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15 Ways to Save at ShopRite

Whether you hate grocery shopping or find it incredibly relaxing (seriously, some people do), one thing you’re bound to appreciate is saving at the store. If ShopRite is your go-to grocer, try using some of these tips to cut back on what you spend there.

Here are 15 ways to save at ShopRite.

1. Create an Account Online

Sign in to your ShopRite account online to load coupons from their Digital Coupon Center directly onto your Price Plus Club Card (more on that below). You’ll also get access to your past purchases and shopping lists, recipes, a tally of your Price Plus points and more.

2. Join the Price Plus Club

Members of ShopRite’s Price Plus Club get instant cash discounts on hundreds of items throughout the store at checkout, as well as special offers and promotions (like free items around the holidays) and exclusive mailings and offers.

3. Shop the Circulars

Set your home ShopRite location online and gain access to weekly circulars with tons of coupons and savings deals happening right now at your nearest store.

4. Check Out Their Offers & Promotions Page

Every now and then (especially around the holidays), ShopRite will offer additional ways for customers to save through sweepstakes and other contests that often offer gift card prizes. Visit their Offers & Promotions page frequently to see what’s happening.

5. Take Advantage of the SavingStar Program

Join the SavingStar program by setting up an account, then check out the offers page to see what’s available for a discounted price. Click on the offers you like and they’ll get linked directly to your store loyalty card. Use your card at checkout and the savings will be added to your SavingStar account. When you reach $5, you can select which method of payout you’d like.

6. Use a Rewards Credit Card

Some credit cards reward you handsomely for grocery shopping. See American Express’ Blue Cash EveryDay Preferred, which offers a whopping 6% back on up to $6,000 per year at U.S. supermarkets (1% after that), 3% at U.S. gas stations and 1% everywhere else. (Full card review right here.)

Just be sure to pay any balance you put on a cash back credit card off in full — otherwise, you’ll lose those dollars to interest. (You can see how your credit card balances are affecting your credit score by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.)

7. Use ShopRite From Home for Additional Coupon Codes

If it’s available in your area, customers who sign up to use ShopRite from Home can check out the Shop Rite from Home promotions page for access to even more deals, like discounts on delivery, savings on health and wellness products, baby and pet items, etc.

8. Load Up on Manufacturer Coupons

ShopRite will accept these! (You can find its coupon policy here.)

9. Know Your Store’s Double Coupon Policy

While double coupon policies vary by store — you should check your specific store for more details — most Shop Rite stores will double up to four identical coupons per household per day on manufacturer coupons up to $0.99. (Use a nifty little Double Coupon App that you download to your smartphone to determine if your coupons will be doubled or not.)

10. Find the Catalina Machine

Catalina machines are usually located on the side of the register (ask the customer service rep if you aren’t sure if your local ShopRite has one). Most of these deals require you to purchase a certain dollar amount or quantity of product before you can use it on your next purchase, but once you do so the savings can really add up.

11. Stock Up During the ShopRite Can Can Sale

Though this sale only happens once a year (usually in January), it’s worth the wait to stock up on grocery goods, especially non-perishable items, throughout the store when it does.

12. Seek Out the Wall of Values

When you’re in your local ShopRite, make a beeline for the Wall of Values — usually right by the front door near the produce section — for dry goods on discount.

13. Make Use of $10 Deals

If you have the room, $10 Deals help customers save by allowing them to stock up on bulk items for just $10. Be on the lookout for $10 Deal signs.

14. Search Online for More Coupons 

Use sites like Retail Me Not and Coupons.com to find promo codes and coupons for the grocery store.

15. Follow ShopRite on Social Media

The grocery superstore shares all their biggest sale and coupon deals on their Facebook and Twitter sites, so be sure to follow them for the latest offers.

Want more brand hacks? You’re in luck — we’ve got 19 ways to save at Target right here

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

This Dating Site Questions Your Credit to Help You Find Romance

More often than not, dating begins with the exchange of a number. But perhaps it’s the wrong one.

Instead of trading digits with someone you’re interested in, maybe the first information you offer up should be your credit score. (You can view two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

It’s certainly a unique spin on the dating game, and one being championed by Niem Green, founder of the site Creditscoredating.com and author of a recently released book about dating and money called “Credit Score Dating: The Sexiness of Credit.” Yes, good credit is sexy, Green said. And bad credit doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, it should just be discussed upfront.

