The Needs Improvement List

My budget-analysis for 2010 reveals that I need to improve in the following areas – I need to spend less money on convenience store items – bottled water, sodas, chips, etc.  When I fill up at the gas station, I almost always grab a snack, too.  This habit is bad for both my waist line and my wallet.  Add this to the top of my 2011 resolutions. I need to rework my grocery store price book – and spend less on groceries.  My goal is to reduce spending by 10%. I need to embrace the summer and turn the thermostat up a few degrees.  My electric bill was much higher in the summer months this past year, mainly because I…

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Credit, Noted

Over 8 Million Users Stopped Using Credit Cards In 2010

According to a recent press release from credit bureau TransUnion – TransUnion’s analysis estimates that more than eight million consumers stopped actively using bank-issued, general purpose credit cards over the past year. This deleveraging is believed to be due in part to charge-offs in the higher risk segments of the population, more conservative spending in the low-risk segments, and significant efforts by consumers across the board to maintain the health of their credit card relationships as a financial cushion. Based upon income levels estimated by TransUnion’s income estimation model, consumers with higher incomes were just as likely as consumers with lower incomes to suspend their use of this payment option. (Emphasis mine. -NCN) It’s interesting to note that the decrease…

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Do You Know How Your Mortgage Lender Applies Additional Principal?

Each month I make my regular monthly mortgage payment – the fixed payment amount found on my monthly statement.  I use billpay from my bank. My lender requires that a full, monthly mortgage payment be made.  In other words, I cannot split my payment into two payments, sending half on the first day of the month and the other half on the fifteenth.  I have to send the full, fixed payment amount, by the due date. Obviously, I can send them more than the fixed amount, but I can’t send less.  They require at least one monthly payment that is equal to or greater than the fixed amount. Once the regular monthly payment has posted to my account, I can…

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