Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
You thought the last score that would really matter was your ASVAB, but turns out being an adult has more tests and scores than you thought. While some of those scores might be far out of your control, there are some you can have a hand in improving.
One score that you can influence? Your credit. Sure, this magical number with such bearing on things like where you are able to live often feels like it's solely based on conjecture and someone with a dartboard, but it turns out, you do have the power to change your credit score. Here are 5 hacks for raising your credit score.
1. Get your report
The first step in raising your score is knowing it, identifying any problem areas and disputing any discrepancies. Looking at your credit report will show you any late payments or high balances which both can negatively impact your score. If you have late payments, get that money in!
2. Pedal to the metal
One of the factors of your credit score is your credit utilization. So you have a $10,000 line of credit … but if you've got $8,000 in charges on there, your utilization is too high.
Ideally, you want it to be below 30%. If you can, double your payments per month on your unsecured debt to pay it down ahead of schedule. The better your utilization rate, the better your credit score.
3. Boost your bills
It sounds like something that might be used in Space Force, but Experian Boost is a real thing. Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, offers users the opportunity to get credit for making their utility and cell phone bills on time.
Users link their bank account and Experian scans for on-time payments. If payments were late, no harm, no foul (which is not how this usually goes, for the record). Wins all around.
4. Give 'em a ring
Never underestimate the power of a phone call. If you can't make a payment to your credit card company and you're going to dance into that dangerous late zone, pick up the phone.
Ask the company if they can put you on a payment plan or give you a grace period. Making sure that your payments remain on time will keep your credit score climbing.
So you don't have a great credit score or maybe you don't have much in the way of a credit history at all. One easy way to rectify this situation? Piggybacking. Ask a trusted family member or close friend who has excellent credit if they will add you as an authorized user on their credit cards. Sorry kid, authorized users don't get their own black AMEX, it's just a status that allows you to "piggyback" on their good standing. Aside from some risk and the fact that the next 10 rounds are on you, as long as you know the account holder has an outstanding history in paying on time, there's not much of a downside for you. And, there's none for the cardholder. Hop on.
Just like your ASVAB, your credit score has an influence on your future, especially when it's time to buy your first house. Luckily, companies like Veterans United work with service members and veterans to utilize the VA Loan, meaning awesome rates and no money down for purchasing. Whether you use that extra cash to double up on a card payment or buy a beer for your "piggy," we aren't here to judge -- just here to help.
This post was sponsored by Veterans United.
There's nothing better than getting mail when you're on deployment. You know the feeling. That joy you feel when you see the USPS charge on your checking account and realize it's just a matter of days (or months, depending on where you are…) until you're showered with nostalgia of home, snacks, and adorable reminders that you'll be back before you know it.
Care packages are the best.
Until they're not.
Here are 5 of our best care package fails:
1. Super soap
Sure, there are the things you want in a care package and then there are the things you need. The best care packages combine both with a 3:1 ratio of wants:needs.
But, take it from my first-hand experience: if your ratio is 25:1 and that one "need" is scented soap and said soap somehow penetrates the flavor of the 25 "wants" so that all of your homemade brownies and cookies and hopes and dreams taste like some sort of lavender bath salt, then you're better off skipping the need altogether. Lesson learned, definitely the hard way.
2. Moldy cake
We've all seen the birthday cake in a jar. You can act embarrassed but we know you're stoked when it shows up with plates and forks for all of your buddies to have a makeshift party. And really, who doesn't want to spend their birthday in a bunker?
Pro tip: if you don't seal the canning jars, the cake molds. And if you thought your spouse was going to be mortified when they opened a box of party favors, try sending homegrown penicillin.
3. Sticky pictures
Get your mind out of the gutter. We're talking about our sweet friend who mailed her husband a taste of home (Maine) by sending him pictures of their kiddos, some fun goodies and a bottle of syrup, which shattered.