“One of the biggest causes of divorce is finances,” Green said. “The problem is that often people don’t talk about finances. So when I started this site, I figured at the very least I’m creating the icebreaker to have this conversation.”

Green may be on to something. Many surveys show money is one of the primary things couples squabble about. A 2016 study from the American Institute of CPAs found that money issues are a source of weekly and daily stress in relationships. In particular, 88% of adults 25 to 34 who are married or living with a partner said financial decisions are a source of tension in their relationship. Only 42% have discussed their long-term financial goals as a couple.

If the thought of discussing finances with a stranger, let alone on a dating website, makes you uneasy, here’s what you need to know.

How it Works

Green’s site is based on the honor system. Users are asked to provide their credit score as part of creating a profile, but the site does not check the accuracy of the scores. (You can learn how credit scores are calculated here.)

Green said he’s created an algorithm that uses a series of questions to suss out financial habits and whether they’re being honest about their score. The questions cover topics such as delinquent accounts in the past and what they would do with a sudden cash windfall. The answers are included on each user’s profile, alongside other pertinent dating information like age and hobbies. In addition, the information gleaned by the algorithm, which Green said has a 92% accuracy rate, is used to match compatible site users.

“I’ve trained my algorithm to think like me, a former underwriter, and based on the answers to your profile questions, the algorithm is able to asses what your credit score likely is,” Green said. “But it’s not about matching people who have the exact same credit score. It’s more about matching people who are financially compatible. It’s about how people handle their finances.”

As an underwriter, Green often found that couples sitting on the other side of the table had no idea of their partner’s credit score and had not had important conversations about each other’s financial history. Green’s dating site was an attempt to fix this. People need to know their potential partner’s weaknesses upfront so they can make informed decisions, Green said.

In addition, the answers to the algorithm’s questions indicate how well someone handles commitment and deals with pressure and more, Green said.

The site is free to use and has about 500,000 members, of which 60,000 to 80,000 are active on a monthly basis.

Beyond the Algorithm

No matter how you meet, Green and other financial experts said discussing your partner’s approach to money, credit and finances in general is critical. Green suggests financial role playing if you’re getting serious.

“If you’re thinking of having a baby with this person, then go through the role playing of ‘Let’s take a look at how much it would cost’ and how we would handle the costs,” he said. “You could do the same thing to determine how someone would handle an unexpected financial emergency if something really bad happens. You talk about how are we prepared for it and see how that person is really built.”

Ronit Rogoszinski, a certified financial planner, devoted a chapter in her book, “Money Talks: 100 Strategies to Master Tricky Conversations about Money,” to the topic as well. She said credit scores and attitudes about money will have a variety of impacts throughout the life of a relationship and like Green suggests establishing an open dialogue about finances from day one.

“If someone is coming into a relationship with, let’s say a huge student loan, that burden may in fact delay the purchase of that first home the couple may want to own down the road,” Rogoszinski said. “Knowing the numbers upfront and putting together a joint effort to address these individual debts is crucial and helps establish realistic expectations.”

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

The Average Student Loan Debt in Every State

It was big news when outstanding student loan debt surpassed credit card debt and then later exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. That shocking statistic keeps climbing, with no sign of slowing down: Americans now have more than $1.4 trillion in unpaid education debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, college-bound kids and their families try to avoid going into debt by heeding advice like “save more,” “apply for scholarships” or “go to a cheaper school.” Of course, none of those address the major issue of rising costs that have far outpaced wage growth.

It’s smart to avoid student loan debt if you can, because those loans affect your credit and your financial future. (You can see how much by checking your free credit scores on Credit.com.) However, strategically choosing a school isn’t quite as straightforward as comparing tuition and fees.

One thing you can do is check out an institution’s net price calculator, which should be on its website, to see how much a student like you would pay after grants and scholarships. Another thing you can do is look at how much student loan debt recent grads ended up with. (You can read more about options for repaying your student loans here.)

Where Is Student Loan Debt the Lowest?

