Think Credit Card companies tell you the whole Truth? Think Again

Many people think that they know everything about their credit card. They memorize the number, note the interest rate, know their credit limit intimately and even memorize every reward that they are eligible to get.

Unfortunately, there are several secrets that your credit card company doesn’t want you to know because the more you benefit, the more your credit card company loses. (Note to self: they don’t really like that.)

With that in mind, below you’ll find a number of things you card carrier doesn’t want you to know but, because we love you, we do. Enjoy.

Secret #1:  Those “fixed rates”? They aren’t really fixed. The fact is, your credit card issuer can raise your APR whenever they feel like it and, while this isn’t necessarily a huge secret, it’s usually so deeply hidden in the fine print of the agreement you sign as a cardholder that you’ll probably miss it. Most card companies entice their customers with an “introductory” interest rate and, by law, they need to notify you about 15 days before it increases. But make no mistake, increase it they can and, usually, will.

Secret #2: If you make 1 late payment you’ll get 2 penalties. Everyone knows that if they make a late payment they’re going to get a penalty fee tacked on to their next bill, but most don’t realize that they actually get two penalties, a late fee up to $35 and a penalty rate, meaning an increase in your APR as high as 29.99%. So not only will you be paying a penalty for late payment, but afterwards another penalty on each monthly bill in the form of an increased interest rate.

Secret #3: That “no card limit” card actually comes with limits. Many credit cards that are advertised as having “no spending limit” actually have a “revolving spending cap”. Your credit card company advertise it to you as having no limits but it actually has no preset limits, which are determined by your spending habits and behavior. If you spend more than this preset limit the penalties and interest will set you back an ugly penny.

Secret #4: The “grace period” on most cards is being reduced or removed. If you have sometimes been thankful for having a grace period to pay off your credit card before interest starts being charged, it’s time to check with your credit card issuer to make sure that you still have one and how many days it actually gives you. Many credit card companies are reducing their grace period from 25 to just 20 days and some are getting rid of them completely. That means, in some cases, that you’ll be charged interest on every purchase even if you pay your bill on time.

Secret #5: Some credit card companies will charge you interest twice in one month. Credit card companies use a little legal maneuver that allows them to charge you two months interest for just one month of late payments on your balance. It’s called “double cycle billing” and it allows them to charge you a higher interest based on any month when you carry a higher balance if you paid a partial balance payment in the previous month. At times like this one might decide against credit cards and go for a payday loans instead

Secret #6: The lower minimum payment requirements work against you. Here’s a fact; the longer amount of time you stay in debt, the more money credit card companies will make from you in interest charges. It used to be that there was a 5% minimum monthly payment on most credit cards but today, because credit card companies realized that people were paying off their balances too quickly, they lowered it to just 2%. This move looks like it gives you some “breathing room” on paying off your credit card balance but it actually adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the coffers of credit card companies every year.

Secret #7: Your APR can increase even if you make a late payment to another creditor. Let’s say that you make a credit card payment on time but you’re late on your car payment. Did you know that your APR can be increased across each line of credit in your name because of that? Probably not, so imagine your auto or home loan going from 3% up to 29%. It’s called the “universal default clause” and it helps credit card companies against people who “pose a credit risk”, meaning that any creditor can increase your APR even if you didn’t pay them late but paid another creditor late.

Now that you know these dirty little credit card secrets, you can see why paying your credit down as quickly as possible, reading the fine print in your cardholder agreement and always paying your bills on time is vitally important.

Looking Beyond the Price Tag

Consumers who are shopping for brand new cars need to look beyond the price tag that’s on display at the showroom of a dealership. The truth is that the overall cost of car ownership is an important factor that must be evaluated during a car shopping process. First and foremost, the fuel economy is perhaps the most important issue to consider in the cost of long-term ownership.

Most auto makers strive to produce efficient engines to help convince buyers to make a purchase. In other words, fuel economy could be a deal maker or breaker in the extremely competitive automobile market. These days, compact cars and midsize sedans easily boast up to 40 mpg on the highway according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Even some full-size sedans can get just over 30 miles per gallon on highways. With the prices of fuel rising, buyers are conscious about the long-term expenses of filling up their tanks. Sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks are notorious gas guzzlers. When buying such models, customers should be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars per month just on fuel. The type of fuel grade also plays a role in long-term vehicle cost of ownership. A difference between 87 and 93 octane fuel can cause a difference of thousands of dollars per year on refills.

