Posts Tagged ‘Credit card’

Note from Wil:
This is a post from Maria Rainer, a self-described “blog junkie”. Maria seems to be writing right in my wheel-house with articles on online education, online degrees, and this latest effort of hers which is a great idea.

I like to include the writings and opinions of as many people as I can, regardless of whether or not I agree with someone’s opinion. If you want to contribute to Finance For Youth: The Blog, send me an email:

Money management—as one of the most recent posts has demonstrated, it’s a principle that is rather difficult for some children to grasp. And like already mentioned in the previous article, if money management skills are not taught at an early age, your child can suffer many consequences and hardships in their future—they can get into debt after college, be forced to barely survive pay check-to-pay check, or ruin their credit early on, preventing them from acquiring a house or car. While open communication and positive affirmation for saving are great techniques to teach your child about finances, another way is discreetly disguise money management lessons via games. The games listed below (which vary from board games, online games and iPhone apps) are designed to teach your children all about their finances, including money management, debt and even the consequences of bad credit—all in a fun and engaging way.

1. Pay Day.


This game may have been originally created in 1975, but the lessons that your child can secretly learn while having a blast with family and friends is still impactful today. Of course the game has had a huge facelift and is modern-looking, but it still teaches the traditional lessons as the original: children learn about employment, loans and interest, as well as the importance of paying bills and handling unexpected expenses. Price: $14.98 on Amazon.


2. The Debt-Free Game.

If the title didn’t blatantly explain the premise of the game as it is, the Debt-Free Game is a board game designed to teach both children and adults about all different aspects of finance, including creating emergency funds, saving for college, paying off credit card debt and car notes. It even teaches children how to differentiate the difference between “wants” and “needs.” The first person to complete their “money tree” using a set of dimes is dubbed the winner. This game is exclusively sold online. Price: $22

3. The Bad Credit Hotel.

The Bad Credit Hotel, which is a by-product of the U.S. Treasury Department, is designed to teach children about, well “bad credit.” Based in a haunted-like hotel, players must use smart-credit card practices and techniques to build up their credit and move on to the next stage. It has “clues” that tell players what they need to do while simultaneously educating players on the importance of credit. Once the player earns a total score of 850 (which is a real-life perfect credit score) he or she wins the game. Price: Free

4. Save! The Game.
iPhone Screenshot 1Lastly the interactive iPhone app Save! The Game is also a great game to teach your child about finance-smarts. As the name suggests, this game takes children into a fantasy world in order to teach children about the importance of saving money and avoiding impulse shopping: players who can dodge the evil “iwannas” successfully and make it to the bank wins the game. Price: Free






Author Bio:

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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Earlier this week, Americans celebrated INDEPENDENCE DAY. In a nutshell, this is a celebration of the original American colonies’ approved a resolution that separated them from England. Either I’m not clear on what exactly happened, or the colonists really knew how to throw one hell of a party. Hot dog eating contests, barbeques, fireworks, Twilight Zone marathons, and every other form of entertainment that colonials could ask for were readily available to celebrate the idea that is now the United States of America*.

America is good for celebrations. I’m not knocking any other country, but it tells you how much we know how to party when we combine alcohol and lighting stuff on fire! THAT is what a party should look like. Anyway, America, as a country is great for parties and celebrations. But as individuals, sometimes we allow ourselves to get mired in details and negativity so we can’t even see a reason to celebrate.

Right now, we are right in the middle of the Greater Depression. Many people have lost their jobs over the past decade or so. In fact, just going by the numbers that the government (underreports) 9.2 per cent of the people who are able and desirous of full-time employment are unable to find a suitable job.

Many families and individuals have gone on a fiscal diet where we eat fewer “greens” and strive to live within the confines of our income. People are spending less, and starting to save and pay off debt in ever-increasing numbers. People are scared, and with good reason. But too many people are allowing their fears to stop them from seeing reasons to celebrate! Let’s look at some of these reasons.

1. Many people are unable to find suitable full-time employment. Some of those people give up trying to look. So, if you are one of those people who do have a job, even if it is part-time, you have a leg up on a lot of people. You should celebrate this victory, even if it isn’t a complete victory, or even if you aren’t completely thrilled with the job you now have.

2. While you might be one of those people who are living much more frugally than before, you are probably spending a lot of time paying off credit cards. That’s great! Debt equals stress, and if you can avoid one, you go a long way towards avoiding both. So as you pay off debt lines (credit cards), or your car, or anything, celebrate it! Sure, you might be only making the first steps, but you are making steps. You deserve to acknowledge that.

