How to check your credit score for free in just few minutes?

The credit score is an essential factor that defines your financial health. It not only reflects your overall financial situation but also shows how every decision you make affects your credit and financial future. More important than “how to check your credit score” is to know where to check your credit score.

There are 4 things to consider when it comes to understanding your credit. Here are the 4 important steps to consider before you take a further step towards your credit score.

#1. How to check your credit score?

Most people pause at this question “How to check your credit score?” and almost majority of them are not sure if there is a free service available to access your credit score.

There are various sources available where you can check your credit score for free and even access your entire credit report. You don’t have to allocate some time especially to check your credit score, the process is very simple that you can just do it in a few minutes.

Let’s look at how to check your credit score for free and that too in just a few minutes.

How to check your credit score in just a few steps:

  • Choose a source to check your credit score (few are listed below #2)
  • Decide if you want to check your credit score for free or pay a small amount for it.
  • Pick the source based on your requirement: credit score only or credit score + credit report
  • Sign up on their website to access your report.
  • While signing up, you will have to fill your basic information to confirm your identity and once done you can access your credit score in just a few minutes.

Tip: As it won’t take much of your time, you can even do it while traveling or in your lunch break.

#2. Where to check your credit score?

The most important thing is to use the correct source to check your credit score. Each source uses different data to calculate the credit score and thus might vary. Although the variation will be small but getting an accurate credit score is what matters the most. Some credit scores are updated very frequently than others. So, if you’re planning to apply for a major loan in a few months then it is recommended to keep a track of your credit score daily. As you will be able to get the insight of what the creditors and lenders would be looking at when it comes to your loan application.

We share with you some standard credit source providers that offer you an accurate credit score.

List of Credit score providers:

Credit Reporting SourceFee (if applicable)Free Entire Credit Report Provided?Updating Frequency
Credit KarmaFreeYesWeekly
Credit SesameFreeNoMonthly
QuizzleFreeYesEvery 3 months
MintFreeNoEvery 3 months
MyFICO.com$19.95/monthYesMonthly
DiscoverFreeNoMonthly
AARP$12.99/monthYesMonthly
Experian$21.95/monthYesMonthly
TransUnion$19.95/monthYesMonthly
Capital OneFreeNoMonthly
WalletHubFreeYesDaily
Equifax$19.95/monthYesMonthly

Take your financial journey to the next level by following one of the above sources to monitor your credit score and credit report.

Tip: Most sources such as Experian, Equifax etc. that come with a monthly fee, also offer a 7-day trial for $1 or more.

#3. Why you should check your credit score?

The next most important thing is to understand the benefits that come along when your regularly monitor your credit score. Here’s the reason why you should check your credit score:

  • Gives you an insight into your financial fitness and the factors affecting it as well.
  • You can know about the best interest rates and offers you’re eligible for and thus reduces your swipe into rejection probability.
  • Oh, and don’t forget about the credit rating comparison-if its excellent, good or bad. You can track your rating and find ways to boost it up before you apply for a home loan or new credit card. Having an excellent score can pitch-in more offers and better rates.

#4. Extra tips on credit score

Decide if you really want to pay to check your credit score as there are various free options available. Instead, work on fixing up your score to get better rates and boost your eligibility for loans. Learn to manage your credit card wisely so that you can always maintain your credit score on the positive side of the numerical range.

Summing up:

Just knowing how to check your credit score and working on ways to improve or maintain it are 2 different things. We have listed the important credit reporting sources for you to get the accurate credit score. Keep monitoring your credit score to understanding in which direction your financial future is moving.

The Best 30 Personal Finance Blogs for 20-Somethings

It’s time for the 20 something millennial. They are now entering the real world and they are all pumped up for the future. No doubt many of them have charted out their life plans. But does it include their finances?

When you are in your early 20s you are carefree and want to enjoy and experience the life without worrying about the future, like the retirement plans. Financial planning is something that you need to do no matter what age you are in. For the 20 something millennial, there are plenty of options out there. Financial education is something that will always help you in life.

