Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
June 15, 2012
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC ®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
One of my biggest financial mistakes came early on in my marriage. My husband and I fell madly in love…with a large, extended cab pickup truck. But the honeymoon was over when the car payments started. After just a few months, there was a trickle down effect – because we were struggling to make the payments, we weren’t able to pay off our credit card fully each month. We ended up carrying a balance on our card, and that balance got bigger and bigger. After a couple of years of this, we finally realized we had to stop hemorrhaging money and we sold our truck and got a used SUV. Eventually we paid off our credit card debt. But we were so scarred by the experience that we now do our darnedest not to have a car payment. And when we do have to take out an auto loan, we make paying it off one of our first priorities.
I have seen plenty of people struggling with huge car payments. Several times I have counseled service members who had TWO car payments totaling nearly half (or more!) of their monthly take home pay. Here are some tips for saving for your next vehicle so you won’t be crippled by your auto loan:
June 14, 2012
Union Bank, N.A.
Senior Vice President and Regional Manager
Summer road trips remind us that it may be time for a vehicle tune up. Just like regular maintenance prevents damage to your vehicle and helps ensure a smoother and safer ride, regular financial tune ups can help keep you on the road to financial security and stability.
Following are some tips to help you keep your finances in good working order:
Review Important Financial Documents
Pull copies of your will and/or living trust, insurance policies and other important documents and review them to make sure they are up to date. Obtain a copy of your credit report and have errors corrected. To get a free credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus, go to annualcreditreport.com.
Seek Lower Interest Rates
If you carry a balance on your credit cards, call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate, or seek alternatives elsewhere. If you notice that mortgage rates have dropped two or more points lower than what you are paying, you might consider refinancing your home mortgage at a lower interest rate. Take into consideration fees or pre-payment clauses that may apply, and if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next three to five years, the amount you save on refinancing may not cover the closing costs.