Advice & Expertise Blog

Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer in Orlando, Florida. She double majored in English and Communications at Elizabethtown College, before going on to earn a Masters in Communications from West Chester University. She specializes in personal finance and is dedicated to helping people improve their financial futures.

  1. November 15, 2018

    Retailers are desperate to make you part with your hard-earned money. They rely on retail tricks to convince you to open your wallet when you otherwise wouldn’t spend money. To avoid overspending, here are five Black Friday tricks you should know about.

  2. November 13, 2018

    When you declare bankruptcy, your credit score and report can be ruined, and it will remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with bad credit for a decade. You can start rebuilding your credit right away. Check out these tips to get you back on track.

  3. October 18, 2018

    What type of card you have is important. It affects how much you owe each month, what you’ll pay in fees, and how much you can spend. When deciding whether to open a credit card or a charge card, it’s important to keep these differences in mind to ensure you make the right choice for you.

  4. October 12, 2018

    Many new freelancers and business owners go through the same thing. They have trouble getting the money they need because they’re so new. If you are entering into the world of freelancing and are needing the extra funds to be successful, learn more about how a personal loan might be best for you.

  5. October 10, 2018

    If you have good to excellent credit and are looking for a rewards card that also has strong introductory offers, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card may be a wise choice. Offering an impressive signup bonus and a zero-interest introductory APR, you can quickly earn rewards and accomplish your financial goals.

  6. October 3, 2018

    If you love all things spooky and creepy, you’re excited by the fact that Halloween is just around the corner. However, it can quickly derail your budget.Instead, follow these seven tips to save money on Halloween candy, costumes, and decor.

  7. September 25, 2018

    If you want to achieve financial success at a young age, one of the best places to start is with your credit score. Your credit affects everything from the interest rate you get on a loan to whether or not you’ll land your dream job. Taking the time now to boost your score and reach 800 or higher will help you achieve your financial goals.

  8. September 21, 2018

    If you have a limited credit history or a less-than-stellar credit score, getting a traditional credit card can be difficult. Building your credit can take time. If you’re ready to step up from secured credit cards, a store credit card can be a smart option if used responsibly.

  9. September 18, 2018

    If you spend any time reading personal finance blogs, you’ve likely heard of the FIRE movement. FIRE stands for, Financially Independent, Retire Early. It’s a movement that’s gaining momentum and devout followers. But what is it exactly? Learn more now.

  10. September 11, 2018

    The American Express Centurion Card — commonly referred to as the Black Card — is one of the most exclusive cards out there. Celebrities and musicians commonly talk about having one or wanting to have one; it’s a sign you’ve made it in the social circles of the rich and famous. But, is it really worth the hype?

  11. September 7, 2018

    Deciding to buy a home is a huge decision, and signals the next chapter of your adult life. You give up the sometimes nomadic existence of an apartment-dweller, put down real roots, and settle down. It can be a big transition. Before buying a home, ask yourself these five questions.

  12. August 31, 2018

    When you have trouble paying the bills each month, it’s easy to fall behind. But missing just a few payments can cause your credit score to go down, a massive problem millions of people face each year.

  13. August 30, 2018

    After your Social Security number, the most important number in your life is your credit score. You probably know that lenders look at your credit when deciding whether or not to issue you a credit card or loan, but your credit score plays a much more significant role in your life.

  14. August 29, 2018

    There’s no such thing as a good instant-approval credit card. Most of the credit cards that claim they accept anyone and everyone with no thought to your credit and financial situation don’t mention that they charge sky-high interest rates and fees for the privilege.

  15. August 20, 2018

    Whether you’re looking at Capital One or any other issuer, the perfect card for you will depend a lot on your credit and your feature preferences. To help you pick the right one, we’ll cover the top Capital One credit cards and who they’re good for.

  16. August 14, 2018

    Most landlords have strict credit and income requirements. If you fall short of their guidelines, they won’t approve you for a lease. However, there are ways to secure a home. Check out these 6 strategies to get around credit requirements.

