This week's great Groups topics

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There’s a lot going on in the Groups tab. Here are some highlights from this week:

Smart Banking: ING Direct questions and thoughts
“I’m an early adopter so have tried to completely cut the paper out of my life. I almost never deal with checks. My direct deposit used to go into my regular bank account, but now I’ve switched it to land in my Electric Orange Checking. Having a checking account with ING allows me to move money back and forth between it and my savings account in real time. No waiting for days until it becomes available. The checking account also comes with a debit / credit / ATM card. I’ve found that most Allpoint ATMs are located at gas stations and department stores. There are always plenty around. The only drawback is that they usually limit you to withdrawing $200 at a time. I rarely have to do that so it’s not that much of a problem for me, but could be a major inconvenience for someone else. It’s also a bit of a pain to deposit checks. You have to mail them in.”

Starving College Student: Help!
“I am 21, 2 years away from graduating. My parents pay for my cell phone bill and my car payment, but the rest is up to me. According to the FAFSA I am financially dependent on my parents, so I receive no financial aid and have ended up living on loans. About $17,000 borrowed a year pays for tuition (public school), rent, textbooks, living expenses and ‘fun’ expenses. I have accrued over $50,000 in debt so far (been in school for 3 years) and that number is going nowhere but up.”

Paying It Off: Good ways to use credit cards?
“Personally, I have never had good luck with credit cards. I start paying them off every month, but then the temptation takes over, and I plan on paying the rest off next month. Well, that actually builds up and all of a sudden, I owe 5000 on my credit card. This is what I do now.

“I have an AmEx card that I get airline miles with. I like airline miles because we like to take trips, and I get better value with miles than with cash for buying a ticket. My wife and I ONLY charge gas on the card. Gas stations get us double points. I used to try to charge everything, but that did not work because it was too easy for us to go over budget. I have our gas budgeted, and we pay off the card as soon as we get paid, not when it is due, so I am not tempted to spend the money elsewhere.

“This seems to work for us. Unlike some people, I am not good with the temptation of having credit cards with open spending. Even though some can put everything on a credit card and then pay it off every month, apparently there are millions of people like me that can’t. This is the only credit card I have. I will have enough points for my wife and I to fly to Hawaii next year first class.”

You don’t have to join Wesabe to read Groups — just come on in. It’s great to see so many people participating, and helping each other through hard times (like struggling with credit card debt) as well as good times (like finding the best place to stash that bonus check). The Groups tab is my personal favorite part of Wesabe. Nothing can beat reading people’s stories about their lives, especially when those posts lead to better ideas and lower stress. I hope you’ll drop by.


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