How to Avoid a Credit Card Charge-Off

The simplest way to avoid a credit card charge-off is to learn and understand the credit card system. Here are some tips:

Sending Credit Card Payments Through The Mail:

Some credit card companies actually require you to use their own pre-printed envelopes, but even if they do not, it is a good idea to do so in the interest of more efficient processing of your payment. Make sure you have included the billing coupon and have written clearly the amount that you are paying. Include your check, also written legibly, and remember to write your account number on the check.
When Ronald Reagan was running for President, he was asked what he was going to do to make the post office more efficient, to which he responded that he would start mailing workers workers their paychecks. Allow ample time when you send your check to the credit card company.

Change Your Credit Card Due Date Something That Is Convenient For You:

Many people find that the greatest number of their bills, such as their mortgage or car payment, are due at the first of the month. If these places a burden on your ability to pay your credit card bill that may also be due at the first of the month, a simple way to avoid this problem is to just ask your card issuer to change the due date for your monthly payment. There is no harm in the asking, and many card issuers offer this ability to change the due date of your bill as an option. One important thing to remember, though, is that it may take a couple of billing cycles before this date change is fully implemented. It is important to make sure that your bill is paid promptly when due until your change of due date becomes effective. Otherwise, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a late fee.

About Late Fees:

In the classic television detective series Columbo, which starred Peter Falk, Lieutenant Columbo always appeared to be distracted and disorganized, but in reality he was extremely focused and observant. One common scene that brought delight to fans of the show was when Columbo left a room in which he had been speaking to the murderer. He kept turning around and starting question after question with, "Oh, just one more thing …" Then he trapped the criminal. Well, the credit card companies are not Lieutenant Columbo and we consumers are certainly not murderers, but when it comes to trapping us in the fine print of their credit card agreements, it always looks like there is "just one more thing."

Make Your Credit Card Payment On or Before The Due Date:

Your monthly payment is due on whatever date of the month it says on your credit card bill. If your payment is late, the fine print of your card agreement provides for the right of the credit card company to assess a late fee, which can be as much as $ 35 for each late payment. In the past, some credit card companiesave their customers five or even ten days of grace after the due date before assessing a penalty, but that is not the situation any longer. So you send your payment with sufficient time to arrive at the card company on your bill's due date.

But, just one more thing: Some credit card companies deem your payment late if it is processed later than 1:00 pm on the day of your due date. Some of these companies do not receive and process mail until after 1:00 pm; Therefore, the real date by which your monthly payment must be received is a day earlier than the date indicated on your contract. So you need to make sure your payment gets there three days ahead of the due date. Another Note: If the envelope contains a staple, a paper clip, or a note from you, the fine print of the contract specifics that there may be a delay of up to five days in posting your payment. This may cause a late payment to be assessed on a payment that arrived at the card company prior to the due date of the bill. I'll bet Lieutenant Columbo read the fine print before sending in his payment.

Make Your Credit Card Payments On-Line:

The most efficient way to make credit card payments is to make the payment on-line if the company offers that service. You can specify the amount you want to pay, which account you want it deducted out of, and specify the date you want the payment made. By paying your cards this way, you can set the payment to be made exactly on the due date so the credit card company is not getting your money any earlier than the due date and you have the peace of mind knowing you will never be late On your payment. Just be sure to set this up at least 3 days before the payment is due, otherwise there might not be enough time to process the payment in time.

Avoid Credit Card Interest Rate Hikes:

Another problem with late payments is that they can also trigger penal interest rates as high as 29%; So, for example, instead of the 10% interest rate your card may carry, your rate will now be jacked up to 29% effective immediately. In fact, even if you are timely in your payment, credit card companies generally reserve the right to raise your rate to a penalty rate if you are late with any other payment to any of your creditors, whatsoever they may be. Just read the fine print.

Can not Make Your Credit Card Payment?

If you're struggling with making your monthly payments, before you're ever late on a payment, CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY! Most companies will come up with a reduced payment plan if you're experiencing a hardship. You'll want to do this as soon as you determine that you can not make your payment, before the due date. You'll want to negotiate a payment that you can afford with your credit, then send that payment in on or before the due date so it does not affect your credit.

