Tag: Personal Finance

20 Everyday Ways to Save Money

Want to have some extra cash around? Frugal spenders have long known that it isn’t always saving on big-ticket items that makes a real dent in saving money. It’s the little things you do everyday that can add up. When it comes to creating personal wealth, taking the time to educate yourself on other options can go a long way to giving you some extra dough to spend on things you’d really like such as that vacation you’ve always wanted to take.
To help get you started in the right direction, here are 20 little everyday ways you can save money.

  • Shop outlet stores.
  • Buy clothes at thrift or secondhand stores.
  • Shop at discount stores.
  • Buy food such as bread at local food outlet stores.
  • Try generic brands of products.
  • Use customer rewards programs.
  • Purchase 2-liter bottles of soda instead of cans.
  • Use coupons.
  • Cut back on disposable product usage.
  • Buy used whenever possible.

Eating Out

  • Share meals when you eat out.
  • Only order water when you eat out.
  • Bring your own lunch to work.
  • Cook at home.


  • Rent movies from RedBox.
  • Watch matinee movies.
  • Potluck family get-togethers or parties.
  • Utilize the public library or free books online.


  • Turn off lights and electronics before going to bed.
  • Combine cable, internet and telephone services if possible.
  • Cancel cable and use Netflix.

Extra Savings

  • Consider memberships for places you frequent.
  • Wash and vacuum your car at home.
  • Withdraw money from your own bank accounts.
  • Avoid overdraft charges.
  • Cancel unused memberships.
  • Pay credit card balances in full each month and avoid interest rates.
  • Improve your credit score.

Share your everyday money tips below!

