• Maryam Chishti

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

You've heard you’re supposed to start working on your credit-- so maybe you applied for one and it's sitting on your dresser or maybe you don't know where to start. Or maybe, like many of us, you're paralyzed by the idea entirely? But… what even is credit?! Here, with help from Experian- we will attempt to explain what credit is exactly and how to set yourself up for success.

What is Credit?

Credit is the ability to borrow money or access goods or services with the understanding that you'll pay later. ... To the extent that creditors consider you worthy of their trust, you are said to be creditworthy, or to have "good credit." ~Experian

Why Bother Having a Credit Card at All:

  • Applying for loans: Your credit history and scores are vital when you're applying for loans for houses, cars, businesses, etc... If you have good credit, it will likely be easier and in some cases, quite easy, to get approved. You may be offered better terms, such as a lower interest rate or an extended loan.

  • Renting an apartment: Landlords often check your credit before agreeing to offer you a lease. If you have poor or no credit, you might need to pay a larger security deposit to rent the apartment, turn on utilities, and set up internet or cable services.

  • Getting your own phone plan: You may need good credit if you want to think about leaving your family’s plan and getting a new cell phone.

  • Obtaining insurance: Having good credit can lower your monthly premiums, and in some states, can impact your insurance rates.

Credit Cards Do’s (and Don’ts):

  • Do pay off your card in full every single month: It’s important to get in the habit now of paying your bill in full monthly to avoid interest charges, and to keep your credit utilization ratio low. Your utilization ratio, or rate, is the amount of credit you're using compared with how much you have available Experts recommend keeping your utilization ratio under 30%. So if you have a card with a credit limit of $1,000, always keep your balance under $300.

  • Don’t spend more than you can pay: If you take one thing from this post, it’s this one. Access to a credit card can often incentivize spending more than you have. If you don’t pay off your bill in full every single month, you will start to accrue interest. If left unchecked, this accrued interest can lead to debt that you can’t get out from under. It's best to treat your credit card as a debit card and only use it for purchases that you already know you can afford to pay off in full this month.

  • Do check for identity fraud: Some small payments may go unnoticed, and can lead to someone actually using your identity to fraudulently open accounts. If someone is using your credit card numbers, you'll want to act quickly to file a dispute to resolve the matter.

  • Don’t submit back-to-back loan applications (or credit card applications): Multiple applications for a loan can be a red flag to creditors, who may see your many applications as a sign of financial distress. This translates into risk, which most lenders try to avoid.

Experts say the best age to start your credit is 18, so apply for and activate your card, make a few small purchases to start to establish your credit, and start making those monthly on time payments now (in full always!), this will help lead to better financial independence and options in the future.

And don't forget to watch our first-of-its-kind shoppable sitcom, Adulting with Jane!

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Updated: Nov 18, 2020

In the midst of the pandemic, you may be thinking "Is Halloween Even Happening this Year?!" or maybe wondering if you should even bother this year. Of course you should. Any excuse to do something fun in 2020 should absolutely make your list. Here are some fun, safe, and socially distant ways to have a great time with or without your family on the spookiest day of the year (although, real talk, maybe not the spookiest day of THIS year...)

1. Decorate your COVID Mask! It’s essential to wear a face mask this year-so why not have fun with it! Make a face mask to match your costume, or have it be the costume yourself. Etsy has so many creative ideas for Halloween masks these year-from vampire teeth to a skeleton face, you can’t go wrong.

2. For the kids (or, frankly, the grown ups too): Glow in the dark scavenger hunt! To avoid having to hand candy to every trick or treater at your door, get creative and make your own scavenger hunt as a fun way for kids to find their own candy in your backyard. Take Easter eggs, or even plastic bags, fill them with a few pieces of candy and a glow stick each, and scatter them in sneaky spots in the yard or around the house!

3. Drive-In Scary Movie! Drive-in movies are a great way to feel like your “going out” this Halloween while still being safe. Many theaters are offering back to back features of scary movies, or fun seasonal flicks like Rocky Horror and Coco. Find a drive-in closest to you here, or set one up in your backyard and don’t forget to blankets and snacks as you pop open your trunk and take it easy.

