Here’s What to Do Before Debt Collectors Start Calling

If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape and the debt collectors will set up camp on your doorstep forever…
Take your car insurance bill, for example. When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices, anyway? You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money and help you avoid missed payments.
Make sure your bad credit doesn’t give the debt collectors more ammo to use against you. Sign up for free (it only takes about 90 seconds) and see how much you could improve your score.
While it doesn’t make the debt disappear (you are still liable for these payments), a payment plan makes paying off these debts more manageable and will keep the debt collectors off your back so long as you make each monthly payment.

1. Get Rid of Dings on Your Credit Report and Raise Your Score

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
Thankfully, doctors and hospitals can be willing to work with you. Some medical providers will offer a discount if you’re strapped for cash, and most are open to payment plans. So instead of 0 out of pocket today, you could be paying a little over a month for the next six months.
Debt happens.
Credit card debt, medical debt, overdue bills and high interest loans are just a few of the types of bad debt that can wreak havoc on your life. They can destroy your credit, snowball into even more debt and, yep, have the debt collectors hounding you to pay up.
If your bills are lower, there’s less of a chance you’ll miss a payment due to lack of funds. And no missed payments means no debt collectors calling you every single day. But a lot of these money-sucking bills are ones you can’t cancel.
You don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all.  Plus, AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

2. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company Insane Interest Rates

A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
If you owe your credit card companies ,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
If you have a low score with a few dings on your report, you won’t get access to decent interest rates on your loans. That means you’ll be paying more in interest and less on the actual loan amount — taking you sometimes years longer to pay it off and thousands of dollars more. If it’s a mortgage, the cost of your poor credit score could mean tens of thousands of dollars gone to waste.
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What could adding 300 points to your score mean for your goals? It could easily save you thousands of dollars over the life of a car loan or mortgage.

3. Lower Your Bills to Avoid Missed Payments

Ready to stop worrying about money?
What does your credit score have to do with debt? Turns out — it can be a major factor in you getting out of debt quicker.
Most Americans have some sort of debt — and not all of it is good debt, like a mortgage, car loan or student loans, which are considered good investments.
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Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of 9 a year.

4. Try to Negotiate Your Payments and Get On a Payment Plan

Yup. That could be 0 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
Within two minutes, Credit Sesame will give you access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com
If you went to the hospital without insurance or you haven’t met your deductible yet, doctors’ bills can be pretty steep. <!–

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So while it’s likely you’ll come across one of these bad debts in your life, there are steps you can take to make sure they don’t get out of hand — and to keep the debt collectors at bay.

How to Survive the Rent When Your Roommate Moves Out

You don’t have to be married to face some of the drama that comes with a messy divorce. Whether you have a roommate who’s been casually dropping hints that you should be looking for a new roommate or they’re downright spelling it out, the prospect of that person leaving can feel like you’re about to lose everything the two of you worked so hard to maintain.

Even if you intend to stay, your landlord could annul the lease entirely if your roommate decides to unceremoniously break the lease. However, a good landlord will likely let you attempt to survive paying the lease on your own or give you time to secure rental assistance.

Ready to get to work?

Check out these tips for giving yourself a fighting chance of surviving a lease when a roommate gets cold feet and abandons the lease.

1. Find Someone New

Like dating, finding someone new can do wonders for getting you back on your feet after a roommate breaks the lease. You’d probably still have a bit of a rough patch during the transition, but looking for a roommate to sublet the apartment from your previous roommate can completely resolve the problem.

Remember: Sharing a space with a roommate isn’t about being best friends, though it’s nice when your best friend happens to be a great person to split living costs with. It’s more important to live with someone you can coexist with and rely on. If you’ve just learned this the hard way, we apologize for any salt that accidentally dusted that wound.

Be sure to ask some critical questions. Can they reliably pay the rent? Do they smoke or drink? How do they feel about guests? Make sure you’ll be compatible as roommates.

2. Get a Side Hustle Earning up to $69/Hour

It’s that feeling of not knowing where the other half of your rent will come from that makes it unnerving just to hear your roommate hint at leaving early. It’s a puzzle you’ll have to solve quickly to avoid giving your landlord a good reason to evict you and still charge you the balance of your remaining rent.

Along with looking for a roommate, make things easier on yourself by searching for a side hustle before your roommate makes their departure official. Even if you manage to convince them to stay, whatever factors urging them to bail in the first place could suddenly re-emerge — embarrassment could inspire them to slip away without warning.

If you’re looking for a flexible side hustle that could turn into your primary source of income, look into bookkeeping. It’s the No. 1 most profitable business, according to an article in Inc. And you can earn up to $69 an hour, reports Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks.

