Rebate Checks Diverted

December 1, 2014 by William Hill | Comments Off | Filed in Revenue Service

I was reading through this article and thought it was very interesting. It looks like the Treasury Department has the power to divert the stimulus checks that are coming to you and use it to pay off some of your debts. Some of the debts the Treasury Department is collecting on are child support, student loans, and back taxes.

So far, 1.8 million rebate checks have been intercepted by Treasury Department computers showing that individuals owe money to federal or state governments. The biggest beneficiaries: parents who are owed child support.

The Internal Revenue Service has mailed 77 million checks worth $64 billion — a little more than half the expected total.

Rebate ChecksSo far, nearly $1 billion has been collected. Where it has gone:

  • 55% for child support.
  • 39% for federal debts such as student loans or farm loans.
  • 6% for unpaid state taxes.

Taxpayers denied their rebate get letters explaining why they got a reduced payment or none at all.

The diverted money is sent directly to the family or government agency to which it was owed.

I believe this is so good. If the money was not taken directly, most of the money would never have gone to paying off the debt. This is quite unexpected and I believe it was a good move.

7 Ways You can Save More Money on Gas

November 29, 2014 by Rachael Marker | Comments Off | Filed in Save Money

As we continue to find more ways to save gas, here are a couple more things you can take a look. Besides switching to a more fuel efficient car, you can definitely change your driving habits or check your current vehicle to see if there’s anything you can do to make it run better. Below are some other things you can check to make sure your car is on its top fuel saving performance.

Check that “Check Engine” Light

The check engine light does not mean the engine is malfunctioning. There could be many other factors. One such factor could be a faulty oxygen sensor. Just by getting your oxygen sensor fixed, you could possibly improve your engine’s performance by up to 40 percent. You should get your car checked if the “Check Engine” is on.

Check Your Tire Pressure

According to some government estimates, the average driver could boost their fuel efficiency by 25 percent just by keeping their tires inflated. It’s easy to do this. Most gas stations, if you gas up your car with them, will allow you to use their air compressor or water for free. You should take advantage of this. It won’t take more than 5-10 minutes of your time to check this.

Change Your Air Filter

Gas is half of the combustion equation. Air is the other half. A clogged air filter can take off 10 percent of your engine’s efficiency. A new air filter can get that 10 percent back — usually for under $15. You can always buy your own and have someone install it for you.

Drive 60 on the Highway, not 75.

If you stay close to the speed limit, there will be less wind resistance against your car, which in turn would make the engine work less. It should help with gas consumption as the engine would not have to burn more gas. According to the EPA, each 5 mph over 60 that you drive decreases fuel efficiency by up to seven percent.

Drive Calmly

I have brought this up in my previous article. If you step on the accelerator and the brakes too hard, you burn more gas and you also will wear out the brake pads quicker.

Lose Weight

Government estimates say that an extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce fuel efficiency by up to two percent. You should keep anything you don’t need such as your golf clubs at home if you are not using it. It could save you some gas.

Lose the Roof Rack

Having a roof rack will just cause more wind resistance. You can get up to two percent of savings by removing the roof rack if it is not been used.

3 Tips to Increasing your Credit Score

November 27, 2014 by William Hill | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

credit-cardsIf your credit score is below or around 660, there are 3 easy things you can do to boost your credit score. It is very important to have the best credit score you can possibly get since it will determine what kind of interest rate you will receive on a loan. If your score is too low, you will receive a high interest rate which means you have to pay more.

Pay Every Bill on Time

A late payment will instantly drag down your score. A few months history of timely payments, however, can help boost it.

This is true. I always schedule my Online Bill Pay once I get my bills. That way, I know I will never forget about the bill. Just to be sure the payment goes through, I usually also setup an account with the company’s online website to see if the payment was received or not. That way, I am never late on my bills.

Pay Down the cards that are maxed out first.

You’ll get points deducted from your score any time you charge more than 50 percent of the limit on any kind of credit card.

