Hint: It's not the mortgage, credit cards, or cable.
This post comes from Catey Hill at partner site MarketWatch.
Americans tend to pay their car loans before their mortgages or credit cards each month, says Steve Chaouki, group vice president in credit bureau TransUnion's financial services business unit.
Consider: Among consumers with auto loans, mortgages and credit cards, the 30-day delinquency rate for auto loans was just 0.88 percent last year, while the rate for credit cards was 1.82 percent and the rate for mortgages was 1.91 percent. While overall, those rates have improved since 2009, when the 30-day delinquency rate for auto loans was 1.34 percent, credit cards 2.82 percent and mortgages 3.83 percent -- the priorities are still clear: cars, then credit cards, then mortgages. And, says, Chaouki, autos are likely to again lead the pack for 2013.
So what's behind the priority we give to our rides?
Low out-of-pocket costs may be appealing, but not everyone will save money.
This post comes from Jonelle Marte at partner site MarketWatch.
Some people shopping for health coverage on the new state and federally run insurance exchanges may be lucky enough to find themselves contemplating the potential value of an increasingly rare option: the zero-deductible plan.
Insurance plans that don't have a deductible -- that is, a certain dollar amount that consumers must pay before their coverage kicks in -- are becoming harder to find in workplace plans, as more employers move people onto high deductible plans in an effort to lower the company's health care costs. They are also a rare option on the public exchanges: Less than 5 percent of the plans offered on HealthCare.gov, the exchange site servicing 36 states, have no deductible, according to an analysis by HealthPocket, a company that compares health-insurance plans. Still, the plans are available in some areas, offering consumers who are willing to pay larger monthly premiums a way to reduce their out-of-pocket medical costs throughout the year.
Zero-deductible plans are most common at the platinum level, the highest tier of coverage. Some 41 percent of platinum plans charge no deductible, according to an analysis by HealthPocket of the plans offered in 34 of the 36 states that sell plans on HealthCare.gov. In contrast, only 6 percent of gold plans and 3 percent of silver plans have no deductible, and the option is available with few if any bronze-level plans.
A survey suggests that many Americans plan to use cash and debit cards for holiday purchases this year more than they did last.
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.
The majority of Americans (56.4 percent) used cash for some of their holiday shopping last year, according to a survey of consumers conducted by Credit.com, and about 20 percent said they would use cash and debit cards more this year than they did in 2012.
People use a variety of payment methods throughout the season for different reasons — respondents were instructed to note all the ways they paid for gifts last year, the most common being credit cards, with 57.8 percent of shoppers using them. When asked why they prefer cash or debit cards, people who plan to use more cash this year most often said it’s because they’re trying to pay off debt.
Dealers are anxious to clear the lot and meet sales targets at the end of the year.
This post comes from Allison Martin of partner site Money Talks News.
You're in luck, as New Year's Eve is right around the corner. "The last day of the year is going to be the day that a consumer is most likely to get the best possible value when buying a new car," Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told MarketWatch.
Dealers have annual sales targets to meet and excessive inventory to clear off their lots in return for the hefty bonuses that manufacturers dole out. And they will do whatever it takes to reach their goals.
Among the perks offered to entice consumers to buy before the end of the year are cash rebates, cut-rate financing and lease deals, notes Forbes.
Some retailers have generous policies that aren't advertised, meaning more than ever that it's smart to ask for a discount.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.
More than you realize, retailers are willing to drop the price for you. Some have price-matching or price-surpassing policies that you don't even know about.
In the past, bargaining for the best possible deal on almost anything you can think of may have been frowned upon. However, times have changed and "many retailers, desperate for sales and customer loyalty, have begun training their employees in the art of bargaining with customers," reports The New York Times.
'What would you like for Christmas?' 'Nothing. I already have everything.' Sound familiar? Here are gift suggestions for the hard-to-buy-for people on your list.
This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.
Or how about your brother-in-law, who seems to be doing his best to give genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist Tony Stark a run for his money in the gadget department?
If you are stuck on what to get those hard-to-buy-for people on your list, we have some suggestions for you.
The changes may affect far more than the amount you can borrow -- so prospective homebuyers should be prepared.
This post comes from Scott Sheldon at partner site Credit.com.
The Federal Housing Administration recently announced a reduction in high-cost area loan limits -- a reduction that comes in accordance with the government’s ongoing effort to retreat from the housing market. Rewind the clock to 2008, when financial markets were significantly depressed, the economy was on the verge of recession -- enter the FHA as the new outlet to support a frail housing sector.
Since then, unemployment has dropped, job growth, while still bleak, is improving, and real estate is in demand. The FHA has accomplished its goal of helping to boost the housing market. Now the government wants to minimize its exposure to bigger loans.
The FHA loan limit reduction will affect homebuyers in higher-end properties. For example, if you take Sonoma County, Calif., the maximum new FHA loan limit in January will be reduced to $520,950 from $662,500. Homebuyers who once could buy with less capital will now have to invest more cash into the deal or buy less house.
For those who still have some names to cross off their holiday shopping list (and who doesn't?), free shipping from online retailers on Wednesday can be a great way to save money.
This post comes from Elyssa Kirkham at partner site GoBankingRates.com.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, retailers participating in Free Shipping Day will waive the shipping fee for all orders placed that day. There is no minimum order amount to earn free shipping, and delivery by Dec. 24 is guaranteed.
Wednesday will mark the five-year anniversary of the first Free Shipping Day, founded by entrepreneur Luke Knowles in 2007. According to the official site, Knowles started the day as a way for shoppers to get free shipping and a guaranteed delivery date without having to order weeks before the holidays.
This may be the last time shoppers will have such a guarantee with free shipping, and it's a great way to buy gifts online and receive them in time for Christmas without paying high prices for express or overnight shipping.
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