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SoFi Personal Loan

SoFi offers Personal Loans up to $100,000, but only to those with a $45,000 annual income and 680 Credit Score. If you need a Smaller, more Flexible Personal Loan than the Check City Personal Loan might be right for you!

Loans comes with their own requirements and so do you as a loan customer! Every loan is going to come with different costs and benefits, so it’s important to do a bit of loan shopping and research before you make your final choice. That way you can get the loan that makes the most sense for your own personal needs.

SoFi Personal Loans: A Quick Look

A personal loan from SoFi can be anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 with an APR range between 5.99% and 20.01%. SoFi personal loans don’t have any fees outside of their interest rates and you can pay back your loan in 2 to 7 years. SoFi even offers personal loans for students to refinance their college debts.

Maximum Personal Loan: $100,000

Minimum Personal Loan: $5,000

Rates: 5.99% to 20.01% APR

Fees: no origination fee, no prepayment fee, no late fees

Terms: 24 to 84 months (2 to 7 years)

When: 1 to 7 business days

Basically, the SoFi personal loan is a larger loan with a longer payment term. The Sofi personal loan is most commonly used to pay off credit cards, invest in home improvements, moving costs, medical bills, student loans, and other larger purchases. They also offer a fixed payment plan.

Who are SoFi Personal Loans Perfect For?

The SoFi personal loan is great if you need to consolidate large debts with high interest rates. It’s also a good loan if you need a larger loan for things like major home improvements or college tuition. If you need a much larger loan and you meet the below requirements, then this loan may be perfect for you.

  • If you have a credit score of 680 or higher
  • If you need a large loan amount
  • If you want a longer loan term
  • If you already have a SoFi account

Who Should NOT Get a SoFi Personal Loan?

If the items mentioned above don’t work for you, or you just need a quicker, smaller loan then the perfect loan option for you is still out there. If the items listed below better suit your loan wants and needs then you might want to consider coming to Check City as your personal loan provider.

  • If you need a smaller loan
  • If you want to finish paying back the loan in 6 months
  • If you don’t already have a SoFi account
  • If you need funds fast
  • If your credit score can’t afford a hard credit pull
SoFi Personal Loans Pros and Cons List
Pros Cons
Fixed rates and monthly payments Hard credit pull that will affect your credit score
You can get a larger loan up to $100,000 You need a 680 credit score or higher
They have zero fees for their loans Can take up to 7 business days to receive funds
Need an annual income of at least $45,000

An Alternative to SoFi Personal Loans

Check City offers a unique loan solution than other loan providers. SoFi personal loans may not meet your requirements as a loan customer and in that case you can check out the Check City personal loan! It might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Reasons to Get a Check City Personal Loan:

sofi personal loan

  • The straightforward service of a direct lender
  • The safety of a state licensed lender
  • A fast and easy application process
  • You don’t need a high credit score to apply
  • There are no origination fees
  • You don’t have to wait, you can get your loan TODAY
  • You can pay back your loan in as little as 6 months
How to Apply for a Check City Personal Loan

The Check City Personal Loan application is fast and easy to do. All you have to do is visit the Check City Personal Loan Page. From there you can quickly fill out the application on the side of that webpage. You can also find a nearby Check City store to apply or give us a call to apply over the phone if either of those options works better for you.

What You’ll Need to Apply:

  • A government ID
  • Proof of bank account
  • Proof of direct deposit
  • Proof of income
  • A valid phone number

Apply Online.

Apply in the Store.

Or call Check City’s Loans By Phone number: 800-404-0254

The online application for a Check City Personal Loan is incredibly easy to do, but if you want your funds even sooner, you can apply in the store and get your personal loan funds the SAME DAY! Our personal loans work well for anyone who needs a fast, small loan that you can finish paying off in just 6 months rather than years.

Check City Personal Loans are also a helpful option for anyone with a low credit score, or who can’t afford a hard pull on their credit score right now, because we don’t pull a traditional credit report when processing a loan application. If this personal loan option sounds right for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call, visit our website, or visit our stores and get your funds now.

LOAN COMPARISON CHART

Check City Personal Loans Discover Personal Loans Wells Fargo Personal Loans

Chase Auto Loans Bank of America Auto Loans Capital One Auto Loan SoFi Personal Loans
Amount $300 to $3,000 $2,500 to $35,000 $3,000 to $100,000 $4,000 to $600,000 min. $7,500 min. $4,000 $5,000 to $100,000
Rates lower APR than our payday loans 6.99% to 24.99% APR 5.49% to 22.99% APR depends min. 2.99% to 5.99% depends 5.99% to 20.01% APR
Fees no origination fees no origination fees, no closing costs no origination fees, no prepayment penalties depends no application fee depends no fees
Terms 6 months 36 to 84 months (3 to 7 years) 12 to 84 months (1 to 7 years) 12 to 84 months 60 months depending 24 to 84 months 24 to 84 months
Min. Credit Score Check City doesn’t pull a traditional credit check, and if you have a low credit score you can still apply for a Check City personal loan 660 600 high credit score subject to credit approval subject to credit approval 680

 

When you think of loans you often think about the requirements you need to meet in order for your application to get approved. But you have loan requirements too! Everyone is looking for something different in a personal loan, like the ability to refinance the loan later, or the ability to get the loan right away. You can find all these key qualities with a Check City Personal Loan!

Whatever your own personal loan requirements might be, you should always study up on what features each loan provides before making a choice.

 
READ MORE
Learn more about the usefulness of loans, “The Usefulness of Loans from Large to Small.”

Budget like a boss by reading, “Budgeting in 4 Easy Steps.”

Wells Fargo Personal Loan

Wells Fargo offers Personal Loans up to $100,000. But if you don’t have a 600 Credit Score and you aren’t already a Wells Fargo customer is it the right loan for you?

Not all loans are created equal. Each loan has their own features and requirements. That is why it’s important to do a bit of research while you’re shopping for loans before you pick one, so you get the loan that makes the most sense for your own personal needs.