Personally, I never really had any credit card debt, however, my personal opinion is usually to pay down the credit card that has the least dollar amount. At least that way, you get one of the cards out of the way and you can concentrate on your other credit cards. Of course, if you have a card that has 0% interest rate and you are confident that you can pay off the card before the 0% offer ends, you might want to pay other cards that have interest rates off first.

Do not cancel any credit cards.

Counterintuitive, yes. But not when you consider that one-third of your score is based on how much of the credit available to you you’re actually using. Cutting up credit cards will automatically decrease the amount of credit you have available. Better to stick the cards in a drawer until your score is back on track.

I agree with this article partially. You can just keep the cards active but cut them up so you won’t be able to use the cards. That way, the credit cards are still counted towards your credit score.

What are your opinions?

Reminder: Free Credit Report from Transunion

November 26, 2014 by William Hill | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

Reminder about the Free Credit Report from Transunion.

Who is Entitled?

Who’s entitled? Virtually all Americans. The “class” in the class-action lawsuit includes anyone who had an automobile loan, bank credit card, store credit card, finance company loan, mortgage or student loan in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 1987, and May 28, 2008.

People will be able to register for the benefits beginning June 16 at this settlement site.

Consumers can choose one of two settlement options:

  • Six months of Transunion credit monitoring, which includes unlimited daily access to the consumer’s credit report and TransUnion-calculated credit score, plus e-mail notification of major changes to information in the report. The service retails for $59.75.

Nine months of credit monitoring, one’s insurance score (used by some insurers to set their rates), plus a tool that shows how a consumer’s credit score affects mortgage rates. This option is valued at $115.50, and selecting it means releasing TransUnion from any future claims.

Free 100 Points to Citibank ThankYou Program

November 20, 2014 by William Hill | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

You can receive 100 Free Thank You Points for Citibank just by entering the following code.

All you have to do is login to the website, Login to your Account and enter the following promotional code. You will receive 100 Points. That’s an easy 100 free points.

Free Credit Report from Transunion from Settlement

November 19, 2014 by Rachael Marker | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

Here is some good news if you need to know your credit score or have wanted to get a copy of your credit score to review. One of the three credit reporting agencies, Transunion, will offer millions of people up to nine months of free credit monitoring and free access to their credit scores to help settle a long-running legal battle.

Who is Entitled?

Who’s entitled? Virtually all Americans. The “class” in the class-action lawsuit includes anyone who had an automobile loan, bank credit card, store credit card, finance company loan, mortgage or student loan in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 1987, and May 28, 2008.

People will be able to register for the benefits beginning June 16 at this settlement site.

Consumers can choose one of two settlement options:

  • Six months of Transunion credit monitoring, which includes unlimited daily access to the consumer’s credit report and TransUnion-calculated credit score, plus e-mail notification of major changes to information in the report. The service retails for $59.75.
  • Nine months of credit monitoring, one’s insurance score (used by some insurers to set their rates), plus a tool that shows how a consumer’s credit score affects mortgage rates. This option is valued at $115.50, and selecting it means releasing TransUnion from any future claims.

Financial Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

November 16, 2014 by William Hill | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

 Financial QuestionsI was reading this article today and thought it was very important so I decided to write about it. Since getting married is supposed to be a life-long thing, you should try to make sure you and your spouse are compatible financially. It would be pretty bad to find out after you say “ I Do” that your spouse is knee deep in debt. This is something you would like to know beforehand so you don’t have any financial surprises after getting married. Here are 10 questions that you should ask before saying I do and my thoughts on them as well.

Where would you like to be in five to ten years?

By knowing what your spouse is thinking, you will be able to plan your future goals without something unexpected happening. You might want to discuss questions such as starting your own business, when you would like to have kids, how many children do you plan to have? Etc. These are important answers to know so that you plan ahead and don’t have any surprises.

What are our assets and liabilities?