To help you get started with your financial education, in this article you will find 30 personal finance blogs for 20 somethings, which will not only help you in getting insights into the finance, it will inspire you to become more responsible financially.

Here are the 30 blogs on personal finances:

 

1. Money Under 30

The Money Under 30 is one of the best personal finance blogs for the 20 somethings. Here you will find tips, tricks and ideas on how you can effectively manage your finances in your 20s and get out of the debts. It will encourage you to gain financial health and secure your future.

2. 20 Something Finance

20 Something Finances is one of the best personal blogs for the 20 somethings because it presents some real-life stories that are so close to home. Here you will find some amazing practical tips on how to stop wasting your money and start saving smartly.

3. Wise Bread

The Wise Bread is for people who are in their 20s and want something substantial when it comes managing their finances. The blog offers tips and ideas on how you can life a frugal life, save more; get rid of the debts and so much more. Check out the blog and you will enjoy reading some of the things.

4. Good Financial Cents

The Good Financial Cents is all about how you can achieve financial freedom even in your 20’s. Here you will some of the personal stories that will inspire you to work towards your personal finances.

5. Financial Samurai

If retirement isn’t in your mind (you are in your 20s, that’s why), the Financial Samurai will inspire you to think about it. Because, the earlier you start with your financial future planning, the better it gets.

6. Seed Time

The SeedTime is an amazing personal finance blog for the 20 somethings who need ideas and inspiration for their financial planning. You can also subscribe to the FREE email course and learn some of the finance tricks.

7. Wealth Pilgrim

The Wealth Pilgrim is another amazing personal finance blog for 20 somethings with its tips and ideas on how to save more and invest wisely to take your personal finances to the next big level.

8. Debt Discipline

If you are one of those millennial with student loans, then this personal blog is for you. It covers a wide range of topics and will provide you with amazing tips and ideas on saving, making more money and paying off the debts.

9. Stefanie O’Connell

The blog is Stefanie O’Connell and she is a millennial money expert offering insights into a wide range of topics and discussions on how the 20 something population can win the game of personal finances.

10. The Simple Dollar

The Simple Dollar is perfect personal finance blog for 20 somethings who have debts and bad financial habits. The blog offers tips and insights on how you can overcome the urge to overspending and secure your financial health.

11. Frugal woods

If you want to learn about frugal living and how to manage your personal finance more effectively, you need to check out the Frugal woods. Here you will find inspirations, plan and process of you can live happily with a frugal life.

12. Ciat Flanders

The content on this financial blog is as interesting as the name of the blog. Learn how she paid off the debts, designed a minimalist lifestyle and how to live without shopping. You will find many interesting things here.

13. Millennial Money Man

The Millennial Money Man is a blog on personal finances for college grads and millennials who are starting their lives as professionals. If you are looking for something really hard-hitting, but true about finances then this blog is for you.

14. Money Peach

Money Peach will teach you how to make better financial decisions and help you with various aspects of finances. If you are 20 somethings and looking for inspirational ideas for getting rid of debt and changing bad money habits, do check out this blog.

15. Afford Anything

The Afford Anything blog is your personal finance blog that will help you achieve your dreams and goals and afford things that you want through wise financial planning and healthy habits. This is a must read blog for the millennial.

16. Broke Millennial

Are you 20-somethings and broke or on the verge of going broke? Check out the Broke Millennial bog and see how you turn your current financial situation into something more productive. Here you will learn art of how to spend and save more and many more things.

17. Budgets Are Sexy

Budget Are Sexy is one of the best personal financial blogs for 20-somethings that will help you with your finance goals. The blog covers a wide range of topics ranging from budgets, and debt, to saving and side hustling.

18. The College Investor

The College Investor is your personal finance blog and resources for the young grads and professionals for finding ways to develop multiple income streams in your 20s. Learn how you can become debt-free in your 20s.

