All Articles Tagged "credit cards"
Balancing the family budget requires teamwork and setting common goals. People who are in love support each other through thick and thin—through good and bad financial times. Before you decide that he’s the right guy to marry, you need to take a serious look at how he views financial goals, choices and commitments.
Since the number one cause of disagreements in marriages is financial, it’s critical to observe if the guy you think you want to marry exhibits any of these 12 warning signs:
1. You are not on the same financial page. In fact, you disagree about almost all financial goals, choices, and commitments.
2. When you quiz him about his personal budget, it’s clear that he doesn’t have one. When you suggest that budgeting is a good thing and try to show him how to prepare a financial budget, he acts disinterested or feigns interest and never goes any further with the budgeting process.
3. Rather than pay off his credit cards each month, he pays the minimum. He often pays late or doesn’t pay them at all. This is a regular occurrence because he never seems to have enough money to pay his bills.
4. He is often out of work. He blames other people, the high unemployment rate or other circumstances beyond his control for his lack of employment. He often says that it’s just a temporary situation, but even when he’s working he doesn’t seem to keep a job for very long.
5. He excessively spends his money without regard to his income. It seems that he’s living far beyond his ability to support that level of lifestyle. When he wants something, he buys it without regard to what it costs or how he will pay for it.
Read more on YourTango.com.
A British journalist, Oliver Burkeman, conducted a little experiment: He left his credit cards at home for a few weeks in favor of going all-cash (or all-Pound, as it were). The idea is that people who use plastic spend more money than those who use hard currency.
According to Fox News, there is research to back up this belief. However, proving the “cause and effect” — using credit cards causes a consumer to spend more money — hasn’t been proven. “People who use plastic are often more affluent than average, while people who pay in cash sometimes do so because they have no choice. Perhaps they can’t get approved for a card because their finances are in a mess, and consequently they endure serious liquidity constraints,” the article says.
Moreover, there’s the suggestion that people who use credit cards think differently about their purchases, taking features and benefits into greater account. Those using cash, the research asserts, think foremost about price. Perhaps. But surely, anyone spending money on an item would be willing to spend a little more, if possible, to ensure that what they’re buying won’t fall apart right away.
We would recommend that you try and use cash as much as possible, especially if you are living on a tight budget (saving for a big purchase, trying to pay down debt). It’s really mental. When you think about your lush, green dollars slipping from your hand and into that cash register, you can’t help but to ponder a little more closely whether the purchase really needs to be made. And, once the purchases are made and your wallet is empty, it’s much easier to see where your money went. How many times have you looked at your bank statement and had your memory refreshed — Oh yeah. I spent $50 on drinks with friends on Thursday. And $75 on that dress on Saturday. And $50 on that fancy body lotion I treated myself to in celebration of surviving a rainy Monday. You’ll wish you’d just gone right down the block and gotten some Nivea.
The story points out some clear benefits to using plastic. If you run into a problem with a purchase, you have a record of it. A lost card can be replaced whereas money is gone forever. And the rewards can add up to a nice little something.
But with all of these perks, what’s really important is strategy. For instance, you have a card that offers points, which can be redeemed toward an airline ticket. Perhaps you decide that all of your clothing, restaurant and salon purchases for the next six months will go on the card. There’s no need for an extra pair of boots, an additional night out on the town, or an extra deep conditioner. The point is to get something extra. If you spend the cost of the airline ticket on all these extraneous items, what have you gained? If you find that you’re not earning enough points, maybe start putting your groceries or gas purchases on the card; things that you would normally buy anyway. The point is to make the money you spend every day go a little farther. But keep in mind: credit cards charge interest. If you can, pay off the bill in full every month. Then, you’re really taking advantage of that bonus.
Credit and debit cards definitely have their advantages, so we wouldn’t say you should swear them off entirely. But if you have spending issues, you have to take that into account when you’re budgeting your credit card expenditures. If you go swipe happy, you’ll eventually get very, very sad.
