5 Changes to Make to Your Personal Finances

5 Changes To Make To Your Personal Finances - Chic and Domestic
5 Changes To Make To Your Personal Finances – Chic and Domestic

Not everyone has a positive relationship with money. In fact, if we can be honest, I believe that most of us don’t have the best relationship with our money. Are we making enough? Are we spending too much? Are we investing enough? Are we saving for the right things?

I would be lying if I said that I’ve always been great with my money because I haven’t. Sometimes I overspend on things, there have been times when my budget is nonexistent, and I have spent a great amount of time living life without an emergency fund! … YEAH.

It takes a lot to really be serious and committed to your finances in the beginning, but the more positive changes that you make, the stronger your money relationship gets. Every positive step you take in the right direction puts your finances in a better position to really build the foundation for the dream life that you imagine.

1. Save money
If you currently aren’t saving, you my friend are doing something wrong. When it comes to savings, every little bit counts. It doesn’t matter if you can afford a more aggressive savings goal, or if you’re seriously saving just a few dollars a week. When it’s time for you to break the glass for an emergency, you’ll be glad that you’re even a few dollars, or even a couple hundred dollars closer to paying for that emergency. If you can start and commit to building a savings, then you’re already strengthening the self control it takes to tackle your personal finances.

Check out my post “5 Money Challenges To Try In 2019” here!

2. Get out of debt
Plenty of people in the world live successfully with debt over their heads. The United States does it with ease and not a care in the world. That’s not the point! The point is, you don’t want to be one of those people, and you don’t want to be thousands of dollars in debt. Regain control! I absolutely understand that not everyone will be buying a house in cash, or avoiding car payments and credit cards, but it’s important to prioritize and recognize that too many unnecessary debts all at once is a downward spiral. Start by paying off or paying down your store cards, paying off a small medical bill, pay those parking and toll fines! Stop letting other people hold that IOU over your head, and get them out of your life FOR GOOD.

3. Cut your expenses
It’s really the little things that start to add up. Reevaluating your budget is something that you should do every so often, but especially when you’re wanting to make some positive changes to your finances. Get rid of that extra subscription, maybe an unused gym membership, or even finding ways to cut down a few of the expenses that you plan to keep. Nine times out of ten, for the average person, you’re probably overspending somewhere. Again, every little bit counts. Every penny that you save by cutting your expenses can then be used to tackle your debts, or pad that much needed savings account.

4. Invest
If you’ve read my post “My Personal Finance Goals For the New Year” then you’ll know that one of my larger goals for the new year is invest. Investing can mean whatever you want it to mean for you personally. Invest in stock, invest in your financial knowledge, invest in your financial future. Like your personal finances, how we manage money is always evolving, so it’s always good to keep up with all of your options out there to put you in a better place financially.

5. Change your mindset
So much of making a lifestyle change is mental. Tell yourself that YOU WILL, and stop making excuses as to why you can’t. You will save, you will pay off that debt, you will reach all of your financial goals, you will build the life that you want for yourself.

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My Personal Finance Goals For the New Year

My Personal Finance Goals For The New Year - Chic and Domestic
My Personal Finance Goals For The New Year – Chic and Domestic

With 2018 coming to end, I think that now is the perfect time to discuss personal finance goals for the future. Everyone makes all sort of goals for the New Year, and trust me I have a longgg list of things I want to accomplish. I’ll spare you some time though, and only bore you with a few of my personal finance goals for 2019.

1. Invest
Investing has been heavy on my mind, and it’s something that I want to do a lot more of in the New Year. I personally believe that if you can’t stop thinking about a goal, then it’s time to take action and make it come to life. I’ve invested in a stock investing course that I’ve been working my way through the last month or so and it has been extremely helpful for me.

Another way that I plan to invest in 2019 is by getting into real estate. As you might know, my husband and I purchased our first home just in time for the holidays, but I also have my own personal goals to invest in real estate as a business. Now, for a more realistic take on things, I might not necessarily purchase more real estate this year, but I do plan to invest in myself, so that I can invest in my wealth, and be that much closer to reaching my other investing goals.

2. Raise My Credit Score
My credit score has been doing lovely the last few months. I feel like I’ve been making the right moves to get where I’m trying to go, but I want a 780 or above in the New Year and I don’t plan on stopping until I get there.

Be sure to check out my post “How To Build and Boost Your Credit” or Credit Building Hacks For The New Year” here!

3. Pay down my student loan debt
Now, I can’t say that I’m in some crazy amount of student loan debt. It’s not 6 figures, it’s not pushing it at $90,000 and it’s honestly not even $50,000 worth of debt, but to me it’s all just debt that I don’t want to keep holding on to. I’ve done a very good job of planning my future educational and career goals around avoiding too much debt, or preferable any at all, and that’s the plan I want to stick to.

4. Pay Down My Mortgage
This is obviously a new goal for me. A very exciting one at that. When we got our keys I was cray excited, but the extreme number cruncher in me was like, “I can’t wait to start paying this thing OFF!” This obviously (clearly) won’t be happening in 2019, but I can accomplish a smaller goal of consistently paying it down on time, and at a more aggressive rate than required.

Be sure to subscribe and look out for more of my home buying and new homeowner tips!

