5 Quick Tips to Raise Your Credit Score and Get Your Finances on Track

When it comes to financial institutions, credit can be a wacky game. Credit card companies love it if you have a credit history because then they know whether or not to hook you in with their cards. Having a credit card can come in handy in an emergency, which is truly the best use of plastic. On the other hand, too much credit can be a red flag. If your credit history is bad, then those same companies who once wooed you will throw up brick walls quicker than you can say, “Finance charge.” Having bad credit can haunt you. It can stop you from getting an apartment, buying a car and will certainly put a ding in your plans for a new home. Luckily, there are some proven methods for improving your credit score.

 

Credit

Know your credit history: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Image Source: Flickr user Sean MacEntee

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Written by Rick B.

February 26th, 2015 at 10:54 am

How to Cut Your Grocery Bill and Save Money with Efficient Meal Planning

Have you been to the grocery store lately? Of course, you have. It is one place where prices keep going up with no sign of coming down. Sure, there is the occasional sale where you can score a great deal on a particular item, but for the most part it costs a lot to keep a family fed. Cutting down on your food costs doesn’t mean cutting back on food. It just means being a better planner. Consider this: if you make it a goal to save a hundred dollars a week on food, you could pay for the family vacation by summer. Obviously it helps to fire up your coupon-cutting. Beyond that, here are some other tips for meal planning that can help you dramatically cut your grocery bill.

Groceries

Getting ready for a week of meals. Smart move. Image Source: Flickr user Alisha Vargas

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Written by Rick B.

February 25th, 2015 at 9:00 am

Are You Taking Advantage of Free Stuff? Top Picks Online and In Your Neighborhood

There are many folks who hold dear the adage, “The best things in life are free.” Who can blame them? We all like free stuff, right? Why do you think the Food Sample Lady (official title) is so busy at Costco? It’s because even a small taste of something free is like getting a huge prize. Ironically, there are plenty of free things you could be getting every day. You just have to know where to look. And when it’s your birthday, you can be smothered in free stuff if you’ve registered at certain businesses. Free also means you’re saving money. Any time you don’t have to buy something, you get to keep your dough. Here are some of the free things you should be taking advantage of.

Birthday Treats

When it comes to free stuff, birthdays come out on top! Image Source: Flickr user: cresysusy

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Written by Rick B.

February 24th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Mobile Army Monday: Earning Made Easy With iPoll

Recently a lottery jackpot soared to over half a billion dollars. This prize certainly generated a lot of press, including reports on all the odds against winning. For instance, you would be more likely to be struck by lightning or bitten by a shark than win the first prize in the lotto. Still… it only takes a couple of bucks to play and for a short period, you can have some amazing dreams about how you might spend the cash. As it turns out, three lucky ticket holders won and will split the jackpot. They definitely have plenty of cash to go around. For the rest of us, we’re back to the daily grind of our 9 to 5 jobs. If only there was an easy way to make some extra money. Cue the iPoll trumpets! Yes, iPoll lets you earn every day. While you won’t make millions, you can certainly put extra cash in your pocket…without any worry about sharks or lightening.

Mixed Money

This picture might just become my new screensaver. Delicious. Image Source: Flickr user stopnlook

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Written by Rick B.

February 23rd, 2015 at 11:30 am

Be the Star at Your Academy Awards Party with These Factoids

Are you ready for the Oscars? You don’t have to live in Hollywood, just minutes from the red carpet, to appreciate the Academy Awards (guilty). In fact, the annual Oscar giveaway has been a huge global ratings draw. Folks from all over the world tune in to see who will take home the gold and what they’re wearing. Plus, there is always the hope that on the live broadcast, something amazing will happen, like the time a streaker ran across the stage or Rob Lowe danced with Snow White. If you’re headed out to an Oscar party, make sure you have your picks for the pool lined up. You might also want to load up on some fun facts to help make you the smartest one in the bunch. This may be the second batch of Oscar trivia we’ve presented, but there is plenty of information to go around!