You don’t have to be an accountant or good at calculus to start your own bookkeeping business, either. As long as you’re motivated, a company called Bookkeepers.com will teach you everything you need to know. It’s one of the leading training courses in the field, and it’ll even give you the first three classes for free.

3. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company

Without a roommate and the rent savings that person provided, you might lose interest in paying anything more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards. But if those credit cards bear gaudy interest rates, you might not be making the best use of your dollars.

A free website called AmOne wants to help. AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online.

4. Have a Safety Net

While consolidating your debt can help free up room in your budget, you may not want to cut up your cards afterward — especially if your emergency savings are in critical condition. That credit line could protect you from those first few late fees, which could cascade into a stream of other fees and penalties if they hit you at the wrong time.

Even if your credit score needs work first, there’s no better time than the present to start improving your score. And you’ll find that the measures you take to improve your credit are good for your finances in general.

Your credit score is like your financial fingerprint. Everyone’s is different — and for different reasons. That means everyone’s strategy to improve their credit score will look different… but how in the world are you supposed to know where to start?

Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will take a look at your credit report and let you know exactly what you need to do to improve your score.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Moving With Kids: What Did They Love, Hate, And Learn?

Deciding to move is exciting, but the actual moving part can be downright tough. You try to plan for everything while juggling the process of settling into the new place. But, when you’re moving with kids, it’s a different challenge altogether! Not only are you tasked with helping them understand why they’re moving to a new place, they need help adjusting once you’re all there.

When we first decided to move, our youngest wasn’t on board, but our oldest was. It took a lot of discussion, but eventually everyone was excited for this new chapter. It’s been a month and a half since we moved, so I decided to sit down with my two kiddos, Kennedy (age 14) and Kelsey (age 13), to get their perspective on all things moving and the new house. 

moving with kidsmoving with kids
Kennedy and Kelsey sit down to give their own perspective on moving.

“What was your most favorite part of moving?”

Kennedy: “I love my new room!”
Kelsey: “We didn’t have a bathtub in our last house, so being able to take baths and use bath bombs is fun.”
Me: “Finally getting into the home we’ve been building for the past 6 months. In my head I’ve been planning things out, but it was finally time to make this house our home.”

TIP: When moving with kids, a great way to ease the transition is to celebrate any new home features that maybe you didn’t have before. In our case, we surprised the girls with bath gifts to celebrate having a new bathroom! It’s a small gesture, but can really help if they’re struggling to feel at ease. 

moving with kidsmoving with kids
To celebrate having a new bathroom, we surprised the girls with bath bombs and nail polish.

“What was the most stressful part of moving?” 

Kennedy: Figuring out which box I put my stuff in because I wasn’t very specific with my labeling.
Kelsey: Unpacking took FOREVER.
Me: Coordinating between all the deliveries and different companies who came to the house the first couple days. After that, getting unpacked and still enjoying the new neighborhood, it was definitely a balance.”

TIP: Moving with kids can be another level of stress not only for you, but for them. Having a smart, well-communicated moving plan and organized system in place can help minimize moving anxiety. 

(READ MORE: 5 Stress-Free Tips to Settle Into Your New Home Build!)

moving with kidsmoving with kids

“How have you made your new room feel like home?”

Kennedy: I’m redecorating my room the way that I want and what makes me happy.
Kelsey: I’m being more intentional with my room décor and only keeping things that I really like.
Mom: Even though I’m a DIY/ home décor blogger, I’m letting the girls take full control on their rooms. I haven’t decided if I’m even going to share their rooms on social media out of respect for their privacy. They’re getting older and privacy is a big thing right now.

“What do you wish you’d done to make the moving process easier?”

Kennedy: I should have labeled my boxes better.
Kelsey: I shouldn’t have dumped all my boxes out at once; I should have unpacked them one at a time.
Me: We didn’t have the wire racks put in the closets and wanted to do built ins instead. We should have installed the build-in closet system prior to moving. 

moving with kidsmoving with kids
Kelsey learned the hard way that dumping all the boxes at once wasn’t a good idea.

“What do you feel you need in the new environment? What are your concerns?”

Kennedy: Having everything in place and set up before we go back to school.
Kelsey: Making new friends in the neighborhood.
Mom: I want the girls to get adjusted to being in new schools and hopefully making new friends. We live in a great neighborhood, but they’re both in new schools this year and I want them to not feel so isolated like they did last year.

“What were you most thankful for during the moving process?”

Kennedy: The weather wasn’t too hot and we have a lot more room in our new house to move around.
Kelsey: I feel safer now that we live in a gated community.
Mom: The girls were able to go paddle board on the lake and go to the pool while we did the boring unpacking stuff. It’s great that they had that option and we felt safe letting them go do those things on their own. 

One of the perks of the new house is having a little lake behind the house for the girls to paddle board.