4. Trick-or-Treat Virtually for UNICEF: UNICEF USA is launching a virtual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF experience. Every day in October, you can collect donations for UNICEF with your own digital orange box, and participate in fun activities to earn “coins” that amount to a lifesaving impact. After you’ve collected all your money, you can tell UNICEF where you would like your donations to go.

5. Take your parties online: From virtual escape rooms, to ZOOM pumpkin carving contests, and costume parties-there are lots of ways to still see your friends virtually this Halloween. I know everyone is feeling sick of ZOOM happy hours and catch-ups, so make sure to plan your event in advance with lots of Halloween flare. You can download your own Halloween ZOOM background, print out Halloween Bingo Cards, or share the recipe to a Boozy Screamsicle Shake with the adults! Or, do something as a group outside while the weather is still decent!

However you are celebrating Halloween this year-make the most of it! Whatever happens, this will most certainly be a Halloween for the history books...

And don't forget to watch our first-of-its-kind shoppable sitcom, Adulting with Jane!

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  • Jenny Paul

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

So you don’t want to do it right now.

Totally. Maybe you really are waiting for some enthusiasm or energy to kick in. But the underlying question remains: if you don’t want to do right now, will you ever actually want to do to it later?

It’s definitely possible, as energy, fatigue, and and interest level can be major motivation factors, but truth be told, the answer could just be “no”.

With not enough time left to spare and your anxiety on overload, you’ll finally get it done by the skin of your teeth. Because you have to. Finally, it’s done! Success. But it’s not really the good kind. And now you’re tired and a little mad. Mad at the world. Mad at your boss for making you do the thing in the first place. And, at the bottom of that barrel, mad at yourself for not having met your own standard and done it sooner.

The good news is, it really doesn’t have to be this way. It still will once in a while— life happens— but on the whole, it doesn’t have to.

1. Create a final deadline and break it down with schedule of mini deadlines. It doesn’t have to be super picky or detailed. Write the deadlines down somewhere, and do your best to stick to each element of your timeline. *Life hack: Set your final deadline for a bigger project a day or two before it’s due so it’s done in plenty of time for any last minute issues that might arise. (It’s like setting your clock 5 mins fast.)

2. Use positive AND negative incentives. Positive incentives: If I tackle A today, I’ll treat myself to my favorite fancy coffee drink instead of plain coffee when I’m done or once I finish Project B, I’ll take a personal day and binge old movies on Disney+ in my pajamas.

Negative incentives: I’m going to do B right now, so I don’t have to do A. It’s pretty much pitting procrastination against something else you don’t want to do. It works, but be careful not to do it all the time otherwise you’ll never get A done.

You can even make things interesting by finding a fun tool to help you, like a Rocketbook. (A smart notebook). Our brains are hardwired to respond to incentives. Use them to your advantage!

3. Take brain breaks. You’re not a robot. Get up and move around. Disconnect entirely for at least a few minutes each hour. You can even hop around a little bit to different projects to keep your interest peaked— as long as you hit your marks by the end of the day/work time.

4. Set clear boundaries for your work time AND your play time. If you feel like your play time is respected and protected, it makes committing during your work hours feel like much more of a choice and less of a burden. It also makes play time that much more fun, well earned, and guilt free!

5. Tell someone about your goals and bigger deadlines. Get them on the group calendar or send them to a friend or co-worker, and let people help keep you accountable. Other people are arguably the best support resource there is!

If you don’t want to get to it all at once, don’t stress. Just pick the one that seems the most doable and incorporate that one thing now.

*It’s worth noting the hard truth about procrastination here. Somewhere, deep down, you may not actually want to do the thing you’re tasked with doing, ever. If this is the case, dig deep and think about why. Is barreling through something(s) you don’t want to do worth it to serve a bigger goal? If it’s not, start thinking about what you can do to take steps toward making your current situation a desirable one or moving toward something you actually want to be doing. On the flip side, if it’s just something you have to do and aren’t/haven’t, then rip the band-aid and get it done!

And don't forget to watch our first-of-its-kind shoppable sitcom, Adulting with Jane!

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, Adulting with Jane receives a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that goes toward our production costs.

Help us, a small business, help other quality small businesses!