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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308355  
Subject: accept % offer? Date: 10/19/2003 10:14 PM
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This is my first time posting on this board, although it is one of my favorites so far to read. Huge kudos to all of those that share hints and opinions, even though some are not the most polite, they ARE usually what people need to hear. As a matter of fact, the LBYMers recently talked me out of the monumental mistake of buying a new car when I am upside-down in my current vehicle. (HUGE moment of weakness)

Our background: I'm a broke teacher, and DH has started his own busness that has really taken off in the last year or so, bringing home about $2-3000 a week. We have had some major credit problems in the past. All of our debt is high-interest, but is getting paid off rather quickly with our, okay... HIS increased income. Cars at 16.9, and 14.8, credit cards at 29.99 and 23.99, with $35 and $75 annual fees. Aghhhhh! We are doing everything we can to get out from under, and are almost there. My two credit cards are paid off and his two have less than $500 on them, and should be gone next month. Remember the car I wanted to buy? Well, I was approved by my credit union for a 4.4% loan! (I SHREDDED that $25,000 voucher- yayyy for me!) That is a fourth of my current rate! So our credit is vastly improved. YAHHHOOOOO!

So here's my question. I have been getting offers in the mail for a 0% APR card until April '04, with free balance transfers. Would it be smart to get this card? Our other cards are just about paid off, so we wouldn't be paying any interest, but would still have to pay the annual fee. We are hoping to buy our first house in the next 3 or 4 months. So would it be better to keep what we have until then? I know through research on myfico.com that having too many cards and too much credit available reflects poorly on your score, and they also look at how long you have had credit with one source. I don't want to do anything that will hurt my credit score, but I also want to pay less interest and no yearly fee.

Anyone have advice for me?

FitGirl
...LBYM in training
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Author: agg97 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171983 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/19/2003 10:43 PM
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First of all, congratulations on all your progress and the successful business!

If you're going to pay off your CCs each month, the APR is meaningless. I would definitely get one without an annual fee, though. However, this close to buying your first house, I wouldn't touch anything...keep the ones you got, don't get any new ones. The FICO scores are a little like the Chaos theory...you never know when one little change is going to blow your score to shreds.

-Agg97

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171986 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/19/2003 11:04 PM
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If you are going to apply for a mortgage in 3 to 4 months, DO NOT APPLY for new credit, close or make any changes to any account. Unless you are need to take action to increase your score, doing nothing is your best choice. Even it if means paying annual fees for another year. After you have closed on your then you can apply for a new credit card with better rates and fees.

Debra

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Author: rah1420 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171993 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 6:37 AM
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We are hoping to buy our first house in the next 3 or 4 months.

Echoing the other sentiments on the board; don't do ANYTHING except continue to pay down debt (and maybe sock a little aside for contingencies, etc.) -- not till after you sign on the dotted line.

If you're getting these offers today, you'll get them in six months.

If you don't mind my asking, what does DH do that grosses over 100K a year? :)

-- thinking a career change might be in order

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Author: Crosenfield Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171994 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 7:18 AM
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As others have said, don't do anything to your credit accounts when you are planning to buy a house in a few months, other, of course, than continuing to pay them down.
That offer of 0% with free balance transfers is nice, except for the annual fee. Most of the ones I get want 3% upfront fee for cash advances or balance transfers--they just get shredded. If you have one like that after you move into your new house, call them up and say, "Gee, this looks good but I don't want to pay the annual fee. If you could waive the annual fee I'll take you up on it, and I'll be buying a lot of things for my new house."
They may agree. Doesn't hurt to ask.
As your credit score improves you will see better and better offers. I haven't been offered a card with an annual fee in years. All my cards give cash back. I have no idea what the rates are because they are paid off every month so it doesn't matter.
When you have no balances to transfer, the rate doesn't matter and a card that is dinging you annually for a fee is an unnecessary pain.
Better will come along. Hang in there.
Best wishes, Chris

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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171995 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 8:36 AM
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Thank you all for your replies! No new credit card for me until we sign on the dotted line for that house. Thanks for the advice. Boy let me tell ya... The membership to TMF discussion boards has paid for itself a milllion times over!

If you don't mind my asking, what does DH do that grosses over 100K a year? :)

DH is a sub-contractor for a residential framing construction company in the Tampa Bay area. It hasn't always been a source of high income, however. He started out at $5 an hour... He's just very smart and an incredibly hard worker. Now he has his own crew, a 12 neighborhood contract for 2 or 3 years out and another crew planned to start in 2004. Thanks for letting me brag on him! He has always been willing to go the extra mile to provide for our family, even when he wasn't making much money.