19. Antoinette Minor

The AntoinetteMinor.com is for the twenty-something people in the corporate world. Learn how she managed to climb the top ladder and effectively managed her finances in her 20s. It is quite an inspirational blog.

20. Victori Media

The blog is for the millennial women who want to achieve financial freedom. The blog covers a wide range of topics and provides financial advice that is practical and achievable.

21. Young Adult Money

The Young Adult Money is a personal finance blog for the people in their 20s and covers a wide range of topics like careers, savings, debts, cutting down expenses, and much more.

22. The Daily Muse

The Daily Muse is one of the best blogs for the 20-somethings. It covers a wide range of topics including finance and careers. You will find a plethora of information that will help you with various aspects of your life, especially your finances.

23. Young Cheap Living

The blog Young Cheap Living is one of the best personal finance blogs for the 20 somethings offering advice, tips, and suggestions on reducing waste and investing wisely for the secured financial future.

24. Thousandaire

The Thousandaire by Kevin McKee is a blog in personal finances and will teach something very different than the other blogs. It also offers finances tools that you can download and use it. Don’t forget to check it out.

25. The Debt Movement

The Debt Movement blog is dedicated to helping people get rid of their debt and lead a healthy financial life. If you are looking for some practical tips on dealing with your debt then this one is one of the best blogs out there.

26. Punch Debt in the Face

Punch Debt in the Face is again about effectively dealing with debts. Learn about money management, budgeting and debt management on this blog. It has some of the best tips and suggestions on blog management.

27. Frugal Beautiful

The Frugal Beautiful is an amazing blog dedicated to finances. If you want to learn about frugality to take control of your money and debt, then this personal finance blog can help you achieve your goals.

28. Young Adult Finances

The Young Adult Finances is for the 20-somethings who are starting their professional life. Inspirational stories about bad money habits and how she managed it will help you get your own act together.

29. PT Money

The PT Money is all about how to effectively manage your finances with a wise spending decisions and developing money habits that will help you build a strong financial future.

30. 20-Something Finance

For the 20-somethings millennial, the 20-Something Finance blog is perfect for learning about the finances and how they can build a secure financial future. You will get some insights into the saving habits of the writer.

In Conclusion

The 30 amazing personal finance blogs for 20-somethings will really help you get insight into your own finances and help you build a financial future that you want. Read some of them or all of them, you are sure to find inspiration from it.

What is my Credit Score and How to Estimate it?

Finance management is an essential part of our lives and most everyone looks for a way to improve it. Some people are just born with the skills and others embrace reality by learning the knacks of finance management. And before we jump into “What is my Credit Score?” and other important questions, let’s understand what it really means.

The Definition!

The FICO Credit Score is a numerical expression that determines how well you handle your money and where you stand financially. In simple words, it’s a reflection of your overall financial wellbeing.

What is my Credit Score?

The FICO Credit Score is a key factor in your financial journey. It is a number which falls on a scale of 300 to 850. Higher your score, better it is. It is determined based on the details in your credit report which has your credit history, loan repayments, new credits etc. All these factors along with other key factors play a vital role in determining your credit score. This gives you the answer to “What is my credit score?” so let’s proceed into building your understanding of how to determine it and the factors involved.

Let’s get to the 4 important aspects of credit score. Now that you would have understood it by definition, let’s throw some light on how it is calculated.

#1. How Your Credit Score is calculated?

Here, we are referring to FICO score when we are talking about credit score. There are other credit scoring models available but among them, FICO is widely used. The three major giants in the industry: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax calculate the FICO score in different ways and thus your score can slightly vary.

The actual formula to calculate the FICO score is a well-kept secret but knowing the factors involved to determine your credit score can help in understanding it better.

#2. Key Factors that determine your credit score:

“What is my credit score?”Let’s break your credit score into the associated key elements.

Your FICO Score is calculated based on the following five factors:

  • Payment History

Your payment history accounts to 35% of your credit score. Your payment history is the first thing that any money lender would like to check. As it gives all the information whether you’ve paid all the credit accounts on time.

