Friday, May 30, 2008

Tax Write Off Ideas for Saving Money To Get Out of Debt, Save For A Down Payment

There are many ways to save money for a down payment for a home, or for a new car, or to get out of debt. One place that is easy to overlook is your US annual IRS tax return. In this article is a list of possible tax write offs. Please consult with your tax adviser about whether any of these items being applicable to your individual tax situation. (click for Full Story)

Provident Funding whacky underwriting

If you are a loan officer and you are considering sending your loans to Provident Funding beware. It seems like they are not following fannie mae guidelines and making up all kinds of crazy conditions. It's too bad because their rates are great, they are just too hard to work with now. I think they are just running scared and don't want to write any bad loans.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My experience with Expedia

From previous posts you will recall that a car that I reserved online through Europcar with Expedia ended up being just about double after it was all said and done. The final cost could only be determined in Dublin at the Airport where I was informed about all the extra stuff that I was not told about on the website. The biggest scam is the insurance. In Ireland you are required to have car insurance. My American Express did not cover it. Most places it does however. I called today to make a complaint. I got a $50 travel certificate for my efforts. Big deal, I paid over $700 to rent a car in Ireland for 5 days. I should have just bought the car for the week.

When on the Expedia website for rental cars, just be aware that there may be other expenses.

Monday, May 26, 2008

There is no oil crisis in America

With gas prices over $4 a gallon the news has been touting a gas crisis. I am happy to report that the gas crisis is over. My car gets 26 miles to the gallon while the monster suv's get 14 miles to the gallon. You expect not to see many of these. While driving on the freeway yesterday I am happy to report an abundance of suv's. For every economy their are 5 gas guzzling suv's. So don't fret over the gas crisis. There is plenty of gas.

Do you have trouble with your curent mortgage?

If you are feeling the squeeze of the mortgage crisis help may be on the way. Hope Now is an alliance between banks, counselors and other industry organizations with the purpose of trying to keep you in your home and avoid a foreclosure. The Department of the Treasury and HUD supports the formation of this alliance to encourage responsible business practice and to help avoid any additional downturns in the real estate market.

For additional information go to Hope Now

Bank of America, no cost mortgage

Just to set the record straight on Bank of America and their no cost mortgage, it isn't. I was recently in my branch and asked one of the personal bankers about it. He told me that they just raise the rate to cover the fees. What a breakthrough. Thanks BofA.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Corded home phone issue solved

I use Vonage as my phone service provider. I have been having very scratchy calls lately for about the last month to the point where my friends didn't want to talk to me. I spent hours on the phone with Vonage to try and correct the problem. It turned out it was an old headset. When the copper wire gets degraded and the copper wire breaks down and frays, the broken connections come in contact with each other and make static. Quite annoying and very easy to fix. I just picked up a new plantronics headset and the problem was solved.

Expedia did not disclose all the fees

I booked a car rental from Europcar online. They basically left off all the additional fees that I would be charged. It ended up being double the quoted online fee by the time I left my destination. Buyer beware of Expedia. If you do plan on using Expedia, ask a lot of questions or call the service provider to confirm all fees. Bottom line for me is no more Expedia.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My experience with EuropCar

I just got back from Ireland. We rented a car from Europcar. I can tell you that it was one surprise after another with them. First they said that we need their insurance and it was about the same rate as the daily car rate. Of course they don't tell you this on the Expedia website. We only learned about this at the airport in Dublin. They don't tell you what 80% of the charges were. You find that out when you get there. By the time I was done at Europcar it was twice as expensive as the rate that I searched for on Expedia. Five days of car rental with Europcar was over $700.

My advice when renting a car overseas is to ask a lot of questions. I relied on Expedia to give me detailed information. It was a joke. I wont be using Expedia again.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Credit Card scam beware

I had a friend of mine call me telling me about how he got scammed out of $12,000. Someone paid his credit cards down $12,000 and then requested the money back. He believes that the people were out of Russia but they were using a Florida address. He refused and contacted Citibank about returning the funds that were deposited in his Bank of America Account. He made the exchange, did the right thing and got nailed. Bank of America is now coming after him for the $12,000. Very odd but true. If this happens to you, you might want to hang on to the money even though it was stolen from somewhere else. In this case doing the right thing cost my friend $12,000.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The National George Bush Bake Sale

The National Bake sale that was held on May 5th seemed to have been a failure. This countries financial woes only seem worse as the cost of gas keeps going up. You don't even hear about the housing crisis anymore. It definitely has not gone away. The bake sale was supposed to help homeowners who are upside down in their mortgages. For every $1000 they are negative, they would need to sell 1500 cup cakes. Americans are big eaters and will binge on just about anything. My thought was that we could turn our economy around on our indulgences. It failed miserably. Nobody would get in their cars and drive.

