Selasa, 23 Desember 2008

Bailouts proposed for new-vehicle buyers

What would you think of a bailout proposal that rewards people who buy new cars?

That idea is the basis of several bills introduced in Congress. Car buyers would get a $10,000 incentive in one form or another to buy a new car and, in the process, heal the ailing U.S. auto industry.

It's certainly not the strangest car-related stuff we've read recently. (That would be an article about a Beverly Hills physician who powered his car with biodiesel made from liposuctioned human fat.)

Would any of these car-buying incentives work? Plenty of dealers are already offering $10,000-plus discounts on new cars and trucks, according to many media outlets, including Consumer Reports. So far those aren't undoing a lack of consumer confidence in both automakers and the economy that's slowed showroom traffic to a crawl.

One of the bills, introduced by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would provide a $10,000 rebate to people within certain income limits who trade in an old gas guzzler and buy a new fuel-efficient car. That's defined as a vehicle getting more than 25 miles per gallon, which, sadly, includes only about 15% of new American cars.

Another bill, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., would give all new-car buyers a $10,000 tax deduction. Lamborn doesn't mention fuel efficiency or income limits in his post at The Hill's Congress Blog.

A number of similar ideas are swirling around the Internet.

Tim Straus discussed a $25 billion proposal in a post in the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader that would appear to address consumer confidence, the credit crisis and the automakers' need for cash: You purchase a new fuel-efficient car, put $1,000 down and finance the rest, minus a $10,000 federal rebate that goes to the bank. The bank pays the dealer the full purchase price.

He wrote, "Each dollar of this program is multiplied into important economic activity that drives jobs, supports our manufacturing base, drives us closer to our energy-efficiency goals and helps banking."

Jeffrey Leonard at the Washington Monthly proposed that the federal government offer a 50% rebate on any new car purchased from an automaker that agrees to restructuring. In exchange, the government would get preferred stock and also an industry that finally understands the importance of fuel efficiency. He added, "If we free Detroit of its current inventory and then send clear long-term signals based on higher fuel taxes, the industry will quickly adjust."

Related articles:

White House bails out auto bailout

U.S car companies worth over $100 billion

Even Toyota can't escape the recession

Why you're not getting promoted

This guest post comes from Frugal Zeitgeist.

I lurk as an observer on a couple of different Internet forums from time to time. The other night, a woman posted a note about having been passed over for promotion for the third or fourth time in as many years.

Every time she reached out to her management to ask what she needed to do to get promoted, she was told that she was doing all the right things, and the only thing that was holding back her promotion was budget constraint.

Meanwhile, however, people all around her were getting promoted like clockwork. Needless to say, the poster was very upset.

By the time I saw the original post, someone had already responded. The responder said something along the lines of: That's totally unfair! They're dumping on you! You should march right upstairs to the head honchos and demand to know what you need to do to attain that higher rank and make sure they see you write it down! They'll find out what's going on.

Sweet, fancy Moses!

I can count the number of times I've participated on this forum in the last five years on one hand, but this time I was compelled to respond. I wrote as gentle and non-threatening a post as I could muster to suggest that perhaps there was something in the original poster's performance or personality that was holding her back, and that instead of dealing with the situation head-on, perhaps the manager was simply (and wrongly) avoiding a very difficult conversation.

The original poster responded that it was hard to internalize that feedback, but she thinks it might be correct.

There are many, many reasons that people fail to move up the career ladder according to their expectations, and a good many of them have to do with external forces like a bad boss or a toxic work environment. More often, however, if someone in this situation looks in the mirror, the root cause is looking right back out.

If your career isn't moving along the way you feel it should, take a look at this list. Do any of these characteristics reflect your life in the workplace?

You bring your boss problems, not solutions. Bad things happen and people need guidance. Managers are there to provide it, but how you approach them counts. If you outline a challenge you're facing and finish up with "What should I do?" you've just dumped your problem in your boss's lap.

A better approach is to define the problem, think through possible solutions, and figure out which approach you think is best and why. Then, after you outline the challenge to your boss, follow it up with something like "There are a few different options here, but I think X is best. Here's why ...." 

