How to Qualify For a Credit Card in Australia

Whether you’re new to credit or looking to rebuild or re-establish it, applying for a credit card is a critical step. At first, you’ll have limited options when it comes to applying for a credit card. This advice will shorten the time it takes for you to find, select, qualify for, and obtain the correct card.

As you apply for cards, your credit score gets dinged. That means you’re better off applying for fewer cards, and figuring out which ones you likely qualify for before you spend the time on those pesky forms and taking the short-term inquiry ding.

Determine Your Eligibility

Despite popular belief, earning a low wage does not disqualify you for credit card eligibility in Australia. You can make as little as $10,000 and still qualify for a card. It’s all a matter of applying for a card that suits your needs.

To apply for a credit card, you should be:

  • -18 years of age or older
  • -Not in a state of bankruptcy
  • -A citizen of Australia or permanent legal resident
  • -With a fair or higher credit rating
  • -Bringing home enough money to reasonably pay the maximum limit on the card you’re considering.
  • -This varies based on the type of card you choose, as well as the nature and requirements of the issuing bank. It also helps to have some solid assets to prove your financial security to the bank. For example:
  • -Owning a home or car
  • -Making consistent mortgage or auto loan payments, on time, every month
  • -Relative surplus of income after vital expenses like rent or groceries

Select a Card to Apply For

There’s plenty of information out there about credit cards. Know your credit score and research opportunities in line with your credit range. If your credit isn’t the best, prepare to start with a secured credit card—you’ll need a small deposit which goes towards what you spend.

Read all the terms carefully; deferred interest can be tempting, but some of those cards also come with a very high yearly fee. Know your limits, as it may help to build your credit in other ways and come back to apply for a specific card later.

Understanding The Cost Of A Credit Card

When applying for a credit card, many take on more credit than needed. This can lead to a slippery slope of debt, especially if the card is not paid off in full each month. Check out this.credit card calculator which outlines how much interest a person will pay if only making minimum repayments. Don’t become a victim of credit card debt – be informed.

Gather Necessary Documents For Credit Card Application

Photo identification: a driver’s license or passport will suffice—or a primary ID and a second ID, both with no photo. The secondary ID could be a utility bill.

Income proof: Completed taxes and/or payslips will help. Are you a freelancer? Make sure to include a record of your income, even if it’s supplemental to a full-time job. It helps!

Statement to prove debt: Only necessary in the event of a balance transfer.

Most of the time, you can do credit applications online and get an instant decision. However, it’s good to know this info as you evaluate and apply for cards. If you apply for a joint account with someone else, make sure they have this information available, too, and that they meet the requirements.

Remember: You should only apply for cards you are sure you meet the eligibility requirements for. You always get a (small) black mark on your credit for a credit inquiry.

Keep Your Pets Safe in The Car

Keep Your Pets Safe

This post is brought to you by BrennanDodge.com.

If you love your pet and like to travel you’ve probably wondered what the best way is to keep your little loved one safe in case of a car accident.  Growing up my family always drove with our small puppy roaming the car.  They would be in the back window one moment and on the driver’s lap the next.  I don’t know why we never questioned the safety of this?  We purposefully didn’t drive with the windows down because we didn’t want him to jump to his demise but we never thought about the risk we were putting him in…and ourselves in by having him roam loose in our car.  Thankfully we never had an accident and nothing came of it.  Now that I’ve thought about it, I want to try and do the best I can to keep myself, my family, and my dear pets safe.

As of now there are no government standards for pet safety items.  It’s a 60 billion dollar industry that is unregulated.  I don’t necessarily think we need government regulation in this are but I think it’s helpful to know that just because a car pet product is marketed toward car safety, doesn’t mean that it actually is safe. Recognizing that there was a need for testing pet travel gear, the CenterForPetSafety.org set out to do some testing.  You can see some of their crate car testing videos and results by clicking here.  You can see their pet seat testing videos by clicking here.  Don’t worry, you can click over, the videos don’t use real dogs but test dummies just like in car crash tests.

In the end, only a handful of products earned the center’s crash-test certification. For pet carriers, they were the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with an Isofix-Latch Connection, $252, and the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock, $170 to $190. For pet crates, Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate, $500, with 8’ Tie-Down Straps, $75.  Lastly, for pet harnesses, the Sleepypod Clickit Sport, $70 to $90, and Sleepypod Clickit Utility, $90 to $100. Prices vary according to the size needed to fit the dog.  To learn more, go to centerforpetsafety.org and while you’re there check out their Pet Travel Tips.

