Month: February 2020

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score can determine a number of things about you. Your credit score will determine if you can get the financing available to purchase a car, a home, and can even determine your interest rates. If you have credit problems you may not be able to get the funding that you need. If your credit score is not up to par you do not have to worry. There are some ways that you can improve your credit score and get the financing that you need.

When you get your credit score you need to look at all the accounts that you are paying on, both the current accounts and the ones that are in default. Thirty-five percent of a credit score is based on your payment history. You score also looks at the total amount of debt that you owe to all lenders. Credit score range from 300 to 850. If you have a 650 -700 you have what is considered to be fair credit. Below a 600 you poor or bad credit. If your credit score is over 700 you are considered to have a good credit history. If your credit score is over 750 you have nothing to worry about. The average person falls into the fair to good credit range. With the increase prices and the poor economy many people are finding themselves to have poor credit. There are some things they can do to improve their score.

Check Your Credit Report for Mistakes

After looking at your credit score you need to check your credit report for mistakes. One in five people have found errors on their credit report. You should check that all of your personal information is correct. All look at the creditors and make sure that you have an account with them. Also look at the dates of the accounts and the total amount owed to make sure this is correct. Your credit report will show missed payments. If you made a payment on time and it is showing up as late you need to write to the credit agency and explain this. If there are items from over a decade on the credit report you need to write to have these removed as well. Many accounts will only stay on the credit report for a period of 7 years. If you find a mistake you will need to file a dispute form. While this may seem like it will be time consuming once the error is gone you will notice that your credit score has improved. It it well worth the extra time and effort.

 

Pay Down Debt

To improve your score you need to begin to pay down your debt. Look at your credit card with the highest interest rate and pay extra on this account. This will help your debt from building up. You do not have to close any unused credit cards. This will not improve your score and is not a quick fix. When you are trying to improve your score do not open additional credit accounts or apply for a new loan. This will not help your credit but rather add to your debt.

Fix Late Payments

If you have made late payments on your loans in the past now is the time to get on the right track. Credit cards and other lenders now have alerts that can be sent to your phone and email to remind you that a payment is due. You can also set up automatic deductions from your bank account. You will need to plan that around your pay schedule. You can also ask some of your lenders if they are willing to forgive some of the late payments. Some can be forgiving if you have a good history of making other payments on time. This will allow you to improve your score. Be sure to make future payments on time. If for some reason you will not have the money to make the payment call the lender. They will be willing to accept a partial payment for the time or set up another date.

Clear Up Collection Accounts

If you have accounts in collection you need to get this cleared up. You can call the collection agency and see if they are willing to accept a settlement. You should also ask them if your settle your debt if they will stop reporting it to the credit bureaus. If you are going to make a payment and they are going to stop reporting negative history be sure to get this in writing.

Do Not Get More Credit

It may be appealing to get a discount when opening a store credit card but in the end it can do more harm than good. It does not matter if you are approved for the card or not it will still have an impact on your credit score. This is considered to be a hard inquiry on your credit and will have an impact on your score for up to one year. When trying to fix your score you do not need to add any more debt. If you find an inquiry on your credit report that you are not familiar with contact the lender and find out with this is all about. If you did not apply for the card you need to alert the credit agency as this can be a sign of fraud. This may also remove the inquiry from your credit report but it may take some time in order for this to get into effect. A soft inquiry will not harm your credit. This is done when a lender is looking to increase your line of credit.

These are some tips that will help you improve your credit score. You need to remember that your credit score will not automatically improve over night. It will take several months of making payments on time and paying down debt for the credit score to improve. If you start taking measure to fix your poor credit score you will see an improvement in no time and will be able to get the financing that you need as well as lower interest rates.

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Making Your Appliances More Energy Efficient—And Saving Money in the Process

As the world becomes more eco-friendly, things like recycling cans and reusing bags have become commonplace. These simple activities not only help people demonstrate their concern for the environment, but also give them the opportunity to make or save money.

However, there are plenty of other eco-friendly, money-saving lifestyle adjustments you can make that you may not be entirely aware of. For example, taking inventory of all the electrical appliances in your home and evaluating whether or not they’re operating at maximum efficiency could be the game changer needed to take you to the next level.

