Woman selling things online

Spring into Some Extra Cash

Spring Cleaning is Upon Us

It’s that time of year again when everyone goes through their closets, garages, and storage units, trying to eliminate unwanted items. Before you throw it all away, consider making some money off of it! What you deem as garbage could be an item someone is willing to buy. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you spring into action.

 

Hold a Yard Sale

Yard sales are a great way of getting rid of random items you have around the house. Put them on display in your yard and watch as people line up to take a look. Even with social distancing protocols, you can have a successful sale. Consider teaming up with people around your block to gain more attraction from people passing by.

 

Sell on Facebook Market or Offer Up

Virtually list your items on a social media platform to gain attraction from members of your community. This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of unwanted items. Once you list your item, people will direct message you, either accepting your price or giving you a counteroffer. This is an excellent option if you have a lot of things and want to list them quickly. It takes about 5 minutes for each item to post, and once published, you can sit back and relax.

 

Learn to Earn

Online marketplaces like eBay, Facebook, and Offer Up are all excellent sources of knowledge. If you’re trying to sell something, you can look at these sites to see what people offer for comparable items. Rarely will you be able to sell an item above the market price, so doing your research before you list an item will save you a lot of time and effort.

 

Ditch the Storage Unit

Why are you paying for a place to store stuff you rarely use? This could save you hundreds of dollars a year and give you some extra cash when you sell the unnecessary things within it. Think about items that you may use once every couple of years and ask yourself if it would be cheaper to rebuy that or keep paying to store them. You might surprise yourself with what you can get rid of.

 

Don’t be Emotional!

Emotional connections to “things” are only temporary! Don’t keep items just because you might feel bad 5 minutes after selling them. Declutter your space and get some cash for those unused items. Not only will your bank account thank you, but you’ll breathe a sigh of relief once your living space is more organized.

 

https://www.balancepro.org/resources/newsletters/quick-tips-march-2014/


Pile of Debt

The Consequences of Debt

What happens if you don't pay your debt?

Debt is an obligation that requires the debtor to satisfy the financial needs of the creditor. Unpaid debt carries many harmful consequences. It's essential to educate yourself with the burdens of debt - here's what you can expect:

  • Unpaid debt will be sent to a collection agency
  • Your credit history and score will be affected
  • Debt takes a hefty amount of time to disappear
  • Contact from debt collectors

 

 

Collection Agency

 

"Under the federal law an original creditor can send your account to a collection agency once it's 31 days past due, though some creditors may try to collect the payment on their own for up to 180 days," according to Christina Lucey, director of product and financial advocate at the personal finance website CreditKarma.com. If you default on a credit card, loan, or monthly utility payments, you run the risk of having your account sent to a third-party collection agency in which you are still liable to pay off the debt.

 

 

Credit Score

 

Debt consumes an outstanding 30% of your credit score. Payment history, credit utilization, age of accounts, and recent inquiries can all negatively impact your credit score if you are dealing with debt. Quickly paying off your balances helps raise your credit score by lowering your credit utilization. If you lose control of your debt and are forced to choose debt settlement or bankruptcy, it will severely damage your credit score in which it takes several months, even years, to recover.

 

 

Impact of Debt

 

Unpaid debt reported to creditors takes an excessive seven years to disappear from your credit report. Creditors reference credit scores as a factor in their decision to offer credit cards, loans, or even approval for housing or vehicles. Debt also contributes to stress and depression, which can lead to more extensive mental health issues.

 

 

Financial Advisor

 

Bad news? You're in debt. Good news? BrightStar Credit Union offers its members free advisors to help with consolidating debt, surviving rough financial patches, and many more financial questions you may have. Advisors at BrightStar use their knowledge and expertise to construct personalized financial plans to achieve their clients' financial goals. Our advisors check in with their clients regularly to re-evaluate current situations/future goals and plan accordingly for continued success.


How to Use a Student Credit Card

When it comes to credit cards it’s very important to know key factors on how to use them correctly, especially as a student. If you don’t know how to properly use them, you could end up with a bad credit score or worse: end up in debt. To help prevent those scenarios, here are some tips you should know as a student.

You Choose Your Credit Card, not the Other Way Around

It’s important to not just apply for a credit card because you want a “free” new item, like a shirt or phone case. It’s important to research the company and see if the card you want is actually a good offer. Make sure to check for fees, interest rates and of course, compare it to other companies to see which offer is better and benefits you the most. Like stated in thebalance.com, the best credit cards for students to look for have no annual fees, low interest rates, and a low credit limit.