Keeping your pet secure in the car will not only make for a happy pup but will also keep you from driving distracted and will keep your pup from becoming a flying projectile during the off chance you’re in an accident.

To choose the correct size dog carrier for your canine friend visit American Kennel Club for their recommendations.

 

Tips to Start an Indoor Garden

Spring is here and with that comes the desire to start a garden. Whether you’re looking to keep an indoor garden all season long or start your garden indoors to be moved outside once the weather warms up, I have the tips for you. Check out the best tips to start an indoor garden below so that you can successfully grow your own food this year.

Tips to Start an Indoor Garden

Know the Growing Conditions

Whether you’re growing herbs, veggies or fruits with your indoor garden, you’ll need to know the best growing conditions for each of the items. While herbs have the easiest growing conditions as they don’t require a whole lot, some veggies or fruits may need a specific amount of sunlight each day for maximum growth potential.

Look for Maximum Sunlight

When you start an indoor garden you’re going to have to be creative with the location. Look around your home and find the maximum sunlight areas. Once you’ve figured out which location is best for maximum sunlight, create a stand that you’re able to place your planting pots. You’ll want to make sure this location is a low-traffic area to avoid them toppling over when kids run by.

Set the Best Temperature

Some green leaf veggies need a cooler climate for maximum growth while other plants may need a warmer environment. When you figure out the best temperature for each of the items you plan to grow in your indoor garden, you’ll be able to commit to the proper location for best temperature, ideal growing conditions, and maximum sunlight exposure.

Use the Right Potting Soil

Use a sterile potting mix option as this will reduce the risk of soil-borne pathogens as well as ensure the plant pots are light in weight. There are pre-mixed options for potting soil but they can get expensive when you opt for the soil that has moisture-holding crystals in them. You may use even quantities of perlite, vermiculite, peat moss and sand to create your own potting soil best for veggies.

Find the Best Containers

Potting plants are pretty affordable for even the most frugal of families. Head to your local dollar store where they should have deals on the best containers suitable for growing herbs, veggies and fruits. Consider the root growth of your indoor garden containers and whether your veggies are known to grow as vines or not, this will assist in ensuring your indoor garden has a successful harvest.

There are many ways you can get that indoor garden started, the tips I shared today should help move you forward to growing your own herbs, veggies, and fruits inside this spring season. If you want to transplant your indoor garden to the outside, carefully create an outdoor garden and move your indoor plants to their outdoor home.

5 Ways to Improve the Exterior of Your Home

Improve the Exterior of Your Home

Does your home’s exterior look dull and drab? You aren’t alone. Many homeowners have expressed that they are tired of the way that their home looks, and the lack of curb appeal can make spending time outdoors less than appealing. However, there are so many easy ways to update the way your home looks.

Become the envy of the neighborhood with a new look for your home’s exterior. Here are five ways that you can improve the exterior of your home.

1. Replace Siding

New siding can completely makeover your whole home. A new style or color can change things up. If your siding is starting to look sad, then you may want to consider a full siding replacement. You can pick out whatever style you want, and have the siding professionally installed so that it looks perfect. You could also add trim and other options to really change up the appearance of your home.

If you don’t need new siding right now, you can always power wash siding to make sure it is clean and repaint in any areas where paint has chipped or faded. This is a great option if all new siding isn’t really in the budget for a while. If your home is really dirty, you can even use soap on the siding to help remove years of gunk and dirt.

2. Clean and Cover Your Gutters

It is no surprise that dirty gutters can quickly ruin the curb appeal of your home. To make the exterior of your home look nicer, you can clean both the inside and outside of the gutters. Getting your gutters looking nice might take a bit of time and energy, but your home will look so much better with clean gutters.

To prevent the need for future gutter clearing, you can invest in gutter covers. Gutter covers prevent debris from piling up in your gutters, which not only makes your home look nicer but also prevents clogs and other issues down the road.

3. Maintain Your Lawn

Green grass really does make a property look nice. Even if you don’t have much of a yard, simply having green grass can improve curb appeal dramatically. Keep your lawn looking its best by clearing debris and leaves off of the grass and pulling out any weeds that sprout up. If you live in a place where grass doesn’t tend to survive, you could consider alternatives like artificial turf or shrub beds.

If you are missing a little color, you can also do a little landscaping to add flowers, shrubs, and even trees. You don’t need a full garden to really change the way the front of your home looks. You can use planters, window boxes, or create a little space by the front entry to put bushes and flowers for a little more color and greenery.

