Category: Shopping & Finance
You never want to hear your waiter say, “Sorry, your card was declined.”
For people with bad credit, hard times are inevitable. When they occur, you can dig a deep hole and crawl in, but there are better ways to respond. Here are the most common scenarios involving embarrassing credit and answers most worthy.
1. “I’m sorry sir, but your card was declined.”
When a boy says these terrifying words, you are bound to flush crimson dining companions as speculate on the state of your finances.
Squelch panic, “said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education. Explain calmly that the tape may have been damaged, and make another card for the purchase. If she was denied because you are maxed out, however, and you have no plastic or other cash, excuse yourself and call the creditor to request an “opt-in for overlimit fees. “” This will allow operations overlimit to fill, “says Ulzheimer. You will be assessed a fee, but your reputation will be saved.
2. “Er, Jane, we need to discuss this issue before you pay.”
It’s awful to be sued for a debt, but it is horrible when your employer receives an order for garnishment of wages, a part of your salary should be given to your creditor.
Do not wait until the sheriff to serve hits the paper, said the trust expert Delores Pressley. Be proactive and request a meeting with your boss, saying: “I am terribly sorry that a personal question has extended to the workplace. I’ll find a solution as quickly as possible. “This straightforward approach may compensate for a negative opinion of your supervisor. Also, you can not be fired for garnishment (unless there was more than one in a period of 12 months), which may inspire some confidence.
3. “Rent to you with your bad credit? Ha!”
Ready to sign a lease? If your credit is terrible, you could be in the same humiliation that Matthew and Fiona Peters, Madison, Wisconsin, experienced.
As newlyweds, Peters thought they had found the perfect apartment. Yet in the rental office crowded, the agent announced loudly: “There is no way that we can rent with your credit. It is bad… very bad. “Every parent called and asked for help in vain.” After the second call, we sat there red-faced, wondering what we were supposed to do or say next, “said Matthew Peters.” It was emasculating!”
Today, Peters offers advice to others in similar situations, “Keep your cool and do not take it personally seen a high level for all residents not only protects the property owner’s investment, but people living there as well.. “Focus on your finer points.” You could say: “My credit is bad, but I’m busy and make it a point to always pay for my first home,” said Peters. You may need to sweeten the deal by offering a co-signer, doubling the deposit or to pay rent in advance.
4. “Great, once we see your credit file, we can complete your job application.”
credit checks pre-employment are the norm today – and you’ll want to hide if yours is full of big balances, late payments and accounts written off.
Sure, you can deny access to your reports, but it could encourage the hiring manager to build your resume. So stand tall and to disclose past problems at the front. Honesty can not increase your chances. And relax on shamefully low credit rating. “The credit bureaus and their professional organization (the consumption data Industry Association) have publicly stated countless times stating that they do not provide credit ratings and audit reports of the working credit” says Ulzheimer.
5. “Darling, I can not wait to start a life with you – buy a house, have children …”
Have terrible credit, but in the beginning of a long term relationship? Assuming it can be scary.
Like it or not, you must reveal the horrible truth. Then, commit to open communication and make amends, “said Joe Rubino, author of” Self-esteem book.” “Contact all debtors, make arrangements to clean the debts, start a savings plan, cut credit cards and take full responsibility for the management of future purchases responsibly.” Strengthen your skills and your faith life partner through financial counseling, therapy or life coaching.
6. “I need to talk with Mary about a bill pending.”
Whether calls or messages collection go to your workplace, roommate or relative, your private situation will become public.
First, the end of the phone calls. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collectors third discuss your debt with anyone but you. And while they may contact you at work if you ask them to stop, they should. Tell them you know the law and that you will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, if they persist. Then, “said Rubino, act with integrity and clean up your mess of money. “This done, he is afraid of anyone except your own. If you feel the need to explain calls to anyone, just say you made financial arrangements to settle debts and the case is supported “.
7. “OK, Phil, go ahead and charge those costs and we will reimburse you.”
A business trip is imminent and you are supposed to book a hotel room, flight or rental car. Uh oh, you have no credit.
Do not worry, you’re not the only one not charging fees. About 29 percent of Americans live without credit. Suffice it to say that you only use cash, and ask to be paid with corporate funds or corporate card. Few employers balk at such a reasonable request.
