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Brown Bagging It: The Struggle Continues

27 Jan

Doesn’t it look so boring?  When I see one, I immediately think of some smashed mediocre sandwich cut down the middle, a Washington Red, and a bag of baby carrots.

While so many people plan to diet and lose weight every year, I unsuccessfully go on a spending diet.  But I’m never discouraged to take a stab it every year.  Without a doubt, my plan is thwarted by food, wine and spirit infused fun times and escapades.  So here I am, once again, making plans to brown bag it in 2012.  Here is what my lunch week looks like most times:

Monday

Tuesday[1]

Wednesday

Thursday[2]

Friday

Total

10.00

4.00

10.00

5.00

15.00

$44.00

10.00

4.00

10.00

5.00

15.00

$44.00

Grand Total

$88.00

[1]

Taco Tuesday at Café Rio

[2]

Costco food (Cheap!)

How much I spend on lunch every week fluctuates.  This is lighter than what I used to spend weekly, minimum $50.

Let’s say you make $40,000 a year.  This means you make $19.23 an hour [(40,000/52(weeks)=$769.23, $769.23/40(hours/week)] before taxes, benefits, and retirement.   I am going to go ahead and take 25% for those miscellaneous items.  So every hour you’re making about $14.42, which is $576.80 per week.  At this rate, you’re spending 8% (44/576.80) of your weekly earnings in one hour; you’ve almost spent what you make in an hour after taxes on lunch.  I know this is extreme with the numbers, but it is what I do.

On a higher level, think about what you make every week, two weeks or a month and know that you’ve spent $50 in a week, $100 in two weeks, or $200 in a month alone on lunch.  Now, I am not going to lie.  It’s so difficult for me to bring my lunch to work.  Really difficult, so this is what I have done this week.

Monday [1]

Tuesday[2]

Wednesday [3]

Thursday

Friday

Total

5.99

7.83

2.16

4.99

4.99

$25.96

Grand Total

$25.96

[1]

Fresh & Easy lunch

[2]

In & Out

[3]

Costco food (Cheap!)

Although cutting the expense completely would be most beneficial, I have found a way to reduce how much I spend.  I spent $18.04 (44-25.96) less than what I normally spend a week.  Woohooooo!!!

By purchasing my lunch from the grocery store daily, I get to enjoy the great outdoors and choose my lunch.  I have commitment issues and hate the lunch room and eating at my desk; my lunch needs to be different EVERYday.

Grocery stores are the best places to buy lunches; they don’t charge tax on food!  Fresh & Easy sell little meals you can just pop in the microwave and they are BAMB.  Monday, I had the Butternut Squash Risotto (s/o @sooelite), Tuesday, In & Out, Wednesday, Pepperoni pizza, Thursday, Southwest Salad and lentil soup, and tomorrow, I will have a Baby Spinach Salad with lentil soup (I didn’t say I am a healthy eater). Never buy a drink for lunch, unless it’s Veggie Grill’s Strawberry Lemonade and iced tea.  You don’t need the sugar and sodium anyhow.  Next time you’re out, look at how much a drink costs, it’s practically half the cost of your meal.  No gracias.  Water, please.

I hope those calculations above help you figure out how much you are being paid per hour.  It’s helpful in negotiating and changing jobs.  When going from hourly to salary, people get confused because a job will throw a seemingly large figure at you, but when you reduce it to the hour, it’s not much.  Don’t get bamboozled.  Know how to calculate your salary to the hour and PTO.

You’d be surprised how often companies cheat their employees on their PTO because people do not don’t take the time to monitor it.  First, you need to speak with your HR department to figure out the accrual rate for PTO.  My job accrues PTO at a rate of 4.62 hours per pay period, so every pay period I should see my PTO account increase 4.62 hours, unless I’ve used some off it.  Then, I have to net what I’ve used with what I earned.  Don’t you hate looking at it?  For every 80 hours I work, I only get 4.62 hours of PTO.  Such is life!

