Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Debt: We're not alone

Almost all of us are in some level of debt, and we're working to pay bills. The trick is to keep up with them so we're not buried over our heads in bills. If we're going to owe money to people, the best thing we can do to help ourselves is negotiate the lowest possible interest rates. Ideally, we want to pay ZERO interest whenever possible. Smart consumers will take advantage of every opportunity that offers "free money" or zero percent interest, and be responsible and heed the terms and conditions to maximize their cash flow and let their money and good credit work for them.

I've been working hard to pay down as much debt as possible and lower the amount of interest that I pay on my credit card balances, personal loans, etc. I periodically call my credit card companies and ask them if the rate I currently have is the best they can do. When they're unwilling to budge, I start to shop around for more competitive offers and am not shy about telling my card issuers that they'll be losing my business. I take advantage of low interest or zero percent balance transfer offers if the period is greater than 9 months. I've used a couple of the "for life of the balance" options that were offered to pay off most of my debt. I now use a single card for all smaller purchases and I pay the bill every month rather than carrying a balance. Large ticket items get charged to a rewards card that has a low interest rate and it too is paid off as soon as possible. To save additional money, I utilize online price comparison sites like nextag and pricegrabber to find the lowest price, then search for online coupons and special promotional codes on sites like fatwallet.com and dealcoupon.com to lower the price even more.Next step is to research the grocery guru sites to learn how to get the most for my food dollars.

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