4. Glitter bomb
Glitter is the norovirus of the craft world. You don't even have to come in direct contact with it for it to find its way to you. When a friend of mine wanted to do a "gender reveal" during her husband's deployment, she had another friend fill an opaque balloon with colored glitter (but whyyyyyy) for him to pop.
He did, and blue glitter rained like confetti at a Kygo concert. Every boot, every bed, everybody was constantly sparkling for months.
The worst kind of care package fail? Not getting your shit together enough to send one. Your good intentions aren't as fun to open as a physical package.
Skip the mess and the stress and outsource your care packages to the folks who know exactly what to send: Bespoke Post. Each month, they release new themed boxes filled with quality goods to their subscription members — think: shaving sets, cigars, knives, home bar essentials, and more — along with useful advice you need to use 'em.
With thousands of standout products from unique brands, their shop is a destination in itself. They're always updating their stock with new apparel, grooming goods, outdoor gear, home essentials, and more.
Give a care package that never fails -- a Bespoke Post subscription.
This article was sponsored by Bespoke Post.
Military service has its perks. Sure, there's the predictability of what to wear each day, a regular paycheck and all those travel opportunities to such glorious places as Basrah. But there's also real perks -- the kind you get that you certainly don't expect but you absolutely deserve. Here are 4 deals you might not be tracking but that you absolutely need to know about:
1. Guidefitter Military Insider Program
Whether you're an experienced outdoorsman or just getting your proverbial feet wet on the hiking trail, if you have any plans to do anything outside in the next decade then you need to sign up for the Guidefitter Military Insider program.With exclusive and deep discounts on things like hunting, fishing and other similar outdoor gear (firearms, ammunition, shooting supplies, optics, hiking boots, camo, clothing and so much more!), this perk will give you unprecedented deals for wherever nature takes you, whether you're active duty, a veteran or a reservist.
One military insider wrote the following review on Guidefitter's website: "Guidefitter is an outstanding service to veterans and while we aren't entitled to a discount on anything, Guidefitter has created a system that allows veterans to take advantage of all the generous offers from many of the top brands of outdoor gear available."
2. National Park Pass
So now that you have all this amazing gear from Guidefitter, it's time to put it to good use.
Skip the entrance fee at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or any other National Park by showing your military ID for a free annual National Park Pass.
3. Epic Ski Pass
If you like to ski, this is one deal that is truly epic. Vail Resorts continues to honor the epic service of the Company's founders from the 10th Mountain Division, and men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, Canadian Armed Forces and Australian Defence Force, by continuing the Military Epic Pass program into the 2019-20 season.
The 2019-20 Military Epic Pass provides an incredible value for service members and their families to enjoy unlimited, unrestricted skiing at the Company's owned and operated resorts.
It's insane. $199 for unlimited, unrestricted skiing for active duty and retired at nearly an $800 savings. There are great deals for veterans, too.
You know what's more incredible than going to Disney? A giant discount in order to be able to go to Disney. The Disney Armed Forces Salute offers unreal pass and lodging discounts for service members and their families to make the quintessential post-deployment vacation all a little more affordable.
Using the military discount on the multi-day park hopper passes will save your family thousands of dollars. That feels magical right there.
Whether you find your happy place in the great outdoors or the Magic Kingdom, take advantage of these incredible discounts.
This post was sponsored by Guidefitter.
Camping Tent Recreation - Free photo on Pixabay
When was the last time you had a great massage? And, who wouldn't want that every day?
Introducing the Theragun - the G3PRO Percussive Therapy Device. As an avid athlete and also parent of two 60 pound kids who frequently fall asleep in the car on the way home at night and need to be carried up two flights of stairs, my body always hurts. I was ecstatic to try the Theragun and also slightly skeptical. Could it really "activate muscles fast?" Would it live up to the hype as the "Most advanced deep tissue massage device to effectively relieve muscle tension, soreness & pain?"
Yes it would.
Holy hell, this thing is the Jaguar of massagers.
Its lightweight, compact and effective design was just as good as a professional massage, without the anxiety of flipping over knowing that your time is halfway done.