I hope something in this post can be of use to you.

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Refinancing: Run The Numbers

8 Jun

You have an asset you purchased with a loan and would like to change the terms of your loan with your current lender or change to a new lender because they have a better deal, which typically means a better interest rate, refinance.  You move the principal (amount you owe before interest) to another lender.  Loans consist of principal and interest.  Interest is the money you pay the lender for borrowing their money to purchase whatever you needed/wanted.

My job is offering a great auto loan rate right now.  It’s 3.5%.  Of course, this is for people with good credit (very important to maintain a great credit score).  I get .5% less than the public because I am an employee, so I can get 2.99%.  My first thought was that is 2.5% less than the interest rate I have now.  Time to refinance!  But wait…let me go to an online financial calculator and calculate my savings over the life of the loan.

First, you have to define why you are refinancing.  Are you refinancing to lower your payment because you can’t afford the payment, really need the cash in your pocket, or to increase the amount you pay to principal, thus, paying less interest?  Mine was to pay less interest, which means I am paying more principal.  My thinking—-> I’ll pay my current monthly payment on a new loan with a low monthly payment and interest; I’ll save on interest without feeling a change monthly.  But after my calculations using my handy dandy financial calculator, I have some thinking to do.  This is more than a face value monthly payment.  This has to do with time as well.  These are my thoughts…

How much time do I have left on my loan and the remaining principal?  My car will be paid off in 28 periods and there is not much left to pay off.  Since car loans are typically 36 or 60 periods, their terms push me out 8 more months (28+8=36 months), unless I pay it off.  If I am going to pay my car off, I might as well ante up on the loan I already have, but I am not going to do that.  I have an anxiety attack whenever I spend large amounts of money in one sitting.  Remember when you paid for your courses and that trip.  Saving is a great effort that takes time.  Spending only takes seconds.

If I wanted to lower my payment, this deal sounds great.  I would have $200 more per month in my pocket by refinancing, but I have extended my loan periods prolonging the expense. But hey! I am not going to knock it.  Depending on your situation and circumstances (about to default or barely making it), you might need that $200 for necessities.  If you can save the $200 per month and just pay to principal at the end of the year after starting and maintaining a rainy day fund, do so.  If you will not use the money to pay down the principal, I would advise you don’t refinance.

I don’t need the extra money and my goal is to get rid of this car payment.  So now, I am back at square one, keep the current loan and pay more on it to get rid of it.  When I ran the numbers, I only saved $300 over the life of the loan by refinancing for 36 periods and paying the additional $200 on principal every month with the new loan. So in the end, I’m not going to refinance.

Be careful.  What looks good may not be all that good.

The best calculators of all time and they include amortization tables

Bank Rate

Financially Ready for Marriage

19 May

At one of my Bible Study lessons, a minister said that women need to prepare for the man God purposed for them.  Women need to create a space in which a man can enter.  He even joked imitating an exchange between two women: “Friend: Girl, why are you cleaning out the other side of your garage? Woman: For my husband.  Friend: Why are you sleeping on one side of the bed? Woman: Because my husband will need room. I have to get used to sleeping on one side of the bed”

I thought it was hilarious, but all jokes aside, I agree.  I would not go to this extent. However, on a higher level this makes sense.  Whether we are single, on the verge of a relationship or in one, we should be in preparation mode, two wholes coming together to make a better whole.  I don’t think two halves coming together should expect a one, although mathematically it makes sense, “but physics, this sh*t ain’t.” It would be better said that we strengthen one another’s weaknesses.

Since we’ll forever be a work-in-progress (God is never done with us.  Our living purpose dies when we do.  Our legacy lives on), I presume we can pass several common roadblocks in marriage if we merely improve the quality of our individual lives. 