The response to that question is a little trickier to figure out, but organizations like The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) have compiled such data to help. According to their Project on Student Debt, 68% of 2015 bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with student loan debt. The average was $30,100 per borrower.

TICAS put together their project based on student loan debt figures from the “Common Data Set,” a survey of colleges used by college-guide publishers. The colleges voluntarily self report their data, which presents problems.

“Colleges that accurately calculate and report each year’s debt figures rightfully complain that other colleges may have students with higher average debt but fail to update their figures, under-report actual debt levels, or never report figures at all,” reads the methodology for the Project on Student Debt. “Additionally, very few for-profit colleges report debt data through CDS, and national data show that borrowing levels at for-profit colleges are, on average, much higher than borrowing levels at other types of colleges.”

Student Loan Debt by State

For students who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2015, the most recent year for which data were available, TICAS determined the average student loan debt in each state by using data from 1,116 colleges. For comparison, there are more than 3,000 four-year institutions in the U.S.

Beyond that, the data were limited to bachelor’s degree recipients, meaning those who had debt but lacked a degree weren’t included, and if a student acquired debt at a different school before transferring to the one where they graduated, those numbers weren’t included in the totals. Still, as TICAS notes in the methodology for the Project on Student Debt, “CDS data are still useful for illustrating the variations in student debt across states and colleges.”

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of the average student loan debt, from lowest to highest, for the class of 2015. The Project on Student Debt also lists student-loan-debt data by school. (Note: North Dakota is not included in this list, as TICAS did not include states where useable data reflected less than 30% of the state’s bachelor’s degree recipients in 2015.)

Utah

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 41% Average debt: $18,873

New Mexico

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 58% Average debt: $20,193

Wyoming

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 46% Average debt: $22,683

Florida

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 53% Average debt: $23,379

Hawaii

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 50% Average debt: $23,456

Nevada

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 47% Average debt: $23,462

Arizona

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 56% Average debt: $23,780

Washington

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 57% Average debt: $24,600

Oklahoma

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 52% Average debt: $24,849

North Carolina

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 61% Average debt: $25,645

Colorado

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 56% Average debt: $25,840

Arkansas

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 57% Average debt: $26,082

Tennessee

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 60% Average debt: $26,083

Alaska

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 55% Average debt: $26,171

Nebraska

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 60% Average debt: $26,235

Montana

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 60% Average debt: $26,280

Louisiana

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 51% Average debt: $26,865

Kentucky

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 64% Average debt: $27,225

Texas

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 56% Average debt: $27,324

Missouri

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 61% Average debt: $27,480

Idaho

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 71% Average debt: $27,639

Maryland

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 56% Average debt: $27,672

Oregon

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 63% Average debt: $27,697

West Virginia

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 68% Average debt: $27,713

Virginia

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 59% Average debt: $27,717

 

You can see the average debt in the rest of the states on Credit.com.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Why Small-Business Owners Should Offer Pension Plans

By Winnie Sun

Learn more about Winnie on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor

Small-business owners are often so driven to make their companies succeed that they forget to take care of their own retirement. And they sometimes forget to take care of their employees’ retirement, too.

More than one-third of private-sector workers don’t have access to a retirement plan through their workplace, and less than half of businesses with 50 or fewer employees offer such plans. That’s fueling a retirement savings crisis, because many workers don’t save anything outside of employer-sponsored plans.

Small businesses can help by making a fundamental shift in the way they view setting up retirement plans for employees. And they can do it by going old school. It’s time for small-business owners to bring back defined benefit plans, better known as pension plans, in a move that can help both employees and the owners themselves.

Benefits of pension plans

Unlike defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s, in which employees set aside a certain amount or percentage of their salary each month for retirement, defined benefit plans guarantee a certain amount for employees at retirement based on length of service and other factors. This creates more certainty for employees about their retirement funds.

But the percentage of workers in the private sector with these pension plans has declined sharply since the 1990s, driven by employer attempts to reduce costs, regulatory changes and other reasons.

These factors have obscured some of the benefits of pension plans, both for small-business owners and their employees. Here are a few reasons why bringing back pensions can help your small business.