How to Get a College Education for Free

Light bulbAn education is an investment in yourself that, if used properly, will always pay for itself many times over. It’s quite possible that Schoolhouse Rock said it best – “It’s great to learn, ‘cause knowledge is power.” Whether you’re attending a four-year college, reading books by experts in your chosen field, or watching seminars on YouTube, acquiring knowledge is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
In order to succeed in your chosen profession, you need to know what you’re doing, and in order to thrive in that profession, you need to understand that knowledge isn’t a static thing. To stay on the top of your game, you need to be constantly reeducating yourself with the newest information that’s relevant to your industry. Think about it for a second. Would a realtor do very well if he wasn’t constantly reading up on the housing markets? Would a hairstylist survive if she was still handing out hairstyles from the 60’s? Could a lawyer do his job if he didn’t bother to look at new laws or at decisions from other courts that might affect his clients?
The answer to all of these questions, of course, is no. In order to keep yourself valuable to your company, you need to be up to date on everything about your job. To maximize your growth potential at your place of business, you should really know more than you need to know. If your boss quit tomorrow, would you have the necessary skills and knowledge to say, “I can do what he did, let me take care of it?” Chances are, the person with that expertise would jump straight to the top of potential replacements.
And this theory doesn’t just apply to your specific vocation. You may want to learn a skill that compliments your chosen profession, like a painter learning to use Photoshop or a car salesman learning how to rebuild engines. Or, it could be that your educational choices are taking you in a completely new direction. Maybe you’re a banker who’s always wanted to know how to restore classic cars. Perhaps you’re a social worker who’s always wanted to learn to play the violin, or a business major that wants to learn to cook gourmet meals.
Regardless of what you do for a living, the point is this – learning new things can only increase your personal worth. Just look at the “Renaissance Men” throughout history. Leonardo da Vinci is most known as a painter, but he was also a sculptor, architect, scientist, writer, musician, and inventor, among other things. Even if the things you learn don’t relate to your work, or even to anything you normally do, just think of the confidence that you will gain knowing that you’ve mastered a new skill or become knowledgeable on an entirely new subject.
So, what’s stopping you? For many people, the barrier they encounter has to do with either time or money. Taking college classes, even at a community college, can require a big time commitment, and after factoring the price of gas, books, and supplies, a single class can wind up costing hundreds of dollars. At a four-year university, the cost of classes is significantly more, with most people having to take out student loans that take decades to repay. The average person can’t hope to be able to spare the time and/or money necessary to partake in either of these options.
But the beauty of the world today is that we don’t have to. There are literally dozens of places where you can educate yourself, on your own terms, at your own pace, about anything you want, for absolutely free. And all of these places can be accessed from your living room. I’m talking, of course, about the Internet. The Internet is the single greatest collection of knowledge and information from every corner of the world, and in this day and age, more and more websites are offering free classes for anyone interested. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to get a free education online:
iTunes University
iTunes U is an entire section of iTunes where colleges and universities form around the US can offer online courses to anyone with an iTunes account, completely free! And these aren’t small schools. We’re talking about courses from Oxford, Yale, Harvard, MIT, Washington College, and many more. Of course, no amount of iTunes U courses will get you a degree, but the knowledge you acquire will stay with you for the rest of your life.
The Personal MBA
From the website: “The Personal MBA is a project designed to help you educate yourself about advanced business concepts on your own terms.” This site takes a collaborative approach to education, encouraging you to read books from their list of the “99 best business books” and then discuss them within the community in order to educate yourself at your own pace, with the help of thousands of other people doing the exact same thing.
Lynda.com is a site that boasts over 40,000 video tutorials on a variety of technology-based jobs, from photography to audio and video, from 3D visual effects to accounting and online marketing. They fly experts from around the world to their studios in California to produce the highest quality, most informative tutorial videos available on the web. Membership to the site is $25 a month (a side benefit of this is that there is no advertising on the site), and is well worth it, but if you don’t want to pay, there are more than 5,000 of their videos available 100% free.
Other resources:
Free Educational Resources from Ed.gov
Another way to pick up an Ivy League education without racking up $100k in loans is through “open courses.” These are actual courses being taught at prestigious universities, available to you for free online. Just a few examples include:
Open Yale Courses
MIT Open Courses
University of Irvine Open Courses
UMass Boston OpenCourseWare
Webcast Berkeley
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s OpenCourseWare
As you can see, there are many ways that you can further your education and increase your knowledge without paying anything at all. In these difficult economic times, every dollar counts, and being able to sit in on classes at Harvard or Yale for free is something that should be taken advantage of! The Internet truly is the information superhighway, and learning to harness that information and use it for your benefit is an important skill to master.
For even more links to free education on the internet, check out the 100 Best Websites for Free Adult Education.

Here’s a Quick Way to Save $2500 a Year on Groceries

groceriesOne of the biggest monthly expenses for most families is the cost of food. Other than your house payment or car payment, groceries are the biggest drain on your wallet. The average family spends more than $6,000 a year on food. Fortunately, it is not that difficult to shave hundreds of dollars off of your monthly food expenses by following some of these great tips.
1. Switch to store brands
One of the biggest ways to save money on food is by simply switching to store brands instead of the commercial name brands. As most of these store brands are 30% cheaper than the average commercial brand, this can lead to a saving of up to $1,500 per year. You will also be surprised to know that in a taste-off study by Yahoo Shopping, the store brands were found to be comparable in terms of taste, quality and nutrition.
2. Plan your grocery spending
Another way to save money on groceries is by implementing a little planning. On average, families today throw out about 15% of the food they buy at the grocery store because it went un-used. When you consider that the average annual grocery bill as detailed above, that is an extraordinary $900 a year on wasted food. With a little planning, however, we can cut down this waste dramatically. Plan your meals for the week and only purchase what you need for those meals. Take a look in your refrigerator and think of great uses for the ingredients you already have. There was a reason you purchased that food in the first place, why let it go to waste? Also, stop making daily trips to the grocery store. Most Americans don’t think about what they want to eat that day until they start to get hungry. Then they jump in the car and drive to the grocery store to pick up what they are in the mood for, sometimes forgetting that they have certain things in the fridge or freezer already. A little planning can therefore save a lot of money.
3. Stop Paying For Convenience
There is a lot of truth in the saying that we pay for convenience. For example, you can get a head of romaine lettuce for about half the cost of the pre-packaged, pre-washed chopped lettuce bags that you find in every grocery store. This is a huge waste of money for the sake of a little convenience, especially when you think that most people use the entire bag in one meal instead of just cutting up what they need.
Another huge cause of over-spending due to convenience is eating out. It is so much easier to go to Subway for lunch instead of making your own sandwich and bringing it with you. Bringing your own lunch can actually save you over $2,000 per year. That is the equivalent of a $1 per hour pay rise!
4. Save Gas
With the average price of gas climbing to over $3 per gallon in the U.S., the family car is a huge drain on your wallet. Group your trips and errands together so that you make less trips in the car and you can save a substantial amount of money. For example, planning your meals for the week will result in one trip to the grocery store each week instead of seven. While you are out, why don’t you also go and pick up that rake you needed from the hardware store instead of making another trip later?
5. Eat Less by Drinking More Water
A Washington University study recently proved that most people who think they are hungry are actually just thirsty. In fact, in their study, when people drank a glass of water when they were hungry between their meals, the hunger pans went away almost every time! This is especially true when the midnight hunger pangs hit. By drinking more water, not only are you living a healthier lifestyle, you will also find that you are eating less and saving more money.

