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Kimberly Griffiths on The I Hate Debt Radio Show
Kimberly Griffiths, the author and creator of the One Paycheck at a Time, has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself, and provides a no-nonsense approach to managing your money paycheck to paycheck.

Listen to Kimberly Griffiths on the I Hate Debt Radio Show
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Bank Like a Banker The business of banking has changed dramatically over the last decade. Because the cost of doing business the old-fashioned way is no longer effective, banks are interested in changing their customers' behavior by encouraging electronic banking alternatives whenever possible. They have done this by charging high fees for services that were once free. If you pay $200 or more in annual fees for banking, it's time to do some competitive shopping.

Before becoming furious with your bank, it may be that the products you're using no longer meet your personal needs. If you have an established relationship with your bank, inquire about the other types of lower-cost checking and savings account products.

Understanding the rationale of why a bank charges fees for different services will allow you to be a savvy banking customer. If human contact is required to serve you, such as a teller or personal banker, this is very expensive for the bank. The incentive is for banks to encourage more high-tech, "low-touch" methods of meeting your needs. This is accomplished by servicing as many customers as possible with automated telephone services, cash machines and online self-service banking.

Since the bank needs to train their employees, provide a paycheck and benefits, pay for the branch building and in some cases supply uniforms, etc., it is conceivable that your one banking transaction per pay period could cost the bank $3 or more.

If you conduct your banking via an automated telephone system, the cost of this type of transaction is much less expensive. However, if you then require assistance from a telephone banker, the price goes from $1 for the automated process to as much as $2 for human contact. For the same reasons stated above, the training, location, computer equipment, etc. becomes more expensive when human interaction is needed.

Now it is clear why electronic banking methods are preferred by financial institutions. In fact, most banks are rewarding their customers with lower fees the more the customer does his/her banking electronically.

For example, even though Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) cost the bank around $100,000 each plus the cost of the computer network and maintenance, the cost of these types of transactions drops to between $.50 to $1 each. Not only are these machines more cost effective, the 24-hour availability to customers is very convenient. With the ease and convenience of automatic clearing house (ACH) payments, this "checkless" process drops the price to around $0.25 each. And finally, the Internet drops the expense even further to less than $0.10 a transaction. I realize that there is still some fear of banking electronically, but the security that banks have instilled with computer technology far surpasses the current security of traditional banking methods. If you lose your checkbook and wallet, the cost and worry of canceling these checks is very tedious. It's very possible that a thief could forge your name and deplete your accounts in a matter of hours. The sophisticated computer technology, however, although not perfect, has a far more secure system to protect you and your money. Avoid being the bank's best customer. Attempt to cut your annual bank fees in half by educating yourself. Inquire about the options and products available to you with your banker. By asking about the alternative banking methods, you may find that your bank fees will drop considerably.

ABOUT ONE PAYCHECK AT A TIME, INC. One Paycheck at a Time Inc. is the leading source for sensible debt reduction solutions. Its products include the One Paycheck at a Time, as well as an ebook format, and the eTools program. The author of the book and president of the company, Kimberly A. Griffiths, has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself and has made it her personal goal to share her experience to help others. More information can be found about the company and its products at www.OnePaycheckataTime.com.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and it should not be interpreted as financial advice. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, please consult your tax and financial advisor.

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Debt Calculator

See how long it will take for your debt to get paid off with one of these four options. We have listed a standard debt amount as a default on the debt calculator. You will need to enter your current personal or business debt amount below to see what your debt payoff amounts will reflect.

What's Best For You: Minimum Payments?

Debt Consolidation?

Credit Counseling? Debt Settlement?
Total Unsecured Debt $30,000.00 $30,000.00 $30,000.00 $30,000.00
Months To
Get Out Of Debt
430 60 60 36
Interest Rate 18.9 % 12 % 10-12% Ave None
Total Interest Paid $49,978.53 $10,040.01 $21,300.00 None
Monthly
Payment
$900.00 $667.33 $855.00 $458.33
Total Cost
To Be Debt Free
$79,978.53 $40,040.01 $51,300.00 $16,500.00
Monthly Payments   Months To Get Out Of Debt   Total Cost To Be Debt Free
$900.00
$450.00
$0.00
 
430
215
0
 
$79,978.53
$39,989.27
$0.00
Minimum Payments Debt Consolidation Credit Counseling Debt Settlement
Enter Your Debt Information Here:
Your Total
Unsecured Debt:
Your Average
Interest Rate:
Months To
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PLEASE NOTE: This calculator gives you an estimate of how much it will cost you to get out of debt, how long it will take and how much your monthly payment may be with the different options to pay off your debt. Keep in mind "Minimum Payments" assumes you NEVER make any further purchases on your credit cards and the credit card companies NEVER raise the interest rate on your cards in the future from the rate calculated above. The "Debt Consolidation Loan" example is usually only possible when taking out an "equity line of credit" or "second mortgage", which involves securing your unsecured debt with your home. This is a very risky option for most people because the home could be foreclosed if you cannot make the payments.