Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So What’s 75 Cent?

You could SAVE $195 a year by buying your soda from the grocery store rather than a vending machine every day. (Assuming one soda is bought every day of the work week: Vending Machine cost is $1.25, Grocery Store cost is $.50)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Does Your Debt Need a Diet?

If you had a $2,000 credit balance at 18% interest and your minimum payment is 4% of the balance or $80, it will take you about 9 years and 6 months to pay it off and you'll pay $1,116 in interest. By paying an extra $15 a month on this debt, you would SAVE $694 in interest and pay it off in 2 years and 2 months.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nibbling Away at Your Bottom Line?

If you forego a daily snack and invest the money instead, in 5 years you will have more than $4,000 saved. (assumption: $2/day, 5% yield)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Credit Card Rules

The 2009 Credit CARD Act provides changes that may benefit the consumer. Some of the new rules include:

When credit card company plans to increase your rate or other fees, they must send you a notice 45 days before they can

  • increase your interest rate;
  • change certain fees (such as annual fees, cash advance fees, and late fees) that apply to your account; or
  • make other significant changes to the terms of your card

Due dates must be the same day each month.

Creditors are prohibited from using double cycle billing.

How long will it take to pay off your balance? Your monthly credit card bill will include information on how long it will take you to pay off your balance if you only make minimum payments. It will also tell you how much you would need to pay each month in order to pay off your balance in three years.

Can’t charge an “over the credit limit” fee unless the consumer has elected to permit the creditor to allow transactions over the limit.

The complete list of these changes are available at the Federal Reserve Board.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Should I close or cancel my credit cards?

Before you make that decision, consider all factors. One thing to keep in mind is that part of your Credit Score is determined by the percentage of available credit that you use.

For example, if you have 4 credit cards with credit limits of $5000 each ($20,000 total available credit) and have a total debt of $1000, you are only utilizing 5% of available credit. If you canceled three of the cards, you would reduce your available credit to $5000 and you are now utilizing 20% of your credit. This may have a negative effect on your credit score. The same thing applies when you lower your credit limits.

The ideal solution is always to pay your bill in full each month! That leaves you with available credit and can help your credit rating!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Finding Money to Save & Spend

How do you “find” more money to save and spend? No matter what resources we have or tradeoffs we are willing to make, we all like to have more money. We might spend it all for a special “want”, pay off bills, or save some or all of it. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

· Pay extra attention at checkout. Watch price scanners and check receipts for price errors.

· Swap clothes with friends, family, or neighbots.

· Change furnace and AC filters regularly and have units checked annually.

· Replace high wattage light bulbs with compact florescent or low wattage incandescent bulbs

· Avoid impulse buying: don’t carry too much cash; leave credit cards at home!

· Balance your checking account (paper or on-line) at least monthly. This will help you avoid costly fees.

· Walk more and drive less.

· Swap/barter services.