Bad Credit: The Truth About Rent-to-Own Stores

It can seem so easy – get a 250GB Compaq laptop, a 42-inch JVC 1080p LCD flat panel TV and two HP wireless TV connect adapters for only $129.99 per month! How about a full 15-piece living room and dining set for only $119.99 per month? You could get a sofa, loveseat, coffee table, two end tables, a matching rug, a dining room table and six chairs. Best of all, there are no credit checks and they’ll even throw in free delivery and set up!
There are ads like these every week in your Sunday paper. The rent-to-own industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry since its start in the 1960s. Targeting low-income consumers, rent-to-own stores make it possible to have the nice things that other people have, without the credit restrictions. If you don’t have a good credit rating, where else are you going to be able to get that big screen high definition TV for your Superbowl party?
The problem is that rent-to-own stores take advantage of the current credit climate and charge the equivalent of 80% to 160% interest rates per year! In the example above, the laptop, TV and HP wireless TV connect would cost me $1949.99 to purchase from my local rent-to-own store. However, if you did not have two grand to spend right now, but you wanted the TV for the Superbowl, you could pay them $129.99 for 24 months and own it that way.
Well, let’s do the math shall we? $129.99 for 24 months equals a total price of $3119.76. That is an interest rate of 80% per year!
Now, that is at the store’s advertised prices. They are the ones that said the equipment was worth $1949.99. So, looking at their specifications, we did a little online comparison-shopping at Amazon.
An equivalent 40″ Philips 1080p LCD flat panel TV at Amazon is $672.71 plus $31.99 shipping.
The HP Wireless TV Connect is $152.86 with free shipping
The Compaq Presario CQ61-420US 15.6-Inch Laptop (which has similar specifications to the one advertised at Aaron’s) is $549.95 with $8.99 shipping.
GRAND TOTAL: $1,375.52 plus shipping.
So the rent-to-own store is charging $574.47 more than you would pay on Amazon. When you add that overcharge into the equation, you get an equivalent interest rate of 113.4% per year!
Right now, the average consumer credit card interest rate in the USA is 15.32% annually. If you were to make that purchase on a credit card it would cost you $67 per month to pay off the balance in two years. That is a total charge of $1608, of which only $233 is interest. That is a total cost of ownership that is almost $350 cheaper than the Aaron’s “Every Day Low Price” of $1949.99!
Unfortunately, the exorbitant cost of ownership is only one of the problems with rent-to-own stores. These stores do nothing to build credit. As you are not technically buying from them, they are not technically extending credit to you. Therefore, there are no reports of your good payment history to the credit bureaus and your credit score will not improve.
Another problem is that it does not matter how many payments you have made, you don’t own the items until you complete the entire term of the lease. So, lets say you have made 20 payments at $129.99 and you miss a payment. As you don’t own the items, the rent-to-own companies have every right to ask for them back. It does not matter to them that you have paid $2599.80 for items you could have purchased for $1375. If you stop paying, they will come and take it all away. In fact, only 25% of people that “purchase” from a rent-to-own store actually end up owning the things they buy. That means 75% of their customers make monthly payments on items and then end up giving them back. What does the store do with the stuff they get back? They “rent” it to the next customer!
That’s right! If you think you are going to get a brand new TV or washing machine, think again. With a 75% return rate, the chances are incredibly high that the products you get are used. Because you are renting these items, the companies do not have to tell you how many times these items have been rented before. The TV you get could have had two previous “owners” and the store might have already received over $1,600 for the product. Then they turn around and rent it to you for another $3,400 over two years and, if you complete the lease and actually end up owning it, they have received over $5,000 for something that you could have purchased for as little as $1375!
The profits to be made in this business are astronomical… and these companies love the current credit scoring system. Over 25% of Americans have a credit score of less than 600 and would not be able to get a credit card to buy the things they want. As long as that situation continues to exist, these companies will have a dedicated market. So, don’t fall victim to the rent-to-own scam and start building a great credit score today.

