1. 4 Ways to Avoid a Christmas Spendover

    Published on October 21, 2016

    There are two different types of people when it comes to the holidays… those who think “It’s only October, I have plenty of time to do my Christmas shopping” or those who feel “There’s only 9 weeks til Christmas, I better get planning and finish shopping!” Many reasons exist that people procrastinate their holiday shopping, but a result of procrastinating can lead to spending a large amount of money at once, which doesn’t work for most people. According to the American Research Group, in 2015, people on average planned on spending $882 on gifts for the holiday season - and that amount doesn’t even include travel expenses, food or holiday outfits! If you’re starting to worry about how you are going to afford those gifts, take a look at these 4 points to help you get through your holiday spending.

    1. Set a budget and keep a running total- Many people may set a budget for Christmas shopping, but end up not following through with it. If you find yourself to be one of those people, this is the key point that you really need to hold yourself to. Not only should you set a budget but you should also keep a running total of what you are spending while you are purchasing gifts. If it helps, when making a budget, divide your budget by person so you know how much you should spend on each individual.

    2. Make a List- Along with setting a budget, the best advice is to make a list. Without a list you may find yourself buying too many presents and overspending which defeats the purpose of making a budget. If you are shopping for a family member, find out what they want and add that to the list. After you have your list complete, start by searching stores or online for the items.

    3. Shop Around- Don’t feel like you have to buy the doll that your niece wants at the first store you find it at. Look at sale flyers, as well as online, to find the best price. Keep in mind potential shipping costs if you’re looking online, which will add to the price of the item. It may be a couple dollars cheaper online but if you have to pay $7 shipping it won’t be saving you in the end, so also watch for shipping discounts or coupons.

    4. Rewards Cards- If you’re going to be spending a large amount of money, you might as well be earning cash, points or miles back! When looking for a rewards card, look for a card that will offer rewards that are beneficial to you. For example, if you are going to be looking for a new truck or SUV in the future, you should be checking out the Capital One® BuyPower Card. With the Capital One® BuyPower Card, you can get 5% earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year, then an unlimited 2% earnings on every purchase after that. With those earnings, you can redeem them toward the purchase or lease of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle. There is no annual fee and your earnings don’t expire. This is great even if you won’t be looking for a new vehicle for a couple years!

    If travel rewards are more beneficial to you, check out the Barclaycard Arrival Plus ™ World Elite MasterCard® which offers 2x miles on all purchases. This card currently has a great intro bonus as well with the ability to earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days! That’s enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit! So if you travel frequently or are saving up for a family vacation next Christmas, you should check out this rewards card.

  2. Travel Rewards for an on-the-go Traveler!

    Published on September 26, 2016

    Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®- Voted Money Magazine’s Best Frequent Flyer Credit Card! This travel rewards card has been voted the best frequent flyer credit card for frequent travelers who are looking for a no hassle card with great benefits. With these great benefits, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® will be hard to resist.

    When using the Barclaycard Arrival Plus ™ World Elite MasterCard® you will be getting ready for your next trip in no time! Not only does the Barclaycard Arrival Plus ™ World Elite MasterCard® offer the ability to earn 2X miles on all purchases, but it also offers other great perks that are hard to resist. Some of these great perks include a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 90 days - enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit; you can also get 5% miles back to use towards your next redemption, every time you redeem; and an $89 annual fee that is waived the first year.

    Check out Money Magazine’s winner for their Best Credit Cards 2016-2017: Best for Frequent Flyers here at CreditSoup.com!

  3. 3 Ways to Help Improve your Credit Score

    Published on August 25, 2016

    Your Credit Score is very important and having a low score can affect you in more ways than one. Whether you’re buying a home or applying for a credit card, having a low credit score can impact your Annual Percentage Rate (APR), as well as determine if you are able to get a loan or approved for the credit card. Before making any decisions, your first step should be to check your credit score.

    CreditSoup.com offers your VantageScore® 3.0 by TransUnion®, which is absolutely free, without a credit card required. Another great benefit of using CreditSoup.com is the MyCreditCardMatch program which shows you possible credit cards based on your credit score. If you receive your credit score and it’s not as high as you had hoped, take a look at the 3 suggestions below to help you improve your score. After making some improvements, come back to CreditSoup.com to get your updated score, as well as the new credit card offers that could be available to you.