One Credit Card is Enough

As a student, you have a lot to pay for, especially when you think about your future. College includes having to pay for textbooks, food, rent, parking, and membership fees. Having just one credit card can help limit your spending. This will help you to not build up a ton of credit card debt. With one credit card, you can pay for most of those expenses and only focus on one card to pay off.

Control Your Spending

Don’t go over your credit limit! As a student, you might not focus on how much you spend, but it is very important to understand that getting too close to your credit limit makes it more difficult to pay it back in full at the end of each month. Also, know that credit bureaus do not like when you use more than 30% of your credit limit. To avoid overspending, keep track of the items you purchase and record them so you know if you are getting close to your limit.

Your Card, Your Money

Don’t let someone else use your card! When you apply for a credit card it’s for you to use, not anyone else. It’s your credit card, so it’s your responsibility. Allowing a friend or even a family member to borrow your credit card, even if they pay you back, is risky. Also, lending your credit card can cause you to get close to your credit limit because you don’t know how much they are planning to spend.

A Credit Card is Credit, not Debit

Credit cards and debit cards are two different things. Understanding that a credit card is not a debit card is important; don’t take cash out. This is known as a cash advance; credit card companies can charge from 2-5% cash advance fees and other fees due to the withdrawl. It’s important to stay away from cash advances and to read over the terms that go along with cash advances from your credit card company.

Credit cards have many uses, but it’s important to use them correctly. Keep these tips in mind once you receive your first credit card.


3 Ways to Help Your Teens Build Good Credit

When your teen finally takes the big leap and moves out of the house, they’re going to need a solid credit score for a lot of life steps: renting an apartment, getting a loan or finding a good deal on insurance.

For that reason, it’s important that teens build up their credit scores before they move out. There are a few ways you can prepare them for this in the years leading up to graduation.

  1. Make sure they have a checking account and debit card to go along with it
    Getting your teen started with their own bank account is a significant step in building their credit score without ditching their safety net. A teenager under 18 years old can still sign up for a debit card; they just need a co-signer. Since you are co-signing on the card, your personal account will be linked to your teen’s in case of an overdraft. With this checking account and debit card, you should also teach your teens the importance of managing money well.
  1. Teach them the credit card basics
    Credit cards are a bit more complex than debit cards, so it’s important to sit down your teen and help them understand the basics. Signing them up for their own credit card is a bigger step than signing up for a debit card, but it’s an additional step that will help boost their credit score — assuming they pay the bills on time and in full. U.S. News & World Report contributor Amelia Granger says that the most critical skill a teen can learn is to pay their bills in full, even if that means starting with a smaller credit limit. Make sure you are monitoring your teen’s bills to confirm they’re not damaging their credit score rather than building a good foundation for the years ahead.

 

  1. Help them open a Secured Credit Card
    A Secured Credit Card is the perfect card to teach your teen how to properly manage money. It does this by not allowing them to use the money they don’t have, instead locking in a minimum amount of $500 they must use as if it were borrowed money from the bank. This card will help them improve their credit score and after a year they will be able to apply to a regular credit card.

Responsible money management is tough to practice if you learn it late in life. Your kids will be much better off by teaching them good financial practices.


Do not get stuck in high student debt!

3 Ways to Avoid High Student Loan Debt

Recently, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released new research based on Equifax credit report data on repayment rates of student loans. One of the most interesting pieces of information found in this report is that two-thirds of the nation’s student-loan debt is held by people over the age of 30.

In the event you have children who want to pursue a higher education degree, or you are looking to work on an extra certificate to better your career, this fact is a little nerve-racking. For this reason, we wanted to give you a few alternatives to avoid high rate student loans.

  1. Online Schools
    You might be wondering why we are suggesting online education as an option to save money on a student loan. The answer is simple. Online degrees allow you to have more flexibility with your schedule. Thus, giving you some extra time to have a full-time job, while going to school. You can set money aside and every six months have the money to pay one or two online courses. You can also pay your courses with a low rate Credit Card and pay it monthly little-by-little. Having a job will allow you to do this comfortably. The flexibility of an online course can also help you study during the weekend.
  2. Community College
    Yes, community colleges are still good places to go to school. They are much cheaper than attending a big university. These, often offer some certificates that can help you advance your knowledge and skills on the workplace.

 

  1. Apply for Scholarships
    You might be surprise at the amount of scholarships offered out there. Make sure you do your research and apply to anything and everything you can. Sometimes, your job has incentives that can give you some money for school. Sometimes your community has something to offer to go to school locally. Make sure you prepare yourself and save as much as you can.

 

Your education is important. Make sure you are making smart choices and don’t get stuck in high student loan debt.

Hope this helps!