  • Your debts and other amounts you owe

The amount you owe accounts to 30% of your credit score. It shows the debts you owe, your credit limit, loan balance etc.

  • Length of your credit history

The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score. The longer you’ve established your credit account will reflect as a better score.

  • Types of credits

The types of credit you hold/ held in the past accounts for 10% of your credit score. The different types of accounts you use such as credit card, mortgage, auto loan etc. is a factor that determines your creditworthiness. It simply shows that you are capable of handling multiple accounts responsibly.

  • New credit

Your new credit accounts for 10% of your credit score. It focuses on the new inquiries and how many new credit accounts you hold. The lesser the better.

#3. Excellent, Good & Bad Credit Score:

What is my credit score- excellent, good or bad?

The FICO score ranges between 300-850 and most people maintain their scores between 500-850. It depends on the purpose you’re looking at such as for a loan or credit. If you’re planning to put an application for a major loan, then you need to maintain a score above 700 to get you the approval and best rates. Different lenders fix different cut-off points and on a general basis the scores are classified as:

  • Below 580 – Poor
  • 580 to 669 – Fair
  • 670 to 739 – Good
  • 740 to 799 – Very Good
  • 800 & Above – Excellent

#4. How to Estimate your Credit Score?

You can’t estimate your credit score unless you check it. Your credit card provider might offer a free credit score (along with the credit report) with your monthly statement, but you might not know which scoring method would your lender use to calculate the score. To be on the safer side you can try calculating in all the 3 ways by using Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

There are lots of websites that you can use to estimate your credit score more accurately. All you need to do is enter a few sets of information and get your score in just minutes.

Summing up:

Checking your credit score can help you to know about your financial management and how your decisions impact your finances. Keep a check on the factors that influence your credit score to be on track. Here’s a link for “Check my credit score” online.

Car Loan Guide: Things You Need to Know When Buying A Car

If you’re planning to buy a car, before you start shopping for the car, you need to start hunting for the right car loan. That’s the way to do it, find the right auto loan and then find a car that fits the loan’s requirements. But sadly, a lot of people tend to do the exact opposite. They start with finding the car and then hunt for a car loan that will help them get that specific car. If you’re guilty of doing that, it’s time to change your approach to car loan.

Car Loan Guide

To choose the right car loan for you, you will need to know what to look for and the potential pitfalls to avoid. Read on to find out everything you need to look for when choosing a car loan.

Get A Car Loan Pre-Approval

Getting a pre-approved car loan can make the entire car buying process a lot easier. Not only will you know just how much you can spend on a car, you also get leverage as a serious buyer. When you have a financing offer from a bank or lender, sellers give you preference as you are a “sure sell”. This also gives you the upper hand when it comes to price negotiation, as you have a better chance of getting a higher-end or newer model car for a lesser price, quoting your pre-approval offer as the amount you can afford to pay for the car. Your loan pre-approval is your trump card when it comes to buying a car. It is also your reference point as far as affordability goes. Knowing how much you can borrow will help you narrow down your choices.

Be Wary of Low Interest Rate Offers

Interest rates on car loans tend to vary significantly between different banks & lenders. So, it’s wise to take your time to compare the different interest rates & find a loan that works for you. But make sure you don’t choose a car loan just because of the low interest rates offered. Many loans come with introductory low interest rates that revert to high interest rates during the course of the loan. So, if you find a loan with very low interest rates, dig in and do some research. Find out how long those introductory rates apply for and what you will be expected to pay once the introductory offer ends.

Avoid an Upside-Down Car Loan Scenario

When your car’s market value is less than the amount you owe on your car loan, you’re in what is called an “upside-down” car loan situation. For instance, let’s say that you still owe $25,000 on a car that you’re looking to sell or trade-in. But the market value of the car is at $15,000. That means you will still owe $10,000 in negative equity if you sell your car. You must then either pay off the loan or if you can’t, the amount that you owe will be added to your new car loan. So, don’t get caught up in a vicious cycle of upside-down car loans.

