Credit card debt, Interest rate

Your post is not helpful

Once again, your post is not helpful. There is nothing here to give practical advice to deal with the debt other than the obvious: pay it off as best you can.

Well, I think the goal of everyone in this group is to find a way out of debt. And, the first step is taking responsibility for spending habits. Complaining about CC companies doesn’t provide individuals with ideas on how to get out of debt either. There are times when individuals just want to vent their frustrations. I imagine we are all frustrated and complain when the bill arrives, and when the check is being written. Unfortunately, the debt is still there regardless of how much we complain.

Many of you have been successful in reducing your interest rate when dealing with certain credit card companies. Members need to know how you succeeded. Others have posted how they’ve reduced their spending habits and used that money to pay off loans. Others have chosen to use reputable credit counseling services. Everyone’s situation is unique and it would be great if members could provide input as to how they are able to make it through the tough times, and their successes, while struggling to get out of debt.

The foundation of reducing debt is creating and maintaining a budget. A budget will help you find extra money, if there’s extra money available. If there’s not, maybe a part-time job is needed, or securing the services of a credit counseling service. You must research these companies. If you don’t, you could end up in a worse situation. Many people worry that their credit will suffer. If you are deep in debt, with over limit and late charges, then your credit has already suffered. They are able to lower interest rates and help you keep your head above water. If a reputable credit counseling service can’t help you, then chances are bankruptcy may be your only alternative. Unless, of course, you have a rich aunt or uncle.

There are many ways to reduce your grocery, clothing and entertainment expenses. There are books in the library that will give you tips on living on a dime. There’s one book many of my clients have read titled “Smart Cents, Creative Tips and Quips for Living the Skinflint Way. Skinflint: (n) A thrifty person who saves time and money by all means possible. Getting out of debt takes time, work and determination. Oh, and ALOT of patience. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is barely visible. But, on the flip side, the satisfaction of getting out of debt is priceless.

Budgeting and saving

It’s great you found a way to “get away from it all”

It’s great you found a way to “get away from it all”. It’s all about the little things that get us by!

When our children were smaller, (we now have teen-agers), we cut out fast food. Instead of going to McDonald’s, we made up a picnic and went to the park. (they were happy with peanut butter and jelly!) We spent hours there, and we all had a good time. There was more family bonding in the park than at McDonald’s where the kids just played by themselves in their little playland. AND, the kids LOVED it!

I would love to see how high Americans would pay. The only way you could do that is to jack up the price, though, as surveys would tell you nothing. I bet a lot of people would “say” they would not pay $5 a gallon but if it got that high, I’ll bet they would.

Frankly I would not mind paying $7 a gallon if it made people change there driving habits. Both in the amount they drive and what they drive and how often they look for alternatives to driving.

We live in the sticks and don’t have any choice but to pay it. There is no public transportation. We don’t even have a convenience store. I definately limit my trips to town. Now I have to need about 10 things before I’ll head to town, where it used to be 3 or 4. Even at $5, I would still have NO choice but to pay it.

You bet they’d pay it. I don’t even think driving habits would change very much. Americans will do anything for their cars. They’d give up the kids first.

I could not afford to pay $7. But you have a good point. One time on the news, a comment was made, reportedly by a gas company spokesperson, that as long as people did NOT change their habits and continued to drive as always, the prices would not go down. If we show we’re willing to pay it, and continue to drive the same, I guess they will assume we have no problem with it.

Yes but do they have public transportation? How many have even have cars? We as a socity have to have gas, to get to our jobs, our famlies, to function in society. It is a need. It may even be an addiction.

No we don’t need a 60K car to do this, but we live in a country that expects you to have a car, and drive. I’m happy to see see that cars now are getting better fuel eco, hybrids(though you’ll pay more), but more needs to be done.

Oil had its time and place, its time to move on. I’ll step off my soap box.

Budgeting and saving

I would love to hear from others about daily life

Such good points. I would love to hear from others about daily life and ways in which we all reduce our spending, stay in our budgets and maintain their budgets and still find ways to grow a savings.

I’ve had to make many adjustments due to gas prices, but am finding it’s not so bad. I started, a while back, a savings account with Capital One 360. It, or any online savings, is such a convenient way to save—-the money is drawn automatically from my bank account every payday. I’m not missing the money anymore, and have adjusted my budget around it.

I would love to hear from other members on their budgets and ideas for staying within them.

My biggest economic cutback was when I quit smoking. $200.00 a month wasn’t going to cigarettes!!

My house is filled with, except for the dining room light, Fluorescent bulbs. This cut my electric bill by about a third, and many of the newer ones look like ‘normal’ lighting.

We updated our furnace to a forced air heater in 2000. a usual $110.00 Gas bill went right now to $28-40.00, and 60 in the winter.

I primarily use the microwave instead of the electric stove, with the exception of Pasta and stews, and that keeps the bill low too.

I buy plain clothes and can decorate them myself. 5 for $10.00 tee shirts become ’boutique’ with my paintbrush and a touch of glitter! I can sell one or two and ‘pay’ for them and the paint…

Cheap cuts of meat, de fatted and marinated overnight, makes for good eating.

Couldn’t afford new flooring, so I stripped up all the carpeting, and PAINTED my slab floors, like they do in Lofts. Looks cool.

Thanks for the ideas! I’ve also found some shirts and jackets in thrift stores. use odd leftover bits of yarn to crochet or knit collars and cuffs. Lionbrand.com has great patterns and they’re free. Go to yard and rummage sales to pick up yarn cheap, just keep an eye out for moth damage. Have you tried putting the meat in a slow cooker or crock pot? After sitting 6 to 10 hours even the toughest, chewiest meat is cooked tender. For stew just use leftovers (potatoes, veggies, scraps of meat, can of condensed soup like vegetable without the water) and leave it on low all day.

