Repair Your Credit Yourself - How to go from Bad Credit to Excellent Credit!

I definitely don't claim to be a financial expert, I'm not well-versed in finances, and my credit history could be viewed as spotty at times - but that's why I wanted to make this post.

I brought my credit score from a scary number (that literally caused multiple declined applications) to a "nearly perfect" score without help from any paid service or individual. If you're in the same boat, I want to help YOU do the same. I was able to finance a house this year, bought a car last year, and I have some high $$$ credit cards now and I'm proud of this - I "worked" on my credit to get here and I think everyone deserves to know how to fix their credit score.

You may think this is a sponsored post, encouraging you to sign up for x,y, or z... but it's not. I legit want to share how I changed my life and help you change yours.



We'll start with finding out your credit score (if you don't already know).


I personally use CreditKarma.com, you may have heard of this website and that's great! It's completely free and they help you keep tabs on your credit without dinging your credit or showing a "hard pull". I should mention, as we were going through our loan officer for our home loan I was told that your "actual" credit score and the one Credit Karma offers you vary slightly - in my case, my actual score was higher than what CK had on file, but he said it can and does happen the other way around. Either way, it's a good way to ball park where your credit stands and help you evaluate what your next steps should be.

Credit Karma pulls your Transunion and Equifax credit scores, which are two of three well-known credit reporting agencies. My scores on the two services they use often differ slightly, but are close enough that I'm comfortable relying on them.

I love that you can click on each credit score and see which accounts are listed, what they are reporting, etc. I check my credit weekly to make sure I don't miss a thing and I honestly recommend everyone else does the same.

Beyond how the service works, let's get to the point.



I repaired my credit with CreditKarma by:



1. Disputing - The first step I took in repairing my credit was disputing the untrue or outdated information on my credit report. Do you have "bad credit" or "bad debt" that's more than 7 years old? Dispute it! Are you fighting medical collections that you've already paid in full? Dispute it! Did someone steal your identity and those dings are still on your report? Dispute it! Luckily, CK makes this process super easy, with both major credit companies.

You'll simply click the accounts tab, then click on any item you wish dispute and follow the directions from there.

You may wonder if that bill you forgot about in 2007 is worth fighting to get off your credit...? Let me tell you, it 100% is worth fighting! It takes a few minutes to fill out the form to dispute an account and it could raise your credit score tremendously.

Obviously, you can only dispute the untrue or outdated items on your report - but disputing some of the accounts on my credit saved my score so it's definitely the first thing I advise anyone looking to repair their credit to do.

2. Opening - This may seem obvious but opening and utilizing credit is a huge way to build your credit. I'm not suggesting you go out and get a card and go buckwild... But open a Visa & use it for gas purchases, then pay off a majority of the balance each month. That rotating credit will do your score wonders. It may "ding" your credit at first to open a new account, but if you are paying it almost entirely off then you'll soon reap the rewards!

Be mindful when opening credit cards (or any line of credit). You'll want to watch for annual fees and the interest rate being offered - don't be fooled by a great introductory offer, shop around and find a card that fits your life!


3. Pay Off - Hard work pays off and so does paying off debts in the smartest way possible. I'm going a little Dave Ramsey on you here, even though I don't fully follow (or support) his ideology. I think his snowball method to paying off debt is genius, while some of his other advice isn't for me. With that said, his idea towards debt is to pay the minimum monthly payment on all debt, except for the lowest debt you have. So if you have a school loan totaling $30,000, a car loan totaling $15,000, and a couple of credit cards with balances ranging from $5,000 to $500. You'd quickly pay off that $500 credit card while paying the minimum for all other debts - then work your way up on the scale of debts from there, applying larger payments as you pay off your debts and don't have to pay so many debts.

It sounds complicated, but it's actually fairly simple. It's more rewarding psychologically to pay it off this way since you are ridding yourself of debt in a faster manner but there's other methodologies you may be interested in as well - debt avalanche methodology being one that is "less rewarding" in the short-term but extremely helpful in avoiding excessive amounts of interest.

Regardless of which methodology you choose to pay off your debts, make a plan and adhere to it and your credit score will begin rising!

4. Keep it up - This one is a given, but continuing all the above and monitoring your credit score is a must. Recognize what's helping your score and continue doing that, whether it's paying down your balances, opening up a few cards and starting to rotate balances, or removing untrue remarks - you'll need to keep on top of your score and keep on working at it.


