🤑 Credit where credit is due

Plus: 🎓 A college degree … for free?

It’s Tuesday, Boston.

🚣 Love that dirty water? Prove it! Paddle Boston officially opened for the season at its Allston/Brighton, Cambridge, and Newton locations, so now’s your chance to rent a kayak, paddle board, or canoe, then set sail on the Charles. Bonus: Reservations are no longer required.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Campus tensions running high

  • A degree … for free?

  • The GOAT takes a joke

Up first…


How — and why — to get a good credit card

Illustration: Gia Orsino

You may be good at swiping right and left, but how about up and down?

Welcome to the final installment of Money Moves, our five-part series where we ask money experts your money questions. Last month, we tackled investing for newbies. Up next: Credit cards. 

Here’s what to know:

💳 Why do you need a credit card? Many “very common life milestones will require having a solid credit score,” said Courtney Alev, a consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. Your score is basically a “report card of how likely you are to pay off debt,” according to Vivian Tu, a.k.a. Your Rich BFF. So having a good one can help you rent an apartment, buy a house, or get a loan.

😬 It’s never too late to work on your credit. For those who are already on a path to solid credit, you can build your credit score by making your payments on time and in full, and keeping your balance no higher than 10 to 30% of your credit limit at a time. 

But barriers like structural discrimination and inflation keep many of us from achieving a good credit score. Luckily, there are strategies to help:

  • If you’re struggling to get approved for a card  Secured cards often require no credit history and can offer a gateway to approval for a regular card, Alev said.

  • If you have a little debt … Repay it ASAP because of the (often) very high interest rates. According to Tu, a balance transfer card can remove interest on that debt for up to 18 months while you pay it off.

  • If you have a lot of debt … Again, you’ll want to lower that interest. One option is to pay it off with a personal loan, which you’ll then repay to the bank with a lower interest rate, Tu said. 

🛍️ If you need some help keeping your spending in check ... A general rule-of-thumb is to treat your credit card like a debit card, the experts said. Ideally, your credit card bill should fit into your spending budget as is. To help you build a solid credit score without overspending, you can put routine expenses like groceries or Netflix on your card, Alev said. Then you can make payments every few days — rather than monthly — so you can see where your money goes. 

🤑 Rewards, rewards, rewards. Most credit cards come with redeemable perks, from low interest rates, to cash back per purchase, to travel vouchers. The key to picking the right one? Think about your spending, said Tu, and find a card that’ll give you rewards for what you’re already doing. To find your Cinderella card, the experts recommend checking out The Points Guy or Credit Karma’s comparison tool.


💳 Are you taking advantage of your credit card perks and rewards?

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Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe

⛺ Campus tensions are running high ahead of college graduation. Harvard’s interim president Alan Garber has warned student protestors that if they don’t pack up their encampment before graduation, they could face involuntary leave, similar to a suspension. Meanwhile, despite not reaching an agreement with the university, the encampment at Tufts was voluntarily taken down by protestors due to an “issue separate with the negotiation.” And one student was arrested at Northeastern’s commencement, which was peppered with disruptions and references related to the conflict in Gaza.

🎓 Free community college for all Mass. residents? There’s a plan for that. The state Senate is set to propose a $75.5 million program called MassEducate, which would cover tuition and fees at all state community colleges for all Mass. residents. Some students would also receive up to  $1,200 to cover books, supplies, and other costs. The initiative is a part of the state Senate’s soon-to-drop $58 billion budget plan and builds upon existing free-tuition programs for nursing students and residents over 25. It’d be completely funded by the state’s “millionaire’s tax.” 

🏥 Steward Health Care filed for bankruptcy. The health care company, which operates eight hospitals in Mass., officially filed on Monday, months after its extremely shady financial operations were first brought to light by The Boston Globe. Throughout this saga, Steward has closed one hospital, missed multiple state-mandated deadlines for turning over financial documents, and heard more than a few fighting words from state officials. Although Steward says it’ll continue to keep its remaining hospitals in operation during the process, the actual logistics are unclear.

🤸 Did someone say “free block party?” Mayor Wu just announced applications are open for this year’s block party grants program. Residents and community groups can apply to get up to $750 from the city to use for games, food, and supplies for their block parties, all in the name of helping Bostonians spread some neighborly love. If you’re planning on hosting, just make sure to consult this handy guide and apply a month in advance through June 31.


Together with Eataly 

Enter to win two complimentary class tickets to a Pasta alla Carbonara Class at Eataly on June 6. To enter, just refer a friend and have them accept your invite by the end of the day on May 8. If you’ve already referred a friend to B-Side (and they’ve accepted), you're eligible! Full details below*

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The GOAT takes a joke

Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

Netflix’s roast of Tom Brady aired on Sunday, and true to its word, there was “No Brady Rule. No Pads. No Mercy.” Honestly, we’re still recovering. 

Everyone from Bill Belichick (who turned out to be the surprising star of the show) to Ben Affleck to Kim Kardashian (yes, really) showed up to take a few jabs at Brady, and the topics were seemingly endless. Some themes included: His divorce (and Giselle’s personal trainer), his bad investments and lack of business-savvy, and his relationships with his teammates and Belichick, to name a few

And despite some iffy jokes and one or two fully cringe-worthy moments, the whole thing was hilarious (not to mention incredibly NSFW). Check out some of the night’s best jokes here.

— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected].

🏈 Thanks for reading! Come on, when else are you going to see Belichick and Robert Kraft literally take a shot on live TV?

🌮 The results are in: The vote on our next B-Side Certified venture is still too close to call, but right now, Toca Chida is in the lead with just 26% of the vote. Stay tuned.