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When you ask yourself whether or not you’re good with money, you’ll probably quickly come to your own rescue.
Your response might be that, of course, you are smart with money. You have some saved, but perhaps not quite as much as you’d like. You also are quick to point out that you have a budget, and that you’re happy to say that it is looking pretty good when compared to income versus expenses.
While that is all well and good as they say, you still might be prone to wasting money, or in essence throwing it away where you least expect it.
A big culprit of money not spent so well is at one of the places you visit frequently: the grocery store. As outdated as it may seem, the list at the grocery is a simple money saver for the masses. How many times have you gone in for a few items and left spending hundreds of dollars, because you believe you need this, that and the other thing?
Chances are, you are buying duplicates at the store, and that is sending your receipt into overdrive. You get home from the grocery store, and you realize that you already had a few laundry detergents on the bench along with more items that you thought you needed but really didn’t. If you’re like most people, you end up throwing away more food than you eat, mostly because your intention of cooking meals at home or prepping those fruits and vegetables to eat falls by the wayside, and they end up in the garbage. Be realistic about how you eat, and if you’re constantly tossing lettuce heads and half eaten bananas in the trash, that’s money down the drain.
From one popular spot (the grocery store) to another, the bank, when was the last time you found a late fee on your checking account? If the answer any time is affirmative, that’s one too many.
You should never, with this much technology, ever bounce a check or have a debit card cut up in front of you. With overdraft protection, those 30 to 50 dollar overdraft fees should be a thing of the past. Even if you get hit with one or two per year, that’s money that is being wasted and ultimately putting your financial future in jeopardy.
The key to saving money is naturally to have a budget, stick to it and count your dollars out the door versus what you’re bringing in on a regular basis. But it is easy to get sidetracked with the simple and not pay attention to not so much how you’re spending money but rather if you’re wasting it.
You hear so often consumers and customers alike squawking about their credit scores, bragging most of the time when they’re worth noting, or trying to hide them as if it was a donut and your personal trainer was bearing down on you.
Even credit card companies make it a point to tout that you can get a free credit score as part of their services, truly making that three digit number the epitome of how you revel or regret your financial standing.
But is your credit score really that important when it comes to money and how it matters?
Yes and no.
No one is going to argue that a good credit score is the gateway to getting loans and ultimately the things you want. A credit score that reeks of responsibilities puts you in the good graces of lenders and thus allows you to be viewed as less risk and more reward for them, meaning quite simply that you’ll pay back what you borrow.
The part of the credit score that isn’t quite as paramount is watching it slip points for all the right reasons. So yes, your credit score is really important but if it takes a bit of a dip, you shouldn’t immediately assume that you’ll never own a car, house or anything else that requires creditors to take a longer, harder look at that number.
Case in point: let’s say you’ve purchased a car and then six months later, you buy a house. And then within a few months of buying that home, you consolidate some credit cards by opening one with a low annual percentage rate (APR) and then transfer high interest balances from one card that isn’t quite enviable to your new one.
Do you think you credit score can survive that? Well, in some cases, it won’t and you’ll lose some serious points with each inquiry that you request, even if it is for something worthwhile like a home or car.
Conversely, if you are struggling with debt and need some outside help, you may inquire about a credit counseling or debt management service or program. These are a neutral move financially and as it relates to your money. They have fees associated with them, but they’ll get your rates and payment lowered, but it won’t do your credit score any favors. You have to remember, however, over time, your score will creep back up to respectability once you’ve either completed the debt program or have made consistent payments through their counseling and management services.
While you should always respect and pay close attention to your credit score, sometimes those numbers need a reality check. They’re not always perfect, nor should they be as long as the right situation ultimately arises.