Credit Crunching

What fashion-savvy gal doesn't like to shop? Not this one! But when it comes to shopping and plopping down the plastic, I've had to learn a few hard lessons about interest rates. They can eat up all those savings you thought you snagged if these cards carry high interest rates. And most retail cards do!

Think about it. You hit the 20% off rack, pick up some great deals, and pay with a credit card carrying 21.99% interest. Unless you pay that charge off, you've just eaten up the savings, plus added an extra 2% to your "great buy"!

Ditch those high interest rate cards. Cut them up. Slice 'em and dice 'em, 'cause they're no deal if you are carrying balances on them.

A better option is to look for low interest rate credit cards or to negotiate with your existing credit card company a lower rate. Simply call the credit card's 1-800 number, ask to speak to a supervisor because he or she is usually in a better position to help you out than the front-line person, and request their lowest rate. Even a promotional rate is better than what you may be paying.

Reducing your debt, even better, eliminating debt, is a worthy goal. But sometimes, it simply isn't possible to do that, and with today's tough times, it may be the only option until that job comes along when you've been laid off. It's critical to keep paying your bills on time and making at least those minimum payments to avoid wrecking your credit rating.

Sorry Suzy, but here are 2 rules of thumb regarding debt that seem to make alot of sense:
1) Never carry credit balances of more than you can write a check for tomorrow!
2) If your investments are making more money than your credit card interest rates, it pays to keep that money invested and make your minimum required payments on the presumably low interest rate. In today's economy, unless you have credit card interest rates at 0%, this option doesn't make alot of horse sense. Or unless you are generating monthly returns in the double-digits. If you are, please share your secret!

Smart money management is in everyone's interest. Hello?Wall Street, GM, AIG are you listening?

The better you manage your money, the more you'll have to pick up some of those great bargains out there! Watch for more horse sense money management in future columns!

Have a spex-tacular week!
And's negotiable!


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