Marta's Saving Guides

Penny saved is penny earned

Cost cutting tips

Hi all, I’m looking for some ways to save money and beat down debt. I think the biggest money saver we have made is my hubby is driving his motorcycle (50 MPG) to work everyday. Much better than the 12 MPG he was getting in his old truck.

I’d love to hear what everyone else does to save money. I could use some fresh ideas. Every dime helps!

thanks guys,
Alex

Secured vs. unsecured debt

Hi all,

I need your help! My brother is in serious debt. He wants to get a home equity line to pay off his wife’s credit card bills. Most of her cc debt is at 18-28 %. She had her identity stolen in Nov of 2013 and again in Nov. of 2014. She receives no cc offers because of this. My brother owns his own business. He is always robbing Peter to pay Paul. I feel so sorry for him because he just doesn’t know where to begin. I want to explain to him what secured and unsecured debt is. Can someone expalain it in layman terms for me?

Much appreciated.

Secured debt is something you put up collateral for. Two examples are that when you get a mortgage loan the house is the collateral and the other is a car loan with the car being the collateral; don’t pay the loan and you lose the house or the car An unsecured debt is something you get without collateral such as a credit card or dental care. I hope this helps.

Last night 20/20 had a 2 hour special called The Last Day On Earth. It was all about different situations that could happen to good old Mother Earth and all of us who live here. Did anyone else see it?

It was scary, but very interesting. Unfortunately, I am not a night person and dozed off and missed that last 15 minutes. They had a man/woman on the street interview and asked the question, What would you do if you knew this was your last day on earth? I had to laugh when one young guy said he would spend all his money. Didn’t say what he was gonna buy. It’s for sure he won’t be taking any of his stuff with him! LOL

So how would you answer the question?

I would try and get together with my loved ones and have one last meal. A feast! Calories would be forgotten! Chocolate would be everywhere! 🙂

It is never a good idea to make unsecured debt into secured debt. This only moves the problem it doesn’t fix it.

IF you default on unsecured debt you ruin your credit report, IF you default on secured debt you lose your house.

I would suggest to your brother that he really sits down and figures out how they got where thery are before he runs to the bank and signs the papers.

Secured debt is debt secured by collateral such as a car or a home. If you default on a secured debt you can lose the collateral. Unsecured debt does not have any collateral. This is about as simple as I can put it.

Collection letter with ex-husband name?

I recieved a collection notice from United Collections Bureau yesterday with my name on it and my ex-husbands name in it. I have been divorced over 4 years and his name was never on this account.

What should I do? I sure don’t want them contacting him.

Write and/or call the bureau. Be sure you make it clear that you and your ex are divorced, supply the date, and request an explanation of why both names have been placed on the account. After my divorce last year i had several of my ex-husband’s debts show up on my credit report. I had to send the credit report agency information about when the divorce was finalized and how some of the debts were divided between us.

Within the time limit they set his debts were taken off my report. If the bureau won’t take your ex’s name off contact your state’s attorney general’s office. They have a whole section devoted to dealing with debt collectors, at least the one here in Michigan does. You can also use this department to check out some agencies and to file complaints against ones contacting you. I hope this helps. Oh, i found the Michigan attorney general by going to the state government site (michigan.gov) and explored a little.

My book reviews

I was at yard sales this morning and found hardback books for 10 cents each! Ah… my kind of sale! 🙂

I found one called “One Minute Millionaire” It is co authored by Mark Hanson who wrote the Chicken Soup For The Soul series and Robert Allen who wrote Creating Wealth.

The editorial review at Amazon isn’t so great, but customer reviews are favorable. Of course I don’t always trust customer reviews. Sometimes it’s just close relatives that are giving the rave reviews. I know this for a fact because I know someone who wrote a book and had to laugh when I saw the reviews.

Has anyone read this book? If so, how did you like it? Was it helpful?

Another book I don’t have but saw the author on CNN is called “Unscrewed: The Consumer’s Guide to Getting What You Paid for” It’s all about getting results from complaints from co’s that you have a complaint about.

