How to Choose the Right Credit Card

How to Choose the Right Credit Card for You

How to Choose the Right Credit Card for You

I’ve been discussing money matters on my blog for a while now, in hopes that I can continue to feel encouraged about my own debt journey, as well as encourage others with theirs.

Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about building credit and the easiest ways to do so. I’ve defined common credit card terms and explained how your credit score affects your life. Today, I want to talk about how to choose the right credit card so you can begin (or continue) to build great credit history.

First, you should know there are hundreds of different cards out there vying for your attention. Some offer nothing but a credit line; others offer rewards and perks. The key is to determine what your needs are and which card will care for those needs best.

Determine Your Wants and Needs

When you begin your credit card search, you need to decide what you’ll be using it for. Do you want a card that will give you cash back or travel points? Are you looking for something simple to help you build credit? Each card is different, so once you know what you’re looking for, you can narrow down your search.

Find Out if You’re Eligible

Now that you know what you’re looking for, you can do some additional research and find out if your credit score is high enough for you to qualify. If you don’t know your credit score, head over to CreditKarma.com to get a general idea of your FICO score for free. I use their service on a monthly basis. That is not an affiliate link.

If you know you won’t qualify for the credit card of your dreams, there are ways for you to increase your credit score. Some take time; others are quick fixes. If you don’t have time for that, you may have to look for other credit card options.

Read the Fine Print

This is so important. Maybe the card of your dreams has a huge annual fee. Some fees can be upwards of $100 a year! I firmly believe that in today’s times, you should never have to pay an annual fee on a credit card. Is your card’s interest rate ridiculously high? You have to know these things because it helps you weigh your final options.

Choosing a credit card isn’t scary if you know what you’re doing. Just use these tips and you’ll be fine!

Joining the Air Force: First Steps

5 First Steps When Joining the Air Force | Rose Colored Water #enlistment #airforce #military

I’ve always been a pro-active person. I pay my bills early and always schedule future doctor appointments. I am organized and rarely let myself run out of eggs, bread, or milk. So when I started thinking about joining the Air Force, I did my research. Of course, you can’t believe everything the internet tells you, but you can get a pretty good idea of how things work by Googling.

First Steps to Joining the Air Force

I’m writing this because I want you to feel confident in the choices you make when pursuing a career in the Air Force, or military in general. You may have questions, and I’ve been through it first hand. I can offer you updated information because I went through it all.

So read on, friend! Let me know if you have any questions! To enlist in the Air Force, here’s what you need to do first:

Call a Recruiter

When I began showing interest in enlisting in the Air Force, the first thing I did was reach out to a recruiter. A recruiter’s job is to explain the benefits of their military branch and try to get you to join. They’ll answer any questions you may have, but they’ll also sugarcoat the truth. Just remember that recruiters are the military’s salesmen. They have a quota to fill every month.

The best way to find your branch’s nearest recruiter is to Google it. I found that the Air Force’s site was not up-to-date with the latest recruiter info, so Google was my best chance. Good luck finding one close to you. I live in St. Louis and currently, there are only two Air Force recruiters within a 75 mile radius. Other branches have more recruiters, so you might not struggle like I did.

So how does a recruiter know whether you’re fit to move further in the enlisting process? He’ll do something they call pre-qualifying.

Pre-Qualifying for the Military

Some of the first things a recruiter is going to ask before you ever step foot in his/her office is whether you have any illnesses, physical disabilities, felonies, misdemeanors, psychological problems, credit problems, or dependents. If you have a child and are unmarried, they may tell you that you are not qualified. This is not true. Sometimes recruiters will say this because there is a lot more paperwork involved when enlisting a single parent. So don’t let them tell you that you can’t join unless you get married.

They’ll also ask if you’re a citizen of the United States, your age and education status, and if you’ve used illegal substances. Be prepared to get personal. Don’t lie either! That will only hurt you later on. The military WILL find out if you’ve had past issues. If you’re upfront first, you can usually find a way around any baggage.

If everything checks out, you will be given the go ahead to take a practice ASVAB. That’s only if you’ve never taken the test before. This practice test is to gauge whether you’ll score high enough on the real ASVAB to qualify for their branch.

