Email Newsletter Reader Comments
"Revolving debt in the U.S., which
consists mostly of credit card debt, totaled about $800 billion 5
years ago. According to a report from the Federal Reserve, revolving
debt grew to nearly $1 trillion through April of this year. You'll
find strategies for managing credit cards and other loans at
DebtSmart.com, a site created by Scott Bilker, author of several
books including Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt. Bilker
believes mastering math is key to mastering money. 'It is essential
to know how to calculate, in advance, all the terms of a loan,' he
says. 'You need this information to compare different credit
agreements and determine which is best for your unique situation.'
His website includes many Household Math quizzes with solutions and
tips. But Bilker also follows a strategy that goes against the grain
of other financial experts. He's a proponent of 'punishing'
uncooperative credit card companies by signing up for several cards
and moving your debt around. 'You shouldn't accept being treated
poorly by any bank,' he says. 'I let them know that they will give
me that low-rate deal, they will treat me right, or I'll just use
one of my other 79 credit cards instead.' DebtSmart.com provides
dozens of articles by Bilker and other authors in such categories as
Balance Transfers, Credit Counseling, Credit Reports, Debt
Collection, and Personal Stories. You also can sign up for a free
email newsletter and watch videos of Bilker giving advice on various
—Thomas Pack, ThirdAge.com, "The Best (Free and Cheap) Sources for
Tips on Frugal Living: Debt Management"
"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I
don't know how to say it any clearer then that!! Thanks to your
website and books I have been able to reduce my overall credit card
debt from $35K plus to just over $15K and my highest interest rate
is at 2.99% and that balance is only $6200. The remainder is at .99%
or 0%. I am now able to put money into a savings account, two IRA's,
and my 401(k) plan while still paying all the bills. We are a single
income family of four, paying a mortgage, with all the household
bills that come with that as well as all the credit card payments
made each and every month with extra payments sent as well all on
only $80K a year. Not sure were we would be if it I hadn't found
your website and your wonderful books with words of wisdom. It
wasn't easy for my family to do what we did, but we have done it,
and learned some very valuable lessons. The most important of which
is, don't purchase what you can't afford to pay for! Again thank you
for all you do to help others deal with the credit mess their lives
are in, often times at their own doing. Keep up the good work, it is
"Scott, I have been reading/enjoying
your site for quite awhile. I have written you and you have assisted
me with a question I had about debt. The reason I am writing today
is to say how much I LOVE your advice and caring attitude. When the
writer said she was not sure about buying your book, you did NOT do
like most people and say 'You must buy the book' You simply said you
have a money back guarantee and suggested the library. This really
made me realize even more so that you genuinely care about people
and you are not out to make a buck. Scott, keep up the good work."
"I love DebtSmart and wish for more
practical tips on managing this nightmare problem in our life."
"I always look forward to your
"Great job and love this website!"
“This is the first time I have
received any info about DebtSmart.com, and I am enjoying reading and
reading and reading......great stuff!!”
“Scott--Great newsletter and website.
Your advice has already helped me, and I am looking for more great
tips and tactics.”
“I enjoy the email letters very much,
and I think you do a great service to many people. It is
disconcerting to me to know that many people obviously need the
advice you offer free each letter, as it seems to me that more
people should already know much of what you offer. So please keep up
the good work.”
“Very educative and interesting
website recently visited. I booked into my favorites.”
“Congrats on another outstanding
newsletter, Scott. You're truly a financial genius who is outstanding
in your field. I love all the meaningful, sensical, enlightening,
meaningful & ‘Cool Quotes’ you also provide. Keep up the great job
and service you're providing, as America needs it.”
—Barry Wainwright, Retiree (U.S. Federal Government)
“I love this site. It's helped me in
getting debt free. =)”--Joseph Quilantang
“Very informative and helpful. I'm
glad I stumbled upon it. Maybe it was faith.”