Getting my finances in order – minimal debt, great credit score, retirement, and savings – is a personal goal, as well as a relationship goal, and a standard.  I want to have the least amount of baggage entering into my marriage.  I suspect finances is one of the leading reasons marriages are either dysfunctional or broken (sorry, but I did not want to read up on the statistics and compile them). It is imperative that spending and saving habits are complimentary, as well as, financial goals.   The last thing I want to do is argue money in my relationship or future marriage. This year, I’ve made an effort to seek the best deal and figure out where to spend my money. I still enjoy eating out as well as cooking. Both are expensive, but now I check ads for prices. My friends have helped me become conscious of prices and substitutes.

So, ladies, continue financial responsibility or take it up.  Men should not have to marry debt and bad credit, too.  Although this is geared towards women, it is also applicable to men.  “I don’t want no scrub.  A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me.  Hanging out the passenger side of his bestfriend’s ride trying to holla at me.”  Hahahahahaha. 

I subscribed with Learn Vest, a site about finances intended for women.  It is relatable and easy to read.  They somehow made finances feminine, subject matters women deal with financially. Today, one of their tweets read Spring Cleaning: Don’t forget your finances!  Check them out. You can also check out www.mint.com.

Retirement: Growing My Nest Egg, NOW

21 Mar

That graph shows what most Americans over 65 are doing. Ummm…No. That light blue and orange field needs to grow substantially. We cannot rely on Social Security.

At the tail end of 2010, I became obsessed with when I was going to retire and how I was going to retire.  I started really thinking hard about money, how I want to live in the next 10 to 15 years, and the people who aren’t near retirement at my job but have been working the last 30 – 35 years.  Retirement is about Time Value of Money, value of money given an amount of interest earned over a given amount of time.  Thank you, college degree.  I am also looking into Balanced Funds and Broad Based EFTs.  I haven’t gotten all the information yet, but you can certainly look into those, as well.

I started tying up some of my money up in various retirement accounts and investments the beginning of the year. For some, I did so by automatically transferring money every two weeks (when I get paid) into my retirement accounts, while others were one-time payments.  Figure out what type of spender and saver you are, this typically goes hand-in-hand with the amount of risk you are willing to take.  I treat my retirement better than anything else; it’s the only thing I automatically transfer. Each time I save for retirement, the fewer my days are of sitting at this desk or working in any field I pursue.

Questions you should ask:

When would I like to retire?
How will I retire?
What type of lifestyle would I like to have?
How much money do I expect to go up in pay over the years?
What type of passive income would I like to have at retirement?
What type of investor am I? Take this questionnaire.

401K, an employee retirement plan

If you are working at an ethical and pretty stable place, they more than likely offer a retirement plan and will match.  THIS IS A GREAT THING.  There are so many companies that don’t match because of the economy like mine.  If yours does, DO IT AND DO IT BIG. It’s FREE money!  Most companies offer 401ks and enroll you automatically.  Put in a minimum of what they will match and watch growth.  For example, if your company will match you up to 3% on your 401K, Defined Contribution Plan, you need to have at least 3% of your check going into your retirement account.  If you can stretch your contribution to 10%, you will be surprised at how much money you accumulate in no time.  I did it and it’s awesome.  Before I see my money, it’s taken out and it’s tax-free until I withdraw.  *woot woot* 

    Defined Benefit Plan (DBF)

    An employer pays the same amount guaranteed for your entire life, depending on how much you made and how long you worked.  Some DBFs have 30 years of retirement benefit.  No questions asked.  Government employees typically receive this type of retirement in exchange for stagnant low wages (some positions *raised eyebrow*).  I have not seen much of it in the private sector.  I assume there are few companies, if any that still offer Defined Benefit Plans.  I can’t name one.

    Defined Contribution Plans (DCP)

    An employer gives a defined contribution ONLY when the employee is employed.  They don’t guarantee a pension payment amount and term at retirement; they are only investing while you work with them. 