Is it easy to deal with these credit problems mortifying gracefully? Of course not. But keep in mind that even a show of assurance from the air – and feel – better than avoidance.
$6,000 for setting up an IRA is paltry compared with the $37,000 for another transaction.
A $5,000 or $6,000 deduction for IRA contributions, a $4,000 deduction for college tuition and fees, a $1,000 child tax credit — these are hefty tax breaks for which a taxpayer may understandably yearn. But they’re small beans when compared with the tens of thousands of dollars in savings some reap through deductions and credits.
How about taking a $50,000 deduction for state and local taxes paid, a $37,000 deduction for medical expenses, a $28,000 deduction for mortgage interest, or a $21,000 deduction for charitable contributions?
Those are the average amounts claimed for each of those deductions in 2008 by taxpayers with adjusted gross income higher than $250,000, the group with the highest average claim for each of those deductions that year, said Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst with CCH Inc., a Riverwoods, Ill.-based tax publisher and unit of Wolters Kluwer. (The average dollar amounts are rounded, and count only those taxpayers who claimed that particular deduction.)
Some tax breaks “basically don’t have any limit,” Luscombe said. For example, to take the medical-expense deduction your expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
“That puts a floor on it, but as far as a top number, the more medical expenses you have, the higher the deduction,” Luscombe said. (Some deductions discussed here are restricted or disallowed under the alternative minimum tax.)
For taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $30,000 to $50,000 in 2008, the average deduction for state and local taxes was about $3,800; for medical expenses, $6,000; mortgage interest, $9,000; charitable contributions, $2,200, according to CCH.
For taxpayers with AGI of $50,000 to $100,000, the average deduction for state and local taxes was about $6,000; medical expenses, $7,000; mortgage interest, $10,600; charitable contributions, $2,700.
The mortgage-interest deduction is limited by the value of your home — generally speaking, you can claim it for interest paid on mortgage indebtedness up to $1 million, plus another $100,000 of home-equity debt. See this IRS page for more on the mortgage-interest deduction.
Meanwhile, some credits don’t have an upper limit, Luscombe said. The residential energy-efficient property credit for installing solar, wind or geothermal systems is worth 30% of the amount spent — whatever that amount is.
But don’t confuse that credit with the one for home energy-efficient upgrades, such as new windows and doors. That credit was worth up to $1,500 in 2010 but lawmakers reduced it for 2011, in the Tax Relief Act passed in December.
New York, long thought to be the top spot in the nation, doesn’t even make the list.
Move over New York. When it comes to shopping, everything’s bigger in Texas. Forbes’ first-ever ranking of the best U.S. cities for shopping takes a look at the real numbers behind what makes retail sparkle in the biggest cities in America.
One look at the top 10 shows that NYC, long thought to be the best city for style, sophistication and putting your pocketbook to work, is nowhere to be found. What? Why? How? The truth is, in deciding what makes a city “best,” it all depends on what you’re looking for.
America’s Top 10 Cities for Shopping
1. Houston, TX
2. Phoenix, AZ
3. Dallas, TX
4. Baltimore, MD
5. Columbus, OH
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. Philadelphia, PA
8. San Antonio, TX
9. Jacksonville, FL
10. San Diego, CA
When it comes to shopping, everyone has their own style. Some of us are in-and-out. We know what we want, we know where to find it and we’d like to be on our way, thank-you-very-much. Others are in heaven strolling through well-lit retail centers, window shopping to our heart’s delight, even if there’s nothing we “need.” And some of us are on the hunt for a bargain—if it isn’t on sale, it’s not on our list.
In compiling our list of America’s best cities for shopping, we took the interests of all types to heart to find the urban centers with the best combination of options, ease and affordability.
Of the 525 major shopping centers in the country’s biggest cities, there are nearly 257 million square feet of gross leasable retail area, according to data provided by Esri, a geographic information systems firm that tracks the leasable area of major U.S. shopping centers of more than 225,000 square feet. Of that, nearly a quarter of the retail space (87,879,057 square feet) is in the Lone Star state, more than explaining how three Texan cities landed in our top ten cities for shopping. Like their football and BBQ, Texans take their shopping seriously.