With this approach, you've taken responsibility for doing all the background legwork instead of making your boss do it. That's the mark of a self-starter who doesn't need a lot of hand-holding.

You don't follow directions. If your manager asks you to do something (touch base with person A, copy person B on your response, let me see your e-mail to Director C before you send it) and you don't do it, you're making it harder for your manager to trust your ability to follow through going forward.

If you do it a few times, you've got a pattern. If you do it more than a few times, you've got a performance problem.

You take on a task without understanding what you need to deliver. If you don't take the time to fully understand what your manager is looking for, you're pretty much guaranteeing that it'll be wrong and you'll have wasted a lot of time. It's perfectly fine to check your understanding by spending 10 minutes walking through an outline of what you think your manager wants before you jump in and do the work. Similarly, midpoint checks to make sure you're still on track are OK.

What's NOT OK is ...

You hand in unfinished work. Checking your understanding of a task doesn't mean that you can expect your manager to play proofreader. You're responsible for the quality of your work. If that means asking colleagues for proofreading or input on the content or substance, that's fine; just don't expect your boss to do it. Your boss is the person you want to impress with the end product. A good maxim to remember here is:
Know what finished work looks like, and deliver it only when it's finished.

You're not a team player. You and your functional group can squabble all you want within your unit, but when you face the rest of the organization, you need to be a united front. If you engage in blamestorming, throwing other people under the bus, pointing the finger or any other ways of avoiding responsibility for an adverse event, you look bad whether or not it was your fault.

The simple fact that you went to the effort to detail why someone else is in the wrong demonstrates a poor use of time and energy in what is sometimes a crisis situation. You are far better off rallying the troops to cowboy up and fix the problem, figure out how to prevent it from happening again, and communicate the fix to management. If you do it right, you and your team might actually come off as heroes.

You undermine your boss. If you have a problem, your boss is the first go-to person. But what if your boss is the problem?

He or she is still your first go-to person. It can be tempting to go around him or her for sticky situations, but this is very, very counterproductive. If you and your manager have a problem in your relationship and you don't give your manager a chance to understand your perspective and fix whatever's broken, what do you think will happen?

The first question management will ask is whether you spoke to your boss. If you say no, that conversation is over.

Remember what I said above about taking your problems and dumping them in your boss's lap? That's exactly what you've done here, but this time you've dumped your problem in your boss's boss's lap.

Meanwhile, your boss will hear from management that you went to them with a complaint. Your boss will feel betrayed (and rightly so) and your relationship will take heavy collateral damage. It's not worth it.

Have the hard conversation first. If you can't resolve the issue that way, then you can think about escalating.

Your social skills need work. Humor goes a long way toward defusing a tense situation. Being likeable also helps motivate other people to help you out when you need something. Colleagues don't have to be your friends -- and you should never mistake them as such anyway. But being a nice person with a pleasant demeanor, which is not the same as a doormat, makes for better relationships all around, including the one with your manager.

You're not plugged in. By "not plugged in," I don't mean that you're not attached to your PC. I mean that you're not plugged into the rumor mill.

I'm not saying that you should be a gossip monger, because that's not an admirable trait. Taking 10 minutes twice a day to gather around the coffee machine and chat is a great way to stay abreast not only of what your colleagues are working on, but also what the word on the street is with regard to new hires, reorgs and layoffs. You'd be surprised at what you can learn, and you might do some relationship building while you're at it.

And if you're one of those folks who look critically at people who gather around the coffee machine for a few minutes of chitchat? They're developing relationships and learning about things happening behind the scenes, and you're isolated at your desk where not many people know what you're working on and how well it's going.

Who do you think is likely to be more vulnerable in a layoff?

You focus on the being, not the becoming. Promotion conversations are interesting. A common opener is: What do I need to do to get promoted to the next grade? Another personal favorite is: I've been here X years and Colleague A has been here only Y years. She's already been promoted, so that means I should be promoted too.

To me, those discussion openers mean that someone is more interested in the reward than in doing the homework to understand what it takes to get there. You're better off gaining an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and working with your manager to define stretch objectives that go beyond the expectations of someone in your job classification and grade. If you do all that and turn in consistently high performance, under normal circumstances advancement will come.

