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Holiday Credit Trap – Don’t Spend What Isn’t Real

This weekend I was sitting in a local restaurant enjoying a quick lunch with my wife. As we were waiting for our food to arrive I couldn’t help but over hear what the couple behind us was talking about. It was obvious they were planning out their holiday shopping strategy and it was clear they were planning on spending more than they had.

Using Credit Cards for Gifts

Christmas Credit Trap

During their conversation the wife pulled out her wallet and laid out a stack of credit cards. She took one in particular and called the customer service number on the back. So while she was eating she was also having a desperate conversation on her cell phone about how much her line of credit was and how much was available versus what was needed. She told the rep on the other end that she has some special gifts to purchase and anything they could do would be great. In the end the wife received the good news, credit limit was raised, great gifts would be had. But from my perspective the only thing being had was the middle aged couple that was leveraging their future in order to have a great Christmas in the family!

Granted I don’t know the whole story and may be judging without cause but at this time of year I fear that the meaning of Christmas has become how big, expensive, or cool a gifts we can get our families. And given the continued state of the economy we all ought to be more realistic about our gift giving and expect to receive less at the same time. The gift of yourself is always the best way to express gratitude and it’s free.

My gift to each of you is to ask you give yourself a gift of a savings account for next Christmas’ budget. If you already back online or need to sign-up for a savings account it is very easy. I recently opened an account at AMEX Savings just for this purpose. Think about putting 50 to 100 dollars in your account every month. And for next year you’ll have over $600 saved for purchasing gifts with cash or even give cash as a gift. How powerful is that?!?

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Credit Score – Facts in Nutshell

Credit Score Fast Facts:

  1. The average American has 13 credit obligations (mostly credit cards and loans).
  2. Forty percent of credit card holders carry a balance less than $1,000.
  • Fifteen percent have total credit card balances of $10,000 or more.
  • Less than 50 percent of people have ever been 30 days late or more on a payment.
  • Thirty percent have been 60 days or more overdue.
  • Twenty-three percent have had a loan or account 90 days or more past due.
  • Less than 20 percent have ever had a loan or account closed due to defaulting on payments
  • Source: www.myfico.com

    What is a FICO score?

    A FICO score is a credit bureau risk score produced from models developed by Fair Isaac Corp. to be used by lenders to assess the credit risk of prospective borrowers. The scores are derived solely from information available on credit bureau reports.

    Where are you in these facts?

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    Lowest Credit Scores in History?

    Mid-Week Quickie

    According to the associated press…

    “More than one in four Americans now has a FICO credit score below 600, which is considered low, and could have difficulty getting credit cards, car loans and mortgages.

    Statistics released from FICO Inc. show that 25.5 percent of the 170 million Americans with active credit accounts have scores of 599 or below on the 300 to 850 scale, based on data from April consumer credit reports. The median score is 723.

    The data also showed that 2.4 million more people have fallen into the lowest FICO categories in the past two years. Historically the rate of people with scores of 599 or lower has been around 15 percent.”

    Folks reading this should be alarmed. It is very important that we all take ownership of our credit and debt lives. Most likely we are one of the consumers whose credit score has fallen into the low range.

    If you are serious about making changes it is suggested you start doing something about it by reading all present and past blog posts of mine as well as visit my website CreditMania.com.

    Stay tuned to a series of posts related to credit scores and credit scoring.

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    Prioritizing Credit Report Disputes

    What do you do first?

    Let’s make sure to maximize your impact when beginning the dispute process with the credit reporting agencies. All too often we want to fix the large dollar items vs. the small stuff but in the end the small stuff add up and can have quick impact to score improvement.

    The key areas to focus on in order of high impact with little effort:

  • Personal Info such as address, aliases, job history, employer
  • Inquiries over two years old
  • Old past due accounts older than the statute of limitations
  • Small dollar amounts that you have settled or plan on settling
  • Larger charge-offs and past dues
  • Liens and Judgments
  • Credit Fix Step - 1, 2, 3

    Credit Fix Waltz - 1, 2, 3

    I personally suggest doing steps 1,2, and 3 over and over until you get the results you are expecting. I like to refer to this as the Credit Fix Waltz.

    For example dispute letters and a nice print-out of the statute of limits in all 50 states go to my website and sign-up for the packet.

    Keep up the great work and don’t ever give up!

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    Mid-Week Credit and Debt Repair Quickie

    Fast Factoids About Credit Repair and Debt Settlement

    Fact #1…It has taken most of us several years to damage our credit.

    Fact #2…It will take time, patience, and hard work to undo those years of neglect.

    Fact #3…There are no “secret” silver bullet strategies involved. Just plain commitment and constant work. Look around my CreditMania.com and there you’ll find most all the basic resources you’ll need to get started on your journey. In some cases you may feel overwhelmed or hopeless. If so, then you may want to seek additional guidance. But all you really need is time and a positive attitude.

    Accept these facts, and you’ll succeed beyond your wildest dreams! Enjoy the journey and have fun!

    Live Life Richly Today!

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