Monthly Archives: September 2013

Most Effective Steps to Fix Credit

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Whenever people are faced with credit issues or bankruptcy, it’s all too common to want to fix credit as quick as possible.  However, individuals in vulnerable financial positions must be aware of the facts of credit repair.  The most successful way to improve credit is to always pay all bills on time, every time.  Shady credit repair companies offering fast and major improvements to your credit score for big payments should be viewed with caution.  Below, we at Sage Personal Finance have outlined a few of the best and most effective ways to improve your credit after bankruptcy or other financial struggle.

Review Your Credit Report

In our recent post, Keeping an Eye on Your Credit Report, we discuss the importance of closely monitoring your credit report for any signs of unusual activity and errors.  We also offer a few resources including annualcreditreport.com and Credit Sesame, which offers a free monthly check of your credit score and report.  If you find errors, and nearly every consumer will find at least one error on each of the three major reports, be sure to document and dispute the error to the reporting agency.  If the item cannot be verified with the creditor, it must be removed from your report.  Using the tools provided and your own time and attention, you can ensure that you are not being negatively affected by errors and incorrect information on your report.

Pay On Time, Every Time

Did you know that even some utility companies report to the credit bureaus?  Paying all of your monthly bills on time, every time is the biggest step in maintaining and improving your credit score.  If you can’t make your monthly payment, never ignore the problem.  Companies have advocates and programs in place to help consumers and by reaching out ahead of time, you can often keep a negative report from going to the credit bureau.

Open a Secured Credit Card

For many individuals with poor credit, the opportunity to start fresh with credit is unavailable.  Opening a secured credit card gives consumers the option to show solid payment history to potential creditors by actually paying for the card in advance with a refundable deposit.  This option is discussed in more detail in our recent post, Build Credit with a Secured Credit Card.

Open a Savings Account

Opening a savings account shows creditors that you have means to repay debt as well as the responsibility and desire to save for the future.  This is an easy and meaningful step that can make a major difference in your credit score.

Try to Vary Your Accounts

Having a mix of installment and revolving accounts, such as a car loan and credit cards, shows responsibility and financial management.  It’s best to have a mix of a couple different types of accounts.  A common mistake that consumers make is to close all accounts, which has the negative effect of shutting off all available credit and lowering their score.  Maintaining a low account balance on credit cards, paying them in full each month and keeping them open is the best option to increase your score.

In our debtor education course, we discuss more options to manage your finances and improve your financial well-being.  Register today to learn more.

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Top Budgeting Apps to Help Manage Your Finances

Preparing a budget can be time consuming and sometimes a little boring but we here at Sage Personal Finance have compiled a few budget friendly apps to make the process a little easier and a bit more fun for tech-savvy folks.

Below is our guide to help you easily compare which apps will work the best for your device and your needs:

 

APP: Mint

PLATFORM: Android, iOS

COST: Free

CALENDAR VIEW?: No

REMINDERS: Email/text alerts of low balance, due dates and unusual activity

BILL PAY FEATURE: None

DETAILS:

• See all your personal finance accounts—checking, savings, and credit cards.
• Automatically categorizes transactions.
• Charts and graphs show you at a glance where you’re spending. (tablet only)
• Track your budget.
• Track your cash spending.
• View finances offline. The app stores information from your latest download. (tablet only)
• Get email or text alerts that notify you of upcoming bills, fees, low balances, unusual activity and more.

 

APP: Manilla

PLATFORM: Android

COST: Free

CALENDAR VIEW?: Yes

REMINDERS: Due Dates

BILL PAY FEATURE: None

DETAILS:

Everything in one place
Securely manage and monitor all your bills, finances, travel rewards & subscriptions
Automatic reminders to help you avoid late fees
Organized document storage for bills, statements, notices & offers
Single password log in

 

APP: Check

PLATFORM: Android, iOS

COST: Free

CALENDAR VIEW?: Yes

REMINDERS: Alerts for due dates and low funds

BILL PAY FEATURE: On the spot or free scheduling from within App

DETAILS:

• Get reminders when bills are due
• Pay on the spot and schedule bill payments for free
• Conveniently pay bills with a bank account or credit card*
• See all your bills & accounts in one centralized place
• Receive alerts when funds are low or credit limits are near

 

APP: Lemon Wallet

PLATFORM: iOS

COST: Free

CALENDAR VIEW?: No

REMINDERS: None

BILL PAY FEATURE: None

DETAILS:

Take a picture of everything in your wallet, and let Lemon create a digital version allowing you to:
• Store your cards in the cloud and always have a backup
• Make your wallet interactive, with real-time balance• Save at retailers with special offers
• Earn merchant rewards

 

APP: Checkbook

PLATFORM: Android

COST: Free

CALENDAR VIEW?: No

REMINDERS: None

BILL PAY FEATURE: None

DETAILS:

Checkbook is an app you can use in place of a paper checkbook and makes it easier than you think to handle your finances.

 

 

APP: Bills

PLATFORM: Android, iOS

COST: $1.99

CALENDAR VIEW?: Yes

REMINDERS: Yes

BILL PAY FEATURE: Yes

DETAILS:

Set a figure indicating how much you want to spend this month (by tapping the progress bar). Mark days on the calendar when you need to pay for anything or buy anything. Roll the calendar up and down by tapping the yellow arrow below it! Then when you have paid the bill off, approve it quickly (you may also approve it partially and reschedule the rest of the payment). Easily filter your bills and payments to see your planned, overdue and paid expenses & bills.

 

 

APP: Budget Planner

PLATFORM: Android, iOS

COST: $1.99

CALENDAR VIEW?: Yes

REMINDERS: Yes

BILL PAY FEATURE: Yes

DETAILS:

TRANSACTIONS ON THE FLY, MONEY TRANSFERS, BUDGET TRACKING, PLOT GRAPH, 6 MONTH SPREADSHEET, BILL REMINDERS and more…

 

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