Do you ever wonder where to turn for answers to your financial questions? There are many sources of information available. But proven, reliable, non-biased information can be hard to find. And it can be difficult to sort through the variety of resources, agencies, and organizations that might be available locally to help.
That's where we can help. Virginia Cooperative Extension's Family Consumer Sciences programs exist to bring you knowledge you can use to make better decisions and improve your life. We can take the research-based information from our land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State and customize it for the localities we serve. So, we can bring you the answers you need, as well as pointing you to local resources to assist you further.
Why not try us out? You can submit your financial question to me at the following link:
http://offices.ext.vt.edu/shenandoah/ask-an-expert/shenandoah-fcs.html . The questions will be answered as time allows and answers will be posted on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/karen.extension). Some of the answers may also appear in future blogs.
Here are a few frequently ask questions (and answers) to jump-start your thoughts:
Why should I care about my credit score if I don't want to borrow money or use credit?
Your credit score affects areas of your life other than your ability to borrow money. Many people don't know that 50 percent of employers check the credit reports of potential employees before making a hiring decision. Poor credit can also cause your insurance rates to be 10 to 15 percent hirer. Your credit history is a factor in being able to rent an apartment or purchase a cell phone. So, keeping the information in your credit file as positive as possible is important for everyone, not just people who want to borrow money.
How can I stop and identity thief from using my debit card information?
Debit cards are very convenient, so it is tempting to use them for all sorts of transactions. But the transactions that are the safest are ones in which you are in control of the card the whole time. For purchases by phone or Internet, or when a service person is taking your card out of sight, a credit card is a better option. The law limits your liability if your credit card is misused, as long as you report it right away. And you won't have the hassle of checks bouncing because the identity thief bought a new fur coat with your rent money.
What is the most important thing I can do to manage my money better?
Definitely track your expenses - not just the big things, but also the coffee at the convenience store and the soda out of the vending machine. Writing everything down for at least 30 days and then multiplying the expenses by 12 will give you a good idea of how much you spend per year in various categories. Everyone will see spending amounts that they are not happy with. It is very motivating!