How can one avoid the upside-down car loan trap? The best way to do that is to consider how many years you are planning to own the car, and then choosing a car loan that equals that length of time. Also, when it’s time for you to sell your car, make sure you go to a reputable car buyer who will pay you fair market price for the car and not try to low ball you.

Check If Extra Repayments Will Incur Penalty Fees

While most car loans have a set repayment schedule, some allow borrowers to make extra repayments. Having such flexibility means that you can pay above the required repayment amount, thereby shortening the length of the loan. Not only that, you also end up paying less as you cut down the interest payment period. When deciding on a car loan, look for one that allows you to make extra repayments without penalising you for it. Some car & personal loans charge a penalty fee if you pay off the loan much earlier than the requisite loan period. So, check about this when looking for a car loan.

Choosing the right car loan can make your car buying experience pleasant and hassle-free.Sure, buying a car is exciting. But it’s also a responsibility and should be taken seriously. So, don’t just opt for the first financing option that you come across. Instead, do your research, find the right loan for you and look for ways in which you can save money (better interest rates& a big down payment). After all, a car is quite a big investment. Don’t be hasty & regret it later; be smart & make a wise decision with your car loan instead.

5 Interesting Tips on How to Finance a Business with No Money

How to finance a business with no money?

Starting a business without a capital can be a huge challenge but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Do you have a great idea for a business? And the thought of getting capital for your business is holding you back from chasing your dreams. But who said you need money to start a business?

Most people get stuck at this thought that: “how you can finance a business without any capital?” If you’re confident that your idea is unique and sellable, then capital is the last thing you need to worry about. Why wait for an investor or an uncle with a hefty bank balance to sponsor your business idea when you can just get started with no money?

Starting a business with no money or very less capital works well if your business:

  • Can get the revenue immediately
  • Has less overhead
  • Has less inventory or labor expenses

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when starting a business with no money or a very less capital. The cash flow is an essential part of the business and it will create a huge impact when the time lapse between your pay and bills is more. Being successful in a business is all about maintaining the right balance between cash flow and the net profit. If you’re able to get a good revenue after clearing all your bills, then you can push yourself towards expansion and business growth.

Start with a good business plan and focus on the key tips mentioned below and just get started with your business easily. We share with you 5 interesting ways on how you can finance a business without any capital.

5 Tips on financing a business without money:

#1. Every penny counts

Don’t spend even a single penny if it doesn’t help you in growing your business. If the money you spend is not fetching you, potential customers, then stop spending. When you start a business with no money, then you are accountable for every dollar you spend so spend it wisely. Most entrepreneurs think about buying everything for their business and neglect the fact that every penny counts especially when you’ve just started a business. Instead, you can look for lease options.

#2. Look for the grants offered and how you can get the best out of them

While there are many options to get funds from such as crowdfunding, bank loans, investor etc. but getting a grant is one of the best ways to fund your business. Although, getting a grant is not that easy and the process may take a while but it’s worth shredding your sweats for it.

There are 4 categories of grants and you can research each of them before you check for the eligibility:

  • Federal small business grants offered by the Government
  • State and regional small business grants
  • Corporate small business grants
  • Speciality small business grants

#3. Develop your understanding of the basic principles of accounting

It is important to have some understanding of the basic principles of accounting to track your income, expenses and know which measures are profitable and which aren’t. For this you don’t have to be a CPA, you can make use of the free tools to track and monitor your finances.

Some of the free accounting software are:

  • ZipBooks
  • TurboCash
  • Wave
  • GnuCash
  • CloudBooks

#4. Think twice before you opt for having an Office space

Office space can be an expensive affair especially when you are starting a business or just started as every penny counts. Hold on this thought of having a physical office space until you find the need. If your business demands holding meetings, then you can schedule one in any coffee shop. Most companies start without a physical office until they feel they can manage the costs and would have a profitable revenue.