Houston comes in at No. 1 one the list. “Houston might be a big city, and sure you can spend days buying up the shopping malls, but for me the best thing has always been the boutiques that are somehow both 100% Southern and completely chic,” says stylist Kate Barash, a Houston native now living in Los Angeles.
Barash, who describes her own fashion sense as “date night feisty,” shares her two favorite Houston stops for shopping: 310 Rosemont (1965 W. Gray Ave.), where she stocks up jeans from trendy 1921 and Seven For All Mankind. She also scores pieces from Milly and James Perse; and Lot 8 (6127 Kirby Drive), where she finds “the best L.A. designers without the Los Angeles inflated prices.”
Thanksgiving is weeks away, but some retailers are dropping prices to entice shoppers.
We’re five weeks away from Black Friday and already major retailers are dropping prices to entice early shoppers into the stores and onto their websites. Amazon has been discounting prices for months and, as a result, its third-quarter sales surged 39 percent. We combed the websites and sale circulars of some major appliance and equipment retailers and found prices cut on some top performers. Some stores are throwing in free delivery and haulaway deals to sweeten the deal.
If you’re a subscriber to ConsumerReports.org, remember that you can access our Ratings and other shopping advice free through your mobile phone. Consumer Reports also just introduced its Mobile Shopper. With this application, available on iTunes for $9.99, shoppers can scan a barcode and access product and pricing information as well as Ratings for CR’s most popular products.
Related Link: Poster shopping at Art Canyon
The fee to switch to a no-interest card could wipe out your potential savings.
Consumers with credit scores of 720 and higher have been inundated with card applications and preapprovals touting 0% annual percentage rates on new purchases and balance transfers — for as long as 21 months. Credit card analysts say consumers can expect to see more of these offers as delinquency rates — already down 26% from a year ago, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve, continue to fall, and card issuers try to boost profits by targeting prime borrowers.
Seventy-one percent of credit-card mail features low introductory APRs on purchases, up from 53% in the year-ago period, according to the most recent data from Synovate Mail Monitor, which tracks credit-card mail. And balance transfer offers are on the rise, making up 65% of credit-card mail, compared to 54% earlier this year.
This is a dramatic turnaround from last year when these borrowers — who pay their bills on time and often maintain low-to-zero balances — were shunned by card companies, in part because their responsible borrowing habits meant smaller profits for the lenders. Many saw their credit limits cut and interest rates raised to rates as high as 30%. Now, card issuers are hoping these more credit-worthy borrowers will spend and carry a balance beyond the introductory period, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of CardHub.com, which tracks credit-card offers.
What to Expect
Longer balance transfer promotions…
Promotional periods for 0% balance transfer offers available in October last up to 21 months, compared to the 12-month average promotional period a year ago, according to CardHub. Before 2007, it was rare to see a 0% promotional offer for as long as 15 months.
Someone paying $300 each month on a $5,000 balance at an 18% rate — a common APR right now — will incur $797.17 in interest over 20 months, an expense that could be significantly reduced with a balance transfer. Consumers with credit scores of at least 720 can choose from 12 balance transfer offers with 0% interest that last at least a year. Look for these card applications in the mail, or contact credit-card issuers or search the web to apply. The Citi Diamond Preferred and the Citi Platinum Select cards offer 21 months, the longest period; the Discover More card offers 18 months.
…but higher balance transfer fees
The downside to balance transfers is the 3% to 5% fee you’ll have to pay, which wipes out a chunk of the potential savings. Of the 18 cards offering a 0% balance transfer to high credit-score consumers, all but one have fees in this range, according to CardHub.com. (The Visa Black card is the exception, the balance transfer fee is capped at $50, but the card has an annual fee of $495.)
Many credit-card issuers have also eliminated caps for fees on balance transfers, many of which were $100 or less only a year or two ago, says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com, which monitors credit-card trends. So now, to transfer $5,000, you’d pay up to $250. And more fee hikes are likely on future offers in the near term, says Anuj Shahani, a director at Synovate. But if you can pay off the balance in a 21-month period, you could save upwards of $500 on the 18% interest you’d have otherwise incurred.