    When the money is gone and your 80, that’s it.  THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO PLAN CORRECTLY.  The result of your retirement account is reliant on contributions and investment earnings. 401K, 457, 403(b) are examples of a DCP.

If you DO NOT have a 401K offering at your job, look into an IRA.  Most banks offer IRAs.  You will need a contribution to and earned income to begin. Have your Social Security number and the Social Security number of your beneficiaries, in the event anything happens, ready.  There are caps on how much you can contribute annually.  Last time, I looked it was $5,000 annually. 

IRA, an Individual Retirement Account

Two types: Traditional and Roth

There is a $5,000 annual contribution limit, if you’re less than 50 years old on either.  Understand the difference between contributions and earnings for tax purposes.

    Traditional

    There is no income restriction, but either you or your spouse must have earned income.  You only need to have “x” amount of income to contribute.  Tax is deferred on the earnings until you take money out, contributions and earnings alike. It’s taxed as Ordinary Income, not capital gains.  You have to start taking money out at 70 ½ years of age.  If you don’t, the IRS will take a big chunk.  If you have a 401k and earn a particular amount of income chances are you don’t qualify for tax deductions.   If this is not the case, you might be able to deduct your contributions.

    Roth

    There is an income limit for Roth IRAs and 5 year waiting period.  You pay tax up front on your contributions, so withdrawal against your contribution is tax and penalty free.  Contributions are not tax deductible, but qualified withdrawals are tax-free.  There is no heavy tax on earnings, if you wait.  The tax penalty is 10% for unqualified withdrawals.  Invest in a ROTH IRA while you’re young, if you do not need the money immediately.  You will be penalized for early withdrawal on earnings, before 59 ½ years of age.  There are few exceptions.  Find them here.

    You only need $2,500 or $200 per month to open a ROTH IRA with Fidelty versus competitors at $3,000 or more.  Check them out for an IRA

    Rollovers

    If you move money from a Traditional IRA to a Roth, you will pay taxes.  Remember you are switching programs from post-tax to pre-tax.  The government is going to get their money.  Rollovers have to have a 5 year grace period, as well.  When you roll it over, you will need to wait 5 years after the conversion before you can take a qualified withdrawal.

    If you Rollover employer retirement funds from an old job into an IRA.  You need to transfer the money directly into the IRA account, direct deposit.  If you do not, you will be taxed for an unqualified withdrawal.

Helpful Information

I love CNN Money Calculators.  They have several you would probably be interested in that go beyond retirement.  Check this one out related to this post.  Retirement Calculator

Keep in mind that you will eventually make more money than you are earning now, so the amount you will need to invest annually to maintain your same lifestyle at retirement will cost you more over the years.  More Savings!

Here is an article on how and where to save everyday:

Great read!

25 Ways You Can Begin Saving

Waiting on my other W-2

25 Jan

Disclaimer: this is intended as an informational and to provoke questions with your tax professional, if you use one. This is NOT a “how-to.”

If your gross income is $9,350 or more, you need to file.  Taxes are due by Monday, April 18, 2011.

Taxes:

The government decided that you should pay “x” amount of taxes based upon your gross income earned in a calendar year for funding of public goods among “other things.”

The distinction between owing the IRS and receiving a refund from them is your withholdings exceeding or falling below the amount of taxes the Fed says you should pay according to your Taxable Income. The idea is to get your taxable income as low as you can within the parameters of “tax law.”

Note: THERE IS A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN YOUR AGI AND TAX RATE

For example,

Taxable Income                                 $45,000

Taxes @ $45k                                     $2,500

Withholdings for 2010                    $3000

Refund                                                 $500 (withholdings are more than your taxes according to the tax table)
Taxable Income                                $45,000

Taxes @ $45k                                     $2,500

Withholdings for 2010                    $2,000

You Owe                                             $500 (withholdings are less than your taxes according to the tax table)

Forms

W-2,  W-9, 1099-G, and the Self-employed

    The W-4 is the form you fill out when you are employed by a company.  When you fill out a W-4, you receive a W-2 from your employer after the calendar year has finished. 

