Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

It is 10:59 here in the central time zone, which means in one minute it will be midnight on the east coast. So I thought, this would be a good time to wish each and everyone of my readers a Happy New Year. May  you have a fantastic 2010, may it be full of great health, wealth, love and debt-free success. I know I expect this to be the year that I get everything (including the IRS) paid off (except maybe the new siding on the house).

I know many of you will be making New Year resolutions and that's a good thing. If you missed mine earlier today, feel free to go back, read over them and comment.
This next year will be the best you have ever had, I know it will be for me, both in my debt-free progress and my pending marriage. Thank you for your readership, comments, encouragement, gifts and other forms of support you have shown me over the past 3.5 years.

Happy New Year!
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Resolutions For 2010

Last year, I made four (4) resolutions. Lets see how I did. Then see what my new resolutions are.

1. Pay off the WaMu balance transfer I made in 2008.
I have faltered in this area. It should have been paid off several times, but I have ashamedly used the card and charged more. That is something that must stop if I am going to get out of debt. I will have to focus on this debt now owned by Chase.

2. Pay off the Car loan.
Again an area, I didn't quite succeed in, but am close. I am within $800 of having the debt paid off. That is equal to 2 payments. So, there is no question, I will have it paid off in 2010. The question is how soon.

3. Pay off the IRS
This debt, which is in hardship deferment isn't much further along then it was last year. Still, I see actual payments beginning in 2010 thanks to other debts being eliminated.

4. Find love
This I was very successful in. It did cause me to slow my debt elimination process, but I am in love and engaged to be married in August 2010.

Now let's look at my New Year's Resolutions for 2010.

  • Finish paying off the car.
    I expect to have the last $800 paid off by the end of February.

  • Book
    I have started working on a book, that I hope will be very different from any other personal finance book out there. It is my hope to finish it and find a publisher for it by the end of the year.

  • Eliminate the Chase credit card debt.
    Last year WaMu, was taken over by Chase and I intend to have this debt paid off this year. No more playing around. No more playing with fire.

  • Pay off the IRS
    This year, I intend to start putting a focus on this debt and have it paid off as quickly as possible.

  • Marriage and Honeymoon
    My fiance and I have talked about honeymooning in New York, but reality is that it will more likely be Omaha. We are both committed to paying for the wedding and honeymoon with cash. Cash that we must save up quickly between now and August. Currently, we have saved $25 and paid for the wedding and reception locations. We also have the wedding dress and tuxedo, though I do need to get the red vest to complete the outfit in our wedding colors. We may have to rent the wedding parties outfits. We are making every effort though, to get everything paid for before the big day.

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  • Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    Establishing Good Credit

    Improve Your Credit Rating

    So you don’t have any credit to speak of, but you have big plans for the future. Maybe you’re a fresh college graduate or a young person eager to buy your first new car.

    If you have never had to use credit before, first of all BRAVO! Of course, it’s best to pay cash for the things you need so that you don’t have to worry about credit card payments, loan payments, or interest rates.

    But if you’re young, the chances of your needing credit in the future are very real. Someday you might want to buy a house. Perhaps you’ll want to buy a new car.

    Chances are pretty good that you won’t have the cash outright to buy these high ticket items which mean you’ll need credit. Plus, it’s always good to have a little credit since many utility companies will look at your credit to turn on your power bill, for example, without a deposit of some type.

    When you’re starting fresh with no credit history at all, here are a few ways to get a good start on establishing good credit:

    1. Pay your bills on time, especially mortgage or rent payments. Apart from extreme circumstances like bankruptcy or tax liens, nothing has as big an impact on your credit history as late payments.

    2. Establish credit early. Having clean, active charge accounts established many years ago will boost your score. If you are averse to credit on principle, consider setting up automatic monthly payments for, say, utilities and phone on a credit card account and locking the card away so it's not a temptation to use for other purchases.

    3. Don't max out available credit on credit card accounts. Lenders won't be impressed. Instead, they are much more likely to assume that you have trouble managing your finances. Beyond one or two credit cards, it starts to get complicated.

    4. Don't apply for too much credit in a short amount of time. Multiple requests for your credit history (not including requests by you to check your file) will reduce your score. If you are hunting around for good loan rates, assume that every time you give your Social Security number to a lender or credit card company, they will order a credit history.

    5.  Be neat and consistent when filling out credit applications. This will ensure that all your good deeds get recorded in a single file, as opposed to multiple files or, worse, someone else's file. Watch out for inconsistencies in use of "Jr." and "Sr."

    Check your credit history for errors, especially if you will soon be requesting a time-dependent loan, like a mortgage.