  17. August 2, 2018

    “Little” fees, such as overdraft fees or credit card annual fees, might seem insignificant. But over time, they can cause you to lose hundreds of dollars. Check out six of the worst fees and what you can do to avoid them.

  18. July 27, 2018

    Working remotely sounds like a dream come true: no commute and work from the couch. You don’t even have to wear pants! However, if you’re not careful, being a remote worker can quickly lead to lounging and watching Netflix instead of doing great work.

  19. July 20, 2018

    Although airlines recommend you get to the airport two to three hours ahead of your flight’s departure time, that’s not always realistic. And, no one wants to spend hours killing time in an airport. Instead, find out how you can avoid the lengthy security lines altogether.

  20. July 17, 2018

    When it comes to starting a company, the most common sources of funding are business loans, credit cards, and personal loans. However, if you’re saddled with any type of debt, adding more debt to the mix can be risky. Thankfully, there are three ways to get financing for your business without borrowing money.

  21. July 11, 2018

    If you’re planning a vacation, you know plane tickets can be one of your biggest expenses. In some cases, your airfare could cost even more than your hotel stay. Stretch your budget further by planning ahead and using these five tips.

  22. June 27, 2018

    With all of the gorgeous weather after a brutal winter, many people are dreaming of trips to the beach or lounging by the pool. However, the cost of gasoline you use to get to your destination can be hard on your wallet. Check out our top favorite apps to save money at the pump.

  23. June 26, 2018

    Whether you’ve lived in your home for a long time or you just moved in, you might be making plans to start doing some renovations. Maybe you’d like to update the kitchen or finish the basement. As you consider each, think about your financial situation and how you will pay for it.

  24. June 21, 2018

    When you find out that someone has stolen your credit card or used your name to take out a loan, you probably know to contact your card company or the lender to dispute the charges. However, just changing your card numbers isn’t enough to protect you.

  25. June 14, 2018

    If you juggle multiple credit cards and carry a balance, you’re not alone. According to Student Loan Hero, cardholders in the United States have $5,234 in credit card debt, on average. Millions of people have credit card debt, making it one of the most serious financial issues affecting individuals.

  26. June 13, 2018

    When I moved into my first apartment, I was working for a non-profit and making very little money. If you’re like me and struggling to furnish your apartment on a budget, find out how you can do so for under $1,000.

  27. June 6, 2018

    If you’re new to credit or are trying to rebuild, getting an auto loan can be difficult. Even though auto loans are secured by the car itself, many auto lenders are uneasy about lending to someone with a poor track record.

  28. June 1, 2018

    You’ve probably heard from your parents and teachers that a good credit score is important. But what is good credit for your age and how do you get there? Find out what the average credit score is for each age group and what you can do to improve your score.

  29. May 25, 2018

    Are you fed up with scraping by month to month? You can save $5,000 in one year with a combination of cutting corners and boosting your income. Learn how to start saving money now.

  30. May 17, 2018

    Being overweight can affect your life in many ways. It can limit your mobility, affect your self-esteem, and can hurt your health. But, it can also harm you in other ways, especially when it comes to your finances.

  31. May 11, 2018

    You have heard it all before: “You need an emergency fund,” “You need to save for retirement,” “You have to invest.” But when you have debt and a tight budget, figuring out how to accomplish these goals can be challenging. To come up with a plan that works for you, follow these five steps.

  32. May 3, 2018

    When you take out a personal loan, you agree to a set monthly payment. It’s a binding contract that you have to meet, or you risk entering default. That might not sound serious, but it can have significant consequences.

  33. April 25, 2018

    Having less-than-stellar credit, a car loan can be prohibitively expensive. If you have purchased a car with a high-interest loan and your financial situation has improved since then, you might be able to save money. Here’s what you need to know about refinancing and how to decide whether or not it’s right for you.

  34. April 20, 2018

    When you have a great idea for a business, the biggest roadblock to your success is money. Depending on how much you need to get started, a personal loan may be a good option to consider. But before you fully commit, take a look at this list of pros and cons to make sure it’s right for you.

  35. April 16, 2018

    Whether you’re short on cash and need money to pay rent or just want to boost your savings, your home can be a great source of income. It's best to start comparing prices on a number of selling sites to ensure you get the best deal. Check out these top 7 places to sell your unused stuff online.

  36. April 12, 2018

    Last year, the IRS processed over 134 million tax returns. Of those returns, only one million were selected for an audit. Your chances of being selected are slim, but everyone is at risk of an audit. Audits are time-consuming and stressful, and many people don’t know how to proceed.

  37. April 3, 2018

    If you owe money, but don’t have the savings to cover the bill right now, it’s important to face the problem head on. You can decrease how much you’ll owe in penalties by using these 5 tips.

  38. March 30, 2018

    You may have already started dreaming about ways you could use your refund dollars. But before you start spending, take a step back and consider if there are other ways you can use your refund to improve your financial standing. Learn more from these 10 smart ways you can use your tax refund.

  39. March 29, 2018

    When you get your packet on retirement plans, going through all of the information can feel like learning a new language. Keep in mind, the earlier you start contributing, the more you’ll have for retirement. To help give you a boost, read on to learn more about the options that are available to you.

  40. March 12, 2018

    Whether you have to pay for an unexpected car repair or need to a loan to cover the cost of a home improvement, a personal loan can be a smart financing option. But, with poor credit, it can be more challenging to find a lender willing to work with you. If your credit score is less-than-perfect, check out these 5 tips to help you find a loan.

  41. March 8, 2018

    Credit Cards use a number of benefits to entice users to use their credit cards. However, many credit cards offer little-known benefits and unusual enticements that most people aren't aware of and never use. Check out these 8 unusual credit card benefits you should be taking advantage of right now.

  42. February 28, 2018

    There’s a big difference between a real emergency that justifies a short-term loan and a skippable expense. If you find yourself in any of these situations, a short-term loan may be your best bet.

  43. February 22, 2018

    Homeowners’ insurance can be expensive. If you are looking for a home insurance policy, but are put off by the cost, here are some helpful tips to get you the best price for your homeowners insurance.

  44. February 20, 2018

    If you look around your home or garage and see extra space or unoccupied rooms, you could be seeing dollar signs. You can earn cash from spare space without having to spend a ton of time prepping or marketing. Here are some ways you can turn unused living or storage space into money, fast.

  45. February 12, 2018

    Personal loans are a popular way to borrow because they’re typically easy to get and don’t require any collateral. To help you determine whether you’re right to consider a personal loan, we’ll cover three good reasons to apply for a personal loan, and also a few bad ones.

  46. February 8, 2018

    The average person spends $140 on Valentine’s Day, which can feel impossible if you have little money to spend on the holiday. If you are strapped for cash but have a special someone to share the day with, never fear, a great Valentine’s Day date doesn’t need to break the bank.

  47. February 6, 2018

    It’s hard to say for sure how much your holiday credit card or store card debt will cost you because it depends on how long it takes you to pay it off. To give you an idea of what to expect, we’ll offer a couple of different scenarios:

  48. January 31, 2018

    Every year, thieves and scammers come up with new ways to take advantage of people during tax time to steal their refunds or identity. However, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are some of the most common tax scams and how to spot the warning signs early.

  49. January 29, 2018

    Whether if you have credit card debt or are facing an emergency and need extra cash, a personal loan can be a useful tool. However, if you have less-than-stellar credit, finding a lender to approve you can be tricky. But, it’s not impossible. Here’s what you need to do to get a personal loan with bad credit.

  50. January 26, 2018

    When your side gig takes off, it's not uncommon to hit a wall. You've expanded your small business to its capacity with the supplies, space and inventory you have now. To make it go further, you need more money. Here are three ways to know it’s time to add more capital to your business, and where to go to find it.

  51. January 24, 2018

    When Republicans first unveiled their plans for a new tax plan, critics tore it apart. Now that the bill is becoming a reality, it’s important to understand just how it will affect you and your finances.