    A W-9 is the form you fill out when you are hired as an independent contractor, you are NOT an employee. You will receive a 1099.  There are several types of income on the W-9, but for most readers it is for contracted work.

    Beware of W-9, 1099 income.  Companies typical do not process the withholdings, which means 100% of the income will be taxed at tax time.
    A copy of the W-2 and whichever type of 1099 you receive is submitted to the Feds by the company furnishing you one.  Be careful, when you try to not to claim 1099 income.  Retirement benefits are also shown on 1099s.  If you do not withdraw any money, it remains tax free (Early Distributions is another discussion).

    Companies have to furnish a W-2 and/or a 1099 to its employees/independent contractors by January 31st.  I have not had a company send me one late as of yet.

    Unfortunately, many American citizens are unemployed and have been for prolonged periods of time.  You should have received a 1099-G.  It is included in your gross income.  There is separate line for unemployment.

    If you are self-employed, your gross receipts are your income.  Your income is calculated via invoices and receipts.

1040s

    There are three of them: 1040, 1040EZ, and 1040A.  Visit this website to see which one you can use.  It’s very simple! Click here.

Terms

    Gross income – total income earned before withholdings or any other taxes, includes Dividends (stock payouts), Capital Gains and Losses (sell of personal and/or investment assets), Interest Income (bank accounts, money markets, CDs, and Deposit Insurance), and Business Income.   Get more information with the link I provided at the bottom of this post. 

    Withholdings – the amount your job has withheld via the W-4 and submitted to the Feds on your behalf.  This goes toward the total amount of taxes you owe for the year, per the Tax Rate Schedule of the current tax year.

    Deductions – You either itemize (Schedule A) or take the standard deduction given by the Feds according to your filing status (married, single, widowed, etc.)  This figure is adjusted annually.  It reduces your AGI.  Thus, you’re reducing your tax rate.

    For itemized deductions, use Schedule A if you: 

    Cannot use the standard deduction
    Had large uninsured medical and dental expenses
    Paid interest or taxes on your home
    Had large unreimbursed employee business expenses
    Had large uninsured casualty or theft losses, or
    Made large charitable contributions

    Student Loan Interest – you do NOT have to itemize to take this deduction.   Your school may have sent you a 1098-E before of your fees for the year. “Like airline tickets, restrictions apply.” Find out more information here.

    Contributions – tithing counts if your church is a registered not-for-profit and can provide you a statement of your contributions.  Ask for something like a receipt when you donate from the organization you donate to.  Sorry I do not have the formal name, but typically they can provide you something with their organization’s name and ID number.

    Credits – There are several.  Here are some:

    Earned Income – you did not earn much income and although you did not have withholdings, you can still have a refund.  EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, which results in a refund.

    First Time Homebuyer – Limit $8,000.  Make less than $125,000 a year, single. Less than $225,000, joint. Home can be no more than $800k.   It has to be your main home for 36 months.  Otherwise, you will have to repay.

    If you purchase another home after residing and owning the same home for ANY 5 consecutive years within the last 8 years, you qualify up to $6,500 for another home purchase. (For example, if you purchased a home in 2002, lived there from 2005 – 2010, and purchase another PRINICIPAL residence home, you qualify for First-Time Home Buyer Credit up to $6,500)

    Personal Exemption – you are typically allowed one for yourself.  If filing married, your spouse can also be an exemption.  Your spouse is NEVER a dependent.  Qualifying children and dependents can also be an exemption.  Do the test.

    Child and Dependent Care – you had to pay child care expenses for a qualifying child less than 13 years old while you and your spouse are at work or looking for work.  You must fill out a W-10.  See other rules.