    Credit Improvement

    One great way to start establishing credit is to apply for a store credit card (Sears, JC Penney, etc.). Once you get the card, make a few small purchases and pay them off completely. Do this a few times over the course of a year and you’ll find yourself with some established credit with an excellent payment history. DO NOT go overboard and buy more than what you can pay for, though.

    You can also apply for a secured credit card. These cards ask that you place a certain amount of money in your account for which you will receive a charge card. Then you can make purchases up to the amount of money that is in your account. Credit reporting agencies treat these cards just like regular credit cards and look to them as a responsible way for you to establish a good credit history.

    You will need a checking account to establish credit. This adds to your credibility with lenders and shows that you are able to manage your money effectively.

    When applying for a credit card of any type, be sure to ask if they report to any of the credit reporting agencies. As we’ve said before, they are not required to do so, and if they don’t, having one of these cards or loans won’t do you a lick of good even if you do make your payments on time.

    You can also establish credit by making a purchase or applying for a loan with a co-signer. A co-signer is a person with good credit history who is basically telling the lending company that they will be responsible for making sure you make your payments on time. Often a co-signer is a relative such as a parent. This can be a risky proposition for them, so know that they are putting their own credit history on the line just to help you out, so don’t let them down.

    When applying for a loan, such as a car loan, it can also be helpful if you have a large down payment to make thus lessening the amount of money you have to borrow. This shows the lending company that you have the ability to save and they are more likely to take a chance on you based on this factor alone.

    So let’s do a quick review on how to establish a good credit history:

  • Apply for a store or gas credit card and make a few charges
  • Ask a loved one to co-sign on a loan
  • Find a respected secured credit card company
  • Open a checking account
  • Don’t apply for too many credit cards in too short of a time
  • Check your credit report for any errors
  • Go slowly
  • Don’t overspend
  • Make sure your lender reports to at least one of the credit reporting agencies

    Of course, the last one is the most important in establishing credit. If you don’t make your payments on time, it won’t make a hill of beans worth of difference what you are trying to do. This is what makes your credit history worthwhile – making on time payments and showing you are responsible with your credit and your creditors.

    So, what if you’ve already had credit, but you’ve made some mistakes over the years finding yourself with bad credit? Is all hope lost? The good news is – NO!

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***
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  • Tuesday, December 29, 2009

    AchieveCard A Great Budgeting Tool

    As I move towards being debt free, I have to find a way to pay for things when a credit credit would seem more piratical. That is why I like a new product that was recently brought to my attention. That item is the AchieveCard. It is a debit card that serves as a prepaid MasterCard. You, may be asking, can't you just use your banks debit card? I know I did, when I first heard of it.

    Unlike many banks debit cards, there is no overspending. If you don't have enough on deposit, you can't use the card. Any payment greater then your balance will be rejected.
    You will never be charged a fee for overdrawing your account! Because the AchieveCard is designed to help you avoid overspending!

    I just love that concept, because it is great for your budget. According to their website,there is no overdraft fees (because you can't overdraw) , no late fees (because it's prepaid, no interest (which I admit I find hard to believe. How do they make any money) and best of all the is no minimum balance required.

    So go ahead check them out for yourself and see if you might not be able to work them into your budgeting tools.

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    Toss Out Debt: Do You Have to Pay Off Credit Cards of the Deceased?

    This is a video that comes to us via the site we recently merged with. Posting of this video, does not mean I am in agreement in whole or part, but am presenting it so you know there are other views of how to eliminate your debt.

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    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Toss Out Debt: How To Pay Off Credit Cards

    The below video is not what Dave Ramsey teaches, but is a video that comes to us via the site we recently merged with. Posting of this video, does not mean I am in agreement in whole or part, but am presenting it so you know there are other views of how to eliminate your debt.

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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    Sunday, December 27, 2009

    Toss Out Debt: Understanding Debt

    Understanding Debt

    Debt is simply the money you owe - it is an amount of money or other property that is owed by one person, organization or company. It is not the credit you owe as credit turns into debt. Getting into debt is very easy and maybe fun for some people. At first people are happy, they can buy without having to pay with cash, and they can afford to get a car even without having the budget. But seldom do they they realize that they will live and drive this car for 12 years to make payments and pay huge interest for their showpiece!

    Who hasn't heard of cholesterol? Just like cholesterol, where there is good and bad cholesterol, debts come in two versions. Good and bad debts. Debts can make your life easier or ruin your life but however bad your debt problems, there is a solution. People and businesses who know how to handle debt and how to manage their credit can take advantage of debt while people especially the young who do not have knowledge about debt management and creating debt reduction plans are always in trouble.

    Debt can also be classified as temporary or chronic debts.

