Credit Card Fees and Other Late Fees

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Here’s something to think about: Did you know that late fees on people’s credit cards account for 1/3 of the bank’s income?

Paying your bills on time is one of the easiest ways to save money. You don’t have to give up anything or do anything that takes a lot of work. You just write a check, put it in an envelope (which is usually provided for you) and mail it. Many people pay bills online now, which is just as quick.

Save Money In Fees On Credit Cards And Bills - Stop Paying Late Fees

Stop Paying Late Fees On Credit Cards And Other Bills


Putting off paying a bill doesn’t mean it will somehow go away. It just means that you’re going to have a BIGGER bill to pay. For some reason, many of us tend to be like ostriches when it comes to our bills.

Our pastor was talking last Sunday about how ostriches aren’t too bright. It started me thinking about how much like ostriches we are sometimes when it comes to our bills.

  • There is an old saying that an ostrich buries its head in the sand and is usually used to say if we can’t see our enemy, the enemy can’t see us and the enemy will go away. Never mind that the ostrich’s huge body is sticking out in plain view.

    In the same way, many of us think if we bury our bills under a pile of papers and we can’t see them, they will just go away.

  • Ostriches have little wings that they flap all the time, thinking they can fly and are going somewhere, but the reality is that their wings don’t work and they aren’t going anywhere at all.

    In the same way, we often flap our wings doing non-productive things with our finances, like spending money on things that we think make us feel good. We think we are flying high and living the good life when we are really going nowhere.

    Some of us think we are saving money by using energy efficient light bulbs and turning off lights, but then we turn around and pay hundreds of dollars a year to operate a large freezer that is mostly empty or is full of food we never use.

  • There is one thing an ostrich is really good at and that is running— running very, very fast away from things. How often are we like that?

    Instead of standing firm and facing our problems, we think it is easier to turn tail and run as fast as we can to get away from our problems.

    Please don’t get angry about what I just said. Instead, consider my words and be honest with yourself about your situation.

If you find my statement about late fees hard to believe, here are some numbers. These numbers are ballpark figures, but I tried to get as close as I could to average. Take a look at your own numbers and check to see what is happening in your life. Don’t bury your head in the sand.

Assuming that late fees average $35 each:

  • 5 credit card bills paid late =   $175 a month     –     $2,100 a year
  • 10 credit card bills paid late =   $350 a month  –     $4,200 a year

But it gets worse. If you have a nice low interest rate, paying your bill late usually causes the interest rate to jump up to 30% after the first time you are late. That means if you borrow $1,000 you will be paying $300 interest every year.

If you have $1,000 balance on credit cards that have been reset to 30% interest, your interest on:

  • 5 cards =     $1,500 a year
  • 10 cards =   $3,000 a year

Even though this post has mostly addressed late fees, there are other fees you can eliminate, including monthly maintenance fees for bank accounts, annual fees for credit cards, ATM fees, etc. Most people don’t even notice that they’re being charged these fees, but they can really add up. Look closely at your statements and do your best to eliminate all of the fees. We generally don’t pay fees for banking or credit cards for any reason and we have occasionally changed accounts when one company insisted on charging a fee.

I think you are getting the idea. So often, I hear moms say, “I wish I could stay home”, or “There is no way we could live on one income,” but it IS possible. In some cases, one person’s entire income is mostly going to paying late fees and interest on credit cards and other bills. This is why I get so passionate about controlling your debt. Once you learn to control it, you can radically change your whole life and lifestyle for the better.


For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.



  1. rose says

    oh wow jill… awesome advice…
    i was just on the new website and sent you a message and after i submitted the message i got sent to the old blog/board… not sure how i did this but if you could tell me how to do this or anything to help … i would greatly appreciate it.. thanks agian… sorry to be such a pest …
    rose 😀

  2. jill says

    Rose sorry about the mix up. We are trying frantically to get all of the bugs out of the new web site and the only way to do it is to get it up and work on it as we go. We are really sorry for our readers.

    Hopefully we will get it figured out soon. It is a new system of some sort and it might take a little getting use to but is suppose to be better in the long run.

    Please keep posting and being patient.