If you can make some simple changes when it comes to your appliances, you can significantly reduce the amount of energy that’s being used and therefore lower your electric bills. A simple walk-through of your home can result is less wasted energy and more financial savings.

So here are several things you can do to start saving electricity:

Maintain or Replace Older Appliances

If you regularly clean and maintain your appliances, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll work at maximum efficiency. For example, if your air conditioner has a dirty filter, it may not be cooling your room or home quickly enough. This means you’ll run the appliance for a longer period of time, sucking up energy and money. Or maybe the door of your electric oven has become misaligned from years of use and an unnoticeable opening releases heat. This means you have to run the oven longer to cook your favorite dish.

Enlisting the help of a professional service technician to perform an annual checkup on some of your bigger appliances, like washers and dryers, can reduce the operating costs of those appliances significantly—sometimes up to 20%. This kind of professional maintenance can also extend the life of the appliance and ensure it remains safe, even after years of use.

If you have any appliances that have been in use for 10 years or more, they are likely not working at their peak rate of efficiency. Consider replacing them outright. This could cut your electric bill in half.

Buy Energy-Saving Appliances

Speaking of replacing your appliances, be on the lookout for the Energy Star logo.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been operating the Energy Star program for more than 20 years. Energy Star certification means the appliance is more energy-efficient (and therefore cost-saving) than a comparable model without the designation. The Energy Star label is currently used in more than 75 different product categories.

Maximizing Your Refrigerator

Two very simple things will help keep the cool air inside your refrigerator. The cooler your refrigerator stays, the less it’ll need to draw energy to pump new cool air in.

First, don’t keep the refrigerator or freezer door open for longer than you actually need. Second, try to avoid opening your refrigerator door all the way—open it just enough to get what you want.

Maximizing Your Air Conditioner

Instead of turning your air conditioner on and off manually whenever you think you need to, it’s much better to establish what temperature is most comfortable for you and stick to it. That means choosing a temperature and permanently setting the thermostat at that level, so that the air conditioner can turn on and off on its own.

An air conditioner that kicks in as soon as the temperature rises too high only needs to cool the room or home by a few degrees, as a opposed to a human who might only get around to it when the air conditioner needs to cool the room by five, ten, or fifteen degrees. You can imagine how much more electricity is needed and how much more that costs.

Unplug Your Appliances During a Power Outrage

In the uncommon occurrence of a power outage, unplug all your appliances (like toasters and microwaves) and electric devices (like computers and televisions). Not only will this protect them from voltage surges when the electricity comes back on, this will decrease the demand on the electrical system of your power supplier. Voltage surges can cause permanent damage to your appliances and devices.

Bonus Tip: Use Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

If you haven’t already gotten rid of all your traditional incandescent light bulbs, now is the time to do so. While these types of bulbs emit the kind of warm glow that many people have gotten used to, they’re the most inefficient, energy-draining bulbs on the market. An incandescent bulb yields approximately 700 to 1,000 hours of use.

Here are come alternatives:

Halogen bulbs are a type of incandescent. Known for mimicking natural daylight, they’re at least 25% more efficient than a normal incandescent bulb. With an average lifespan of 1,000 hours, they’re mostly used for under-cabinet and pendant lighting. One thing to note, however, is that halogens cost more upfront than regular incandescents—though this is made up in energy savings over time. They also burn at a higher temperature, so caution is necessary.

Fluorescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs are a whopping 75% more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. They come in a number of shapes, sizes, and colors, and they yield an average of 8,000 hours of use. They’re perfect for the home (in rooms like the kitchen) and commercial environments.

LED light bulbs are hands down the greatest of them all. Not only are they at least 75% more efficient than incandescents, their average lifespan is more than 25,000 hours. They’re great indoors and outdoors, for decorative lighting and task lighting—pretty much perfect for anything. They also emit practically no heat, making them the coolest (literally and figuratively) light bulb available.

The Bottom Line

As you move towards a more efficient lifestyle, whether your concern is protecting the environment or saving money or both, paying special attention to your appliances (and light bulbs) will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals.

While there are plenty of more things you can do to flex your eco-friendly muscles, the above suggestions are a great place to start.

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