Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kiplinger Offers Tips on Debt-Free Living

Debt-free living is a common goal. Therefore, I was interested when I received a pitch from the folks at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance , featuring great tips for living debt free.

My personal favorite is the tip about watching our medical bills. My parents have caught major errors in hospital bills. I wrote about medical bills in this post

Meanwhile, here is the info from Kiplinger's:

"The November issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine profiles five ordinary people who tackled their debt—and are now get a good night’s rest. See how they did it; you can, too.

Take Washington D.C.-area resident Cindy Campbell, for example, who got hooked on credit cards in college and within two years owed $7,000. She paid off her plastic—plus a car loan—in three years. How did she do it?

Plus, Kiplinger’s offers how-to checklists to overcome common causes of debt:

Erase credit-card debt. Find extra money to put toward your bills by cutting back on spending, taking an extra job or devoting gifts or bonuses to pay off high-interest cards. Call your card issuer and ask for a lower rate and seek help from lenders. Before you miss a payment, contact a credit-counseling agency.

Pay off medical bills. Make sure the bills are correct before you pay anything, build your case if a claim is denied, and negotiate with service providers to reduce your bill or set up a payment plan.

Shrink student loan debt. Pay off loans with the highest interest rate first and look for discounts, as some lenders cut their interest rates if you make automatic payments from your bank account. Also, be sure to take advantage of tax breaks—in 2007, you can deduct up to $2,500 in student-loan interest if you meet certain salary criteria.

Fix adjustable-rate mortgages. Refinance into a fixed-rate loan if you have good credit. If you have trouble refinancing or you’ve already missed payments, ask your lender for help."



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1 comment:

mezamashii said...

My husband had cancer the first year of our marriage & then several cyst surgeries after that (he's fine now.) There were only a couple of minor errors in the bills from the hospital. The biggest problem I had was watching what insurance sneakily would try to get out of by claiming it was miscoded or "accidently" miss paying line items entirely. You kind of assume when you get the bill that shows insurance paid some that you pay the rest. Don't. Look at that very closely.