    Retirement Savings Contribution –For IRAs, you typically cannot receive the credit if you have an employer contributing to a retirement fund on your behalf. You will also need to figure out your Modified AGI.

Doing your own taxes is not hard. It just takes time and research.  Yes, it is a risk, but I swear it’s not that bad, especially if you can fill out a 1040EZ.  Save the $100 to $200 you would spend paying someone like me for 30 minutes of my time.  Yea, I said it.

For more information and to confirm visit the IRS at to view more. or seek your tax consultant.

To file your taxes electronically, as I have done for the past 3 years, which is excellent and FREE, visit this site.

*crosses fingers* I hope yours is a refund.

Don’t forget your State taxes.

Ooh I Love…..

5 Sep

If you’re like me you LOOOOOVVVVEEEEE designer handbags. I remember being little and seeing the women in my family slinging their beautiful luxury handbags over their shoulders while rushing out the door, and seeing my mom switch handbags every Sunday before church from her “school” Coach leather bag to her “Sunday Morning” Vintage Fendi bag from the 80’s. I’ve grown up watching how much the women in my family loved and cared for their bags so now that I’m an adult I have continued this affinity for designer bags as well.

Now, whether you’re someone who just happens to have an affinity for the finer things OR you have newly discovered the world of luxury items it makes no difference, the one thing we all cringe at is the sky high price tag that comes along with your LV Speedy 30 Monogram handbag.

Enter into the picture oohilove.com, a site my family recently discovered that auctions off BRAND NEW 100% designer handbags for up to 99% off the regular price. [I’ll give you a second to get the sarcastic look  and that “She’s being hoodwinked” grin off your face]. Yes, this is DEAD SERIOUS!

How it works: You sign up and register you’re account for free, and in order to bid you buy a bid pack. The smallest bid pack is worth 30 bids and goes upwards to 800 bids. Basically, every bid which you pay 99 cents for is worth 2 cents in the actual auction. The site works like an ACTUAL live auction, you bid against other users for the particular item of you’re choice and hopefully you’ll win the coveted item.

How I Know its NOT FAKE: I discovered the site from an article in the Huffington Post and eventually again on ABC when they were talking about the new auction sites that UNLIKE Ebay, guarantee the authenticity of their items, and rather than letting users sale their “NWT or Used” items, the website acts like a store and guarantees that all items are new.

I also know its not fake because after my mommy, aunt and I dedicated an entire week of our lives (literally, we stalked the computer at almost 8 hours at a time bidding) we (ALL 3 of us, due to our hard efforts) won a Louis Vuitton Montorgueil PM handbag for $73.91 (this includes the number of bids we spent) and after shipping and handling the total came up to $85.71. The normal price of this handbag is $916.00 which means we saved 91%. Now, despite the 9 hours they spent in front of their computers never letting it leave their sight, we won the bag and it is TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!

What They Sale: This particular site offers Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Tiffany & Co, and giftcards from Nordstroms, Bloomindales, Saks, Barneys and Tiffany & Co.

So, now that you got the feedback, you can check out the site ( http://www.oohilove.com ) click the winners tab and see find the user: doodee (that’s my aunt), and see that bag we won. So ladies (and gents) check it out, and find a way to cop that Gucci Boston Joy Top Handle tote and pay 10% of the price you would pay walking into Gucci.

Here’s the link: http://www.oohilove.com/invite/doodee!

Happy Bidding!!!!!

Hmmm…poor money management = divorce

20 Aug

My oldest but most prevalent challenge needs immediate attention for upcoming changes — budgeting.

Yes…I am used to getting what I want; “No” is something that I am unaccustomed to telling myself and being told.  I maneuver around that “no” until I get what I want.  (blah blah blah, right?)

I participated in Lent this year.  Like most people, I participated mostly in the sacrificial portion, but anyways…I forgave shopping, sweets, and fast food restaurants.  Fast food was extremely easy.  The sweets and shopping was my Mt. Everest.  Yet, sweets are still my vice.  We will see how that plays out years from now when the metabolism slows.