Those are just a few of the many behaviors out there that bring career progression to a grinding halt, but most people who do these things either don't realize it, or don't make the connection between the behavior and the lack of career growth.

Do you see any of these behaviors in yourself? What other career-limiting moves have you seen?

Other articles of interest at Frugal Zeitgeist:

A quick and easy way to reduce your food bill

Gift wars

Why I hate shopping for women's professional clothes

Recall alerts delivered right to your mailbox

Hardly a day goes by without new warnings issued about common products on store shelves -- pet food, baby food, toys and infant beds, just for starters. How can a savvy consumer be on the alert about products that have been recalled?

According to partner blog, you can sign up for e-mail updates from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency that's supposed to protect us from defective products.

Think you don't need this? Check out the long list of recalls for this month before you make up your mind.

The process is simple -- so simple that we did it in less than a minute. You can sign up for e-mail alerts for all recalls or for recalls in specific areas like kid stuff, household items or recreation or outdoor products.

The CPSC has also partnered with Target to make recall information readily available at Target stores. Also, a commission press release said, "Target has introduced a new process for eligible Target REDcard account holders, which provides recorded phone messages for guests who purchase an item that has been recalled."

Related articles:

What went wrong at Mattel

Experts offer toy-buying safety tips Here's news you can use

This board game is a little TOO real

The Economist is offering a board game called "Credit Crunch" in its holiday double edition. The winner is the "last solvent player" -- in other words, the one who eliminated the competition.

This is way nastier than Monopoly. As a press release explains it, Credit Crunch players are encouraged to "pick on the weakest, kick opponents when they are down and generally manifest all the characteristics that bring success in the financial world. Winner takes all!"

You start by entering the subprime mortgage market and if you play the game well -- that is, ruthlessly -- you finish as "Deemed Too Big To Fail." Here are a few of the rules (stop us if they sound familiar):

•    Players may conceal their assets from each other.
•    Players who cannot pay fines may borrow from other players at any rate -- "for instance, 100% interest within three turns."
•    Players who cannot borrow must either go into Chapter 11 or be taken over.
•    The takeover purchaser and subsidiary are technically a team, but the purchaser gets to call the shots (including using the subsidiary's assets to pay his fines).

"As though our readers have not suffered enough already in 2008, we are proud to offer them the chance to be crushed, humiliated, and impoverished all over again," game designer Kevin Kallaugher said in a press release.

We fondly recall Monopoly's famous game pieces: the dog, the top hat, the car, the iron and all the rest. Credit Crunch goes you one better: You can download game icons such as "bull market" and "stock market ticker," but it's suggested that a player instead use "diamond cufflinks, or any other mementos of your former wealth, to represent you on the board."

In these rough economic times, you can't argue with the cost: game board, risk cards and currency are all free for the downloading. You can also find the game board in the holiday issue.

Related articles:

Recession is real -- and it hurts

"…7 bankers begging, 6 hedge fund falling…"

Is economic crisis affecting behavior in strange ways?

The total cost of renting

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

One of the main reasons I bought a home was because I was tired of moving. I hated packing up my things, renting a truck, moving my things, then unpacking my things. It felt like such wasted effort.

However, in my numerous moves, I did establish a great way to come up with a total cost-of-housing metric that helped me compare various housing options.

When I first started comparing apartments, I got the basics right. I compared the total rent, I accounted for utilities, and I accounted for any insurance I would need to buy. I failed to recognize commute time and cost, though, which played a significant factor in my first apartment (25 miles one way). That's just one of the considerations I missed. There are several more.

The total cost of renting should include the following factors (in the order of most likely to be overlooked):

Parking. Parking is one of those factors you're either keenly aware of or entirely oblivious to. I've been fortunate enough to have lived in apartment complexes that had ample parking, and the farthest I've ever had to park was a few hundred feet from my building's front door. In more-populated cities, parking can be a huge pain. My friends in Baltimore tell me that if they get back into the city from work past 8 p.m., there's almost no chance they'll find any street parking nearby. Having a safe place to park is crucial when evaluating places to live, and some apartment complexes charge you extra for a parking spot.

Commute mileage and time. Many people fail to seriously consider commute mileage and time when comparing rental properties because they don't see it as being significant. With the recent fall in gas prices, it's becoming less and less financially significant and people are more easily overlooking it. I think that's a mistake.

A long commute can have a draining effect on a person. Having to drive an hour home after a 10-hour day of work absolutely sucks. Having to drive an hour to work, so you can stay there for 10 hours, then drive home -- that's brutal. However, I've seen people do that drive just so they can save $100 on rent, and that seems a bit foolish. If there are other reasons for that trade, then by all means do it, but to do it just for money seems foolish.

Automobile insurance. Many of my friends love living in Baltimore but many of them also complain that their automobile insurance rates are high. That's because it's more expensive to insure a car in Baltimore than in the suburbs. While I'm not an actuary, I believe it's a combination of the higher population density, both in people and in cars, and the higher incidence of crime. That, and people aren't that great at parallel parking.

Renters insurance. This is another, though less important, insurance number that is likely higher in the city than in the suburbs. Before you select a place, call your insurer and see how much renters insurance would be in your new place. It's not likely to be significantly different because renters insurance is often very cheap, but it could be big enough to change your decision.

Deposit. Some places require one month's rent as deposit, and others require only a few hundred dollars. I prefer the apartments that require only a few hundred dollars because I don't want to have to fight with the landlord to get my deposit back when I move out. I've heard many horror stories about people getting screwed on cleaning deposits because they forgot to vacuum or were blamed for regular wear and tear, and I prefer to avoid it entirely. My first apartment had a $300 deposit ($1,200 monthly rent for my roommate and myself) and no cleaning requirement. We were allowed to leave the place as filthy we wanted and we wouldn't lose a penny of our deposit.

The laws on deposits vary from state to state. Some states require a landlord to pay you interest on your deposit, and others limit the deposit to one or two months' rent. Check your state's Web site for additional details. Plenty of unscrupulous landlords, especially individuals, try to skirt the law when it comes to deposits. Know the laws and your recourse. (If I were you and I learned that a landlord was trying to break the law with regard to deposits, I'd rent somewhere else.)

Utilities and rent. I listed these two together and last because very few people overlook utilities and rent when comparing places to live. I always prefer a place that offers utilities included over one where you have to pay the bill yourself because it gives you a bit of protection against any bad months. As for rent, I recommend you take a look at Rentometer to get a better idea of how your rent compares with others in your area.

Are there any other financial factors I'm missing?

Other articles of interest at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity:

0% credit cards

Tax loss harvesting

Obama's 21st century New Deal: An economic stimulus

Messenger bags, shoes, watches, cell phones, action figures

Here are today's hot deals from

Kensington Contour Cargo 15-inch notebook messenger backpack for $14.40 with free messenger bag shipping. Coupon code USPWELCOME knocks the price to $12.96. That's tied with our mention from earlier this month and the lowest total price we could find by $8.

ASICS shoes from $19.55. With $6.95 for shipping, most styles are at the lowest total price we could find.

Movado men's Luno stainless steel watch for $299. With free shipping, that's the lowest total price we could find for this watch by $113. 

Unlocked Motorola MOTOFONE F3 cell phone for $31.99. Coupon code EMCBCCCAB slices it to $26.99. With free shipping, that's $8 under our October mention and the lowest total price we've seen for this phone.

Halo 3 action figures for $3.90 each. Orders of more than $25 receive free shipping; otherwise, shipping adds $4.25. Even with shipping, each is at the lowest total price we could find.

Invited to a party? That'll be $10, son

Ever notice how much it can cost to be a birthday party guest? David G. Mitchell of sure did, when his kids were younger. They'd each get invited to one or two parties per month, even if they didn't really know the birthday boy or girl. (Apparently some teachers decree that if one kid in the class is invited, all must be invited.)

In a recent post, Mitchell noted that he and his wife "easily could have spent over a thousand dollars on birthday gifts for children who our own children never saw outside of school."

