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Ads abound almost everywhere (online and off) selling books, systems and secrets to help you fix your credit in a hurry. Many of these programs have claims, which read like the covers of supermarket tabloids, “In 3 hours my credit score jumped from 580 to 676!”…”Erase bad credit and smash your debts with just 2 Magic Letters!”…”Create a completely new credit file in 24 hours!” Are these types of claims ALWAYS too good to be true? The answer is “Yes and…no.”
Debit cards have become a very popular way to pay for everything from fast food to rental cars. The Federal Reserve reports that debit card transactions have been growing more than 20 percent annually and have surpassed credit card transactions. The appeal is understandable. Debit cards are quick and easy to use. But using a debit card can cost you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. We’ll show you why you should never carry a debit card.
“I have been a DebtSmart reader for quite a few years, and your newsletter teaches me something new each time I receive it. I really have to say ‘WOW’ just when I thought there wasn’t really much new for me to learn, I get a big surprise and realize; there is so very much more for me to learn from DebtSmart. Keep the information coming; we all have something to learn from each one of your newsletters. A day without DebtSmart is a day without knowledge of financial savvy that we all need so desperately, in this day and time”—Diane Ayers, Lambsburg, VA
Gary, My husband and I got married quite young, made some unwise financial decisions and ended up in debt (some credit card, some personal loans) with a grand total of $24,000. My husband has worked very hard over the years, sometimes 3 jobs at a time, trying to make ends meet. We have gone through credit counseling and a consumer proposal. We are the parents of 3 young children and have had to choose between paying our bills, so we wouldn’t go bankrupt, or buying groceries. After many years of trying, we feel that we have no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. We honestly would like to do anything else, but we feel that this is our only alternative. Exhausted in Sudbury
Sandy finds a bank willing to give her a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. They require her to give a 20% down payment on the purchase of her home. The interest rate (APR) is 8.4%, and she must pay 1.5 points, which will be rolled into the mortgage. After property taxes, PMI, etc., Sandy can afford $1,500 per month on the mortgage payment. What is the maximum price of the home that she can purchase? ($212,000, $222,000, $232,000, or $242,000)
How much are you really saving to be there for that sale? This is a true situation at our house. My wife drives a Dodge Ram, it gets 12 mpg (miles per gallon). Gas in our area is $2.45 per gallon. The mall is 18 miles each away. If she cuts back and only goes to the mall once a week, instead of twice a week, how much would she save in one year? ($7.53, $7.35, $8.35, or $382.20)
Joan owes Visa $2,500. The credit card company has an interest rate of 19.6% APR. The company requires a minimum payment of 2% of the unpaid balance, rounded to the nearest dollar. Joan makes no additional purchases with this credit card and makes only one minimum payment monthly. How long will it take her to pay off $500 on the $2,500 balance? (16 months, 36 months, 56 months, or 76 months)
Many people constantly complain about being in debt but when you ask do you have a budget, do you know how much you owe, or when you suggest they cut back on expenses they look at you as if you are speaking a foreign language, or they just plain out refuse. I am always amazed at this, how can you ever get out of debt if you don’t change your mindset, if you aren’t willing to work hard and make sacrifices. There is no quick fix or cure all to get out of debt. It takes a long time to get in debt and you will not get out of debt overnight.
My husband and I want to buy a home being built in a new development. Our present home worth $260,000 has no mortgage except a $30,000 home equity loan. We need about $15,000 down payment for the home being built. Should we open a home-equity line of credit to pay the down payment? If not, where is the best place to get the $15,000?
I have been told that certain credit cards (e.g. Capital One, Cross Country, and others like those) do not carry a lot of weight on your credit report. I was always under the impression that all credit cards carried the same weight. What is the truth?