Wells Fargo Personal Loans: A Quick Look

Wells Fargo offers personal loans from $3,000 to $100,000 with an APR range from 5.49% to 22.99% with no origination fees or prepayment penalties. They also offer a wide range of payback periods from as little as 12 months up to 84 months. They also offer special benefits for loan customers that already have a Wells Fargo account.

Maximum Personal Loan: $100,000

Minimum Personal Loan: $3,000

Rates: 5.49% to 22.99% APR

Fees: There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties

Terms: 12 to 84 months (1 to 7 years)

When: The next business day, if your loan is approved.

Basically, the Wells Fargo personal loan is a larger loan with a short or long-term payment plan. This loan is often used to consolidate debts, to make a large purchase (like home improvements), or to cover emergency expenses. They also offer a competitive fixed rate, fixed term, and fixed monthly payments. Their loans also don’t require collateral.

Who are Wells Fargo Personal Loans Perfect For?

The Wells Fargo personal loan is great if you need to consolidate heavy debts with high interest rates. It’s also a good loan if you need a larger loan for things like major home improvements or college tuition. If you need a much larger loan and you meet the below requirements, then this loan may be perfect for you.

  • If you have a credit score of 600 or higher
  • If you need a large loan amount
  • If you need to consolidate larger debt amounts
  • If you need to make larger purchases
  • If you already have a Wells Fargo account

Who Should NOT Get a Wells Fargo Personal Loan?

If you don’t meet the above requirements, or you’re just looking for a quicker, smaller personal loan, then you may want to keep shopping for your perfect loan. If any of the listed items below represent you, then you should consider a different personal loan provider.

  • If you need a smaller loan
  • If you want to pay back the loan in less than a year
  • If you don’t already have a Wells Fargo account
  • If you need your loan quickly, or that same day
  • If you have a low credit score
  • If your credit score can’t afford a hard credit pull application
Wells Fargo Personal Loans Pros and Cons List

Though personal loans with Wells Fargo may be a great option for some, there are some reasons they may not be the best loan fit for others.

Pros Cons
You can get a really large loan of up to $100,000 You can’t get a small loan of less than $3,000
They offer secure loans Their secure loans have a $75 origination fee
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties You need a credit score of at least 600
Their loan application involves a heavy credit score check
The application requires a lot of information

An Alternative to Wells Fargo Personal Loans

Check City offers a different kind of personal loan. So if the features and requirements present in a Wells Fargo personal loan don’t work for you, a Check City personal loan might be your answer.

check city personal loan

Reasons to Get a Check City Personal Loan
  • Check City is a direct lender
  • Check City is also a state licensed lender
  • The application process is quick and simple
  • You don’t need a high credit score to apply
  • There are no origination fees
  • You can get your loan TODAY
How to Apply for a Check City Personal Loan

Check City personal loans are incredibly easy to use. Just visit the Check City Personal Loan Page and you can quickly apply for your loan online, at a nearby Check City store, or even over the phone!

All you need to apply for the loan is:

  • A government ID
  • Proof of bank account
  • Proof of direct deposit
  • Proof of income
  • A valid phone number

Apply for a Check City Loan Online by clicking HERE.

Find a conveniently located Check City Store by clicking HERE.

Or call Check City’s Loans By Phone number: 800-404-0254

Check City personal loans have a fast and easy process, and if you go into a Check City store to apply, you can actually walk out with your personal loan funds that very same day! Check City personal loans are great for loan customers that need a quick, easy to use, smaller personal loan that they can pay back in a matter of months instead of years. They’re also a great loan option for customers with lower credit scores since Check City doesn’t pull a traditional credit report when processing your application.

LOAN COMPARISON CHART

Check City Personal Loans Discover Personal Loans Wells Fargo Personal Loans
Amount $300 to $3,000 $2,500 to $35,000 $3,000 to $100,000
Rates lower APR than our payday loans 6.99% to 24.99% APR 5.49% to 22.99% APR
Fees no origination fees no origination fees, no closing costs no origination fees, no prepayment penalties
Terms 6 months 36 to 84 months (3 to 7 years) 12 to 84 months (1 to 7 years)
Min. Credit Score Check City doesn’t pull a traditional credit check, and if you have a low credit score you can still apply for a Check City personal loan 660 600

 

When you think of loans you often think about the requirements you need to meet in order for you application to get approved. But you have loan requirements too! Everyone is looking for something different in a personal loan, like the ability to refinance the loan later, or the ability to get the loan right away. You can find all these key qualities with a Check City Personal Loan!

Whatever your own personal loan requirements might be, you should always study up on what features each loan provides before making a choice.

 
READ MORE
Learn more about the usefulness of loans, “The Usefulness of Loans from Large to Small.”

Budget like a boss by reading, “Budgeting in 4 Easy Steps.”

Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

book review

Dave Ramsey is a best selling author of many popular self-help books about getting your finances together. He’s inspired many with his simple, no-hassle philosophies on how to manage money. He also has a radio talk show called the Dave Ramsey Show, that you can listen to anywhere you listen to podcasts. He even started his own company built on his financial philosophies called Financial Peace University. Dave Ramsey and his colleagues have loads of resources you can find helpful in your own personal money management journey. Whether you are managing a household or a small business, Dave Ramsey has the financial advice you need to be successful and smart with your funds.

Today we’re going to take a focused look into one of Dave Ramsey’s most prolific publications, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. You’ve heard of fitness journeys and makeovers that change your style into something fresh and new, but Dave Ramsey takes all that and puts a financial spin onto it. With Dave Ramsey’s baby step plan you can exercise your financial abilities in ways you never thought possible and finally get into shape where your wallet is concerned.

What Kind of Book is The Total Money Makeover?

book cover

The Total Money Makeover is written as a self-help book. It’s even been compared to popular self-help books like, Your Best Life Now and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because of the reader-friendly way it is written. It’s an engaging book with lots of real-world examples and stories from real people who have actually gone through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and seen results. These short anecdotal stories throughout the book help all of Dave Ramsey’s concepts make clear common sense.

The book also includes a lot of motivational help along with the tips and advice. One of the biggest factors that holds people back from taking full control over their finances is the proper motivation and encouragement to make necessary changes to their lifestyle. Dave Ramsey helps with that too, giving you the fresh outlook you need to understand your goal and the rewards you can gain.

