Whether you're drowning in debt or still owe your parents money, many people have a few money anxieties and embarrassing money issues that they prefer to keep under wraps. If you've made some money mistakes in the past or just want more control over your finances, it may be time to solve some of those issues.
Here are just a handful of your most embarrassing money issues, solved:Your Credit Card Gets Declined ...
The Situation: You hand over your credit card to pay for that great meal you just enjoyed with friends, and the server informs you that the card was declined. This is a tough situation to handle in front of friends and family, but there are some ways to manage it gracefully.
What to Do: Most servers will simply ask for another form of payment when your card is declined. Don't argue with them; just give them another card, or pony up cash if you have it on you. You can always contact the credit card company when you get home to find out why the card was declined. If the denial occurred in error, feel free to make a modest stink about it with the credit card company (at home, not at the restaurant). Who knows? The credit card company may offer you a free service or another freebie for the mistake.
You Still Owe Your Parents Money ...
The Situation: Your parents helped you out when you were in a pinch a few years back and told you could just pay back the loan back when you had some extra money. You've had "extra money" for some time now (remember that trip you took or the new iPhone you bought?). But somehow, paying back Mom and Dad never really seemed to be a priority.
What to Do: Pay them back in full with a "thank you" card attached and a hand-written note inside. Then make a vow to yourself to not get yourself in that predicament again. Even though this was a personal loan, you should treat it just like any other loan or line of credit. So simply pay your parents back as soon as you can and avoid borrowing money from family members in the near future.
No One Knows You're Up to Your Eyeballs in Debt and Considering Bankruptcy ...
The Situation: You've got unpaid medical bills or you're carrying more than a few thousand dollars in credit card debt and finding it hard to keep up with your minimum payments. Creditors keep calling you about missed payments and you're racking up late fees or are being faced with collections, wage garnishment or court judgments. It's definitely time to get some help, but where do you go?
What to Do: Before you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, consider the range of reasons when filing bankruptcy makes sense -- and when it doesn't. Also, think twice about using a debt settlement company, since you can wind up with damage to your credit rating and owe income taxes too. Instead of succumbing to the urge to do something drastic, get help instead from a HUD-certified, non-profit credit counselor, like the National Foundation for Debt Management. They can help you set up a budget, negotiate lower interest rates, and get more favorable repayment terms with your creditors.
Your Friend Wants to Split the Bill...
The Situation: You're dining out with a friend and you order a simple salad and sandwich, while she goes all out with a deluxe meal, complete with an appetizer, expensive entree, wine and dessert. The check arrives and she says, "Let's split it!" It's an awkward situation that happens to the best of us, and it's hard to just ask for separate checks once the bill has already arrived.
What to Do: When possible, ask the waiter for separate checks before he or she comes with the bill. If the check has already arrived, simply turn to the waiter and ask casually: "Oh, I'm sure it's no problem for you to get us separate checks, right?" This will make it clear to your friend that you want to pay for your meal, and she'll have to foot her own bill. Even if there are more than two of you, just ask the waiter to separate the meals quickly and you can each pay for your own meal and tip separately. Don't cave in to social pressure to pay more than your share or feel obligated to cover someone else's extravagant meal and drinks.
By having a bit of a game plan, and following the tips mentioned above, you'll conquer those uncomfortable, embarrassing money problems with grace and financial savvy.
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