You are here: Consumer Voices Remar's Report Rethinking Debt

Rethinking Debt

Putting Money In Your Pocket

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Special note from Remar: This Remar's Report is going to sound like a commercial for Mission Fed, but it isn't. This report is about saving you money, and since many times "saving money" and Mission Fed go hand-in-hand, the credit union's name comes up a good bit. I think you'll be glad I bring it up, if you read carefully.

Want some free money? You know, some you don't have to work for? How about free money every month?

If you haven't looked at your debt—whether it's a payment on a loan or a credit card, recurring payments on your cell phone, or insurance or what you spend on groceries and house supplies each year, you're throwing away money and you're probably throwing away thousands. Like this:

Do you have a vehicle loan?

If you financed a vehicle (or vehicles) at a dealership or through a bank, you're probably paying too much in interest. Every day Mission Fed sees members that regularly throw away at least a thousand dollars in unnecessary interest payments on a vehicle loan at a bank or dealership source.

And here's a fact: if you financed a used vehicle at a bank or dealership, you probably threw away a lot more than a thousand dollars. Let's say that two months ago at another lender you financed a 2008 used car for 48 months with a note of $11,000 at 15.9% APR. Refinancing for the balance of your loan at the credit union's average rates of under 6% for used cars could save typically save you over $3,000 in this example. How much could you save? Start by using our calculators or contacting a loan advisor.

Have you had your car and house insurance with the same folks for a long time?

Haven't had any wrecks or tickets? Have kids that have been driving for a number of years with no accidents or tickets? Talk to your insurance folks, and tell them you want an insurance review, and want to get your insurance costs down. Insurance companies aren't required to call you up and tell you if there's a way to lower your insurance costs. But most agents will listen very carefully if they sense they may lose you as a customer if they don't look for meaningful savings for you.

Do you have more than one cell phone?

For instance, does each member of your family have a phone? Is there a special plan for that? A true story: I have four cell phones and cut my monthly bill $80 by changing plans. $960 saved in a year. How long do you work to take home $960?

Have a mortgage?

Ever had that mortgage looked at? Call a Mission Fed mortgage advisor today. Dropping your interest rate and choosing the appropriate mortgage loan product for your needs could save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

Have a few credit cards?

The new credit card regulations mean many credit card companies are raising their rates, raising their fees, and generally raising barriers when it comes to qualifying for free features. Carry a regular balance of $5000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 22%, and you could be throwing away $38 a month in interest payments, compared to the average cost of an Mission Fed card.

And while we're talking credit cards, guess what Mission Fed's credit cards don't have? Binding Mandatory Arbitration Agreements. BMA agreements take away your right to use the U.S. court system. You'll find them in many bank credit card agreements. You won't find them in Mission Fed's.

And speaking again of credit cards, do you ever make the minimum payment? Look at the math of paying just a little bit more than the minimum. Let's say you owe $5000 on a 12% APR card. Paying the minimum of $100 a month will take you 259 months and cost $4,545 in interest. Pay just $50 more monthly, a payment of $150 and you'll pay the balance of in 41 months for $1113 in interest.

Want to cut your heating bill?

Have a timer for your thermostat yet? Lower the temperature at night, and during the hours you're gone. Turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours helps you save about 10% per year on average.

Saving thousands by rethinking your debt isn't brain surgery.

Start your own rethinking plan this week. Take a look at my tips and prioritize. If an auto loan or mortgage loan refinance looks promising, gather your loan papers and call and make an appointment with a Mission Fed staff member. They are ready to help.

Make sense? It makes big dollars and sense.


Originally published: November 2010 

Brain Food

Each month, Brain Food highlights podcasts by others on key issues that impact your wallet. This month we highlight three video podcasts from Consumer Reports.

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