Frugal Alert: Credit and Best Loan Rates

April 12, 2012


I’ve been flipping on the radio more frequently lately (lots of driving this week) and have caught The Clark Howard Show a few times. I remember when he used to focus on deals, saving money through sales, smart shopping, and etc, but now the show seems more focused on financial and credit advice. Zzzzz. I know I should pay more attention and learn (especially because I am in debt and hate it!) but the topic is SO boring. And some things in the financial world don’t make sense to me.

For example, if we pay off all our credit cards, WHY should we need to keep the accounts open?? This just leaves an opening for thieves to use the accounts (identity theft is the largest growing crime in the U.S.). And it also is a huge temptation for people to use their credit again, possibly digging another hole. The only reason I’ve heard for keeping all these accounts open is to maintain a good credit score. Apparently, it’s good to have a huge amount of credit available but never use it… kinda like having a huge closet but never filling it with stuff. Seems wonky to me. I have always believed debt to be a liability, but in today’s world, it’s a good thing. Ugh, Keynesian economics.

One thing I like Clark Howard for is that he does discuss finance and investment trends. This is helpful to me, especially when he discusses the housing market and loan rates. To avoid high interest rates, I am often shifting amounts to new accounts with lower rates. Lord willing, I’ll have this kitchen renovation paid off in 18 to 24 months. Wow. So far, however, I’ve managed to keep the rates pretty low. I am in the market for some kind of consolidation, though. So it’s helpful to keep my ears open.

How about you? Do you have any special or unique techniques? How do you stay out of debt? And do you have a lot of open accounts? Do you think this is wise or does it rub you the wrong way?

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