    In most cases, there are very good reasons to take on debt. For example, students take loans which is sometimes necessary provided they know how to handle and pay off these debts on completion of their studies.

    Also taking on debts for setting up a business is good but it depends how the structure is going to be setup. You must have a clear plan, and know how much money you would need and most importantly, how to pay it back.

    If you can afford to pay cash and limit the risk of taking on debt, do it! Do not hesitate to pay by cash when you have the money.
    The problem arises when you borrow money but do not use it productively. Debts are good when they are invested, not used as spending money.You must have total control over your debt and have a clear plan on how to pay back your debts. Create plans, especially rapid reduction plan.

    Fixing Your Credit

    We are a country in debt. Not only is our government in debt, but we, as Americans, are in debt ourselves, and the problem is just getting worse! Recent studies have shown that ninety percent of Americans have at least one credit card – and they are using that card – A LOT!

    The average family carries a balance of between $7,000 and $10,000 on all their credit cards. Over $1,000 per family goes towards interest every year. And that’s just the average – some people owe much more!

    Overall, Americans spend over $1 trillion every year on their credit cards, and owe more than $500 billion on it. If debt continues at the current rate, then one family in a hundred will be forced into bankruptcy. Over 90% of Americans’ disposable incomes are spent paying back debts.

    When you add credit card debt to the regular bills we have to pay each month, our budget goes through the roof! As a result, some bills go unpaid and others are paid late.

    Both of these instances can damage your credit sometimes so much that you think there’s no way you will ever be able to get out of debt and use credit for something important like a home or a car.

    The truth is that you can get out of debt and repair your credit nearly to what it was before you had credit problems. It takes some time and a little work on your part, but it IS possible.

    Loan approvals depend a lot on your credit score. This is what determines if you can get credit, what your interest rate will be, and how much money potential lenders will give you. A good median score is 750, but the higher your score is, the more financially sound you are.

    While it’s always a good idea to try and stay away from credit, not everyone has a hundred thousand dollars lying around to buy a home or twenty thousand to buy a car. Heck, for some people, scraping together five thousand dollars for a good used car is difficult. That’s why we need credit. So we can buy things which we cannot afford to pay cash for.

    The trouble begins when people begin to buy everyday items such as groceries and clothing on credit cards. Then those bills begin to get bigger and bigger until pretty soon, they’re paying the minimum amount due which will take forever to pay off. Plus, a lot of people just continue to grow their credit card debt even when they have a large balance on their account.

    Your credit score defines who you are to businesses and you want it to be as high as it can be. It doesn’t matter how bad your credit is now. There are ways that you can raise your credit score no matter how low it is now. Don’t despair; just get started – right away!

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    How To Get Out Of Credit Card Debt

    Wednesday, while my fiance and I was celebrating an early Christmas with my parents and brother, I received a call. The call was from someone in Alabama (area code 334). They were wanting to know, how to get out of credit card debt.

    My answer was blunt. Cut up and cancel the cards and pay them off as quickly as possible. The gentleman on the other end didn't like that. His reply was that he couldn't cut them up. To which, I bluntly told him, that he wasn't serious about getting rid of his debt.

    This guy isn't alone. There are thousands more out there with the same attitude. Let's think about it for a minute. If you are unwilling to get rid of your credit cards, how in the freaking world do you expect to get out of credit card debt?
    People, it isn't brain surgery, it's really quite simple. You can't get out of credit card debt specifically, if you are still using the stupid credit cards. Likewise, on a broader scale, you can't get debt free, if you continue borrowing. You MUST stop the borrowing completely before you can get out of debt. There is no other way around it. You have to learn to spend less then you earn. If you are borrowing, you are not doing that and thus will remain in debt.

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    Toss Out Debt: Avoiding & Getting Out of Debt

    Get Out Of Debt

    Research has shown that people do not deal very well with debt and take debt seriously. This leads to huge bills and debts accumulation and long term interest payments.

    The following tips will help to avoid debt:

    - If you have credit card debts, which is in most cases the biggest source and the most serious of debt accumulation especially for students and new graduates, you must pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid long term repercussions. Take this advice seriously, because ignoring or delaying any payment can become a nightmare and eat you alive.

  • Learn how to calculate interest as explained in another section

  • ALWAYS check the interest rate. You must ASK first, you must receive clarifications before choosing a credit card.Don't always assume that you have the lowest interest rates.

  • Having multiple cards is like owning multiple weapons and you will risk injuring yourself. Keep one or maximum two credit cards with you. This way you can handle your debts easily.

  • Educate yourself on how credit cards calculate interest. Then, check the interest rate on your credit cards.

