Last Updated On: February 26, 2015 10:39

There’s nothing quite like the awful feeling of going to the grocery store, picking up all your necessities, getting to the register, quickly realizing this was no cheap trip…and then remembering you’ll have to do it all again next week. We feel your pain; so here are a few quick tips to hopefully reduce your grocery bill each trip!

  • Make Lists
    -Don’t go into the grocery store without a plan! Keep yourself to only what you have on your list. You’ll find that you spend much less than when you just start browsing the aisles.
  • Eat before you shop
    -Nothing is more tempting than going grocery shopping on a
    n empty stomach – everything looks good! Eat a good meal before you go shopping; it could prevent you from those impulse purchases.
  • Couponing
    -The key with couponing is to not go overboard. They can be appealing, but there is no need to buy something you really don’t need – just because you have a coupon. It’s really not a deal if you buy something that’s $2 off when you wouldn’t have bought it in the first place.  
  • Generics
    -Generics or store brands are much, much cheaper than the name brand items, and are usually just as good!
  • Use your calculator
    -Grab your cellphone and figure out if the bigger packaged items really are a better deal than the smaller boxes. It may just be a few cents different, but it all adds up!

Hopefully these few tips can help you save a little dough on your next grocery store outing!

Bookmark and Share Filed Under: Saving Money
Last Updated On: February 03, 2015 10:50

Consumers, tax season is upon us. Are you still trying to decide whether to file your taxes yourself or to visit a professional? Here’s our quick guidelines to help you make the decision and get your taxes done before April 15th!


Filing On Your Own
We suggest filing online if you:

  • Have no investments, you don’t own a business, have a simple return, or have no major changes since the last time you filed

Options: Some great online options include TurboTax, FreeTaxUSA, eSmart Tax, TaxACT, or H&R Block.


Going to a Pro
We suggest finding a tax professional if you:

  • Have recently gone through some big life changes, such as you bought/sold a home, cashed out investments, got married/divorced, or are expecting a more complex return with your situation

Options: Reach out in your community to find the tax professional your friends, family, or coworkers trust with their taxes.


Just remember that each option has its own pros and cons, but it all comes down to what you are most comfortable with when it comes to your taxes. Happy Tax Season! 

 

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Last Updated On: January 26, 2015 10:31

Whether it’s a snow day or just a cold weekend, it can be difficult to entertain yourself and children for the long hours you may be cooped up indoors during the latest cold spell or blizzard. Remember, you don’t need to leave the warmth of your house, or spend a lot of money, to have a good time!

Game Day
Gather up all those board games you have collecting dust in your closets and challenge your family to a few games. A lot of games can also be educational – a plus for children while they might be missing school!

Indoor Obstacle Courses and Forts
Building simple obstacle courses for kids can easily be conquered with what you already have in your house. Use chairs, cushions, laundry baskets, cups, and toys you already have to make a fun path for kids to follow. Use your imagination to help the kids use up their endless energy! Another easy activity would be to use the furniture and blankets to create indoor forts. An even easier idea? Set up your tent in the living room!

Movie Marathon
Gather a few of your favorite films, popcorn, and some blankets and enjoy a relaxing day on your couch with your friends, family, or just yourself!

Crafts or Baking
Why not use the extra supplies in your house to make something new! Search through Pinterest to find fun easy crafts to make out of what you already have. Turn baking into a game – using what you have available, research recipes that use those ingredients, and then choose which recipe turned out the best.


Take advantage of these days to spend with your children or friends; mixing and matching these different ideas can make a dull snow day into a day that you won’t forget anytime soon!

Bookmark and Share Filed Under: Saving Money
Last Updated On: January 08, 2015 09:00

With the start of the new year, let’s review a few simple tips to keep your credit safe!

  • Check your credit often – at least once a year. Visit here to check out a few options on how to monitor and check your credit report.
  • Watch your bank and credit card statements. This is a great way to spot problems or errors right away!
  • Shred any paperwork with any personal information you no longer need - instead of just throwing in the trash. Don’t give just anyone access to your private information that can make it easier to steal your identity!
  • Don’t give your account information over the phone – unless you know the company and you’re the one that initiated the call. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your bank, hang up and call either your local branch or the number found on the back of your card.
  • Keep a record of your card numbers, expiration dates, and phone numbers in a secure place. If your card gets stolen, this information will simplify the process of cancelling or reporting the card that was stolen or misplaced.

Following these tips can help keep your credit and personal information safe this year, but sometimes you will find that even if you do everything right, someone can manage to get ahold of your information. If you do suspect someone has used your name, Social Security Number, or driver's license to obtain credit, do not wait. Follow the steps below to make sure that your credit is still undamaged.

  • Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax 1-800-685-1111, Experian 1-800-301-7195, and Trans Union 1-281-874-0169.
  • Report identity theft crimes to the local police or law enforcement agency in your area.
  • Put a fraud alert on your credit file. Also, report the possible theft to all credit card issuers. In addition, make sure to cancel all your current cards.
  • Notify your bank of the theft. Request new account numbers and a new ATM number and PIN.

Have a happy and (credit!) safe start to your new year!

Last Updated On: December 29, 2014 10:54

The year is quickly winding down and thoughts of the New Year (and resolutions!) is on the minds of many. One common resolution that is made every year is to get your financial health in better standing – here’s a few of our tips to help you get 2015 started on the right foot!

  1. Make goals, which includes starting a budget. Realistic goals and checkpoints are vital to your success this coming year.
  2. Save, save, save! Start with an emergency fund and continue from there.
  3. Pay off debt. Make a plan to significantly cut down your debts this year. Whether it’s student loans or credit card debt, even small dents in what you owe help!
  4. Cut out the spendy habits. Smoking, expensive drinks (your daily coffee and soda), and excessive dining out all add up! Try to at least cut back; not only is it good for your health to stop these habits, it’s good for your wallet!
  5. Improve your credit and use it wisely. Take small steps to get your credit score where you want it. Make sure to pay all your bills on time, open a secured card to build credit, and monitor your credit this year.

From all of us at CreditSoup.com, we wish you a Happy New Year!!

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Disclaimer

Information in these articles is brought to you by CreditSoup.com.  Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles.

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