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Start Planning NOW For Holiday Spending September 9, 2011

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It sounds crazy, right? Starting in August or September to plan for things you won’t buy for months? But these days with pennies being pinched as tight as they are, planning ahead is the best thing you can do! Listen to financial expert Mike Brescione and get some expert advice to help you prepare for the most wonderful, and expensive, time of the year!

Click on this link for the video:

The Role Of Debt April 25, 2011

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The final installment – Part VI in our “How to Manage Debt & Credit” posts: The Role Of Debt

Today, carrying installment debt is almost a fact of life. Mortgages, car loans, or small-business loans (to name a few) are part of almost everyone’s life. On the other hand, carrying credit card debt is usually not a good idea. At interest rates of 16% and up, it’s hard to justify keeping savings that could pay off that 18% department-store credit card in the bank at 2%.

Debt and credit play increasingly important roles in our lives. As the aging Baby Boomers get closer to their peak earning years, many are realizing the need to reduce debt and increase savings. Even though analyzing your spending habits and creating a budget to address your debt may seem a little overwhelming, the simplicity of the philosophy of the Depression era still stands: Never spend more than you earn. Once you have come to grips with this basic fact, managing your debt will become far easier and more rewarding.


  • Installment debt means the loan is paid off in a specified period of time by making predetermined payments periodically.
  • Revolving credit is a line of credit that is instantly available through use of a credit card (and sometimes a check).
  • As you pay down your debt in a revolving line of credit, the minimum payment is also reduced, thus extending your payoff period and, consequently, the interest you pay.
  • Spending more than you earn in any given period is a dangerous practice at best, but doing it over an extended period of time can be financial suicide.
Thanks to Yahoo! Finance

Using Credit Wisely April 14, 2011

Posted by CredZoo - Tame Your Credit in About CredZoo, Tips For Good Credit.
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Part IV in our “How to Manage Debt & Credit” posts: Using Credit Wisely

To use credit intelligently, start by examining the terms of the card(s) you are currently using. Keeping track of your cards, their rates, and your current balances will help you to be aware of how you use credit cards. Increased competition in recent years has led some credit card companies to offer enticing features to attract new cardholders, including no annual fees and low interest rates for an introductory period. (And credit card companies sometimes will give their introductory rates to existing cardholders so that they won’t transfer their balances to another credit card company.)

CredZoo has written a lot on this subject, and has much to offer about credit, using credit wisely and – of course – repairing credit!

Installment Debt April 8, 2011

Posted by CredZoo - Tame Your Credit in New Credit Information, Tips For Good Credit.
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Part II in our “How to Manage Debt & Credit” posts: What is installment Debt? Is it good or bad?

Debt comes in many forms, and most types help us in our daily lives — when used responsibly. Most people cannot buy a home without some financial help, and many cannot buy a car (especially a new one) without some sort of financing. The money borrowed to purchase large-ticket items is called installment debt: The debtor pays a portion of the total at regular intervals over a specified period of time. At the end of that time period, the loan with interest is paid off.

Installment debt allows you to purchase items at a competitive interest rate: for example, 5% to 7% for a 30-year home mortgage and 8% or 9% for a car loan. The loan is paid back on an amortizing schedule, monthly payments of a fixed amount that remain constant over the life of the loan. At first, most of the monthly payment consists of interest. In later years, principal begins to be paid down.

Installment debt is easily budgeted and the debt is eliminated on a predetermined date. Even for those who may actually have the cash to purchase the desired item, installment debt can make financial sense if you can earn a higher return (after taxes) on your investment of cash than you must pay on your installment debt.

Having an installment loan can also help an individual establish credit. One factor considered by credit reporting agencies when calculating credit scores is how many types of debt a consumer has utilized. If a person has made timely payments on both a credit card and installment debt, he will receive a higher score than if he his only obligations have been revolving credit. While it is good to be cautious before entering into any loan agreement, an installment debt may be a good option. Handled properly, it is a way to acquire a large ticket item through budgeted payments. The lower interest rate and set term can be an attractive alternative to large credit card purchases.

Managing Debt and Credit April 5, 2011

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Credit was once defined as “Man’s Confidence in Man.” But in fact, the definition of credit today is more like “Man’s Confidence in Himself.” Using credit today means you have confidence in your future ability to pay that debt. Forty years ago, your parents may have paid cash for their homes and their cars, a largely unheard-of event today. If they borrowed money at all, chances are it was from a relative or friend, and not a financial institution.

Today, debt and instant credit are part of our everyday lives. The convenience of instant credit, however, has taken its toll. Many individuals use credit cards to spend more than they earn, and a few of these people actually build themselves a debt prison from which some never emerge. On the other hand, those who never use credit can be denied a loan or credit when they have a justifiable need or use for it. Using credit establishes a history of financial responsibility: Until you establish a credit history, your chances of qualifying for an important loan, such as a mortgage, are greatly reduced.

What is the balance between using credit wisely and staying out of overwhelming debt? Our next posts will look at the facts and some pros and cons. Stay tuned! Subscribe to our blog to read the upcoming topics including:

  1. Managing Debt and Credit
  2. Installment Debt
  3. Revolving Credit
  4. Using Credit Wisely
  5. Eliminating Credit Card Debt
  6. The Role of Debt
(Thanks To Yahoo Finance)

The Top 5 Tips For Good Credit March 15, 2011

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Blogger Todd Ossenfort has been known as “The Credit Guy” for the past three years. Now he’s hanging up his mouse and keyboard and leaving his readers with his top 5 tips for good credit. We’d like to share them with you here!