3. If you have worked hard, and have made the right decisions that have allowed you to save a few dollars, you are way ahead of many of your peers.

“But Wil, if I celebrate all these little successes, I’ll go broke, or I’ll lose my focus, or I’ll just get frustrated when I realize how far away from my goals I am, or meow meow meow blah!” Sorry, I stopped listening so I’m not sure exactly what your excuses for not celebrating are, but I can tell you that they are B.S. and you need to wrap your head around that fact.

Look, when I quit smoking (yeah, I’m finally admitting that I’ve quit), I celebrated after I made it that first week. I celebrated again the next week. I celebrated again after I was able to withstand a very stressful couple of weeks for my family. I celebrated when I was able to be around smokers without cravings or without being that prick that judges others who haven’t made the decision to quit. I believe that my celebrations motivated me to not fail because the goal seemed too large and unattainable.

When you are celebrating small fiscal victories, I’m not saying you need to have a huge, blow-out party, or spend a ton of money. That would be the opposite of what you need to do. But maybe you buy a fairly nice dinner when you pay off a large credit card. Make sure you pay cash; you wouldn’t want to charge on the card you just paid off. Maybe you go to a bookstore and buy a CD or book that you would enjoy when you add another $100.00 to your savings account.

“But Wil isn’t spending money exactly what I’m trying to avoid?”

In large part, yes it is. I’m not going to lie to you here. Having small celebrations might slow you down on reaching your ultimate goals. A little bit. But you will gain the motivation to keep going, and you might even develop the motivation to have bigger celebrations for reaching bigger goals. Whatever works for you, go with it.

One word of caution: Moderation.

Keep your celebrations to scale with your successes. You don’t need a trip to Vegas when you get a new part-time job!

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a while now.  I like it because it is a great feel good song with a bouncy little beat.  I hope you enjoy!




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*BTW, before some crank in his underwear, sitting at the computer in his parents’ basement decides to “correct” me on my historical facts, let me just say two things: One, I am a history teacher, I know my history. Two, the above paragraph is what we historians refer to as a JOKE! Get over it.

Note From Wil: This is a guest post from Chris Martin, a freelance writer. 

I like to include the writings and opinions of as many people as I can. If you want to contribute to Finance For Youth: The Blog, send me an email:


So maybe you’ve seen this little gem in your email inbox before:

Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt Now!

Keep More $$$ In Your Pocket!

Show Those Nasty Credit Card Companies That YOU’RE The Boss!

Spend Money Again Like it is Water!

Get Rich, Popular, And Better-Looking!



Okay, so maybe this is a slight exaggeration. But many of these ads do tend to promote consolidation of your credit cards like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the iPhone, and DVRs combined. But what’s the real story on credit card consolidation? Is there a catch?

Here are some of the catchphrases that are often found in these “Consolidate Now!” emails – and how you should perceive them.

“Compute your credit card debt… and see how much money we can save you!”

This is actually a wise thing to do even if you aren’t actively pursuing credit card consolidation. Gather up your credit card bills, then take a pen and paper and write down the amount you owe and the annual percentage rate on each card. Then add up the dollar amounts to determine your total credit card debt.

The way credit card consolidation works is to take that large sum and create a loan with an interest rate that ideally is near the low end of the APRs you have written down (or perhaps even lower than all of them). If a company can offer that kind of a deal to you, it’s worth considering.

“Manage all of your credit card debt with one easy payment!”

This is actually true. If you find that juggling credit card statements and due dates is a hassle, credit card consolidation can solve that problem for you. You only have to make one payment a month to the company that is holding the loan.

“We negotiate with your creditors to get you the best rate possible!”

That’s pretty much true as well, but you need to understand the ramifications of what this means. Consolidation companies contact the credit card companies on your behalf to negotiate an arrangement. This involves the consolidator agreeing to “pay off the debt” on that credit card in exchange for a reduced payoff amount. The credit card company gets a large sum of money up front, and the consolidator in essence “makes a profit” on the loan.

But what also happens is that the credit card company records the fact that you didn’t pay off the entire amount that you charged on your card. This information gets sent to the credit bureaus, and it often has an adverse effect on your credit score. This could create problems if you’re trying to get a mortgage or another type of bank loan. On the other hand, if you find that making one monthly payment to a consolidator keeps you from paying credit card bills late (or missing payments altogether), then over time this will actually improve your credit score because you are paying your debt amount down.