Higher rates after the promotional period…
On average, most 0% rates will adjust to around 15% after the promotional period, a high rate for prime borrowers who, pre-credit crunch, could often secure a rate below 10%. So pay off the entire balance before the promotional period ends or you’ll be stuck with a rate that could be higher than the one you have now.
Rate changes won’t stop there. As with any credit card, the issuer can increase the APR again, and if it does so, it will notify you by mail. That new rate won’t apply to your existing balance, which was often the case before the new credit-card rules went into effect, but will apply to purchases you make as early as 14 days after you receive the notice, says Papadimitriou.
…but more forgiveness
If you miss a payment, you’ll have a longer grace period before you lose that 0% rate. Prior to the new credit-card law, if a cardholder was late with one payment, his interest rate could default to a penalty APR, usually 24% or higher. Now, the penalty rate kicks in only when a consumer is late on a payment for more than 60 days. Although it’s a better deal for, say, an absent-minded bill-payer, that penalty would likely wipe out the savings from a 0% offer.
One important thing to determine is your breakeven point — how long it’ll take to recoup your costs.
Refinancing applications represented approximately 80% of all mortgage loan applications in September 2010, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), in part because extremely low mortgage interest rates encourage homeowners to restructure their finances. But whether or not a mortgage refinance is right for you depends more on individual circumstances than this week’s mortgage interest rates. Here are a few considerations to think about before applying for a home refinance:
1. Home Equity
The first qualification you will need in order to refinance is equity in your home. Dropping home values across the country have left many Americans “underwater”, owing more to their mortgage lender than their home’s current market value. Other homeowners have low equity. Refinancing with little or no equity is not always possible with conventional lenders, but some government programs are available. The best way to find out if you qualify for a particular program is to visit a lender and discuss your individual needs. Homeowners with at least 10-15% equity will have an easier time qualifying for a new loan.
2. Credit Score
Lenders have tightened their standards for loan approvals in recent years, so some consumers may be surprised that even with good credit they will not always qualify for the lowest interest rates. Typically, lenders want to see a credit score of at least 720 or higher in order to qualify for the lowest mortgage interest rates. Borrowers with lower scores may still obtain a new loan, but the interest rates or fees they pay may be higher.
3. Debt-to-Income Ratio
If you already have a mortgage loan, you may assume that you can easily get a new one. But lenders have not only raised the bar for credit scores, they have also become stricter with debt-to-income ratios. While some factors such as a high income, a long and stable job history or substantial savings may help you qualify for a loan, lenders usually want to keep the monthly housing payments under a maximum of 28% to 31% of your gross monthly income. Overall debt-to-income should be 36% or less, although with some additional positive factors some lenders will go above 40%. You may want to pay off some debt before refinancing in order to qualify.
4. Refinancing Costs
A home refinance usually costs between 3% and 5% of the loan amount, but borrowers can find several ways to reduce the costs or wrap them into the loan. If you have enough equity, you can roll the costs into your new loan, increasing the principal. Some lenders offer a “no-cost” refinance, which usually means that you will pay a slightly higher interest rate to cover the closing costs. Don’t forget to negotiate and shop around, since some refinancing fees can be paid by the lender or reduced.
5. Rates vs. Term
While many borrowers focus on the interest rate, it is important to establish your goals when refinancing to determine which mortgage product meets your needs. If your goal is to reduce your monthly payments as much as possible, you will want a loan with the lowest interest rate for the longest term. If you want to pay less interest over the length of the loan, look for the lowest interest rate at the shortest term. Borrowers who want to pay off their loan as fast as possible should look for a mortgage with the shortest term at payments they can afford.
When you compare various mortgage loan offers, make sure you look at both the interest rates and the points. Points, equal to 1% of the loan amount, are often paid to bring down the interest rate. Be sure to calculate how much you will pay in points with each loan, since these will be paid at the closing or wrapped into the principal of your new loan.
7. Breakeven Point
An important calculation in the decision to refinance is the breakeven point, the point at which the costs of refinancing have been covered by your monthly savings. After that point, your monthly savings are completely yours. For example, if your refinance costs you $2,000 and you are saving $100 per month over your previous loan, it will take 20 months to recoup your costs. If you intend to move or sell your home within two years, a refinance under this scenario may not make sense.
8. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Homeowners who have less than 20% equity in their home when they refinance will be required to pay PMI. If you are already paying PMI under your current loan, this will not make a big difference to you. But some homeowners who own homes that have decreased in value since the purchase date may discover that when they refinance they will need to start paying PMI for the first time. The reduced payments due to a refinance may not be low enough to offset the additional cost of PMI. A lender can quickly calculate whether you will need to pay PMI and the impact on your housing payments.
Many consumers rely on their mortgage interest deduction to reduce their federal income tax bill. If you refinance and begin paying less in interest, your tax deduction will be lower, although few people view that as a reason to avoid refinancing. Points paid during a refinance can be deducted over the life of the new mortgage loan.
The current financial crises means that more and more people want to make money online not only do they want to make money online they usually want to make money fast and often they want to make money for free. Unfortunately there are a lot of unethical marketers out there who are more than happy to take your money and and attempt to deliver on their promise which will offer you fast extra cash online – if you have any sense, or respect for your money you will run a million miles.
Why Internet Marketing Has Such Bad Reputation
Yes you can make money online. First though when you are looking for an opportunity to make money online remember that most people trying to make money online are trying to do it by earning commissions from newbies who are looking to make money online – people like you! Guess which programs get promoted the most? The best programs – sure, that’s the programs with the best commissions of course! Quite a number of current programs have up front charges of around $2000 – the commission is probably about 30-40% – you can see the temptation can’t you?
That is the heart of the problem with the ethics of Internet Marketing – and leads to new people doing one of two things: loosing a lot of money and then quiting the business getting a real bad taste in their mouth – and quitting the business.
I was lucky – first I didn’t have much money so I quit without losing too much cash, just a whole lot of time, which for many people is even more precious. And secondly I found a few good, ethical marketers who taught me how to make money online for real.
Can You Make Real Money Online – Is It All A Scam?
Yes you can make real money – but its not by selling stuff to other people who want to make money. Instead its by selling stuff to people who really want to buy it: real stuff: iPods, e-books on how to meet a girl, where to find a replacement vacuum bag for your model Hoover.
Is it quick and easy to do this? No its not. There is an awful lot of both wrong and mis-information out there. You don’t need a big name blog, or even to be a great writer to make money online. In fact one of the people I know makes 6-figures a year online is an absolutely appalling writer by his own admission. You don’t need to blog regularly, you don’t need lots of readers and you don’t need social networks like twitter and facebook.
What you need is buyers on your site; and your site needs to be focused with providing answer to people searching for an answer to their problem: how do I get rid of ants in the kitchen? how do I get a jammed DVD out of a Panasonic XYZ DVD Player? how to cure acne? Your site needs to provide an answer to your visitor in a manner which will get you paid – be it an eBay or Amazon sale or an e-book or an Adsense ad click.
It’s possible to spend a lot less money without making big lifestyle changes.
We all know how to spend less and sacrificing. To eat unless you buy fewer clothes to cut back on vacations, savings through sacrifice can be effective, but painful. So if you are looking for ways to save money, why not start with money saving tips that are relatively painless?
With a little imagination, you’ll find many ways to reduce expenses without making major changes to your lifestyle. To begin, here are eight ways painless to save money.
1. Get healthy: As someone who has struggled to stay healthy, I realize that eating healthily and staying fit is easier said than done. But for those who are in good shape, you can save lots of money on life insurance plans and individual health insurance. As a bonus, you’ll feel better and have more energy.
2. Rethinking Auto Insurance: Each year, a review of your auto insurance policy for potential savings. For example, consider increasing your deductible, which reduces premiums. For older vehicles, to evaluate whether you really need collision coverage, which covers damage to your car when your vehicle hits or is hit by another vehicle or object. And make it a habit to compare quotes car insurance per year, which can be done online in minutes.
3. Improve your credit score: Of all the ways to save money without pain, improve your credit score is probably the most important. From home loans and car loans, credit cards and auto insurance, a good credit score can save you a small fortune. Over a lifetime, the savings can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.