4. Paint Your Front Door

One of the most popular home trends right now is a bold front door, especially on homes that are painted in otherwise neutral colors. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to improve the appearance of your home, this might be the project for you. Even for beginners, painting a door is pretty easy, and it doesn’t cost a whole lot. Before you paint the whole door, you might want to look at a variety of color swatches to make sure that the final product will look nice. If you want to stand out from the rest of your neighbors, walk around to see what colors other doors in your neighborhood are painted.

5. Add Décor to the Front of Your Home

To make your home look especially inviting, you can add some décor to your porch or around the front door. Wreaths are a great way to add a little beauty to the front of your home, or you can place chairs and other furniture in front of your house. You might also want to consider a cute welcome mat for in front of your door. You can find outdoor décor at so many different places, so you can shop around and see what kinds of items you are drawn to before you start decorating.

Will these ideas help you spruce up your front yard? With these five easy ways to improve the outside of your home, you might soon be the envy of your neighborhood.

Zero Prep – Road Trip Car Games for Kids

This post is brought to you by MyMillerHonda.com.

Road Trip Car Games for Kids

Car trips can be awful but I’ve found them to be sooooooo much fun if I go into them with a good attitude and a plan.  I’m all for kids getting bored but I think it’s fun to mix in a few games along the way too.  Let them come up with their own games too!  I bet they’ll surprise you with what they create!  In the mean time, here are my zero prep – road trip car games for kids.  I hope your family finds them helpful!

I Spy

How to Play: Someone says, “I spy with my little eye something…” (Or the old version my great aunt taught me, that goes “Riddle, Riddle, Riddle Marie, I see something you don’t see and it is…”)  Either of those statements are followed with a clue to an object that someone sees.  The clues are usually based on color.  For example, ….something that is red.  A fun twist is to give a shape as a clue.

 

The Banana Game

How to Play: Each time someone sees a yellow vehicle, they yell out “Banana!” and they receive a point.  The player with the most points at the end of the predetermined time or when you reach your destination is the winner.  A fun twist on this game is to have kids find a specific model or type of car instead of color.  My kids love to find mustangs and convertibles.

 

Count the…

How to Play: Pick anything that you want your kids to count and begin.  We count school buses on the way to school every day (we homeschool so this is only once a week for co-op but they have fun with it).  We count motorcycles on Saturdays because my son loves motorcycles and loves to see how many are on the road this time of year.  We had 19 last Saturday and we only went to three places.

 

Tunnel

How to Play: This is an easy but a short lived game.  We get to play it twice on our way to visit family though so it’s a keeper in our house.  When you enter a tunnel, everyone holds their breath.  I used to love this game but I’m old and lazy now. ha. Whoever can hold their breath the longest is the winner!

 

Name That Tune

How to Play: My kids loves this game but I am absolutely dreadful at it. My kids play it by humming a song and letting everyone else try to guess the name of that song.  I can’t eeeeeever win.  Never ever.  Maybe if we played snippets of songs on the radio I might have a better chance?  Nah, probably not.

 

RELATED:

Family Road Trip Songs

 

Storytelling

How to Play: I love storytelling and find much value in being about to tell stories.  This is one fun and super easy way to help cultivate the love of storytelling in my kids.  One person starts the story with a sentence, such as “Once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden who lived in a humble cottage.” Players continue taking turns adding a new sentence at a time until the story until it’s complete or it becomes too ridiculous and everyone is doubled over laughing. I always imagined these would be fun to write down but I’ve never actually done it.  Maybe I could secretly record my family the next time we play.  That would be a fun memory to look back on years from now.

 

Benefits of Drinking Water and How to Enjoy It

Most of you know that drinking water is beneficial after all our bodies are mostly made up of water. With that being said, what we know to be good for us isn’t always easy to do. Many people struggle with drinking an adequate amount of water on a daily basis, so today I wanted to share a few benefits of drinking water and then some tips on how to enjoy drinking water. This should help inspire you to get clever with water intake and in turn, start being hydrated on a regular basis.

Benefits of Drinking Water and How to Enjoy It

Alleviate Headaches

When you start to feel headaches coming in, grab a cup of water and drink. Often times we get headaches because our body is telling us we need more water. Drinking water will help alleviate headaches over time, as you work to get your body back to a proper level of hydration.

Promotes Weight Loss

Another benefit of drinking water is that it helps promote weight loss. Since water has zero calorie content, you’re not putting extra calories into your body. When you drink more water, it helps your stomach feel full and in turn, you start to see that scale move down finally.

Flushes Toxins

Drinking water is one of the best ways to help flush your body of toxins. We eat so many different types of foods and drink things that aren’t good for us. If you’re looking to keep those toxins at bay, then increase your water consumption as it is a natural way to flush toxins from your system.