Build Credit: 10 Best Websites For Frugal Living

Creating personal wealth isn’t always about making more money. Sometimes it’s about spending less or spending smart as well. That’s where paying attention to ways you can economize not only your purchases, but also your time and your experiences can offer big rewards.
It’s true that for some the word frugal can bring up negative connotations. However, living frugally doesn’t have to mean you need to penny-pinch or live like a miser hoarding your money. True frugal lifestyles are about finding ways to get the best life has to offer at the cheapest or most “frugal” prices possible. It means making informed decisions about where and when you spend your money. If your goal is to get out of debt, or get ahead financially, finding ways to decrease your spending is going to be quite helpful.
With this in mind, below is a list of favorite websites that help promote frugal lifestyle choices and spending habits.
Frugal Living
There are hundreds (possibly even thousands) of ways to make your everyday life more efficient and profitable. From saving money with your nightly dinner meal to time saving tips that help you get more done, these sites will help you stash away some much-needed dough.
Learn all the ins and outs of creating your meals on a budget.
Frugal Village
Everything from frugal living to frugal cooking tips.
Make Better Choices
Nothing’s worse than that sinking feeling of overspending or feeling like we’ve gotten duped. Avoid common pitfalls by doing some research first with these sites.
Check all the prices of gas in your local area to find the best deals.
Make sure the hotel you booked is actually what’s being offered by browsing through the reviews of locations at TripAdvisor.com.
Angie’s List
Worried about doctor, a contractor or even a local business? Check out Angie’s List first to get reviews by other members on virtually every type of business. Caveat: This is a paid for membership site based on where you live. Most yearly fees are below $40.00.
Discounts & Coupons
It may feel annoying waiting while they ring up all your coupons, but when that savings gets you an extra tank of gas each week, you won’t mind the extra time spent.
Retail Me Not
Want great stuff from your favorite stories, but don’t want to pay full price? This site features coupon codes from all of the top retailers.
Less flashy than Retail Me Not, CurrentCodes.com offers coupons and special offers from a wide selection of online retailers. The categories covered are quite extensive, featuring coupons for everything from computers to baby products.
Want to save money on the products you already buy? This site allows you to search by your zip code for coupons available at stores in your area.
The Grocery Game
Like having the inside scoop on local deals? The Grocery Game does just that. They provide you a list of savings from grocery stories in your area so you know where to buy what at the cheapest prices. This is a membership site that charges $10 every 8 weeks. However, you can try it for four weeks free.
Daily Deals
Sometimes deals so great come by that you have to swoop them up. This is the thought process behind daily deal sites. Each day, you’re only offered one deal at an extremely discounted rate. If it’s something you’ll use, you’ll gain significant savings from taking advantage of the offer.
In addition to their main daily deal site they also have sites dedicated to specific products such as shirts, wine and kids.
Want to book a local hotel for a discount rate? How about trying that new restaurant? Groupon is an excellent service for finding daily deals on services and products locally.
These are a few of our favorites. Take a few minutes and share yours!

