Credit, Credit Score, Money Management

A No-Cost Way to Prepare Your Credit for a Big Purchase


Thinking about buying a house, car, or other big-ticket items, and know you’ll be using credit? Before making a big purchase, your first step should be to take a look at all of your finances. Check out these five steps to prepare your finances that won’t cost you a penny!

1. Take advantage of your free annual credit reports.

You can visit to get a copy of your credit reports for free. The three nationwide credit reporting companies – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — each have to provide your free credit reports every 12 months – but only if you request them. You can check the three reports periodically throughout the year or all at once. If you decide to request one report every four months, you can monitor your credit reports more frequently throughout the year.

2. Review your credit reports for inaccurate information.

Take a close look at your credit reports to make sure all the information on your report is correct. According to an FTC study, one in five people have errors on their credit report. Not sure what to look for? Here’s a list of common credit report errors to help you through the process. 

3. Dispute credit report errors with the credit reporting company that sent you the report.

Incorrect information on your credit report may hurt your ability to get new lines of credit or may make the terms of credit more expensive. You can dispute inaccurate information with the credit reporting company. You can use these instructions and template letter as a guide.

4. Dispute credit report errors to the company that provided the information.

The company that provided or “furnished” the information to the credit reporting company is known as the “furnisher.” Furnishers could be your bank, your landlord, or your credit card company. You can dispute inaccurate information directly with the furnisher. Use this template to send a letter to the company that provided the information you’re disputing.

5. Make a plan.

Even if you don’t have errors on your credit report, reviewing your report can help you make a plan for how to improve your credit. For more help putting your plan together, download this guide to Rebuilding Your Credit.

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Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

Financial Planning: A Dose of Truth and Grace


Planning for a Financial Planner

So you’re considering a financial plan! Perhaps your finances have told you that you need one. Planning with purpose for your financial future is a noble task. Sure many good things come to us in unexpected surprises, but planning for a good future, especially when it comes to finances, is a wise strategy indeed! You’re reading this article because financial planning interests or excites you, and just doing so is taking the first step.


Financial planning is a well marked plan to thrive financially, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a secure, successful financial portfolio. It’s never too late to start making changes and never too late to pursue financial freedom. The key is: start where you are. Don’t dwell on where you have been or the mistakes and poor choices that you may have made. Everyday is a fresh start to the life you want to live, to the best you yet!

Your Dreams, Desires, and Goals

You have dreams, desires and goals. Everyone does. But, not everyone lives in such a way as to see them come to pass. Why do some succeed where others fail? Why do some thrive while others seem to strive after the wind? Not all of life’s answers come sugarcoated and some pills are hard to swallow. But, taking in wisdom, advice and eating humble pie is good for us all. With humility comes honor, and sometimes taking a long, hard look at ourselves is truly a humbling endeavor.

Finances are a major test and testimony of our maturity and level of personal responsibility. It’s important in the process of self-discovery to admit the truth about your behaviors and choices and the effects they have had on both your life and the lives of those you influence, whether for good or for bad. Be sure to give yourself a healthy measure of both truth and grace. As imperfect people, who make not so perfect choices, grace is something we all need.

Consider Your Financial Peace

Start today by considering who you are, who you want to be. Consider what your financial situation looks like and what you want it to look like. Consider what it will take to get you there. Look at the situation objectively. Keep negative thoughts and emotions at bay. You are strategizing, planning, preparing and leading. It takes a strong mind and a strong spirit to be a good leader. The first person you lead is always yourself. And the truth is, if you can’t lead yourself, you really can’t lead others, not well, anyway.Financial grace is not a credit card with no limits and no consequences. If you charge, you owe. Same goes in life.

Your material choices have consequences, both positive and negative. Grace goes the extra mile, however. It says, “Yes, you are where you are, but…you don’t have to stay there, and you certainly don’t have to return.” Grace gives us the opportunity to make a change, to make the change we desire. It helps us to feel empowered to walk out the lifestyle we want for ourselves and to make the daily choices that both get us and keep us there. Mary Poppins should have said a spoonful of grace helps the medicine go down.

Planning Short and Long Term Goals

As you begin to plan, look at both short and long term goals. Write out the steps it will take to accomplish them. With your basic plan in hand, your road map, determine if further help is needed to bring clarity or to implement your newly devised strategy. Share your newfound view with others and invite them to partner with you where appropriate. Your close family and friends are key players in the game called “your life.” And, be proud of who you are because no matter where you’ve been, what you have or have not done, you are this day, an overcomer.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    Credit Cards, Debit & Your Credit Score, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

    Setting Good Financial Goals

    S.M.A.R.T Financial Goals

    If you are keeping up with the Newsletters, you know that last week we decided to open up the New Year by presenting you with the “S.M.A.R.T.” tactic; a great tool that you can use as a guide when setting your goals for 2011

    The aim is to set good financial goals.  You will want to write them down, consolidate and refine them, prioritize them, make them measurable, and keep them visible.  Set good goals and keep them in front of you—you’ll be surprised at how much more productive and focused you’ll feel as you start living with a clearer purpose.

    The second common denominator of all good financial plans is a spending plan (i.e., budget). You may not like it, but it’s an absolutely essential tool for everyone.  Without a spending plan, you cannot implement saving and investing strategies because you don’t know if you have any extra money to save or invest.

    Keep an eye out for next week’s newsletter about priorities!

    Financial GoalsTip

    Don’t procrastinate!  Just sit down and get started.  It does not have to be perfect, nor does it need to be complete.  You will find things along the way that will need to be added and/or changed; that is ok. The most important thing is that you make a set PLAN.

    “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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