To echo other sentiments I have read elsewhere on this board, I don't think I would be trying to LBMM if we didn't have this increase in income. Three years ago, I can remember being a full time student, having a 2 year old, and DH bringing home $300 a week. We were lucky to have money for groceries. Somehow we always got by, but looking back I don't know HOW!

One more thing... a lot can be said by DH's attitude. I've learned so much from him. While other employee's of the company constantly complained about the long hours and how they needed a raise, DH put his head down, took his shirt off, kept his mouth shut and worked that much harder. Short term, all of the complainers were satisfied, but now they all work for my husband! LOL

Thanks for listening! And thanks again for the great advice.

Health and Happiness,
FitGirl

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Author: windyelliott Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171998 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 9:52 AM
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DH is a sub-contractor for a residential framing construction company in the Tampa Bay area. It hasn't always been a source of high income, however.

Congratulations on having such a hard worker. My boyfriend is trying to start his own construction business but really doesn't see the potential success in it. So he doesn't put in the long hours and the hard work that I think he should. He keeps talking about getting an entry level job as a security guard just because they get benefits. I try to tell him that they also don't get much more then minimum wage and have to work long hours.

Unfortunately he would also like me to marry him. It is hard, but I have to tell him that there is no way I am going to marry someone who doesn't have their act together. I am doing too well on my own to take someone elses problems and make them my own.

The only advice that I would give (which I am sure you already know) is make sure your efund is very well funded. Contracting can be an "on again, off again" job. It would help both of you feel good to know that he could be out of work for a few months and still not have to worry about money. It is important to do this while the income level is still high.

Just my $.02.

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Author: buckmizer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 171999 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 9:59 AM
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I am going to disagree with what a lot of the folks are saying here. I think that one factor in your decision should be determined by what kind of down payment do you plan to put on your house. If you are going for an FHA and only plan to put down 5%, then you might want to rethink your 3 to 4 month plan.

I also don't think that you should continue letting FICO determine your own personal finance decisions. You should NOT be paying any annual charge for a credit card, so either call to have your charge eliminated or cancel the cards. You can tell them that you will cancel the card for that reason.

Fred

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Author: joebedford Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172010 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 11:39 AM
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Unfortunately he would also like me to marry him. It is hard, but I have to tell him that there is no way I am going to marry someone who doesn't have their act together. I am doing too well on my own to take someone elses problems and make them my own.

Sorry, you can only recommend a post to the Best of once.




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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172033 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/20/2003 4:00 PM
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If you are going for an FHA and only plan to put down 5%, then you might want to rethink your 3 to 4 month plan.

Sorry, Fred. LONG day at work (had to teach tennis to 50 kids at once... Aghhhhh!)Not sure what you mean by this. Can you please clarify?

I also don't think that you should continue letting FICO determine your own personal finance decisions. You should NOT be paying any annual charge for a credit card, so either call to have your charge eliminated or cancel the cards. You can tell them that you will cancel the card for that reason.

Well I certainly do not want a card with an annual fee, but at the time, it was the only one we could be approved for, and needed to rebuild our credit. Now that our credit is vastly improved, it makes sense to cancel the cards, but shouldn't I wait to do that until the house? I know that they look at the length of time your revolving accounts have been open.

I wish someone would come out with a "cheat sheet" for FICO scores... if you do this, your score will go up 15 points. If you do that, your score will go down 25 points. Wouldn't that be nice?

Thanks for the replies. BTW, Windy: Way to go, girl!

FitGirl

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Author: buckmizer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172117 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/21/2003 12:44 PM
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Sorry, Fred. LONG day at work (had to teach tennis to 50 kids at once... Aghhhhh!)

Wow, that's quite a racket! Ba-hahahaha! (I loved Dr. Bombay)

Not sure what you mean by this. Can you please clarify?

Sure. It would really suck to get out of CC debt and then get into a mortgage where you pay a vast amount of interest in the first four or five years. That's what happens with an FHA. Also it would suck to HAVE to refinance in a few years in order to get rid of PMI when interest rates will probably be higher than what they are now.

Since you are paying off your CC's fast and furiously, then once they are paid off, then it should not be too difficult to save up at least 10% (might take longer) to put down on a conventional mortgage.

Now that our credit is vastly improved, it makes sense to cancel the cards, but shouldn't I wait to do that until the house?

Banks look at much more than FICO scores. If they look at FICO too much then you probably would want to deal with a bank with a brain instead. They will look at bank statements, they will call your employers, they will call your landlords, etc.

The ambiguity of the FICO score makes it unreliable to base decisions on. I suggest that when the time comes to shop for a house, go to a bank before you shop and work on getting pre-approved for a mortgage and work out any kinks that might turn up then.

I had an idiot Providian telemarketer sign me up for a card while I was being preapproved and it affected nothing.

Fred









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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172122 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/21/2003 1:55 PM
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Thanks, Fred, for clearing that up. I think you make sense.