  • Know what you can afford to pay! Never use your card for something you cannot pay for with cash. When you have a checking account and have a debit card, use it. This card is very useful for small items rather then even paying interest for small items. Credit cards make paying money easy. They also make going into debt easy.
    Always have a plan to pay back your debts. If you need to buy something, think first “how can I pay it back?”

    Are You Drowning In Debt?

    Are you drowning in debt? Or would you just like to be free of the debts you have?

    This resource helps you summarize your debts and create a Debt Reduction Plan that will show you how to pay off all your debts much sooner than you would by paying only the minimum.

    After reading this section, you will be able to reduce or/and eliminate your debts in as little time and/or with as little interest payment as possible. Believe it or not, you will succeed to make the dream come true.

    This section will be followed with real-life examples, on how to reduce debt for a given payment.

    Keep in mind one word: “Interest”.

    Interest is a magical tool, interest makes you rich or poor. Creditors always use it to their advantage. Remember! It can also work in your favor if you really followed this guide. Let the interest work FOR YOU instead of AGAINST YOU.

    Getting out of debt and becoming debt free will require patience, commitment, and consistency. The most important part of this step is to restructure the way you pay bills and set priorities.

    We know very well that everyone is excited about getting a fresh start especially upon graduation, and unfortunately in most cases this start is at the same time the beginning of debts!

    You will accumulate loans, credit card bills, and miscellaneous expenses and costs. These debts you are building will unfortunately stay with you for a very long time if you do not know how to manage and get rid of them in the shortest time by paying the least interest. Debts and interest charges can eat you alive!

    The first advice to become debt free is to pay attention on how you are spending your money, the second advice is to summarize your debts and get a debt reduction plan.

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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  • Blizzard 2009

    With the blizzard of 2009 many people around the area and the country had their holiday plans changed. Thankfully my big Christmas trip was the early this year, day before the blizzard started. The storm was officially called a blizzard by the weather service and was a Christmas Day record. In 1895, a Christmas day snow recorded 3 inches of snow. This year Christmas day recorded more then 4 inches, adding that to the snow that came on Christmas eve, this area seen a combined total accumulation of 8.8 inches. More snow is expected today and tomorrow yet.

    As I said, with all that holiday travel was altered for many people. My parents were among them. They didn't make the 90 mile trek to my sisters. My soon to be step daughter didn't cross town to spend Christmas with her mom and me. Of course there was hundreds more throughout the Midwest possibly thousands that heeded advice and just stayed in. Of course there was hundreds of others that got out anyway. Many of them ended up getting stuck on side streets or parking lots that weren't plowed or treated. Even police cruisers weren't immune to getting stuck. There were a number of reports of private citizens coming to the aid of the police, so they could get moving again.

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    Friday, December 25, 2009

    Toss Out Debt: Raising Your Credit Score

    Raising Your Credit Score

    The very first thing that you must do in order to raise your credit score is to order your free annual credit report and find out what your credit score is. Once you have obtained copies of your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, you must take the time to go over those reports to check for errors and inconsistencies.

    It is imperative that you correct any mistakes or inconsistencies as soon as possible. This is the most pro-active step you can take for yourself to increase your credit score as mistakes can and do happen.

    Look for accounts that were previously delinquent but which have since been paid off. Find any accounts that were closed or any accounts that aren’t yours. Then take steps to correct those errors by contacting the credit bureaus and beginning the process in writing to have these errors removed from the report. This alone can raise your credit score.

    Checking your credit report often can also indicate if you have become a victim of identity theft which is something that is happening over and over again with frightening frequency. It affects millions of people and can wreak havoc with your credit rating.

    Correcting the problem of identity theft is a process that will take quite some time, but it can be done with patience and excellent documentation. You should definitely be contacting the FTC and filing a police report in this situation so that you credibility cannot be called into question.

    In the above section, we discussed extensively the option of filing for bankruptcy. This should be done only as a last resort and if you are in dire financial straits that cannot be solved if you just don’t have the means to pay off your debts.

    Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have the stigma attached to it that it once did and is nothing to be ashamed of. While it’s true that the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to ten years, lenders know that you will not be able to file for bankruptcy again within that time frame, so you may actually be able to obtain credit anyway after a bankruptcy.

    Before you resort to a bankruptcy filing, you can first try getting the advice of a credit counselor to help get you back on track when it comes to your money problems. Find a reputable company that provides results and know that you will be paying a small fee for this service, but one that will probably be worth it in the end.

    Credit Counseling

    Credit counseling companies not only work with your creditors to secure lower repayment rates, but they provide financial planning advice for you to use in the future so you are not put in the same situation you were in before.

    If you do have steady income, you may want to look into a debt consolidation loan. That way you can pay off your creditors and make one monthly payment to one company instead of several monthly payments to several companies.