You'll want to be sure to get this agreement in writing and be sure to negotiate that this reduced payment WILL NOT be reported as a late payment on your credit report. Sometimes creditors will agree to a reduced payment, but they'll go ahead and report it as being 30 days late because it's less than what was contractually agreed to. If you get a letter from the credit card company agreeing to the reduced payment, along with a statement from the company that they will not report you as being late to the credit bureaus, you'll have the proof you need to send into the credit Bureaus if they do not hold up to their end of the bargain. This happens more often than not, so make sure you protect yourself.

"Settling" Your Credit Card Balance For Less Than The Full Amount:

"Settling" a credit card account basically means that you're paying less that the full balance. This technique is usually used if the account has already been charged off and can only be done if you have the money to pay them in full. If you're going to try this, you'll want to try to negotiate a "Pay for Deletion", which basically means that whatever amount the two of you agree to settle the account for; The credit card company is also agreeing to remove the account from your credit report. By doing this, the charge-off and late payments will no longer negatively affect your credit score.

Pros and Cons of a Smart Car

When people are thinking about making an expensive buying decision, especially with something as new and unusual as the smart car, they often want to know the pros and cons of the various options they are considering. This article will examine the pros and cons of a smart car.

There is no doubt that the smart fortwo car has its passionate supporters. Before it arrived in the United States in 2007, it had already enjoyed wild success in Europe over several years. But with its small size, there are also a number of concerns.

Pros of a Smart Car

There are many benefits to be considered; don’t let its small size fool you!

  • Environmentally-friendly. Not only is this small car fuel-efficient, averaging around 40 mpg, but it has several other environmentally-friendly features as well. The smart fortwo car uses innovative energy-efficient and recyclable materials in its construction. In fact, 95% of the vehicle is recyclable and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics.
  • Easy to park and drive. The smart car has a very small footprint. At less than 9 feet long, it’s nearly 3 feet shorter than the already diminutive Mini Cooper. Of course, a big reason for that is that it’s only a 2-seater. But the short size means this car is super easy to park, especially in tight spots or short spots where other cars wouldn’t fit. It’s also got a great turning radius that makes it very maneuverable.
  • Appearance. No one can argue that the smart fortwo car is not unique in its design and appearance. See one, and you will never forget it, whether you like it or not! Many people’s first impression is that it is just so darn cute. When Mercedes Benz brought the smart fortwo car to the United States, they updated its image to be more cutting edge, with more chrome, a bit longer hood section and updated headlights and dashboard area. You can also change out the plastic body panels to give it a whole new color, or purchase a car wrap with some kind of unique print or design on it.
  • Safety design. Most people’s first reaction when they see this tiny car is something along the lines of, “How could such a small car be safe on the road” However, what make the smart car so unique is Mercedes Benz attention to safety. From the innovative tridion safety cell, a sort of safety cage, to its 4 airbags and advanced braking system, the smart car is built for safety. Crash tests have consistently proved Mercedes’ safety claims. Anecdotal evidence, as published on the website, also supports those claims.
  • Surprisingly roomy inside. Another surprising benefit of the smart car is its interior roominess. There is plenty of leg room for both driver and passenger. Head room is great too, with men as tall as 6’6″ fitting in the driver’s seat comfortably. The cargo area is also quite roomy for a small car. We fit a 50-pound black lab and 2 other dogs in our hatch when we go hiking. And we’ve toted home as many as 8 grocery bags and a case of soda when we go food shopping.
  • Perfect commuter car. The smart fortwo car was originally designed as a “city car” for crowded European city-dwellers, and that is its greatest value in the United States, as well. It makes a great commuter car, with its roominess, solid gas mileage and zippy performance on the roads, not to mention ease of parking.

Cons of a Smart Car

Of course, no car is perfect for everyone, and this one is no exception. It does have a few features that could be improved, as well as some aspects that just make it the wrong choice for certain people.