The ambiguity of the FICO score makes it unreliable to base decisions on. I suggest that when the time comes to shop for a house, go to a bank before you shop and work on getting pre-approved for a mortgage and work out any kinks that might turn up then.

You know, I'd never really thought of that. I had it stuck in my brain that we had to have everything all neat and perfect... once the bank found out that we had XYZ wrong, then we're finished. I never considered the fact that they would kind-of "help" us.

Since you are paying off your CC's fast and furiously, then once they are paid off, then it should not be too difficult to save up at least 10% (might take longer) to put down on a conventional mortgage

Less than 600 dollars left total! Whooo Hoooo! I figured out that if I save my entire pittance um, I mean paycheck, we should have 10 grand by the middle of February plus the 10% I've been saving from each of his paychecks. So I have another question for you (even though it's in the wrong board): should I go ahead now and apply for that mortgage so that we can "work out those kinks" before February? Or should I wait until I get more money in the bank?

Also in response to your FHA statement, I've been considering a 3/1 ARM. 4% for 3 years and then adjustable 1% a year up to 5%. What do you think? In my thinking, payments will be lower now, so that we can continue our debt repayments (cars) ,start saving, and actually furnish the house. We only plan on keeping for 5 or 6 years, so increasing rates shouldn't be a problem. What do you think?

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Author: wildgirl Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172159 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/21/2003 8:59 PM
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First things first welcome and thanks for teaching those kids tennis. I only would move fast if the gendarmes would be there with a signed warrant, my kids would be in danger, or I would be compensated quite well. If I ran, there would be dangerous weapons involved.

I have little time anymore for this board, at my loss. I have been a card carrying whore for over 5 years.. multi credit cards and they hate me now after luving me for years. I will go BK before years end.

I am piss pot poor, lieu of window. However.. your % rates are grotesque.

I will tell you tonite that there is no real utility of you going to the suntanned men in white shirts and looking for a mortgage. Trust me. Let time and those high interest rates go away. Pay the bills off. Wait. They will come a sniffing.

There are many homes in Florida. Wait. You won't be sorry.

wild :)



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Author: rah1420 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172169 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/21/2003 11:03 PM
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DH is a sub-contractor for a residential framing construction company in the Tampa Bay area.

Aha. Yup, that 'splains it. Good luck to you. I'm too old to change careers in that direction. :-{)


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Author: buckmizer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172178 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/22/2003 10:02 AM
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You know, I'd never really thought of that. I had it stuck in my brain that we had to have everything all neat and perfect... once the bank found out that we had XYZ wrong, then we're finished. I never considered the fact that they would kind-of "help" us.

There are many, many people that are "helped" to get over-extended in a mortgage when they work to eek out the the best FICO score. That's another reason why I have little respect for the score.

So I have another question for you (even though it's in the wrong board): should I go ahead now and apply for that mortgage so that we can "work out those kinks" before February? Or should I wait until I get more money in the bank?

I would (and have in the past) set a goal for what you want to put down as a deposit. Also, include some extra, since you don't want to move into a new house and then have to finance to buy appliances, furniture or to make repairs.

When you reach that, then go talk to the bank. You can then start house shopping. It will be helpful to have a letter that states that you are preapproved with you--this could help with negotiations with an anxious seller.

When you do shop--take your time.

Also in response to your FHA statement, I've been considering a 3/1 ARM. 4% for 3 years and then adjustable 1% a year up to 5%. What do you think? In my thinking, payments will be lower now, so that we can continue our debt repayments (cars) ,start saving, and actually furnish the house. We only plan on keeping for 5 or 6 years, so increasing rates shouldn't be a problem. What do you think?

I can't see payments being all that much lower to allow for the other stuff in the budget. I am also not thrilled about adjustable rates when all rates can do is get higher. You think about having the house for just a few years, but plans change other variables happen too.

Fred



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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172229 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/22/2003 10:13 PM
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<<DH is a sub-contractor for a residential framing construction company in the Tampa Bay area. It hasn't always been a source of high income, however. He started out at $5 an hour... He's just very smart and an incredibly hard worker. Now he has his own crew, a 12 neighborhood contract for 2 or 3 years out and another crew planned to start in 2004. Thanks for letting me brag on him! He has always been willing to go the extra mile to provide for our family, even when he wasn't making much money.
>>


Like others, I applaude the success your husband is enjoying with his business.

But be cautious about expanding the bsuienss too rapidly, or expecting high demand to continue indefinitely. Especially in a rising interest rate environment, you never know when demand may dry up in residential new construction.

