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5 Easy Ways to Save for the Holidays in Just 4 Weeks

5 Easy Ways to Save for the Holidays in Just 4 Weeks

Facts are facts. When it comes to holiday planning, lists are long and time is short. If you’re one of those mythical people who has already finished your Christmas shopping, this article may not pertain to you. But you can still share it with the normal people in your life…that’s right you prepared people are the weird ones. Now, if you’re part of the 53% of people who wait until the last minute to tackle your holiday shopping, you’ll want to keep reading. Ever Ascending Holiday Spending Every year, Americans spend more on winter holidays than any other occasion in the calendar year. Staying in line with this upward trend, shoppers are expected to spend more during the 2018 holiday season than ever before. According to the National Retail Federation: “Consumers say they will spend an average $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from the $967.13 last year.” And that figure doesn’t even include travel expenses! Regardless of whether your seasonal spending will top the national average or you skate by just under the line, we want to help you save money. While there may not be enough time to implement a long-term plan, here are five practical tips to help you stretch your holiday dollars a little further this year: Know your limits. Set your limits. At this point in the game, time is of the essence—and so is your money. Rather than trying to overwhelm people with the quantity of your gifts, focus on the quality. It’s always better to give someone one gift they’ll love than to flood them with a variety...

5 Steps to Set Yourself Up for Cyber Monday Success

Everyone knows about Black Friday. With its midnight madness and jaw-dropping promotions, Black Friday became a can’t-miss event! For decades, it was the day for shoppers to find the best deals of the Christmas shopping season. But then, just as it’s done with virtually everything else in our lives, the Internet changed the face of holiday shopping. Cyber Monday: The Origin Story While Black Friday has long been considered the official start of the Christmas shopping season, retailers began to notice a curious trend in the early 2000s. On the Monday following Black Friday, there seemed to be a spike in online purchases—mainly between the hours of 8am-5pm. While it seemed odd at first, the trend was relatively simple to figure out. As more and more companies shifted their business practices online during the Dot-Com Boom, employees needed Internet access. And even though participating in e-commerce may have violated more than a few corporate Internet usage policies, employees faced the irresistible convenience of shopping online. After the trend continued for several years, the term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005, and the online version of Black Friday became a holiday fixture. 5 Tips for Making the Most of Cyber Monday In 2017, online consumers spent more than $6.5 billion on Cyber Monday, which was a 16.8% jump from the year before. As mobile technology continues to improve and make digital transactions easier, it’s safe to assume Cyber Monday’s popularity (and profitability) will only increase. That means whether you’re shopping from home, your smartphone, or your workplace (don’t worry, we won’t tell), there will be millions of other virtual shoppers...
Holiday Shopping Hacks: Your Black Friday Survival Guide

Holiday Shopping Hacks: Your Black Friday Survival Guide

Judging from the massive marketing blitz and predictable purchasing frenzy, one could make the argument that Black Friday is a holiday all its own. But despite the fact that we all have that one friend who feels like it’s perfectly acceptable to listen to Christmas music as soon as Halloween is over (it’s not ok—but that’s another post for a different blog), the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally considered to be the official start of the Christmas season. Black Friday by the Numbers With this yearly retail extravaganza just around the corner, you might be asking yourself, “What will an estimated 174 million Americans do on Black Friday this year?” Before you start googling, we’ll save you the research. They’ll spend the day—the entire weekend, actually—shopping. Wait. You knew that already? Fair enough. Did you know that the average Black Friday shopper is expected to spend more than $500? Even though we’re dealing in estimates and averages, that adds up to a lot of people and purchasing! As online and mobile sales increase, the traditional Black Friday crowds may thin out a little—but not much. Even though 2017 saw a 4% drop in the number of in-store shoppers compared to the previous year, there were still more than 102 million people that joined the retail masses. So, with millions of people frantically scouring stores for the best deals of the season and even more hunting for deals on their smartphones, a little strategy may help you keep the holiday shopping season merry and bright! 7 Tips for Having the Best Black Friday Ever! While there are probably as many...
Fact vs. Fiction: What Really Impacts Your Credit Score?

Fact vs. Fiction: What Really Impacts Your Credit Score?

When it comes to credit scores, it can seem like everyone’s an expert. Ask a random group of people what factors affect your score the most, and you’ll likely get a different response from each person. And the most frustrating part is they’ll probably all be right—and wrong. Credit scores are calculated based on a variety of factors, so they tend to feel like a secret code. Fortunately, this code is easy to crack. All you have to do is separate fact from fiction. Once you understand the specifics of how your score is determined, it will be easier to sort through all the misinformation. Focus on the Facts There are three primary credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, but the most trusted credit ratings come from the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). While some lenders and creditors look at a combination of scores from the various reports, the FICO score is widely considered the most reliable. According to FICO experts, your credit score is calculated based on five main categories: Payment history (35%) – Creditors want to be sure of two things: You pay your bills, and you pay them on time. Amount owed (30%) – To maintain an ideal credit score, aim to keep your overall debt under 30% of your total available credit. Length of credit history (15%) – Lenders want to see consistency in credit management. This category looks at how long you’ve had established accounts. The longer, the better. Credit mix (10%) – Credit scores factor in a wide range of accounts, from credit cards and retail accounts to mortgages and installment loans. New credit...