Month: October 2020

  • How To Raise Your Credit Score With Credit Card Use

    I’ve gone through the process of improving my credit score and I’ve also helped my husband and several friends do the same. Working on your credit to reach an 800 credit score can be both frustrating and very rewarding.

    Figuring out what works to raise your credit score takes a bit of effort, reliable resources, and time. The things you need to do to increase your credit score to 800 are well documented and anyone can do it. In this video and blog post I’ll share what I’ve learned about raising my credit score to 800 and how I used credit cards to do it.

    Learn About Credit Scores

    You are probably starting off with a bad or non-existent credit score so the world of credit seems mysterious and unknown. Luckily while the exact formula is not public information, the general knowledge of how to increase your credit score is well know.

    Learning about credit scores and how credit works will help you raise your score on your own or find the right person to help you do it. If you’re new then reading up about how to improve credit is a great place to start. I’ve share multiple posts about credit scores that can help get you start:

    There are no real secrets to credit repair and anyone can do it with a bit of self-education. Most of the things that increase your credit score are actually just solid financial principles likes paying down old debts and not spending more on credit than you can afford to pay.

    Figure Out Your Why

    Credit scores and even the use of credit can be controversial in the personal finance world. Some people are for it, some are against it, and others like me accept it as part of our current system as a tool we can use to better our life.

    Credit scores are important to regular people living their lives for a number of reasons from buying a car to purchasing a home to even getting better rates on insurance. There are a number of reasons in life why you might want a good credit score and thinking about your own personal reasons will help you during this process.

    For example, knowing you need to increase your credit score to finally purchase a home of your own is much more motivating than just the general idea of having good credit.

    In this step you can also decide if you really want to pursue a good credit score or not. Most of the things you can accomplish with good credit can also be done with no credit at all as well. However, you need to pick one route or another because ending up in the middle without a plan leaves people with bad credit that hurts more. You need to think about why you want good credit and then either commit to having the best credit possible or no credit score at all. Either option is valid but you need t commit to what is best for your situation.

    Open New Credit Strategically

    Opening new credit can boost your credit score if it’s done in the right way. You need to have a strategic plan for opening new credit so that doing so helps you and raises your credit score instead of pushing you in the wrong direction.

    Building your credit by opening multiple new lines can actually hurt you if you do it all at once. Instead of running out and opening multiple new credit cards at once, you’ll want to do one now and wait a few months until making your next move.

    Opening credit for the first time can be done by getting a commonly offered card or even getting a secured card if you can’t get approved for another. A secured card is where you put down a deposit in order to have a credit line equal to the amount of the deposit. This protects the credit lender and allows you to build a history with credit.

    Because you won’t be opening all your new credit lines right away you’ll have to accept a longer term perspective for increasing your credit score to 800. It won’t happen overnight and depending on your starting point it could even take a couple years. This is where having a reason why and having a purpose will keep you on track.

    Using Credit Cards Wisely

    How much credit you are currently using will affect your credit score. If you are only using a small percentage of the credit you could be using then your score will be higher.

    Having a good credit score doesn’t mean you need overwhelming amounts of debt. In fact, having large debt balances usually hurts your credit score because of the credit utilization factor. You never, ever want to max out your credit cards because doing so will hurt you and your credit score.

    Your credit utilization is the balance of your debt compared to the available credit you have access to. This contributes 30% to FICO score’s calculation which means it is something you need to work on asap. 

    The goal here is to pay off debt while still keeping your credit limits high. This lowers the amount of credit you are using compared to the amount you could actually use. 

    Keeping your credit utilization low will involve several things:

    • Paying down existing balances – Keeping your debt levels on credit cards lower will help you keep your credit score high. If you have high existing balances your first move will be to pay those down.
    • Use your cards with bills not spending – Personally I recommend most people don’t use credit cards for day to day spending because it usually gets out of control and leads to debt. The best way to do it is just charge a bill or two to your card so it’s active and being used but not hitting 30% use (I find 10% or less to be effective).
    • Increase credit card limits – Another way to help utilization is to increase the amount of credit you have access to that you are not actually using. A great way to do this is to increase your credit card limit by asking the company to raise it.
    • Pay your bill on time once it’s been reported to the credit bureaus – Every lender reports their existing balances to the credit bureaus at different times. This is a critical thing for you to know because you want to make sure you pay your bill before it’s overdue but after it’s been reported so it will help you credit score. While it’s normally around the statement date, the best way to find this date for each card and lender is to ask them directly.
    • Never max out your cards – This has been mentioned throughout the post but you do not want to max our your cards when trying to increase your credit score. This will just hurt your score.

    Apply for New Credit As Needed

    Having multiple accounts open for long periods of time can help your credit score but that doesn’t mean more is better.

    You don’t need to open 25 different accounts to get a good credit score. In fact I have less than 10 and have an excellent credit score.

    Be selective in the credit lines that you open. Don’t max yourself out with too many new open lines of credit. It will drop your credit score temporarily and it could potentially put you in a precarious situation.

    If you are in a credit building stage, then you should work on opening new cards strategically over time but never all at once. Wait 6 months or more between opening new credit lines.

    Don’t Obsess Over The Score Daily

    It might be tempting to pay someone to help improve your credit score quickly, but be cautious of these services. Many are not helpful but take your money for something you can do yourself.

    You can improve your credit score over time by following common sense credit guidelines and getting on a budget.

    The less you obsess about your credit score the better off you will be.  Ultimately a credit score isn’t the most important thing in your financial life and there are ways to operate around a bad credit score or no credit score at all.

    If you are planning to use credit less and don’t need it for a future mortgage or car loan or new job then your credit score will be less important.