This rubbed him the wrong way, especially since some of the parties seemed to be "money grabs." At one party his older boy was one of more than three hundred invited guests, and his younger son went to a party with more than 100 guests. Special, huh?

Rather than forbid the children to accept every invitation, the parents tried a different tack: "We told them that if they wanted to go to a party, they would need to pay $10 towards the gift."

This had an immediate effect even though the two kids have very different views of money. The younger boy cut down on his party-going somewhat, but generally felt that "any opportunity to have fun with his friends" was usually worth $10 of his allowance.

The older son went only to the parties of people he really liked, or "if he knew that the party would be 'worth the cost of the gift.'" The young man also tried the time-honored protest, "None of the other kids have to do this!" It didn't work.

On the bright side, the rule required that he learn to budget his available funds.

Some would call the Mitchells' tactic pretty hardcore. In fact, he writes that he has found "very few" other parents who say they make their kids chip in. But he says he's met a bunch who admire the Mitchells' determination to "enforce a regime of fiscal responsibility on our kids."

Personally, we'd call fiscal responsibility a pretty incredible gift in its own right.

How about you, readers: Do you think parents should pay for their kids to attend every party? Or as Mitchell put it, "Is it more important to ensure that your child attends all of the parties to which he or she is invited, or should children be taught that attending a party comes with a cost?"

Related articles:

Inside the treat bag: How we are ruining our kids

When frugal living conflicts with social gift-giving

Children's gifts: Don't spend a lot on what they don't want

Senin, 22 Desember 2008

When luxuries become boring (but still high-priced)

Now that times are tight, personal finance blogger "Anotherjen" suggests that it's time to "break ourselves of our skewed ideas of what exactly separates the 'essential' from the 'extras.'"

People are unlikely to eliminate all their extras, she acknowledges on a BlogHer post called "Breaking the cycle of habitual splurges." But perhaps they should think about whether these "extras" are still special enough to keep.

"When the 'extras' become 'everyday,' do you still get the same pleasure out of them?" the blogger asks.

Once upon a time, Anotherjen's own habitual splurge was the infamous latte: "You know, the ones that cost some of us upwards of $1,000 each year." For a while she was drinking one or two a day. In time, though, they stopped feeling like treats. Sometimes she didn't even enjoy them.

Now she stops for coffee once a week, tops. Still kind of a waste, she admits, given how much cheaper it is to make coffee at home. But these days, a latte every now and then feels like a true indulgence.

"So let's make sure are 'treats' are just that: treats," she says. "You eliminate the guilt of knowing you're flushing your money down the drain and, when you do splurge, the splurge will feel that much more decadent."

Related articles:

Sorry, Starbucks, but coffee is still cheaper at home

Saying 'yes' can help you say 'no'

How 'bout them apples?

Gettin' hitched at the courthouse

Personal finance blogger "Jennifer" at Becoming the Marshmallow could have spent thousands of dollars -- or tens of thousands -- to marry her sweetheart, Tim. But neither of them were all that interested in a conventional nuptials and reception.

Instead, they went to the Pinellas County (Fla.) Courthouse and got married. And they have the "commemorative paper framed portrait with the county logo" to prove it.

The wedding "was all that we could hope for," she wrote in a post called "My wedding cost $303.50." That cost included a nice dinner and a night in a hotel.

This isn't a choice for everyone, and even Jennifer acknowledges that "it was a little strange having a wedding without friends or family present." However, she felt more comfortable with just the two of them because she's a "rather private person."

At least three of her coworkers also had courthouse weddings; another is considering it. One of those coworkers and his now-wife were both working as aerial photographers, so they got married in their flight suits. After that, they grabbed a bite at the McDonald's drive-through and headed back to work.

Here's hoping their romance was a supersized one. But seriously: We think you should do what feels right for your situation. Jennifer and Tim are just as married as anybody else -- and they didn't exhaust themselves, or their budget, getting to that happy state.

"It's a route I highly recommend. No stressful planning, high costs or complications," Jennifer says.

"The wedding day is supposed to celebrate the love of two people. I think we did just that."

