Category Archives: Credit cards - Page 2

Carnival of Money Stories: Chicken Soup for the Financial Soul edition

Welcome to the 13th edition of the Carnival of Money Stories! This week we had a little over 30 great article submissions, however since majority of the submissions did not have a personal story or experience behind it, I had to omit most of it. Remember guys, Carnival of Money Stories is strictly dedicated to articles with some kind of personal story and/or experience involving finance so if your article did not have either or, then it was not included in the carnival. For awesome articles that does not fit the Money Stories, there is the Carnival of Personal Finance.

For this edition, I’ve decided to take the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” idea as my theme but instead filled with money stories with pictures. There is a total of 14 great stories and I put them each into their own perspective chapters or topics. In order to get to the story, just click on the picture. Anyway, without further delay, I present to you the Carnival of Money Stories #13 :Chicken Soup for the Financial Soul.

Chapter One: Real Estate

real-estate-1.jpgTrent from The Simple Dollar

real-estate-2.jpgSilicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life

real-estate-3.jpgCap from Mint

Chapter Two: Customer Service

customer_service-1.jpgMr Medicated Money from Medicated Money

service-2.jpgFire Finance from FireFinance

Chapter Three: Financial Mistakes

money-mistakes-1.jpgBret from The Frugal Law Student

money-mistakes-2.jpgMr Credit Card from Ask Mr Credit Card

Chapter Four: Credit Cards

credit-card-1.jpgFundZine

credit-card-2.jpgThe Credit and Credit Card Blog

credit-card-3.jpgMatthew from Getting Green

credit-card-4.jpgSkilled Investor from The Skilled Investor Blog

Chapter Five: Career

career.gifNina from QueerCents

career2.jpgFreeMoneyFinance

Chapter Six: Retirement

retirement.jpgStop Swimming

So that concluded this weeks Carnival of Money Stories. I want to thank all the contributors for their great work.

The next edition of Money Stories will be hosted Monday over at Frugal Law Student, don’t miss it! You can submit your money stories here.

How to Pay Down that Credit Card Debt

card.jpgStatistics show that the average American has over $8,000.00 in credit card debt. If you fall under that credit card debt range, then you’ve got some major cleaning up to do. There are millions of people who have come out of some heavy credit card debt, so now it’s your turn.

Follow these 5 steps to be on your way to being credit card debt free. 

  1. First thing, you need to stop the credit card offers. You want to get away from all these tempting offers. You can actually force credit card bureaus to stop selling your information at 1-888-5-OPTOUT. Call the number to get the forms.
  2. Reduce your interest rates. The average credit card interest rate goes for about 18%, which is really high. You want to be in the 7%-12% range. You can call your credit card provider and negotiate for a lower interest rate. If you have been a customer for a while, then it should be really easy to negotiate. 
  3. Stop using your credit cards. If you’re trying to reduce your debt, the last thing you want to do is to keep adding to it. If you have a hard time not using your cards, then take them out of your wallet or purse and leave them at home. If those methods doesn’t work, you can even cut up your cards.
  4. Always pay more than the minimum due amount. Credit card companies love it when you only pay the minimum amount because the balance is calculated based on a system so that they can extend your payment plan as long as possible to make optimal profit.
  5. Consolidate your debt. Once you have reduce the interest rates of your cards, you want to combine your credit card debt into the card with the lowest interest rate.

Once you have stopped using your cards, reduced your interest rates, and have consolidated your debt, then you’re heading in the right direction for paying off your credit cards.

[Photo Credit]

Credit Card Update

So I managed to bring my credit card debt down to an even $4,000.00 just this past weekend. Paid off $1,404.22 out of the $5,404.22  which brought my total to an even $4,000.00 :) I plan on paying off a little more as soon as I receive my refund from my federal return. My goal is to bring it down to $3,000.00 by next week. It would be nice if I could have it completely paid off before summer starts but I doubt that will happen, simply because I am only working part time and spent money on worthless junk. However, this will not stop me form trying to get it down as much as possible. Here is a general idea on how I plan on getting it down as much as possible. Some of the stupid/unnecessary things I spend on includes:

  1. Chinese food – This one is really stupid considering I have a meal plan on campus which is completely already paid for. I just need to throw out all my carry out menus from my room.
  2. Starbucks - Ah, how I love coffee. This one is going to be a little hard to stop but I am going to try to cut down little by little. I go about 5-7 times a week. I love their new Dulce de Leche Latte. Such temptation makes this one quite tricky.
  3. Random grocery shopping. Yes, I am truly a college student. I all I do is eat and study. Although I love the infamous Ramen Noodles, I tend to spend a little more on the hot pockets and frozen pizzas.
  4. Car gas. Gas price is no joke. Especially since my car only takes premium fuel.
  5. Pure junk. Stop carrying my cards and cash everywhere. Simple.

I think that if I am able to cut down on these 5 things I can save so much more. I’m going to set my target date for May 21st. Until then, I plan on keeping a record of how much I would of spent and instead saved.

