Category Archives: Credit Cards

How To Create A Household Budget!

How To Create A Household Budget!

Step 1: Write down your total take-home monthly income.
This is the easy part! Jot down what you earn. Because many expenses are billed monthly, figuring out how much you have to spend each month is easiest for your plan.

Step 2: Write down your essential expenses. Start with fixed bills like rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card debt and insurance, then factor in other monthly costs that are always the same. These are your essential fixed expenses.

Step 3: List your essential variable expenses.
You know you’ll have these bills, but the amounts vary. Examples are your phones, utilities, food, household expenses, gasoline, medication, public transportation, shoes and clothing. You can assign an estimated amount to each based on past experience, rounding to the closest $10.

Step 4: List reasonable amounts for nonessential expenses.
This includes entertainment, eating out, hobbies and other ways you spend money on a regular basis.

Step 5: Find the extras.
Go to your current method of tracking your spending (your checkbook register, credit card statements, Quicken reports) to see what expenses you’ve left out. You’ll likely see items for car maintenance and repair, gifts, vacations, Christmas and holidays. For items that do not recur monthly, determine the annual cost, then divide by 12 to see how much you should set aside each month to anticipate that irregular expense.

Step 6: Figure out your totals.
Add up your expenses, then subtract that amount from your income. With luck you’ll come out in the black, with at least a little money left over. But if your expenses exceed your income, you’ll see a negative sum. Don’t panic—this is just the start of an ongoing process.

Step 7: See where you can cut .
If you came up short, go back to your projected monthly expenses and see what you can get rid of. Look first to your nonessential expenses. Which items can you remove altogether for a while (eating out seems like a fine target; perhaps hobby expenses too, for a season)? Keep going through the list, making adjustments until your total expenses are less than your income.

Step 8: Follow your spending plan as closely as possible.
Track your spending every day by posting it on a sheet of paper. Take notes and research ways you’ll be able to do even better next month. At month’s end, add up your actual spending and compare it with what you planned. Use this information to create the next month’s spending plan.

Congratulations—you’ve just elevated yourself from being clueless to financially savvy. You should feel very good about this! As difficult as it might be to see in black and white that your income and expenses are not quite in sync, just knowing where you are is going to make all the difference.

Even if you find yourself in a particularly tight financial position right now, take heart. As you pay off debts and find more ways to cut expenses, you’ll begin to sense a significant loosening of financial pressure. Soon you’ll be ready to add new categories to your spending plan for things like saving for a new car, home improvements or going back to college.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on your way to reaching financial freedom.

Source: Woman’s Day Magazineimages

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The Benefits of Credit Repair

The Benefits of Credit Repair

Why should you Consider Credit Repair? Discover the Basic Reasons!

Do you look at your credit report and think about nothing but credit repair? If yes, then perhaps it’s high time to get your credit repair process started. Anyone with poor credit scores will definitely know what a low credit score can cost you. Wonder how severe the consequences are?

Well, high interest rates can seriously damage your finances, period. Imagine the payments you would have to make if your interest rate increases from 5% to 15%. All in all, your poor credit score can make you pay thousands of dollars additionally per year. This is the primary reason why it is critical to look at your credit report and repair your credit score. After all, it will not only lower your interest rate, but will also help you get loans.

Credit Repair – Is it Really Helpful?

When it comes to credit scores, a single mistake can cause you serious trouble. A recent research suggests that almost 79 percent of all Americans have some type of inaccuracy, miscalculations, and negative accounts in their credit reports. A majority of these errors can hurt their credit scores badly. In these situations, credit repair is the ultimate option they can get to bring their finances back on track. The process of credit repairing is used to identify mistakes, correct the relevant information, remove negative reporting and monitor the creditors to ensure that your credit report is as accurate as possible and corrected accordingly.

Better Insurance Policies

The policies most insurance companies offer are based on the clients’ credit reports. For instance, you will not get a reasonably priced insurance policy if your report suggests that you are late with paying other accounts. Thus, credit repair can clean up your credit rating and help you get substantial savings over the duration of your policy.