- 2,400 RPMs for pain relief
- Delivers up to 60 lbs of pressure for deep muscle treatment
- 16mm of amplitude allows for deeper muscle treatment
- 2-speed functionality: Standard speed for deep treatment, and light speed for sensitive, sore areas
- Promotes overall range of motion
- 6 precisely-engineered antimicrobial PRO attachments included to target specific body parts
- Total body recovery in 15 minutes
- Reach 90% of the body with the rotating arm and ergonomic hand for full body recovery
- Accelerate warmup and recovery by targeting each muscle group for 15 seconds
- Target each muscle group for 2 minutes to decrease post-workout soreness
- Prevents and breaks up adhesions
- Improves muscle coordination and mobility to prevent injury
- Natural, pill-free pain relief
- Relieves muscle spasms and replenishes energy through more hydrated muscles
- Better sleep
- Promotes better posture and body awareness
- Relieves body soreness from travel and jetlag
- Replaces stretching in your daily routine
Designed with sound in mind
Our proprietary gear box has been newly designed to muffle the G3PRO's powerful motor, resulting in a 50% decrease in sound.
- Travel Case 2x Lithium-ion Batteries
- Attachment Pouch Lithium-ion Battery Charger
- Includes 2 interchangeable batteries for continuous run time
- Dampener Tender areas or near bones
- Large Ball Large muscle groups
- Standard Ball Overall use
- Wedge For scraping, shoulder blades or IT bands
- Thumb Lower back and trigger point therapy
- Cone Pinpoint muscle treatment
- Amplitude 16 mm
- Stall Force 60 lbs
- Frequency 1750 & 2400 RPMs
- Frame Professional grade plastic composite
- Internals Industrial grade Japanese motor
- Battery Life 75 minutes per battery, (two batteries included for continuous battery life)
- Type 2x Samsung Lithium-ion 4 cell, 2.5 amp
- Weight 2.90 lbs
- Dimensions 257 mm x 205 mm x 68mm
I have to say, I balked a little bit at the price, but the GovX offer is the best you'll find. And, it's easy to justify once you recognize you can get exactly three professional massages for the cost of the Theragun, which, with their awesome warranty, will last for years.
With different attachments, you get different levels of pressure and varied impact. I used the cone attachment to target that fun area where your calf muscle attaches. I used the standard attachment for the insoles of my feet. The wedge attachment was awesome on my shoulders. The triangle handle made it easy to reach my lower back which generally feels like I've been hit by a car. Every attachment, every feature made it feel like I was getting a professional level massage.
The best part? My kids thought it was a super fun treat to let them "play with it" by giving me a back massage. Sweet little suckers. But after all those trips up the stairs, they owe me.This post was sponsored by GovX.
We've all been there. You're at the checkout line on the 14th or 30th of the month, frantically refreshing your online bank account to see if somehow your EFT came a little early like a Christmas miracle, or if you at least have enough to cover your transaction. There's no stress like financial stress.
Give yourself some breathing room by having extra savings at the end of the pay period. Here are 4 easy ways to save a little more each month:
Never underestimate the power of a skillset. Maybe you’re excellent at ironing and the guy down the hall who cuts hair hates laundry. Racking up Venmo charges for babysitters? Find a neighbor with kids and swap. Trade mowing lawns for meals. Save money by exchanging goods and services.
2. Free ride
Life might not be a free ride but your unit might have one. We know it’s not the coolest option to roll downtown on the duty bus, but what is cool is that while your buddies go through their paychecks one Uber ride at a time, you’ll have more in your pocket. Carpooling and the base shuttle are great options.
3. Leverage your base resources
We know just as well as you do that the pork tenderloin in the chow hall on Monday is going to be served five different ways until some sort of stew on Friday. The other thing we know? It's free.
Take advantage of the services offered on base, whether it's coffee at work or dinner. Use the base gym and skip the memberships outside the gate. Take a base tour with your family whenever you PCS to a new duty station to better understand some of the free resources your family can utilize, whether that's tutoring, counseling or that fineeee pork tenderloin.
