Credit Cards

“Prayer is Only the First Step…”

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

The other day I snapped a picture of this sign taped to a streetlight in front of Penn Station in NYC. At first, I chuckled when I read it.

But then I paused. Because it dawned on me: while this is a loving thought—and wonderful sentiment—for far too many Black women and Black people, this is their ONLY financial plan.

Prayer, or seeking help from your Higher Power or the Universe, etc. is a SOLID first step—and a powerful beginning. But it is not the only step you must take to get out of debt and create wealth. And it NEVER will be.

Creating financial freedom requires taking consistent, effective action over and over, AFTER you pray.

If you’re stuck at prayer when it comes to your money, NOW is the time to commit to taking action. Taking action on that one thing you are clear about.  Even if you don’t have all the answers, there is ALWAYS that one thing that you know to do. You just haven’t done it yet.

This is what is necessary if you truly want to build abundant wealth and enjoy financial freedom. And it works.

About Yolanda Ransom


Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can take control of their financial destinies. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

Are You Choosing Progress or Settling for Failure?

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Financial Tip of the Day

Well, we’re in the beginning of a new month – and the second quarter of the year. This is a very important time of year because it holds so much opportunity. Typically, by this point, many people have started petering out on their New Year’s resolutions or goals.

On that note, I’d like to ask how’s it going for you: if you continue what you’re currently doing, where will you be financially by the end of 2018?

If your actions are resulting in steady progress towards your goals, good for you. Keep it up!

But if your actions are resulting in more credit card debt, no savings, or poor finances in general, it’s time to seek out help. Isn’t it?

I’ll be the first to admit that change is NOT easy. And the longer a bad habit has existed, the more challenging it can be to change it.

Especially when it comes to money, we may have “inherited” poor habits and beliefs from our families. But the good news is that no matter WHERE or what we have come from, we can reclaim ownership of our money and financial futures.

I want to encourage and remind you to seek out the help you need to make the changes you desire.

Seeking help DOES NOT make you weak. It actually shows you strong you REALLY are. It shows strength to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. And to be open to receiving help from others with more experience and/or new ideas.

So, if you’re struggling to keep your 2018 goals – or have stopped trying altogether – there is STILL plenty of time to make 2018 YOUR year of progress. Find a trusted financial resource or professional and seek out all the help you can.

I get coaching help myself, and it’s made all the difference for me on my own journey. Help is there. Have the determination and willingness to seek it out.

*Ladies, by the way - because I want to offer you ALL the support that I can, I’m delighted to say that I will be opening up individual and group coaching again soon! I’m creating some exciting programs aimed at helping you ladies uniquely master your money. Email me at yolanda@yolandaransom.com if you’d like to be personally notified when I open up my schedule for coaching.

Improve Your Cash Flow Instantly...

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Financial Tip of the Day

Better Budget Management: if a large chunk of your bills hit at the same time each month, one idea is to move some of your due dates around. Most credit cards – both personal AND business – allow you the option of moving around your statement posting date. Doing this can stagger out bill payment dates and make it easier to manage your monthly cash flow. Check your card issuer’s website or give them a call to inquire about this. And check out this piece: How to Change Your Credit Card Due Date. (You may be able to do this with other bills too – check with your service providers).

My Very Bumpy Road to Getting Debt-Free

This past week, I did my first ever series on savings. It was a 3-part live stream that I did on Facebook. Amidst all my nervousness and confusion about how Facebook Live worked, I ended up feeling very exhilarated by the end of each show.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment in my efforts to reach women like myself and inspire them to save for their dreams. But doing the series also brought back memories of years ago when I was in financial distress.

Many, many years ago, I was overwhelmed with credit card debt. I owed a few thousand. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you owe it and have to pay it all back that’s when it becomes clear how much it really is. It ALWAYS feels like too much. Am I right? Especially when you’re not earning that much (which was the case at the time).

I vividly remember being able to pay only the minimum on my cards. At the time, I had so many cards that that was all I could manage. And because I had so many cards, trying to make multiple payments on time for all of them felt really challenging. I always did pay on time. But what I owed NEVER seemed to go down.

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Since then, I’ve made a couple of vital mind shifts which have helped me to remain free of credit card debt to this day. They have made all the difference for me since those days.

Back then, every retail store I shopped in or major credit card company offered me credit (I‘m always disturbed at how credit issuers do this with apparently no forethought for the card holder incurring lots of debt. But then again, maybe that’s the plan). For a while, I signed up for all those cards. I was giddy about having so many credit options. But I hadn’t taken the time to understand how to use credit to my advantage and avoid the choke-hold of debt.

One year, I spent around $1,300 on Christmas gifts for my family and friends with my Spiegel (remember them?) credit line. I wanted to “show” my loved ones how much I appreciated them. Imagine my surprise when some of my friends gave me gifts that didn’t cost nearly as much as what I'd spent. And never mind that the Spiegel items were all overpriced to begin with (but I bought them because I had credit there). And on top of all that, I now had lots of credit card debt to pay off.

All of these behaviors now seem like foreign concepts to me.