#5. Quality is better than quantity – employees, customers & more

Hiring can be something you need to focus on. Instead of hiring full-time employees, you can hire 2 or 3 freelancers or business services to do everything. When you feel that you’ve more projects which can’t be managed with freelancers then you can hire full-time employees or hire part-time freelancers to work on a project basis.

Having one good customer who pays on time and doesn’t fuss about stuff is always better than having 4 bad customers. Instead of wasting time and money on fussy customers, you can work on generating potential leads and quality customers.

Summing up:

More than starting a business, the thought of funding a business is more challenging. So, these 5 tips would help you to get started with your business and help you to understand how to finance a business with no money.

Financial Mistakes that Come With Biggest Consequences

In this article, you can look at some of the most common financial mistakes that often lead people to encounter critical economic hardships. The key to surviving include clearly steering these mistakes even if you’re already facing financial difficulties. Since many people mishandle their money often, whether it’s poor planning, forgotten bill or an impulse buy, you can find a big difference between shopping and realizing they shouldn’t have.

 

Making serious financial mistakes can haunt you for years, which can even last a lifetime. So to help you avoid making a serious bad financial decision and keeping your financial life on track in 2018, you can find here a list of some mistakes that arise with greater consequences.

#Putting off saving for future

You can end up getting hard times in your youth and not making much money when you’re starting to save for retirement. However, the better way is to start earlier since the money you put away has more time to grow and you can easily implement early saving habit which could begin to impart the good power of investment.

Now the compound interest method can allow you to earn an exponentially larger gain on the money over time. For example: if you invest 1,000 dollars today and earn an annual 5% gain, so 50 dollars. That 50 dollar gets added to P.A (principal amount) of your investment and you can earn a 5 percent gain on 1050 dollar that means a total of 102.5; which then goes on.

So the early you start depositing money in a retirement account, the more time it leaves to earn you for profit. But even if you’re older and still not started to save for future, it’s not too late.

#Excessive/Frivolous spending

Every little item adds up to cost you. Even it is one dollar at a time that counts you great fortunes which may not seem like big deal, however, would bring you to play hard. Just spending 25 dollars per week on dining out would cost you 1,300 per year, which could go towards a number of extra car payments an extra mortgage payment.

If you’re going through financial hardships, neglecting these mistakes could really matter you when you’re only a few dollars away from bankruptcy or foreclosure. At that time every dollar will count more than ever.

#Taking social security early

At earlier times, it was one of the common sentences to retire and take social security at age 60. But every year you wait after 60, you’ll have an imputed return of 8% per year on lifetime benefits. So, if you wait until you are 70, instead of early takeoff, the amount for social-security pay climbs dramatically and no longer increases after your 70’s.

This means the longer you wait, the bigger your monthly check will be. You should know how to get max Social Security check and how to determine when you should claim your benefits.

#Not investing

Putting money in a retirement account ensures that you’ll have money to use when you reach a needy state in your life. But if you’re not investing money in anyways throughout your working stage, you’re missing crucial many making opportunities.

After you’ve budgeted for retirement saving, make sure to put any extra cash to work. Since saving accounts are great for short-term emergency funds, and you can have easy access in case of your need for money and will also build up to a point you’ll be comfortable with.

The foremost thing to figure out is when to plan spending money you’re investing and better off to keep in a saving account. But if you’re investing money you don’t plan to spend for at least 5 years or more, there are various options to get the most out of your investment.

#Living on borrowed money

Credit cards are sought to be one of the most essential tools that help many to use for buying. There are increasing numbers of consumers who pay double-digit interest-rates on groceries, gasoline & host of other items prior to paying the bill in full. This must be avoided! Since credit cards interest rate makes the price of a charged item a great deal more expensive, depending on it is likely to make you spend more than you earn.

It is essential to learn more about the credit card, see credit, charge, and debt so that you’ll not have to face a disastrous end.

