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DebtSmart® Email Newsletter
November 28, 2007: Issue #164

Tools for financial success! A Free Email Newsletter from DebtSmart Online and Press One Publishing.


" I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
--Thomas Jefferson

Quotes from all previous newsletters


Letter from the Publisher
Cool Quote
Money Saving Holiday Gift Ideas
DebtSmart® Recommended Products and Services
Three Reasons You Should NEVER Own a Debit Card
STATISTICS: Family Income
"Thanks for inspiring me..."
Household Math(tm): Choosing a Selling Price
5 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account
DebtSmart® Column for your use in-print, ezine, or website
DebtSmart® books and software, and other products
Update Your Email Address, Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Disclaimer Information
Publisher: Scott Bilker
Editor: Larissa S. Bilker
Assistant Editor: Denise Troy

ISSN 1538-6740

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Family Income

If you and yours are bringing in $40,000 a year, you're doing better than half the households in America. Or, as a Washington think tank recently pointed out: If you're a teacher married to a policeman, your combined household income puts you in the top 25 percent of all households in the nation. If your household income is $170,000, you're among the nation's top 10 percent wage. Anything in six figures means you're in the top 20 percent.
Read more credit card and debt statistics

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Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker


If you plan to shop during this holiday season, make sure you have a budget. The only bad part of budget is the word itself. I recently heard my friend, and famous financial author, Jean Chatzky say that "spending plan" is a better way to say budget. She's right. So from now on, let's say "spending plan."

So, create a spending plan for this holiday season and stick to it. See how good that sounds. (Jean, that's a great tip!)

Just be sure to pay off your credit cards in a timely fashion. Default rates are really on the rise. I just received a notice from Bank of America that their default rate is now 32.24%! Holy cow! That's insane!

Hey, if you're looking for some "Cool Books," then check out Dan Janal's Cool Book of the Day website. I'm very honored that he picked my book, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, to highlight on his site. You can see it here.

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Money Saving Holiday Gift Ideas
by Scott Bilker

The holiday season is here! If you went shopping last Friday, Black Friday, then I'm sure you noticed the rush to spend money! Since you will have to spend, you need to spend smart. Spending smart, to me, means getting a high quality gift at a great price.

You don't have to empty the bank to deliver expensive gifts to family and friends. It is the thought that counts. That being said, here are some suggested gifts for this season.

Finish Reading Article


The Perfect Christmas Gift
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Three Reasons You Should NEVER Own a Debit Card
by Jay Peters

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 and even thousands of dollars. We'll show you why you should never carry a debit card.

Finish Reading Article

"Thanks for inspiring me..."

Hi Scott,

I really enjoy your newsletter and thank you for all your great ideas and inspiration over the years.

I was horrified to discover, today, that I was hit with a $39 late fee for failing to pay $21 on my no-intөrөst, crөdit card at Best Buy through HSBC. I make it a point NEVER to pay interest or penalties on any of my credit cards, and this was a rare oversight on my part. I called HSBC Customer Service and was told they would be willing to give me a 50% discount on the late fee.

I explained that I wanted the entire fee waived, but she refused. I asked to speak to a manager but was put on hold for an excessive period of time. I decided to call back and be more insistent, to the point of threatening to close the card if they did not waive the entire fee. I got the same response. I then made the following points:

1) This was a one-time oversight.
2) I have never asked for a fee waiver before.
3) I have accounts with HSBC in three countries.
4) I have at least half a dozen credit cards with HSBC.
5) I will not pay 100% (let alone 200%!) in penalties simply for missing a small payment.
6) I will close my accounts (ALL of them) if I do not get a full waiver.

After waiting a few moments, the customer service rep came back and said that it is not their policy but that because I am such a good customer, her manager agreed to waive the entire fee in the amount of $39.

As a single parent and Realtor struggling in a tough real estate market, with no income for the foreseeable future, every little bit counts. It just goes to show you, it pays to be insistent!

Thanks for inspiring me to threaten closing down my accounts--and meaning it. I hoped it would pay off, and it certainly did!

Continued Success,
J.A., Madison, WI

Read about special offer for all three of Scott Bilker's best-selling books

Household Math(tm): Choosing a Selling Price
by Scott Bilker

Jack and Jill put their house on the market to sell when 30-year fixed mortgage rates were 8%. They listed their 3-bedroom ranch for $135,000 because they knew that the monthly payment is exactly what most people can afford.

Since that time 30-year mortgage interest rates have fallen to 7%. Jack and Jill know that since mortgage rates have dropped people can afford to pay more for their house with the same monthly payment they would get at the old, higher rate.

How much can Jack and Jill sell their house for now and keep the monthly payment as affordable as it was when they originally put the house up for sale?

Answer this problem

5 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account
by The Federal Reserve

1) Don't give your account number and bank routing information to anyone you don't know.

Give out your account information for transactions only if you are familiar with the company you are dealing with. And if you have not done business with a company before, give out account information only if you have initiated the transaction. Criminals may ask you for your...

Finish Reading Article

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The author(s), Press One Publishing, and DebtSmart.com shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this email newsletter and/or at the DebtSmart.com web site. The information, methods and techniques described may not work for you and no recommendation is made to follow the same course of action. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of all content contained herein. However, there may be mistakes; typographical, mathematical, or in content. This email newsletter and the DebtSmart.com web site have been created for your entertainment only. You must always seek the proper professional advice before taking any financial or legal action. You have been warned.

Copyright ©2007 Press One Publishing. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint, or host on your web site, without explicit permission. However, if you found this newsletter helpful, we grant you permission, and strongly encourage you, to e-mail it to a business associate or a friend. Thank you.


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