Employee retention and loyalty

Making a pension plan part of your small business benefits package can help you lure more talented employees, increase employee retention and set your business apart from the competition. As employers look for ways to differentiate themselves in the war for talent, a defined benefit plan can be a selling point.

Higher Employee Productivity

One advantage to pension plans is that they can be funded on a profit-sharing basis. If employees know their retirement is tied into results, that can motivate them to increase productivity. Offer profit-sharing pension plans on a gradual vesting basis, resulting in a stable and long-term workforce that never stops trying to help the company achieve its goals.

Higher contribution limits

Pension plans enable owners to contribute much more to their own retirement funds than other plans. Owners can contribute up to $215,000 in 2017 for rapid funding of a retirement plan, compared with a maximum overall contribution limit of $54,000 for 401(k) plans.

The pension’s higher contribution limit is an excellent way for small-business owners who have neglected to save for retirement to catch up and is especially beneficial for small companies with a few younger, low-paid employees.

Much like 401(k) plans and IRAs, self-funded pension plan contributions are tax-deferred for small-business owners, which allows them to pay taxes upon distribution, when their taxable income is likely lower. (Note: Employees can’t defer the contributions their employer makes for them.)

They’re not right for everyone

Before you get started, know that there are costs involved. Pension plans have long-term benefits, but won’t be cheap to set up. Annual administration fees are often higher than those of other retirement plans. You’ll need to pay an actuary to calculate employee funding levels annually. And if your business needs a lot of liquid capital, pension plans may not be the right fit. But for many small-business owners, the retirement-savings benefits of a pension plan make it a good option.

Contact an experienced financial advisory firm or your accountant for more information on defined benefit plans or other small-business retirement programs.

For many successful entrepreneurs, a pension plan will protect their personal wealth and their business, all while maximizing retirement savings and tax benefits.

Now that’s a plan.

Winnie Sun is the founding partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners in Irvine, California.

Mistakes To Avoid Right Before Retirement

MoneyTipsAfter working for decades, most people are ready to relax and enjoy their retirement. However, it is easy for soon-to-be retirees to make mistakes that can leave them financially insecure and make their retirement neither relaxing nor enjoyable. Don't be an unhappy retiree — keep an eye out for these potential pre-retirement pitfalls as your retirement approaches. Poor Retirement Planning – What do you plan to do when you retire, and how much money will you need for those plans? If you haven't taken the time to map out your likely expenses, how do you know when you can afford to retire? Once you have settled on your plans, set up your retirement budget well in advance. Take into account your expected lifestyle and build in reasonable cushions to account for contingencies such as poor health (see below). Retirees frequently spend more than they expected prior to retirement, so pad your budget accordingly and leave extra room for an emergency fund. A good rule of thumb is to plan to draw out 4% of your initial retirement balance annually, adjusting for inflation at the end of each year. Can you live on that amount? If not, re-evaluate your plans or change your retirement date until you have the appropriate funds. Failing to Understand Retirement Income – Do not expect to live on Social Security benefits or the interest on retirement accounts alone. Think about your retirement income in cash flow terms, and plan out your Social Security strategy as well as your withdrawals from IRAs and/or 401(k)s. Planning your cash flows will help extend your nest egg, optimize your taxes, and identify weak spots where you need to build in contingencies. Seek the advice of a financial planner if you are having trouble plotting out your income and expenses. Poor Risk Balance – As retirement nears, you have less time to recover from a market correction, so you should shift your balance toward less risky investments such as bonds — but there is no need to go so conservative that your returns do not keep up with inflation. Check your portfolio annually and adjust according to your risk needs, or invest in a target fund that automatically adjusts your portfolio for you. Acquiring Too Much Debt – It may be tempting to buy that vacation home or take that expensive trip early in retirement, but you are better off entering retirement with as little debt as possible. However, if you do plan to buy another home, do it while you are still working, as it will be difficult to qualify for a loan with a fixed retirement income. Similarly, it is usually best to consolidate and refinance all the debts that you can before retirement to receive a better interest rate. Cashing in Retirement Assets Early – It is easy to look at the size of your nest egg and decide that you can tap into those assets before retirement, or to take Social Security Benefits early. Stick with the retirement plans you created above (you did create those plans, didn’t you?). Taking Social Security benefits early may make sense if you are in poor health or need to deal with financial difficulties early in retirement, but in general, it is better to wait. Stopping Your Saving – Some people think they have enough money entering retirement, while others assume they will never have enough and give up entirely. Keep a saving mindset as you enter retirement and not only will your nest egg grow, it will also last longer as you keep assessing the value of your purchases during retirement. Ignoring Health Care – Health care costs, including long-term care, will probably be your largest retirement expense. According to Fidelity, a 65-year old couple embarking on retirement together can expect to spend $245,000 in uncovered (out-of-pocket) medical expenses throughout the rest of their lives. Make sure that you have enough salted away to cover health care costs, and consider your plans for long-term care. Many people erroneously believe that Medicare will pay nursing home costs. Speak with your children and make sure everyone's financial expectations are on the same page — do not just assume that they will shoulder the burden of your care. Financial discipline built your retirement nest egg, and that same financial discipline will keep it intact as you move into retirement. Combine that discipline with sound planning, and the result is likely to be a happy and enjoyable retirement. Let the free MoneyTips Retirement Planner help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Ljupco Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/mistakes-to-avoid-right-before-retirementOver 40% Under- Or Over-prepared For Retirement6 Retirement Savings Myths7 Top Retirement Roadblocks