    There are also companies who can help with debt consolidation loans although you can certainly do it on your own. They can, however, secure loans for you with a lower interest rate and shop around to different companies to find you the best debt consolidation loan and help you get out of debt.

    If you have bad credit, expect to take about a year or two to get it up to a better credit rating. How do you do this? Let’s review:

  • Pay your bills on time. This alone will show good faith to your creditors and have a positive effect on your credit rating

  • Don’t use credit at all if possible. That means cutting up your credit cards and paying cash for the things you need.

  • You may want to keep one credit card that you can use for emergencies – but remember that it is for emergencies only. Keep the oldest card you have as that shows you are not newly applying for credit.

  • A good idea for not using that one credit card is to freeze it in a block of ice. It won’t damage the card and it will require thawing before you can use it. That way, you will have to wait before making a purchase thus eliminating the lure of an impulse purchase.

  • Don’t apply for new lines of credit at all. The only time you should ever be applying for credit when you are financial straits is if you need to make a big purchase such as a vehicle or home.

  • Monitor your credit report faithfully and immediately correct any mistakes that you find.

  • If you find that you cannot make a payment on time, call your creditor and explain the circumstances. If you have been a good customer, they may be willing to accept a late payment and waive the late fees. Try not to do this too often as it can reflect poorly on your payment history.

  • If you have little to no credit, you can establish credit by obtaining a department store or gas credit card. Then you make a few purchases and pay the balance off immediately.

  • Be very careful when making purchases online. Make sure that when you are entering in your credit card number it is done on a web site that starts with https://. The “s” at the end of the http designation shows that it is a secure sight that will keep your information private.

  • Beware of “phishing” e-mails that direct you to a separate site where you are asked to provide personal information. This is how many identity thieves obtain your bank account or credit card numbers and they can run up horrendous bills in a few moments of time.

  • If you want to obtain a large loan as for a vehicle, you may want to try and get a co-signer who has good credit. Their good name and credit history can help you get the loan and build your credit at the same time.

  • Again, we want to iterate the most important thing about maintaining good credit and raising your credit score: MAKE YOUR PAYMENTS ON TIME! And use credit sparingly.

    There are a lot of great tools available online to help you with credit and making credit decisions. Go to and check out some of their calculators. Since FICO is the company who assigns you that magic little number that is your credit score, they are a great source of help for the consumer. At this site, you can find out:

  • Which loan is better

  • How much your mortgage payments will be

  • How much money you can afford to borrow

  • Whether or not you are better off refinancing a loan

  • How much refinancing costs will be

  • Whether or not you should consolidate your credit cards

  • How long it will take to pay off a credit card balance

  • How rate changes will affect your loan balance

  • And much, much more!

    You can also find many other websites that can help guide you through not only the credit process but how to get and maintain a solid credit score and rating.

    Last, but not least, don’t forget the three major credit card reporting agencies. These are the places you should start to obtain your credit report and get on your way toward better credit.

  • Experian:

  • TransUnion:

  • Equifax:

    Plus, you can also go to the following websites to obtain your annual free credit report that is available once a year to all consumers:



    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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  • Toss Out Debt: More Debt Help Tips

    There is always a way to get out of debt especially if you organize your money
    and know how to and when to pay.

    If you
    follow the steps below, you can help yourself to become debt

    1- KNOW
    what you owe.

    You must
    know and identify clearly what you owe; the best way is to create a
    debt list with details for example:






    Interest rate

    Monthly Payment

    Credit card





    identify which payment has the highest rate thus allocate the highest
    priority to it.

    2. Avoid
    creating new Debts. When you are already in debt, do NOT create a new
    debt. Try your best to create savings strategies for the expenses that
    you do not pay monthly, for example some bills are paid quarterly. Even
    though, this bill is paid quarterly, keep aside the amount aside each

    Decrease your expenses by developing a clear strategy and try to
    increase your income.

    4. Do
    not always use your credit card.

    Always create a list of items you plan to purchase and know the amount
    you are planning to spend. 

    6. As
    soon as you develop a plan with your monthly income and expenses, you
    can set the good amount for paying your debts. Remember, as we
    discussed previously, adding an extra amount to your monthly debts
    payment can decrease the interest payment and save time. When you have
    money with you, and you really do not need to spend it add this
    amount to your monthly payments.

    7. Being
    debt free is not only a way to manage your money, but also a
    negotiation tool. Try to find an alternative with a lower rate. Use
    negotiation, tell your current creditor that you’ve obtained
    lower rates with another provider; this might result in their reducing
    rates to
    keep you as a customer.