Related articles:

The complete guide to planning an affordable wedding

My daughter got married without going broke

7 tips for money and marriage

A gift war -- and I fired the first shot

I may have ignited a gift war. All I wanted to do was give some homemade jam, freshly baked Christmas cookies and an Anchorage Daily News moose calendar to the former owners of the apartment building that I manage.

I've been giving them these treats for several years and wanted to continue, especially because after selling the place in October they sent me a nice note and $300 worth of gift cards.

Jam, cookies and pictures of ungulates seemed like the least I could do.

When I gave the gift bag to the husband, he told me they enjoyed the annual sweets. "I think we've got one of these coming your way, too," he said, indicating the bag.

Oh dear.

I told him that wasn't necessary -- that I liked to share homemade treats and that I'd appreciated the chance to have worked for them. As I had written in the card that accompanied my gift, the job literally helped me survive when the chips were down.

Yet I also know how he feels: Anytime I'm given something, I want to give something back.

And that's how gift wars get started.

The gift that keeps on growing
These wars tend to escalate, according to an essay by personal-finance blogger "Frugal Zeitgeist." Someone surprises you with a present. The next year, you give that person something a little bit nicer, because you didn't get him anything before. After that, the recipient's next gift is probably upgraded, too.

"I hate gift wars. They're expensive. They're stressful. They create clutter," she writes.

The blogger has a few cease-fire tips:

•    Give of yourself. Offer dog walking, baby-sitting, Web design, fancy desserts -- whatever you do well.
•    Give within limits. Choose something consumable that the recipient might not buy for himself -- decent wine, chocolates, etc.
•    Give to others. Donate to that person's favorite charity.
•    Give, if you must. But suggest, gently, that gifts be "reasonable."
•    Give what's needed. Times are tough, so FZ is sending her parents a grocery store gift card. Or how about a gift that saves the recipient money?
•    Give up on giving. Of course, a no-gifts policy works only if everyone sticks with it. Another PF blogger, "Escape Brooklyn," writes that her family agreed not to exchange gifts -- but her sister sent a present anyway.

When fired upon, don't return fire
When I told a friend about this situation, she asked whether my former bosses gave presents in previous years. Yes -- gift cards with "Thanks for all you did for us this year" notes.

My friend pointed out that perhaps the $300 gift was a final thank-you in recognition to the end of our business relationship. Probably I shouldn't be giving them a Christmas gift, she suggested, unless I planned to continue at least a cordial friendship.

She has a point. When the owners said they hoped I would "keep in touch," they might have been just saying the kind of thing everyone says. Or they might have meant it. Earlier this month they sent me a Christmas card with a snapshot of their first grandchild.

They're busy, and I'm busy, but I'd like to keep in at least casual contact because they're nice people. Even so, I hope they don't send me anything more.

If they do? I'll write a thank-you note in which I'll explain that I don't want to start a gift war. Should they feel compelled to give, I'll send a list of my favorite charities and request a donation be made in my name.

However, I'll let them know that the cookies will keep coming. I like to make and share them because it brings back memories of baking with my mother. One year I skipped cookie-baking and it just didn't feel like Christmas.

However, I find it difficult to make just a few cookies. Thus if I don't give most of them away, I'll end up in the hospital, overdosed on butter and sugar and chocolate.

And at that point, someone might send me a get-well present and the whole cycle would begin anew.

