Being Broke Is No Way To Live!

I've said this before and I'll say it again...Anyone who says that money doesn't buy you happiness has never had money! I know this because there have been plenty of times when I've been broke and multiple times when I've had plenty, and I can say without a doubt that I was much happier when I had plenty.

Now if you said that money can't buy you health then I'd be more inclined to believe that. Having good health trumps having plenty of money any day because all the money in the world means nothing if you're sick and dying because as they say, you can't take it with you.

A lot of people dream of being rich and although it would be nice, I have no wild fantasies of hitting the lottery and never having to work again. It's okay to dream big but the odds against it are astronomical and unrealistic so I choose to spend my available funds elsewhere.

My idea of being rich is having great health, being able to pay all my bills on time, have savings in the bank, good credit and a positive mental mindset without the stress of the thought of living paycheck to paycheck weighing me down each and every month. Now, that's what I call happiness because being broke is no way to live!

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Do Whatcha Gotta Do!

Sometimes in life, we're forced to do things that we either don't like to do or simply just don't want to do for whatever reason. I currently find myself in one of those situations.

After thinking about it long and hard, I came to the realization that from a financial standpoint it would be best for me to temporarily move in with a family member in the hopes of getting my finances in order.

By my estimation, I should be debt free in 12 months or less. Sure, I had to make a few changes in the way that I'm used to living due to living with someone else but from a financial standpoint, it will be well worth it!

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Put It On Paper

Sometimes when finances start spinning out of control at a rapid rate we find ourselves forced to make serious changes in how we go about our daily business.  In my case, the first step was creating an Excel spreadsheet listing all of my monthly expenses with balances owed.

You may think you have a grasp of how much money you owe but I assure you that you have no idea until you put it down on paper. The debt list that I'd created in my mind, suddenly ballooned into several other debts that I had completely forgotten about until I created the spreadsheet.

After I got over the initial shock I found myself face to face with a debt that launched me into a reality that I wasn't quite ready to face. A change was in order and it had to happen right now. Not next week or next month but right this damn minute!

The plan is to pay off the small debts first and then work my way up to the larger bills until my balance is zero. On the surface, this sounds like a daunting task but if I am disciplined in my principles and approach, I can be debt free in about a year's time.

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Building Good Credit Takes Time

I have struggled for years just to get to the point where I now have 11 credit cards. Unfortunately, my credit score does not reflect the amount of major and department store cards that I own.

You see, having credit and having good credit are two completely different things. I have just enough credit to get credit but not enough credit to get credit limits above $1000.00.

The problem is that because my credit limits are so low, my cards tend to stay at or near the credit limits which keeps my credit score on the lower end of the spectrum.

The only conceivable way to improve my credit score is to pay my card limits down to next to zero which is never a bad thing. As balances go down, credit scores inevitably go up. My goal is to be mostly debt free within a year.

Having credit comes with great responsibility. Anyone can build credit history but it takes a huge amount of discipline to pay bills on time while keeping balances manageable. My quest to do just that starts today!

You might also like: Credit Building: No one said it would be easy

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The Hustle in the Shuffle

Nearing the end of the month and running low on cash, I found myself once again in the precarious position of having to do another payday loan shuffle. As stated in a previous post, shuffling is what happens when you have more than one payday loan and you're forced to shuffle all over town to pay them all.

Well, recently I went to my favorite store to renew my loan and found out that after going there for a couple years that they had changed the rules on me while trying to pretend that the rules had always been in place. If you've ever shuffled before then you know that shufflers don't like change.

Keep in mind that loan amounts vary from state to state and where I'm located this particular store allowed me to borrow up to $700 at a time on a monthly loan. From years of shuffling, I've learned that monthly loans are much less stressful than bi-weekly loans. I'd rather do 12 shuffles a year than 24...its just common sense.

Having said that, this time when I went to take out my newest loan, the store manager who I'd built up a positive business relationship with over several months informed me that I was now only eligible to borrow $350 a month based on my income. Wait, WHAT???

I then informed her that I started out at $300 a month and had worked up to the $700 by "building trust" over time. These were the rules that her employees had been following for at least the 2 years that I'd been dealing with them.

The manager tells me that she was not aware that her employees were performing business in this manner and that it was against company policy to do so and starting today I'd only be eligible to borrow $350 but because I've been a good customer she'd be willing to let me borrow $500.

Not only was she flat out lying about not knowing that her employees were doing business this way, but she herself had also given me loans based on this very same trust-building principle. Furthermore, if this activity was going on for years on her watch and without her knowledge, then that makes her the worst kind of manager!

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Nordstrom Credit

A couple of weeks ago I was shopping at Nordstrom Rack because I was in need of a few things that only "The Rack" can deliver within my price range. Namely, shoes, shirts, and underwear.

On this day I went in looking specifically for all black Calvin Klein underwear but ended up finding a pair of nice brown leather boots as well. I saw them, they saw me and I was done. I knew I had to have them!

As I approached the checkout line I thought to myself that maybe I should apply for a Nordstrom credit card knowing full well that 9 times out of 10 I'd be denied but I figured that all they could do was tell me, no, so I applied.

After about a 30-minute application process due to the new guy at the register, I held my breath for a few minutes longer and to my surprise, I was approved for a $500 credit limit! I later found out that Nordstrom cards were issued by TD Bank which also issues the Target REDcard.

My purchases came up to $80 and some change and I paid it off in full before I ever got the first bill. I did this because during my research I found out that Nordstrom is very good about converting their retail store card into a Nordstrom Visa within 6 months of on-time payments but only time will tell.

Oh, and as a final thought, when my Nordstrom card arrived in the mail it included a letter which stated that my Experian credit score at the time of approval was only 620. Hopefully, you can use this valuable information to your advantage if you are considering applying for the Nordstrom credit card.

You might also like: Target REDcard for Easy Credit Approvals

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PayPal Credit

For those who are not familiar with PayPal Credit, it was formerly called "Bill Me Later" which would allow you to purchase a product online today and not have to pay for it until up to 6 months later with zero interest just as long as you spent at least $99 on the purchase.

Bill Me Later had denied my request for credit on several occasions in the past but since my credit had improved over the last couple of years, I thought I would give it another try. To my surprise, I was instantly approved for a $250 line of credit and although the amount is not earth-shattering, it is still $250 more than I expected, which is always a win-win!

So in short, if you are looking to make a purchase via PayPal or at any one of the many online stores that accept PayPal at checkout, then I highly recommend PayPal Credit as I feel that the approval rate is good even with a poor credit score hovering around 600.

You might also like: Can you build credit with PayPal?

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