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Book Giveaway #9: Living Well With Bad Credit

by J. Money on Saturday, May 8, 2010

Living Well w/ Bad CreditTime for another book giveaway!  April’s book month has now turned into May’s but we only got 2 more left (including this one) so hopefully you get to win one! :) Here’s what we got :

Living Well with Bad Credit: Buy a House, Start a Business, and Even Take a Vacation No Matter How Low Your Credit Score

By Geoff Williams and Chris Balish

Here’s what the publisher’s site says about it: “Bad credit happens to good people, but it doesn’t have to ruin their lives. While there are many books about how to repair bad credit, there are exactly zero books about how to live with bad credit (the reality of more than 11.3 million Americans) and zero books about how to live well with bad credit. That’s where Living Well with Bad Credit comes in.

It’s a unique book that offers:

  • Usable tips on how to embrace, and even benefit from, a low credit score
  • Invaluable advice for dealing with ‘lifestyle’ events such as how to buy a
    car or qualify for a credit card with bad credit
  • Interviews with dozens of experts and successful professionals who
    share ideas on how to live with the negative effects of bad credit
  • Practical discussion on topics that go beyond finance, such as healing
    self-esteem and building relationships in spite of bad credit.While bad credit can be a setback, it doesn’t have to be”

Look interesting? Tell us a reason you, or someone you know, ended up with bad credit and you’ll be entered to win!  We’re picking the winner in two nights (Monday) so get to it ;)  Feel free to go anonymous too – just be sure to enter your email so I can tell you if you win! We’ve got 2 copies, and this time it’s only open to U.S. residents, sorry.  Good luck!  And if you have good credit, Congrats!

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More from Amazon: Living Well with Bad Credit: Buy a House, Start a Business, and Even Take a VacationNo Matter How Low Your Credit Score


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Being Bankrupt May 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

I grew up poor. I remember eating generic spaghettios from the food pantry for lunch over some summers, because my mom was laid off. I got a job as soon as I could, and worked as many hours as I could get.
Then I went to college. Because of my family’s financial hardship, my tuition was mainly paid through grants, loans and a few scholarships. I went home every weekend to work.
After successfully attending my first year, I applied for a job at a local retail store during my sophomore year. I was working 25 + hours a week, and was relishing having spending money.
I had been taught that, in order to build credit, I would need to open a line of credit, so I applied for a credit card. I did really well for the first few years, using it for whatever I needed, and then paying it off immediately.
Then I got another one with a lower interest rate and a higher credit limit.
I started buying things I’d always wanted, and charging them. But, I always managed to pay my bills-on time- with no problems.
Then, I met my – now- fiance. We moved in together, and things were great. I was still working and attending classes. His parents weren’t wealthy, but they were comfortable, so they would supply him with a stipend each month for his share of the rent and bills. I was still managing to make my credit card payments and keep my spending to what I thought was under control.
Then his dad got sick. He could no longer work, as he’d bee diagnosed with terminal cancer. His mother ran a daycare center out of her home. She had to shut down, in order to care for his father.
My fiance did not have a job, so he was unable to contribute.
When you’re faced with the choice of paying your rent, utilities and grocery bill or paying your credit card bills, you’ll always choose to pay those bills that keep a roof over your head, food in your mouth and the lights and heat on.
I even dropped out of school in order to work more hours, so I could pay more bills.
The creditors began calling and sending letters, but I ignored them. I didn’t know what to do. I was young, in debt and afraid.
This went on for way too long, and then I got a letter in the mail from a court. It said that I had been sued by one of my creditors, and, because I failed to show (although this was the first letter I’d received from the court), a judgement had been issued against me.
Then another showed up.
I was facing having my things taken and sold.
My parents couldn’t help. My fiance couldn’t help. His widowed mother was in no place to help, either.
I had no choice other than to file bankruptcy.

Since then, I’ve done well. I’ve paid all of my bills on time, including my tremendous student loans. But it takes so long to rebuild your credit, and forever for a bankruptcy to be removed from your credit report.

I realize I put myself in the situation. I made poor choices. But sometimes a few mistakes paired with a tragedy puts people in an even worse situation than they deserve.

I still have yet to go back to school, but have gotten a better job, and have been working toward that American dream of purchasing a home. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’m facing much higher mortgage rates and required down payments. That is, if the lender will even waste their time with me.