Maintains Regularity

Lastly, drinking the proper intake of water on a daily basis will help keep your body hydrated which ultimately helps maintain regularity. We often suffer from constipation because our body doesn’t have enough fluids. Water is the perfect solution to help you get back to being regular.

How to Enjoy Drinking Water

There are many options on the market for water bottles that can help you enjoy drinking water. Whether you order a sports bottle that has lines to track how much you drank or a humorous sports bottle meant to inspire you or cheer you on as you chug that water, you can easily enjoy drinking water using a sports bottle.

You may also purchase fruit infuser bottles. These water bottles make it easy to add cucumbers, lemons or even blueberries into your water without the added bad stuff that comes with flavored water. Adding a little natural flavor to your water is a great way to maintain proper health while enjoying a favorite flavor.

7 Tips for Driving in the Rain

This post is brought to you by Roberts Honda.

Tips for Driving in the Rain

Spring is here and with it the rain.  If you’re like me you’ve been finding yourself driving in the rain more often than not lately.  I just wanted to give everyone a quick refresher on how to safely drive in the rain.

1. Think – Avoid Sudden Motions

Most people drive so much that they’re on autopilot driving from here to there.  When it’s raining we all need to consciously think about driving and pay attention.  Doing so, will hopefully help us avoid any sudden motions.

2. Turn on Headlights

This is a no brainer but one that doesn’t hurt to repeat.  When it rains, turn on your lights and wipers in a few easy flips.  Easy peasy.

3. 3 Second Distance Rule

Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.  Try to leave ample stopping distance while driving and begin to slow down to stop for intersections or turns earlier than you usually would.

Driving in the Rain

4. Look Out For Pedestrians

Folks who are out may be in a hurry to get where they are going and get out of the rain.  Be sure to be alert and pay extra attention to pedestrians who may be more distracted themselves than usual.

5. Drive Slowly

Speed limit signs are for ideal conditions.  Driving in rain decreases visibility and comes with the added risk of hydroplaning.  Be safe and slow down.

6. Avoid Heavy Rain

If the rain is so heavy that you don’t have good visibility it’s okay to pull over, turn on your hazard lights, and wait a spell.  It will likely pass within a few moments so enjoy the brief break with some tunes on the radio.

7. Be Prepared in Case you Hydroplane

If you begin to hydroplane, let off the gas slowly and continue to steer in the direction you want your car to go.  Don’t jerk the wheel or slam on your breaks to regain control.  That will only further displace your car and could cause serious issues.   If your car starts to spin, begin to slowly turn your wheel in the direction that the vehicle is spinning.  The key word there is slowly.  Don’t overreact.  Now that you know how to deal with hydroplaning you don’t have to worry.

10 Amazing Benefits of Shopping at Thrift Stores

Shopping at thrift stores is one of the easiest ways to save money. With so many thrift and consignment shops around today, it simply makes sense to take advantage of the savings second-hand shops can provide your family.

10 Amazing Benefits of Shopping at Thrift Stores

Quality Kids Clothes – those kids grow way too fast, thrift stores help save a lot of money when it comes to buying clothes for growing kids.

Long-Lasting Quality – any items you find at a thrift store have withstood much wear and tear yet are still in good shape to purchase, this means they’re long-lasting quality products.

Give Back to Community – many thrift stores will give back to their local community through purchases at the store, consider finding a thrift store that does this.

One-Stop Shop – you can find more than just clothes at a thrift store making this trip well worth not only the savings for buying things but saves you in gas because you make one trip to one store.

Designer for Less – many thrift stores stock their shelves on specific days, find out what day and be sure to frequent their new stock because you may find designer items and clothes for well under retail price.

Hefty Sales – thrift stores will often get overloaded with inventory and do monthly ales where you can fill a bag for cheap money, this deal is well worth checking out to save cash.

Broken in Clothes – buying new jeans can sometimes be a pain because they aren’t broken in yet, but shopping at a thrift store allows you to buy broken in clothing.

Unique Wardrobe – thrift stores allow you to create your own style and fashion without feeling like you must pick something from today’s fashion standards.

Good Spending Habits – shopping at thrift stores will allow your kids to start having good spending habits as they will have grown up knowing thrift store shopping is good.

A fun Adventure – lastly, it’s fun to shop at thrift stores on a regular basis because they allow you to have an adventure finding new and old products from all walks of life.

As you can see, there are many amazing benefits of shopping at thrift stores. Sure some families prefer to have that brand new, name brand product but many of us are able to save a significant amount of money by opting to shop at a thrift store. That savings alone can pay for a family vacation or a remodeling project for your home. I invite you to consider shopping at thrift stores more often and enjoy the benefits of making that decision.

