What To Do When The Rent Is Due – But You’re Coming Up Short

how to manage when you're shot on rentNearly everyone can relate to the feeling of having rent due in a few days but being short on cash to pay.  An unexpected bill or a short paycheck puts you behind, and you spend the rest of the month playing catch up. Finally, a big, important bill comes up and you’re out of backup plans. That grim feeling of panic creeps up your spine. Your heart races.

This is a financial crisis!

The first step is to silence that panic. Take two or three deep breaths. Although it is a problem, it’s one you need to solve, not one to give up on. A practical plan is needed to come up with the money.

Rather than going through a list of things you can do, it might be easier to talk about places to look. Let’s go through a few locations you can go to try to find those few extra dollars. This task is going to be equal parts creativity and hard work, so roll up your sleeves and get your thinking cap on! [Read more…]

Should You Pay to Have an Item Removed From Your Credit Report?

pay for delete scamYou may already be checking your credit report regularly and you might have developed the habit of challenging or reporting any suspicious activity.  But what do you do with a stubborn charge that won’t go away?  You know you shouldn’t have to pay it, but for whatever reason, you can’t get it off your report.  You call the creditors in question and they tell you they understand, it’s no big deal and they’ll gladly delete it from your credit report if you pay a small fraction of the charge.  What do you do in that scenario? [Read more…]

Good Debt, Bad Debt & Building a Solid Financial Future During College

good debt vs bad debt for college studentsToday’s students pay a premium to go to college.  It’s more expensive than ever to pay tuition, textbooks are borderline extortion, and after inflation the minimum wage is about 30% less than it was a few decades ago. So working all summer to pay for school has turned into working as many hours as you can to support yourself while taking out a staggering amount of loans.  We all know it; the headlines are everywhere. [Read more…]

10 Smart Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

tips to grow your credit scoreDid you know that only 10 percent of Americans know their credit score?

Those are the findings of a survey commissioned by TrueCredit.com, a web subsidiary of the credit bureau, TransUnion. “It is shocking how little Americans know about their credit,” said John Danaher, president of TrueCredit.com. “Good credit is a cornerstone of your financial profile, enabling you to finance major purchases, such as a home, education, or car.” Then, he added, “Not knowing about your credit can expose you to higher interest rates which translates into less money in your pocket at the end of the day.” [Read more…]

Five Questions You Need To Ask About Debt Consolidation Loans

five questions to ask about debt consolidationDebt consolidation loan is really pretty simple. It replaces countless annoying monthly bills that are all due on different days of the month with a single, annoying but-far-less-time-intensive monthly bill.

Heavily advertised as the perfect solution for people struggling to pay bills on time, loan consolidation should never be an off-the-cuff decision.  Although there are a lot of times when debt consolidation makes sense, there are pluses and minuses that should be considered before you make a decision that could have long-term financial consequences.

Here’s a candid look at what you need to be aware of before deciding that a consolidation loan is the right solution for you. [Read more…]

A 4 Step Plan to Get Out Of Debt…And Stay That Way

four step plan to get out of debtDebt is an ancient phenomena. Yet, as recently as the 19th century, those who couldn’t pay their bills on time were usually thrown into dark, cobweb-filled cellars known as debtors’ prisons. It was a sane option considering the alternatives-indentured servitude, disfigurement, or death. Talk about debt to die for.

These days, penalties aren’t as brutal. However, the emotional toll of overwhelming debt can create a personal prison equally painful.

As of July 2015, consumer debt in the United States totaled $11.86 trillion, with credit card debt alone at a staggering $15,863 average per household. [Read more…]

How To Choose A Credit Counselor (And Avoid Getting Ripped Off)

 

choosing a credit counselor

After years of struggling with debt, deciding to pull the trigger and speak to a credit counselor is a very smart move.

But that choice likely comes with a whole new set of decisions and concerns.  What’s the best way to choose an advocate who really will help you bear down and get back on the path to financial security?  How can you be sure that you’ll pick someone legitimate and avoid a costly scam when your finances are already precarious?

In this blog, we’ll take a look at a topic of growing concern for many people as they start to dig themselves out of debt: credit counseling. How can we stay safe and choose a service that will actually help? [Read more…]

Zombie Debt: What It Means and How You Can Fight Back

What is zombie debt? And how can you fight it?

Photo by Stephen Dann / CC BY-SA 2.0

Q: My spouse and I filed for bankruptcy several years ago, hoping to start fresh. We’ve been living within our means and haven’t had so much as a late payment. Yet, when we applied for a home equity loan, we got turned down! The financier said our debt utilization ratio was too high, but we haven’t even opened a credit card since the bankruptcy! What gives?

A: You’re the victim of “zombie debt.” Just like in the movies, your debt has risen from the grave, and can be remarkably hard to shed. You don’t need to bunker up with a lifetime supply of canned goods, but you do need to take steps to protect yourself. Let’s take a look at what zombie debt means and what you can do to protect yourself. [Read more…]