  • Size vs. other cars on the highway. Despite its considerable safety features, there is no question that the smart car is much smaller than just about every other vehicle on the highway. So, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident with a big SUV or truck, you might come out the loser. However, there are accounts of smart cars faring better than other larger vehicles in an accident. One advantage of its small footprint is that it might be able to avoid collisions that a larger vehicle could not.
  • No cruise control. As mentioned above, the smart car was designed as a commuter, in-town type of car. Perhaps that’s why, despite a number of other high-end features, it lacks a cruise control option. If you do plan to travel in it or your commute involves highway driving, chances are you are going to miss having cruise control.
  • Unusual transmission. Smart cars have what is termed an “automated manual transmission.” What that means is that you have an option between going completely automatic or using a modified manual transmission. Most people find that keeping it in automatic means slightly sluggish gear shifting. That is easily remedied, however, by switching to the automated manual mode. This is a clutch-less manual transmission, meaning you are in charge of using the stick shift or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch gears, but you don’t have to coordinate with a clutch. The manual mode is super easy to use, even if you’ve never driven a stick shift before, and provides for a much zippier gear-shifting experience.
  • Limited passenger seating and cargo space. Smart cars only have 2 seats – the driver’s seat and one passenger seat. So they’re not meant to be family cars. And while the cargo hatch area is surprisingly roomy, it is still less than 8 cubic feet. So you won’t be hauling any lumber or large pieces of furniture in it.
  • Gas mileage could be higher. For such a small car, you might expect the gas mileage to be much higher. However, the smart car was rated the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the United States by the EPA in 2010. And even at 40 MPG, it is considerably more fuel-efficient than most light trucks and SUVs on the road today.
  • Requires premium fuel. The smart car requires premium fuel, which can be pricey, because of its small engine size. Smaller engines tend to perform better with a higher grade of fuel. You might consider its gas mileage to be the trade-off for the pricier gas.

In weighing the pros of a smart car against the cons, I find the pros win. For what it’s designed to be — a commuter vehicle for 1 or 2 people — the smart car is a great value with many added benefits. Could it be better? Sure, as with most products, there is definitely room for improvement. But, if you want a forward-thinking, unique and fuel-efficient small car, then I would definitely encourage you to consider the smart fortwo car.

Basic Pet Training Rules

Before we actually start puppy training or even thinking about it, it is important that we get ourselves in the right frame of mind. If we do this and know where we are going, we will be much less likely to violate certain training rules that may hinder or prevent us from attaining our goals. Additionally, we want to prevent ourselves from doing anything that may adversely affect the relationship we hope to develop with our puppy. In our article on Housebreaking, we alluded to the fact that everything we do in training can result in positive or negative effects on how our puppy sees us. We start out with the idea of ​​making our dog more like we want him to be, but if we are not careful our pet may end up seeing us as something he does not want us to be.

Rule 1 – Always Be Consistent – The First Rule of general training is Always Be Consistent. There should be no exceptions here if you want the training to go as quickly and as easily as possible. This refers to your actions and words. From the very start you need to decide exactly what you are trying to teach or control and how you will do it. If you are going to use a definite word or phrase as part of a command or in conjunction with a certain point you are trying to make, always say the exact same thing in the same tone of voice. This is important for all members of a household or anyone else working with the puppy. Everyone that is involved in the training should know and use the same expression. As an example, let us think in terms of the "Come" command. It obviously will not make things go faster if you use the word "Come," your spouse uses the word "Here," and one of the children uses "Yo, Boy." All of this simply confuses the dog. Remember, we are trying to train him in our language; We can not expect the puppy to be multilingual at 8 weeks of age.

Every time you give a command or are working on a training point, consistently carry it through to completion. Do not tug on the check cord for the pup to come to you and then become distracted and forget what you are doing. If you start pulling the animal in but then stop with him halfway to you, he becomes confused. The puppy is expected to come to you, all the way to you. If you do not ensure that happens, the puppy may think that it is okay, when given the 'Come' command, to only come in part way to you or completely ignore the command.

Try to expect the same reaction out of the puppy each time. If you use any form of praise or reward for a job well done, be consistent on how well the task in question is completed before the praise or reward is forthcoming. If the puppy is supposedly to sit, do not praise him if he only bends the rear legs a little bit. People love to praise their dogs and sometimes they are so anxious to do this that the animal is hearing a string of "Good Boys," but it has not yet completed what he was supposed to. Over time this tells the puppy that he does not have to sit all the way down but rather a slight crouch will do. The puppy will believe that close is good enough.