Dave Ramsey is also a Christian, so his books often have a religious undertone. So you may find him referencing Bible verses every so often in this book, and tackling religious views and practices with regard to money as well.

What’s in the Book?

The Total Money Makeover is essentially a step-by-step guide for how to go about your own personal money makeover journey. These steps are based on Dave Ramsey’s key money philosophies. Dave Ramsey has strict beliefs about not ever using debt, loans, or credit cards. He believes that our society today is too dependent on credit and that true financial freedom only comes when you live a completely debt free life. So the first steps in his plan are all about helping you get out of debt, and then setting you up to never get into debt again.

Simple and straightforward advice.

Dave Ramsey’s book became so popular probably because of how easy it is to follow his clearly set plan. Each step is specific enough to leave no doubts about what exactly you need to do, making his plan one that anyone can follow and find success. It also helps that he is never vague about his advice, but rather he is extremely straightforward, open, and honest.

Dave Ramsey has no get-rich-quick schemes. He’s more about using honest work, responsibility, and common sense to reach your goals. So you won’t find any crazy secrets to financial stability and success in his book, you’ll just finally learn to implement the basics in a way that really works.

A change in perspective.

Another reason people enjoy Dave Ramsey’s teachings is because he doesn’t pretend that money is what brings happiness. He’s realistic and believes that money is a tool to create stability and contentment in our lives, not the secret solution to all our problems.

He eloquently tackles many mental barriers and misconceptions many of us have about money, and works to not only change your behavior with money, but your perspective about money as well. One thing he talks about a lot is getting over the need to “keep up with the Joneses.” Often in life we compare ourselves to others in unhealthy ways, and sometimes those comparisons can lead us to make poor financial decisions for superficial reasons. So, when you read the Total Money Makeover be prepared to gain a whole new outlook on the purpose of money, and break free from comparing yourself to others.

The Money Makeover Baby Steps:

The main event of this self-help read are the baby steps the reader can take to reach financial peace and freedom. You can read a more detailed article about each of the 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey will go through in this book, but we’ll go over a quick outline of those steps here too.

Emergency Fund

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is to basically get your financial life in order. The road to stability starts by setting up your finance in a certain way. This begins with setting up an emergency fund. You can start with at least $1,000 in your emergency fund but eventually you’ll want to work your way toward having at least 6 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund at all times.

Debts

Once you start getting your emergency fund in place, it’s time to focus all other monetary efforts toward annihilating all your debts. He goes into more detail about this in the book. For example, he suggests you start with your smallest debts first and work your way up to your larger ones. He also recommends you save paying off your mortgage for last. But eventually the idea is to throw everything you can at your debts until they are all completely wiped out.

Build Wealth

Now it’s time to build wealth and continue saving. Since Dave Ramsey argues you should pay for everything in cash, continually building up your financial stores is an important aspect of the Dave Ramsey lifestyle. You have to have enough in savings to cover all your costs completely with cash.

In the book Dave Ramsey goes into more detail about what savings you should prioritize. He advises that you first complete your 6 months’ worth emergency fund if you haven’t gotten there already. Then he suggests you work toward saving for retirement and (if you have kids or plan on having kids) your children’s college funds.

Things You Can Do Differently:

Dave Ramsey’s primary goal in all of this is to help people get out of crippling debt and stay out of it. But there are modifications you can make to his more rigorous financial plan.

You can choose how much you want in your emergency fund.

If you’re a college student then putting aside even $1,000 may be more difficult for you. But that’s ok! Just put aside what you can. Even just adding $5 to $10 a month into an emergency fund is better than having no emergency fund at all.

Likewise, if you’re more settled in life it might be easier for you to put even more than $1,000 aside into an emergency fund. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters most is that you start accumulating that safety fund in order to be more prepared for surprise expenses in the future.

You can still use credit cards and loans.

Dave Ramsey may believe in using only cash to pay for things but there are advantages to using credit cards and installment loans. When used responsibly using credit can help boost your credit score and get you the things you need to have a comfortable life. Credit cards can also provide lots of perks outside of boosting credit scores. Some credit cards come with special points that can go toward paying for things like groceries and traveling. So long as you understand your limits and include loans and credit payments in your carefully calculated budget and financial plans, you’ll be just fine.

Should I Read This Book?

You may now be wondering whether you should give this book a read or not. You should definitely read this book if . . .

  • you are in debt
  • you have trouble managing your money or realizing where your money goes
  • you have trouble making a budget

If you are looking for a book with more specific details about financial topics (like investing, or small businesses) then you should check out Dave Ramsey’s other books that go more in depth on complex financial topics. The Total Money Makeover doesn’t expound upon these topics too much since it was written more as a beginners guide to Dave Ramsey’s financial baby steps.

 

READ MORE

Check out some other helpful reviews about Dave Ramsey’s book, the Total Money Makeover:

Review: The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover Review

Goodreads


Discover Personal Loans

Discover offers Personal Loans of up to $35,000. But with a 660 Credit Score requirement and 36-Month Minimum is it the right loan for you?

Not all loans are created equal. Each loan has their own features and requirements. That is why it’s important to do a bit of research while you’re shopping for loans before you pick one, so you get the loan that makes the most sense for your own personal needs.

Discover Personal Loans: A Quick Look

Discover offers personal loans from $2,500 to $35,000, with an APR range from 6.99% to 24.99%, and no origination fees or closing costs. They also offer longer payback periods from 36 to 84 months, and you don’t need a co-signer to apply for their personal loans.

Maximum Personal Loan: $35,000

Rates: 6.99% to 24.99% APR

Fees: There are no origination fees and no closing costs

Terms: 36 months up to 84 months, or 3 to 7 years

When: 1 to 7 business days. The soonest you can expect your personal loan funds to drop into your account would be by the next business day, and this is only if your application goes through smoothly without errors, and is submitted on a weekday. So funds can sometimes take up to 7 days to get to you, depending.

Basically, the Discover personal loan is a large, long-term loan, often used when you have lots of debts
to consolidate into one place. It’s a personal loan for those who are ready to make a larger commitment.