"I like this site a lot. It is so helpful, and I've been searching for a site
with info like this. We have a 46% debt-to-income ratio and must make a plan
and change some things up now, and the articles contained herein are so
helpful. Thank you so very much!"
"Nice website. Thanks for the helpful
information & great articles."
"Thank you for the excellent advice
and common sense tips to help us get out of debt and stay out of
debt! Much appreciated!"
"Fortunately, I am debt free and
likely one of the reason I read your newsletter to begin with. I
especially like the articles on actual experiences from people in
"I have been a subscriber of your
newsletter for about four months now, and I must say, this is one of
the best newsletters I get in my inbox every week! I have yet to get
as much valuable information in one place as I get from DebtSmart.
Keep up the good work!"
"Great site! Fortunately, we have
very little outstanding debt that we can't pay off every month. But
we can always learn more to increase our assets!"
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, for
starting DebtSmart.com and keeping it going!"
"L O V E L O V E L O V E it!"
"I love it. I read it regularly and
have transformed my entire debt/financial picture by applying for
the credit cards and getting some great ones: AmEx Blue, Discover,
"Great stuff! I am reading and
following ideas to make my life (and family's) easier and better
"I am new to this site but am very
impressed so far. Thanks for all of the info!"
"Dear Scott, The other day I asked
for your help in getting rid of a past-due charge and an overlimit
charge, which came from the fact that I was past due. I hadn't got
my statement and that caused me to be $75 in the hole. I
didn't think I should have to pay that fee, and you agreed! You told me
to explain it to whoever was on the phone, and if they didn't budge, I
should ask for their supervisor. Of course, the first person said
there was 'no way' these charges would be removed. So, I asked to
speak with the supervisor, and a woman came on the phone. I explained
my situation and that I was a loyal customer and didn't want to have
to transfer my account and hoped she could help. Almost immediately,
she said she would remove "BOTH" the charges!!! Mission complete!
Thanks for your help Scott. I couldn't have done it without all the
great pointers that you said to me before I went on the phone with
—Ted Hammock, musician,
"I look forward to reading these
newsletters because it always offers practical advice."
"Every newsletter I learn something
"The best, bottom-line info I've
seen. Thanks a lot!"
"Current subscriber. Enjoy reading my
newsletter each time it pops into my mailbox. Have used many of the
hints and clicked many links for further education."
"LOVE it (Debtsmart Email
Newsletter)!!! I forward it to my real estate clients!"
"DebtSmart.com—It's a great
"Very interesting articles and very
"I love DebtSmart.com. It's great.
The original 'every penny counts' article really made me think. I
consider myself very money-wise but it's amazing how a little hint
can make you look differently at every thing you do! Keep up the
"I love this newsletter bec. it is
full of helpful hints that I've even shared with my kids."
"I do glean alot of good info &
overall find many useful and challenging articles. Always a tidbit
to store away in my brain."
"Google brought me here (DebtSmart.com)—thank
heaven! I've needed you a long time. You always look out for us.
I'll be a regular. Thanks again!"
"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, are your
books an eye opener. This should save me a bundle A BUNDLE as my
Institute is an advocacy of one about Sustainability and Green
Technology community capacity building. I WILL NOW BE MORE
SUSTAINABLE. How much more productive a society could we be if we
knew this material about the workings of the money?! Thanks!"
—Melaine DeBo (founder of Windy River Institute)
"I love everything about it (DebtSmart.com).
I love being armed with knowledge about money."
"Love your stuff. I'm a believer."
"I have enjoyed this email I get.
Excellent advice! I have learned more than I have about money and
debt. I wish it came to me more often than once a week!!"
"I love this newsletter—with every
issue I always take away at least one or two new or good pieces of
"My husband and I have been using
your methods for the past two months and have managed to reduce our
credit-card debt by over $20,000 thus reducing our minimum monthly
payments by nearly $700.00! THANK YOU!"
