Credit check! Get your Credit Check!

It’s time for a credit check people! Seriously, if you’re not checking your credit at least annually, you could be doing yourself a disservice. I wrote about this in my second post ever on this blog (see here). Now I used up all my witty quips about credit reports in my original post so today’s post is a TAD boring. 🙂

I’ll sum up the basics here though:

-There are 3 credit reporting agenicies: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. You can get a free report each year from each agency. I pull the Equifax report in January, the Experian report in May and the Transunion report in September. That way I keep an eye on my credit throughout the year.

-I ONLY pull my credit through https://www.annualcreditreport.com

This agency allows you to pull a FREE report with no strings attached and it does not affect your credit. Be VERY careful of processing credit reports through any other avenue. With other services, there are hidden fees, mailing lists, and it can negatively affect your credit.

-Annualcreditreport.com does not provide you with a free FICO score (you do have to pay for that service), however the actual report is completely free. I can see all of my current and past accounts and whether or not they are in good standing.

-It also gives you the option to dispute any information you feel is incorrect. For example, after I pulled my last report, I saw that it listed other names I had gone by. My married and maiden names were correct but then there was another one listed with some weird middle name that I had never had. I disputed this and it should be removed. I don’t see it on the Equifax report I pulled today so that’s a good sign. However, each agency can have slightly different information. That is why it’s important to keep an eye on all three reports.

There are a few more tips in my original post on this, so please feel free to read up! I’ll have more super exciting posts on finance and tax season shortly. Aren’t you just chomping at the bit??? 🙂

~Erin

Dollar Deals

People say a dollar doesn’t buy you anything anymore. Well, they obviously don’t shop at the dollar store…..or the bargain section at Target…..or the dollar bins in the Walmart toy area…..or the bakery when they are trying to get rid of bread that is close to the expiration date. Let me tout the benefits of each!

Dollar Stores

I LOVE Dollar stores. Seriously, it’s an affliction. It’s too bad the closest one to me is an hour away! It’s ok though, I get there when I can. I go to dollar store for a lot of different items, however there are a few things that I think get you the best value. The first are gift bags/ wrapping paper.

Have you tried to buy a gift bag at a party store? They ask some ridiculous prices for these things! I love the dollar store because you can find some really cute ones for a buck, but you can also sometimes find several of them (a bag of bags, if you will) bunched together and you still only pay a dollar. Especially around Christmas, I go to dollar stores for my bags, wrapping paper, ribbon, gift tags and bows. SUCH a better deal.

Another thing I get there is aluminum pans for cooking.

They have all different sizes at the store I go to and have several in each package. Score!

I have also found cute fabric bins for my kid’s socks and toys there.

Dollar Stores are also a great place to go for kids coloring books, party supplies, and seasonal decorations.

Target/ Walmart Discount Sections

Now these are the classic ‘impulse purchase’ areas (especially Target who cleverly slips this section right next to the shopping carts in the front). I have found myself sucked into this section and holding 4 containers that ‘look like old fashioned popcorn bins’ on more than one occasion. Have you seen these things?

They are so cute, but really? I have to then pry them from my hands and convince myself that I need no such thing! Anyways, be careful when you wander into these sections. However, you can find some great items. I have found perfect stocking stuffers for the kids here. I have found frisbees for the dogs here. I have found those socks that are so soft you feel like you’re stepping into a cloud here. If you are careful, you can great deals without buying unnecessary items. And in the Walmart toy section, they have a little area with cheap toys. These are perfect for my 3 year old’s prize basket. When he gets a certain number of stickers, he gets something special. Sometimes it’s a popsicle, sometimes it’s a cartoon, sometimes it’s a toy from this basket:

Silly little things, really. But to a 3 year old, the best prizes ever! And nothing in the basket ever costs over $1.00.

Bakery at Your Grocery Store

My husband and I buy the bread from the bakery at the grocery store because it tastes soooo much better. The Italian loaves we get are only $1.60 at their highest price. However, if they have some at the end of the day, they will discount them. Otherwise they have to throw them out. There are also entire stores dedicated to ‘almost expired’ bakery items. I don’t have one near me anymore, but in Arizona I used to go to one all the time. It was great….breads, pastries, bagels, desserts….all over half off.  And when you buy these items, you are not only saving money; you are keeping the items out of the trash!

Now I am not advocating buying items just because they are a dollar. That is how we all get too much stuff! What I am advocating is planning ahead, considering your options and buying certain items in bulk because you know you will use them.

So don’t listen to those people complaining about the dollar. It can still go far!

~Erin