Who are Discover Personal Loans Perfect For?

The discover personal loan is great if you need to consolidate heavy debts with high interest rates. It’s also a good loan if you need a larger loan for things like major home improvements or college tuition. If you need a larger, more long-term loan and you meet the below requirements, then this loan may be perfect for you.

  • If you have a credit score of 660 or higher
  • If you need a larger loan amount
  • If you need a long-term, 3 to 7 year loan
  • If you need to consolidate larger debt amounts

Who Should Not Get a Discover Personal Loan?

If you don’t meet the above requirements, or you’re just looking for a quicker, smaller personal loan, then you may want to keep shopping for your perfect loan. If any of the listed items below represent you, then you should consider a different personal loan provider.

  • If you need a smaller loan
  • If you don’t want locked into a 3 to 7 year commitment
  • If you want the added safety of a cosigner
  • If you need your loan quickly
  • If you have a low credit score
  • If you make less than $25,000 a year
Discover Personal Loans Pros and Cons List

Though personal loans with Discover may be a great option for some, there are some reasons they may not be the best loan fit for others.

Pros Cons
They can send the personal loan funds straight to your creditors Your payback term has to be at least 3 years
There are no origination fees or closing costs They do have late payment fees of $39
You can get very large loan amounts Your loan has to be at least $2,500
You don’t need a cosigner You need a minimum credit score of 660

An Alternative to Discover Personal Loans

Check City offers a different kind of personal loan. So if the features and requirements present in a Discover personal loan don’t work for you, a Check City personal loan might be your answer.

Reasons to Get a Check City Personal Loan:

family

  • Check City is a direct lender
  • Check City is also a state licensed lender
  • The application process is quick and simple
  • You don’t need a high credit score to apply
  • There are no origination fees
  • You can get your loan TODAY
How to Apply for a Check City Personal Loan

Check City personal loans are incredibly easy to use. Just visit the Check City Personal Loan Page and you can quickly apply for your loan online, at a nearby Check City store, or even over the phone!

All you need to apply for the loan is:

  • A government ID
  • Proof of bank account
  • Proof of direct deposit
  • Proof of income
  • A valid phone number

Apply for a Check City Loan Online by clicking HERE.

Find a conveniently located Check City Store by clicking HERE.

Or call Check City’s Loans By Phone number: 800-404-0254

Check City personal loans have a fast and easy process, and if you go into a Check City store to apply, you can actually walk out with your personal loan funds that very same day! Check City personal loans are great for loan customers that need a quick, easy to use, smaller personal loan that they can pay back in a matter of months instead of years. They’re also a great loan option for customers with lower credit scores since Check City doesn’t pull a traditional credit report when processing your application.

LOAN COMPARISON CHART

Check City Personal Loans Discover Personal Loans Wells Fargo Personal Loans
Amount $300 to $3,000 $2,500 to $35,000 $3,000 to $100,000
Rates lower APR than our payday loans 6.99% to 24.99% APR 5.49% to 22.99% APR
Fees no origination fees no origination fees, no closing costs no origination fees, no prepayment penalties
Terms 6 months 36 to 84 months (3 to 7 years) 12 to 84 months (1 to 7 years)
Min. Credit Score Check City doesn’t pull a traditional credit check, and if you have a low credit score you can still apply for a Check City personal loan 660 600

 

When you think of loans you often think about the requirements you need to meet in order for you application to get approved. But you have loan requirements too! Everyone is looking for something different in a personal loan, like the ability to refinance the loan later, or the ability to get the loan right away. You can find all these key qualities with a Check City Personal Loan!

Whatever your own personal loan requirements might be, you should always study up on what features each loan provides before making a choice.



READ MORE
Learn more about the usefulness of loans, “The Usefulness of Loans from Large to Small.”

Budget like a boss by reading, “Budgeting in 4 Easy Steps.”

4 SMART Goal Examples

SMART-goal-examples

This article is meant to help you understand SMART goals and how to use them. By giving plenty of examples along the way, you can use this goal making tool to your advantage and achieve all your personal and professional goals. You may have heard the acronym SMART goals by now, and you may be wondering what it means and how to use this tool to up your goal setting game.

  1. Professional Goals
  2. Fun Personal Goals
  3. Serious Personal Goals
  4. Financial Goals

What are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART is a mnemonic device that is meant to help you create “smarter” goals. The 5 elements of a SMART goal are the 5 key characteristics of an effective goal that you can actually achieve. So you want the goals you make to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Specific

To make your goals specific enough, you want to answer the key “W” questions, who, what, when, where, why? You want to decide your goal and describe it in as much detail as possible. The key is to have a clearly defined picture of your goal in your mind, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Ask who, what, where, and any other details?

Measurable

Making your goal measurable is mainly making it so you have a measurable outcome to work toward, so you’ll know for certain when you are successful or not. So instead of just wanting to lose weight, figure out how many pounds you want to lose. If you want more Instagram followers, think about how many more followers you want. What you can measure is going to be different for each goal, but there is always something you can measure. Maybe you want to be happier, what are some measurable things you can keep track of that will show whether your plans are working? Maybe you can measure how many hours of sleep you get each night to see if you’re getting your full 8 hours each night, or record in a mood journal how you feel at certain times of the day for a couple weeks to try and find patterns.

Ask how?

Attainable

Just like when dealing with your finances you’ll want to determine whether the ROI is worth it. Each goal is going to take time and resources. Are they going to yield worth while results? Is the effort your goal would require doable? Maybe you want to run a marathon but you’ve never run before, so perhaps a better goal to start with would be to run 20 minutes every day. Sometimes you need to take your vision down a bit for a goal that you are actually able to do right now in your life.

What’s the level of attainability?

Relevant

Sometimes we feel pressured by our surroundings to make certain goals. Maybe your parents want you to be a doctor, but you want to be an English teacher. Maybe the people around you make you feel like you need to make intense dieting and weight goals to buff up or slim down, but you’re actually at a healthy bmi(link to how to gain weight on a budget post). Goals take time and effort, they come with their own costs, so above all your goals have to be made for you, by you. So when making a goal ask yourself what your motives are and make sure they’re good, worth it, will actually yield the results you desire.

