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.

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.

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!