January 17th, 2013

Would You Go Back in Time to Improve Your Credit Health?

Would You go Back in Time to Improve Your Credit Health?

This week on our Facebook page, we posted the following:

Fill-in-the-blank: The first thing you should do to start improving your credit health is _______.

My favorite response came from a guy named Eric:

1. Buy a DeLorean
2. Go 88 mph
3. Go back in time to smack yourself and tear up those credit cards.

Done.

Clever, right? (And hopefully you get the reference.)

But after my initial chuckle, I got to thinking, “Would I really go back in time?” Probably not, and here’s why.

Mistakes = Lessons

How many times on this blog have we written about our past mistakes turning into lessons? Let’s take a look. I wrote about how my past relationships actually led to great money lessons. Justine wrote about how a simple error of timing cost her big and what she learned from her first speeding ticket. Guest contributor Kristina talked about recognizing problems and then correcting them in “A Second Chance at Financial Freedom.” And Ezra even shared the things we can learn from the one big mistake that is Jersey Shore.

Just from this small sample you can see that we’re big about learning from mistakes around here. Your mistakes—however big or small—leave behind lessons and make you who you are. Which leads to the next point…

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September 26th, 2012

3 Steps For Never Failing Your Financial Goals

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Do you think willpower is what determines whether or not you accomplish your goals? No?! I’ve never been a big believer myself. Sure, having a concrete goal is crucial, but why stop there when you can use tricks that will be much more effective in ensuring success?

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September 14th, 2012

When Frugality Does More Harm Than Good

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Frugality can be a lot of things - helpful, necessary, difficult, annoying - but I have developed a special talent for making it an unpleasant obstacle to bettering my well-being. While I’m a careful saver, I’ll spend money when I feel the situation calls for it. I’m not too tight-fisted. Work shoes need repairing? I’ll spend the money, because it’s better than buying a new pair of shoes! The vet says our cat might have a heart murmur and needs an echocardiogram? Of course we’ll do it, HE’S OUR BABY! Is my sister travelling to Russia for a semester, and am I freaking out about it? A gift of emergency money it is!

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March 13th, 2012

Shopping Gimmicks That Make Us All Suckers

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Spring cleaning season might get you in the mood to do some spring shopping. After all, you have to refill those recently purged holes in your wardrobe, don’t you? But before you head to the mall, make sure you’re armed against the tricks retailers use to lure you to buy. Here’s how to spot them and keep your eyes on your budget.

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February 24th, 2012

12 Tools to Reverse the Effects of “Geno-Economics”

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We can blame genetics for our picky eating habits, our weight—and now—our shopping habits. The new field called “geno-economics” studies how our biology affects our financial behavior.

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December 21st, 2011

Chicken-Fried Generosity: ‘Tis the Seasoning of Giving

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Recently, the Credit Karma content team went out to lunch for chicken and waffles in honor of Bethy’s birthday. My order happened to take 15 minutes longer than everyone else’s, so the chicken and waffle baroness behind the counter gave me an extra piece of chicken and an extra waffle. It was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me.

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December 15th, 2011

Lessons on Buying Clothes and Cheese

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I’ve been reading personal finance blogs for a while now, and I’m always intrigued by the frugal bloggers who suggest that the answer to financial woes is to cut back on frivolous expenses, like your $4 morning latte. As for my stance on this issue, I’m a flip-flopper. Sometimes I’ll indulge in a delicious Blue Bottle latte (cost $3.75), but I rarely head to work without my brown-bagged lunch.

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November 16th, 2011

Lessons from Novels and Mustaches: How to Tackle Any Financial Challenge this November

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November is a month of challenges. You can grow a mustache, write a novel, eat six servings of pie, and land a great Black Friday deal on nutmeg like you wouldn’t believe.

I made the admirably foolish goal to write a 50,000 word novel in November as part of NaNoWriMo. My Credit Karma cohorts Bethy and Justine decided to try and summit this literary Everest as well. As you might expect with anything stupidly difficult, we were met with some obstacles. But the lessons we learned apply just as well to any financial challenges you might be undertaking. Whether you’re saving money for the holidays or finally sticking to a budget, these tips can give you an extra boost while trying to meet your financial challenges. Keep reading and benefit from our folly.

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November 8th, 2011

Everybody’s Trying to Sell You Something

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I love the smell of a brand-new magazine straight from the newsstand. The pages are crisp. It’s like you can smell the printing ink. But what’s that other smell? Oh, right; it’s the perfume advertisements that assault your senses before you even crack the spine of your brand-new Glamour magazine.

I keep a number of magazines at my desk for content inspiration and general reading pleasure. I picked one up the other day and started flipping through, only to discover that it took 50 whole pages to get to the table of contents.

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October 19th, 2011

The Free Monkey Problem: The High Cost of Free Things

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For economists, the free rider problem, which arises whenever people use a service without paying full price, is a dilemma worth tackling. Today, I want to alert you to a much bigger issue: the free monkey problem.

Free Monkeys for All

Imagine someone was giving away free monkeys on the street. They’re adorable and the price is right (free). You’d have to be crazy not to take one, right? A handshake later, you’re the proud owner of a monkey named Timbo... for free! Online, a marmoset like Timbo would cost $2,600! What a steal! But was the monkey really free?

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