Ask why?

Time-Bound

Time needs to be a major element in any goal you make. You need to create a plan that aligns with calendar dates and deadlines. Having a due date helps us stay focused, motivated, and kick us into action. Remember that it is here where you can bog yourself down if you’re not careful, so be flexible and plan smartly so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t be afraid to adjust when you need to, sometimes learning your limits and what works best for you takes some trial and error.

Ask when?

SMART Goal Examples

There are different elements that make up our lives and thus there are different kinds of goals we can make for each aspect of our lives. There are the more formal, professional, and serious goals we need to make, and then there are personal and fun goals we want to make. Make goals for your more professional and serious successes, but set goals for yourself as well. Below are some key goal categories to remember:

1. Professional Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to wake up earlier for work each morning.

Measurable: (ask how) You record on a chart beside your bed every night you manage to go to bed at 10:30 pm. On a similar chart beside the door you mark each morning you are able to leave your house for work at 7:30 am.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) Instead of making a goal to get to work by 7 each morning, you’ve started with a goal to get to work by 8 each morning, because you know working toward this goal is more feasible for you right now.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant for you because going to work earlier will allow you to leave earlier in the day, giving you more time for other goals and endeavors outside of work.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You’ve set alarms on your phone to remind you when to get ready for bed, and when to wake up and get ready for the day. You’ve decided to give yourself a month to get into this routine, and if you are successful, you’ll reward yourself to a Friday movie night with friends.
 
professional-goals
 

2. Fun Personal Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to make more friends in college.

Measurable: (ask how) You plan social events to go to every weekend this month and decide you have to stay at each for at least a full hour, and must talk to at least 3 people you don’t know. You record the events, how long you stayed, and who you befriended in your journal after each weekend.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) You know you can attain this goal because there are social events you know you’ll be able to go to, and you have a roommate who is very social land willing to go with you to each event.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant to you because you’re a freshman in college and want to make friends in this new phase of your life. You know your overall wellbeing and happiness will increase by reaching this goal.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You have this month to enact your plan before reevaluating all the new people you met, and continuing with your goal by inviting some of those people to a social event at your own apartment at the beginning of the following month.
 
fun personal goals
 

3. Serious Personal Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to lose 10 pounds.

Measurable: (ask how) You’ll weigh yourself on a scale and record your weight progress on a chart.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) This goal is attainable because you’ve spoken with your doctor and it is ok for you to lose 10 pounds. You also have a dietary and exercise plan that should yield results over time.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant to you because losing 10 pounds will put you at a healthier weight, give you more energy, and build your confidence.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You schedule regular weigh-in dates for the following weeks to come, and estimate that you should reach your weight loss goal in time for the beginning of summer.
 
serious personal goals
 

4. Financial Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to decrease your debts.

Measurable: (ask how) You know how much overall debt you have, and after sitting down with your budget you can reorganize your spending so you know exactly how much you can spend on debts and other spending each month. This will also tell you exactly how long it will take for you to pay it all off. You can keep a record of when you successfully make each payment, and visually see yourself getting closer to paying all of it.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) You can know the attainability of this goal by how well you budget for spending more on debts and less on other varied expenses. If you ever need help reaching your financial goals and getting back on track you can take out a personal loan at Check City.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant because you have debt to get rid of, and getting rid of debt will free you to spend more on other things and save for the future.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You have a due date for your bills each month and by keeping on track with these monthly dates, you stay on track to finish paying off your debt in the months you’ve given yourself.
 
financial goals
 

Document Your Goals

In order to make sure your goals follow the SMART goal rules, it may help to record them on a chart or utilize a goal setting app. There are countless goal setting apps out there to help you track your habits and reach your aspirations. Here are some of the best goal setting apps for making SMART goals:

smart-goal-chart-printable
 
In some ways, goals are how we live our lives. It’s how we make decisions and enact change. Understanding the 5 key characteristics of SMART goal-making can help you level up in your personal and professional life, and more effectively plan for success. As a great artist once said:
 
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

—Pablo Picasso



READ MORE
Read the section on SMART goals from YourCoach.
 
Read another Check City article about goal making by reading, “How to Set Goals.”

Budgeting in 4 Easy Steps

budget
No matter your financial situation in life, everyone needs a budget. With a budget you can plan for needed expenses and prepare for the things you want. In fact, the most simple budget only needs a couple lists, a calculator, and some goals. Below are the the main points our post will go over to help you set up your budget:
 

 
Budgets are an important tool in anyone’s financial arsenal. Budgets can help you organize your needed expenses, like rent and bills, prepare for emergencies and get ready for whatever your future might hold. By knowing how to budget you can learn to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start building up your savings. it can help you save up for big expenses or future life events like a wedding, starting a family, buying a car or a house or moving to a new state.

Budgeting can also help you save for retirement, something else that even younger people just starting out on their own sometimes forget to think about but should. But most of all a it can grant you financial power and freedom and help you provide for your wants and needs. But for those just starting out on their own especially, it can be hard to know where to begin.

There are several key elements you’ll need to include in your budget. You need to think about all your necessary expenses and plan them out accordingly so you are aware of how much of your monthly income you need to spend each month no matter what. Then you’ll have to think about unnecessary expenses. This is where you have the most freedom to plan out the numbers and make adjustments.
budget-template

How to Budget

There are many ways to budget and there is a lot of advice out there in the financial spheres about how to do it. You can also choose to plan for certain events by making a specific wedding budget, or for major purchases like car payments. But if you’re making a simple budget for yourself, then the main thing you’ll want to decide first is whether you want to make a monthly or yearly budget. Most people like to create a yearly one to get a general big picture view of their financial goals and future plans. But, a monthly one is more helpful for everyday use. We’re going to try and condense all that down to the bare bones minimum of what every smart budget needs.

#1: List your monthly income

List out all your forms of income. This would include the paychecks from your job, but also any extra money you make from any of your side hustles. Here is also where you can decide whether you want to organize your finances for gross income or net income.