Mistakes To Avoid Right Before Retirement

MoneyTips

After working for decades, most people are ready to relax and enjoy their retirement. However, it is easy for soon-to-be retirees to make mistakes that can leave them financially insecure and make their retirement neither relaxing nor enjoyable. Don't be an unhappy retiree — keep an eye out for these potential pre-retirement pitfalls as your retirement approaches. Poor Retirement Planning – What do you plan to do when you retire, and how much money will you need for those plans? If you haven't taken the time to map out your likely expenses, how do you know when you can afford to retire? Once you have settled on your plans, set up your retirement budget well in advance. Take into account your expected lifestyle and build in reasonable cushions to account for contingencies such as poor health (see below). Retirees frequently spend more than they expected prior to retirement, so pad your budget accordingly and leave extra ...

Mistakes To Avoid Right Before Retirement

MoneyTipsAfter working for decades, most people are ready to relax and enjoy their retirement. However, it is easy for soon-to-be retirees to make mistakes that can leave them financially insecure and make their retirement neither relaxing nor enjoyable. Don't be an unhappy retiree — keep an eye out for these potential pre-retirement pitfalls as your retirement approaches. Poor Retirement Planning – What do you plan to do when you retire, and how much money will you need for those plans? If you haven't taken the time to map out your likely expenses, how do you know when you can afford to retire? Once you have settled on your plans, set up your retirement budget well in advance. Take into account your expected lifestyle and build in reasonable cushions to account for contingencies such as poor health (see below). Retirees frequently spend more than they expected prior to retirement, so pad your budget accordingly and leave extra room for an emergency fund. A good rule of thumb is to plan to draw out 4% of your initial retirement balance annually, adjusting for inflation at the end of each year. Can you live on that amount? If not, re-evaluate your plans or change your retirement date until you have the appropriate funds. Failing to Understand Retirement Income – Do not expect to live on Social Security benefits or the interest on retirement accounts alone. Think about your retirement income in cash flow terms, and plan out your Social Security strategy as well as your withdrawals from IRAs and/or 401(k)s. Planning your cash flows will help extend your nest egg, optimize your taxes, and identify weak spots where you need to build in contingencies. Seek the advice of a financial planner if you are having trouble plotting out your income and expenses. Poor Risk Balance – As retirement nears, you have less time to recover from a market correction, so you should shift your balance toward less risky investments such as bonds — but there is no need to go so conservative that your returns do not keep up with inflation. Check your portfolio annually and adjust according to your risk needs, or invest in a target fund that automatically adjusts your portfolio for you. Acquiring Too Much Debt – It may be tempting to buy that vacation home or take that expensive trip early in retirement, but you are better off entering retirement with as little debt as possible. However, if you do plan to buy another home, do it while you are still working, as it will be difficult to qualify for a loan with a fixed retirement income. Similarly, it is usually best to consolidate and refinance all the debts that you can before retirement to receive a better interest rate. Cashing in Retirement Assets Early – It is easy to look at the size of your nest egg and decide that you can tap into those assets before retirement, or to take Social Security Benefits early. Stick with the retirement plans you created above (you did create those plans, didn’t you?). Taking Social Security benefits early may make sense if you are in poor health or need to deal with financial difficulties early in retirement, but in general, it is better to wait. Stopping Your Saving – Some people think they have enough money entering retirement, while others assume they will never have enough and give up entirely. Keep a saving mindset as you enter retirement and not only will your nest egg grow, it will also last longer as you keep assessing the value of your purchases during retirement. Ignoring Health Care – Health care costs, including long-term care, will probably be your largest retirement expense. According to Fidelity, a 65-year old couple embarking on retirement together can expect to spend $245,000 in uncovered (out-of-pocket) medical expenses throughout the rest of their lives. Make sure that you have enough salted away to cover health care costs, and consider your plans for long-term care. Many people erroneously believe that Medicare will pay nursing home costs. Speak with your children and make sure everyone's financial expectations are on the same page — do not just assume that they will shoulder the burden of your care. Financial discipline built your retirement nest egg, and that same financial discipline will keep it intact as you move into retirement. Combine that discipline with sound planning, and the result is likely to be a happy and enjoyable retirement. Let the free MoneyTips Retirement Planner help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/Ljupco Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/mistakes-to-avoid-right-before-retirementOver 40% Under- Or Over-prepared For Retirement6 Retirement Savings Myths7 Top Retirement Roadblocks