  3. Bea says

    Jill, you have every right to be passionate about people paying their bills, and on time. At my job I see the very UGLY side of what happens to people that play ostriches when it comes to their bills. I know from experience at my job that many people refuse to open their bills. They may throw them out or put them in a grocery bag and put them away somewhere until they feel they can deal with them, but that creates so much trouble in the long run. Sometimes their utilities get shut off for nonpayment and either there is a huge bill that needs to be taken care of before the service is restored or a security deposit needs to be paid because the company no longer trusts the person to pay their bills on time. Either way it’s very expensive to go that route. Some people even resort to using their minor child’s name and social security number to get a utility turned back on or a credit card, because the child has unused, unblemished credit. Maybe the parent has the intention in the long run to pay the bill in their child’s name, but if the parent is not good with money they don’t suddenly become good just because their child’s credit is being ruined and in most cases that is exactly what happens. Not only is the child’s credit ruined, which may take legal action to fix when the child becomes 18, but the parent gets charged with “identity theft” for using the child’s name in the first place. Someone has to pay those bills. Some people play ostriches again thinking a company can’t send bills to children, but legally it doesn’t work that way. The parent is seriously fooling themselves. Jill, keep up the good work. It is needed in this world. Believe me.

  4. chandra says

    i appreciate all that you say. my husbands factory closed last year, and we have a family of 5, living off of 1200 a month for a year has been extremely difficult, but we paid off our last credit card, and now only have our home as the only debt. thank you jesus that our bills are paid, but there is never a penny left over. it can be done, you just have to learn what a need is and a want, because they are completely different. thank you

  5. Ray says

    It took years for my wife and I to learn that on-line banking is safe (rather than putting your personal info on a check in the mail..) and now we have our credit card and all bills paid automatically so they’re Never late! Check with your bank…. Thanks for all the great info!

  6. says

    As usual Jill, you are full of great advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to inform all of us about the importance of paying bills on time. You guys are the best!!!

    • says

      You are welcome Ruth. I always worry because so many people don’t realize until it is too late what havoc late fees etc. can do to a person’s finances. It is like a hidden snare that they step on and get caught. The more they struggle to get loose the more they are entrapped. Unless they have the right tools to work with it is really hard for them to get out and sometimes they even need a second pair of hands or a little help.

  7. Judy says

    Hi all,
    Just wanted to let you know that after being backslidden for some time and basically penniless, my hubby and I got our hearts right with God, started tithing and are slowly getting ourselves out of debt and living on one income, it takes some work and dedication but I truly love being able to stay home and be the helpmeet God intended me to be. It can be done.

  8. Dineen says

    Late payment is also one of the quickest ways to lower your credit score. (Sign up for the free online service at Credit Karma to get their estimate of your credit score.) If you are trying to save and qualify for a home loan, late payments will really stand against you. There are many programs (like FHA, VA, USDARD) that help people with moderate and low incomes, but if you are not on time paying your bills, it will really reflect badly on your application.

  9. TB says

    You are so true! Bless you for the truth you speak. My husband and I now take it as a personal affront if we are charged service fees from banks and/or interest and late fees. We were not always in this position, but through God’s provision and diligent savings for the past few years we have been able to use the banks’ money for the month and pay it off in full. What a wonderful sight it is to see $0 interest paid on each statement! Especially when we also see what a pittance we are earning on bank savings account-we wish to give no more of the money that God has blessed us with to these financial institutions.
    Keep speaking the truth in love!

  10. Pene says

    Living on one income saved us $3000 a year. We have 5 children, close in age. Daycare, extra car/gas/insurance, more dinners out (too tired to cook or worked late so dad went through the drive-thru), work clothes, more store bought gifts, etc, added up taking money out of Dads check. Once we figured the cost, why was I working outside the home and having others see my children’s first accomplishments? Now not to say I didn’t work outside the home during a crunch time. I worked from 8-11pm or 4-7am while dad was home and it was just a mile down the road.

    My advise is sit down and figure the expenses for both working out side the home. I still have my worksheet if anyone wants it.

    • getforfree says

      You are so right. Working outside of home does cost money. Not just the obvious like gas, more car maintenance, taxes and extra clothes and shoes, child care is the most expensive one. But the fact that you don’t have a lot o time to take care of things, and end up paying someone else to do them. Like eating out, because you are too tired to cook. Using extra electricity because you don’t have time to hang your laundry outside and the sunny days don’t always correspond to your days off, or washing not full loads because you need that same shirt tomorrow for work or because you can do the laundry on your days off. Or unavailable for your kids when they need you and have to ask a friend or relative to take care of that.