—Kelli W., Clinton Township, MI
"Thank you so much for your
information. I too look forward to receiving this newsletter every
two weeks. Keep up the great work!!"
"DebtSmart.com—love it, have been
teaching financial freedom courses for years. Currently training one
of our many indebted employees the principles of handling money."
"I love your site, very informative."
"Love the site and the info!"
"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
"I just want to say Thank You for all
the info that you have to offer, It is the best again—Thank You!"
"Great resource (DebtSmart.com). It
also inspires the confidence to make those calls to the card
"After reading (and printing)
articles on DebtSmart I'm already hooked. I am even more impressed
and encouraged because you answered my email directly. I also like
the way that you are so humble and appreciative when people mention
you or your site in their question and you always make a point to
thank them. Thanks again for getting back to me and your advice!"
"DebtSmart.com—I love it! For many
years, I was in credit card debt. A bad auto accident forced me to
change my lifestyle, and, with the help of an honest debt management
program, my debt was eliminated after five years (a wonderful day!).
I'm very careful now, and your informative and practical newsletter
helps keep me on track. Thank you!"
"Keep up the good work, it is
informative and interesting. It's nice to know that I'm not alone
while struggling with the debt-mire of lower-to-middle income
"Really love it. I'm in great
financial shape, but the information is always useful."
"Your advice is turning into a family
affair. My husband had an Orchard Bank card with a $300 limit, which
he has had for two years. He called to protest their $69.00 annual
fee, and they refused. Then he asked for a credit limit increase,
which they also refused. Then he asked for a lower interest rate,
and again they refused. We have paid this card off several times and
always pay more than the minimum. He held the phone up to the
shredder, asked if they could hear it—they said yes—and he
shredded the card. Lo and behold, they called the next day and
offered him a business platinum at 15% interest, but refused to
increase the $300 limit. This time, my husband refused. He told them
'why should I give you 15% on this card when I already have 12% on
the other card and that would be almost 30% on both cards!' Needless
to say, we will pay this card off and not use it. Some other company
will come along and offer him something better. We now feel that
Orchard Bank is among the worst scam artists of all the card
issuers. $69.00 fee on a $300 limit? I don't think so! Anyway, your
good advice is rubbing off on all of us!"
—Sue and Ben Sheffler, Richmond Hill, GA
"I wish I had 1/100th of the
knowledge about credit that I have now on that fated first week of
college at the bookstore when my bags were filled with 'Great
student credit card offers'. I can honestly contribute this
experience to the beginning of my downfall with credit. Thanks to
DebtSmart I am getting back on track and learning to make the most
of my hard earned money!"
"Great site! I just stumbled on to it
wile surfing, already added it to my favorites and I'm sure I'll be
spending a lot of time here."
—William T. Huff
"Excellent articles. I have saved
hundreds in credit card debt through your books. Thanks a bunch!"
"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!!!"
"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."
"I enjoy the newsletter. I consider myself to be a very savvy
consumer, but I've learned a few things since subscribing."
"I am single so I am always looking for ways to scretch my money.
Keep up the good work!!"
"You know, sometimes you just want
meat and gravy type information and sometimes you want the full
gourmet dinner. DebtSmart has the full menu for every kind of
reader! Sensible tips that anyone can do, strategy, ethical
investment tactics, and responsible planning all in one
understandable place from normal people who live normal lives and
cope with normal expenses of life. That's a 'meal' that will 'stick
"Thanks to the people that make this
awesome website (DebtSmart.com) available because you help more
people than you know."
"Scott—Thank you for all your great
articles and advice. Something happened to me recently in that the
bank put a major hold on a money market deposit and then - six days
after the fact - charged $90 for three over-limit fees that were
withdrawn from the account when the online bank statement was
showing the money was available at the time the transactions were
entered. (They have a screen that show what is in your account Total
and what is Available. Because I had read you newsletter previously,
I went to the bank, said there seemed to be a problem and that I
needed some insight so that it didn't happen again. Said I had
several other banks that were eager for my account and paid interest
on my deposits, but because I was already set up with a direct
deposit to this account I was coming to them for clarification.