#Spending too much on your house

When it comes to buying a house, bigger is not necessarily a better option. Unless you have a large family, choosing a 6K square foot home will only mean expensive maintenance, utilities, and taxes. Since you’d not want to put yourself into such a significant, long-term dent in your monthly budget, you can try to make things affordable. Learn more on how much you can afford to buy a home.

Conclusion

In order to steer yourself away from the danger of overspending, start by monitoring little expenses that add up quickly and then move to monitor big expenses. This article will help you to set your list of important payment priorities and you will be able to make saving some of what you earn as a monthly priority.

Make these deals work on you and add up more to your financial saving. Keep in your mind and avoid merging into the list of these financial mistakes and make sure to handle the depths of your plan to guard your future.

How to Check Your Credit Score for Free in just five Minutes?

When was the last time you checked your credit score?

You might be thinking why it is even necessary to answer this question but believe it or not your credit score is something that indirectly influences your major financial decisions. If you have a good score then you can avail all the benefits such as easy loan approvals with lower interest rates, lower your auto insurance premiums, get qualified for a new credit card with higher limit etc. Knowing your credit score can fetch you all these benefits & more.

However, it can be a bit baffling and sometimes expensive to get access to your credit score. It would be a piece of cake if you have a basic understanding of what a credit score is and where you can check your credit score for free.

What is a credit score?

A credit score or FICO score is a numerical expression (ranging between 300 and 850) that defines your creditworthiness, and this is the reason for most lenders to ask for your credit score.

Most Americans fall into the category “good” with an average of 700 as the credit score. Let’s understand more about the credit score numbers:

Credit Score RangeCategory
550 & BelowBad
550 to 649Poor
650 to 699Fair
700 to 749Good
750 & AboveExcellent

There are a few things you need to consider while checking your credit score such as:

  • Is it calculated using a FICO formula? (as not all credit scores are calculated using FICO formula)
  • What credit bureau data is used to calculate your credit score?
  • Is it free or charges a fee?

There are three main credit reporting agencies namely Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and each of them uses different data of yours to generate the credit score. Although, the difference would be significantly small in terms of the final credit score and in case if you have time you can try checking all the three.

It can be a difficult thing to predict which source the lender would use to evaluate your credit score before offering you a loan. You can access your free credit report for one or all the 3 from www.annualcreditreport.com.

How to check your credit score at 0 cost?

Some of the credit score providers update their score weekly, monthly or once in 3 months. It is recommended to check the latest score accordingly to get the most accurate results. Credit Karma is one of the source providers where the credit scores are updated on a weekly basis. So, if you’re planning to apply for a major loan then check the most recently updated credit score to know your chances of getting approved for the loan.

Following are the providers to check your credit score for free(or for a small amount):

Credit Score ProviderCostFree Credit Report available?
DiscoverFreeNo
Credit KarmaFreeYes
Credit SesameFreeNo
Capital OneFreeNo
MintFreeNo
WalletHubFreeYes
MyFICO.com$19.95 per monthYes
Experian$21.95 per monthYes
Equifax$19.95 per monthYes
ChaseFreeYes
CitiFreeNo
American ExpressFreeNo
BarclaycardFreeNo
Bank of AmericaFreeNo
QuizzleFreeYes

Why your FICO score is so important?

Your FICO score plays a vital role in defining your loan affordability, the credit limit on new credit cards, interest rates on mortgage and auto loans and even your job. In general, your credit score affects all your credit and lending decisions which imply that you need to check your credit score before you take a major financial decision.

If you check your credit score often then you will be aware of where you stand financially. It would give you a fair idea of whether you’re ready to apply for a loan. Checking your credit score would give you a chance to improve your credit score and get approved for a loan easily. Now that you know how important it is, let’s look at the sources where you can check your credit score for free.

Some sources even offer a free credit report along with your credit score. A credit report would give you a better insight into the factors that are influencing your credit score. Once you start analyzing your credit report, you can look for ways to improve your credit score before you take that big financial jump.