    1. Keep your old accounts open – It may seem crazy to keep credit card accounts open that you no longer use, but keeping them open could most likely be in your favor. Closing the accounts eliminates those available limits, making it seem like your total balances are a greater percentage of your total available credit limits. That ratio is your utilization rate. The higher the utilization rate, the greater the lending risk.

    2. Keep your credit utilization rate low – This segment reveals how deeply in debt you are and contributes to determining if you can handle what you owe. If you have high outstanding balances or are nearly "maxed out" on your credit cards, your credit score will be negatively affected. A good rule of thumb is not to exceed 30% of the credit limit on a credit card.

    3. Pay your bills on time - This component encompasses your payments on credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans (such as automobile or student loans), finance company accounts, mortgages and etc. Public records and reports detailing such items as bankruptcies, foreclosures, suits, liens and judgments are also considered. A history of prompt payments of at least the minimum amount due helps your score. Late or missed payments hurt your score.

  4. 5 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

    Published on July 22, 2016

    To your kids, shopping for new clothes, gear and school supplies may be the only good thing about going back to school, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune every year. Check out these 5 tips on how to save.

    1. Make a List- Use a recommended list as a guideline for what your child will need. Don’t be afraid to ask parents that have a child a year ahead in school to see what they had used the year before. When it comes to clothes, go through your child’s closet with them to see what fits and what you can get rid of. Try selling the clothes that no longer fit to make a little extra money for new items.

    2. Reuse items- While going through closets, get an idea of what your child can wear again as a base and purchase items to go with it. Also, go through last year’s school bag and check for lightly used pencils, erasers or other supplies that can be used again. This will save a little or a lot depending on what you find.

    3. Make a Budget- Before leaving for the store, decide on what you are comfortable spending. Make a list of all the items you need and don’t stray away from that list.

    4. Compare Prices- Check out the sale flyers from area stores or look online. A lot of stores will have back to school sales and will help you save a little. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk when it comes to school supplies. Go in with other parents on buying supplies and you can split the costs. A lot of kids need the same supplies and buying in bulk can be a big saver.

    5. Bring your Child Shopping- This may sound a bit crazy for some parents, but bring your child shopping and make it an enjoyable experience for them. They may not be looking forward to school starting but picking out clothing and supplies can be enjoyable for them. But try to have an open mind when it comes to your child’s fashion sense. Avoid saying no to items just because you don’t like them, especially when it comes to clothing. Back-to-school shopping has the potential to be a hair-raising experience that can put a serious dent into a family budget. With a little advanced planning, however, parents and kids can have a fun day out that won’t break the bank.

  5. 3 Key Steps for the Car Buying Process

    Published on July 8, 2016

    In the car buying world there can be a lot of things that can go wrong. That is unless you take certain steps that, if followed, will hopefully result in a great experience. For some, the car buying process can be dreadful but for others it can be an exciting time in your life when you get something new. Many decisions need to be made including what kind do you want, where should you go, how much do you want to spend? To help make your car buying experience a little easier, take a look at these following tips.

    1. Auto Loans

    The first step when starting to look for a new vehicle will be determining your financing options or if you will be needing any financing. Start by shopping around for different auto lenders to see how much you qualify for, as well as at what rate. The amount you will be financed for will definitely affect the type of vehicle you can look at.

    2. Shop Around

    Always make sure to shop around while looking for your future vehicle. Take as many test drives as you want to help determine which type of vehicle or brand works best for you. Make sure to do your research before fully committing to a certain brand especially if you aren’t quite familiar with it. Don’t settle on something you aren’t completely sure about.

    3. Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate

    The price tag on the vehicle isn’t always a firm price. Some salesmen are able to lower the price of the car depending on how long it has been on the lot, as well as if there are any specials going on. Not only should you try to negotiate the purchase price for your future vehicle, but also your trade-in value, if you have one. Check out prices of similar vehicles on the internet and see what they are worth. This way you will know how much your vehicle is worth and you can try to negotiate with the dealerships on what they will give you. Depending on what they offer you, this might determine which dealership you purchase your car, truck, or SUV from.


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