  52. January 23, 2018

    As one of the country’s biggest sporting events, people will host parties and events nationwide. However, if you’re not a football fan, it can be a bit dull. Thankfully, Super Bowl Sunday can be a money-making opportunity if you’re willing to forgo the game. Here are 7 creative ways you can make money during the big game.

  53. January 17, 2018

    But just because an investment is trending doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. To help you decide if it’s right for you, let’s explore what cryptocurrencies are, the three major types and where to invest. We’ll also discuss some of the pitfalls that are unavoidable with these investments.

  54. January 15, 2018

    Short term loans have a bad reputation for creating a debt cycle that is difficult to escape. However, if used responsibly, short term loans can help out in an emergency or with an unexpected expense. There are number of options for those seeking short term loan possibilities.

  55. December 27, 2017

    Going into debt for the holidays can be an expensive mistake. Many people take months to pay off their debt; some are still making payments on their credit cards a year later. Thanks to interest charges, you could end up paying hundreds or even thousands more than you originally spent.

  56. December 21, 2017

    As a recent graduate, making ends meet can be tough. Between rent, student loan payments, and utilities, there’s not much left over for anything else. The idea of owing the government even more during tax season can be terrifying.

  57. December 14, 2017

    If a sudden car repair or medical bill would send you scrambling, you’re not alone. Nearly half of all Americans could not come up with $400 in an emergency. If that’s you, too, a single unexpected expense could deplete your bank account. To make ends meet, you might have to turn to credit cards or payday loans.

  58. December 11, 2017

    While you’re enjoying the holidays, the last thing you want to do is think about taxes. However, tax season is just around the corner and, if you’re not prepared, you can easily end up overwhelmed and stressed.

  59. December 6, 2017

    If you’re struggling to pay your bills, an expensive health insurance policy is probably last on your list of priorities. But, you may not be able to afford to go without insurance. Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. A single car accident or medical emergency can wipe out your savings.

  60. December 1, 2017

    If you belong to the majority who use credit cards to finance the holidays, high interest rates and low minimum payments can make it hard to get rid of your debt. Interest rates can cause your balance to balloon quickly and, if you only pay the minimum, it can take years to pay off your credit card debt in full.

  61. November 28, 2017

    The holidays are undoubtedly expensive. However, you can cut down on your expenses by taking on a part-time seasonal job. You can make more money and can often take advantage of employee discounts, which can help stretch your budget further.

  62. November 21, 2017

    Trying to buy thoughtful gifts for friends and family and finding just the right outfit for every holiday party can hurt your budget. If you’ve been working on paying down student loan debt or building an emergency fund, the holidays can be a serious setback.

  63. November 17, 2017

    Last year, Americans planned to spend $929 on holiday gifts. That number doesn’t even touch on decorations, holiday outfits, or travel expenses. To pay for those gifts, many people turn to credit cards. But, thanks to high interest rates, their credit card balance can grow over time and it can take months to pay it off.

  64. November 14, 2017

    Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is noted as the biggest day for retailers of the year. Millions of people turn out in stores and online to score deals on electronics, clothes, and more. But before you camp out at the nearest department store at 2:00 a.m., it’s important to know that Black Friday isn’t always what it seems.

  65. November 8, 2017

    Getting a business credit card can not only help you keep your business and personal expenses separate, but some also offer rewards and other features that are specifically tailored to your business. They can help you save money on expenses so you can take home more profit.

  66. October 27, 2017

    I decided to take out a personal loan to wipe out my credit card debt. My new loan had a much lower interest rate, so more of my payments went towards the principal rather than interest. Taking out that loan helped me become debt-free much faster. While a personal loan was a smart choice for me, they’re not for everyone. Here’s what you need to consider before applying for a loan.

  67. October 23, 2017

    If you’ve ever bought a car at a dealership, you may have felt pressured to add gap insurance to your contract. For some people, gap insurance may be a good deal. But for others, it can be a complete waste of money.