So tell me, have you had trouble in the past with your credit? Are you ready to try and repair your mistakes? Let's hear about where you stand in the comments below!




A List of Must Haves for New Moms - Babbleboxx

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx



 Wooooo, we're half way there...

Well, almost half way, anyways... and for me that means I'm starting to prep for baby. Actually, who am I kidding? I've been buying cute things and a few necessities since I saw the positive test but now things are starting to "get real" so I'm feeling that urge to "nest" a little bit more. Instead of stocking up on pink clothes and bows this time, I'm trying to be more of a minimalist and stick to the things we need.


I recently sat down to make a list of my essentials and the items I know we need for baby #2, when Babbleboxx asked me to partner with them on this epic box for new moms... and I obviously said yes when I realized the box included a bunch of must-haves for moms (and new babies)!


With that said, let's dig in and start going through the box together. Trust me when I tell you, you're going to NEED it all!

First, let's chat about Bamboobies. The company name may make you giggle but the products are absolutely some of my favs! I remember when I first started my breastfeeding journey with Delainey, I had no clue what I would need and what was excessive but washable nursing pads and nipple balm were two staples that I highly recommend to any new mom.

The washable nursing pads from Bamboobies are more comfortable than any other brand and help protect from leaks. I love that they are sustainable, designed with renewable bamboo and still washable! The perfect little secret to tuck into your bra, since they are completely discreet and made of super-soft velour in the shape of an adorable little heart, which contours to you no matter your bra size!

If you're a first time mom, something you may not think to add to your hopsital bag, but absolutely is a necessity for breastfeeding mom's is nipple balm! The Bamboobies Organic Nipple Balm is so soothing and provides relief during those adjustment periods while nursing and dealing with sore nipples! Since it's an organic, plant-based formula there's no need to wipe it off before breastfeeding and I love that it doesn't contain any of questionable chemicals found in other creams/balms (like phthalates, parabens, synthetic frangrances, etc). The best part is, it helps your poor nipples recover and provides relief, which I promise you'll need during those first few weeks/months! These are the things most people don't mention about postpartum but I think you need to know...

   Want to try out a Bamboobies product for yourself? Use the code Babbleboxx (valid through 12/31/21).


Speaking of things you need to try for yourself, The First Years makes a multitude of products that we loved with my 5 year old but two we knew we needed for this babe were the The First Years First Dreams 3D Portable Bassinet and The First Years Gentle Warmth Digital Bottle Warmer.


The First Dreams 3D Portable Bassinet is going to be a lifesaver, I already know! I'm a huge advocate for letting baby sleep whenever and wherever they fall asleep while also practicing safe sleep - this handy bassinet is going to be perfect for that! Safe, cozy, and portable, it's going to be perfect to keep baby in arms reach while letting her snooze away! I love that it includes a carry tote for outings and a set of machine washable sheets for mishaps and diaper malfunctions!

Not only is it portable, but it's easy to fold up - with an easy one hand 3D fold, you can keep your other hand free for baby! Whether you're traveling or napping in your own room, you'll be able to see baby snoozing away with the 360 degree view thanks to the full mesh sides! I can't wait to catch some ZzZ's while baby snoozes and find comfort in knowing she's perfectly safe in this perfect little Portable Bassinet!


One item I wasn't so sure we needed as a first time mom, that ended up being an absolute must was a bottle warmer and this fancy Gentle Warmth Digital Bottle Warmer from The First Years looks like it's a true upgrade from the one we had. Breastfed or formula-fed sometimes baby needs a bottle when mama isn't around and making sure it's the right temperature is vital! The warm water bath the bottle is submerged in helps evenly and effectively heat up the bottle and it stays warm longer than steaming.

Whether you're heating up breastmilk or formula, you'll be able to find comfort in consistency with the Gentle Warmth Digital Bottle Warmer and it doesn't require a specific type of bottle or bag so you can use it with whatever brand you prefer... even better, once you start purees you can even use this gadget to warm those as well. The easy to use digital touch screen makes this device fool-proof, so those middle of the night feedings will be a breeze for you or Dad!