4. Take advantage of discounts
If you're not getting free concert or show tickets through VetTix or discounted prices through MWR or base, entertainment adds up quickly.
Take advantage of discounts in order to stretch your money. A night out with free tickets and free childcare through a kid-swap sounds much better than lighting the $400 on fire that it would cost you normally.
Taking a look at your spending and seeing where you can save a little more each month will alleviate some of your financial stress. Another huge relief? Being able to buy a house with a VA Loan. With no money down required, your savings account can take a deep breath. Learn more about the VA Loan and Veterans United, the nation's #1 VA lender: Veterans United Home Loans provided more VA Home Loans by total volume than any other lender in 2018. Source: Department of Veterans Affairs Lender Statistics
Military life is stressful enough without worrying about whether or not your next transaction will go through. Use our hacks to help you save.
This post was sponsored by Veterans United.
Sure, your days at the pool or the beach might be over for the season, but the Yeti Tundra 65 Hard Cooler is an all-weather, year-round, badass piece of equipment that you need in your life, stat.
Full disclosure: I loved the look of the Yeti long before I was asked to review it. It's *slightly* hard to be objective in a review going into it knowing you're about to test out the Mercedes of coolers. I channeled all of my inner skepticism in hopes that it wouldn't live up to the hype.
But. It. Did.
The Tundra 65 is Yeti's most versatile cooler. According to Yeti, their Tundra Coolers were born out of frustration. From their website, "We were tired of cooler lids bowing when we used them as a casting platform and leaking because they couldn't hold ice on triple-digit days. We needed something better — so we created one. The Tundra 65 Hard Cooler is designed with the wild in mind. It's why they're bear-resistant."
Me? I just wanted it to keep my food and drinks cold.
And, oh, did it.
First of all, the cooler can hold 42 cans of beer using a 2:1 drink to ice ratio which made me very popular at the tailgate I attended using it . I did a nice hybrid of all the drinks and ribs and I was ecstatic that everything stayed cold and the ice stayed frozen. There's nothing worse than reaching into a cooler full of tepid water where ice and hope used to be.
- FATWALL DESIGN - Extra-thick walls hold up to two inches of insulation for unmatched ice retention.
- PERMAFROST INSULATION - Pressure-injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam in the walls and lid makes sure your ice stays ice.
- ROTOMOLDED CONSTRUCTION - Makes it armored to the core and virtually indestructible.
- Outside - 17 1/4" x 16" x 30 5/8"
- Inside - 105/8" x 11 1/8" x 23 1/8"
- Empty Weight - 29 lbs
- Capacity - 42 cans or 52 lbs of ice
- T-REX LID LATCHES - Heavy-duty rubber latches are made with patented technology so you'll never see another busted latch.
- ANCHORPOINT TIE-DOWN SLOTS - Molded tie-down slots for easy mounting to your boat, trailer, or truck bed.
- NEVERFAIL HINGE SYSTEM - Two hinge pins and interlocking design prevent the hinge from ever breaking.
- INTERLOCK LID SYSTEM - Creates a form-fitting barrier against the heat.
- COLDLOCK GASKET - A freezer-quality gasket circles the length of the lid to block out the heat and lock in the cold.
- LIPGRIP HANDLES - Stay out of the way and make carrying your catch seem less of a chore.
- DOUBLEHAUL HANDLES - Military-grade polyester rope for extra durability.
- VORTEX DRAIN SYSTEM - Leakproof, rugged, and designed for quick and easy draining.
- BEARFOOT NON-SLIP FEET - Prevent sliding to keep your YETI in place.
Simply put, this cooler is sexy. With color options of white, seafoam green or desert tan, you can't go wrong. Seafoam green is my fave but you do you.
The price tag on the Tundra 65 is a little hefty (as is a 29 pound empty cooler…), but as one five-star reviewer said, "We could all use a little more exercise." Stretch your wallet a little bit; this is one splurge that comes with a five year warranty and zero buyer's remorse.
This post was sponsored by GovX.