Summing up:

Checking your credit score often can keep you updated with your financial health and it is recommended to check your credit score and report at least once in12 months. If you’re planning to apply for a new credit or loan, then you should check it more often from one of the free sources listed above.

Do You Know How Americans Spend Their Money At Every Age?

Americans are famous for their style of living and spending habits. A research shows that about 70% of the US economy is accounted by consumer spending. Have you ever wondered what a typical American budget would consist of? Actually, it depends like “the more you have, the more you can spend”, which is the strategy of most Americans.

 

Most Americans buy to spend their money on various stuff that can be broadly divided into two main categories:

  • Firstly, they spend on essentials such as housing, food, and clothing.
  • Secondly, they spend on non-essential goods and services.

Every year the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics takes a consumer expenditure survey to analyze the spending habits of Americans. Let us look into the details of the Consumer Expenditure survey and understand the spending habits of Americans at a different age.

Average monthly budget at different age:

A recent survey shows that housing accounts for the maximum expense for Americans ranging from 30-35% of the monthly budget.

The first jump:

When they turn 25 and get into the proper career mode, they get the first spike in spending with their first jump of earning.  But do you really feel there’s any inter-relationship between age and spending habits?

Let us understand the relationship between age and monthly budget:

# Under 25

Fewer than 25 is the age where there are no responsibilities and you can afford to spend on things that you love. Young adults at this age are relatively thrifty; know how to control their expenses and thus spend less than what their elders spend in most of the things. In this phase, most of the money is spent on education.

Average monthly expense report:

Housing:$944
Transportation:$527
Food:$408
Healthcare:$82
Education:$214
Entertainment:$113
Total (Average monthly family budget):           $2733

 25 to 34

The 25 to 34 age group is referred to as millennials where people get into their career phase. They have a proper job that fetches a good monthly income and which they can use in a more efficient way. People in this age group spend money in a sensible way, either to clear off debts or start saving money.

Average monthly expense report:

Housing:$1525
Transportation:$815
Food:$553
Healthcare:$231
Education:$94
Entertainment:$216
Total (Average monthly family budget):          $4339

35 to 44

This phase is termed as adulthood where people get into the family way of life. They would want to settle with kids and spend their money on kids. But with the increase in the number of persons in the family, there is a shoot up in expenses expected as well. The housing budget shoots up with finding a bigger place to live. In general, this is the phase when people get stuck with the highest food and housing costs with marriage and/or mortgage expenses.

This age group is termed as generation-X when your kids enter the teenage phase and the expenses are at a peak that accounts to the driving costs, transportation, education etc. As kids head to college, education costs also contribute to a major part of monthly expenses. Most people start looking for a passive income at this stage to cover up the expenses.

Average monthly expense report:

Housing:$1763
Transportation:$982
Food:$701
Healthcare:$389
Education:$222
Entertainment:$276
Total (Average monthly family budget):  $5813

 

  • 55 to 65

This age group is called boomer age where the income drops off and the expenses of food and transportation also set low. As with age, there’s a rise in healthcare costs.

Average monthly expense report:

Housing:              $1516

Transportation:  $835

Food:                    $583

Healthcare:        $426

Education:           $97

Entertainment:   $277

Total (Average monthly family budget):                    $4898

 

  • 65 & above

This age group is called the silent generation or the golden age. In general, older Americans tend to cut down all the expenses in almost all categories with an exception in healthcare. With age, the dependency on medical care and prescribed drugs increases and thus the health care costs contribute to the major expenses.

Average monthly expense report:

Housing:              $1294

Transportation:  $571

Food:                    $459

Healthcare:        $480

Education:           $22

Entertainment:   $205

Total (Average monthly family budget):                    $3722

 

Summing up:

No matter what age group you are into, you can still begin to have a hold on your finances with little planning. It’s important to analyze your spending habits and cut down in the areas where you’re over-spending. Create a budget and stick to the plan. This way you will soon master the skills of finance management.