    Remember that even if you are planning to use credit in the future, you can work with what you already have, pay things on time, use credit responsibly, and build your credit score from there.

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  • Online Income Report – September 2020

    Welcome to my monthly online income report for September 2020! Each month I share how much I make from my part time online content creation side hustle selling digital products and making videos about our personal finances on my YouTube channel.

    income reports pennies not perfection

    Each month here on the blog I go into more detail about what I earned from online endeavors like this personal finance blogmy YouTube channel, and my Etsy shop. These are all things I started as a hobby making no more so it’s fun now to earn an income from them!

    I like sharing real numbers to inspire myself and others who want to earn money online. I also value transparency which this report allows me to give my audience when they consume my content.

    Growing my online income has helped me achieve financial goals like paying off debt faster! I have used all of my income from these endeavors to pay off debt and helped eliminate $43,000 in loans.

    It’s been a lot of work in terms of a side hustle but I’ve enjoyed both earning income and helping people by sharing what we’ve done financially. Earning more money can sometimes be the key to succeeding financially and after having lots of job instability this year I know that it’s the key to my sanity. I never want to rely on just one income.

    Online Income Report

    Here are the main income sources broken down by what I earned for the month. I’ve included referral links to each if you want to join and make money too!

    I’m reviewing my online income earned for the month of September 2020 from my YouTube and printables ventures! You can check out last month’s online income report here.

    Advertising Income – $2,478.97

    Affiliate Marketing Income – $607.26

    Product Sales Income – $310.00

    • Etsy Sales
    • Website Sales

    Other Sources – $105.00

    • Patreon

    Total Online Income: $3,501.23

    This is the amount earned for the month before any fees, expenses, or taxes.

    I don’t keep all of it it and at least 25% will be gone for taxes before it hits my bank account. I also won’t be paid all of it in the month it is earned since each source pays out at different times. I do these reports based on what I earned in a month versus what was received because it inspires me most to grow the income created.

    Expenses List

    As I mentioned, I don’t keep all of the money earned each month. Besides paying taxes on that income I also have expenses to run this online business. There are multiple expenses I’m now paying for each month:

    All of these are minimal but they do add up so I still keep an eye on reducing expenses so that my income will keep growing.

    Online Income Report Thoughts

    Wow, wow, wow! My online income surpassed my previous month record by several hundred dollars! To say I’m blown away would be an understatement.

    This month I really had some videos do well and a lot of my older content was boosted a bit as well. The result was my ads earning was much higher than in previous months.

    The fact that it seems so easy to make videos and boost that ad revenue to amazing new levels makes me want to double down on it because it’s working. I have a huge problem with shiny object syndrome but when something is working… I should do more of that! Right now?

    Advertising revenue on my Youtube videos is WORKING.

    Popular Content

    Obviously YouTube content is performing the best right now and since I like to look at what worked in terms of content each month, here are my most popular videos, posts, and products!

    The most popular old content on my channel was:

    The new content I published included:

    The new content I published on my website was:

    The most popular products I sold this month:

    I definitely made more YouTube videos this past month which was helpful for advertising revenue, but most were community focused and not likely to have long term earning potential. This is something I need to focus on more when I’m working on new content.

    What I’m Working On Next

    I have been continuing to work on a few different priorities growing income sources and I even added a new one this month too!

    Creating More Videos

    Like I mentioned earlier, it makes the most sense to double down on what is working the best and that is videos on YouTube. Both channels have seen an increase in the income they are making so I’d like to continue making videos for both channels for the next couple of months.

    This means ignoring other projects I’d like to do but I think the wisest course of action is to work on what works. So I’ll be doing that!

    Recommended Online Biz Resources

    As my income continues to grow I want to share some of the resources and products I use to make it happen. These will include affiliate links where applicable but I love recommending them because I personally use them all myself!

    TubeBuddy – Before using this tool I manually did so much work but now I’m able to bulk edit videos, research keywords for SEO and set up all my videos for long term success. TubeBuddy has been the best tool I’ve used for managing and growing my YouTube account. It’s got multiple price level plans so you can grow as your channel grows. Try out TubeBuddy for free.

    Canva – Canva is one of the best free editing programs where you can create a digital products and the paid version is even better with bonus features that help take your work to the next level. I use it for creating all my Youtube thumbnails, my social media posts and my digital products! Try creating with Canva.

    Tailwind is the tool I’m using to grow my account and reach on Pinterest. Bringing in consistent traffic from Pinterest boosts any business and Tailwind allows me to schedule content and get results without spending all my time there. It also automatically pins at the best time for engagement and reach for major traffic growth. Get a free trial of Tailwind here.

    Why Share An Online Income Report

    I’m sharing my online income reports as a YouTuber, digital product creator, and blogger to show people that it is possible to make money online in a non-sleazy way that helps people.

    Lots of people want to know how much small YouTube creators make with videos and if you can make money from a small audience online. Fellow YouTubers want to know how I make money with affiliate marketing and digital products not just ad revenue because they know it is hard to survive on YouTube ad income.

    Income reports allow me to share what I’m doing with Etsy and YouTube while building my online income so other creators can benefit and it lets me be fully transparent with my audience about how much I am making.

    It’s amazing that we can earn money creating and sharing content online.

    Previous Online Income Reports

    If you’re interested in past income reports, you can see all of them here:

    As you can see from past income reports, my online income in the first few months of 2020 trended much higher than my income last year. The growth is not viral or explosive but it has moved up and is consistently over $2,00 each month.

    I’ve been consistently earning $2,000 a month now which is far beyond my original goal of earning $600 per month with my YouTube channel.

    I like sharing these numbers to show small YouTubers and other content creators what is possible without a huge audience. While that would be amazing, it is possible to still earn income as a small channel and blog.

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