Kamis, 19 Juni 2008

4 Tips before you're making Balance Transfer

The offer from your credit card balances sounds like a pretty good business, is not it? And it is until your magnifying glass and start reading the small print to the offer. What many people do not realize is that the creditors who have such an incredible deal would not do if there is no other way to benefit financially. These lenders actually feel safe in the assumption that most people with the transfer of the balance is not respected, which may provide valuable data held by the offer.
The transfer of balances from a high interest rate on a credit card with no or a lower interest rate can save you a lot of money if you do not fall victim to these common errors.
1. Levy order
Rare is the balance transfer offer, not with a kind of balance. It is perhaps a lump-sum $ 50 or $ 75, but it is usually a percentage of the total amount of any balance. Maybe 3% does not sound like much, but if you several thousand dollars, that the charge may be hundreds of dollars!
Although you may know now on the lookout for such fees, it is something else you should look at: whether there is a limit to how much the balance transfer can go. Avoid people without caps. Before making an offer, which is always count. If the balance eventually transfer more than you have paid would be in the form of interest you did not have the transfer is made, it is not over!
2 Other interest
Even if little or no importance perhaps imbalance transfers, is still a new card that you have used to make purchases. Purchases, however, normally not part of the no or little interest. In fact, you can expect that the interest for the purchase or cash withdrawals are just as high or higher than the credit cards that are already used to shopping. If you seriously chipping away at your debt, which is really the best reason to take advantage of the transfer balance, you should really stop revenue credit card debt!
3. The payment allocation
If you have balances on the new account and you make purchases on this new credit account, you will be surprised that your payments are not assigned to your way of thinking (supposed). Suppose you $ 1000 and during the last month, new purchases in the amount of $ 200. They make a payment of $ 300 can clear away from the new taxes and chipping away at the transfer amount.
Next accounting period you will receive your statement and find that the $ 200 in new purchases is still there - and the number of new burdens that you since then. And all those purchases are compounding interest at the rate of 16, 19, 22% or more! What happened? Now, as the small, credit card your full payment on the balance zero interest, because - and it is not making money on that amount. But it is certainly in this new purchases!
4. Interest rate is set to intro
The low or no interest will not last forever and what you need to know how much they will increase when the deadline expired. Any remaining balance is likely to post whacked with a much higher rate. To ensure that this is the case - the savings negate the advantages that you collected so far - make sure you have a plan for paying off your balance before the rate increases. Also, make sure that you do not miss payments or too late. If you believe you can find - without warning - zero percent, no longer apply and you pay more interest than you were.

Rabu, 18 Juni 2008

Prepaid Credit Cards

Many marketing campaigns for prepaid cards are in the under 18 crowd. In fact, all over 16 may be money in a prepaid credit card and then use it as a credit card if you are buying or online. Children over the age of 12 or 13 can often a prepaid card that good, as long as Mom or Dad to sign up for him.

Some lawyers argue to young people is a prepaid credit card offers a good opportunity to give them money management, while critics argue that we just have to show them how tempting a genuine credit cards and put them up for disaster.

As for financial companies, it is difficult to do a lot of money for a prepaid credit card, because they can not demand interest on the unpaid amount. They usually require a registration and then pay taxes, if a deposit is made on the account, but the amount they earn is minimal compared to a conventional credit card.

Prepaid credit cards are beginning to make their mark in the world, however. The companies are branding cards with their logos, and use them as employee incentives, because they are cheaper than the controls or trade incentives, and sometimes a prepaid card that is used instead of a paycheck. The workers paid directly to a pre-paid cards for each pay period, and the employee can then the money as they normally would. (Prepaid credit cards work in the ATM for cash too).

Rabu, 04 Juni 2008

5 Tips Choosing the Credit Solution

You know the type of credit card or loan, you must apply depending on your credit score. But all possibilities for credit for people with poor, fair, good or excellent credit rating, which is perfect for you? Here are some tips to help you solve the problem will be most effective for you:
1. Determine what you need.
Would you pay your entire balance each month and earn rewards or cash back on what you use? Rewards cards are great, but you can be a balance that had been set up on your card, and you're willing to pay as little interest as possible while you handle. In this case, 0% interest card can save you more money than you would with a map of reward.
2. Rewards vs APR
Awards offer something for nothing, but they tend to come with a high RPA. So if ever there is a chance, you do not pay your balance off, or your circumstances change and you do not change the cards, it is easy to spend a lot more taxes than you do ever rewards. In these cases, the TAP is the key.
3. To get out of debt
Some cards offer 0% balance transfer fees and 0% for the first few months. If you pay interest on a debt earlier balance transfer to a credit card with these options can help you get out of debt faster. Another method is debt consolidation; Americans saved more than $ 20 million last year using debt consolidation companies.
4. Buying a Car
If you make a big purchase, like a car, make sure that the APR on your credit card or loan is low. Try also with a 0% card balance transfers, and change your purchase a card without interest. If your purchase is a great car, you can not have high enough credit limit on your credit card. But there are many large loans that exists for cars that are guaranteed approval and help build your credit score.
5. Home Purchase
The solution to the home purchase will be easy. There are so many companies competing for your business, interest rates are low and you can find a loan quickly and inexpensively. GMAC is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the USA. Apply for a loan, compare loan programs and rates to refinance your current mortgage, and are considering a home loan or line of credit.