A car warranty is another factor that goes into cost of ownership. Most new vehicles come with limited-time factory warranties that cover major repairs on most systems, including the engine, exhaust, brakes and more. Therefore, the length of the warranty can correlate with major savings on expenses and repairs. Naturally, the most affordable cars come with extended warranties that last beyond five years or up to a certain mileage, such as 100,000 miles. A side by side car comparison should be done with cost of ownership when you start shopping. Even minor expenses such as routine maintenance and service could accumulate to thousands of dollars over the course of several years. Tire replacements and rotations also do not come cheap for most car models.

How to Save on Gas – Uncommon Ways

Browsing through this website has given you a few tips on how to reduce the cost of fuel in your everyday life – from planning your route smartly to changing your tires more often, or even braking more efficiently. In this piece, though, I will describe a few less common ways you can save on gas – I hope you will find them useful. Let’s begin.

1. Lose the wheels

The best way to reduce your car’s fuel consumption is to leave it in the garage. OK, I know, there are many situations in which you need to drive, but several times it’s much more efficient to choose an alternative means of transportation – like, riding a bike.

For a quick trip to the grocery store for a pack of smokes or a six-pack of lager you don’t need to drive – these products fit comfortably into a backpack. Besides, you don’t just save fuel by riding a bike – you also do some exercise.

Studies have shown that riding a bicycle is among the most efficient ways of transportation in urban areas, especially where bike trails are existent.

2. Plan ahead

Never take one trip to solve one issue – try to group them in batches so you can use your time and fuel more efficiently. Don’t take the kid to school and drive home, then drive to the bank, and drive home, and drive to the supermarket, and drive home again just to drive to the school, and take the kid home – this is the most wasteful way you can travel.

Instead, plan your itinerary so you can settle multiple things with one trip, one stop each. Say, if you leave the kid at school at 8, you can do the shopping until 9, when the bank opens, so you can be there at 9:15, solve the problems there and others at hand. Saving a trip through the traffic means more fuel left in your tank, and less money to leave your pockets.

3. Use the force of the Internet, Luke!

There are so many things nowadays that you can order online instead of going out to buy them. Shoes, clothes, games, even groceries can be ordered by just a few clicks, and delivered – often free of charge – to your doorstep.

Instead of driving to the mall to buy a new blouse, or taking your monthly visit to Walmart, try ordering online – you can save, and most of the times not just the gas money.

Besides, the internet is good for so many other things – visit galleries, listen to concerts, play poker or blackjack at the red flush casino, or even visit your friends using Skype and a webcam. I wouldn’t recommend this last one, though, unless you are a hermit – but then you don’t travel anywhere, so you don’t need gas at all, right?

Braking Properly Can Save on Gas!

Most drivers realize that an automobile uses the most gas when it accelerates. This most basic law of physics, that force equals mass times acceleration, also means that your car requires a lot less gasoline to keep moving forward than it does to get up to speed.

The reason is because inherent inertia, or your car’s forward motion, reduces the amount of gasoline that your car’s engine needs to push it forward. It also means that, if you want to improve your mileage, one of the things that you need to learn how to do is use your brakes as little as possible, especially in moderate to heavy traffic.

Here’s a great example; when a person is stuck in heavy traffic and, instead of controlling their speed with their accelerator pad only they have to control it with both their accelerator and their brakes, they end up using a lot more gas because they lose their car’s forward inertia and have to use more gas in order to get back up to speed.

These are the people that you see in traffic that speed up and then use their brakes, then they speed up again and hit the brakes again, doing this over and over while they sit in traffic and not only waste time but also waste a lot more of their precious gasoline.

This of course also poses a problem for the cars following directly behind this automobile, who must also brake unnecessarily in order to avoid causing an accident. In very heavy but still moving traffic over 90% of automobiles do this and, even though it’s relatively easy to hold a speed without stepping on the brake, they use them anyway and with them more gasoline.

The fact is that by simply keeping a little bit more distance between their car and the car in front of them these drivers would be able to use their accelerator only in order to keep their speed at a steady pace, even if it’s a slow pace, and keep their car’s inertia working for them.

This means not only paying attention to the car directly ahead of them but also to the cars ahead of that one so that, if necessary, they can anticipate when traffic is going to slow down and thus ease off of the gas instead of hitting the brakes.