How I plan on using my tax return

vm_tax_story.jpgSo it’s that time of the year where everyone is gathering all their paper works and getting ready to fill out those tax forms. Almost everyone I know has already filed their taxes, and so I guess that leaves me. Well the reason for that is because I have been pretty busy these last two weeks, and also I’m kinda paranoid that I might not file them correctly if I rush and not get back as much as I could, so I waited. My goal for this week though is to get all my paper work together and get it done this weekend. This past year, I paid a little over $4000.00 in taxes so it looks like I should be getting back around $2,500.

So what is my plan for my tax return this year? Buying new clothes? Adding more DVDs to the collection? Going on a nice trip to Hawaii with the Girlfriend for spring break? Nope, it’s better. Instead, every penny that I get back it’s all going to help pay off my debt on my credit card. So after my tax return gets here, I will be extremely close to being debt free. I can’t wait. That gives more of  a reason to file my taxes asap. So I hope that I will be able to do so this week.

After getting out of debt, I can finally start contributing to my Roth IRA and so much more other fun investment funds. :)

Debt management

debt-reduction.jpgDid you know that the average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $9,200 in credit card debt? That’s quite amazing isn’t it? Looking at the number, it is a little hard to believe that the average is so high, but when you realize that our nation is built on credit, it becomes a little more easier to gulp down.

There’s the good and the bad:

When I look at debt, I see it as two kinds of debt. There’s the good debt and the bad debt.

You accumulate good debt when you’re borrowing money for a student loan or for a home. You just have to make sure that you don’t borrow more than you can pay back.

Bad debt is using your credit card to buy things like food, clothes, DVD, etc. This is the easiest way to fall in debt. When you get in the habit of buying things with your credit card, in return you also want to get in the habit of paying it off in full that month.

The general rule is that you don’t want to get in a habit of using your card unless you plan on paying every back that month, this is the fastest way of falling in debt. Here I have gathered 3 general debt management tips.

Debt management tips:

  1. Make a budget journal. Most people spend thousand of dollars without too much though as to what they’re buying and that’s why people are surprised at how high they’re credit card is. Get a nice journal and start writing down everything you spend. At the end of the month you’ll know not only how much you spent but also what you bought. This way, you will know what you can cut back on and how much less you want to spend the following month.
  2. Pay off your highest-rate debts first. On average, most people have more than one credit card. The key to getting out of debt is to first pay down the balances on credit cards that charge the most interest rate while paying at least the minimum due on all your other debt. Once you finished paying off the highest rate, then start tackling the one next highest.
  3. Expect the unexpected. You want to expect the worse can happen at any given time, so start making an emergency account. You want to have enough saved to last you 3 – 6 months of living expenses in case of those emergencies. If you don’t have an emergency fund, a trip to the hospital or damaged car can seriously upset your finances.

If you end up with more debt than you can manage, then you should get some help whether it’s from a professional or someone you know before it’s too late. It may be embarrassing to ask a relative for some help but that’s alot better than ending up with bad credit.

Article of the week

Jimmy from Your Credit Advisor has an article called How to: Make Money with Balance Transfer Arbitrage, check it out. I liked this article because it’s well written and put together. It also provides us with ten rules for balance transfers.

Happy reading : )

8 Reasons Why I prefer credit cards over Cash

vida_master.bmpI know most pf bloggers would disagree with me on this one but I actually think that carrying credit cards instead of cash will save you more money. I actually have been experimenting over the past few month on what I prefer over carrying over the two.

For one period of time, I went living only on cash and cash only. So that means no credit cards, no debit cards, no plastic. I would go to the ATM once a week, to my own bank to avoid the ATM fees, and take out 40 bucks and that would be it for that week.

After trying the cash method, I then went on to try carrying only credit cards and debit cards. I found this method to be a lot more effective, not only in saving money but also keeping my self organized.

Here is a list I gathered from my experiment which gives all the reasons why credit cards are better to carry then cash.

  • I don’t know if it’s just me but when I see cash in my wallet, it’s more appealing to spend it. I would make a decision on what to buy based on how many ones I had.
  • When you use your credit card, you don’t have to worry about getting change, you get charged for the exact amount and you don’t have to worry about what to do with the “leftover” cash.
  • If you like to hold on to your receipts to keep track of your finances, it is a lot easier to keep them organized when you have everything listed online from the use of credit/debt cards. This was a huge factor for me.
  • When you carry cash, you’ll end up getting a lot of lose change and for the most part, people don’t save them. They scatter and gets lost.
  • Carrying lose change is easy to lose track of and hard to manage. Especially when you’re on the go.
  • As lazy as it may sound, when using your card you don’t have to worry about counting your money, just pick and swipe. :)
  • With all the rewards and promotions credit cards companies have to offer these days you can get great deals on flyer miles and even redeem points for household appliances.
  • When using your credit card, you can also be improving your credit score at the same time.

 So there you have it. I gave you 8 reasons why credit cards are better than cash. It’s true that there are also reasons for why cash is better than credit cards also but overall I still think that credit cards is the way to shop. GO PLASTIC!