The fine print.

Of course, there are always a few things that the consolidators won’t want to point out to you. Like the fact that some of their loan arrangements can be “re-priced” after a period of time, which means that nifty interest rate you have could increase after a year or two based on market conditions. There may also be penalties if you try to pay off your loan ahead of time – after all, consolidators make money by charging you interest on unpaid balances, so they want you to carry an unpaid balance for as long as possible. Therefore, take the time to read the fine print in the email (or follow the link provided that lists the terms and conditions) before you sign on the dotted line.

Oh, yeah – one other thing. If you choose to go the credit card debt consolidation route, there’s another thing you’ll have to do in order for it to have its intended effect: stop using your credit cards! (Or at the very least, strongly curtail their use.) If you don’t take this vital step, you’ll just get yourself back into debt and wind up even worse off than you were before you consolidated.

The best strategy is to either “go credit less” and pay for everything with cash, checks, or your debit card; or to maintain one credit card for emergencies and for other necessary tasks (like reserving – but not paying for – a hotel room or rental car, for example). It sounds challenging, but it can be done; many people across the country are living “debt-free” lifestyles.

Credit card consolidation may be the right solution to your credit card debt woes. But in order for this to happen, you have to look beyond the hype that gushes out of consolidators’ solicitous emails. A good rule of thumb is: if a phrase is followed by an exclamation point (or several), be sure to check it out to make sure that it isn’t “too good to be true.” 


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Since this is the month where we all have to pay money we don’t have in taxes that won’t be spent well, I decided to break loose with the secrets to real wealth that all personal finance people know that we don’t share. The truth is, PF people have been yanking chains for centuries since the web was discovered. We kind of have to if we want to keep our membership in the Personal Finance cabal.

Well I’m tired of keeping you, my loyal readers, from learning how to make some scrilla on the real. I don’t care anymore. You deserve better than that from me, and dammit this is my chance to do right by you. Here’s my problem. I’m not going to risk the chastisement and the beatings that the illunimoney (The official name of the overseers of the Personal Finance community) for 5 people. If I just put the rules on this post, it will be shut down, along with the rest of within minutes.

I’ve enabled a string of code within this post that will send readers a copy of the coveted secrets to true wealth known to us PF people. It will be triggered by getting 1000 hits to this post, or 250 email comments that repeat a specific phrase (which I’m embedding into the video below). I wish you all well with the information you will receive.

Because I’ve chosen to embark on this path, it is with great sorrow and sadness that I also announce that this will be the final post from Finance For Youth: The Blog. It has been a great run, but what is f4y about if I can’t at least make my readers filthy rich? This has been the adventure of a lifetime, and I thankful that you have allowed me to take it with you.

Once again, find the phrase embedded below and send me at least 250 different email comments containing it and the code will be delivered into your mail box within one hour of the 250th message.



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Note From Wil: This is a guest post from my friend, and fellow personal finance writer Martha Jackson.

I like to include the writings and opinions of as many people as I can. If you want to contribute to Finance For Youth: The Blog, send me an email:


Are you having any problems with your credit cards? Are you failing to maintain the different credit cards that you have been using? If you want to get out of this situation, you will have to first think as to how you can stop your debt amount from increasing. What you need to realize is that, in order to pay off your credit card debts, you will have to stop the debt amount from increasing. Now, the only way in which you can do that is putting a stop to the usage of your credit cards. After that you can opt for credit card consolidation in order to make debt pay off easier.

Myths and truths related to consolidation

Credit card consolidation is one such debt pay off method that can help you to pay off your bills easily enough. Consolidation lowers the interest rate on your credit card debt and also helps you save some money on your debt payments. Thus it helps to manage your finances more efficiently. If you are able to both save money and pay off your debts, you might be able to become almost a hero amongst your friends – like the Greek hero conquering the evil called “Debt”.

However, while consolidating your credit cards you should be aware of the myths and the contrasting truths associated with credit card consolidation or else you might end up having additional financial problems.

  • Myth: Credit card consolidation cuts interest rate by half – One of the myths associated with credit card consolidation is that, consolidation cuts the interest rate by half. Consolidation lowers the interest rate but not by half.

