own questions, or of course make sure you’re subscribed to Chic and Domestic as I share my experience of how I became a homeowner by 25.

Check out my post on Home buying Do’s and Don’ts here!

5. Research Local Lenders
There are plenty of big name lenders out there, and local credit unions are also an option, but I find from my personal experience, and by researching and talking to other people who have become homeowners that having some information on local lenders is key. Local lenders specialize in your local market! Who knows the local market better than them? Research some local lenders with great reviews, or ask around about other’s experience with local lenders.

6. Find a real estate agent that works FOR YOU
Your real estate agent is a key component in this process. You want to make sure that you find an agent that really works and advocates for you, and someone that you feel like you mesh well with. Don’t be afraid to find someone new if an agent isn’t working for you. This will most likely be one of the largest purchases that you make in your life, and you want to make sure that you feel secure in your purchase.

7. KNOW YOUR STUFF
Be sure to immerse yourself in information so that you really know your stuff! Know the things that you want in a home, know the things that are most important to you (Large backyard, large kitchen, smaller home, specific neighborhood, move in ready, a specific school district). Research and know about your options for mortgage loans (FHA, USDA, and Conventional). Know the steps that you’ll need to make to buy, and how to look for red flags, and if there is ever anything that you don’t know, never be afraid to ask questions. No question is too silly or too small when you’re spending your money.

Be sure to subscribe! You don’t want to miss more of my homebuying tips, and updates on my own personal journey to becoming a homeowner at 25.

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3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances

3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances - Chic and Domestic
3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances – Chic and Domestic
3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances - Chic and Domestic
3 Keys to Master Your Family Finances – Chic and Domestic

We all want to be able to stay on top of our family finances, correct? There is no better feeling than being ahead of your finances, and successfully placing your money where it needs to go every month. I get a lot of questions about what to do when you need to get control of your finances, or even if you’re starting at the beginning and looking to tackle your family finances head on. First things first, everything will always be trial and error, and everything will always have room for adjustments. Lucky for you, if you start with these 3 keys to success, you’ll always find success!

Prioritize

This will always be the most important step in mastering your personal finances for your personal situation. No person or family will be the same, but a general key to success is to really plan and decide what is most important to you. Some families will have to focus more on sustainability and simply making sure that their financial input is enough to cover their financial output if they’re dealing with a tighter budget, other families will prioritize things like savings for the future, family outings, travel, or a little bit of everything. As long as you can pin point your family priorities this will set you up to make logical decisions about your money.

Save

Saving is a must! There are no if ands or buts about it. If you want to put your family in good financial standing, be sure to always make it a point to pay yourself first. Even with a smaller income, single income, or being a family that lives paycheck to paycheck, there is always room to save something on payday. I had to learn this over time. I had to personally change my mindset when my family budget was tighter. Just because my bills were being paid, didn’t exempt me from being hit with an unexpected emergency, so really having at least some sort of emergency fund or sinking fund was a necessity.

Find out how we saved our $1000 emergency fund here!

Budget

Learn how to BUDGET. Never be afraid to approach and re-approach your budget. If you want to be able to master your finances for your family, my biggest advice would be to always know your numbers. Budgets are something that will always change, but once you learn how to set up a budget once, going back in to make adjustments will come easy. In order to master your money, learn how to create a budget! Know what numbers you’re bringing in every month, know what your various monthly expenses are, and know your priorities.

Learn tips on how to create your own family budget here!

Be sure you’re following me on Pinterest to check out all sort of great pins on Financial Fitness, Frugal Living, and Domestic Life on a budget.

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