Better Job Options

Nowadays, many employers check an applicant’s credit history as an essential step of the employment screening process. Wonder why? Well, credit reports usually disclose what resumes may never tell. Employers check credit reports to determine if an applicant has unpaid child or spouse support, has a verdict against him or her, or pays bills promptly. In instances like these, you can get a fresh start by opting for credit repair.

Better Loan or Mortgage Facilities

A low credit score can have a negative impact on your ability to get different loans. You may not get the desired loan amount or may have to make greater interest payments on the lifetime of your loans. If lenders find a poor credit score on your report, they can lower your credit limit, thus making the loan even more expensive for you. If dealerships turn you down for loans or offer very high interest rates, you have to consider going for credit repair. This will increase your chances to get your desired vehicle or own your dream home.

Since credit scores and credit reports can affect you and your loved ones in a number of ways, it is important to keep your credit score in superb condition. Credit repair doesn’t only benefit individuals with a low credit score, but can do wonders for people with average credit by getting negative items off of the reports, disputing late payment information and correcting any inaccuracies on your report.


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Single-Family Starts Save the Day


Housing starts rose 0.9% in August pushed by a solid 7% increase in single-family starts and tempered by an 11% fall in multifamily starts. The single-family increase was broad; all four census regions showed increases ranging from 17.5% in the West to 2.3% in the South. Monthly multifamily starts have saw-toothed up and down for several months with four up months and four down months in 2013.

Housing permits demonstrated the same signal with single-family permits up 3% nationally and up or unchanged in every region. August single-family permits at 627,000 are the highest since May 2008. Similar to starts, multifamily permits were down 15.7% to an annual level of 291,000. The three month moving average, a more stable measure of multifamily, has remained above 300,000 since the middle of last year.

The solid single-family report provides additional evidence of the slow but steady improvement in single-family owner-occupied construction that begin in earnest in early 2012. The seasonally-adjusted construction rate increased 36% since January 2012. Even with the steady rise, single-family starts remain at less than half a normal rate of 1.4 to 1.5 million per year. The broad increase across four regions in permits and starts is a solid signal that builders do see continued improvement. NAHB is forecasting a 17% increase in single-family construction in 2013 over 2012 and a more robust 31% increase in 2014.

Source:  Eye On Housing


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FHA For First Time Home Buyers

FHA For First Time Home Buyers.

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Amazing Toll Brothers Home For Sale In Flower Mound, Texas!

Amazing Toll Brothers Home For Sale In Flower Mound, Texas!

Market Stats

Single Family Home
Main Features
3 Bedrooms
4 Bathrooms
1 Unit
Interior: 4,304 sqft
Lot: 0.49 acre(s)
5317 Townsend Drive
Flower Mound, TX 75028
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Jim Striegel

Jim Striegel

(972) 899.0634


Listed by: Jim Striegel Team, Real Estate Connections

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Credit Card Tricks!


Credit limit tricks: Keep a high score while still using your card
Forget the old 30% rule; just know when your credit ‘snapshot’ is taken
By Dana Dratch

Here’s an axiom familiar to borrowers: Using too much of your available credit hurts your credit score. A personal finance rule of thumb that goes with it says that for a good credit score, keep your “credit utilization ratio” — what you use versus how much you have to use — below 30 percent. The rule applies to each card individually, and to the cumulative limits of all your cards.

So if you have a card line with a $10,000 limit, for the best credit score, don’t carry a balance higher than $3,000. Simple, right?

Sorry, but no. Your credit limit has fewer hard-and-fast rules than personal finance bromides would have you think. Knowing its tricks can get you a better credit score and keep money in your pocket.

Forget the old 30% idea
Start by throwing out the old notion about 30 percent usage being OK. FICO, the company that originated credit scoring and is still the largest provider of such scores, has long advised score-conscious consumers to be far more stingy about credit use. The company had told people to keep it to 10 percent or less, says Anthony Sprauve, spokesman for, FICO’s consumer website.

More recently, the company’s stance has softened he says. Its studies indicate that there is only a minimal score difference between consumers who limit their usage to less than 20 percent and those who keep it to less than 10 percent, he says.

That can be good news for consumers who want to actually use lower-limit credit cards for more than token purchases.