These days, everyone has a credit card. And on that next trip to the mall, you may decide that you “need” that cashmere sweater (“It’s fall!”). Or that new lipstick (“It’s small!”). Or a pair of shoes (“I deserve a treat!”). Or an extra-nice lunch with wine and dessert (“We all gotta eat!”). Just as fast as you can whip out your card, you’re swiping until you can’t swipe no more. Before you go there, just stop.
Black Enterprise cautions readers against racking up credit card debt, even when we’ve worked hard and really, really, really want something. They suggest using cash and offer four tips to help you use green instead of plastic when you take a shopping trip.
“Bring a certain amount of cash with you daily and only spend that,” they suggest. If you need to carry a card, make it a gift card with a monetary value, which will keep the credit card use at bay.
For more about how to keep credit card use to a minimum, click here and read more at BlackEnterprise.com.
-A dozen people were killed in a shooting at a Colorado movie theater during a showing of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises early this morning. Another 38 people were injured, including a three-month-old baby. The gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes, reportedly wore a gas mask into the Aurora theater and threw gas canisters before opening fire. He was arrested in the parking lot of the theater with four guns. President Obama has released a statement expressing “shock and sadness” over the news. A Paris premiere screening of the film has been cancelled as a result. This is an ongoing story.
-On a much different note, Viacom and DirecTV have reached a programming fee agreement, ending a 10-day blackout that deprived the satellite company’s 20 million customers of stations like BET, MTV and Nickelodeon. DirecTV will not be required to carry Epix. Separately, Dish customers haven’t had access to AMC for about a month, meaning they’re missing Breaking Bad. Dang.
-SmartMoney.com gives its picks for the best credit card for travelers.
-Mitt Romney’s wife Ann has stirred up some controversy over an interview with GMA in which she defended her hubby’s refusal to make several years worth of tax returns available by saying, “Because there are so many things that will be open again for more attack… and that’s really, that’s just the answer. And we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life.” You people?!
-Presidential campaign fundraising has exceeded $1 billion. That includes spending by the candidates, the parties, and their Super PACs. Spending could reach $3 billion. President Obama is frantically trying to raise money, warning his supporters that he could be outspent by his opponent.
A credit card can be both the angel and the devil on your shoulder; simultaneously a force of good and evil! Further, what’s the difference between canceling a card and just cutting it up? Depending on who you talk to, people will try to convince of all of the above. Should you cut them up, or cancel them? Sounds confusing, but the truth is that there are pros and cons to each option.
Canceling Your Card
- Probably the most obvious one here is that it absolutely prohibits you from incurring further credit card debt on that card, no way around it. If you are in trouble with credit card debt and late payments, your credit score is likely already suffering and it’s probably a good idea to cancel your cards after you pay them off to keep you from digging yourself any deeper.
- Some people simply feel better about streamlining the mess of cards they’ve acquired over the years, yours truly included, particularly those store cards with the ridiculously high rates that totally negate the 15% off you received to open the card. The average amount of cards carried by Americans is close to 10, at that level, a little spring cleaning may be in order!
- Less cards means less bills to pay and keep track of (if you’re the reconciling type.) Simplification goes a long way in making your life easier.
IMPORTANT: Before you cancel a card, verify with the creditor that it will be reported to the credit agencies as having been closed “at the customer’s request”!
- When you cancel a credit card, you eliminate that card’s time since origination from your overall credit history total (15% of your credit score.) Further, while your length of history for that card disappears, any late payment history does not. Payment history (35% of your score) for that card will continue to be figured into your score even though the account has closed. Tip: Use your judgment with this one. For example, if you’re keeping 3 major cards that have been open forever and you just want to close two small store cards that you’ve only had a year, the impact will be minimal.
- Canceling a card has an additional negative impact on your score: reducing your total credit capacity, which is the denominator in the debt utilization calculation (30% of your score.) For example, let’s say you have two credit cards: Card A has a balance of $3,000 on a limit of $5,000 and Card B has $0 balance on a limit of $5,000. Your overall utilization percentage is 30% with both cards ($3k/$10k), however, if you close Card B your utilization will be 60% ($3k/$5k.) Tip: If you wish to close a card, see if you can get your limit on another card increased so your overall utilization is not affected.