  68. October 19, 2017

    If your savings account is low and you need cash quickly, side hustles can be a smart way to make extra money. And, if you own a car, your earning potential can dramatically increase. Having access to a vehicle can help you earn more money in your spare time, so you can pay for unexpected expenses as they come up without using loans or credit cards.

  69. October 11, 2017

    35 percent of American households rent their homes. Renting makes sense for many reasons: you might not be financially ready to buy a home, are testing out a new city, or it might be cheaper to rent than to buy in your area. Renting can be a great solution, but there are some risks involved. If you are going to lease a home, you need to have an essential safeguard against damage or theft: renter’s insurance.

  70. October 5, 2017

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 43 million adults in the United States have a mental illness. That number is approximately 18 percent of the nation’s population. Yet, mental illnesses are rarely talked about.

  71. October 3, 2017

    Finding out that someone has committed fraud in your name can be one of the most stressful moments of your life. You feel violated and anxious, not knowing what else the person might do in your name.

  72. September 29, 2017

    When you’re starting out and living in a studio apartment and eating ramen, the thought of having more money can seem like a distant dream. However, you can make that dream a reality by launching a side hustle.

  73. September 25, 2017

    One of the largest expenses you have is housing. Renting an apartment can eat up 30 percent or more of your income, leaving little left over for building an emergency fund or paying off debt. In fact, the median rent nationwide is $1,001.

  74. September 20, 2017

    Moving for a new job — or at the request of your current employer — can either be an exciting or terrifying prospect. For some, getting to know a new city and possibly getting a pay bump along the way are big incentives to say yes. For others, change and uncertainty can leave them feeling anxious.

  75. September 15, 2017

    If you’re a recent graduate, you likely have polished your resume, bought an interview suit, and spend huge chunks of your day scouring job boards. However, if you haven’t taken the time to check out your web presence, you could cost yourself that coveted first job.

  76. September 11, 2017

    When you have student loans, rent and an entry-level salary, saving for retirement is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it’s important for your future. Studies have found again and again that Americans are unprepared for retirement. That means it’s likely that many could be in desperate straits when they are older. Starting to save now, when you’re young and time is on your side, can ensure you’re comfortable throughout your lifetime.

  77. September 8, 2017

    On Thursday, credit reporting agency Equifax announced that a cyber security attack on their systems occurred. The company says that the data breach exposed customers’ personal information, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and even driver’s license numbers. They also got a hold of thousands of credit card numbers.

  78. September 6, 2017

    Starting a new job can be exciting, but it’s also easy to feel stressed out by meeting your new team and completing all of the necessary paperwork. When your employer hands you the information on your health insurance options, you might be tempted to just pick the cheapest plan and move on. But doing so can end up costing you in hefty medical bills later on.

  79. August 31, 2017

    A staggering 49 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, meaning they have no savings. They’re completely reliant on the next payday to manage their expenses; if a paycheck is late, or an unexpected emergency comes up, they have no way to handle it.

  80. August 28, 2017

    When I graduated from school, I worked for a small, privately-owned business. And it was awful. I was supposed to be a writer, but they insisted I also act as the janitor, cleaning the bathroom and storage areas. The owner literally screamed a lot and relished employees’ tears. It was a terrible experience, and I was miserable. However, I did learn a lot from that short period of employment. Those lessons helped me later in my career.

  81. August 23, 2017

    When you need cash for a downpayment on a home or when you hit a financial emergency, your retirement nest egg can look pretty appealing. You might have thousands stashed away in a 401(k), so when you need money quickly, taking a loan from your own account can be tempting.

  82. August 17, 2017

    When I accepted the offer for my first job, I only had about $100 to create an entire work wardrobe. And when I walked into stores, I quickly found that my $100 wouldn’t buy a single dress. I was frustrated and panicking because my start date was just a few days away. Thankfully, I did some research and talked to friends, and got some smart ideas to find cheap work clothes. I was able to start work with many office-worthy outfits that looked great, without overextending my budget.