Credit Scores and Car Loans: What Drives Your Interest Rate?

If you want to finance a new or pre-owned vehicle, you may wonder how your credit will affect the terms of your loan.

Credit matters when it comes to car financing, but it’s possible for someone with no financing history or shaky credit to finance a car. Be prepared to pay a higher interest rate, and be sure to make all of your payments in a timely manner to build credit and an excellent credit score.

We talked to Alex Ghim, a finance manager at a car dealership in Oregon, about the relationship between car financing and credit.

Which scores are pulled?

There are a lot of different types of credit scores, from FICO to proprietary scores, for each of the credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Car dealerships typically pull auto-enhanced scores from up to all three reporting bureaus, according to Ghim.

Auto-enhanced scores range from 300 to 900 and put a greater emphasis on how you’ve handled car financing in the past. For instance, it will take into account whether you’ve made any late payments on auto loans, had any car repossessions, and settled or declared bankruptcy on an auto loan. This information is included in your regular FICO score, but auto-enhanced scores give it more weight.

Keep in mind that these scores are different from the credit-specific auto insurance scores that many insurance companies use.

What happens if you have a poor — or an excellent — credit score?

If you have a poor credit score, you may get rejected for a loan or get a loan at less favorable terms (read: high interest rate). Dealerships offer financing through credit unions, banks and manufacturers. People with a low credit score will likely have the hardest time financing through credit unions.

Individuals with low credit scores are also more likely to be asked for a down payment. Those with lower credit scores are generally approved for a smaller loan-to-value allowance and will need a down payment to cover the difference. Loan-to-value is the amount of the loan you’re approved for in relation to the value of the asset you’re purchasing.

Generally, credit unions and banks use a tiered system that dictates your rate in relation to your credit score. Those with excellent credit scores are more likely to get the best rates — depending on other financing qualifications, like income.

Does credit matter that much? What about a stable income?

While credit matters, it isn’t the only thing, according to Ghim. A stable income and a low debt-to-income ratio — the amount of debt you have in relation to how much you make — are also very important. For people with shaky credit, these factors play a larger role in whether or not they get approved for financing.

I have bad credit. Should I buy or lease?

Leasing and purchasing have similar credit qualifications, so getting approved probably shouldn’t be a factor in your lease vs. buy decision.

I’ve never financed a car, will I be able to get approved?

If you’re afraid that the old paradox “You need to have credit to get credit” will keep you from financing a car, you shouldn’t be. It can be harder to get a car loan when you’ve never had one before, but income stability and good credit should be enough to get you approved.

That said, you may have to pay a higher interest rate than those with good credit and a car-financing history. You may also need to provide a down payment.

This article was updated April 20, 2017.

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