April 2012

Get a Free Credit Report if the Bank Cancels Your Credit Card

Last week I got a letter from Chase informing me that they were canceling my former Washington Mutual card. The result? A free credit report! The Initial Shock of Having a Card Canceled I’ve had several credit cards canceled due to inactivity over the last year or two. I didn’t find out about the gas card or several of the store cards until I tried to update my address when…
Continue Reading

How to Deal with a Check-Bouncing Roommate

There are lots of good reasons to have roommates, like the ability to afford an apartment in a better area, reduced utility and housing costs, and simple companionship. However, having roommates can also be risky, especially if they’re not good with money. After experiencing more than my share of bad roommates, I lived alone for several years. My husband also had his share of bad roommates. Here are…
Continue Reading

Should You Use a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers have gotten a bad rap in the last year. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous brokers steered borrowers into expensive loans with large kickbacks and helped fuel the current crisis by failing to properly disclose all information. Fortunately, most of them are now out of business. The brokers who remain are usually reputable people who are interested in helping borrowers find appropriate and affordable loans. Why Should You Use…
Continue Reading

Check Medical Bills to Save Money

As I mentioned yesterday, I was overcharged when I visited the eye doctor in November. Fortunately, I listened carefully when the doctor explained his pricing and then double-checked the receipt when I got home. Something similar happened just last week after my husband visited the emergency room for stitches in his finger. Those two errors could have cost us $304, but I’m super-vigilant when it comes to making sure my…
Continue Reading

How Much Do You Really Need for Retirement?

The news likes to bandy about the $2 million figure when predicting the amount the average American will need for retirement. These one-size-fits-all predictions don’t really work, though. $2 million could last a person in low-cost area quite a long time, but run out quickly for someone who previously earned a high income and lives in a high-cost area (like, say, Los Angeles.) How Do You Determine the…
Continue Reading

Refi #2 – Am I Crazy?

Crazy like a fox! Yes, just one year after closing on my original purchase, I’ve refinanced my mortgage twice. It cost me nothing but a little bit of time and paper, but the combined refinances will save us $160 a month on the mortgage. Over ten years, that’s a whopping $15,000! How I Got Two No-Cost Refis in Six Months I have a mortgage broker friend. He emailed…
Continue Reading