5. Cut My Household Expenses
Cutting my household expenses will always be a personal finance goal of mine. Not just for a new year, but all year long. I’m always looking for ways to cut expenses, and increase the amount of money that I could possibly be saving. I redo our family budget when I feel like it’s needed, but a new year is a great time to look over things when you’re feeling fresh and positive for a financial change.

6. SAAAAVE
I will be saving saving saving all year long. Be sure to look out for my upcoming post on “A Few Easy Ways To Save” for inspiration to do some saving for your own family, and a little bit of how I personally plan to juggle our money to make sure it’s tucked away right where I want it. Also once again, be sure to subscribe for all of the great saving, budgeting, and personal finance content that I have coming your way.

Check out my post “5 Money Challenges to Try in 2019” here!

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How to Build and Boost Your Credit

Purchasing Your Family Home: How to Build and Boost Your Credit - Chic and Domestic
Purchasing Your Family Home: How to Build and Boost Your Credit – Chic and Domestic
Purchasing Your Family Home: How to Build and Boost Your Credit - Chic and Domestic
Purchasing Your Family Home: How to Build and Boost Your Credit – Chic and Domestic[/caption]

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

I’ve learned so much on our home buying journey, so of course I’ve decided to drag all of you along with me! Whether you’re planning to purchase a family home in the near future, or even if you’re planning to buy again, and you want to do it better this time around, I’m ready to share a few ways to assist in building and boosting your credit score for your next big purchase.

An important behind the scenes steps for home buying is securing that strong credit score. After all, this is what lenders look at to decide how likely you are to pay them back. You basically want your credit score to say, “I utilize my credit wisely, I’m good about paying back what I owe, and I even do it all in a timely manner.”
I’m no credit expert, but these are just some of the steps I took that worked out great for me.

Check Your Credit Report
First step is credit building. If you’re starting from the bottom, or if you’re just unsure of where you stand credit wise, a good first step is checking your credit report. Even if you think that you know what’s happening on your credit report, your best bet is to check. Things could be reporting inaccurately, you could be a victim of identity theft, or you could have old debts that you may have forgotten about. Check it, Check it, and Check it again!
Annual Credit Report, Credit Karma, and Experian will get your full views of your report, FOR FREE. Do note, Credit Karma uses vantage scores. Most mortgage lenders use FICO scoring to determine your credit worthiness. Use Credit Karma to keep up with your report only.

Disputes and Debt
If by any chance you have inaccuracies on your report, now is a good time to report them. Look into debt validation letters, and what sort of things you can dispute for. You want to get the ball rolling on this, but you also want to do it accurately, as it can take up to 30 to 45 days for a full investigation of the dispute. A good source that I used was knowledge from Financial Common Cents.

If you have a few accurate, but negative items on your report. It’s best to get them taken care of as soon as possible. Not everything will be deleted after payment, which sucks, but that’s okay. You still want to pay the debt down or pay it off because your debt to income ratio will be a big part of buying your family home. Paying down this debt will do nothing but help you.

Check out a few ways to tackle your debt here!

If your credit needs a boost, or is simply nonexistent I would suggest doing a few things. One being, apply for credit!

Self Lender
Self lender has been GREAT to me. I try to tell people about it any chance that I get because it’s really been nothing short of amazing for my credit. It’s an online CD account for savings. It helps with boosting your credit score by reporting on time payments (as long as your payments are ON TIME) but even better it holds your monthly payments for savings and distribute it back to you at the end! You’re basically getting a credit boost for an installment loan, but you’re really just saving your own money.

You don’t get a ding on your credit report for an inquiry, and it starts reporting almost immediately. I personally saw a credit boost 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.

Receive $10 FREE towards your own personal savings here!

Secured/ Unsecured Credit Card
A good starting place for credit building is getting a credit card. Secured cards or great for people with no credit history. You use your own money for a deposit, that deposit usually helps to determine your credit limit, and after 6 months of on time payments that deposit is usually returned to you.
Unsecured cards involve no deposit, but in some instances they’re harder to get approved for if you have limited or negative credit history. Different credit cards companies have different requirements and perks so if you’re going this route then just be sure to find a card that bests suits you.

Utilization %
If you choose to get a credit card to build a credit history, remember to keep your monthly utilization low. 30% is preferred for overall utilization. An even better rule of thumb is never, never ever, NEVER spend more than you can afford to pay by your due date. Of course things happen, and credit cards are good to have in emergencies, but when you’re looking to purchase a home in the future, the last thing you want to do is rack up unnecessary debt.

Know your cycle dates
Cycle dates are key when you’re looking for a credit boost. Your credit cards will be reporting to the big bosses, (the credit bureaus) after the closing of your cycle dates. Remember, your utilization should always be no more than 30% but if you want to see the most rewarding credit boosts, try to pay your cards down between 8% – 10% by your cycle date. If you don’t know your cards cycle date, don’t be afraid to ask!

Pay by your due date
Never, ever, miss a credit card payment if you can help it. This is something that will mess up all of your hard work in an instant! A good way to avoid credit card debt is to use what you can afford, a good way to avoid high interest is to pay your balance in full by your due date, and a good way to build a positive credit history is to make on time payments.

And there it is! Using these simple things will help you to start building a positive credit history. Before you know it, you’re going to see your score rising, which should help you tremendously with becoming an owner of your family home.

Check out how we managed to save a $1000 emergency fund here!

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