Another favorite brand of ours from when D was a baby is Baby Magic! Trusted by us and many, many other parents (over the last 70 YEARS) the Baby Magic brand is a true legacy. From helping to clean up blow outs to soothing those midnight woes, Baby Magic is there for your family and the products they offer truly do their job!

The Baby Magic Moisturizing Lotion is one you and your baby will be praising for years to come. As we all know, nothing is sweeter than those newborn baby cuddles but maintaining that soft skin means replenishing moisture is a must - enter Baby Magic lotion, enriched with nourishing Calendula, hydrating coconut oil, and soothing aloe, it's the perfect way to seal in moisture and keep your sweet bundle of love feeling comfortable and soothed.


Speaking of comfort, baths were never D's favorite - that is, until we found the right soap! The Baby Magic Gentle Hair & Body Wash is one of our family favs and I can't wait to share it with the new babe. Baby Magic Gentle Hair & Body Wash is delicately formulated for daily use and since it's free of sulfates, parabens, dyes, and phthalates, it helps babe feel clean and soft all day long. Baby and parents can rest easy knowing it's tear-free, allergy and dermatologist tested, and completely hypoallergenic - what every new baby needs!



One thing I didn't have with D that I wish I would've had is more support - in every facet of the word. One way I plan on seeking out support with this baby is by using WishGarden Herbs! Their liquid herbal extracts (or tinctures) are remedies that have been around for ages and the AfterEase and Baby Blues formulas sound like they will be so soothing once this baby enters the world!


AfterEase is an-in-the-moment type of soother that has been lovingly formulated to soothe normal and temporary afterbirth contractions that occur when the uterus contracts and returns to it's normal pre-pregnancy size. If you've had another baby you may be aware that these pains last for 2-3 days after birth and aren't very comforting when you're adjusting to life with the new babe. With AfterEase you'll have something to help calm and support your body as it adjusts.

Baby Blues is another formula I wish I would've had after birthing D, as a mood support it helps mamas who are dealing with a bit of the postpartum blues. It's a powerful, yet gentle combination of herbs that helps your body support healthy hormone levels. Like a big ol' herbal hug, Baby Blues supports new mamas in the moments you need it most.


The last item on my essentials list from this Babbleboxx is the Triple Paste Diaper Rash Cream! If you've ever been around a baby with diaper rash, then you know how painful and saddening (for mama and baby) it can be, luckily Triple Paste is a life-saver and helps relieve that pain and ease the tears almost instantly.


Triple Paste includes just the right amount of medicine and ingredients to keep baby's bum soothed while not including unnecessary chemicals or ingredients. I love that it's not just me hyping Triple Paste up though, it comes pediatrician recommended and dermatologist tested! If you're wanting to provide protection, relief, treatment, and/or soothing comfort for you little one's bum - Triple Paste is what you need!



So tell me, if you're a first-time mom, what's one "must have" item on your list?

Silly and Cute Thanksgiving Turkey Guided Drawing

 My little gal is constantly making art and sharing her creative ideas with us, from checking out "how-to-draw" books from the library to making her own story books and secret notes for us.  I'm always so impressed with her creative side and I do all I can to nurture that.


Lately she's been asking me how to spell new words and draw certain things so I figured we would do a guided drawing to celebrate the beginning of November.

These cute turkey friends made her giggle as we drew them and were super easy to create. Just a few minutes of drawing and a fun time coloring and we have some thanksgiving decorations to add to our fridge.

Want to draw with us? Here's our step by step:

 



Want more craft inspiration for the holidays? Be sure to subscribe to the blog!


Unlock The Perfect Summer with These Essentials - Babbleboxx Outdoor Adventure Summer Tool Kit

 This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.


It's officially summer and we are feeling it.

We are spending our days pool side and our evenings are mostly spent running around with friends, making the most of each day. Our days have been beyond fun, we go hard and we enjoy every second - from giggling to crafting, we're doing it all and D is mostly in charge. We all are so happy in our new place and cherishing this last summer before the diva officially starts school.

It's already been a summer to remember and we have months to go... So far, D has mastered swimming, or as she says, she's a "real little manatee now", we watched the lifecycle of a butterfly happen right before our eyes, I've changed my hair up and I finally started practicing self care to the fullest extent. It's been a summer of learning and growth, for us all, and it's been so rejuvenating. We go to the pool daily so we all are darkening some and our hair is sunkissed. We've been playing board games, staying up a little later, indulging in our favorite treats to cool off, and just enjoying ourselves to the fullest - as a family.