When you start training the dog on a particular day, think of the next few minutes as classroom time. When children are in school, there is classroom time for learning and recess for playing. The same should occur with your puppy. When you start a training session, maintain a consistent training attitude for you and your puppy. Think training and not play. Work only on training issues and do them over and over. Stay in control so it does not become playtime for the puppy. When you are not in a training session, be careful of what you say and do.

In the early stages of training, never give a command unless you can control the puppy's actions. This is a part of consistency that many owners overlook. As an example, let us say you are currently in the process of teaching your puppy the 'Come' command. She does not respond every time yet but she is learning what the word means. You are in the backyard together playing with the puppy and children. It is recess, not classroom time. The puppy is off of her lead and suddenly takes off after a wild rabbit. Do not, we repeat, do not even think about saying "Come!" You know the puppy is not going to respond because her mind is on the rabbit and only the rabbit. If you do scream "Come," hopefully the dog will be so distracted that she will not hear you. Because if she does recognize the command but continues after the rabbit, the puppy has just learned that when you are not in control, she can get away with ignoring what you say. During the training phase, when the pup is doing something, and you are in a position that you are unable to control or restrain her, do not say anything. Rather move to the animal and stop or prevent her from what it is she is doing. In the above example, you have two correct choices. You can either let her continue the chase or run and catch the puppy. Do not scream "Come."

Along the way, you may make configurations in your training method but that point on be consistent. You may find that certain styles of training work better on your pup. That is okay, but do not start switching back and forth. Just because one command is going slow, you should not change from method to method, hoping you find the magic formula that speeds up the process. This rarely happens and in the interim, the puppy may become hopelessly confused. We have found that any individual pup, regardless of the method used, may have trouble with a certain command but not the others. This probably relates back to some experience in the animal's past.

Rule 2 – Keep Training Sessions Short – The Second Rule of general training is Keep Training Sessions Short. In many instances, young children can become engrossed for several hours in a game, book, or television show. Successful kindergarten teachers can make learning fun and productive often for an hour or so. However, dogs and especially puppies, do not possess long attention spans. Young pups will not spend more than a few minutes chasing an exciting, moving stimulus like a butterfly or bird. They simply lose interest and go on to the next thing. The same is true with training, they burn out quickly and become bored. After that has happened, nothing further will be learned.

Generally speaking, most successful trainers limit training sessions to no more that 10 or 15 minutes regardless of the age of the animal. This seems to be a good duration for most dogs to tolerate or enjoy. If this window of time is exceeded, the learning process actually starts to go backwards. It is important that the puppy enjoy these sessions. If not, they may resent the entire program. If forced to continue training after they have lost interest, this same behavior may spill over into future sessions. Keep their minds occupied and keep it fun.

Set up a schedule and stick to it. It is much better to train for 10 minutes every day than 60 minutes once a week. Plan to have your training times revolve around the pup's schedule. Do not expect the puppy to be a ball of energy and willing to learn if you try to work on the commands when it would normally be napping or eating. Plan your training sessions when distractions are at a minimum. If you have young children, it might go better if you trained while they are at school or in some way occupied.

There are ways to get additional training time other than the brief scheduled periods and these extra ones can be very important. If your animal is doing something that you are trying to train him to do, use obvious opportunities to reinforce the command. A best case scenario would be when you are getting ready to feed the puppy. You have learned that as soon as the animal hears you filling the bowl he automatically comes running. As soon as he starts toward you, bend down with the bowl and say "Come." It is a free, can not fail training session. Another example would be when you are trying to train the puppy not to do something. Let us say you are trying to keep him from jumping on people. You have learned that every time you first come home, the puppy rockets through the house and jumps up on your leg. Be prepared and when he jumps up immediately put light pressure on his toes (see our article on Jumping Up on People). Then immediately bend down and greet the puppy just like you always do. Do not say anything about the jumping as you two are happy to see each other. Whenever you can control the animal or know what he is going to do, it is a good idea to use these situations as a continuation of your training.

