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Money Advice
Saturday. 9.1.07 9:12 am

So, due to boredom and such, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been doing lately to try and save money and improve my credit. I know a lot of people around Nutang are probably just starting to get into matters of credit, and maybe some of this would help.

One very important lesson that I learned (a little too late) is not to buy computers on payment plans. Especially not from Dell. The main reason for this is that they really screw you over on the interest. For example, my Dell balance was $1700, and the interest on that was %26.99. Foregoing the complicated math, my monthly payment was 52 dollars, only 14 of which actually went to my balance. The rest was paying interest.

How can this be helped? Well more than likely if you’ve been given a credit account with Dell, you probably have at least a few credit cards. If you happen to have one that’s got enough room on it for the computer you want, buy it with your credit card. You’re still gonna be making monthly payments, but the interest will be quite a bit lower unless you’ve missed payments on that credit card. Also! If you ever get offered another credit card that has say, “No Interest on balance transfers for blah blah...” Get it if you can, and transfer the balance from your other card. Then all you’re paying is the balance. No interest what so ever. That’s ideal, but not everyone can get their credit to that place right away.

A good way to get yourself to a place where your credit is good, though, is by using a credit card instead of your checking account. Lemme explain in detail, because this can get tricky.

First, you’re going to want to pick a card that has some kind of rewards or points or cash back. The Amazon.com chase card is what I use. I get 1 point for every dollar I spend on anything, and 3 points for every dollar spent at amazon.com. These points basically amount to pennies, because when I get 2500 of them, I get a $25 gift card to amazon.com. Not a lot, but still something.

Anyway, pick a card with a good rewards program, make sure you have a decent amount of credit there (at least 300 dollars room) and start routing all your automatic bills there. Then, when you get paid each month, put most or all of your paycheck onto that card. Then use that card to pay all your bills and do all your shopping and everything else you would have done with your paycheck.

Keep a careful eye on your budget when you do this, so as not to go over limit. But if you’re putting most of your check there and you should be okay.

This looks good for two reasons. 1), you’re probably charging 200-400 dollars a month (depending on how many things you have to pay for/buy) and paying that balance off. 2), you’re making large payments every two weeks (as you get paid).

And it’s good for you because, if you have a rewards program, you’re getting about 2-4 dollars back a month. That’s not a lot, but it’s better than nothing, which is what you’d get from your checking account.

I would advise you always to leave at least 30-50 dollars in your checking account in case you have automatic transfer to savings or the like, but other than that having money in your account isn’t important. There are very few emergencies these days that you can’t use a credit card to solve. And if you REALLY need cash, you can get it from your credit card anyway, though I would definitely advise against this, since the interest rate on Cash Advance is really high.

Another really good way to save and make money is to shop around online for a good savings account that earns interest on your balance. This is the one that I’ve been looking at, but there are probably plenty of other websites which will list all the best interest rates. Pick one that you’re comfortable with, make sure it’s FDIC insured, and start putting as much as you can afford into it. Most of these savings accounts compound the interest daily, and you get it as a credit each month. The more you have in there, the more you’re gonna get.

Right now with a balance of 340.00 I’m probably gonna get .75 cents every month, which sounds like a pittance, but I’m probably going to be putting 100 dollars every check into it, and with the interest I’ll be earning a little more every month.

God I am long winded. Bah. Most of you have probably stopped reading by now so who cares. At least this is the longest entry I’ve had in a while. Heh. Hope this helped someone... anyone.

Comment! (4) | Recommend!

Ugly Betty
Friday. 8.31.07 8:59 am

I don’t know if any of you (those of you who live in the US anyway) have watched Ugly Betty, but you should. It’s an awesome show. I bought the dvd for my girlfriend with the assumption that I probably wouldn’t like it, but after watching it with her I really got hooked. It’s an amazingly well written show with great actors.

The show at first seems like it’s just gonna be a shallow, campy fashion drama, but it’s actually really sincere and touching, as well as funny and mysterious. There are some insane plot twists. The characters are really well thought out and real. Most of the characters that they establish in the pilot as “badguys” you actually start to feel for and understand in later episodes, even while they remain “badguys”.

That’s... pretty much all I got on to say. Heh.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet browsing.

Comment! (6) | Recommend!

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