Good Debt / Bad Debt: The Second Inapppriate Use of Credit

Good Debt / Bad Debt: The Second Inappropriate Use of Credit
Last week, I introduced the discussion of good debt versus bad debt by explaining the worst use of credit out there: using credit to dig yourself out of debt when you do not have a budget that proves the loan will solve your financial problems.
Today, we talk about the second inappropriate use of credit: retail therapy. In the good debt/bad debt debate, this one is a no-brainer.
Good Debt / Bad Debt, Inappropriate Use of Credit #2: Retail Therapy

If you use your credit cards to buy things because you are bored or depressed, you are creating bad debt. Retail therapy makes you feel worse in the long run, particularly if you are maxing out your credit cards to finance the shopping spree. Not only is this expensive, it also hurts your credit card score. Find less expensive and more effective means of coping.
Here is a list of things you can do that will actually make you feel better and preserve your credit score. And you will notice that none of them cost a single penny:

  • Invite your friends over to play card games.
  • Snuggle in for movie night with a carton of ice cream.
  • Write a letter to someone you love.
  • Invite an old friend for a bike ride, run, or picnic in the park.
  • Re-read a favorite book.
  • Call your best friend with the goal of making her laugh so hard she gasps for breath.
  • Take your kids to the park for a play date.
  • Take a couple of hours to start that project you have been postponing.
  • Wash your car, give your dog a bath, or clean out your closet. These might not seem fun, but I guarantee you will feel much more productive after conquering a chore than you will after a day of abusing your credit cards.

If these suggestions don’t work, at least make a commitment to use cash to finance your retail therapy. Sell some of those old clothes you found when you cleaned out your closet online. Then use the cash you earn from your online sales to pay for your shopping spree.

The Faces of Identity Theft

About 80 percent of people have errors on their credit reports, and many of these are a result of identity theft. Identity theft can be a devastating event that gets in the way of learning how to build credit. Once a thief acquires your personal information s/he can quickly suck your account dry or steal your identity, resulting in not only a tremendous financial loss but a considerable outlay of time to put your affairs back in order.
Now, more than ever, you have to be careful about leaving any scrap of personal information available to scheming identity thieves. Take safeguards to avoid leaving yourself open to identity theft, and be aware of the many ways identity theft might occur.
Dumpster diving. One of the more common forms of identity theft is when thieves find pieces of personal information is to rummage through a victim’s rubbish. For example, the credit card offers that you discard without a thought might be used by a dumpster diver to set up credit accounts in your name. Bank account statements that have your credit card number or bank account might even be used to purchase items online or over the phone. To prevent this, purchase a shredder and use it on anything with your personal information.
Open-access mailboxes. If you have a mailbox that is not secured or is a community mailbox, beware of identity thieves snatching your mail and setting up bogus accounts in your name. If you’re going to be away on vacation, protect yourself from identity theft by asking the post office to put your mail on hold so no one can grab it.
Pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Make sure you never leave your purse or bag unattended. Having access to your credit card and driver’s license is an identity thief’s dream. For that reason, never, ever carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
Phishers and Phreakers. Be especially wary of phishers and phreakers, the newest form of identity theft. Phreakers are people who search for personal information by eavesdropping on telephone calls.  Phishers send cleverly disguised emails that ask you to provide personal account information. Using anti-virus software and a firewall is a good way to cut down on malignant attempts by criminals to access your information. Do not share your password with anybody and change it often to decrease the possibility someone may hack into your computer. Also watch out for spyware, which is often installed on your computer without your consent. It can monitor your computer for personal information, such as credit card numbers.
Keep a close lid on your Social Security number. This is your most sensitive personal information, and when an identity thief gets your Social Security number, s/he can easily steal your identity. Do not give out your number unless you started the call and can confirm the identity of the person/company you are calling.
Always keep track of your credit report. Regularly checking your credit report is the best weapon you have against identity theft. Request copies of your credit report at least four times a year. You can get a free annual credit report once a year. Follow up to see any suspicious information or other irregularities show up. Another important safeguard against identity theft is double-checking the purchases on your credit card and withdrawals from your bank account.