Pulling money out now, paying off debt and accumulating cash reserves against that day when demand dies off would definitely be my priority over continued rapid expansion.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172237 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/22/2003 11:28 PM
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I applaude the success your husband is enjoying with his business

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I showed him my post in case I hadn't told him lately how much he does for the family. He's the best.

you never know when demand may dry up in residential new construction.

Right on. I agree with what you are saying about rapid expansion, but it mainly for the reason stated above that DH will expand to include another crew by next year. He just signed contract with a major builder for 12 new neighborhoods in the next 3 years. The builders have a time schedule to follow, and if DH doesn't provide the labor, someone else will. Lost opportuntity seems risker than expanding too rapidly. My husband has all (most) of the equipment needed. He just needs to find people willing to work.

As for the saving part, I am a recent convert to LBMM, and am saving like mad! I just opened an ING orange savings account and will drop my entire paycheck in there for a downpayment. I think I'm obsessed with saving. I can't believe the change since I've been on these boards!

your % rates are grotesque

I KNOW! But they are almost paid off, and WILL be by the end of next month (possibly this week). I will call to try and have the annual fee removed, now that my credit has improved. (Qualified for a 4.4 car loan, but did not take it) I am trying not to have to cancel the cards, as I have read on myfico.com that it is important to have cards for a long time. If I have no balance, then the interest rate won't matter if the fees are removed.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles wildgirl. Best of luck to you, and thanks for responding. (YOU TOO, Fred and SeattlePioneer)

FitGirl
...is a fan of SeattlePioneer, and feels privledged to have him respond to her post!

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172246 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/23/2003 8:02 AM
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I KNOW! But they are almost paid off, and WILL be by the end of next month (possibly this week). I will call to try and have the annual fee removed, now that my credit has improved. (Qualified for a 4.4 car loan, but did not take it) I am trying not to have to cancel the cards, as I have read on myfico.com that it is important to have cards for a long time. If I have no balance, then the interest rate won't matter if the fees are removed.

What you might do is call them and ask if they have a different card you could switch to that doesn't have an annual fee. A lot of times they'll move your credit history over to the new card, so you still have your history, but no more annual fees.

Nancy

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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172250 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/23/2003 9:45 AM
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What you might do is call them and ask if they have a different card you could switch to that doesn't have an annual fee. A lot of times they'll move your credit history over to the new card, so you still have your history, but no more annual fees.

Thanks! Yet another great idea from the folks at the fool! Will try that today!

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Author: TheSwinger Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172254 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/23/2003 11:33 AM
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Cars at 16.9, and 14.8, credit cards at 29.99 and 23.99, with $35 and $75 annual fees. Aghhhhh! We are doing everything we can to get out from under, and are almost there. My two credit cards are paid off and his two have less than $500 on them, and should be gone next month. Remember the car I wanted to buy? Well, I was approved by my credit union for a 4.4% loan! (I SHREDDED that $25,000 voucher- yayyy for me!)

I just have a question. Why didn't you take that 4.4% loan and pay off the higher interest rate cars and/or credit cards?

Jenny :)

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Author: ImaFitnessGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172265 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/23/2003 3:59 PM
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Hi Jenny. Good question. I applied for the loan for a new car (a moment of weakness for me) My origional thinking was to get a car I like and be out from under that high interest rate. The problem with that thinking is that I am way way upside down, and I would be even more upside down in a new (to me) car. And I doubt anyone will refinance a car that is not worth half of what I owe. But I'm going all out on this snowballing thing. Next month-- no more CC, and the car should be finished within the year.

But it was a great point. Thanks. BTW, does your screen name refer to dancing or..<<giggle>>?

FitGirl
... this one time... at band camp...

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Author: TheSwinger Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172267 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/23/2003 4:19 PM
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Hi Jenny. Good question. I applied for the loan for a new car (a moment of weakness for me) My origional thinking was to get a car I like and be out from under that high interest rate. The problem with that thinking is that I am way way upside down, and I would be even more upside down in a new (to me) car. And I doubt anyone will refinance a car that is not worth half of what I owe. But I'm going all out on this snowballing thing. Next month-- no more CC, and the car should be finished within the year.

Got it! Now it makes sense. You did make a good financial decision with that. I know that I used to be that kind of person too. But have started to make wiser financial decisions - like the one you made.

But it was a great point. Thanks. BTW, does your screen name refer to dancing or..<<giggle>>?

Well, actually it refers to the other thing. But, I'm not... really...

Jenny :)


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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 172351 of 308355
Subject: Re: accept % offer? Date: 10/25/2003 5:24 AM
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Plus, I don't think you can take out a car loan and then use it for something other than buying a car. Part of the consideration for the interest rate is the assumption that it will be a secured loan. But you could try to apply for a signature loan that has lower rates than the CCs...provided you realize that's just moving debt around, and don't run the cards back up when they're zeroed out. :-)


--Booa

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