According to FICO surveys, credit scoring “high achievers — those with a score north of 750 — they’re using an average of 7 percent of their available credit,” Sprauve says. “I think 20 percent, for a lot of people, is more realistic. I would rather talk about that as a realistic goal that they can attain, rather than something that might feel like a stretch and out of reach.”

And remember that credit scoring formulas are closer to a sliding scale than a cliff. You don’t go from a great score at 20 percent credit utilization to a lousy one at 21 percent. “There’s no hard-and-fast guideline,” Sprauve says. “But I think that if people stay somewhere between 10 and 20 percent range, that’s a good place to be.”

It’s still true that you shouldn’t go rack up debt on any one card. The FICO scoring system looks at “the total available credit and the total balance used,” says Sprauve. “But it also does look at individual lines of credit. So it factors in both.”

FICO, VantageScore differences
FICO’s chief alternative, the VantageScore, is a bit more lenient in how it views utilization ratios. FICO counts credit usage as 30 percent of its overall score. In the VantageScore universe, the ratio makes up about 23 percent of the score, says Sarah Davies, senior vice president of research and analytics for VantageScore Solutions.

To keep it strong, aim for using less than half of your available credit lines, says Davies.

“If you keep your balance below 50 percent, your score is not negatively affected,” she says. And keeping it “below 30 percent” is smart, she adds. And, as with the FICO models, the lower your utilization (above 0), the more benefit your score can see, she says. Also, as with FICO, how much a change in the utilization rate affects the score will vary by person, depending on their individual credit history.

There’s no hard-and-fast guideline. But I think that if people stay somewhere between 10 percent and 20 percent range, that’s a good place to be.
— Anthony Sprauve
If you like VantageScore’s attitude toward credit usage better, that’s nice, but you don’t get to pick which score lenders use. VantageScore is used by less than 10 percent of the lending market, says Craig Focardi, research director for the TowerGroup.

Maximizing your credit score
Want to keep that score as high as possible while still using your cards? Here are four ways:

1. Use a card that doesn’t report utilization ratios. Some true charge cards (cards where the full balance is due every month) don’t report card balances to the credit bureaus. The best way to find out if yours does: Call the card issuer, says Sprauve. And if your card doesn’t report monthly card charges, you don’t have to worry that using more of your credit line will affect your score, he says.

2. Time your payment. You can appear to be carrying a balance, even if you’re not. That’s because card issuers report your balance owed to the credit bureaus on the same day every month, says Norm Magnuson, vice president of public affairs for the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade association for credit reporting companies. That day probably isn’t your payment due date.

Think of it as a monthly snapshot of your credit use. You want to look as pretty as possible to the credit bureaus on that day. If you’re carrying a $2,000 balance on the 10th of the month, when the snapshot is taken, it doesn’t matter if you pay it off on the due date on the 15th. The report to the credit bureau will say you were using a chunk of your credit, and that may blemish your score.

The solution: Find out what that day is, and pay any portion over your target usage amount before then. Phone the issuer and ask, “When do you send down that accounts receivable tape to the credit bureau?” says Magnuson. “I don’t see why they’d have a problem with answering that. It’s a straightforward question.”

3. Pay your bill several times a month. Want to make certain you’re always under your usage goal while still getting the most out of your cards? Try making payments weekly or twice a month. That will always suppress your balance, no matter when the credit bureau snapshot is taken.

But be careful: If you pay before the statement date, it could be counted as part of a different billing cycle, says Paul Westen, president and CEO of TCM Bank, the card issuer for many community and independent banks. You could still have a bill due in a few weeks, he says.

The smart move: Call first and find out how the billing department handles multiple monthly payments, along with what information you need to include when you pay.

4. Request a credit line increase. If you use a set amount every month and want that amount to equal 10 or 20 percent of your credit line, one way to make the math work is to increase the credit line, says Westen. “Creditors no longer give automatic credit line increases,” he says. Instead, the onus is on the consumer to ask for more credit.

Utilization ratios aside, if you’re paying that balance on time and in full “every month for a period of time, most issuers will have you at the most attractive rate,” says Westen. If they don’t, then switch cards, he advises.

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