1. Saving is essential to avoid unwanted and often problem debt. If you don’t have an emergency savings account of six to 12 months of income saved, start today. Save whatever amount you can regularly (each pay period) even if it is only $25. As you get in the habit of saving, increase the amount as you can afford to do so. Save something every month, even if you are struggling to pay down debt.

2. Never co-sign, especially for a family member. Generally speaking, if a lender is not willing to loan money to someone, you shouldn’t either. Co-signing for a loan or credit card for another person is a great way to ruin a valuable relationship — and your own credit. If the person can’t or won’t make payments, your credit will suffer and you will be held responsible for paying.

3. Check your credit report annually. Place a reminder on your calendar and get your free credit report each year.  Reviewing your credit report at least annually will help detect identity theft early. It’ll also help insure there aren’t any inaccurate entries on your report. When you work with CredZoo, this is done for you. One less item to worry about! CredZoo has a free credit report analysis. We can look at your reports and see if we can help you before you sign up.

4. Avoid using credit to extend your income. Living within your means is key to avoiding large credit card debt. If you are using credit each month to pay for essentials, you need to take a hard look at your monthly spending and make cuts to bring your spending in line with your income. Simple budgeting 101.

5. Know your rights when dealing with collectors and use bankruptcy protection when it is needed — and only if it is needed. Learn your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and keep collectors from intimidating you into promises you can’t afford to keep.

One of the rights you are given under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is to challenge inaccurate, misleading and obsolete items appearing on your credit report. CredZoo uses every venue available under the law to help you assert these rights. Disputing items on your credit report is your legal right. When you use CredZoo to help repair your credit, we are abiding by and using all federal and regional laws regulating third party credit repair assistance.

Contacts us today for more information on any of these 5 tips or to learn more about CredZoo’s services and the FCRA: 1-888-881-5333

10 Ways to Combat Peer Pressure to Spend March 11, 2011

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by Logan Sachon, for Bundle

You love your friends, and your friends love to spend money. They spend money on new clothes that put yours to shame, on expensive presents for your birthday, on fancy bottles of wine for your dinner party, on drinks for the table at the bar. The pressure to reciprocate — and keep up — can be intense. But don’t fear: just because you have high-rolling friends doesn’t mean your bank account is in jeopardy. Big spenders and little spenders can indeed be friends, but it requires some finesse so you aren’t always feeling poor and they aren’t always feeling bad because you’re poor. We’ve got ten way to keep your spend-happy friends close and your wallet closed.

1. Tell yourself: Own it

Do not covet your neighbor’s phone (or his car, or his fancy MacBook). Instead, embrace your old-school flip phone, your car-less lifestyle, your two-inch-thick Dell laptop. Having new things sure would be nice, but you don’t need them; don’t let your gear-toting friends make you think you do. Your things aren’t old and crusty — they’re old and trusty. Own your own stuff.

2. Tell yourself: A bottle of wine is a bottle of wine

Just because your friend brings a $20 bottle of wine to your dinner party doesn’t mean you have to stray from your $3 Trader Joe’s standard when he’s hosting. Get the cheap stuff. It’s okay.

3. Tell yourself: It really is the thought that counts

If your friend buys you a massage for your birthday, do you have to reciprocate in kind come hers? You do not. Sweetness need not have a price tag. Flowers from your garden, a homemade cake, a thoughtful book: these are all fine presents.

4. Tell your friends: You’re coming down with something

The price of dinner doubles when you add booze, and ordering just one drink is a dangerous move: it’s too easy to order another one. Nip that temptation in the bud by not drinking with dinner, and nip your friends’ pressure on you to drink with dinner by saying you’re sick. And no, friends, margaritas do not kill germs.

5. Tell your friends: You’ve only got cash

At the bar, it’s so easy to tell the table, “I’ve got this.” You don’t have this, because you don’t have your card. All you have is cash, and you only have enough for your own drink. We’ve all left our debit card at home on accident before. You should leave yours there on purpose.

6. Tell your friends: You’re saving for something big

Your friends don’t want to hear that you’re trying to be more frugal — it calls attention to the fact that they are anything but and that’s no fun. But you know what is fun? Vacations. You’re not skipping the $20-a-head concert because you can’t afford it. That sounds icky. You’re skipping the $20-a-head concert because you’re saving for Maui. Much better.

7. Tell yourself: Your friends like you for you, not your money

Remember that your friends are your friends because they like you and you like them: the exchange of money or goods isn’t a part of the equation. If you pick up the bar tab, that’s a nice perk, but it’s not what keeps your friends around. They will like you even if you split the check.

8. Tell your friends: You’re bored with going out

You’re not suggesting a game night at home because you’re broke. You’re suggesting a game night at home because the bar scene is tired. At your house it’s cozier, the music is better, and there’s no line for a beer.

9. Tell your friends: You already ate

Don’t skip your friend’s birthday dinner because it’s at a restaurant you can’t afford, but don’t go and order nothing. Eat beforehand, own up to it, and order a $10 dessert when everyone else is ordering $30 entrees. You’ll have the best plate at the table, and your friends won’t feel uncomfortable by you not eating.

10. Tell yourself: There is nothing wrong with staying home sometimes

If you really can’t spend money right now, don’t put yourself in situations where you can spend money. Going to the bar and not ordering anything while your friends keep the cocktails coming is hard. Not going to the bar while your friends are there and keeping the cocktails coming is also hard, but less so. Catch up on your reading (or last week’s episode of Gossip Girl).