How to Qualify for a Loan

In today’s rough environment, knowing how to build credit isn’t enough if you want to also know how to qualify for a loan.
Ideally, a loan sits on a stool with four legs: income, down payment, savings, and credit score. If necessary, a stool can stand with just three legs. It cannot however, stand on just two, and it is important for would-be borrowers to understand this when learning how to qualify for a loan.
You are going to need at least three out of four “stool legs” to get a worthwhile loan.
Before applying for a loan, understand that the lender is in the business of earning a return on its investment. The lender could invest in the stock market, bonds, annuities, mutual funds, or any number of other things. The lender is only interested in giving you a loan to you if the lender can earn a worthwhile return in the form of the interest payments you make as the loan is paid.
To make this determination, the lender considers the four stool legs we discussed.
How to Qualify for a Loan—Stool Leg Number #1: INCOME
The lender considers your income. The higher your income as compared to your existing debts (your “debt-to-income ratio”), the more likely you are to make your monthly payments.
How to Qualify for a Loan—Stool Leg Number #2: DOWN PAYMENT
Next, the lender considers the down payment you are going to make on a loan attached to property (such as a car or home loan). The bigger the down payment, the more protection a creditor has. First, the property has more equity invested in it, meaning it is more likely to have enough equity to be sold at a profit to pay off the loan. As well, the borrower has more invested in the property and is therefore more likely to prioritize loan payments.
How to Qualify for a Loan—Stool Leg Number #3: SAVINGS
The lender considers your savings. Also called “reserves,” your savings are important because they tell the lender your likelihood of weathering any rough spots in your life, getting back on your feet, and making those loan payments.
How to Qualify for a Loan—Stool Leg Number #4: CREDIT SCORE
Finally, the lender considers your credit score. The credit score gives the lender a glimpse into your character and how important it is to you to keep your word and repay your debts. It also further assists the creditor in analyzing your ability to repay by revealing whether you are already carrying large amounts of debt.
When considering how to qualify for a loan in today’s market, a person really needs four out of four stool legs, though some exceptions might apply. If the would-be borrower is strong on any three out of the four, a lender might make an exception, even if his fourth leg is weak. A strong income may make up for a lack of reserves. Or a high credit score can make up for a small down payment. In normal lending environments, a borrower with a strong income, lots of savings and a big down payment will probably be allowed to slide on a mediocre credit score, but s/he would pay high interest rates.
For major purchases, like cars and houses, it’s worth thinking about these four criteria at least six months to a year in advance of applying for a loan.
Keep your income as high as possible when learning how to qualify for a loan. You can get a second job or work to bring home additional commission. This will help your income, savings, and down payment. Dedicate as much of your monthly earnings to a savings account and maximize your reserves. Learn how to create a budget. If you have family members willing to help you with the down payment, get the money from them in advance so that when the lender looks back at several months’ worth of bank statements, the lender will see consistent higher balances. (Keep in mind that you should discuss the tax consequences for cash gifts with a tax consultant.)
Get a copy of your FICO Score and review it for any errors. If you find them, contact the credit bureaus and follow their steps to have the information corrected. Make all you payments on time, and try to pay down your balances on existing accounts. Attend our free teleseminar so that you can learn how to improve your credit score quickly.
Although the four legs of our stool are the most important criteria, learning how to qualify for a loan means that you take a look at some smaller factors as well. How long have you been at your current job and address?

