Ever wonder what is happening to your money? You work hard, but have no money to spend on the things you want.
Millions of Americans are drowing in debt, but they don't understand what went wrong. If you are in debt trouble, you need to look at what you are doing wrong. This will give you a good idea of what you need to change about your money management and spending habits.
Many people think that balance transfers are a wise thing to do in credit card management. Yes, they can help you with a lower interest-rate. However, they do not reduce your debt or eliminate your payment. There are many pitfalls to the balance transfer situation.
Many people fall into the “oh, we have x months of zero interest, I'll pay more next month" and they simply make the minimum payment. This isn't taking advantage of the transfer, it is simply delaying the problem. When the six or nine or twelve months are up, you will have a larger payment (due to interest) to pay and be no further ahead than you were.
Another trap is to continue to use the old card. You actually end up with more debt, not less. When you transfer to a new card, cancel the old cards and cut them up. Better yet, cut up both cards so that you add no new debt at all. Then pay of the new as quickly as possible.
I have a hard time believing it, but people tell me all of the time that they've never checked their credit report. You must do this at least once a year. Millions of people have errors pop up on their reports. The rest have someone using their credit information fraudulently. You may not catch on until too late, unless you check your credt. Even small errors can affect your credit score, resulting in higher interest rates and insurance premiums.
There are even lenders out there who count on you not knowing what your credit score is. They can say, due to your credit history, you will be charged a slightly higher rate. We had a national lender try this with us once, not knowing we knew fully well what was on our credit and our scores.
If you are in credit trouble, you need to call your lenders before you miss a payment. Once you have missed a payment, your lender won't be as friendly. Call and negotiate a better interest rate or an extended payment deadline as soon as you know you are in trouble.
As for missed payments, don't make them. You can face a late fee of up to $39 for a late payment. If you are even one day late on your credit card payment, you could be facing an interest rate of up to 31%.
You need to create a budget and stick to it. It isn't fun, but it works. It is the only thing that will work. It is the most important part of your financial management. Believe me - the more you control your money, the less it will control you.
It is a lot easier to manage your money if you leave your cards and checkbook at home and deal with cash. It's a mind thing. We tend not to spend as freely when there are limits and there is cash to be spent. When you leave the cards behind, you won't be tempted to use them.
Make sure that you pay as much as you can towards your debt. Paying the minimum is better than nothing, but it won't get you out of debt. If you can't pay the balance in full each month, you have to stop charging and start paying off as much as you can.
Martin Lukac represents http://www.RateEmpire.com and http://www.1AmericanFinancial.com , a finance web-company specializing in real estate and mortgage rates. We specialize in daily updates, mortgage news, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies!