It Might Be Time to Change Financial Institutions; Here’s How



There are many reasons for wanting a new financial institution, such as paying less fees, having digital account management options, or accessing more in-network ATMs. When selecting a new financial institution, these steps can help make the transition a smooth one. Here’s where to start.

Watching a Financial TikTok Video? Why Doing Your Own Research Matters



You can learn a lot from TikTok, such as popular dance moves, the latest cocktail creations, and how to make hot cocoa bombs. You may also see unsubstantiated financial information and advice from unreliable sources. Just because Financial TikTok (also known as “FinTok”) videos happen to go viral, doesn’t mean that they are the best (or the only) source of financial information you should rely on to make financial decisions. Here are some guidelines to viewing FinTok videos.

Become a Car Buying Expert: 5 Tips to Getting the Most Car for Your Money



Ready to hit the road this summer? If you are in need of a car, you can prepare yourself for the purchasing process with these five tips.

5 Things To Do Before the Home-Buying Process



If you are in the market for a house, being prepared is key. This includes knowing your credit score, obtaining a preapproval letter from your lender, and finding a good realtor. Despite being organized, there are several things to do before you even begin your house search. Here are five of them.

Got Credit? Here’s How to Get Started Building It Today



If you are wondering ‘why do I need credit?’ here’s why: If someday you’d like to purchase a car, a home, or even rent an apartment, you’ll need credit. If you are new to credit, here are some ways to build it.

Buying a car? Here’s how to be more prepared to hit the road.



If you are thinking about buying a car, there are many things to take into consideration, such as what type of car you can afford, where to shop for your car, and what financing you will qualify for. There are also pitfalls you should avoid in the process to make sure you get the best deal you can. Here are a few to consider.

Become a Home Owner Faster With a Mortgage Preapproval. Here’s How.



With mortgage rates at an historic low, you may be thinking about buying a home. One way to put yourself in a good buying position is to obtain a mortgage preapproval. Here is why it makes a difference to sellers and how to qualify for one before you start your house hunt.

Need Some Extra Cash? Refinancing Your Auto Loan Could Be a Place to Start



If you’re looking for ways to reduce your expenses after the holidays, refinancing your auto loan could be a way to drive down your monthly payment and save money. Read on to learn more about the advantages of refinancing your auto loan.

Why Use Credit?



While using cash and debit cards may seem like an easy way to keep yourself out of debt, credit cards can be useful when used responsibly. How can credit cards help? Read on.

Preparing for Homeownership: How to Save for a Down Payment Faster



The first steps to take toward homeownership are paying down debt, determining how much money you need, and saving for a down payment. Working toward these goals will help you prepare for purchasing your first home.

Ready for a New Home? Here Are Some Factors to Consider First



With spring right around the corner, it’s a good time to begin your house search if you’re in the market. But, there are many factors to consider when looking for a home. Here are some tips to help get you started on your search.

Taking an Entrepreneurial Leap? Here's What to Look for in a Business Loan



Have a new idea you would like to put into action? You may need some help to get your idea off the ground. Once you create a functional plan, applying for a business loan could be your next step.

Strategy for Buying a House in the Spring: Start Prepping Now



Spring tends to be the optimal time for people to not only sell, but buy houses. This is due to improving weather, inspecting homes after winter, and transitioning kids to new schools. Before spring comes though, it is critical that you begin getting ready before you start your new home search. Here is how you can prepare now to buy a home in the spring.

Putting Your House on the Market



If you’re planning on selling your home, spring is the time to do it. According to Zillow, early May is the best time to list your home. Start thinking about the process right now so everything goes smoothly.

Establishing Good Credit



Your credit score and credit report is your borrowing reputation. If you have a high score and positive credit report, lenders are more likely to lend you more money at lower rates. But how do you establish good credit?

How to Read a Credit Report



Have you looked at your credit report lately? Your credit report lists your personal information and your loans and is the basis for your credit score. You know having a high credit score is important, but part of positive credit is making sure your credit report is accurate.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Initiating a 0% APR Balance Transfer



Are you feeling the burden of holiday debt after purchasing all of those gifts for family and friends? If so, you’re not alone. The average American consumer racked up more than $1,000 in debt this past holiday season! Now that the holiday shopping season is over, it is prime time to consider 0% APR balance transfer specials for those credit cards carrying high balances. Balance transfers can be a great idea to avoid paying interest for several months or not at all. However, it’s important to be mindful of how these specials work so you don’t end up digging yourself a deeper hole.

5 Things to Do Before Buying a Car



Last week, Adrienne shared pros and cons of leasing and buying a vehicle. Whether you’re buying or leasing, it’s a good idea to think about these five things before you sign a lease or finance contract at the dealership!

Student Loans: How Do I Pay Them Back?



If you just received your college diploma, you are most likely among the many graduates with tens of thousands of dollars in federal student loan debt. That means in about six short months, whether you have a job or not, you’ll have to start making repayments. As the average 2016 graduate with debt has about $37,000 in student loan debt, it is understandable that you’re stressed—that much debt is hard to fathom! Before you have a breakdown, or even if you already did, know that there are many options to give you flexibility when repaying your loans. Let’s take a look at a few of your possibilities.

Refinancing Your Loans Could Save You Money



Did you know you could save money on the loans and credit cards you have by refinancing? Refinancing these loans can lower your rates and you could save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars over the term of your loan! If you have higher-rate loans, it’s always worth asking your lender to see if refinancing might be a good option for you.

2016 Money Resolutions: Evaluating Your Debt and Making a Plan



It’s time for part two of talking about money resolutions for 2016. This week I’ll be talking about making a plan to pay off debt. While some debt can actually improve your credit score (like having a mortgage with a good payment history), debt like credit card debt can lower your credit score and it costs you money every month!

Being Credit Smart: Store Credit Cards



I’m sure you’ve been asked to open a store credit card when shopping. It can seem like a good deal: you can often save 15% on your first purchase with the card. But how do store cards measure up? What happens to your credit when you open a store card?

When I first started researching store cards, there was a lot not to like. I looked at 22 stores in Lansing that offer a store credit card. Over 80% of the cards had an APR higher than 20%! I’m used to 8.9% APR with my MSUFCU Platinum Visa, so those numbers seem really high. Even with 15% off my first purchase, would a store card ever be worth it?

Pay for What You Need: Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards



When it’s time to pay for a trip or an appliance like your dryer breaks unexpectedly, you might want to finance instead of paying in cash. Maybe you don't have all the cash on hand or you don't want to deplete your savings. After you've decided to finance your purchase, how do you know if it’s better to use a personal loan or a credit card? Make your decision based on your financial habits and be sure to consider the interest rate!