Today, I can count the number of credit cards I have on one hand. 

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I make sure to pay the balance in full each month. Before even charging, I make sure I have/will have the money available to cover the charge.

Needless to say, I no longer own any store credit cards. Nope. Not one. I realize that I don’t have any need for those. Plus, the interest rate is crazy!

And I certainly don’t charge $1,300 in gifts anymore. My family has come up with alternate ways to celebrate the holidays – ways that don’t require excessive spending for any of us. Anything I DO buy is purchased well in advance and paid off right away.

Looking back, I realize how far I’ve come. Sometimes I forget this because my daily habits have changed so much.  I’m now focused and on top of my finances. I forget the HUGE learning curves that I’ve had along the way to owning my own finances.

Remembering this helps me to better serve my clients based on where they’re at. But most of all, I hope that it shows what is truly possible for any of us.

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a certified Financial Coach who empowers her clients to confidently master new money management skills, resulting in improved finances and financial stability. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and provides personal coaching and financial literacy training to individuals and groups. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and at her website yolandaransom.com.

Finishing Up Your 4th Quarter Strong (Just Like the Big Businesses Do)

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So…we’ve entered the final quarter of the year. Starting next month, it will be filled with plenty of holidays and celebrations (however, if you count Halloween, this is where it kicks off). Rather than letting holiday expenses control you, decide to control them - in ADVANCE.

Years ago, I failed to do this and bought a bunch of expensive Christmas gifts for my friends and family - on credit. Needless to say, it took a while to pay it all off. I learned a A LOT from that experience.

Sit down and figure out your “spending” budget. Decide how much you want/need to reasonably spend in light of your current finances.

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Then, consider setting aside money each pay period to cover your planned expenses, rather than incurring credit card debt because you don’t have all the money available upfront. Xmas club savings accounts and layaway plans (Walmart started theirs already) are also great ways to manage gift buying in advance or over time so that you don’t overspend during the holidays.

P.S – The last few months of the year leads to reflection for many of us (including me). Looking at where we are and where we planned to be can reveal important areas where we feel (or know) we could’ve done much better.

Is this true for you? If you haven’t achieved the financial progress you desire (or need), contact me for a FREE Discovery session to see how I can help you get there. Get off to a positive financial start for the upcoming year! Schedule your FREE chat here by clicking on "Schedule FREE Discovery Session."

How to Successfully Use Credit

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In my 100+ one-on-one counseling/coaching sessions with clients, I’ve worked with many people who are downright scared to use their credit cards. They’ve heard all the horror stories (and probably seen plenty) of those up to their necks in credit card debt. And the truth is, they are understandably concerned. Especially considering the all-time high that household debt recently hit (which I discussed in my recent post The #1 Budget Killer...). Debt management is clearly a challenge for many people. However, I always explain to clients that you DON’T have to rack up debt when you use credit. You just DON’T!

I tell them that I use my credit cards for almost everything and never pay a penny in interest. And I have NO credit card debt. Plus, my credit score is excellent. How is this possible? Let me explain…

1)      Pay balances in full each month

Avoid paying interest by keeping a zero balance and increase your credit score with an excellent payment history.

2)      Pay before the statement runs

Yes, you can do this! You don’t have to wait for the credit card company to generate a statement. Once the purchase posts, you can go ahead and pay it (in full).

3)      Use credit cards for monthly staple items

Use your cards for items you need to purchase no matter what - like groceries – and normally pay for with cash. Many credit cards offer points or other rewards which you can earn by using your card. And you can avoid credit lines being closed due to inactivity, by using them regularly.

4)      Set up recurring payments for fixed monthly expenses

For example, cell phone, cable or utility bills. This is advice I give to clients who don't want to deal with remembering to use their credit card. Set it up, and forget about it! Then just pay your credit card bill once per month and you're all set.

By following these 4 tips consistently, you’ll be on the road to successfully utilizing the many benefits that credit cards offer you. And isn’t that why you got them in the first place? Make them work for you, and not against you.

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Balance Transfers As a Credit Management Tool

Financial Tip of the Day

Many years ago when I began working and cash was tight, I relied heavily on credit cards to furnish my new apartment, etc. This naturally resulted in a debt load that became harder and harder to pay. One of the things that I used to help me pay down all my credit card debt was taking advantage of a zero balance card transfer offer. I jumped on it, and paid down the full transferred balance on the new card before the offer period ended. This can be a great tool to pay off debt when used properly. This article offers tips on how to successfully utilize balance transfers: How to Win the Balance Transfer Game.

#creditcards #balancetransfer #debtmanagement

How to Decide When to Use Debit (Cash) or Credit

In working with clients, I’ve often encountered those who are hesitant to use their credit cards and opt for debit cards most of the time. These days, a great deal of people use debit instead of carrying large amounts of cash around.  And while using debit cards can be a good practice in some cases, there are few key instances when it is typically best to use your credit card.

When It's Better to Use Debit Cards

  • For small purchases under $20
  • When buying something that you know you won’t need to return
  • When paying in person (with a reputable merchant)