Debt 
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How to Pay Off Debt

When the economy is prospering, debt isn’t an issue. You can pay your obligations of today because you know that you’ll be earning more tomorrow and lenders aren’t worried you’ll miss a payment. But as the economy sank last year, you saw a lot of credit card and loan companies scramble to assess the risk of their borrowers. If you had a credit card balance, you might have seen your interest rate go up. If you wanted to buy a house, you may have had to document your income a lot more stringently than you expected. It’s not surprising because the average household credit card debt, based on the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances in 2007, was $3,039.70.

At first glance that may seem a little low, but remember that a lot of people don’t even have access to credit cards. If you only include families with credit card debt, that value goes up to over $7,000. Ultimately, any amount over $0 is too much because credit card companies charge interest rates in the double digits. High yield savings accounts pay out less than 2% these days, so a double digit interest rate on credit cards is far too much. It’s time to pay them down, here’s how.

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 Debt 
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Borrow Money With Prosper & Lending Club

Earlier this year, I hosted a guest post by Jonathan sharing his experiences with borrowing money from peer to peer lending network Prosper. Just recently, I received the following email from a reader singing their praises:

I’ve borrowed twice now from Prosper and I love it. The first loan was $7000 at 8.65% for three years and the most recent was $8000 at 9.65% for three years. I got the 2nd in response to the credit cards jacking up my interest rate and slashing my credit limit no reason. I was so angry about the credit card behaviors that I wanted to get my debts as far away from them as possible.

There is no hassle, I applied for the loan, watched people bid the initial interest rate down, and eventually got the cash. Once the loan was funded, they called me to verify who I was. You have to provide documentation that you are who you say. They direct deposit the money into the account you specify a day or so later.


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 Personal Finance 
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How To Get A Low Interest Rate APR on Credit Card Debt

List of Credit Card Debt I’ve been getting a lot of stories of people struggling to get out of debt because of the recent How to Fight a Debt Collector series. They haven’t reached the point of fighting debt collectors yet and they want to keep it that way. As much as others like to malign those deep in debt, the vast majority of debtors want to make good on what they owe.

If you’re in heavy credit card debt, the first thing you need to do is take stock of your financial situation and stop spending. You need to get yourself on a budget and stop the bleeding. Once you get that under control, the next step is to restructure your debts so you can make up lost ground. That’s where this post comes in.

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 Investing 
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Prosper $50 New Account Promotion Offer

A New Way to InvestWhen peer to peer lending first started, the biggest name in the market was Prosper. I was skeptical about the whole business of peer to peer lending and it showed in my review of Prosper, which was more about peer to peer lending than it was about Prosper itself. Since then, with the arrival of SEC oversight and other competing businesses like Lending Club, I have a little more faith in peer to peer lending networks.

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 Investing 
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Lending Club 250,000th Lender $2,500 Giveaway

Email Newsletter subscribers will already know this (you should sign up if you haven’t already, you get a couple free eBooks!) but Lending Club is running a promotion this September where you could win $2,500 if you are Lending Club’s 250,000th subscriber.

Click here to sign up and if you are the 250,000th registered investor, you win $2,500. You don’t have to invest a thing, you just need to become a registered investor.

If you do invest, the average return over the last twelve months has been 9.6% APY, which is a pretty nice return. Can’t beat that with the stock market over the same period of time! I’m personally not an investor because I can’t be, Maryland residents can’t invest through Lending Club, but I probably would’ve given it a try if I were allowed to. So it goes sometimes.

Contest ends when September ends, be sure to review the contest terms & conditions to confirm your eligibility. Good luck!


 Investing 
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Who Can Invest at Lending Club?

Try it Now! Join Lending Club.In the comments of the $100 Lending Club giveaway, Reader Barry said it would’ve been nice if I had notified you all about the restriction on Lending Club investors. Well Barry, you asked and thus you shall receive!

There are two parts to Lending Club. There is the actual Lending Club site, where you invest in notes (loans), and there is the Note Trading Platform, where you can trade notes.

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 Free 
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Win $100 from Lending Club

Stack of MoneyLending Club is doing it again, they’re giving away a hundred bucks to one lucky Bargaineering.com reader! How can you beat that? (two hundred bucks? hint hint!)

For those that aren’t familiar with Lending Club, they’re a social lending network. Investors can join and invest in 3-year loans, with Lending Club handling all the interest payments, at interest rates far superior to what banks offer. Borrowers can join and borrow at rates that are usually better than the banks, especially in this lending environment. It’s really a win win situation for all involved.

So how do you win the hundred bucks? Very very easy, you must:

  • Leave a comment on this post before noon, May 22nd, and,
  • Become a free registered member of LendingClub. If you signed up already, no need to do it again and you are still entered into the giveaway.

The second requirement, to register for free at LendingClub as a lender, is so that they can deposit the $100 directly into your account. You can withdraw that money immediately (or invest it, your choice).

Buy Extra Entries with Bargaineering Bucks! If you are a registered Bargaineering member (why you should register), you can buy an extra entry into the giveaway for only 25ββ! To buy an extra entry, send me an email with your username (please select “Bargaineering Bucks Request” as the subject). If you aren’t a member, you should sign up!

On May 22nd, I’ll select a winner and they’ll take home a hundred bucks!

Congratulations to Eric! Eric is now the proud new owner of a hundred bucks deposited into his Lending Club account.


 Retirement 
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Lending Club Offers Self-Directed IRAs

Lending Club, through EntrustCAMA, recently announced that they were going to offer self-directed IRAs. When you open an IRA with a brokerage firm, you can invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. When you open a self-directed IRA, you can invest in pretty much anything as long as you follow a few rules. I won’t go into those rules, you can read about self-directed IRAs at the Motley Fool, but this is a savvy move by Lending Club but I think it’s a mistake for average investors to participate.

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