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ISSUE #188

Email Newsletter  

  October 29, 2008  

Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker, founder of DebtSmart


Our very own DebtSmart Reader, Steve Martin, has shared his story with the world. Check out the article in the November issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance. The article is online here. (That's Steve and his wife, Lucille, on the the cover!)

Lenders are cutting credit limits. This is most hard-hitting with HELOC's (Home Equity Lines of Credit). TIP: If you suspect that your HELOC limit may be cut, and you know you will need the money, take the money NOW and deposit it in a money market account so you will have it when you need it.

Did you know that gift cards sold in New Hampshire aren't allowed to have expiration dates if their value is $100 or more? There are strict gift card laws for every state. You can find out about your state's gift card laws here.



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In This Issue

Cool Quote
Student and credit cards
STATISTIC: Christmas Spending 2008
Credit squeeze literally hits home as card limits, equity lines pared
I've never seen anything like it
"HELOC rated reduced by 0.76% with one call!"
Financial Crisis Answer Center
Household Math™: Average Daily Balance
Debt Collector Complaints Are On the Rise: Know Your Rights!
4 Tips: Smart Money Moves for a Down Economy

Cool Quote

"Action is the foundational key to all success. Knowing is not enough! Lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know."
--Tony Robbins

More cool quotes from past issues

Student and credit cards
by Scott Bilker


I'm so lost! I'm about to obtain my first credit card, and I do not know where to start or even how many to take out. What deal is the best?

Do I look at the APR or the nice rewards they have? I'm just trying to establish a good credit history, because I am aware that you need one if you want to eventually buy a house/car. It's so hard to get the ball to start rolling--especially with the limited knowledge that I have. Thanks so much for your help.


Finish reading this article

STATISTIC: Christmas Spending 2008

More than 44 percent of people surveyed by the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll say they will spend either a little less or a lot less on gifts this year than in 2007. Forty-six percent said they would spend about the same and just over 7 percent said they would shell out more.

More credit card and debt statistics

Credit squeeze literally hits home as card limits, equity lines pared

The credit crunch buckling Wall Street and the world economy used to seem like distant thunder. But more and more San Diegans are feeling the vibrations where they live. It's the letter that arrives in the mail from MasterCard, announcing a cut in your credit limit.

It's the plans for a new Toyota Camry that have to be reconsidered because the only way to get a manageable car loan is to put more money down, and you don't have it.

See story here

I've never seen anything like it
by Joe Vitale

I've never seen anything like it.

I'm literally getting mailing after mailing from people panicking over the world economy, wondering how they're going to cope with it.

And my heart goes out to each and every one of them. In fact, at one time I actually was homeless living on the street. I know the feeling of being scared.

The theme in all these mailings is that money seems to now be viewed more from a negative perspective than a positive.

Finish reading the article

"HELOC rated reduced by 0.76% with one call!"

Hi Scott,

I just wanted to thank you again for the Debt Smart Information. It's some good reading! I was motivated to contact my bank and tried what I read in your book, on my Home Equity Line of Credit, and guess what? They reduced my interest rate, from Prime plus 0.25% down to Prime MINUS 0.51%!

Thanks again for the advice.

Your friend,
Chris Harper

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

Financial Crisis Answer Center

QUESTION: I just received a notice from Citibank that they will close one of my credit-card accounts because of its "inactive status." I have several cards and keep the Citi card as a backup. Will this hurt my credit score?

See story here

Household Math (TM): Average Daily Balance
by Scott Bilker

Most banks calculate the amount of interest you owe using the average daily balance method. That method involves adding up the outstanding balance each day in the month and taking an average.

On day 1 in the month your balance is $5,000. On day 15 your payment of $2,000 is credited to your balance. The number of days in the month is 31.

What is your average daily balance?

Answer this math problem

Debt Collector Complaints Are On the Rise: Know Your Rights!
by Gerri Detweiler

With the ongoing credit crisis, a lot of people are getting calls from debt collectors. Most of these collectors are merely trying to do their job, but there are some among them who are so money-hungry (in many cases motivated by bonuses and commissions) that they will go so far as to violate the regulations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. As a result, complaints against debt collectors are on the increase according to the Better Business Bureau and federal regulators. The FTC reported that it received more complaints in 2007 about debt collectors than in reference to any other industry.

These are the top complaints received about debt collectors by the FTC in 2007...

Finish reading this article

4 Tips: Smart Money Moves for a Down Economy

Every day, a shocking new number makes headlines.

The tally for last week's government rescue plan: $700 billion. The number of job cuts in September: an eye-popping 159,000. And on Thursday, the magic number was 9,000--or, more precisely, below 9,000 -- where the Dow Jones Industrial Average found itself for the first time in four years.

For consumers, these numbers indicate one thing: Now's the time to do everything you can to protect your finances. A couple weeks ago, we offered 5 Tips for Navigating Troubled Markets. Here are four additional smart money moves to make now.

See story here

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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