    8. Think
    before you buy! Sometimes you buy for an item and later on realise
    that you do not really need it at the moment. Think well before
    planning to buy. Ask yourself “do I really need this

    9. As we
    mentioned in Chapter 1, we have good and bad debts, stay away from bad
    debt. Stay away from:

    - High
    interest credit cards

    - High
    interest items

    - Big

    10. Do
    not buy a brand new car when you cannot afford to pay it.

    Get a used one and keep it for many years.

    11. Be
    smart and reasonable.

    are some steps toward being debt free, but getting out of debt is
    challenging but for sure it can be done especially with dedication and

    When you
    are asked to decrease your expenses, cancel your credit cards, develop
    a plan, etc… you are changing the way you live, and
    especially the way you think. Following the steps mentioned above is
    not a rule to follow. You must be convinced that you need to change the way you think. 

    one dollar every day or any very small amount of money can be useful
    for a rainy day or to help in your debts.

    pay off the smallest bills at first, this way you will save some money
    and add it to the highest bill. This works in most cases when you have
    for example 5 bills. You pay the small ones then allocate an extra payment
    from the saved amount into the higher bill.

    and again, remind yourself, keep your credit card for
    emergencies, do not carry the card with you, and have cash in your
    pocket unless you really and urgently need it. Get out of troubles, and
    put your credit card at home. Hide it somewhere out of sight. 

    Remember; the credit card business is very competitive.
    When you always make your payments on time, call and ask to lower your
    interest, it is your right to do so.

    Nowadays, everyone carries a mobile phone or a PDA (Personal digital
    assistant) or a pocket PC. Carry them with you all the time, and record
    your purchases whether by writing a note or downloading a free or paid
    financial management software, it wont cost you more then 30 bucks. If
    you are only using notes, write down the amount and what it was for.
    That way you can really see how much you are frittering away each
    month. This is the best way, to keep records of your financial life in
    your pocket every time and everywhere.

    It would be better to carry your PDA or small notebook rather then your
    credit card(s). When you need to buy something take a look at your
    notes, and see your total debt or purchases and the budget that you can
    really work with. You do not really need to buy an item unless you really cannot live without it. In most cases, you
    spend money for something with less priority while you can save this
    money for something with higher priority or to pay existing debts.

    make a monthly budget for yourself, if possible do it weekly or even
    daily; being financially organized is the key to success. You must
    include details in your budget. Add foods, bills, entertainment,
    transportation, shopping, miscellaneous and other and this way you will
    see how much you really need to spend and which is higher in
    priority… If you can make changes to your way of life and
    save some money, do so. Use that money to pay back debts and in the
    meantime you should stop adding to your borrowing by surviving only on
    cash or debit cards

    Are you
    a student? An employee? Bring everything with you to school/university
    or to work. Have your lunch, snacks and even your drink. It is better
    then buying from machine. You will save even with small amount but you
    are SAVING.

    example, you can save between 1 and 3 dollars every day if you avoid
    using machines, this way you have around 60 dollars each month

    of saying that something only costs one dollar, say if I don't buy it
    that is one dollar that I can put away for a rainy day or put toward

    Look at
    your monthly income based on the net amount. Deduct taxes, health
    plans, social security etc… and you will have the net income.

    If you are in debt, it is a given that you are spending more money than
    you make. You are in the red. This is something you must recognise.

    within your means. If you can't afford to pay cash, you can't afford to
    have it. Also pay off highest interest debts first.

    when you have less free time, you spend less money on nights out or
    shopping. When you are in debt, do not go out for shopping or for
    entertainment until you are managing your financial life the good way.
    Find something beneficial to do with yourself rather than going to the
    mall. This way, you're reducing your debt, and most importantly, not
    adding more to your debt. If you cannot keep up, you may enter a debt
    consolidation program. Do not ever work with private firms or lawyers
    with these issues. There are plenty of non-profit agencies who are glad
    and ready to help you anytime by negotiating maybe a lower interest
    rates or helping you with plans on improving you financial situation.

    though you may not like to have a third party agency help you get our
    of trouble, remember it is 100% better than bankruptcy and you will
    have a debt-free life to look forward to.

    this advice from someone who work in the credit card industry; pay your
    bill every single month, whether you have a due payment or not. Look at
    your overdue period and what your over limit fees are. You could be
    racking up monthly fees which are added to your principal balance
    and are then charged interest on the next month.

    you're a real shopaholic, go to the thrift stores. They are often
    charity run and often don't take credit cards, so you have to pay cash.
    Keep you living within your means and you can find great stuff there.
    Go to garage sales in well-heeled neighborhoods. Go early for the best stuff. You can
    get great items if you keep your eyes open. Would you rather have a big
    credit card bill you can't pay or a few scuffs on furniture or
    appliances that has lots of life left?