Gross income is simpler and easier to calculate. You just need to know how much you get paid and use that money for your calculations.

Net income isn’t as simple to figure out but there are advantages to using it. You figure out your net income by looking up what the income tax is in your state, and taking out that percentage from your gross income. Using net income instead of gross income is perhaps better because it more realistically reflects what you will actually receive from your paycheck.

#2: List your fixed expenses

After you have all your sources of income written down you’ll want to form another list for all your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are the expenses you have each month that don’t fluctuate in amount. Everyone’s list is going to look different depending on what expenses do and don’t apply to you, but here is an example list of some fixed expenses:

  • Rent or Mortgage: A calculation you’ll want to do when looking at your housing expenses is to check that your total housing expenses aren’t over 28% of your monthly gross income.
  • Insurance
  • Debts: A calculation you’ll want to do when looking at your debts is to check that your total debts aren’t over 36% of your monthly gross income.
  • Loans
  • Student loans
  • Credit card payments
  • Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify
  • Phone bill
  • Medication you pay for each month
  • Child support
  • Education

After you’ve listed all your fixed expenses total the amount, subtract it from your monthly income, and that’s what you have left to spend on varied expenses . . .

#3: Set up your savings

Before we go into varied expenses though, let’s take a moment to think about your savings and retirement. Get a savings account if you don’t have one already, and set aside a portion of what’s left over after fixed expenses. Any amount you can afford to put away into a savings account each month will set you up for success in the long term, even if it’s only 5 to 10 dollars a month.

Aside from general savings and saving for retirement, you also want to set money aside in an emergency fund. It’s recommended that you have at least 3 months worth of your fixed expenses put away into an emergency fund at all times.

Digit is a great app you can use to help you plan and organize all your savings.

#4: List and portion out your varied expenses

Everyone’s list of varied expenses is going to look differently depending on what expenses do and don’t apply to you. Varied expenses are any expenses that are going to fluctuate in amount each month, or are considered more like luxury expenses than needed ones.

Varied expenses are a big reason to do a budget in the first place so that your varied expenses each month don’t overtake your more important fixed expenses and your savings. Here are some examples of varied expenses you might need to consider:

  • Groceries
  • Eating out
  • Entertainment
  • Gas and transportation
  • Recreation
  • Clothes
  • College textbooks

Another way to figure out the reality of what you’re spending on varied expenses is to look at your transaction history for the month and see 1) How much in total you were spending on varied expenses that month, and 2) What those varied expenses were on. Do this for a couple months back to get a more realistic idea of what you are spending on varied expenses each month.

Organizing your varied expenses is where you have the most control over your budget. Whatever is left over after your fixed expenses and your monthly payments to your savings account is what you have to spend on all your other spending for the month.

Here is where you will list out what all those varied expenses might be and portion what you have left in the budget into them. Remember that you don’t necessarily want to portion out 100% of what’s left into these categories so that you can accumulate a comfortable cushion in not just your savings account but your checking account as well.

Budgeting Tips

Invest

Making investments is a great way to beef up your financial portfolio. There are probably a trillion ways to invest, but the idea behind investments is that you put money into something that will give you more money in return later. This is called compounding interest.
interest-rate
A helpful tip to remember when going into any investment is the rule of 72. This rule means that if you take 72 divided by the interest rate you’ll figure out the estimated number of years it will take for your interest to double your initial investment.

Personal Capital and Acorns are some of the most helpful investing apps you can use to step up your investment game.

Where should I put my budget?

Figuring out where to even put your budget can get complicated. You can use excel or make your own table in Word or Google Docs or any note taking program of your choice. There are also many free budget templates online that you can print out and use. Budget tools are all around if you take the time to look and decide on which ones best suit your needs.

Click here for a free budget worksheet from the Federal Trade Commission.

You can also use budgeting apps to keep track of all your bills, expenses, plans, and goals. Some of these apps even allow you to connect your budget to your financial accounts.

Control your spending

Sometimes it can be difficult to control your varied expenses throughout the month and track your spending. You can make controlling how much you spend each month easier by using a prepaid debit card. With a prepaid debit card you put money on it like a gift card to yourself almost. You can also use a similar method of spending control by just taking money out and only using that cash for your varied expenses each week.

PocketGuard is an app that can help you track your purchases.

Get a Side Gig

Getting an extra source of income can really come in handy. There are a million different kinds of side hustles any ambitious person these days can get into. You can babysit, drive for uber, or sell your own products. The possibilities are endless and it never hurts to have a little extra money each month.

Plan to Decrease Debts

Debt can be a real financial weight on your shoulders, but it can also be a necessary evil in order to get a house, get a car, get through college, and much more. Decreasing the amount of debts you owe can still help alleviate some of that weight and provide more financial comfort and peace of mind.

So it’s important to budget with paying down your debts in mind. You can pay down debts quicker by planning to spend more on that fixed/necessary expenses each month, by spending less on varied expenses, or by getting another job to provide more income to put into your debts each month.
 
Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard. All you really need is 4 lists and a calculator! Everyone should practice using a budget now so that you can control your finances instead of your finances controlling you.


READ MORE
Check out some of other Check City articles on budgeting:
Budgeting for Dummies
 
What is a Budget?
 
Budgeting Tips You May Not Have Thought of Before
 
3 Simple Tips to Building a Budget
 
Ways to Keep Track of Your Spending

8 Proven Tools to Help You Get Out of Debt

get out of debt

A mountain of debt is nothing to scoff at. It’s a huge financial burden to have a 30-year mortgage, car payments, and loans demanding your attention every month.

 
If there was ever anything that made you feel like you never see your paycheck, it’s paying off debts.
 
For that reason, many people are looking to dig themselves out of their mountain of debt so they can breathe again. The following are 7 proven tools you can use to get yourself out of debt and start a new debt-free life.
 

#1: Pay More Than the Minimum Payment Each Month

If you can afford it, pay more than the minimum payment each month on your debts. Every extra penny you put toward paying off your loans brings the end of your debt a little closer.
 
For a short-term loan, you can decrease the term of the loan by a month or two by making larger monthly payments. For a mortgage, you could reduce the term by a year or two.
 