After investigating the fact, they were very happy to reverse the
charges, made it clear to me that they didn't approve of the way the
situation appeared, commiserated about how they handled some of
their own banking (credit card) accounts - and - on the way out of
the bank - the branch manager came out of her office and apologized
- saying they try to catch that kind of thing. Wow—that never
happened before. In the past, the entire situation would have
stressed me out and put me on the defensive. Thank you again for
helping me find a way to be open to taking on the challenge and
"I love debt smart!!! tons of tips,
and ideas—-glad I signed up!"
"Debtsmart is such a great resource
since there are so many people and families who struggle everyday to
put food on the table and clothing on there children's back.
Sometimes you feel you are all alone in this mess and don't realize
how many others are going through the same situation. Debtsmart can
save lives and make people understand they are totally normal."
"Great publication! I have saved
hundreds of dollars by talking to credit card companies to lower
their rates, give me a better rate for balance transfers, eliminate
annual fees, etc."
"I have to say DebSmart is one of the
best email newsletters I have ever subscribed to. Not only does it help me
keep debt under control, it tells me how to make it shrink and keep
going on with life without the worry of constant debt. Also, it
expands on things that we do everyday. It just keeps getting better
and better. My favorite part of the newsletter is seeing people
really open up and ask for your help or suggestions, and you reply in
a compassionate manner that is not seen today. Keep up the good
work, your newsletter will always be #1 with me."
"Great letter—I look forward to it
and have saved a lot of money following your advice with annual,
fees. Bargaining for lower and matching interest rates, etc. I
actually look forward to bargaining with credit card companies-they
will generally accept your proposal on threat of taking my business
elsewhere. I always have negotiations going on weekly with credit
card companies and bank. I recommend your letter to many people.
"I was frightened by a number at a
very early age, so I've grown up hating math. I somehow managed to
pass all the math courses necessary to obtain my BS/BA, but math and
finance still remained a mystery to me. Nothing I studied seemed to
pertain to mathematical reality for me. You have made it easy to
understand, useful and fun! Thank you!!!"
"I only wished I had subscribed
"The DebtSmart Email Newsletter is
packed with cutting-edge strategies for solving credit problems. I
highly recommend it."
—Gerri Detweiler, author of The Ultimate
"DebtSmart is very useful as the
information contained is unique, very resourceful, helpful in
locating what the reader is looking for to help with their problems
and the solutions."
"I enjoy the newsletter. While I
proudly have no credit card debt, I sometimes forward articles to
friends and family that might find the info useful. I also
appreciate that you ask for feedback. It shows that you truly wish
to make the most of your publication."
"Unconventional, daring, truthful."
"It is packed with invaluable
information. I truly wish I had run across this sooner."
"I absolutely love to read DebtSmart.
With all of the information, and the directions given to follow,
everyone should be Debt-free! Every money matter or situation you
can imagine is explained explicitly and to the point. This man has
it going for him, and you too, if you will just read and follow his
instructions. Not on just money or credit card situations but
"Frugal Ideas" also. This is another one that is also good for the
young folks just getting started, or maybe some of us older
generation that's getting a late start in life trying to fix our
financial destruction. No matter the age, if you need help 'admit
it'! Then just follow some simple suggestions and instructions, as
if assembling a product. Its just simply that easy. Thank You "DEBT
"I Love DebtSmart. It is the best
thing I have come across in a long time. My husband and I are currently
having financial difficulties and it is a wealth of information.
"Great web site and email with VERY
helpful info. will be informing many tax clients about your service
during tax season this year. keep up the good work!"
"Just a few words to let you know how
much I enjoy receiving and reading your DebtSmart Newsletter.