Cutting Up Your Card
- Physically destroying your card effectively reduces the temptation to use the card and increase your debt level, while still maintaining your history and credit capacity. Your account will remain open; you just have put a roadblock between yourself and your usage of the account.
- If this tactic works for you, not only are you abating your debt level but you’re also exercising spending discipline overall, since quite often the only reason we choose to spend is that we can delay actually paying for it!
- If you really have a problem with debt and/or spending, simply cutting up your card doesn’t entirely eliminate your ability to incur additional credit card debt. The account is still open and you can get around that minor obstacle if you really want to, especially of the card information is stored online on sites like Amazon.com.
- You’re at risk for identity theft if you don’t dispose of your card properly. If your shredder is capable of shredding a credit card, this is best. If not, cut horizontal through your number, in between each group of four numbers, and separate the security code from the embossed number on the back of the card. It’s also a good idea to throw away the pieces in separate trash bags.
Whether credit cards do good or evil depends on YOU: your overall debt load, your spending habits, your debt repayment history, etc. It’s a highly personal issue and one that requires common sense and judgment, specific to your unique situation.
Written by Ginger, CEO of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds ™- breaking financial ceilings, one stiletto at a time. There she publishes tips and articles that will help women light up their financial lives and take control of their deepest money issues.
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It’s just one little purchase here, one late fee there, and suddenly you’re denied for a loan and didn’t see it coming. Take these simple steps to break bad financial habits.
Managing your finances and making smart money decisions can be a challenge and it is inevitable that mistakes will be made. While a minor mistake is just a bump in the road that you can get over quickly, there are some financial decisions that can spell disaster and that can create a money mess that’s hard to fix. Here are six big money mistakes to avoid so you don’t find yourself in a financial hole that you’ll have a hard time getting out of.
What do Russell Simmons, Kim Kardashian, Lil Wayne, Tom Joyner, Suze Orman, George Lopez, and now BET have in common? They all have their own or have endorsed a prepaid debit card.
Yes…they have all jumped into the prolific market which targets working class and low income families promising to give them all the luxurious privilege of spending money to use their own money. BET has joined the ranks of those who expect people spend their money using a “glorified gift card” as they are called by John Ulzheimer, President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com.
The prepaid card is one that doesn’t help anyone establish credit, costs far too much for those who have limited budgets, and, because they allow those who use them to remain outside the banking system, too often insert the user into a permanent underclass of society, unable to progress economically.
BET has partnered with NetSpend (NTSP) to endorse their Control Card that promotes the following perks.
For the complete story, visit TheGrio.com.
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(Bankrate) — Have you ever wondered about zero percent financing or deferred-interest plans offered by some retailers? If you’ve made a big purchase in the past few years, chances are you’ve been offered a deferred-interest plan along the lines of “no interest if paid in full in 12 months.” The programs are common in stores that sell high-dollar merchandise such as furniture, electronics and other pricey goods. They’re even popping up in doctors’ and dentists’ offices. What you may not realize: That offer is probably a credit card, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. Play by the rules, and you get a no-interest loan. However, if you go too late on a payment, misinterpret the payoff date or lose your ability to pay, you could end up with a hefty interest rate plus retroactive interest added to the bill.
(Daily Finance) — Credit card companies know where you shop, how much you spend on average and your credit history. But what do you really know about them? CreditKarma.com’snew Credit Card Statistics tool, which launched Wednesday, is the latest online widget to pull back the curtain on those lenders, showcasing statistics like customers’ average credit limit,credit scoreand age. It also contains user-generated reviews of real-life credit card experiences and lets you share your own rants or raves. For consumers, the tool could lead to better decision-making about where to apply for credit, which will help reduce the odds of a credit-dinging turn-down. “We want to help consumers set expectations around credit limits,” said CreditKarma.comCEO Ken Lin.