What it all boils down to is simply this; every time you have to speed up you use more gas. It only makes sense that if your car is already moving forward, and you don’t have to slow it down constantly, you won’t have to speed back up constantly either and less you’ll save gasoline and money.

In fact, most experts say that if you can learn to do this and drive more efficiently you can save between 10 and 20% on gasoline cost, something that in this day of $4. a gallon gasoline is no small amount of savings.

The Top Worst Tickets to get for your Car Insurance Rates

Receiving a traffic ticket is, for most people, a humiliating experience but also can be quite disastrous financially. Besides a big fine the fact is that most tickets (besides simple misdemeanors) will increase a person’s car insurance rates significantly.

For example, in many states a single moving violation can raise someone’s premiums by nearly 93% and, with more serious offenses come bigger increases.

Someone who has an accident or two and gets a ticket for some of the worst types of violations might even find that car insurance companies will refuse to offer them insurance.

What violations are the worst? Keep reading to find out.

At the top of the list is a citation for driving under the influence or DUI. According to, a DUI ticket will nearly double most people’s insurance premiums.

Next is Reckless driving, an offense that guarantees a hefty hike of anyone’s insurance rates. It varies from state to state but can bring stiff fines and even jail time. Keep in mind that at least one state has categorized texting while driving as reckless, Virginia.

Next on the list is Careless driving which, although it’s often confused with reckless driving, is actually a lesser violation. It means that you’ve unintentionally been risky behind the wheel and, while it won’t be as bad as Reckless driving, it can still can cause your rates to increase almost 30%.

Speeding tickets, especially more than one, can cause your insurance rates to go skyward and, if you get enough of them, can cause it to get canceled as well. In most cases insurers will overlook one speeding ticket if it’s less than 10 mph over the limit, but some won’t and almost all will increase your rates if you have multiple violations.

One of the reasons if that, by NHTSA estimates, 10,000 lives are claimed each year by crashes caused by speeding.

Other ticket-able offenses like running a red light or stop sign, turning right on red without stopping and other “failure to stop” offenses can mean an increase in insurance rates as well. These types of violations actually  caused nearly 700 deaths in 2012.

Without a doubt the best way to make sure that your insurance premiums aren’t increased by traffic violations and tickets is to drive safely, drive the speed limit and obey all traffic laws at all times. It’s actually not all that hard to do if you think about it and, in the long run, will save you a lot of grief and an awful lot of money.

Gas Saving Myths Exposed

Summer is coming up fast and with it gas prices will be increasing, as they seem to do every year.   In order to help you, our dear readers, keep as much of your hard earned money in your wallets and purses this summer, we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest myths about gas saving to take a look at which ones work and which ones don’t. Enjoy.

The first is about the best way to actually save on gas. Many people will offer their own opinion but, in test after test, the best way that’s always been found to decrease gas consumption is simply to slow down. Studies show that, among most cars including hybrids, the change from 55 mph to 65 will reduce fuel economy by 4 to 8 MPG. If you go from 55 mph to 75 it’s like switching from driving a compact car to driving a large SUV the increase is so bad.

How about carrying stuff on the roof of your car? Does that wind drag really bring down your fuel economy that much? In fact, yes. Tests show that even something like an empty bike rack can decrease the cars mileage by 5 miles per gallon and adding to bikes to the top decreases mileage by nearly30%!

Many people will say that if you want to save gas you need to use your car’s AC sparingly. While it’s true that using the AC  will decrease your mileage somewhat, the fact is that it’s only between 1 and 4 mpg,  not really enough to warrant turning it off if it’s blazing hot outside.

One question that many drivers have is how long they can keep driving once the “low fuel” warning light starts blinking. The fact is that there’s really no set rule and it differs from car to car. The average car has between 1 and 2 gallons of gas left in the tank when the light starts blinking, about enough to travel 40 miles. If you’re far from a gas station when your fuel light starts blinking, the best that is to slow down and maintain a steady speed.

As for whether a new air filter can increase fuel economy, it’s been found in numerous tests that it won’t. In most tests it increases acceleration and performance, but not MPG.

Finally, many people wonder if running their car when the tank is nearly empty is bad for the engine.  In fact, it’s really not. In most cars the fuel pump is pulling gas from the bottom of the tank already, even if it’s full. Fuel filters at the tank and closer to the engine also take out any junk or gunk that might affect it.