  • People who move around a lot are generally consider bigger risks than borrowers with proven job stability and a permanent address. From a lender’s perspective, a stable lifestyle—two or more years at the same address—equals a safe investment.
  • In addition, the lender wants to know that you have a history of making plenty of money to afford the loan. Ideally, your job should also be stable, meaning you have been employed for at least two years at the same company.

In today’s market, knowing how to qualify for a loan can be tough. Lenders have more stringent guidelines than ever before. Remember to start early and learn everything you can about building picture-perfect credit!

Key Considerations About Divorce and Credit

While divorce often causes a person to take inventory, many people forget the implications of divorce and credit. Many married couples or life partners jointly apply for credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages. Part of learning how to build credit means that you learn about how divorce can complicate your credit situation.
If you and your partner kept all credit separate during your marriage, you will not be impacted by your ex-spouse’s credit behavior at any time before, during, and after your marriage. However, if your spouse is an authorized user or joint holder of a credit card, an angry former spouse can start lots of problems with respect to divorce and credit. With joint accounts, both you and your ex-spouse are jointly responsible for debt and therefore are affected by each other’s financial decisions. For example, your ex-spouse’s late payments and collection notices show up on your credit report after the divorce if you have not split the accounts.
The best move is to cancel these cards rather than risk the negative effects of someone else’s mismanagement. Some credit card companies may require a special type of notice to cancel jointly held cards, such as a written notice. Doing this as soon as possible is in your best interest in terms of divorce and credit. After a divorce, your ex-spouse may need to charge many things to make up for reduced income. Even if your ex is not being malicious, this could harm your credit score by causing your utilization rate (the balance as a percentage of the credit card limit) on jointly held credit cards to increase.
If you and your ex-spouse own a home together, both are charged with paying off the debt unless you work out another arrangement. Aside from selling the house, your best option may be to pursue refinancing. Using a quitclaim deed, you can take your name off the title of the property, but this is not enough when it comes to divorce and credit. Your ex must also refinance, or your credit will suffer if he or she becomes delinquent on payments.
On the other side, if you retain ownership of the home and do not put the property in your name, you could be affected if your ex-spouse is sued. The house might be seized to pay off your spouse’s debts.
If you are separated, you may want to take a few steps to prepare yourself, especially if you think you are heading toward divorce. Pull your credit report and assess your financial situation, noting all existing credit accounts. Keep copies of everything in a safe place. If you have joint accounts, have a discussion with your spouse about who will assume payments for which credit accounts. If you are on peaceful terms with your spouse, have a frank discussion about divorce and credit, and how you can both protect yourselves. Consult an attorney, and create a plan to keep your payments on schedule and your credit protected.
To protect yourself from the pitfalls of divorce and credit, cancel your joint accounts, and make sure you contact all credit bureaus to ensure that your address information is updated.

New Overdraft Fee Legislation

As part of the new overdraft fee legislation, beginning August 15, banks will no longer be allowed to authorize debt card transactions if they overdraw your account …
… unless you tell them otherwise.
Until this new overdraft fee legislation takes effect, banks can continue their practice of authorizing transactions that put your account in the red, charging you an overdraft fee. Currently, banks also can allow you to withdraw more money than you have at an ATM, charging you an overdraft fee of at least $35.
But once the new regulation comes to fruition on August 15, this practice will be against the rules unless you “opt in” by authorizing your bank to continue automatically authorizing these transactions.
A word of warning: Banks are aggressively finding ways to line their pockets before this new overdraft fee legislation go into effect. I wouldn’t be surprised if they loosened their policy on this practice between now and August 15. You might be authorized for just about any transaction while they sit by and collect the $35 overdraft fee.
Indeed, some banks have already started a direct mail campaign that persuades account holders to opt in so that they are not affected by the new overdraft fee legislation. But I generally think this is a bad idea. If you do not have enough money in your account for the transaction, it stands to reason that you do not have enough money to pay the overdraft fee.