Even though I don't have credit card debt, there are so many more
interesting articles that are knowledgeable to me. It is
amazing all of the situations people seem to get into that need help
with. With your free news, it can benefit so many folks that
otherwise wouldn't have the resources to know what to do about so
many different subjects. Again let me thank you for all you do for
so many of us."
—Jayne Jones, LA
"Your Debtsmart email newsletter is
packed with innovative, practical approaches to reducing my debt.
Thanks for all the great ideas. The more I read, the more I save!"
—Dave, Toms River, NJ
"I really enjoy reading the tips and
tricks to help give me little ideas to help get us out of debt."
"Excellent advice & source to keep the
debt-free, debt-free & to help others attain it! I read it & refer debtors
to it all the time as well as give my experience."
"I love it and read it as soon as I can after
it arrives! I've even forwarded it to several friends and they've signed
"In the months that we have received
your newsletter I have learned a lot about things and appreciate the
"Great newsletter. I look forward to
reading every issue, and enjoy taking the DebtSmart quizzes!"
"Hello! Now that some of us are out of debt
thanks to you, could you have an article about the the best and safest
places that we can put our extra money and make the best interest? Like
I-bonds and Money markets, etc.?"
"So far, so good. At least I got the math
"I love this newsletter. Keep up the GREAT
"Love it! Keep it coming!"
"I always read it, and have never deleted it
without going through it. The articles are informative and give me good
"At least I know that I'm not the only one in
"I'm an accountant, and it's always
satisfying not only having my own finances organized, but to help
other people as well. Your newsletter always seems to have relevant
articles that get incorporated in my discussions with clients who
somehow know that I just read an article about 'that'. Keep up the
"Keep up the good work..."
"I love your newsletter. My husband
and I put a hold on our credit reports so the banks don't get our
information anymore and we don't get the 500 a day offers."
"You rock! My resolution for 2002 is
"I love the newsletter. It is very
informative about debt reduction, as well as, realistic about debt
and the fact that people have it."
"I love your newsletter...keep up the
good work! :o)"
"I love the newsletter and all the
different suggestions on decreasing debt. I do not have a lot of
debt, I used to be worse and since then I have always been
interested in different ways of spending and saving money."
"Get good ideas and lots of
motivation from it."
"Good job! Keep it up!"
"I have gained so much knowledge from
the newsletter. It is hard to put into words, the thanks and
appreciation I feel, taking the time to educate the public about
debt. Keep up the good work and one day the subscribers will be debt
"I find helpful and informative
information in the newsletter. Thank you."
"I am continually grateful that you
have such drive and dedication and creativity. You and your staff
are providing a wonderful service to the American people."
"I love it and I thank you for
producing it. One of my favorites."
"Thank you...and Happy holidays to
you and your family."
"I enjoy this newsletter a lot, it
helps me feel like I am at least trying to become as informed as
possible...when I do make a major purchase I know all I should about
interest rates and my credit report, payments, etc....and PROUD to
say I have not used a major credit card in year! Thanks from this
ever-learning single woman."
"I like it!"
"Great newsletter for me personally
and for low income families that I work with to help them to become
"Wonderful newsletter. Look forward
to each edition."
"Most of the websites who are
allegedly there to help us with being debt-smart are ACTUALLY just
trying to sell you something (such as yet ANOTHER credit card!). I
have learned so much here at DebtSmart. You guys are the best!"
"I love the newsletter. It really has
some good advice."
"Great Newsletter! The info is always
timely and relevant to my credit situation, and I look forward to
each issue. As to number of credit cards, in my count I've learned
we have a total of 10, but most have not even been activated. Lately
I've been an "intro-hopper", taking advantage of much-lower APRs, to
get rid of CC debt(in 9/98 owed 29k, now owe 6.1k, so it won't be
much longer). Snowballing, lowering APRs, transferring as credit
score improves, all are working, and your advice always helps.
"I love it!!"
"I enjoy receiving your newsletter.
It is always packed with useable, real-life information!"