Note: A lot of this will only happen if you’ve already chosen the branch you want to enlist in. If not, you’re just going to be shopping, and recruiters may not get this far with you.

Filling Out Paperwork

If you take the the practice ASVAB, score high, and show promise, your recruiter will ask you if you’re ready to start the official process.

Depending on when you visit them, you could begin filling out paperwork right then and there. That’s what I did. You’ll fill out medical forms and sign privacy forms, harassment forms, etc. There’s a lot of paperwork. They’ll take copies of your license, social security card, birth certificate, etc.

You give your whole life to these people. It can take several days to make this happen if you work a full-time job and your recruiter’s office isn’t close. Depending on how quickly you get all the paperwork and official documents to them will depend on when you move on to take the official ASVAB and get processed at MEPS.

Taking the ASVAB and MEPS

I don’t want to go into too many details here since I’ll be elaborating more on my experience later, but the gist of it is: you go to the MEPS building (mine was in St. Louis), and you take the ASVAB and possibly process into your branch the very next day. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. It may take several trips to MEPS, but it’s easiest if you can do the “One Stop.” That’s where you test and process in a two-day period.

If you make it through that, you’ll come out as an official future member of the military. You’ll be in the DEP, or Delayed Entry Program. You hang out in this program until a job slot you’re qualified for comes through and you can get your date to leave for Basic Military Training.

That’s the basic process. It can take just a few days or months to finish these first steps. Then you may have to wait even longer to get a job and date to leave.

Patience is key.

Those are your first steps. If you have any questions, please let me know! I’ll do my best to answer!

5 First Steps When Joining the Air Force | Rose Colored Water #enlistment #airforce #military

The Process of Joining the Air Force

First thoughts on Joining the Air Force

When I started thinking about enlisting in the Air Force, I had no idea what to do. I went to a tiny, private high school, so we never had recruiters come in and we never took the ASVAB. Then again, it never mattered to me because I had no interest in the military and what it had to offer.

After meeting my fiance and seeing the benefits and confidence being a part of the military gave him, it started to look more appealing. Of course, I have always considered myself a bright individual, and because I am a woman, the Air Force was the first and only branch that caught my eye.

After working in the “real-world” for two years and making very little headway career wise, I decided I was too impatient and poor to continue on that path. Now, I’m all for side hustling and being an entrepreneur, but I briefly tried that path and realized I wasn’t happy. Believe it or not, I like being told what to do and having direction. I’m comfortable with leading, but I like to have someone leading me as well.

My dad’s best friend made a career out of the Air Force and loved it. He has done very well for himself, and when I realized I could also make that happen for myself, everything seemed clear. Why wouldn’t I? So I called him up and we talked honestly about what enlisting would mean and how it would affect my life.

Now, I’ve found myself saying, “Why didn’t I do this 7 years ago?” I know I haven’t made it very far yet. I haven’t attended basic training or technical school. I’ve never put on the uniform. Maybe it will be the worst decision I’ve ever made, but I doubt it. I’ve made a lot of crappy decisions in my life, but I’m sure serving my country won’t be one of them.

Enlisting in the Air Force felt like the right thing to do. That’s why I did it. I wanted a different path that would fast-track my life. That’s how my dad’s best friend described it. He said the Air Force is a fast track to a better career and better money. Sounds legit to me – SIGN ME UP! Literally.

If you are interested in taking this path as well, go talk to your nearest Air Force Recruiter. They’re going to try to persuade you that the military is the best way to a great career. Don’t believe everything they say. They’re salesmen, of course. But do believe that the Air Force will give you amazing benefits and put you on a path to financial freedom. They take care of you. All you have to do is sign your life away.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to be covering the ins and outs of joining the Air Force, from the pre-qualifying to testing to processing in. Let’s do this together.

Any questions? Let me know! I want to answer them!

What’s Happening Since I Joined the Air Force

What happens now that I've Joined the Air Force?

Well, I’m sure everyone was flabbergasted by my recent announcement. I joined the Air Force and am waiting for a job slot and date to ship out for Basic Military Training.

This is the secret/big life change I’ve been talking about for several months. I’ve been considering this route since Thanksgiving 2014. I didn’t believe I would actually go through with it, and now here I am.

What happens now that I've Joined the Air Force?

