Increasing My Credit Limit 7.5k (and Other Thoughts)

Erik Basics, Financial Education, Thoughts of a Mastermind 13 Comments

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been constantly challenging my thoughts on how the world works, what is important in my life, and what do I want to be doing in the coming years. A thought which has been constantly in my head is how can I make responsible choices in saving and spending money, and growing my wealth? This post is going to talk about some thoughts I have and some actions I have taken with regards to saving and spending money, and growing my wealth.

How can I make responsible choices in saving, spending, and growing my wealth?

Where I’m at Financially in 2017

First off, I’ll give a brief overview of my current financial status in January 2017. For income, I work at a regional bank where I make fairly good salary for my age. I also own a house and have 2 roommates who pay me rent. From an income standpoint, I’m doing fairly well for age, but am always looking to improve. It is important to never be complacent in your life. This is why I’m reading 75 books this year; I want to improve each and every day.

I’m a Natural Saver

For savings, I contribute 4% to a Roth 401k (company match is also 4%) and am able to save around 1.9k to 2.3k in cash a month. I believe saving money is very important and is essential to building wealth.

Like I mentioned above, I’m able to save around 1.9k to 2.3k in cash in a given month. I live fairly frugally, and do not spend much on non-necessary items. For spending, I have my mortgage, which I am not prepaying (the loan is a 2.625% 5/1 ARM), and have usual expenses of around $600 a month (food, utilities, fun). In addition, I have about $10k in savings which I treat as an emergency fund for myself and my house.

Here’s a simple snapshot of my net worth at the end of 2016. (Serious question here, how should I value my house?? Zillow has given me 60k in appreciation in 1 year!!)

net worth summary at end of 2016

Now that we have gone through and discussed where I am currently at financially, I can start discussing where I want to go and what actions I have taken so far in 2017 to get there.

First, before I get into my action steps, I’ll discuss what I want to set myself up for in the future.

  • I want to be able to run my own business in the future. Whether that be in real estate, where I have some experience already with my house, running a website, such as this one, or running a brick-and-mortar business, I need to work on my management skills sooner rather than later.
  • I want to be able to build my income to a level where I could choose to not have to work for an extended period of time. This goes hand in hand with the first thought; if I owned cash-flowing assets which produced decent income, I would be free to do what I want, when I want. Certainly, this is a fun thing to think about! In addition, by becoming financially well off, I will be able to provide for my future family and friends.

My Action Steps Taken in 2017

1. Open up 2 New Credit Cards

One thing which is very important in business, and life, is being creditworthy. I have opened 2 credit cards in 2017 to take advantage of perks and rewards. 1. A Target Credit Card, which gives 5% back on all purchases and 2. an Amazon Credit Card, which gives 5% back on all purchases through Amazon, 2% back on select other purchases, and 1% on everything else. In addition to these great perks, I received a $70 Amazon gift card!

By opening these new lines of credit and paying them off each month in full, I will be able to increase my credit score. In addition, my credit score should rise automatically due to my utilization rate coming down. At a maximum, I might spend 2k in a month, which previous to me opening these new cards would have been 50% of my total limit. Credit bureaus want to see your utilization rate under 30%. The Target card has a credit limit of $500, and the Amazon card has a credit limit of $5,000. Now, my utilization should never be above 20%!

Result: Increased credit limit by $5,500 and unlocked avenues to save 5% on various purchases.

2. Increasing my Credit Limit on Main Credit Card

In addition to opening new lines of credit, I requested my main credit card’s limit be increased from $3,000. The bank came back and told me my credit limit would be increased to $5,000, a decent increase. In addition to this increase, and the 2 new lines of credit, my utilization rate will be very low. My credit score should increase, as a result, in the long run.

Result: Increased credit limit by $2,000.

3. Started a Blog

Henry and I met each other about a year ago and we are both interested in running businesses. We both have rental properties, but do not have any experience working in a team on a small business. We started this blog in late December and believe this is a low risk way to figure out if we would be good business partners (in Decisive, they call this “ooching”). In addition, having a blog is a great way to improve as an individual.

Blogging is a potential income producer in the long term. Currently, we are trying to make connections with other bloggers and individuals to help them out in increasing their viewership. Along the way, we hope that these connections can help us with our goals of 15,000 views and 10 guest interviews/posts. Hopefully we can stay consistent and make The Mastermind Within a place where readers can learn, grow, and become more successful.


Conclusion

The first two weeks of 2017 have been solid for me financially. I’ve increased my credit limit by $7,500 and am setting myself up for improvements on the income front in the new year.

Have you been taking action steps in the new year to move towards your financial and business goals? Do you look to increase your credit limit to the maximum? (Also, should I use Zillow for my house estimates?? I’m still stumped on this one…)

Erik

Comments 13

  1. Interesting to read about your plans, Erik, and I would say that you are definitely on the right path already. You’ve given yourself a great start, and now it is all about learning how to get the most out of your monthly free cash flow. And that’s the fun part!

    As for the value of your house on your net worth calculation, it’s all hypothetical until the day you decide to sell it. Some guesses are better than others though, and personally I use caution as a principle. If, for instance, a comparable unit has been sold nearby, I will take the price of that and deduct quite a bit for good measure.

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      Hey Lars, thanking for stopping by. Your house calculation is an interesting one; basically, you think like an appraiser, and then deduct a few percent. A safe assumption would be keeping the value at it’s purchase price.

  2. Hey Erik,
    Congrats on increasing your credit score and getting some nice cashback at the same time.
    I request credit increases annually in the summer. I don’t really need to as I’m at about 2% utilization usually, but it doesn’t hurt.

    Where do you get your credit score from? It’s good that credit card companies are starting to offer this as a free service – I get a monthly score from Chase and Amex.

    Best wishes,
    -DL

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      DL,

      When you apply for a new credit card, this is a hard pull on your credit score. In most cases, the credit card company will tell you your score as a result. Mint gives “credit score” but I think it’s more of an estimation than an actual score.

      2% utilization would be fantastic! Hopefully I can get there in a few years!

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Erik

  3. Wow you are really on top of things.

    My financial goals for the year are to save 70% of my net income. I have been able to save 65% the last two years and I’d like to see if I can bump it up this year.

    Business goals I’d love to see if I can start to generate a profit with the blog. At this point I’m in the hole but hopefully one day that turns around.

    I haven’t increased my credit limit in a couple of years because I haven’t had a need to increase it. With that said Ramit at I will teach you to be rich is a huge fan of constantly asking the bank to increase his credit limits.

    Finally, I honestly don’t know if Zillow is a good or bad platform for estimating a houses value. If you can check your county records of recent sales, you may be able to compare to Zillow to see how accurate it is.

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    Hey Mustard Seed Money! You have a vibrant site and you produce great content. I’m sure after learning some monetization techniques, you can spin a profit!! 70% savings is amazing. Just think, if you can generate some cash from your blog, you will be crushing this goal as well!

  5. Pretty much yeah, as my primary objective is to get an accurate representation of my net worth if I chose to liquidate my home. Using acquisition value on the balance sheet for long term investments is pretty standard in accounting, so it’s definitely not an unusual concept.

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  6. Good stuff, credit score is often an under appreciated topic until you have a big purchase and need a great one—then it’s too late. Way to be proactive and take positive steps. Small wins add up over time, no doubt.

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