"Love the newsletter, website and
"I believe that some people will go
out and shop til they drop but I also believe that others will not
go out to the store and buy as much as they would normally. Those
shop til you drop-ers will take their places so the economy will
pretty much stay the same. I love the newsletter. I am in debt and
am trying to get out. I find lots of tidbits of information that I
can use and pass on. My friends also agree."
"Great Articles! Good information.
Look forward to each issue"
"Love the Newsletter!"
"For our state (MN), I think people
will be spending less because of the amount of layoffs, the State
employees striking and our economy hurting now."
"I like the newsletter very much.
Keep it coming! I always find an article that is either helpful or
full of useful information that I will need at a later date."
"I think it is getting better and
better. I am truly impressed!!! I also like that you are able to
help so many people with your work."
"I was divorced 4 years ago, I had a
husband who took care of all the bills for the most part, and now I
am taking control of what little amount I do have to myself, there
is a feeling of great accomplishment and pride that goes with my
being able to take care of myself 4 years later and have made some
wise decisions with your help. Thank you so much! Your online help
is available when "I" have time to read up on the information, when
I am fully able to sit down and comprehend what choices I have . I
have gotten an equity loan to transfer my balances of my charge
accounts so that the interest on the loan will be tax deductible,
and also to have a new roof put on my home instead of just borrowing
the money and the amounts of my finance charges going to pure waste.
I never knew any of this 4 years ago let me tell ya...I have been
able to increase my monthly cash flow so I feel more secure , and
able to pay off the loan faster or take care of unexpected things
that happen . You have given this blonde some great advice and I do
appreciate your help.... thank you thank you thank you!"
"It's sound advice"
"I love it! Keep up the good work! It
comes at just the right time when I need a boost to keep working on
our debt! Thanks."- Angela
"It's very educating and informative.
I learned something as well!! Thank you!"
"You are doing a great job."
"Love it! Keep up the good work."
"Very helpful and useful. Thank
"GREAT!! VERY INFORMATIVE!"
"I LIKE THE NEWSLETTER AND THE INFO I
RECEIVE FROM IT."
"I love your newsletter, keep up the
"I'm certainly am glad that I came
across your WebSite. I can only hope more and more people like
myself will find you too. I have already given it to several of my
friends. Keep up the informative
work. We out here in the real world can learn much from you.
"It's sound advice!"
"I love it! Keep up the good work!
It comes at just the right time when I need a boost to keep working
on our debt! Thanks."
"I love your newsletter, keep up the
"Hi Scott, I would just like to say
thanks for your great web site and all of your informative articles
about debt reduction etc. it's a pleasure to read and it's helped me
tremendously. Keep up the good, honest work. I have been able to
stay focused on my debt-reduction plan in part because you are
providing this service. I always check in on your newsletter and
come away with tips that I can use, and positive articles that leave
me feeling that I can tackle the demon of debt. I've almost achieved
my goal of paying off $27,000.00 in credit card debt within my three
year goal (all had high interest rates but because of your website I
lost my fear of transferring balances). Please keep up the good
"I received the print edition of
Debtsmart about a month ago and I love it!!! I hope you can keep
making the print version as I like to keep them and refer to them
from time to time!!! Thank you for such a great magazine. With just
the first issue that I have received, I learned so much. Great
tips!!! Keep up the good work!"
—Vanessa Keith,Amarillo, TX
"I just received my first copy of
DebtSmart. W - O - W !!! I can't wait for future issues to arrive. I
read every article and have to save they were all my favorite
because I learned so much. Being visually impaired makes it hard to
read the fine print on the credit card offers. Your articles
enlightened me to what was missing. I will now use my screen reader
and check out the fine print to make comparisons instead of going by
the bold print on the low interest rate and introductory period.
Keep the great work up on the magazine. I look forward to my next
informative issue....I got a charge out of the mortgage article, a
real hoot, glad you got the telemarketer at his own game."
Ayers, Mt. Airy, NC "Faithful Reader of DebtSmart"