Both of you should fill out a net worth worksheet so that way, you can determine how to combine the accounts and which debt you should tackle first. I already have my net worth worksheet filled out and updated monthly so that should not be a problem for me. By having a net worth worksheet, you will also see how you are progressing every month which can create a mechanism for you to want to save more. Nowadays, with the high amount of divorce, having a prenup is also a good idea.

Should we keep our finances separate or combine them?

This will be dependent on you and your spouse. I, personally, like to have accounts combined but not everyone likes it that way.

Who will be responsible for paying the bills?

This is important as you don’t want to have your lights cut out because nobody was aware that they need to make payments to the electric company. As I have stated before, I think Online Bill Pay is a great tool. You can schedule the bill payment schedule online and as long as you have the money in the bank. It is a good idea to sit down with your spouse once in a month to discuss the bills paid and what came in so both parties know what’s happening with the money.

How does your credit report look?

I think this is a very important topic. If you decide to purchase a house together, you might have a surprise when you get a high interest rate if you do not know what your spouse’s credit score is. To avoid these unexpected shocks, you should know what the other person’s score is so you can plan ahead of time. You can order your reports for free once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com. I suggest you obtain your report yearly just to see if there are any errors on the report.

5 Sneaky Overdraft Traps

November 12, 2014 by Rachael Marker | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

As we all know, banks have not been doing so well this year. More banks are continuing to lose money so they are trying to find other ways to make money from their customers, the ones that keep them alive. There is an article about five ways on how banks could make you pay additional fees on overdrafts. Good thing that they also include some solutions to make sure you don’t receive these additional sneaky charges.

Debit and ATM Cushions

Finance-questionSome bank’s debit cards will allow you to overdraw on your card on some accounts. You might think that by using your debit card to make purchases, you will never spend more than what you actually have but this theory might not be true. You might still be withdrawing more money than you actually have in your bank account.

What this article recommends is to contact your bank to ensure the overdraw account is set to zero so you never over spend. This is a safety net to keep you from spending more than what you actually have.

Reordered Debits and Deposits

Some banks might not count your deposits and your debits at the correct order you actually completed your transactions. This, in turn, could prevent you from knowing what is the exact amount you might have in the bank account at the time of your debit transaction. I always double check my online banking account to ensure the deposit I made has actually been cleared before making any kind of debit from it. Some online banking accounts actually take longer for the deposit or transfer to go through so I ensure that it actually is available before making any debits from it.

Extended Overdraft Fees

Some banks will charge you extra money if you do not pay back the overdraft fee that has been assessed to you. To prevent this from happening, I would recommend that you link up a savings account that will transfer money into your checking account if you are overdrawn.

High Daily Maximums

As the article states, only 30% of banks set a daily maximum for the number of overdraft transactions you can have. If you make a lot of transactions in one day using your debit card, you might want to contact your bank ahead of time to have them waive the fee. It can add up real quick if you don’t watch your transactions carefully.

Funds on Hold

Be careful about funds been put on hold. It may stay on your account for a day or even longer. If you only have a certain amount of money and it is put on hold, you can obtain a overdraft on your next charge.

If you are pretty good with your budget, you might consider using your credit card.

More People Late on Their Credit Card Payments

November 5, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Credit

Credit Card PaymentsHere is an interesting article about the consumers paying late on their credit cards. American Express stated that customers are falling further behind on their debts, signaling the economy is worsening. Many of the countries Financial Services have fallen more than 30 percent in the past 12 months in New York trading as consumers absorb the housing slump, rising unemployment and higher food and fuel bills.

American Express states that defaults by cardholders worsened most in areas where US home prices dropped by more than 5 to 10 percent. This doesn’t bode well. One thing we all should start doing is spending less than what we earn. It looks like most people do not follow through on their promises to themselves that they will spend less and save more. This is seen from the stimulus checks and rebate checks people received back. Instead of using the money to pay off their, they went to Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other major retailers to buy more stuff. Most American mindsets are not in the right place and they need to change if they want to have a chance to have a good retirement.