  83. August 9, 2017

    If you’re a first-time car buyer, the process can be overwhelming and a little terrifying. The idea of going up against a tough car salesperson can feel like a losing proposition. However, there’s a way that even the shyest people can negotiate and get a great deal. Even better, you’ll be in an out of the dealership in under an hour.

  84. August 7, 2017

    It’s already August, so there are just a few weeks left to summer. No more lazy days by the pool or trips to the beach. But before you start feeling down, there is still time to have one last adventure before returning to the regular grind. If you’re on a budget, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on hotels or airline tickets. With gas prices the lowest they’ve been in years, you can have an epic journey with family or friends with a summer road trip.

  85. July 31, 2017

    The average starting salary for new college graduates is $49,785. While that number is a healthy salary, financial demands can make it difficult to make ends meet. Graduates are leaving school with an average student loan balance of $37,172, which can eat up a significant part of their income.

  86. July 25, 2017

    While college tuition is expensive enough, coming up with the cash to pay for textbooks can be difficult. The cost of books has skyrocketed in recent years. Since 1978, the price of textbooks has risen 812 percent. The average undergraduate student will spend approximately $1,300 a year on books. That high cost can add thousands to your college education, or can prohibit you from buying necessary books.

  87. July 19, 2017

    Graduating from college is an exciting time. You’re finally done with classes, term papers and exams. From starting a new job to moving out on your own, your life changes drastically after school. However, those changes can be expensive. With expenses like rent and student loan payments, making ends meet can be more challenging than you expected. In the United States, the average rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,021.

  88. July 14, 2017

    When planning a vacation, your flight can be the most expensive part. It can be more than your hotel, car rental and food combined. A pricey flight can cut down on the number of things you can do on your trip, or even reduce how long your vacation can be.

  89. July 10, 2017

    Traveling the world is the goal of many people. Visiting foreign countries, seeing landmarks, and sampling new cuisines can be an incredible experience. But the price can be prohibitive for many. If you dreamed of traveling the world but have been delaying take the plunge, you might be afraid of the cost. Planning a vacation when you’re on a budget can be difficult. However, there are some beautiful, tropical destinations that are shockingly affordable.

  90. July 5, 2017

    If you’re planning on traveling this summer, your credit cards are essential. You’ll need one to do everything from checking into a hotel to renting a car. While credit card theft and fraudulent charges are always a risk, it isn’t as big of a deal when you’re home. You can quickly cancel the cards, and your credit card company will send you new ones right away.

  91. June 23, 2017

    When it comes to credit cards, it’s easy to lose track of your budget and run up a balance. In fact, the average credit card debt per cardholder in the United States is $4,061. If you have a high-interest credit card, your balance can grow over time, increasing your minimum payment and making it difficult stay on track.

  92. June 21, 2017

    If you’re interviewing for a new job, you know the importance of a polished resume, personalized cover letter, professional interview attire, and preparedness. One of the most overlooked factors that can affect your chances of getting a job is your credit.

  93. June 9, 2017

    If you’re a fresh graduate right out of college, life can feel overwhelming right now. You just finished four years (or more) of school and now have to face problems like finding a job, moving into your own apartment and paying down student loans. Getting a credit card is probably not a priority right now, but not having a credit card can make life more difficult.

  94. May 23, 2017

    When it comes to shopping for a new credit card, there are hundreds of bonus offers and sign-up incentives. Sometimes worth hundreds of dollars, credit card companies tempt thousands of airline miles or cash back rewards to convince you to apply for their card.

  95. May 16, 2017

    Most Americans have credit card debt, and the average household has a balance of $5,700. With the mean interest rate on credit card debt rising to 13.6% percent, your balance can quickly balloon out of control. You can end up paying hundreds or even thousands in interest fees, making it difficult to ever get out of debt.

  96. April 17, 2017

    When I graduated from college, apartment shopping was a nightmare. I had a good job, a decent entry-level salary and I was only looking for a small studio, yet I couldn’t get approved on my own. Because I had been starkly anti-debt and never had a credit card or car loan, I had something worse than a low credit score--I had no credit at all.


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