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ISSUE #176

Email Newsletter  

  May 14, 2008  

Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker, founder of DebtSmart


I hope all is well with you!

This may be the biggest email newsletter to date. So much is going on that can help us save money, while at the same time, we need to watch our bottom lines very carefully or we can lose money.

Also, I added one-click sharing to all the content of DebtSmart. So I would encourage, and ask, that you please share DebtSmart articles with your friends at [ Del.icio.us], [ Facebook], [ Digg], [ Reddit], [ Newsvine], and [ MySpace]. You will find those icons (and sharing links) at the top of each article.



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In This Issue

Cool Quote
Getting Rid of Annual Fees
Statistic: Mortgage Crisis Will Leave Many Children Homeless
Tips for saving money on gasoline
Amazon Kindle
Motivational Comments
Government launches crackdown on unfair credit cards
"Good Book--five stars"
Federal Auctions
Household Math: Future Savings
Stop Pumping Gas: Ten Hot Home Office Jobs
Cloned credit cards are stealing you
Why Consumers Should Cheer if the Fed Stops Cutting Rates
Zombie debt is hard to kill

Cool Quote

"When you're driving, your foot is connected to your wallet. The faster you step down, the more money comes out of your wallet."
--David Champion, Director of Automobile testing for Consumer Reports

More cool quotes from past issues

Getting Rid of Annual Fees
by Scott Bilker

Hi Scott,

I was referred to you by Justin Harelik, bankruptcy columnist for BankRate. He had me read your book, which was well-organized and full of excellent and useful techniques. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an answer to my question. I know you are busy helping so many people, but if you have time to get back to me, that would be great.

Here's the situation:

I am not carrying debt of any kind. My credit is good. Currently, I have four credit cards with high limits and no balances. Two of them have annual fees: a United mileage card from Chase, and an American mileage card from Citibank. The American card is what I use all the time. I'm based in LA, American's hub, so I fly American, and I use the American card exclusively. I've had it for five years or so. I use the other cards once a year because that maintains my relationships with the banks and gives me another 60K or so in available credit. The United card from Chase is the one I've had the longest. My father co-signed it for me in 1990 when I was in high school, and I've had it since. It has a 28K limit. However, it has a $60 annual fee.

I'd like to get rid of the annual fee, so I tried calling them and asked them to waive it. I used your technique and said that I would cancel it if they did not, and they didn't budge.

Basically, I'm anticipating that at some point in the next five years, I'm going to buy a home. My credit will be important. But I don't know if spending the additional $60 per year is worth it.

What do you think? Should I keep the card and pay the $60 per year? Should I cancel the card completely because I don't technically need it? Or should I ask them to give me a new card with no annual fee, which would retain the 28K in available credit, but which would remove my 18-year relationship with that account?

Thanks for your time. I look forward to your response!

E. in Los Angeles

Finish reading this article

STATISTIC: Mortgage Crisis Will Leave Many Children Homeless

A new report released reveals that an estimated 2 million children will be directly impacted by the subprime mortgage crisis as their families lose their homes due to foreclosures. As the first comprehensive analysis of how the crisis will impact kids, the report explains that this number will rise even higher when accounting for other populations, such as children being evicted from rental units that are going into default and those children whose parents default on conventional loans. These foreclosures will happen primarily during 2008 and 2009.

More credit card and debt statistics

Tips for saving money on gasoline

I ran across a great site for help you save on gas. It's the U.S. Government's site, FuelEconomy. They have compiled an incredible amount of information designed to help us save money. Other tools include comparisons of specific cars by gas mileage, how to drive more efficiently, alternate fuels, and much more.

Check out the site here

Amazon Kindle

Amazon just released a new device that makes reading a breeze. It's the iPod of books--Amazon Kindle. You can buy and download books and newspapers anywhere. So if you're looking to carry fewer books and newspapers on that daily commute, then this is the perfect solution. Check it out now.

