January 21st, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, I decided I wanted to make marshmallows. After all, I had to put that shiny new candy thermometer I got for Christmas to use somehow, right?
And I gotta say… creating those marshmallows was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I’ve never been a fan of cooking, but baking (and apparently marshmallow-making) has always fascinated me, as it’s more of a science than anything else. One mistake and your entire batch could be ruined. Do everything perfectly and you end up with sweets that’ll delight your coworkers.
The title kind of gave it away, but managing your credit health is the same way. If you have an excellent score and miss one payment, your score could tank. But if you’re careful enough, you just might end up with a score good enough to get you the best rates and financial products.
More than that, the journeys to the perfect marshmallow and excellent credit health are remarkably similar. Check out the sweet parallels:
They both require precision.
When I was heating up the sugar/corn syrup/water/salt mix, the instructions told me to stop when the mixture reached 240°F. It was a very precise temperature that I knew was mentioned for a reason, so even when the thermometer told me my mixture was stuck at 230°F for a long time, I patiently waited until it hit the, ahem, sweet spot.
Credit scores are the same way. They’re very fickle and not very forgiving. A few months ago, I logged into my Credit Karma account and was astounded to find my score had dropped 20 points just because I let my credit card utilization slip to 0%. But it makes sense—how can the bureaus accurately judge me if it looks like I’m not using my credit cards?
Preciseness: it does credit a world of good. Be vigilant as you work on improving your credit health. Keep your credit card utilization between 1 and 20%, your payment history at 100%, your number of credit inquiries as low as possible, and your derogatory marks at 0. You won’t regret it!
January 15th, 2014
We love Aathavan’s tip, which he actually got from his mother when he was a kid. On our Facebook page, we try to put up an inspiring/clever money quote each Monday. It should come as no surprise that many famous quotes encouraging saving and exercising self-control, as the lack of restraint typically leads to debt.
January 14th, 2014
Sadly, student loans are a harsh reality for many Americans, with nearly 12 million borrowing money to help pay for school each year. Even some people over the age of 60 are still making monthly student loan debt payments, showing that student loan payments can last a lifetime. Kayleigh is smart to want to pay those off… if her situation meets certain conditions:
January 13th, 2014
Isaac’s resolution is a great one—and definitely one that more people need to make. Did you know that fully one third of Americans admit to having not saved anything at all for retirement? This is shockingly sad, but relatively easy to remedy.
January 6th, 2014
At Credit Karma, we draw financial inspiration from all sorts of sources. You can find the proof below - five different pop culture figures you probably could learn a thing or two from. Check them out – and if you have your own money management muse, feel free to let us know in the comments!
January 1st, 2014
New Years Resolutions aren’t typically successful, so we wanted to give you an extra dose of tips so you can start 2014 off right. Enjoy!
November 8th, 2013
3 Areas Not to Overlook as You Financially Prepare for Next Year "Whether you believe it or not, we are just a short seven short weeks or so from ringing in 2014. If you’re like me, you may feel like this year has flown by and the prospect of a new year is a bit on the nutty side. While it is crazy, I like to be prepared and the impending new year is a great reminder that it’s a perfect opportunity to look at how we can financially prepare for the dawn of a new calendar year." Narrow Bridge Finance
November 4th, 2013
Let’s face it. There are more romantic conversations to have with your partner than one about finances. But the “money talk” is important to have, no matter what stage your relationship is in. Financial problems can cause tension between partners-- surveys often find money is the number one reason couples argue. So how to do you know what money conversations you should be having with your partner? This really varies depending on how long you guys have been together. Here are some suggested conversations for different stages of your relationship:
November 1st, 2013
How to ‘Trick’ Yourself Into Keeping on Budget "Are you good at sticking to your budget, or like some of us, do you need help controlling your spending when it comes to keeping on track with a budget? Sitting down and planning a regular budget is a good way to keep track of money, but not if you play games with yourself and overspend each month. Learn how to trick yourself into spending less and saving more with these strategies." My Bank Tracker
October 14th, 2013
For one out of four Americans, “cash only” is a way of life. 17 million Americans lack access to any type of formal bank account and are classified as “unbanked.” In addition, 51 million Americans do access basic bank services such as a savings account, yet they still rely on alternative financial institutions as well. These individuals might frequent check-cashing joints, fall prey to payday lenders, and often incur exorbitant fees associated with such alternative banking methods.