According to an article in USA Today, Costly College Prerequisite: Decorate Dorm, 17.6 billion dollars is expected to be spent on back to school shopping for students in kindergarten through college this year. That’s $527.08 per family – an 18% rise from last year. Back to school shopping falls right behind holiday shopping for retailer’s most profitable season. Why?
Sure, there are some necessities that need to be bought when going back to school. My sons both have a page long list of items that they are required to have on the first day of school – pencils, composition notebooks, scissors, a box of tissues, etc. When I was a kid, schools supplied those things, but budgets are ever tightening and now families are required to buy them. I certainly won’t be buying $527.08 worth of necessary supplies, though. I don’t think anyone will be buying $527.08 of necessary supplies, unless their definition of necessary is different from mine.
There was an entire section at Target dedicated to the necessities for a college dorm room. This was separate from the traditional back to school section with school supplies. This section had coordinated dorm bedding, rugs, lamps, wall hangings and desk top accessories. Other items that many college kids consider necessities are computers (okay, I’ll give them that), microwaves, TV’s, DVD players, gaming consoles, mp3 players, hand held gaming systems, and stereos.
Kohls, Ikea, JCPenney, and other mid-priced retailers all have back to school collections of “must-have” items. And let’s not forget the new clothes. Having to show up to school in last year’s clothes just might make a child die of embarrasment.
Whether it’s stuff for a college student or a kindergarten student, many of the “must-have’s” simply aren’t. I can tell you from experience they aren’t. When I went to college, I lugged the bedding from my home bed including the pillow and comfortor back and forth to the dorms. Same with my towels (all two of them that my mom let me take from the hall closet). My stereo consisted of a radio alarm clock that played cassettes. If I wanted to watch TV, I could have gone to the common room. There was no big “our baby is going to college” shopping trip. But that was (gulp) 20 years ago.
Could today’s college freshmen do the same? Of course, they could. For most kids all it would take would be for a parent to say, “No.” Or better yet, raise them to be responsible, sustainable consumers from a young age so they won’t expect $1285 worth of new stuff (what the average college freshmen spends) when they go off to college.
A typical back to school shopping trip for a grade schooler or high schooler consists not only of paper and pencils but a new backpack, lunch box, shoes, clothes, and locker accessories (yes, locker accessories, I’m not making this up). When parents shop like this for kids when they are young, it’s no wonder college freshmen expect so much and retailers make it so easy for them to buy it in one shopping trip in one section of the store.
It’s time to curb the back to school shopping for so much stuff. Reuse last year’s backpacks and lunch boxes and sneakers and dorm bedding. When you do need to buy items, buy with long term in mind so things won’t go out of style. No self-respecting fourth grade girl will want to go to school with last spring’s High School Musical 2 backpack when everyone knows that Hannah Montana is where it’s at this month. So skip the pop pictures on the backpacks and buy nuetral.
If your kid doesn’t really need it, don’t buy it. Your child won’t die of embarrasment. I know this from experience, too, because my kids are still alive and well and carrying the same backpacks they’ve had for years.
Credit card rate hikes reviewed, penalty fees crimped
Most penalties credit card will be limited to $ 25 and fees for customers who do not use their cards will be eliminated under rules issued Tuesday by the Federal Reserve. The Fed also has ordered a review of all walks of credit card interest rates charged since January 2009, including most of the record increases which came in the wake of a nationwide reduction in credit.
The rules, which implement a final set of changes that Congress passed in May 2009, will take effect Aug. 22. “The guidelines of the Federal Reserve released today are good news for consumers,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., one of the authors of the laws of a credit card.
The Fed’s rules could result in lower interest rates for consumers. Banks should reconsider the reasons for these increases that began in the last 18 months. They would have to cut rates if the reasons for the increase no longer exist, and regulators to review and implement such reductions.
Consumers will be more immediately notice the new limit penalty fee of $ 25. Reduce the cost penalty is a central provision of the law of credit card, but Congress has allowed the Fed to determine how.
The Fed gives way to a penalty fee to pay more if the consumer has shown a pattern of “repeat” violations, or if a card issuer can show that higher fees reasonably compensates its own costs in processing the violation prompting the penalty.