More about Kindle here

Motivational Comments

"Very wonderful, I took a whole day and read the many interesting stories regarding lowering APR rates, and voila 32.2% down to 24% and 22% down to 16%. I should get two letters in the mail pretty soon. Thanks so much!!!"
--DebtSmart Reader

"Thank you DebtSmart for all the tips I found on this website. It really gave me lots of ideas for getting through that rough period."

More readers comments

Government launches crackdown on unfair credit cards
by The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve Board proposed rules to prohibit unfair practices regarding credit cards and overdraft services that would, among other provisions, protect consumers from unexpected increases in the rate charged on pre-existing credit card balances.

The rules, proposed for public comment under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), also would forbid banks from imposing interest charges using the "two-cycle" billing method, would require that consumers receive a reasonable amount of time to make their credit card payments, and would prohibit the use of payment allocation methods that unfairly maximize interest charges. They also include protections for consumers that use overdraft services offered by their bank.

Finish reading the article

"Good Book--five stars"

Following suggestions, one phone call got a 10% discount. But, since that's not good enough, will transfer to competing 0 balance, still lower interest rate cards. Also, some helpful chapters at the back for dealing with disputes, calculating rates, etc.

Book is concise, straightforward and well organized. Good information for anyone with a credit card to know.

--Amazon.com Bookreader

Learn how to "Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt"

Federal Auctions

Buy low; sell high. Easier said than done. However, you have great chance of buying low when you buy from government auctions. You've probably heard about the great deals you can get from government auctions, but where can you find out what's for sale? Here are five places to look: (1) Bid4Assets; (2) IRS; (3) USAgov; (4) Govsales; (5) GovVehicleDirect

Household Math (TM): Future Savings
by Scott Bilker

Kelly wins $25,000 in the lottery and decides to put this money away for the future. She deposits the cash in a money market fund and expects to earn an average of 4% APR for 10 years. Kelly's younger sister, Audrey, wants to accumulate the same amount of money as Kelly in 10 years, but Audrey doesn't have $25,000 lying around. Audrey decides to make monthly deposits at the same bank as Kelly and she, Audrey, expects the same rate of return. How much does Audrey have to deposit each month to have the same amount as Kelly in 10 years?

Answer this math problem

Stop Pumping Gas: Ten Hot Home Office Jobs

With fuel prices topping four dollars per gallon in some states, many Americans want to keep their paychecks in their pockets and out of their gas tanks. Thanks to cheap Internet access and fast computers, some workers can perform their jobs just as well from home as they can in the office. Government analysts recently identified ten fast-growing jobs that combine higher-than-average hourly wages with the benefits of working from home.

Read article

Cloned credit cards are stealing you
by ABC News

Crooks can easily copy the information from the magnetic strip of your credit card. It is a simple process to take that stolen data and create another credit card--a clone card. The cloned card functions exactly like the original card allowing thieves to buy what they want or empty your bank account. Watch this ABC news video to see exactly how easy this is to do and why you need to be extremely careful when letting others handle your cards.

Finish reading this article

Why Consumers Should Cheer if the Fed Stops Cutting Rates

The Federal Reserve has been lowering rates recently. That's great news for anyone with debt because it will eventually trickle down to savings for the consumer. However, there are always two sides to a story--a tradeoff--a cost--no free lunch.

Read article

Zombie debt is hard to kill
by Liz Pulliam Weston

Companies now buy ancient bad debts for pennies and squeeze you to pay. Here's how to get them off your back.

An identity thief victimized Nancy Rose 10 years ago, running up a $5,045 bill on a credit card account in her name.

Rose, a Baton Rouge saleswoman, battled collection agencies for years over the bogus account. They harassed her by phone and trashed her credit report. She'd no sooner convince one that the debt wasn't hers than the account would be sold to another and the calls would start all over again.

Read article

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 website. 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 website 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 ©2008 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.

The DebtSmart Email Newsletter, ISSN 1538-6740, is written and published by Scott Bilker and edited by Larissa Bilker and Denise Troy. Please contact comments@debtsmart.com with any comments, problems, or concerns. (See the very bottom of the email to make changes to your subscription.)

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