Of course, I’ve second guessed myself some. Taking the oath and signing the contract to give my life to the Air Force for 4 years was terrifying. In those moments, you realize there is no turning back. I did experience a minor panic attack last night in bed. Thank the Lord for Mike. I woke him up and told him my fears. He brought me back down to Earth and told me everything would be okay and there was no reason to fear.

It’s a gutsy move.

Anywho, it’s done. I’m in. I’m proud of myself. Even though I’m scared, I am a gutsy girl. I am back to my old self – making big moves into the unknown, hoping for a life-changing revelation. Everyone has promised me that the Air Force will change my life for the better. One thing is for sure, it will definitely open up new doors and challenge me in ways I never thought possible.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I did this, since I don’t seem very committed. I am committed. I’m committed more than ever before. However, the military is somewhere my family never ventured. It’s a new experience for me, and it was something I told myself I would never do.

There are many reasons why I chose this path, even though I am scared and unsure. I’m doing this because I want to provide for my family and pay off my debts. I want to be free financially, and I know the Air Force is going to help me get there. It’s the perfect way to make a career change. If you’re in a lot of debt, you know how difficult it can be to put it all on the line. The Air Force is going to make it easy.

What’s going to happen to the blog?

Anyways, I’ll talk more about this through the coming months and let you know how things are going. I am not sure what turn this blog will take, but I have decided to keep writing through the whole process. I hope to be a resource for future people who are interested in joining up. I was scared, confused, and not sure what to expect throughout the processing. I looked to blogs for help and found just three female bloggers who joined the Air Force and offered real, honest advice on what to expect. Those were life savers for me.

Rose Colored Water will continue to be a lifestyle blog, but it may take a military turn as I transition. I hope the few readers I have will continue to keep up with me. I will continue discussing finances, life after college, and life in the Air Force. There aren’t very many women joining the military, even in the Air Force, so the few who are interested should have a place to go for advice.

I want to be a resource for the young women who feel lost and don’t know what to do, especially if they’re trying to pay off debt or put themselves on the right financial path.

I hope you’ll stick around for the journey. A lot of things are going to change. Please hang with me here.

I’ve Decided to Join the Air Force

How I Decided to Join the Air Force | Rose Colored Water

This is an insane post for me to write. I never thought this would actually happen. I planned on telling you all this earlier, but then I decided I should wait until I got through.

How I Decided to Join the Air Force | Rose Colored Water
So I’m in. I’ve made it through all the processing , and I have “sworn in.” So you may be asking… Where did this come from? How long has it been going on? All your questions and more answered below…

The Backstory

Thanksgiving 2014: I mentioned the Air Force in passing to Mike’s family. Most of them were active military members at one point in their lives. Of course, I didn’t feel too serious about it.

Christmas 2014: Mike and I took stock of our life. We dug into who we were becoming as a couple, where we wanted our life to go, and how we could reach it. We also got engaged and began planning a wedding.

As you know, we have a lot of debt from my student loans. I have a Bachelor’s degree and work as a writer, while Mike is in the National Guard and works at a factory. We do okay, but I’m almost 25 and Mike is 27. When we look 5 years down the road, we know we’re not going to be where we want to be, financially or career-wise. So we devised a plan.

We made a pact that Mike would first try to find a full-time slot with the National Guard since he was already “in.” This is very hard to do when you’re in the Guard. If that didn’t work, we decided that it would be best for me to join the Air Force.

A Few Months Later

As the months passed, we realized that Mike was not going to find a slot with the Guard. It was all up in the air, and I was getting fidgety.

I tired of waiting. Despite what the media says, the job market is STILL very tough. I have a good job with potential for growth, but nothing is going to fast track my life like the Air Force. Joining the Air Force would double my salary the minute I entered basic training.

After much consideration and debate, we decided it was the best thing to do. I know it’s a bit of a shocker for anyone that knows me.

Late March: I began talking with a recruiter to see what my next steps should be. Less than a month later, I took the ASVAB and went to MEPS. Now I’m on track for Basic Training.

I guess that’s all for now. Lots happening. Lots changing. It’s weird to think that my life is going to be completely different one year from now. This choice will make my family’s future better, and that’s why I’m doing it. There is no shame in serving your country. It’s actually one of the most honorable things you can do.

I am ready for it.