Red Carpet

You can't see the red carpet here because it's covered in case of rain. Image Source: Flickr user the conmunity

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Written by Rick B.

February 20th, 2015 at 9:00 am

Money-Saving Tips for Buying a New Car: Do Your Homework and Set a Budget

Maybe instead of going on a vacation this year, you’ll be spending your savings on a new car. What if you save enough on that purchase to allow you to indulge in a mini-road trip vacation? It can happen if you become a smarter car buyer. Don’t get suckered in by that new car smell. As seductive as that aroma might be, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on a new car even if it’s an old car. We’ve discussed that the best time to buy a new car is when next year’s models hit the showroom floor. That’s when you can get a better deal on this year’s model. Same car, still new. Now that you know the best time to buy, here are some money-saving tips to help you with that new car purchase.

 

Shopping For A New Car

Is this the best deal on the lot? Image Source: Flickr user wendy

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Written by Rick B.

February 19th, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Affordable Travel Tips: Planning a Fun and Frugal Vacation

Are you ready for a vacation? Obviously, we’re only a few weeks into the New Year and we’ve just come off a big holiday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about our next getaway. In fact, if you start saving and planning now you could end up putting together a genuine dream trip. Let’s get some things out of the way first: if you’re working with a tight budget, chances are you won’t be able to plan an extensive European tour or book a first class cabin on a cruise. However, you could pick a single European destination or find a cruise bargain if you know where to look. It all comes down to the planning. Today we’ll help you explore some tips for affordable travel.

 

Dream Vacation

If a cruise is your dream vacation, then travel off-season for a bargain. Image Source: Flickr user Kabacchi

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Written by Rick B.

February 18th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Keeping the Romance Alive Past Valentine’s Day: Fun, Unexpected, and Affordable Date Ideas

Valentine’s Day 2015 is just a memory. Yes, the roses might still be in bloom and there could be a few pieces of chocolate left behind (not in this house, though!). However, just because the official designated day of romance is done, it doesn’t mean the romance is over. In fact, I would argue that it is more important to have ongoing date nights throughout the year. That includes the surprise flowers, too! (BTW, if you send flowers out of the blue to your significant other’s place of work, you’ll score amazing points.) Of course, not every date night requires you to spend a small fortune. Let’s stipulate that cooking a great meal together and then binge watching Netflix is always a great go-to date night idea, but even that can get stale after awhile. Instead, consider these wonderful and incredibly affordable date night ideas:

Bingo Night

Bingo can be extra fun when you're with the one you love! Image source: Flickr user Anne Varak

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Written by Rick B.

February 17th, 2015 at 11:15 am

Mobile Army Monday: Take iPoll Anywhere to Earn Rewards

Don’t be jealous: I went to Hawaii in December. I said don’t be jealous! Truth be told, this was probably the first real vacation I’ve had in I don’t know how many years. Took the wife, left the baby behind with all the grandmothers, an aunt, and assorted cousins. Of course, we only stayed for a few days because we can’t be apart from our cutie for too long. I bring all this up to state emphatically that iPoll not only works in other cities and time zones, but also across the Pacific Ocean. While in Oahu, I had location alerts going off left and right. At first, I wasn’t sure who would be sending me a text in Hawaii but once I saw that they were pings from iPoll, I was ready to dive in for some surveys, Hawaiian style.

Waikiki Beach

Don't you wish you could be here right now? Image Source: Flickr user Steve Bozak

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Written by Rick B.

February 16th, 2015 at 12:00 pm

iPoll Quiz Results: Lifeboat Sole Survivor

The task was simple: pick the one person you would toss out of a lifeboat if you had to. Sound cruel? Well, these are the kind of life and death decisions you might face if you happen to find yourself in a shipwreck with Beatles or Kim Kardashian. It could happen… sort of. How did your lifeboat picks stack up with the rest of the iPoll community? Let’s find out:

Dingy

Could you survive in this lifeboat? Image Source: Flickr user Tony Fischer

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Written by Rick B.

February 13th, 2015 at 12:00 pm