Always Remember to Check In and Show Gratitude

I loved sitting down and hearing what the girls had to say about moving and getting settled. Prior to moving, we all talked about packing, labeling, and unpacking — but in true teenager fashion, they didn’t quite listen. Now, they know firsthand why those plans were in place, and it gave us an opportunity to talk about what they’d learned and would do differently in the future. So take note, moving with kids can create some teachable moments!

Still, I give huge kudos to these two because they have been a tremendous help. Between loading the moving truck, unpacking, helping with the dogs, and countless other things, we were able to have a pretty successful move. Now that we’re almost two months into our new home, the move doesn’t seem that bad and now we can focus on making new memories as a family. 

Questions About Building a New Home?

If you’re considering a new home build, check out Homes.com’s “How to Build” guide, a comprehensive look at the process from start to finish. From financing to finishing touches, it’s your one-stop resource for all your home building questions!


Brooke has a lifestyle blog called Cribbs Style and currently lives in Charleston, SC. This wife, mom of two almost tweens, and mom of three fur children enjoys all things DIY and organizing. When she’s not helping others tackle the chaos of life, she’s either working out, at the beach, or just enjoying time with family and friends.

Source: homes.com

Dear Penny: My Husband Quit Work for YouTube, but I’m Deep in Debt

Dear Penny,
But I suspect your husband knows there’s a problem — and he doesn’t want to know how bad it is. His don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach makes things easy on him. He gets to pretend it’s your problem, not his.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
It’s hard to imagine who’s dreading the conversation that needs to happen more: you or your husband.

Do whatever you can to make it harder to spend money. Delete shopping apps, unsubscribe from your favorite stores’ emails and only keep your debit card in your wallet.
You may find that you being the sole earner isn’t enough. Your husband may need to get a job, even if that means budgeting for child care. This decision needs to be about what’s best for your family, not his YouTube channel.
A good next step would be for you both to attend credit counseling. Look for a not-for-profit agency on the websites of the Financial Counseling Association of America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Before you tell your husband, make sure you know how much you really owe. Don’t rely on memory or guesstimates. A lot of people buried in debt drastically underestimate how much they owe. Look at every single credit card and loan statement to figure this out to the exact cent. Quantifying your debt may seem terrifying at first if you’ve avoided it. But you may feel better once you know exactly what you’re dealing with.


A credit counselor can help you determine how to address your debt. They can often work out a debt management plan. It won’t reduce the amount you owe, but it rolls your credit card debt into one lower monthly payment. While you may be able to keep one credit card open for emergencies, you’ll have to close your other accounts, which makes it harder to overspend.
Next, try to attend a Debtors Anonymous meeting or two. Plenty of chapters meet online. Just talking and listening to others with similar struggles may help you feel less alone.
Give your husband a head’s-up that you need to talk before having this conversation. Bad news is more palatable when the other person knows there’s something serious you need to discuss. Try something like, “I’m concerned about our expenses. Would you be able to talk about our bills tonight after dinner?”
There’s no easy way to broach this conversation. Be direct and tell him how much debt you have as quickly as possible. Have your credit card and loan statements handy. Be prepared for questions about how you’ve been spending money. Expect your husband to be angry at first, particularly if you misled him about the amount you owe.
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Your spending is a sign of a deeper problem. You don’t want to disclose how much debt you’ve accumulated because you’re deeply ashamed.
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More importantly, you and your husband need to schedule a time each week to go over your budget and spending each week. Look at all credit card and bank statements. Knowing that this check-in is coming may curb your spending.
Before you go any further, I want to address the mental health element that you touched upon.
My husband knows I’m in debt. He just doesn’t know how bad. He quit his job last year. Now I’m the sole income earner. He’s using up his savings while trying to become a YouTuber and take care of our child full time. 
I hope you’ll discuss what you’re experiencing with your doctor. Compulsive spending isn’t an official diagnosis, but research suggests that a lot of people overspend when they’re dealing with negative emotions, like depression and anxiety. Treating any underlying disorders could be key to getting your behavior under control.
It’s one thing if he’s a devoted stay-at-home dad who pursues his YouTube hobby on the side. But if your husband sees himself as a future YouTube star who just happens to watch his kid during the day, obviously, that’s much more problematic. The issues you’re dealing with will be incredibly difficult to address if everything’s all about him.
Ready to stop worrying about money?
Dear L.,
I don’t want to tell him how bad it is because I’m embarrassed. I can’t stop spending. It’s like a mental illness or something. How do I stop it? 
Of course, part of me wonders whether your husband is a big part of the underlying problem. I don’t want to rush to judgment here without more details. But I wonder whether your current setup is more the product of your family’s child care needs or your husband’s desire for internet fame. <!–

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-L.

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Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc.com and Entrepreneur.