      • says

        This is true. We cover these very things in great detail in our Stay at Home Moms e book that we sell on Amazon. by the way if anyone is interested in it is only $3 and is packed with not only things about staying at home but things for all moms to help them in many areas.

      • getforfree says

        The other thing about working, is you are not there for your kids. You have less time of talking to them and see what’s on their minds. If you are never there, they will find someone else to talk to like their friends, teachers, or other people, who might not share the same Christian views and lead the child in the wrong direction. You won’t believe what kids talk about these days. 8-10 year olds talk about boyfriends and girlfriends, someone being gay, and other things like that. If you are there and catch it on time and explain to them why being gay is a sin, and that’s not how God created people, and even animals don’t do that because they are not influenced by our sick TV and other people who watch it. They will have the right view about that and know what is wrong before someone will convince them that it is normal and fashionable and ok thing to do.

  11. Julie says

    You all are absolutely right and I agree w/the advice but I need further advice on how to do this. My husband lost his job a couple of months ago and in that time we got behind on everything and are still struggling to catch up.He has since found another job. Some days its a choice between the mortgage or a late fee on a CC (yes I know we should not even have a CC payment/working on it) and we have to choose paying the mortgage. I am a SAHM, I cook fr scratch, sell clothes on ebay, anything and everything I can think of to try to help out my hubby but we are still behind from that month he was not working. SO any suggestions from anyone? Thank you.

    • says

      The main thing in a case like yours to try to find the money to at least pay the minimum amount each month until you can catch up. The other thing to do is to really really look at your spending. Is there any place else you can save. Now I’m not saying this is your case but just to give an example I know a woman whose husband is out of work and each month she moans and groans about how she just doesn’t know how they will make their mortgage payment the next month but they buy fertilizer for their yard and have a large water bill because of watering their yard, they have bought a small “extra” new tv, flowers for outside, gone to a movie a couple of times and yet she says they have no place else to find any extra money so really look at what you are buying and see if you can’t find some place else to save.

      I don’t know if you didn’t have a large income coming in before or what but if you did have a reasonable amount then you shouldn’t be in such a bind for him just being out of work for a couple of months so you may need to check your spending habits. Also people often spend more time in trying to find out how to make more money instead of trying to use their time and energy to find more ways to spend less money.

    • Mary says

      Been there done that, it’s hard. One thing we cut is meat, we have several meatless meals a week, dried beans can be your friend, check the internet for ways to cook them. We stopped soda and all junk food, it’s water for us. Check the food pyramid, we have one glass of milk in our cereal in the morning, glass of real juice at lunch, lots of fruit and veggies. People say it’s to expensive to eat fruit and vegetables, but if you buy what is in season, freeze what you can for later you will be fine. I coupon, pop popcorn from scratch, none of that microwave stuff and keep a well stocked pantry. I mention food most of all because when we don’t have any money we fixated on food. Work to stay healthy, nothing is more expensive then getting sick, take the kids to the park, library, check for free things in your area, there is usually something going on weekends during the summer, we have movie in the park where they run a kids movie in a different park every couple of weeks. Please don’t talk about money problems in front of the kids, it’s OK to let them know things are tight, but children don’t have the tools to understand adult problems. I know children afraid they would be sleeping on the streets because they heard “there isn’t any money”. Don’t be afraid to go to the food pantry or buy in bulk with a friend, trade kids clothes, give them toys from a garage sale or something you’ve gotten that someone else grew out of. We spent an entire summer in the basement because we couldn’t afford cool the house and needed to save money for the winter months, we are lucky to have had a dry basement, there are times we even slept down there. Dry clothes on the line, dryers cost so much to run. Don’t run the oven it heats up the house, go to sleep when it gets dark, don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth, you probably already know all the little tips every one has, you just have to put them into practice. There are little side jobs you could probably do, there will be an election in Nov, polling judges get paid in my area, check a temp agency for work when your husband is home to watch the kids, it will get you out of the house. Just remember This to will pass.

  12. says

    Like everyone else I want to thank you for the info. We have been living on one minsters income for a while now for a family of 5. I bring in some money doing sewing and other things while still being at home. We have been able to pay down our debt slowly and have been very careful not to pay anything late. We use auto-pay which has really helped and it does work. We even got a school loan interest lowered by signing up for auto-pay.

    My children are really learning the value of money and saving and it is great that they help me shop to find the best value and make most of food and their snacks. Please keep up telling everyone the truth about their finances. We can change our own future and change our children’s future by setting good examples.

