Although our credit score is not always an accurate representation of who we are or our ability to pay our debts, a low credit score can affect where we live, what we drive, and what we can afford for many years come. Fortunately, the removal of negative items from your report is an effective method of improving your credit, which I recently learned is easy and relatively affordable when you have a law firm working in your corner.

Last week, I saw an interview with Corey Jex, an IT worker for an e-commerce site, about his 8-month experience with Lexington Law, the leading credit repair service with over 25 years in the business. It prompted me to study reviews about the firm on publications and social media. Lexington Law had the highest ratings and the best success rate of all credit repair services I researched. Just last year, their clients saw 7 million removals from their credit reports with an average of 10.2 items removed in the first 4 months. From late payments to charge-offs to bankruptcies, their firm has improved their clients' credit by removing practically every type of questionable negative item.

Corey got his first credit card in college, where he studied economics. To his surprise, credit reporting and scoring practices were not in the curriculum. As a finance major myself, I also didn't learn anything about credit in school and made the mistake of taking out student loans with high interest rates that I wouldn't be able to afford later on. It's some very practical stuff that many of us have to learn the hard way.

Corey found his low score prompted him to have pay extra money in a lot of places like in additional security deposits, and higher interest rates. "I certainly didn't think my credit score was an accurate representation of what I brought to the table personally, professionally, from an accountability standpoint even."

Corey tried to improve his credit score and report on his own, by sending out challenge letters to each creditor, which was a lot of work. "I had a big Excel spreadsheet tracking when I had sent, and who I had sent to. Then I had to send it back to a bureau. I think in choosing to work with a law firm, like Lexington Law, I was not only able to make less work for myself, but also certainly expedite the process as well."

Lexington Law developed a streamlined processes to reduce costs so lawyer-backed credit repair services could be more affordable. Their experienced attorneys and paralegals are trained in consumer protection laws, helping you resolve items on your credit report in the fastest and most effective way possible. Corey described his experience with Lexington Law's staff:

"No one comes into this situation excited to talk about this stuff, right? You screwed up in college, or missed a couple credit card payments or whatever it was. And you're a little embarrassed. It was refreshing how enjoyable the people were to talk to, and they weren't judgmental; they were understanding. Their goal was not to talk about the past, but to talk about the future."

Lexington Law helped Corey get rid of all the big blemishes from two of his three credit reports, and they are currently working on the third. Corey's goal is to make the next big steps in his life (buying a house and starting a family) as easy as possible with the help of Lexington Law.

Update: Lexington Law is offering our readers a free credit repair consultation, which includes your FREE credit report summary and score. You can follow this link, or call 844-864-9095 to take advantage of this no-obligation offer.

Call anytime between 7am and 11:59pm EST to get your free credit report and score!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.