    Truth: This will depend on the creditor – The truth is that consolidation lowers your interest rate but by how much it may get lowered will depend on your creditor.

  • Myth: Credit card consolidation cannot be done all by you – Many people believe that consolidation cannot be done all by yourself. You need to take the help of a debt consolidation company.

    Truth: “Do it yourself” credit card consolidation exists – But the truth is that you can try the “Do it yourself” credit consolidation. In do it yourself consolidation, you need to negotiate with all of your creditors and request them to agree to consolidation as you are having financial problems.

  • Myth: Credit card consolidation loans are easily available – Many believe that consolidation loans are easily available. However, this is another myth.

    Truth: You need to have good credit in order to get the loan – You need to have atleast a respectable credit and you will also have to go through all the paperworks in order to get a loan.

  • Myth: Debt consolidation and settlement is same thing – Another myth associated with consolidation is that it is the same thing as debt settlement.

    Truth: The two are different debt pay off methods – However, the truth is that debt consolidation or credit card consolidation is different than debt settlement. While consolidation lowers the interest rate on your debts, settlement lowers the outstanding debt that you have.

  • Myth: Consolidation always saves money – Consolidation always helps you to save money. This is another myth and will depend on the way you are making the payments.

    Truth: You will have to pay off fast in order to save – the truth is that you can even end up paying more towards the interest if you take long time to pay off the debts. So, if you want to both save money and pay off debts, you will have to try and pay off the debts as fast as possible.

  • Myth: Credit card consolidation hurts your credit – Another myth is that consolidation hurts your credit.

    Truth: Consolidation actually improves your credit – However, the truth is that consolidation improves your credit as you make on-time payments. However, your credit may be hurt if you close down your accounts after consolidating all of the debts into one large debt.  

Visit for more tips, tools and resources for dealing with debt.

You need to be aware of all the ins and outs of debt processes irrespective of the type you are opting for. Another thing that you should be aware of, before consolidating your credit card bills is that you will be able to consolidate only your unsecured debts. Secured debts cannot be consolidated.

Author’s Bio: Miss Jackson loves to write financial articles and she is a contributory writer associated with the Debt Consolidation Care Community and has written several articles on debt consolidation, debt settlement, bill consolidation and get out of debt for various financial websites. She holds her expertise in the Debt industry and has made significant contribution through her various articles.

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Pop Quiz!

What are these things? If you said ‘credit cards’, you would be correct. Of course, I would have also accepted ‘debt’, ‘something to avoid abusing’, ‘something highly addictive’, and ‘chick magnet’.

I don’t want to needlessly labor over how these little guys work. I think we all get it; you want something that you can’t afford to pay for right at the moment, you use one of these things. In a little while, you get a bill for the item(s) you bought. You pay for the item and a little extra for the privilege of getting what you want immediately.

These things are tools. They have their uses. For young people, I suggest that these uses are few. They are great for paying for something that you don’t have enough money for right now!!
They are great for making purchases online for books or music, or whatever.

What they aren’t:

I’ve heard other PF people make the argument that these tools are good emergency funds. Well, in a very large sense they are, but when people don’t have an actual emergency fund with actual money, they run a huge risk of destroying themselves financially. For example, my friend here was riding his unicycle to work. If you’ve ever ridden a unicycle, you realize that they are treacherous to stay on. Well, my friend gets in a little fender-bender. Nothing serious, but he will have to miss out on some work while he heals. If he is using his credit card as his only emergency fund, he had better hope that he can get back to work within the month. He might go back even before he is fully ready, because those bills will come in whether he’s ready or not. Without an actual cash back-up, he starts missing payments, his card gets shut down, and now my friend is injured and with no money.

Another mistake people make with credit cards is that they use them to increase their “wealth” by avoiding paying bills. Here’s how this one works: I want to go on vacation. I pay for my vacation on a credit card. When the bill comes in, I charge it to another credit card. My first card thinks I’ve paid it, but now I owe the same money on my new card. Some people will keep this shell game going on for as long as they can, and many people will tell you about all the benefits they are getting, such benefits come at a high price. All it takes is for you to forget one payment, and all the miles or cash back or whatever is gone. Plus, you’re carrying a balance when you don’t need to.

At the end of the day,

Credit cards can be helpful tools, or they can become an anchor around your neck as you try to bail yourself out of deep financial water. Whichever you choose, make sure that you control what your credit cards are, and don’t let them control your finance.  In the end, they are whatever you say they are.




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