August 25th, 2011

Community Karma: Dana Gets Some Credit

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**This is the final installment in this summer’s “Community Karma” series, which feature people just like you sharing their financial stories, personal money tips, how they over overcame hardships, and more!**

It all started about eight months ago. Dana Turscak was sitting on his friend Seth’s back porch in Greenville, South Carolina. Dana had his eye on another house just across the way. “You know, I wish those people would move out,” he said. “I would buy that house.”

“Well,” Seth said, “That house was just foreclosed on.”

Dana’s heart sank. “My credit is destroyed. There’s no way I could get that house.”

So he forgot that dream and went back to his apartment where he and his wife Destiny lived with their 3-year-old son. Soon, he received a phone call from Seth’s mom that would change their lives.

“We’ll buy the house,” she said. “You move in and focus on working on your credit.”

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a completely selfless gesture that Dana couldn’t pass up, so he took her up on the offer and moved his family into the house that he happened to see from his friend’s porch. But Dana had a long way to go with his credit. At the time, his credit score was in the poor credit range at 520, and it was in serious need of attention. So he started the process of credit repair and quickly became a credit score-monitoring fanatic.

He’s still working on his credit, but in the meantime, he shared some of his credit repair steps with Credit Karma. In the process, he’s become what we like to call a “Credit Karma Superfan.” Read on to discover the route he’s taken so far and how Credit Karma’s tools have helped him along the way.

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August 18th, 2011

Community Karma: Weathering a Financial Storm

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If anybody knows how to weather the storms of financial crisis, it’s Amy Gatliff.

When she was young, her family lived on a school bus while her father built the family home. When the home was livable, they moved in. The house lacked indoor plumbing, so the family had to get creative. “When it came time for a bath, we kids would stand on the side porch steps in our underclothes for Mom to wash us down,” Amy describes.

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August 11th, 2011

Community Karma: From Credit Calamity to Financial Freedom

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Kelly* thought her family was rich. She saw her parents spending money and assumed it was easy to come by. When she got her first credit card in high school, it seemed as if she had been proven right. That little piece of plastic was like an endless supply of money right at her fingertips. After college graduation, her credit card debt was manageable, but she kept charging without paying her balances in full.

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August 4th, 2011

Community Karma: Brandiann Bounces Back

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How do you bounce back from a foreclosure and bankruptcy?

That’s what we asked Brandiann Portillo, a 27-year-old stay at home mom. She’s come a long way, and shared her story with Credit Karma.

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July 28th, 2011

Community Karma: Elle’s Easy Investing Tips for Beginners

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Elle Kaplan first started thinking about investing money while she was watching “Mary Poppins” as a kid.

In one scene, Julie Andrews, portraying the iconic nanny, sings a lullaby called “Feed the Birds,” about a little old lady asking passersby to feed the pigeons surrounding St. Paul’s cathedral. A bag of birdfeed costs a tuppence. “They should’ve earned interest on the tuppence,” Elle recalls thinking during the scene.

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July 21st, 2011

Community Karma: Renee’s Painless Savings Strategies

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In 2002, Renee Prink and her husband bought a brand new Honda CRV, paid for in full with $24,000 in cash they saved up. The couple plans to do it again this fall, perhaps a Subaru this time.

With two kids-- aged 11 and 17-- to support, how do the Prinks save enough money to buy their cars in cash, keep a rainy day fund and build up their daughter’s college savings?

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July 14th, 2011

Community Karma: Investing in Himself

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Michael Cavacini can really talk your ear off. No, he doesn’t prattle on about the latest sports stats or spoil the hottest summer movie blockbuster before you get a chance to see it. He likes talking about saving for retirement. And at 26, he already has approximately $45,000 combined in retirement and savings accounts.

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July 7th, 2011

Community Karma: Dreaming—and Saving—Big

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Cyndi Finkle, 43, never imagined she’d be “a business or money person.” But she is, and she’s good at it. How else do you explain the fact that she’s expanded her company, Art Works, to a new second location, conquered her busy family’s budget, and managed to pay for her daughter’s $30,000 per year private school tuition?

And those are just a few of her accomplishments.

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June 30th, 2011

Community Karma: Sustainable—and Frugal—Living

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Jessica Reeder was living in the Bay Area with a comfortable job, car, and nice apartment. By all societal standards, she was doing well.

But something was missing. Jessica wanted to write for a living, and she longed for a simpler, more sustainable life. So she took drastic measures: she got rid of her car and all of her possessions and set out to backpack around the U.S. for a year and a half.

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June 23rd, 2011

Community Karma: Travel Tips from a Frugal Urbanite

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Mikey Rox knows how to make his dollar stretch in New York, known as the most expensive city the nation. In fact, he likes to make a game out of it.

“I like to shop,” the 30-year-old freelance writer says. “There’s nothing fun about paying retail for everything.” This “frugal game” has especially big payoffs when Mikey is traveling.

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