20 March 2013

Hump Day Herald

Lo and behold, it's Wednesday again! As luck would have it, it also happens to be the first day of spring for those of us here in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also very nice to see the sun again. It was missing the entire time I was on vacation last week. Now I know why people from the Midwest run around in Speedos in the 50 degree weather when they come out here to CA. On the flip side, biking in a snowstorm didn't phase me, but my girlfriend was less impressed. Despite being a native.

No shortage of offers here...
Anyway, I arrived back home to a stack of mail. A few books that I'd ordered, credit card statements, and a big pile of fireplace kindling credit card offers. I already have more cards than I really need, but they still keep sending me offers nonstop. I've been getting them for years, but being gone for a week gave them time to pile up and I really got to see exactly how much and how frequent they send me junk. And this is in addition to what slips past my spam filter and bombards my email address.

As you can see to the right, I got six offers (three from the same company!) while gone directly into my mailbox. I delete several more from my email every single day. I can already hear the protests. "Why don't you just remove yourself from the mailing lists?" I would, but the offers do serve a purpose: a crude barometer of my credit score.

But how does it tell my credit score? I've noticed over the years that the terms offered fluctuate. I'm sure it may have been partly due to the economy, but it still ultimately is a barometer of credit scores. When my credit card balances are higher, the 0% offers taper down from 12 months to the 6 month range or even disappear completely. So as I've recently gotten my cards paid down (as well as my car loan), the offers have been getting better. Of course, it doesn't tell me an actual number and it's no substitute for checking your credit report regularly. If you want to know your actual* number, use Credit Karma. I'd sign up, but I haven't felt a big need to really follow my "score" that closely yet. Going forward, we'll see what happens.

The haiku! I haven't forgotten about it. This one is for everyone who is currently on, about to take, or just ended spring break.

Spring Break
Spring break time is here
Don't blow all your funds on beer!
Debt will last too long.

*I understand that everyone is now coming up with their own number, so finding out your "true" score may very well be an exercise in futility.

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