We hope these myths that we’ve just busted have opened your eyes to what you can do and not do to save extra money this summer on gas. As always, remember that one of the best ways to save gas is simply to not use your car at all. With warm winter approaching, walking or using your bicycle is definitely an option.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by Your Mechanic

You know how to fill up your gas tank, how to turn on your car, and how to push your brake and gas pedal to stop and go. Unfortunately, though, that’s about as far as your car expertise goes — and the mechanic knows it. Face it: your car will eventually break down, and you’re going to have to put your trust in a stranger to fix it.

And when it comes to strangers, many mechanics seem to be the greediest when it concerns taking your hard-earned cash. With that said, here are six steps to help you avoid getting ripped off by your mechanic.

Try to Diagnose (and Possibly Fix) the Problem Yourself

Image via Flickr by ::w i n t e r t w i n e d::

Image via Flickr by ::w i n t e r t w i n e d::

Sure, your knowledge of cars might stop at being the driver of one, but that shouldn’t preclude stepping out of your comfort zone and getting your hands dirty. There are a lot of issues with cars that are easily fixable if you have a car manual and the necessary tools. Do-it-yourself auto repair is relatively easy with a Chilton’s manual, which provides in-depth directions on how to fix most problems on many makes of models of cars and trucks.

Follow Recommendations From Family Members and Friends

If you’re not adventurous enough to try to fix the problem yourself — or if you tried, and the repair is just too big a job — the next step is to start looking for a mechanic who’s credible for the right price. Considering that everyone has to get their vehicle serviced or fixed from time to time, the best way to find a local shop worthy of your business is to ask family members and friends for their opinion and references. They’re likely to point you in the right direction.

Do Your Homework Before Committing to a Shop

If your family members and friends don’t know a reliable mechanic — let’s hope that’s not the case — then it’s time to start doing your own investigative research. In the world before the Internet, this was a lot harder to do. With the Internet, though, you have an unlimited amount of resources at your fingertips for finding out which shop is shady and which one is trustworthy.

If you really want the best of the best, consider getting a consumer report. Resources like the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are also good for doing your homework on a potential mechanic.

Ask Questions and Don’t Let the Mechanic Control the Convo

Once you find a shop and walk through the door, the mechanic will love to hear nothing more than “Do whatever is necessary to get this car driving!” Translation: “my money is your money, no matter how much.” Although you might not have the know-how to fix the car, you shouldn’t let that intimidate you from talking with the mechanic and asking detailed questions. After all, you’re paying them to do the work, not vice versa.

Put Everything in Writing and Get Signatures

Before you and the mechanic agree on the work they’ll do on your car, make sure what’s getting done, what’s included in the cost, and how much it’ll be after parts and labor. They legally can’t start work until you sign off (if fact, you’re entitled to ask for a written estimate in most states), so if anything seems fishy, this is the stage where you need to ask the right questions.

Don’t be surprised if the shop asks for wiggle room on the estimate just in case something unexpected happens, either. No matter the case, put it all in writing and make sure you and your mechanic sign off on it. That way, if anything happens, you have proof or price.

Make Sure You Get a Guarantee and Warranty for the Work

You want to make sure the mechanic shop you go to works on all type of vehicles, whether it’s luxury suvs or older model compact cars, and you should make sure they offer a warranty on the work they do. This guarantees that the shop’s work will happen in the best interest of keeping the customer satisfied as opposed to filling up the cash register in the fastest amount of time. Additionally, make sure you keep all receipts and warranty paperwork in a safe place for future reference.

Do you have a trustworthy mechanic shop you can count on? What are their best qualities? Share your experience with other readers of the blog in the comments section.


Secured Auto Finance: How to Save Money when buying a Car

After unprecedented growth in 2013, the new car sales market in the UK is braced for a continuation of this trend in the year ahead. This is also impacting on the procurement of used vehicles, as private vendors and dealerships look to capitalise on soaring demand to maximise the profit in their vehicles. With the majority of vehicle purchases, however, it is necessary to request secured funding and deal with an established and reputable lender. This can slightly complicate the issue, however, unless you are able to think in a proactive manner and identify the most suitable lenders for your needs.