Pre-Road Trip Car Inspection Checklist

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Pre-Road Trip Car Inspection

If you’re up for a road tip then you’re the kind of person that knows preparation is key.  Preparation for packing, for car games, for snacks, and yes, even for car maintenance.  Here’s our family’s pre-road trip car inspection checklist.  We just came back from a trip so these were fresh on our minds.

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance 

This will likely include an oil change and fluid check.  If you go to the dealership they’ll probably have a record of your belt replacements, air filter changes, and a whole slew of other maintenance items.  My family likes to always do what they recommend but even if you don’t usually I would recommend it before a trip.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

Emergency Kit 

Your emergency kit should include first-aid materials, tools that you’ll need in case of a breakdown.  These may include a flashlight, jumper cables, fix-a-flat, screwdrivers, wrenches, extra fuses, spare tire, jack, etc.  In winter I also like to pack candles and blankets just in case.

 

Battery Check 

Take a quick moment to check that your battery terminals are nice and clean.

 

Tire Check 

Check tire pressure and tire condition.  You don’t want to face the open roads with bare or low tires.

 

Check Brakes 

Your brake pads should have 1/4 of an inch of pad or more.

 

Wipers

Check to see how your wipers are fairing.  They only last so long and it’s easy to put off replacing them.  Before you leave for a trip, make a quick stop of at a shop and switch them out.  You can top off your wiper fluid while there too.

 

Lighting

Check that all interior and exterior lights are working properly.

There you have it!  A simple pre-trip vehicle inspection will help ensure a safe and stress-free journey to your vacation destination.  Happy trails!

7 Ways to Keep Your Car Safe on a Trip

This post is brought to you by Ted Britt Chevrolet.

Keep Your Car Safe on a Trip

When you’re away from home and out on the open road for a much needed holiday, your car is your home away from home.  It’s the place you’re seated to and from your destination, it’s the place you’ll eat a few meals, hide belongings, and occasionally use to escape the elements.  Read on for seven tips to help you keep your car and valuables safe while traveling.

7 Ways to Keep Your Car Safe on a Trip

 

1. Hide Everything Before You Arrive

This is a tip that my family has instilled in me since I was small.  Always, always, always hide all of your valuables before you arrive in the parking lot. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a woman get out of the car and put her purse in the backseat or in the trunk.  It’s not safe.  Doing that just shows everyone who’s around to see exactly where to find your valuables.  Lock them in the truck or other safe hiding place prior to exiting the vehicle.

2. Unload Your Valuables Away From Your Parking Spot

On a similar note, if you plan on using the same parking area over a span of a couple days don’t retrieve your valuables from your car the moment you return to it.  If you open the trunk every time you go to your car someone may take notice.  If possible, pull into another location away from your parking spot to gather your valuables again.

3. Choose a Good Parking Spot

What makes a good parking spot a good parking spot?  Visibility.  It’s simple; out of sight is out of safety.  Try to always park in a well lit, busy spot, that is within sight of a lot of eyes.  I’ve always hear to park with your trunk facing out to make it harder for thieves to break into your trunk unseen.

4. Remove Tempting Items

Remove or lock up any tempting items from your car.  This may include but is not limited to a GPS unit, cell phone or accessories, MP3 Player, a bag that may look like it holds valuables (even if it’s an old purse your kid uses for dress up or a make up bag, etc.), and on and on.  I’ve had a few friends tell me that their cars have been broken into for the change in the cup holder.  Don’t risk it, put away any items of potential value.

5. Park Your Car Yourself

Most parking attendants and valets are perfectly safe.  However, if you make it easy for someone to steal something valuable from your car they just might.  I’ve had a car wash attendant steal a bottle of cologne from the car.  If you use a valet, keep valuables out of sight.

6. Keep It Neat

Your car that is.  I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’ve always been told from my family that a neat car is less likely to be robbed.  It makes sense though.  If you can only see the car seats you don’t assume there’s more in there but a car with a lot of McDonalds wrappers, coats, and device cords laying loose you may wonder what’s hiding under them and what’s connected to those cords.

7. Check Your Valuables

Hopefully, you’ll follow the rules above and won’t store anything in your car that you value….however, if you don’t do that double check your valuables soon after returning to your car.  Don’t trust that your laptop is in your laptop bag just because you see the bag.  Sometimes thieves will leave the bag and take the goodies.

There you have it!  I hope these tips will help keep your valuables safe as you hit the open road this year!