  13. Amy F. says

    I have been reading your newsletter for many years now and you are very accurate and inspiring. I began reading this after my divorce(2006) and subsequent spiral into credit debt. I mean real debt, almost $40,000 in interest bearing, wasteful debt.
    It started out with a consolidation loan after the divorce, then it was all the “little” cards. You know, the store cards, and the 0% interest cards. Well, after my ex-husband lost his job and stopped paying child support, my finances went down the toilet. I called all my creditors, told them my situation, and they very kindly closed all my accounts. At the time, I was devastated. Now I had no credit to use, less money to pay bills with, and lots of those late fees. I almost lost my home to foreclosure! I got a second job and I read your list of “ways to save money”; like stop buying coffee at those familiar stores, or bottled water, or even just drink “free” water instead of milk or juice. I’ve also read about the “snowball” effect. Pay off one bill, use that amount to double up or triple up on another bill. It’s been 3 years now, and I call it “My 5 year get out of debt” plan. I am pleased to say that my “debt” is down to around $20,000. dollars. I’ve paid off my car loan, my consolidation loan is now 12,000. vs. the 23,000. it was. I still have 2 accounts that I occasionally use, but I am heading in the right direction. I can actually afford to take my cats to the vet this year, pay my electric bill on auto pay, and pay my mortgage on time, every month. My next hurdle is a big one. My full time job was just cut to part time and I’m losing my health benefits, so is my daughter. Thanks to your story and strength, I know I’ll be okay.


    • says

      Wow Amy you are doing great. You are the perfect example of what we are talking about – slowly but surely you will get there. What happens is after a month or two most people don’t always see a big enough change so they just quit, give up and go back to their old ways not realizing that they may have spent months and in many cases years with their finances building up in a negative way and now want it fixed in a few weeks.

      It is those who persevere who win the race and it sounds like you are on your way and have a really good attitude about it too. I know the change in your job is a pain but I can also tell you know things some how will work out. Don’t get discouraged and if you do just holler at us and we will try to help.

  14. Julia says

    You are right on target, Jill. We always pay our credit card bills on time each month and I pay my sister’s on time each month as I have to care for her since she is blind and deaf, but lives alone and does quite well. This past month I made the mistake of putting her check for $452 (estimate)to Discover in her Suddenlink Cable envelope and her $37.99 check for Suddenlink in her Discover envelope. The late fee was $35 and the finance charge on top of the late fee was $9.00. Discover was gracious enough since she had always been on time to remove these fees, but to get Suddenlink to return her money, I was going to have to go to the bank and get them to fax the check that had been sent to them made out to Discover and also attach a letter stating that they would get their money and the check to Suddenlink would not bounce. I thought Suddenlink was most unreasonable in their request as she has never been late with it either. We were very unhappy with them as this would allow them to have her money interest free for over a year if we leave it there. Neither Discover nor Suddenlink send the checks to the bank any more so there is no copy of either check on her bank statement.

    • says

      What a mess some of those things can be Julia. I once did that and had the gas company just cash it as if it was written to them. Go figure. Anyway you are right in one thing which I forgot to mention and that is most of the time (and from Julia story you can see not all the time) if you have a good track record with your payments most companies are really good about working with you.

  15. Julia says

    Would you please comment or ask for comments about paying bills online and banking online. You just hear so much about hackers that I have not yet felt safe to do this, but after my previous experience I am beginning to think they are trying to force us to do this. Thanks for your help!

  16. Joy says

    Hello Jill! I enjoyed your article about Paying Late Fees – you made some very good points and reminders. The one thing that is incorrect about Ostriches though, is they do not bury their heads in the sand. I’m not trying to be picky about your article; I can see where it helped make your point, but it is still incorrect. The San Diego Zoo has a great article on Ostriches that discusses this myth:

  17. Julie says

    Hi Jill thanks for your comments, you are right about needing to look more at my spending, I know there are areas I should be able to cut back on more. Also when my husband lost his job we had no savings, zero, so nothing to fall back on. And when he was working we were right at the limit on everything; barely making ends meet. As soon as we fix this mess we got ourselves into I am going to start setting aside emergency money so we never get into this situation again, it is sooo important!

    • says

      Know what you mean Julie. One reason I am so careful was when I was first married we lived up to the limit too. Now they didn’t have credit cards like they do now but we had a couple and when my husband lost his job boy were we in a bind. I found out then we could have managed if it wasn’t for our credit card payments and I haven’t used them like that since then.

      My husband and I were separated for a bit before he finally left for good and in that time period he charged things like crazy and ran up business debts so when he did leave I had a mess but even though I wasn’t responsible for them since we were married I paid them anyway and it was hard. So you can see I really know what it is like and am super careful now with my credit cards and saving for a rainy day.

  18. Nancy S says

    A long time ago when I had my first job in a clothing store, the credit manager would let her “girls” open a charge account with a $50 limit. We could charge $50, and when we paid that off, charge up to $50 again. Her advice, delivered in her gravely voice, was: The way to get out of debt is to stop spending. A few years later when my husband and I went to seminary and were living on very little, I wrote her and thanked her for that advice. I also added a corollary: When you don’t have money to buy, don’t go to the mall! Still works!!! Thanks for the many good columns.

    • says

      You are welcome Nancy. It was funny you should say that about not going to the mall. I was running some errands a couple of days ago and was going past one of my favorite thrift stores and thought I will just pop in and have a look around. Then I thought no I will just spend money so stay away then started thinking how I need to remind everyone the best way not to spend it not to go someplace where you will spend it so thanks for letting everyone know it really works.

  19. says

    When I bring in the mail, there’s this temptation to just set the bills in a pile, to deal with later. What I try to do instead, is write a check right after getting the mail. Or in the case of our 1 credit card, I phone in my payment immediately. It’s just too easy to put off bill-paying (after all where’s the fun in that?), and before you know it, you’re late with a payment. And once you’re done with writing that check, or making payments by phone or online, it’s no longer a drag on your mind, this thing you needed to do.

    • says

      I agree completely. I usually pay my bills the day they come in or at the latest the next morning. One less thing to remember. Plus in most cases I have already used the services that I get the bill for so I think it is only right I pay for them immediately. I have been in business myself to know sometimes if I don’t get a check from my clients it can make or break you. I know for big companies this doesn’t seem as important but I figure I should respect them too and the service they allowed me to use.

      • says

        Good point for us all to remember, about being respectful of the business you’ve already used services from. A good friend of mine is self-employed, and I know the hardship it causes their family, when 1 or 2 clients are slow to send her payment for services rendered.

  20. Jan C says

    I love your site and come here especially when I need a boost. I go out of my way to get home, so I don’t go by my craft store. I have enough yarn at home to open a store of my own, but can’t pass the store without wanting to go and see (buy) what is new. I have to stay out of all stores. The way I save on groceries, is to make a list and then order from peapod (they deliver) and I can only see the specials on their web page and can’t see anything else in the store. I do save a lot of money this way.

  21. Maggie says

    Two quick stories – A friend and I used to work at G.C. Murphy Co. after school when I was in high school. We used to get there in time to have a quick sandwich and lemonade before we started work. If we ate fast, we had time to stop by the make-up or record counter. We were allowed to purchase things and put them on a tab which we paid for from our paycheck each Friday. We would buy a lipstick for less than a Dollar or a record for $0.79 plus pay for our dinner. After a few paychecks when we gave the store almost all our earnings, we learned to eat slower and not shop. Then when we got paid, we actually had some cash. Now, with cash in our pockets we were much less likely to buy anything because we could SEE the money diminishing in our wallets. Still a very good lesson. Don’t shop and you will have more money.
    2nd story: I love books and have more than I can read at home but still go to the library on Saturdays to check out books. There is a section of books there for sale – $0.50 for paperbacks and $1.00 for hardbacks. Almost every Saturday, I stop and look and I almost always find something to purchase. The last month or so, I make myself just go out the door and not stop in this corner. The library has made it very convenient to stop here because it is right by the exit. Even though I know there are lots of books there that I would enjoy, I just tell myself I have other good books at home and feel very pleased when I just leave and don’t buy. Again, same lesson. Don’t shop – you won’t buy. Now, I know there are times when this will not apply but if you just plan to browse and don’t need anything, I find it is too tempting to even look.

    • Jaime says

      Maggie, it sounds like you love reading. I know those electronic book reading machines like Kindles, Nooks, or Sony’s Ereader cost a lot of money but did you know that you can download the free software from those sites to your computer (from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and even Sony). Then you can download free e-books from those sites or from anywhere else on the Internet. All this totally for free. This is a good way to be a FRUGAL book lover.

  22. LAC says

    So TRUE! I had a conversation at work today about college student loans. So many are going back to school and are thousands of dollars in debt! Many are paying loan payments that equal a monthly car payment! I said that you can pay off that debt fast if you cut out other expenses and live frugal. Well that didn’t go over well I got a NO! Another woman said you can defer the payments. I said yes but for only so long you do have to pay eventually!! But I was shot down. It amazes me how much debt people are into not just student loans but added to that a house payment and car payments! Yet the very thing that will help them FRUGAL living just is not anywhere in there zip code! Many people are truly trying to have it all! It is just like the story of the ostrich! It couldn’t have come at a better time for me!

  23. Erika says

    @LAC, I’ve been there too. It’s impossible to help people who don’t want to help themselves. Complaining makes them feel good and they get sympathy. Sheer laziness in some cases, feelings of entitlement, who me it’s the economy’s fault and so on. they have a million excuses. A select few will be interested and will enjoy sharing tips. Ideas are constantly shot down as you experienced. They DON’T want to change in spite of all their talk.
    Also learned not to discuss purchases with these people. They believe I’m lucky, not that I work hard and can save for years for something I really want(ie not a need). Had a lot of laughs directed at me when I started delivering the local paper twice a week in addition to my regular work. After several years of deliveries in ice storms and snow and heat etc etc I took a cruise to Alaska for 14 days and toured National Parks and so on. Still watched my pennies and was careful about what I did. Had a great time and was super healthy, lost weight and met great people and dogs! No debt after trip either. I did without cable,internet,walked a lot of places in the interim,said no to coffee,books,mags etc. Now that was special. Saved a bit every month for a lot of years to make sure there would be money for a car when the old one fnally bit the dust(at 17 years old).
    Use our local library to order books and request all the latest movies for free. Learned how to download books for free to my computer as well. Researched computers and shopped carefully and finally just got a lap top (used).
    For years used the library computer for free. not convenient but practical.
    There are so many ways to save the pennies and they do add up. At times I was down to the “$2.00″ but kept going focusing on the needs only. Listening to the whining made me resolve not to discuss the treats again.Reminded me so much of the lady who complained that Tawra didn’t live poor. Money does not make a poor or rich lifestyle. It’s attitude. Used to live high on the hog at one time,but changed fast when realized years back things were going to change in the economy. Started following everything my mum did to feed us when kids. Boy did that help the bottom line. Now I live inexpensively and feel so much better knowing that I can do whatever needed to make life work. Do try to pass along info learned and this website as well, but very few follow thru. Like they say: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.
    Please realize that I’m not criticizing people’s choices just saying you need to take ownership of your choices. Also life has been known to throw surprises at you but just keep at it. It works.

  24. Erika says

    Sorry, forgot to tell Tawra the article in Countryside Jan 12 issue was excellant. So much commonsense. First heard about you from them when your articles started appearing.
    From the library no less. There is hardly ever a magazine available,always out.

  25. Mary says

    I have auto-pay for all my bills, my utilities are level pay so it is easy to budget, my credit card takes the minimum out of my checking automatically, even though I pay it off every month, this way if for some unknown reason I forget to pay at least there won’t be a late fee. We pay extra every month on the house so if all goes well it will be paid off in 4 and a half years after having the loan for only 10 of the 30 years it was taken out for. We’ve been blessed, we are both still working, I can’t say that for everyone we know, but that is why it is so important to get the house paid off. Our cars are paid off and we aren’t buy another until they die on the side of the road, one is a 1995 F150, the doors may fall off before the engine stops. All the people who told me a few years ago when gas hit 4.50 a gallon to trade to a smaller car and I said no way it’s paid off, I just don’t drive as much, my car is 12 years old and I have no plans of trading it off soon. Some of my friends don’t understand why we live the way we do, but if one of us loses our job we can make it on one salary. God has blessed us and I have tried to explain our “money management” to others, but then they say we couldn’t go on vacation if we did that. I guess it’s up to each individual to decide what is a priority.

  26. Maggie says

    Got a nook from my sister for my birthday next week. She got one for Christmas and loved it so much, was sure I would, too. I think it was too expensive but she really wants to share the books she gets so got this for me. I am thrilled and intimidated at the same time. I just am not that up on new technology but with help, think I will enjoy it. So, am looking forward to trying it out while I am on vacation. Of course, the books I have at home will not be tossed – I will continue reading them and giving them away. I will be using the library for Nook books. Don’t want to spend money when I don’t have to and don’t like spending money on books when there are so many free ones at my house.
    I wish everyone a Fun-filled Glorious Fourth of July. I will be away at the beach with my family for a week but look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back.

    • Jaime says

      Yes the library does let people “borrow” ebooks to download to their reading device. But did you know that since you got the “Nook” you can download some ebooks for free from the “Barnes & Noble” website? Also, do download the free ebook reading software from to your computer. It is well worth it. The have many many free ebooks everyday and also offer specials on some ebooks to make them free for a few days. You can read them right on your computer, no reading device needed. I like that.

  27. Donna B. says

    Hi Jill,
    concerned about you and family. I know you re still in Arkansas, but that fire in Colorado looks like it just became worse. Hope Tawra and familly are still ok.

    Donna B.

    • says

      Thanks for your concern Donna. I am in Kansas but just got back from Colorado and seeing Tawra. The first big fire that started up by Ft. Collins started while I was there. So far Tawra is far enough east of the mountains and fires that they are doing ok except for such bad smoke. This week end when the fire in Estes broke out we were concerned because that fire was only 1 mile from mike’s folks and they had to prepare to evacuate plus mike and the boys were real close the the area hiking at the time.

      The Boulder (and Colo springs) fire is the one I’m real concerned about at the moment. It is hitting the area where I grew up and lived while I was growing up there. If it gets a hold there it will be awful and just like what is happening in Colo Springs. It is pretty bad but so far my family and Tawra and them are about 20 miles east of it. Although that isn’t saying much the way things are going.

  28. Donna B. says

    Yes, Kansas, should have known better, sorry!
    Hope they can bring in more National Guard and pull more help from other States. Thinking the best for you —


    • says

      Thanks again Donna – don’t worry about it it was sweet of you to ask. I had been trying to decide if I should post something on the web site because I thought maybe some of our readers would be wondering.

      • Sandi P says

        Yes, please, post some info and keep us updated. I’ve been thinking of your family with these fires, and logged on to see if you or Tawra were still posting.

  29. rose says

    i havent been on in a while … but have kept u and the rest of the family in my prayers .. hope everyone is safe and ok ..
    ((( hugs )))

    • says

      Good to hear you are back Rose. I always wonder what has happened to you when you have not been on here for a bit so hope is ok with you and your husband.

  30. Jackie says

    I just joined this website and super excited I did. I am self employed and its really hard to budget when you don’t know what your income will be from week to week. But reading through the post about late fees on credit cards I think I am going to start paying a late fee with every payment. A wakeup call to get this debt paid of quicker. But then again, next comes braces for my kids, so back in the hole we go again….lol

    • says

      Glad to have you Jackie. I know exactly what you are talking about being self employed. 90% of my working life I have been self employed and know it takes some adjusting too. Hope you keep reading out posts because we do address in many different articles.

  31. Fay says

    Seeing the math written out really helps me stay out of debt. I still physically write things down; spread sheets and computer finance programs just don’t make debt real to me. When we went on vacation we used CC for car rental & airline tickets. A new feature (by law) is that CC have to show you the math the amount of interest you pay & how long it will take if you just pay the minimum; they show the same thing for say double the minimum payment. The clincher here is that they then show the savings between the two–people see this and say WOW I can save money– and the idea of not revolving it in the first place goes right out of their head.

  32. says

    I just caught my Bank Of America credit card placing one of my purchases as a cash advance. Get this, my card is a Alaskan Air card and the item the are documenting as a cash advance is my plane ticket I purchased.

    Watch those credit card statements.

    • says

      Yes and not there are places that are starting to charge for using your credit card. I went to get my car tags the other day and saw a sign which said they are now charging 10% for using a credit card. They did have a sign but places don’t have to let you know if they are doing that. For those of you using a credit card to get rewards and pay it off at the end of the month be careful.

  33. says

    My mother always told me, if you want to save money, it will have to be on groceries – make your own mixes!!! She was a right smart lady and I make most of my mixes or buy bulk mixes at WinCo.

  34. Veronica says

    One thing you did not mention Jill was using Credit Unions. They are usually not for profit and the money stays in your community. Fees are also much smaller. If you take a mortgage with a CU it won’t get sold off to mega money makers (sorry Investors) If a bill does inadvertently get overlooked, if you have a bank account and some poor people don’t you can of course pay by phone, if it hasn’t been cut off or on the Internet but as a last resort send your payment by overnight mail. It costs about $15.00 which is far less than the fees the credit card company will charge and the automatic rise in your interest rate and probably a lower credit limit. You may also find that an increased rise in interest rate on one card will be followed by the same increase on all of your cards even if you have never been late or missed a payment on those
    I do disagree with the poster who said that children should be kept in the dark about family finances. yes if they are little but if old enough to do the math, they should be fully involved and under stand just how much money is available and do their bit to keep costs down and find creative ways to continue favorite hobbies. For example if you want to ride a horse many stable owners will be glad to exchange lessons for cleaning stalls or grooming and tacking up for a trainer. In our City we are fined if the sidewalk in front of the house is not kept clear of snow and you see young people going door to door with their shovels. Older kids can help tutor younger ones. The kids can help with household expenses and/or pay for other things they may need for school. If the children see the budget clearly laid out they will be far less afraid and more ready to co-operate. As readers of the web site have found out sitting home and feeling sorry for yourself is no help at all

  35. Mary Jane Barton says

    Just wanted to make a comment about homeschooling and Tawra getting through her first year of it. I appreciate your comment that it is ok, but you don’t love it. I homeschooled my four children for a total of 18 years from beginning to end. It was a huge, but day by day job. For me, I felt called to do it, and felt like quitting many times, but didn’t. I would tell people that I didn’t love it, too, because it was real work. Whenever someone romanticized what it would be like to do homeschooling, I asked them if they remember the kind of change it was to their life when they brought home their first baby. Homeschooling was that kind of a change. I want to encourage Tawra to take it a day at a time, a year at a time. Now that they are all grown and gone, I can see that there were real benefits for all the hard work and sacrifice, but when people said that homeschooling was all fun and games, I thought they were either lying or hadn’t actually done it. I know. I have been in the trenches. Be encouraged. We homeschooled for what sounds like the same reasons Tawra and her family do. Do it as long as you feel led to. Like anything worthwhile doing, there is a cost and a discipline involved, but there is a good pay off as well.

  36. kim says

    I’m sorry about homeschooling not being easy:) Still better than school and homework though(my opinion). Hang in there- it gets better as you go. The first year is the roughest, especially with chronic fatigue, and them being use to going to school. The end is very worth it. My oldest is getting ready for high school and I have one in each middle,elementary, and preschool. Some days are really good and some are just hard. But, I know that my kids are getting everything they need.

  37. Cathy says

    I’m new to your site, but I love your newsletter.

    My suggestion for saving money is to take St john’s Wort (2 or 3 daily for adults.) I’m allergic to eggs and can’t take flu shots, but I never get the flu or even a cold. My husband has been extremely sick with a sinus and chest cold but is now a believer in St John’s Wort since I didn’t catch it from him. He was taking 1 a day, but since he got sick, he started taking 3 a day and is now much better than the friend who gave it to him but refuses to ‘take one more pill.’

    The only drawback I’ve noticed is that I burn easier in the sun – which isn’t as much of a problem here in the Pacific Northwest.

    In 2001, my doctor told me it was a strong antimicrobial. I’ve taken it ever since and have not been sick since.

    • Rachel H says

      I am going to tell my sister about this. She gets several sinus infections a year. Has even had surgery, but it seems to have not worked.

  38. Rachel H says

    My husband was laid off and out of work in 1990-91. He did not work for about 10 months, and it was awful. We had several credit cards, and I still remember talking to the rep. from the gas company card, she was insisting on a $75.00 payment, and I just kept repeating that I could only send $25.00, and that amount was hard to find. So we learned a lot and all those gas and store credit cards got cut up. We have one card and we pay cash for our gas. We don’t charge anything we don’t have the money in the bank to cover. A credit card is now just a tool for convenience in certain situations, like my husbands recently unexpected dental work.

  39. donnab says

    Hi Jill:
    wanted to comment I’ve been noticing a trend in “administrative fees”. My car ins co. is now charging $5/mo. because I pay monthly. My health ins co. is charging $3.50 because I pay monthly.

    That is $100 out of my pocket/year.

    It is very hard to pay these all at once.



  1. […] Have you had to pay a late fee on a bill because it was buried under a pile of papers and you didn’t find it until 2 weeks after the due date? How often do you have to pay fines on your taxes because your paperwork is so disorganized? Are fines on those late or lost library books adding up? Have you bought something very expensive and used it once, only to have it break, but you couldn’t find the receipt to return it? […]

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