Selasa, 03 Juni 2008

Choose the best International Credit Card

For you that often goes to across country, I have some information how to deal with payment that support all over the world. Bringing cash money when you go to other country is not a bad choices and I think it is important when you need to pay something that we can't pay by credit cards.
There two kind of credit card, Mastercard and Visa that already famous in all around the world and accepted by million merchants.
Here's I give you a list when you will go to other country safely and enjoy the trip or vacation :
  1. Always bring cash, just in case to pay some small activities.
  2. Choose credit card with huge limit and lowest APR for foreign exchanges and if you're lucky you get some cash back.
  3. Don't bring all your credit card in one place, just in case if your wallet is gone and always create a pin to all your credit cards.
  4. Better if you have a travel checks in some case you need for an government policy.
Well, I think it is enough right now and have a nice vacation.

Minggu, 01 Juni 2008

10 Credit Card Tips

Now I want to give you 10 Credit Card tips for you. Pay attention with this tips because if not you may get really problems with your credit cards.
  1. Choose the lowest APR. It's good for you even it's just one season period promo or something. Please carefully with choosing the lowest APR, you need to find out another version of those credit card and if it's safe and no hidden fee you may continue applying it.
  2. Find out all the hidden cost. I believe almost all the credit cards company has an annual fee and maybe they like to catch the customer with no annual fee by applying credit card to them. So, find out all the hidden cost like annual fee, insurance, penalties, and more.
  3. Never use your credit card for loans. If you need a short or medium terms of loans, I suggested you take a personal loans. It is because you will get a high APR and it's continue until you paid all the credits.
  4. Pay your bills as soon as you can. If you're really needed this loan fast, you may use this credit card but you need to pay the bill as soon as you can.
  5. Pay your credit card bills on time. This is for sure, you need to paid all your bills on time, if not you will get a penalties and it's usually huge :)
  6. Choose a card that covered all your needed at a time. It is just to make you easier to manage your bills, especially if you have several credit cards.
  7. Try to split or reduce the interest rate. Some credit cards company has a policy that customer can split their bills into several terms of payment with low interest rate.
  8. Setup an automatic paid bills for your credit cards. It will make you easier, just in case you forgot to pay the credit cards bill and of course you must have a saving on your bank account.
  9. Get free loan pending credit card bills. It's also credit cards company has a policy to get attract customer you use their credit cards.
  10. Always saving your money. Finally, start to save your money and create a budget for the next 3 month and always manage your expense.

Never get a trap by a Credit Card Company

One of the objectives for this blog is to help people protect themselves from predatory behavior of companies. I love capitalism and love to be able to benefit from the innovations offered by the market. I want companies trying to do and by providing financial value to the customer.

Yet there are many who try to deceive and take advantage of gullible customers. This applies particularly to financial companies. If a company tries to trick you by selling you on a less than truthful description of supply (such as $ 1 for the first month, or 1% interest rate for the first 6 months) my experience leads me to believe, they have no confidence that they have a real value. They do not believe people would buy what they offer for the real price, so instead they try and trick the people with misleading information. And there are plenty of people who are financially illiterate fall for these bad deals - Do not be one of them.

Credit card companies seem particularly bad in this kind of behavior. Most often they just take advantage of people who are not hard to understand what the real costs and interest. The consumer must obviously accept some of the debt. But tricking people who are not financially literate is not an honorable way to make money. But there are many who do not seem to forget to use those that do not educate themselves.

Put your financial literacy education by visiting these sites and reading and watching (you can look at the whole show online PBS) and learning. If you are not worth doing to your financial literacy it will cost you as others take advantage of you.