Terry Savage, a personal finance columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, reviewed several free online Web sites that can help you organize your bill-paying.
If you are looking for a system that helps you track your finances, go to Mint.com. Mint.com will notify you when regular bills should be paid, or when you are nearing the maximum that you have budgeted for your expense categories, Savage points out.
Another free budgeting system is Manilla.com. To use this service, you will need to set up a Manilla.com account that allows companies to send your payment notices electronically to the secured account that is linked to your checking or savings account. You will be able to pay your bills online and still get all the information you would normally receive with a paper bill.
I think it’s a great idea to use any one of the free sites to aid your mission to get your money straight.
Living for Free
Research by LPS Applied Analytics found that many homebuyers going through foreclosure are managing to remain in their homes for free long before they are forced out.
Les Christie of CNNMoney reports that delinquent homeowners are prolonging their foreclosures by challenging the bank’s actions, waiting to file paperwork right up until the deadline or requesting that the lender dig up original paperwork.
Nationwide, the average time it takes to process a foreclosure -- from the first missed payment to the final foreclosure auction -- has climbed to 674 days from 253 days just four years ago, according to the data. In Florida, it can take up to 1,027 days -- nearly three years.
“Most people do everything in their power to maintain these homes,” said David Berenbaum of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), a community activism group, who refutes the claim that homeowners are taking advantage of the system.
“They take in relatives, get second jobs and even rent out rooms,” Berenbaum said. “What really needs to be done is for lenders to work harder to find solutions that allow delinquent borrowers who can afford to make reasonable mortgage payments to keep their homes.”
Playing the Money Game
Join me Thursday, Jan. 12, at noon for my live text chat.
My guest will Syble Solomon, creator of the card game Money Habitudes. Rather than pick a book for the December Color of Money Book Club, I wrote about Solomon’s cards. Be sure to send your questions early, or read the archives later.
Got Financial Issues?
Starting Jan. 16, I’ll be joining “The Revolution,” a new ABC daytime program premiering that day. I’m the show’s financial contributor, and we are looking for people who want to share their financial stories. This is your opportunity to meet me in person and let me help you with your financial issues. So, if you want help in resolving a money dilemma, send an e-mail to email@example.com. The show is looking for couples who are always arguing about money. For example, do you fight about how much to spend on your child’s birthday party, if you can afford to take a vacation or whether you should buy a new car? If you and your honey are fighting over money, send your story to the casting e-mail address and put “Money Disputes” in the subject line.
If you have any general financial questions about credit cards, your credit score, debt, savings, retirement planning, insurance or other financial issues that I may cover on the show, send an e-mail with your financial question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.
You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to email@example.com. Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested.