Don't Get Stuck With the Bill
By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover
Financial expert Dave Ramsey talks about how you can avoid paying for things that you didn't expect.
I’m one of five sisters, and our parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary is just around the corner. My two oldest sisters made plans for a party without consulting the rest of us. Now, they want everyone to chip in $1,000 to help pay for things. I’m trying hard to get out of debt, and I just don’t have that kind of money right now. How can I be fair about this?
Wow, a $5,000 party is pretty big stuff. Since you weren’t asked about this ahead of time and had no say in anything, fair would be for you not to pay a dime! That kind of planning without consulting the people involved and helping pay for the event is way out of line.
Don’t let your big sisters lay a guilt trip on you, either. This has nothing to do with how much you love your parents. It has everything to do with communication and consideration, or in this case, a lack of these things on their part.
Just let them know – in a firm but loving way – what your situation is right now. Tell them you’d be happy to chip in what you can, but it won’t be anything close to $1,000.
And tell them next time to check with their little sisters before hatching up an expensive plan like this!
Close Them Down
I’ve been listening to you for a while, and I’m finally ready to cut up my credit cards. Should I contact these companies and close the accounts formally, or will they just shut them down due to lack of use?
Credit card companies won’t close an account due to a lack of use on the holder’s part. You need to talk to these people personally, tell them to close the accounts, and then you need to go back later and make sure they’re closed.
Lots of credit card companies are bad about not following through on this kind of thing. They want the accounts to stay open so they have a chance to keep taking your money!
You don’t want those accounts left open, Rita. There’s a lot of identity theft and other misuses of information going on in the world today. Always be as careful as possible with your money and your information!
‘Stupid Tax’ Paid
Even though we make $70,000 a year, my husband got talked into a department store credit card just to get a discount. He made one purchase of $25, and afterwards he forgot all about the card because he’d never had one before. They wrote down the wrong address on the application, and nine months later we found it had been turned over to a collections agency. With late charges the total due is $285. What do we do?
Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to write a check for $285 today, and in the space marked “for” you write “dumb behavior by husband”!
I’m sorry, but you guys are completely liable for this. And besides, it would cost about $3,000 worth of your time to get these bozos to listen to reason and go away. The next time you go into one these places and a clerk starts jumping up and down about discounts when you use their credit card, you need to tell them to go jump in the lake!
Pay the bill, close the account and cut up the plastic. This is a perfect example of why I always tell people to stay away from credit cards!
For more financial advice and a special offer to our readers, please visit www.davesays.org or call 1-888-22-PEACE.
Dave Ramsey is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and author of the New York Times bestselling books, Financial Peace Revisited and The Total Money Makeover. His life-changing advice in the area of personal finance helps people get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth that will last a lifetime and beyond.
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