Last Updated On: November 16, 2015 12:29

Maybe you love the whole idea of hosting your family for the holidays; or maybe you just happen to have the biggest space to accommodate everyone. Either way, hosting even just your small family for the holidays can quickly turn into quite a bit of money and time spent.

Here are a few tips to help you not only save during the holiday season, but also to help you spend more time with your family instead of spending all your time preparing for the big day!

  • Plan ahead and complete tasks that you’re able to in advance. Not everything needs to be made or prepared the day of your event. Make ahead and freeze what you can to cut down on your kitchen time while everyone is gathered!
  • Decorate efficiently. Decorating for the holidays can be one of the most enjoyable activities. Simple is usually best – and can easily be completed up to weeks in advance. Don’t wait and try to do last minute decorating!
  • Delegate cooking responsibilities. Suggest a potluck or ask other members of the family to help out with a few of the side dishes. You don’t have to take on the whole meal yourself. Stick to the main dish that could be harder to transport and a few staples. Ask guests to bring items like desserts, appetizers, or other favorite side dishes.
  • Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. The holidays are times to get together with your family and friends and enjoy their company so there’s no need to spend a lot on entertainment. Have simple board games or coloring books available for the kids so adults have some time to visit as well. I’ve found that at my family functions, even if games or activities are planned, we end up visiting the whole time anyway to catch up on each other’s lives and don’t touch the games! If all else fails, there’s usually a parade or game readily available on TV.

Remember, the holidays are best when spent with your loved ones – not when you’re spending all your money. It really is the small things!

Happy start to the holiday season from CreditSoup!


Bookmark and Share Filed Under: Saving Money
Last Updated On: October 01, 2015 10:07

You always hear you need to face your fears. One way that’s often suggested is to learn as much as possible about what you’re frightened of; research can simplify and sometimes take away the unknown “scary” characteristics of your fear.

In the credit world, a common fear for consumers is their credit report and credit score; what’s included, how it’s calculated, and how that affects you in your day-to-day life. Let’s break down what’s included and help take some of the “scary” out of your credit report!

What’s Included In Your Credit Report
Distinguishing Information: Name, Social Security number, addresses, date of birth, employment, etc. These are used to identify you but are not used to figure out your credit score.
Credit Accounts & History: This section includes all accounts you’ve established, including type of account, date opened, the credit limit or amount along with balances, and your payment histories on each account. This section is what a significant portion of your credit score is based on.
Credit Queries: This section shows when your credit is pulled. When you apply for any type of credit product, the lender will be pulling your credit report. Simply checking your credit report will not affect your score much; the biggest time that credit inquiries could affect your credit score is when there are multiple inquiries in a short period of time.
Collections: The credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) gather information on late payments or overdue debt from collection agencies and also from public records, which includes bankruptcies, liens, and foreclosures.

How Your Score Is Calculated
Your score is calculated based on the information that you see in your credit report. The two main factors are the amounts you owe currently and your payment history – these two stats make up more than half of what is considered when figuring a score. Next, the bureaus will take into consideration length of your credit history, types of credit you’re using, and new accounts.

How This Information Can Affect Your Day-to-day Life
Your Credit Report and Score can have a great effect on certain aspects of your life. When applying for credit, whether it be an auto loan, a credit card, or a mortgage loan, your credit report is the main influence that lenders use to make credit decisions. Credit Report information can also be used by landlords when they are considering renting out their apartments to consumers or some utility companies are known to pull reports before setting up a payment schedule for their services – making it very important for you to keep your score in good standing!

If you haven’t checked your Credit Report recently or would like to keep a closer eye on your credit history, make sure to check out our Credit Reports page for some great options to make sure your report isn’t going to scare you next time you’re in need of credit!



Last Updated On: August 24, 2015 10:29

College should be a time of learning – not just for your future career, but also learning how to survive the independent life after college. With the cost of education always rising, it’s best to cut back whenever possible so you’re not broke when you graduate!


Here are a few ideas to save you some cash when classes get back in session:

   → Rent instead of buying books

   → Alternative housing, including living off campus or commuting from home

   → Homemade, simple food can be cheaper than a meal plan, plus healthier!

   → Walk whenever possible and use public transportation or carpool

   → Cut out un-needed costs and bad habits – cable, high-end phone plan, excessive partying, smoking

   → Shop where you can use a student discount

   → Take advantage of the free activities right on campus (many include free food!)

   → Research class requirements and see if testing out of general classes is an option – why spend money on a class if you don’t really need it?

   → Find an on-campus job. Colleges are always on the lookout for great Resident Assistants or tutors.

Remember, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to save money every day – small steps like this can make a huge difference. Good luck this school year!

Bookmark and Share Filed Under: Saving Money
Last Updated On: June 29, 2015 09:51

Are you one of the many people always concerned about your finances? Are you worried that one emergency expense could throw your whole budget for a loop and don’t know what to do?

3 Steps to Achieve Financial Freedom:

1. Build an emergency fund

  • Nothing throws off your budget (and life!) like an expensive emergency. Accidents and unexpected expenses happen – be prepared by having an emergency fund to cover at least three months of your salary.

2. Get out of debt

  • This includes paying down loans & credit cards. Depending on how much debt you have accrued, this step could be a work-in-progress. Just remember, the sooner you have these paid down, the sooner you can enjoy that extra cash going to an emergency fund – or fun!

3. Save more than you spend

  • Whether you’re trying to cut down on your debt, create a bigger emergency fund, or just live your life comfortably, saving more than you spend is the start of building a lifetime of financial freedom.

All are very common goals, but these three objectives are the stepping stone to a consumer feeling in full control of their financial lives. Start here, and you’ll be soon on your way to financial freedom!

Last Updated On: June 18, 2015 11:26

It’s hard to believe Father’s Day weekend is already here – it feels like Mother’s Day was just yesterday! If you’ve procrastinated with a gift for your dad, we’re here to help you with those last-minute, frugal suggestions!

  1. Offer to do their normal chores. A weekend off from their normal lawn care routine can be a great gift! Even if you need to hire this work out to professionals, your father will greatly appreciate the break to just relax!
  2. Bake his favorite treat, buy him his favorite beverage, take him out for supper - just spending time together is something any parent enjoys!
  3. If you have younger children, a popular gift going around this year is to make a homemade book. Searching on Pinterest can even help you find a free template to print off and fill in with your children’s drawings or pictures.
  4. Offer to spend time with your dad taking part in his favorite pastime, whether it be fishing, a game day, or golfing. A day spent bonding over a fun and relaxing activity could be exactly what he wants!

Just remember, the thought is really what counts! Make time for your dad this Father’s Day – even if it is just a call!

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