As we all know, stuff happens - even on the days that are the most fun. That's why I always bring a little bag of goodies to keep troubles at bay. Here's my little toolkit to unlock the perfect summer:

Let's start with the obvious... since we've been spending more time at the pool, we've had a few injuries. Nothing major, that Liquid Bandages from New Skin couldn't handle though!

Unlike adhesive bandages, New Skin Liquid Bandages are all in one protection - they prevent infection, seal out water, dirt, and germs, and help heal cuts and literally works when a bandage can't. Not only do they prevent germs entering your wound, New Skin Liquid Bandages kill 99.99% of germs while remaining flexible and invisible on any skin tone. The best part is you can find them on Amazon or at Walmart, so stock up for your next pool day!

We've had to bust out our bottle of Liquid Bandage out a few times to help heal up a few woopsies! Between Tim scraping his knuckles while playing ball with some of our dad friends  to me tripping and scraping my knee up while chasing after D, this stuff has already proven to be a valuable part of my "toolkit".


Speaking of accidents happening, we all know PMS can sneak up on us. Between bloating, cramping, and a cranky attitude, I know it's coming on and I try to fight the symptoms before they come on... luckily I've got the perfect way to combat it all in my little toolkit of summer essentials. Pamprin Maximum Strength Multi-Symptom is a lifesaver.


Pamprin helps me beat the bloat and get my body back to feeling normal again, while crushing the cramps with a little pain relieving action, and I've noticed it actually helps master my mood and get me ready for the day. I just pop a couple when I feel Aunt Flo is going to be visiting soon and Pamprin works as the ultimate period solution, I feel better and ready to take on all the summer festivities we have planned!

Speaking of things we have planned, self care is always on my agenda as of lately. Not just indulgent moments of eating cheesecake alone in the bathtub with a good audiobook, though. I have been trying to really take care of myself in all different ways and after recently going back to blonde, I knew adding Shampoo from Ultra Swim into my daily after-pool routine was likely a good idea. Ultra Swim is truly a shampoo for swimmers because it's the absolute best chlorine removal shampoo on the market.

As you likely know, if you've spent a lot of time in a pool, the chlorine build up happens quickly and creates dry, brittle, unmanagable hair. Ultra Swim is the best way to remove all that gunk and build up, while still moisturizing and of course, since D and I both have blonde hair now I'm super thankful that it prevents the dreaded "swimmers green" hair. Ultra Swim is a little beauty miracle in a bottle!

Speaking of miracles in bottles, the last item I'm going to share from tool kit today is the most important to get my energy up and ready to play while we are poolside! These Energy Stix from 4c have been a game changer, a little on-the-go energy helping me level up and join in on the fun with the kiddos. I love that I can still get a carbonated, energy fix from a tiny little packet poured into my water bottle - what's better than more energy, while spending less money?

Nothing, but I think you'll be stoked to hear these little packets of heaven are actually sugar free as well, meaning no sugar crash like those other energy drinks! Which flavor from the 4c Energy Stix line up do you want to try first - Berry, Orange, or Citrus? I can't even pick a favorite, so I just rotate through all the flavors!

Now that you know some of my summertime favorites, tell me yours?! I'd love to hear what your must-haves for summer are in the comments below!





Some BIG news!

Things have been pretty quiet around here for a good reason...


We bought a house! 

 


Yep, we did it - we OWN our home now!


It's been a long (and occasionally stressful) process, since we decided to go with a new build but so far I'm fairly pleased with our choice. We built our new house with KB Home and loved the process. From the day we signed, to our design center appointment, to the day we closed, it was interesting. If I'm being real, it got super dicey, there were delays, there are a couple small mistakes - but overall the house is beautiful and we are living in a gorgeous community with lots of friendly families. We are super excited for the change.


With that said, I wanted to share a few photos of our new place. It's still a work in progress,we still need to update a few items, unpack boxes, install more lighting and come up with some creative storage, etc.... but I couldn't help myself and had to share a little peek at our happy new abode.


Interested in seeing the updates along the way? Be sure you are following on instagram & facebook and subscribe to my blog!