My budget is pretty tight with living expenses and trying to pay off debts. Once a year I want a vacation, usually 4 days, to just get away from all my worries and to gather up the energy to keep going. So all year long I save my change in a jar. When the jar is full I turn in the coins for cash and stash it in my savings account. then once a year I pull out just the money I put in (leaving the intrest) and go somewhere away from home. A guy at work has a couple of rental cabins by a lake. He offers me a discounted rental because with the divorce and kids I don’t have a lot of money.

My mom works in a restaurant. She collects all the dollar coins and half dollars that show up plus lots of the regulars save theirs for her. A couple of weeks ago she cashed them in and got nearly $300 which covered her annual family reunion weekend.

Personal responsibility

Can we agree that people have to take responsibility?

Can we agree that people have to take responsibility for the debt they accumulate AND our governments should have rules in place limiting term changes and interest rates and factor service charges into interest rate caps?

But the kicker is that if this is done then credit will dry up to those that are not well qualified or those that need short term cash.

Why?

Let say we get our wonderful people responsive government cap interest rates at 20% and factor in service charges to the interest rates. This is a very reasonable sum and for standard credit cards and loans is plenty to ensure profit. So the total service charges and interest could never exceed 20%. Service charges are processing fees, balance transfer fees, late charges, prepayment fees, collections fees, legal fees. anything you would pay to someone loaning you money. Just keeping it simple we know government won’t but let’s just pretend they are capable of doing so.

The most they could charge for a $400 loan is .22 a day both interest and service fees. This would make it hardly worth it to provide payday loans and other short term incremental credit or loans to those likely to default.

In other words the less profitable something is the more limited it will be.

Another conclusion considering how abundant easy credit is would lead one to believe that it is extremely profitable.

The practice, called universal default, started after a rash of bankruptcy filings in the mid-to-late 1990’s and has increasingly become standard in the industry.

You’re welcome… I like coming here for the info, but sharing the good is also nice. I still look and use this new lappy with awe. I got some chat thing called Skype yesterday and yakked with the ‘angel’ who sent this, and he’s a geniuinely nice dude in Texas… (I could listen to that drawl all day). My fella and I spent about an hour yakking about Macs, Dogs and all with him.

Poor guy’s wife was t-boned yesterday outside of Houston, she’ll be OK, some broken bones, but is staying a couple of days in the hospital, so he needd to just chat and yak for a while. Man, I know he works in insurance, so at least they’ll be one up on the other person who ran the red and hit her (More towards the back passenger side, so her injuries weren’t “Severe”). Dang it. He says she’s a firecracker and will be ‘juuuust Fah-n’… AWWW!

I actually got Quicken and have been using it here on the new lappy. I think keeping a watch on my spending (Online pays and ATM/Checks etc) here instead of relying on what online sites say will be better . So this brings to mind a question: What software, if any, do folks use to track their financial activity?

Budgeting and saving

Christmas is just around the corner

Christmas is just around the corner and I imagine we are all thinking about the cost. Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank.

Presents for family and immediate friends can be oriented towards the time you spend with them than the money you spend. Trust me, most of the people close to you would like to spend time with you rather than have you buy them something they may not use. My mother taught me that. I won’t get into that story though. My brother has two small children, 3 & 1; an evening out without the kids, knowing they are in a loving, caring environment, without teen-agers watching their kids is more valuable than any present I could buy him. If you have to buy presents where you work, consider something homemade or baked. Chances are, they don’t get that kind of stuff on a regular basis. Your parents, if they are close, just want to spend time with you. Give them a certificate for a dinner once or twice a week for a year. If they live far away, create a picture disc of your family, or a video, or make a family collage of what’s been happening in your family over the past year. Remember money doesn’t keep a family together, memories do. Christmas is about what’s important, not what’s been bought.

One of my staff gave me a great idea, but my children are grown and I wish I would have thought of it myself. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, so the focus should be on the meaning of His birth. She doesn’t spend much on Christmas, but she saves her money for their birthdays. Which, for her, is the greatest give she was given. That’s when they get the good presents.

The thought of buying gifts for everyone almost ruins the season for me! Not that I don’t like to get for people, but the gifts I can afford are just “token” gifts, you know? I like the idea of spending time with people. I LOVE gift cards for me, but some people act offended if you get them that. Anyone have good ideas for grandparents? Mine are all in their 80s. How would you give a gift that would be spending time with them, too?

My husband and I have an every other year gift cycle. Meaning that this year will be a small, token gift year (as mentioned by Jennifer) and next year will be gifts that are more substantual. But the thought of the stress associated with feeling like this an expectation every year really sometimes depresses me, also.

I know how that is with gift cards too. My mother-in-law hates gift cards (she claims because they require no thought) I can see her point – but when you have many relatives in other states and then calculate shipping fees… etc… and then the fact that what you got them may not be right anyway, sending a nice gift card to their favorite store only allows them to chose a gift they really want. Then everybody is happy, I think.

My grandmothers are both in Prague, Czech Republic. For Christmas they really enjoy a small photo album of pictures of my husband and I enjoying our life from the past year. This means more to them than anything, besides us finally visiting one day (but that wouldn’t be over Christmas, because it’s too darn cold there then) After this coming up holiday season, we are expecting our first baby in late January, so I’m sure the holidays will much different after that.