Increasing your monthly payments can take considerable effort and budget planning, but if you work through the following tips, you could make it happen.

#2: Make More Money

Easier said than done right?
 
Digging out of a sticky situation is never easy though. It requires effort.
 
The best thing about this tip though is that increasing your monthly income will improve your overall financial situation for when you do dig yourself out.
 
You can make more money by seeking a raise, promotion, a second job, or starting your own business. There are lots of side job opportunities out there, like driving for Uber or Lyft. You could also take up freelance work, an evening delivery job, or find some contracted work you can do on the weekends.

#3: Spend Less Money

Figure out how to spend less in your day-to-day life.
 
Reduce your food expenses by cooking at home instead of eating out. Reduce your grocery bills by planning meals around coupons. Cut down on your vehicle maintenance payments with carpooling, public transportation, or selling your second car if you can manage to live without it. Sharing gas, using public vehicles, or getting rid of an extra car each come with significant financial gains to your budget. You spend more every month on driving yourself to work every day than you’d expect.
 

“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket.”

—Kin Hubbard

Almost every budget has categories that can be diminished to save more money and spend more on debt payments. Find those parts of your budget where you can save extra money, replace expensive parts of your budget for cheaper alternatives, or save all the money from that part of the budget by cutting something out completely. You’ll save a ton of money that you could put toward debt payments this way.

#4: Don’t Get Into More Debt

Avoid replacing your debt with more debt.
 
Taking out a second loan to pay off your first one just puts you in a deeper financial hole. More debt is not a long term solution for the debts you have, though this solution could be tempting to some. Deny the temptation and use other solutions instead, like selling something, or finding a weekend job.
 
Working 2 jobs might seem like an awful idea, but it would only be for a little while until you’re able to get your debts under control.

#5: Refinance Your Loans

When possible, you can try refinancing your loan.
 
After a long period of good behavior, you can approach your lender for some leniency. They can take a look at your loan again to reevaluate the situation. If you meet their requirements, you can get your interest rate reduced.
 
In terms of a mortgage, that could mean you’ll owe the bank several thousand dollars less. Every scoop your lender can dig off for you is a win. So seek a refinance when it’s possible.

#6: Build Your Savings Account

Even though you’re paying down debts, it’s still important to put a little away every month into a savings account.
 
Even $20 a month will go a long way in a year. Every little bit helps. Put away money as a buffer for upcoming payments and as a safeguard for you or your family.
 
For instance, if you lose your job, a savings account will allow you to continue making on-time payments for your debts while you work on getting your next job.
 
When you have lots of debt payments to make each month, it can also be difficult for your budget to have room for unexpected or emergency expenses. A savings account will provide the funds you need when monetary needs outside your budget come up.

#7: Make a Budget

If you have a budget already, reevaluate it.
 
Once you have a budget, don’t spend a penny more than what you have planned and outlined in your budget. Your budget should be a law that you live by.
 
If you do this, you can keep your spending to a predictable amount, allowing you to save more money to pay off your bills.

#8: Consolidate Multiple Debts

If you have multiple debts or loans, you can possibly consolidate them into one loan.
 
By putting all your debts into one loan, you can lower your interest rate and pay less extra money on the loan in the long run. Having just one single payment each month can also help simplify your budget to include fewer variables.

 

As you apply these seven principles, you’ll be able to chip away a bit more at your mountain of debt. Become proactive in your debt management. The sooner you do, the sooner you can declare yourself financially independent. Once you reach that point, you can finally reap the benefits of a healthy paycheck.


What is Credit Card Debt Consolidation?

Credit card debt consolidation is a tool that you may be able to use to help you get out of credit card debt. If you find that you have multiple lines of credit open and you are required to make a payment on each line of credit every month, it can be hard to successfully manage your debt. Managing your debt when you only have to make one payment is a lot easier. So, as you shop for a consolidation program it is important that you keep these tips in mind.

First, you have to make sure that your debt consolidation program is a program that you use but you will also want to institute healthy spending habits. It is important that you are managing your money well and that you realize that a consolidation program is not a cure all. By managing your money well and consolidating your debt, you can have an easier time paying off any debt that you may have accrued.

Second, while you are looking through consolidation services it is important to understand exactly what they are going to provide for you and exactly what you are going to get from them. Often times, debt consolidation companies will charge a pretty penny for their services and they end up doing something that you can do on your own. You want to understand exactly how much you are going to be paying those that are helping you with your debt consolidation program. Look into the interest you will pay, the up-front charges you will pay and the monthly charges that you will pay so you can be sure that you are aware of your total cost. Then, start doing some research about any consolidation that you can do on your own.

Third, it is important that you know how much money you will have to pay to pay off all of your debt. This may sound like an obvious thing to do, but there are many people that do not realize that they can end up paying more when they consolidate their debt. If you are going to have to pay more in interest over the years, it may be better to simply leave your debt the way that it is. If you can consolidate your debt, pay it off quickly and save money then the consolidation process and the fees associated with the consolidation may be well worth it.

Fourth, there are some people that will put their house on the line to ensure that they can consolidate their loan quickly. When you put your house on the line, you will be securing your debt with a very important asset. You do not want to even consider this option if you do not have at least 20 percent equity in your home by the time you are looking to consolidate your debt. It is important that you are not risking your home without doing an extensive amount of research to understand the process.

Fifth, if you are going to use a debt consolidation company you will want to get to know the company well. Do some research about the company and read customer reviews online so you can better understand what kind of company you are going to be working with. It is important that you are working with a company that is rated well and that people have had a good experience with. More than likely, you will find that there are some negative reviews with every company. Rather than looking at just one review, consider the reviews as a whole and look for trends with the reviews that you are reading.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try to consolidate your debt on your own. You may be able to consolidate your debt without having to work with a debt consolidation company. By consolidating your debt on your own, you can save yourself a lot of money and even a lot of time. Don’t be afraid to do the research that you would need to do to in order to learn how to go about consolidating your debt.