How to Access the Best and Most Affordable Car Financing Deal

With this in mind, what practical steps can you take to secure the best and most affordable care financing deal? Consider the following: –

Search for a Lender that Makes Borrowing Simple

One of the biggest issues facing borrowers in the complexity of secured loans, which can seem extremely difficult to understand if you are new to the concept. The fact remains that secured borrowing is relatively simple, as you apply for a principal amount that is used to fund the purchase of a selected asset. In this instance, the car that you buy serves as the collateral, while a competitive interest rate is applied to create a cumulative level of debt that must be repaid. The best lenders strive to explain this in great detail to consumers, and afford them the best possible chance of saving money.

Work Out precisely how much you need to Purchase a Car

While you may have a specific lender in mind, this means little unless you have budgeted carefully defined amount to fund your purchase. This requires you to identify a potential vehicle, and one which sits comfortably within your existing financial means. It is all too easy become overly casual when you are dealing with money provided through a secured loan, but the fact remains that this sum must be repaid as though it was withdrawn from your own bank account. Without this approach, you run the considerable risk of borrowing too much money and encumbering yourself with an unmanageable repayment schedule.

Compare the Market for the Best Available APR

Not all lenders are created equal, and each will offer a variable rate of APR. This will be applied to the principle borrowing amount and ultimately dictate the total sum that you will repay, so it is crucial that you shop around and compare the market for the best possible rate. APR is used by lenders to offset their risk and ensure that they are able to make a profit, although the secured nature of automotive financing means that the typical rate can be relatively low. Do not be afraid to invest time into this endeavour, as sourcing the best deal with help you to save considerable amounts of money over time.

One Way to Save Money on the Maintenance of your Vehicle

Keeping your automobile running can be extremely costly, and this will include fuel, insurance and any maintenance work, so whenever there is an opportunity to save money on one of these then it is important that you take it. Maintenance is one of the big ones, as from time to time something will stop working in your car, and that is because it is such a complex bit of machinery with so many different working parts. A lot of the time this will be something that will not require a mechanic, and if you have all the right tools for automotive repair along with the knowledge of how to get the job done then you may be able to fix it yourself for a fraction of the cost.


One of the more common problems that arises is that the gas struts stop working, and when this happens it means that your boot will not open properly and stay open, and this can be a real pain for those that regularly use the boot for storage and transportation. Replacing your gas struts is something that you can easily do yourself, and all you need is a spare pair of hands and a flathead screwdriver, but you may be able to solve the problem with an even more simple and cost effective method.


How the Service Works

This is a gas strut re-gassing service, and instead of replacing your old struts this service will re-pressurise them so that they will work again properly and do their job. This will cost a significant amount less than buying a brand new replacement whilst doing the same job, so if you want to save money on your car maintenance then this is the way to go. This service works by you removing your struts and then sending them off to a company that provides a re-gassing service, such as SGS Engineering amongst others, where the strut will be inspected and you will be told if it can be done. If so then they are re-pressurised, tested and sent back to you.


The struts are easy to pop back into place, and they should then be working as good as new. This is a great way to save money on the maintenance of your car, and all the hard work will be done for you as well.

Getting Yourself Covered if you are a Courier

Anybody that works in the courier industry should know that a regular vehicle insurance policy will not cover you if you were to encounter any problems whilst out on the road, and instead you will need something called courier insurance. The reason for this is that when you are a courier you will be out on the roads more frequently than other motorists and making longer journeys more often, and on top of this you will also be transporting expensive goods with you as well. This type of insurance will be needed whether you are delivering goods by motorcycle or by van, and there are different types of courier insurance too for you to choose from.


You will generally find that this type of insurance will cost more than regular types seeing as you are on the roads more often and transporting goods, but of course this type of insurance could end up saving you a fortune if you were to have an accident and damage the goods. You can also save money on your premium if you know where to turn for this as well, and you will find that most regular insurers will not offer this kind of cover.


Finding an Insurer that Offers Courier Insurance

Specialist vehicle insurance companies will be the best place to turn, and this way you will be able to get a personalised service so that you can find the right policy to suit your needs as a courier. This might be courier motorcycle insurance, single van insurance or maybe a whole fleet of vans, and by getting in touch with the right insurance company it will save you money and time which will make it a stress free process, and before long you will be out on the roads with peace of mind knowing that you are protected.


If you were doing your job on regular vehicle insurance then you are putting yourself at risk and you could lose out on a lot of money if there was an accident, so make sure that you get yourself covered with courier insurance from a specialist insurer that will be able to offer you a personalised service and affordable rates, and with some of them you may even find that there are a whole host of benefits to go along with your policy too.

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