What did John McCain do in Arizona

I live in Arizona and quite honestly I can't name one thing that this guy has done in this state. I respect his sacrifice for the country. It is a little scary to think of this guy as our President. Everyone in this state knows about his wifes drug problem. I have not heard one mention of it on the campaign trail. It just seems odd to me. The press only reports what they want.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Debt Cures by Kevin Trudeau, Really

I saw this guys show on tv for an infomercial. He has a very compelling message. I later found an article on the internet stating that Mr. Trudeau plead guilty to passing $80,000 in bad checks. Is this really the guy that is supposed to be the face of a debt free America? I will admit his message is great but I think we could use a better spokesman. How about Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman?


For Free information on how to get out of debt go to

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bank of America offer

If just wont stop. I just got another one yesterday. I'm about ready to scream. This time I'm sending them back a brick with my reply. As long as the return envelope is attached to it, they have to pay for it. I once heard of someone sending an engine block back with one of those sender pay postage envelopes. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Credit Bureau and Credit Report Shame

The credit report companies like Transunion, Equifax and Experian don't want you to improve your credit report. I just discovered on Commission Junction that if you own a website that has information on how to repair your credit, you are not allowed to have a credit puller on your website. Seems crazy but it's a fact. Big business has no interest in you having good credit. The better your credit, the less money they make off of you. Who do you think is pulling the strings on this one. The man just wants to keep you down.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sallie Mae screws up

A mistake by Sallie Mae recently messed with the credit scores of thousands of borrowers who signed up for the graduated loan payment program. With a Sallie Mae loan you can defer payments often for a couple of years. There was a glitch that starting reporting these people late. Sallie Mae is reporting that this had only impacted 10% of its borrowers. I'm glad I'm not part of that only 10%. The only 10% people aren't too happy I'm sure. A late payment like this can knock someone out of their ability to obtain top tier credit rates. If it were me I would be pissed.

What is with all the tattoos in the NBA

What is the deal with all of the tattoos on all of the NBA players. By looking a them you would guess that people were afraid to tell them how stupid they look before they got them. I don't think I've seen anyone with a good tattoo on them. If I were David Stern I would make them play in long sleeve t shirts. Does Allen Iverson really think he looks cool. I don't get it. Can someone please fill me in?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

B of A will not stop sending me junk mail

I don't know how many hours I have spent on the phone trying to get the junk mail to stop. I finally went into my branch and I was assure that it will stop. It didn't. I have a plan. I will keep you posted as to my next step. if you have any ideas on how to get Bank of America to stop sending me crap I would be happy to listen.

Monday, May 12, 2008

McCain is an Idiot on the gas tax vacation

John McCain is an idiot to suggest that suspending the gas tax for the summer would be a good idea. The oil companies will jump on this one and raise prices anyway. Great idea mr politician guy. I would rather have the money go to roads than the oil companies. What an ass. I'm sure it was a political move to take a shot at Obama. Obama does not want to remove the tax.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Travel in Europe is Expensive

If you go to Europe this summer bring your wallet. I just got back from Ireland and the Isle of Man and I could not believe how expensive it was. Gasoline was over $9 a gallon and a meal that would normally cost $25 would be over $60. Nothing is cheap over there. I planned a head and brought a lot of power bars and nuts as snacks. I was glad that I did. The water out of the tap there is as good as any bottled water that you would have.

Friday, May 9, 2008

High Gas Prices, Not really compared to Ireland

I just got back from Ireland and gas was over $9 a gallon. I wont complain about the $3.50 a gallon cheap fuel in the US. Gas was 1.23 Euros per liter in Ireland. One gallon would be 3.79 litres. It takes 1.62 Dollars to make up 1 Euro. Yes it is expensive.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Credit Crunch hits Ireland

I just got back from Belfast. I could not believe how many houses were for sale. There was a Sherry Fitzgerald sign on every corner. Real Estate signs are everywhere. I heard that values were dropping as well. I spoke with an estate agent who told me that Ireland is always behind the US by six months. I even saw a sign advertising 100% financing. I don't think that they learned anything from our mistakes.

Euro vs. the Dollar

We are getting hosed. Check out the rates from Halifax on savings accounts. These guys were all over the airwaves. I only get just a hair over 3% on my savings at HSBC Direct. Some of these accounts pay over 7%. I might consider opening an account over there. Keep in mind that you will lose about 3% of your value as a commission to convert from dollars to euros.