I have recently been trying to get some decent service from Fed Ex and UPS. I can have the lights on in the house , the car in the drive way and it’s obvious someone is home and yet, the delivery people will never ring my doorbell and let me know a package is there. UPS sometimes delivers packages after 9:30 PM and then just puts the package in the bushes! It is really frustrating. I put a sign outside asking any delivery people to please ring the doorbell and it is ignored! I have called them and emailed them and they say we will take care of it.

This week I asked them if their delivery people are just stupid or incompetent or both and asked if maybe I put blinking Christmas lights on the sign that they would get the message. They both said they would do better… we’ll see. I think it is a small thing to ask that they ring my bell to let me know a package is there. Having had someone steal something out of my car a few weeks ago I don’t like the idea of packages at my door or in the bushes.

On a positive note anyone who buys art materials can’t go wrong with Dick Blick Art Materials. If every co. had the customer service this co. has, there would be a lot more satisfied consumers!

I recently ordered a product from them and it was inaccurately described in their catalog. After checking they agreed. I called them and told them I was not happy with this product. They said they would give me a refund and said don’t even bother to send the item back. Give it to a school or whatever you want.

That’s service!

Taking over the bills in our house

I am working on taking over the bills in our house, and we are in SERIOUS debt. We do not own a home, and I am just trying to find out where to begin. We mostly have credit card debt. We have almost 18,000 in credit card debt from when my husband and I first got married (we are 26 now) and “charged everything”. We were young and thought that we would “pay it off” we did…but kept spending. Now that I am taking over the finances because my husband has gone on deployment I really want to make an impact by paying some bills off but I just do not know where to start.

If your husband is being deployed to a combat zone (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan), he will receive combat pay (which is an increase over what he normally gets) and since he is out of the country, there is no tax on that income. Therefore, if you are not having trouble right now making ends meet with your regular bills, i.e., rent, utility bills, etc., I would take the whatever is increased salary is and put that toward your credit cards. I did that for my son when he was deployed overseas and while he didn’t have credit card debt, he did have an outstanding car payment which I paid off for him in 6 months’ time.

I even started a savings account for him while he was overseas and that way when he got back home and with all his bills paid, he had a nice little cushion to come home to. It is said that when GIs come home after their deployment, they like to treat themselves, i.e., cars or trucks, whatever their fancy is, and with the cushion that my son had when he got back to the States, he was able to keep adding to the little nest egg, so to say. Just remember to also have all your papers in order, all the POA (power of attorney) papers in order, that gives you the right to make changes or handle all his financial affairs.

For my debts I went with choosing the biggest one with the highest interest rate and the smallest. The smallest is paid off first and the good feeling it gave me helped keep me working on the bigger one. Then when you start feeling like you can’t get ahead you can pull out a file folder showing debts that you’ve gained victory over. (I write the word VICTORY in a colored marker or pen in extra large letters so that I can see it.) Each debt paid is a victory no matter how much was owed. Good Luck.

My hubby are military too… well hubby is … anyways he is currently deployed also… what we are doing is paying off our smallest dept and working our way up. i’m still paying extra on our other debt. In the past 2 months I have paid off 2 cards. we are 10 months into this deployment and i wanted to pay more off than i did but i’m still proud of what i have done. just take it a card at a time and cut out what you don’t need:) You’ll do just fine.

You might want to list out each debt by name, amount due and interest rate. Generally, you would be wise to pay the minimum amount on everything but the debt with the highest interest rate – try to pay as much extra as you can each month on the debt with the highest rate. By doing it this way you will pay the least amount overall. Once the high rate debt is eliminated, then start paying extra toward the next highest rate account and then the next until each one is paid down in turn.

A way to give yourself some warm fuzzies is to pick the account with the smallest total amount due and pay it off first. This can give you a confidence boost and allows you to scratch one off of the list, even though it might not happen to be the account with the higher rates.

Good Luck to you and your husband!