Rule 3 – Stay Calm and In Control – The Third Rule of general training is Stay Calm and In Control. This is where most people fail in training. By staying calm and in control we are talking about you, not the dog. In training situations you can never lose control or get excited because when you do you may become mad, lose your temper, and do something exceptionally stupid. Training should be enjoyable for both you and the animal. If the puppy is not having a good time she will not learn anything. Likewise, if you are out of control or are not enjoying yourself you are not teaching anything.

During training there should not be any distractions for the puppy to contend with. You should guide her through the command so that she does it and is then praised for the successful completion of the task. If you are excited or angry your puppy will pick up on this and not be thinking about the task in question. You have to be focused for the animal to be able to concentrate on the training. You will learn that your demeanor during training is directly proportional to the amount the puppy will learn. If you are up for this and enjoying it, the potential is there for the dog to make a solid headway during the lesson. But if you are down then the pup's potential for anything good coming from the session is also way down.

Carried to the extreme, if you get mad and lash out or treat the puppy harshly, you have destroyed any good that might have come out of this individual training session. You have also set back the animal's understanding of the particular command or act in question and put a black cloud over the relationship between the two of you. When you do something to another person that you should be sorry for, you can actually review your regret and apologize. If they are of a forgiving nature, the act or unkind words are forgotten. Unfortunately, you can not sit down with your puppy and reason through the stupidity of your act. What is done is done, and you must work long hours to regain the animal's trust. You will need to take time that could and should have been used for training just becoming her friend again.

Some people do better in training if they use a system in which they do not talk to the dog during training. They teach the dog the command without using or putting a verbal command to it. We will go over this method later but if you tend to raise your voice when you sense that you are not in control (or in the process of losing control), this may be a useful technique to try. Most people talk way too much during training and for some this becomes a stepping stone to shouting and anger.

Rule 4 – Do Not Over Praise – The Fourth Rule of general training Is Do Not Over Praise. In dog training, praise for doing something correctly can take a variety of forms. Some prefer to give a treat, others may use the expression "Good Dog," and a third group may only give a single, gentle petting action across the animal's shoulder. They all work because they show to the dog that you are pleased or approve of his actions. You said "Come," and the puppy came. You indicated for the dog to sit, and he sat down. The animal did what he was supposed to. Praise is important, but the animal needs only to recognize it as a thank you for a job well done. You communicate to the dog that he did something correctly and you are happy he did. If your form of praise is always consistent in method and amount, the puppy will understand perfectly.

Where many owners err is that they bury their animal in praise. Rather than say a single "Good Dog," they get down on their knee and let out a string of forty "Good Dogs." Instead of a single stroke over the shoulder, they give the animal a full body massage. Instead of a single small piece of a biscuit or treat, the dog is given half a box. All of these overdoses do the same thing. They distract the dog from what it has just learned. Too much of a good thing and the animal monsters what the two of you are doing. The command and his response are no longer reinforcing correct behavior. The entire incident may be lost in the past.

Rule 5 – Always End on A Positive Note – The Fifth Rule of general training is to Always End on A Positive Note. Every training session should end with praise. The last thing you ask or command the puppy to do should be completed with the puppy doing it correctly. Someday, when things are not going as well as you would prefer, for the last command, choose something that is easy and can not fail. When the puppy does it correctly, praise her and move someplace else for some recess time or relaxation. Ending a session on a bad note may continue into the next training period. You want the pup to finish one lesson and because of the visa, to look forward to the next session. Always remember that to the dog, praise helps fulfill her desire to please you.

Rule 6 – Forget Discipline (Punishment) – The Sixth Rule of general training is Forget Discipline. Now before you overreact, understand what we mean. To some trainers and most dog owners, discipline usually means to punish the animal for something he has done. To these same people, punishment usually means to hurt the animal in some way. In our minds this just is not necessary. If discipline means punishment or causes pain, forget it.