Debt consolidation programs can be a great way to get yourself into a healthy financial state again. Don’t rule out the option, but make sure that you do your research ahead of time to ensure that your debt consolidation program is going to be the most beneficial way to attack your debt. Then, you can be sure that you are doing all that you need to do to get yourself out of debt and back on track to a healthy financial position.

Your Credit Score and How it Effects Your Job

If you haven’t taken the time to think about your credit score in a while, you may want to re-think that decision. There are a lot of people that don’t see how their credit score directly affects them, but often time their credit score is affecting them more than they would like to believe. You may not even realize that your credit score, if it is bad, can prevent you from getting some jobs. The following is a list of jobs that you may miss out on if you are not taking time to care for your credit score.

First, there are a wide variety of states that will ask you to hand over your credit report if you want to be a mortgage professional. Throughout the last few years, there are many institutions that will not let an indebted individual provide financial advice and help to people in efforts to keep them from foreclosure and bankruptcy. If you are applying for licensure in this field, you may not be able to get the licenses that are required to be able to legally practice in this profession.

Second, if you want to be an accounting or financial professional it is important that you pay attention to your credit score and that you are willing to do all that you can to fix it if it is not high enough. When you are going to be handling other people’s money, it is really important that you have a good handle on your own money. Not only are people looking for the sense to be able to manage your money, but they also want to make sure that you have integrity with the debt that you go into. Going into responsible debt and ensuring that you are responsible with your finances is a good indicator that you will do the same with your clients.

Third, many people do not realize that they can be turned away by the military or even by the government if they have a bad credit report. The majority of local, state, and federal government positions will require a credit check take place before they will officially hire you.

So, now that you know that employers are looking at your credit report it is important that you understand what you are going to do about it. You should first make sure that you know what people are seeing when they look at your credit report. It is extremely important that you know what activity is being shown on your credit report. If someone has stolen your identity, you will be able to see the activity that has occurred in your name. So, when you look at your credit report if you do not recognize an account or you do not recognize specific activity, it is important that you get it taken care of as soon as possible.

If you find that you have a less than ideal credit score it is important that you start working on getting your credit score higher. Take the time that you need to communicate with any future employers about your credit score. If you can sit down and have a candid conversation about past decisions you made that you are attempting to remedy, you may not be disqualified from the job completely. Even though you may be able to explain yourself, it is important that you still work on getting your credit score back to a high number.

Start by getting rid of the debt that you are in. To get rid of your debt, it is extremely important that you understand how you are going to develop a budget and live by a budget. Your budget will need to be reasonable, but you have to understand that your budget may require you to change your lifestyle. Getting used to identifying what is necessary in your life and what is not necessary can be painful and difficult. When you are working on identifying what is necessary in your life, you will have to be very honest. You may have to make some uncomfortable lifestyle changes to ensure your extra money can go to paying off your debt quickly.

As you are paying off your debt, it is important that you understand that you will want to start by paying off your debt with the highest interest rate first such as credit card balances, short term or payday loans etc… This will ensure that you are going to be able to save money on the interest that you would have been paying had you paid off a lower interest rate before a higher interest rate.

How to Reduce Your Credit Card Debt

When you know that you need to reduce your credit card debt, you should understand the importance of learning about your debt. This may sound strange, but you want to be familiar with the fine print and with the details of your credit card debt. Start by understanding the interest rate associated with each of your credit cards. When you know how much interest you are paying on each of your credit cards you will want to start by paying off your card with the highest interest rate. In addition to paying off your credit cards with the highest interest rates, it’s also important to get any short term loans or cash advances paid off as soon as possible.

Pay Off Your Highest Interest Loans First

While you are paying off your highest interest rate, you should be well aware of the necessity of paying much more than the minimum payment. The minimum payment will be a very small fraction of the actual debt that you owe. Allocate as much of your resources towards your highest interest rate as you can. To do this, you may want to find other areas of your financial life that you can cut. Finding ways to save money in other areas of your life will ensure that you are out of debt as quickly as possible.

As you are working on making those payments, you should understand the importance of being on time. Being in a lot of debt can have a negative effect on your credit score and making late payments can make your credit score even worse. You will want to make sure that you make your payments on time and that you are doing all that you can to pay off your high interest rates quickly.

After you have paid off the card with the highest interest rate, you will then want to move to the card with the next highest interest rate. Continue paying off your cards so you can be sure that you are minimizing your interest rates as quickly as possible.

Once You’ve Paid Off Your Cards, Adjust Your Spending

Once you have paid off your credit cards, you will then want to make sure that you can adjust your spending habits to keep yourself in a great financial position. There are many people that struggle keeping their spending habits under control when they see the extra money in their bank accounts.

After you have paid off your debt, you will want to create a saving and spending plan for yourself. The saving and spending plan that you create will ensure that you are going to save the money that can help you and also be able to provide for yourself. Working with a financial advisor is a great way to ensure that you are going to have a reasonable budget for yourself. The budget that you create should allow you the opportunity to save money and spend it.

Reward Yourself

Splurging on yourself and spending money on things that you want can be a great way to help you achieve your goals. Working to achieve your financial goals may take time. Long term goals can be frustrating in the beginning, but will be well worth it in the long run.

Mastering your finances may take time but it is important that you are patient with yourself. There are a lot of people that give up on mastering their finances simply because it is too overwhelming in the beginning. While you are working on achieving your goals, you should ensure that your goals are achievable.

Make the goals something that you can track to ensure that you are going to know when you are making progress. As you continue to track your progress you may want to set up some mini rewards for yourself throughout the time that you are working on accomplishing your main goal. These rewards can help you stay motivated toward your main goal.

Financial freedom is something that is well worth the time and effort that you are putting into your goals. When you are not in debt, you will have all of the money that you are earning to be able to save and spend accordingly. Take the time that you need to set up a plan for yourself or with a professional to set up your plan. Getting yourself out of debt and ensuring that you know how you are going to keep yourself out of debt will be your best option.

Seek out Help If Necessary

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for help when it comes to your finances. When your finances start to feel overwhelming, you should do all that you can to get yourself out of debt. Work with a professional, work with a trusted advisor or even with a family member to ensure that you are out of debt as soon as possible.

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