    It's a
    real high to find the things you need and still stay out of debt.

    honest with yourself, this way you are on the road to freedom. Ask
    yourself how this happened to me and why it happened.

    You will need to really assess all the debts. Look at all your
    statements. Cut up and cancel all the cards and accounts, except the
    ones with the highest remaining credit available.

    should keep one account open for an emergency; we are not saying that
    you must live without a credit card.

    To get
    rid of debt stress, you will have to give up many things you
    consider as needs. Believe it you can live without new clothes for awhile,
    without buying the latest smart phone, the cable TV, the higher
    bandwidth internet connection, and much more, believe it or not. You
    have to face the responsibility and the consequences.

    items and things you want will be more valuable to you, when you really
    can afford them with cash up front, or using credit in a wise way.

    If you
    are an employee, be willing to work overtime, get a part-time home job
    or something similar, there are plenty of websites that offer home job
    opportunities. Getting a better income will help you to get out of debt.
    When you are free, take an hour just to think, try to have
    new fresh ideas that might help you in improving your income and/or
    reducing your expenses. Search and research. For example you can buy the
    same item at 30% less by just shopping around at different stores. 

    Do not
    be fooled by brand names, an xyz mouse for your computer will work as
    well as an xyz2 mouse. It is a mouse! Why do you need to spend double
    the price for a brand name!

    When you
    have an identical item with different brand names and both with a 2
    year guarantee, do not look for the brand name,
    look for the cheapest. There are many  ways to save! All you need
    is a little effort and some patience. So go ahead search and save!

    If you
    can buy directly from the factory do it, stores are buying from
    resellers and resellers from the factory so the retail prices are double or
    triple the factory cost at times.

    your debts are high and your monthly income is not enough to cover the
    payments, there are ways to solve your debt problem. But the road to
    financial recovery takes a total commitment. You must decide you want
    to be debt-free. You have to discipline yourself to take the necessary
    action to pay back your debts. Only you can determine if you are
    willing to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve this goal.

    it is inadvisable to take out new loans to pay off old ones. So-called
    consolidation loans are often offered at very high interest rates,
    quite often all they do is saddle people with new debts they can ill

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Toss Out Debt: Finding Your Own Credit Score

    How To Find Your Credit Score

    You would think that finding out your credit score is easy. In a way it is, but only because you've done my research and you won’t have to spend time surfing websites looking for the ever elusive credit number. It would seem logical to have your credit score appear right on your credit report, but that’s just not the way it is.

    There was a time when your credit score was a big secret known only to financial companies and banks. With the FACT Act, legislators decided that it was important for individuals to know not only what their personal credit scores are but how they are calculated and how to improve them.

    The main company who calculates your credit score is the Field, Isaac Company commonly known as FICO. They invented the concept of the FICO scores so they are the ones who are known as experts in the industry. Before we go into finding your score, let’s look at a few facts about the FICO score.

    • FICO scores are your credit rating
    •  They range from 300-850, higher is better
    • Most lenders base their approval on them
    • Higher scores mean lower interest rates

    FICO scores are calculated based on your rating in five general categories:

    1. Payment history - 35%
    2. Amounts owed - 30%
    3. Length of credit history - 15%
    4. New credit - 10%

    • Types of credit used - 10%
    • Field, Isaac Company is the inventor of the FICO score
    • They have the only website offering all 3 of your FICO scores
    • The median FICO score in the U.S. is 723

    Essentially, your credit score is simply a snapshot of your credit use -- it's the Cliffs Notes version of seven years of your borrowing history. In many lending situations, the lender bases its decision almost solely on your credit score. Consider your credit score the overall GPA of your borrowing history.

    Now, here’s the bad news. If you want to know your actual credit score, you will usually have to purchase it. This can be done in a few ways.

    You can get it from one of the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The fee isn’t a huge one – usually around $15 or $20. However, if you’re serious about growing your credit score, it’s well worth the money to be financially responsible in the end.

    You can also go to and get your FICO score directly from them. They will offer you a free 30 day trial membership which will get your credit score right now and then, if you wish to continue the membership, it will update the score as it rises (or, heaven forbid lowers).

    If you are applying for a mortgage, here’s a little good news for you. You can find out your credit score for free! The mortgage company will base their decision and interest rate on what your credit score number is, so just ask and they’ll tell you!

    Interpret Your Score

    FICO scores range between 300 and 850. Here’s what those scores mean:

    •  Over 750 – you have excellent credit and will be able obtain credit easily
    •  720 or more – you still have very good credit and will be able to obtain credit easily
    •  660 to 720 – this is an acceptable credit. You can still get loans, but you may pay a higher interest rate
    •  620 to 660 – creditors are going to be uncertain about lending you money
    •  Less than 620 – you have poor credit history and will probably not be able to obtain credit on your own.