Let us look at the most common reasons people discline their dogs. The most common one is for something the animal did. Notice we did not say "something the animal was doing." Rather, we used the past tense. People punish their dog for something she did in the past. Examples would be finding a stool in the house during the housebreaking process. You did not catch the animal doing it, you only discovered it later. The pup is picked up, scolded, and put in her crate. A second example would be if someone's dog runs away from home without them knowing it. Two or three hours later she returns, so to make her see the error of her ways, the owner punishes her. They use a rolled-up newspaper to give her a spanking. Neither of these animals had any idea what the punishment was for. They did not sit there thinking, "Gosh, I wonder what I did thatly deserved punishment?" Dogs do not reason. Just because they got punished, they do not assume they did something wrong. All they know is that their owners were mad.

Often punishment that occurs as part of training is thought about because the owner is impatient with the improvement of the dog. The owner is trying to push the animal through training too fast, assuming the dog should already know the command or action. Be patient, remember that with most training you are altering the natural instinctive behavior of the animal. The best punishment for an incorrect reaction in training is a lack of a reward. If the animal does it right she is afraid, if she makes a mistake she receives no praise. If praise from you is important, a lack of it may send a message. Praise is positive reinforcement, punishment is a distraction.

There has to be a good way to communicate to the animal when she is currently misbehaving. And there are but they are not going to hurt anyone. In some cases a stern "No" is all that is required. You catch the animal urinating in the house, you say "No," pick the puppy up and carry her outside. Dogs understand a change in the tone of your voice much better than they do most punishment.

In human behavioral medicine today, a "time out" is believed to be an excellent way to get across to children that they are acting in an unacceptable fashion. When they act up or do something wrong, they must live through a period of "time out." This is a new way of saying 'go to your room' or 'stand in the corner.' The same method can be used for dogs. If they are out of control, barking excessively, or jumping on the furniture, they are given some "time out" by being placed in a cage or crate. A stern "No" may also be part of the treatment.

And lastly, in place of punishment we can simply choose to ignore them. When children act in a way solely to gain attention, good therapy is to ignore them. In some examples this also works for dogs. A dog might bark just to get a treat or to go outside. If you want them to have either, consistently ignorant them will probably break the behavior pattern. If the barking does not work and they do not get what they want, they will probably stop the barking.

Most things we want to punish our dogs for indicate a lack of training. Rather than punish them for doing something you do not want, train them to do what you would prefer. Until that can be accomplished, a firm "No," being placed in a crate, or ignored will bring an end to most unacceptable behavior.

Be Honest – Can You Train? – Be honest with yourself. Not everyone can train his or her dog. Many people say they do not have the time but if they can not afford 10 minutes a day then do they really have the time to have a dog? Maybe the issue is that they do not enjoy training. This is understandable. Training is not for everyone. Some do not have the patience for it, some can not control their temper, and some simply do not enjoy it. If you think any of these describe you, then you probably should not try to train your dog. It would be smarter to use a professional trainer. Your dog will not care. In fact, it would probably prefer it. A good professional trainer will only help a dog, while an individual owner who loses control may destroy one. The owner may or may not physically injure the animal but may cripple the dog's personality and self-confidence. If you think you can not handle the job, use a trainer. You may want to invest in some Dog Training Supplies to help you.

Blog Post Writing Solutions – Revealed – 5 No-Brainer Ways to Excel

1. First thing to do is to make sure that the niche that you're targeting is something that is aligned to your hobbies or areas of expertise. As a blogger, you owe it to your visitors to give them nothing but really good stuff. This will not happen if you do not have in-depth knowledge on the topics that you're discussing.

2. Explore new topics. Avoid writing about old topics unless you have new information to share. You see, online users will most likely pay attention to your blog posts if they contain nothing but general information or those that they can easily find on other blogs. Start your day by knowing the latest on relevant RSS feeds.

3. Consider your readers. Always put these people on top of your priority list. Talk about those topics that they find interesting and write your blog posts in such a way that these people will be able to easily understand them.

4. Share your in-depth knowledge. Do not hesitate to share what you know to your target audience. Make it a point that you'll give them amazing takeaway each time you write a post. This is the best thing to do to make sure that your posts will leave a lasting mark on the minds of your readers.

5. Use keywords. Use each of your posts to add keyword power to your website. You can do this by properly optimizing them. Write your posts based on the existing algorithms of major search engines. Use keywords all through your content, use latent semantic indexing techniques, and insert internal links that will surely make your blog more valuable to the eyes of search engines.