Shopping was thee hardest, but the most rewarding sacrifice.  Victoria’s Secret knew to send me the catalog every week and it did not take appealing to a guy’s fantasy for me to spend $400 plus every season.  Any VS shopper knows that the lines change colors and prints every season.  Nordstrom was bookmarked and had my phone number for upcoming sales.  Forever 21 accessory shopping trips.  I bought outfits without purpose, but…’it’s not you, it’s me.’  The mall no longer calls my name and claims stake on my check.  It’s not over, though.

I dissected my spending habits and found a silent but deadly killer ——-> Eating out and entertaining.  Because I was no longer hiding shopping bags in my car where the spare tire is and felt no anxiety at the mall, I thought I was okay.  Oh-NO.

I love eating out, buying drinks, and entertaining.  It’s insane!  So…I finally signed up with www.mint.com via the advice of a friend. It monitors the use of my money and alerts me to stay within my set budgets, which I set according to MY financial goal.  Get your own!  www.cnn.com also has a Debt Reduction Planner that’s really good.

I have friends that drool and gawk when finances come up.  Here is quick information about your Credit Score.  Your Credit Score is extremely important.  Do not listen to people who say, “oh you can improve your score over time,” right before you make one of the dumbest financial decisions of your life.  Here’s some information:

Credit Score measures:

payment history · debt ratio · length of credit history · types of credit

Your payment history and debt ratio make up more than half of your credit score.

Credit Score

700 or above – Excellent · 601- 699 Good · 500 – 600 High Risk · Below 500 – you have some work to do

Credit Bureaus

TransUnion · Experian · Equifax

Anytime you do anything that requires credit, these three agencies are notified.  The scores will be slightly different from agency to agency.  This is due to them using different measurements.  Typically, all of them are ran when you request credit.

QUICK INFO

No credit: seek a credit card with a low-interest rate or no APR (annual percentage rate) for 6-months or a year, so you can pay it off before you have to pay interest.  Request a feasible credit line (do not go overboard). Credit card companies will increase your credit line without your permission; they can also lower it, depending on changes in your credit.  Do not pay the card off immediately.  Double the minimum payment and payoff over time.

DO NOT GET A DEPARTMENT STORE CREDIT CARD; they typically have extremely high interest rates and most of the time you can not use them anywhere else, so why not get a 10% credit card that you can use multiple places.

Limit yourself to two credit cards.  You have no need for more than 2 credit cards.

Signs you are going into credit card debt:

  • Choosing to pay one credit card bill over the over
  • Ignoring monthly statements (you are not concerned with how you are spending. You just are.)
  • Frequently doing balance transfers
  • Using your card for basic needs such as gas, food, clothing, food, and household needs

Tips:

If you have several high-interest high-balance credit cards, see if you can find a lower interest card to combine all balances.  This is called a balance transfer.  Please read the terms before doing so.  Ask for help, if you are unsure.  Sometimes, the lower interest cards have No APR.  The more interest you pay, the less you pay on your balance/principal.

Debt Settlement is a “no-no.”  This is the plan.  Do not pay any of your payments—-> Credit Score falls off of a cliff.  You pay the Debt Settlement company a payment less than what you are currently paying in credit card bills while they “negotiate” the settlement of your debt for X years.  DUMB!  If you can make your payments, pay them.  Revive your credit score by budgeting and paying them off rather than escaping the responsibility of your past spending habits.

Stop disguising wants as needs.  Look at your bank and credit card statements line by line to change your bad spending habits.  Nothing is more real than looking at how you have wastefully spent money. Pay all bills on time.

I do not know how I am going to do this…I love eating out. *humph

I guess I’ll go pack this lunch, so that I do not buy it tomorrow <—– Huge money-saving tip that I have a hard time with.

I’ll let you know.