    Knowing the above information makes it obvious that if you need or want to get credit for something, the higher your score is, the better your chances are to not only get credit but get it at a handsome interest rate. If you are in the 660 to 620 range, you may still get a loan, but the interest rate is likely to be higher.

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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    Christmas Letter

    Hello to my Family, Friends and readers of my financial blog (DebtFree4ever.NET) -

    Here we are at Christmas for another year. 2009 is almost over and has been a blessed year in many ways. In others not so much. So as is tradition, lets take a look back at the past year. It has been an interesting and bumpy ride. However, thanks to the some good fortune (and perhaps God's rich blessing) I have made great strides in my financial life.

    For example, I only have $800 left to pay on the car that has been the hardest thing for me to pay off. Soon though, it will be 100% paid off and I expect to make 2010 the year that I am able to call the Dave Ramsey Show and yell I'm debt free. Actually, maybe I should say we.

    That's because 2009 was terrific in another way. I met the most wonderful and beautiful woman this past year. After a year of flirting and several months of dating, she and I were engaged on October 3, at the local hockey game, as thousands watched and listened to me stutter out my question, "will you marry me." She of course said yes and we have now set the date and made the reservation for the the location of the wedding and reception. I am hoping to be able to video tape the wedding and post it on the blog for those that are unable to attend.

    Speaking of the blog, is holding steady and is currently working on a merger, is expected bring a reported 142 new unique visitors to the blog, once the merger is complete.

    In addition to this, I launched a new sister site ( that allows you to print off your monthly budget forms. Not to mention the form to request (in writing) your free annual credit report.

    Merry Christmas!

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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Toss Out Debt: Understanding Your Current Debt Position

    Current Debt Position

    Do you realize that if you owe $5,600 on a credit card with a 18% interest rate, and you only make $100 payment each month that you will owe on this account for 124 months and pay a total of $6,708.54 in principle and and paying % 54.5031 of interest for the payment?

    Real examples are usually the best tool to demonstrate a theory.
    Let’s take few examples:
    You have 3 debts:

  • Home Loan

  • Credit Card

  • Car Loan

  • Analysing Your Debt Position

    Home loan has an amount of $36.000 with %14 of interest rate, $3500 for the credit card with %18 of interest and $21.000 for the car loan with %10 of interest.

    Most people unfortunately, do not summarize their debts correctly. They simply follow the debt period/time and payoff their debts without having a clear status of what is really happening behind the scene.

    This resource is not written to simply explain theories; you will learn how to calculate your debts and how to recreate a payment plan to avoid huge interest rates and hence cutting down your debts and/or becoming debt free.

    As an excercise, bring out your calculator, have a paper and pen ready and follow these examples to see how drastically you can cut down your interests and save time and money!

    Let’s summarize these debts:

    summarize these debts:

















    is the interest rate we are paying. (Weighted average for 14%, 18% and

    is your current monthly payment. ($500 + $100 + $250)

    Summary for your current debts:

  • $60.500 is the total amount of the debts we have. ($36.000 + $3500 + $21.000)

  • 12.8% is the interest rate we are paying. (Weighted average for 14%, 18% and 10%)

  • $850 is your current monthly payment. ($500 + $100 + $250)

  • $647.50 is the amount of interest you are paying each month. ($60.500 x 12.842% / 12)

  • 76.1% is the percent of your monthly payments on all your debts.

    If you continue to make the current minimum payments on all your debts, you will be in debt for:

    13 years and 2 months

    During this time you will pay a total of $59,766.10 in interest which is 98.7% of your current debt!

    Can you imagine this huge number! 98.7% of interest!!!

    This is the current debt status; this is the nightmare if you do not follow a debt free plan. Shocking numbers!





    Interest Paid

    of interest



















  • Your Home loan needs 13 years and 2 months to be paid off

  • Your Car loan needs 12 years and 2 months to be paid off.

  • Your Credit card needs 4 years and 3 months to be paid off.

    Total: $60.500

    Interest: $59.766.10

    Can you imagine paying interest approximately the same amount of owe? Unbelievable!

    You will be paying for this $120.266, by simply recreating a repayment plan (following steps of Chapter 5), you will save this money! And save time too! And make life easier and let the dream come true!

    If you were to pay off your debts by paying either the minimum amount or the payment amount of a 15 year amortization, you would have to pay a total of $59,766.10 in interest and would not pay off your debts for 13 years and 2 months.

    ***Note: This article is from a website that was recently merged into this site and may not represent the views of the sites owner. ***

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