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2 jennydecki May 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

You want to know the fastest way to destroy your credit score?

PAY OFF OLD DEBT.

We didn’t know that until we started paying down debt and realizing it was just killing our score…of course that isn’t going to stop us from getting rid of the debt, but it would be fun to have a copy of this book to see what could possibly be beneficial about having a bad/low credit score.

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3 Jacqueline Hall May 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm

This is so major. There are so many ways to destroy your credit. And very hard to get it back on track. I still trying to get things right from when I was a teenager and didn’t know how important all of this would be to me later on in life.

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4 Kevin May 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Well, I tried to woo and ex girlfriend with items that I couldn’t afford and I’ll just say it didn’t turn out like I planned it.

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5 Leola May 8, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I was laid off December 2008, three months after having an ankle fusion. Despite my background in accounting (Masters level) it’s been difficult to find anything (even at my local gas station) because no one is hiring. Within the past few weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few temporary assignments come through but that’s all they’ve been, temporary. The companies have just enough in their budgets to hire a temp for a week or two weeks time but not to actually hire on a full-time person. Although I’ve been frustrated with not being able to make ends meet on unemployment I’m doing the best I can, forging ahead and working with my creditors the best way I can.

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6 Yana May 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm

This looks like a good book. Since it’s focused on the positive side of a bad credit score, maybe it also tells of the value of not using credit. I know that one good thing about a bad credit score is that if offers some protection against identity theft.

I was once in a position where I could have filed for bankruptcy, but I didn’t do it because the existence of bankruptcy means you don’t have to pay, and also it doesn’t make sense to me to pay the system to file when you can’t pay your bills. Once bills are sent to collections, you are no longer paying your debt anyway – you are supporting the collection industry and its ugly tactics.

I had neighbors who filed bankruptcy because they couldn’t stand the collection calls. They liked buying new cars, and bought 3 during a period of under 5 years – one of them concurrently with their bankruptcy filing. Within a year after filing, they bought a house. So I guess if you figure out how to do it, you can still play the endless debt game. The only thing is that now with the economic crisis, the old rules will be a thing of the past and we will be thrust into a new game.

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7 Shane May 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Wow those are some interesting stories. Mine is just like Kevin’s. I was a dumb 20 something year old trying to show off to a girl a I loved and got way in over my head. Then I couldn’t pay the credit cards anymore so I stopped. Then I pretended like they didn’t exist and hid the bills and collections letters in piles of papers. Since then I’ve paid a couple of them back, and had some removed from my credit report, but I still have a ways to go. Soon I’ll be needing a new car and apartment (I’ve been renting a room from a friend), and I don’t know how my poor credit score (585ish) will effect me.

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8 Kelly May 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I made some poor financial choices in college, and am still paying for them today. I tend to get behind on bills and just give up, rather than grovel to the company to please work with me on payments (while they make me feel like hell for having some kind of emergency in the first place).

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9 not a mum May 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

My fall from grace came from my desire to have a family has the biological clock started ticking. My partner at the time was still in law school, pursuing a career change. I was self employed. Natural means weren’t working so we decided to seek assistance, the first time with the funds to support it. We got pregnat quickly but regretably miscarried in the thrid month. Depressed, we decided to go it again, regrettably this time on credit. Again a miscarrage : ( Now depressed and angry I was determined, and off we went again (again on credit), didn’t work, another visit (chaching, chaching) this time I was being extra careful, cut back on work (another financial mistake – eating into our savings that were suppose to support us with the baby during his articling period). Before he knew I was pregnant again,my partner left. Eight months later I delivered still born : ( Depressed I left the country to escape spending even more money visiting family. I returned to work (health care provider) and took a fall breaking my arm the first week I was back and was off work again. Finances couldn’t be worse. No unemployment benefits, no health benefits, no income, no baby and nothing to show for it all except credit card bills, and overdraft. Thankfully the bank was understanding but the debt isn’t going away very fast. Let me tell you even though no limit cards with travel miles may look appealing, don’t be fooled! It’s a lesson learned the hard way – never thought it would happen to me. : (

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10 monicarol.evans May 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

My score isn’t “bad” just average. It got that was b/c I lived credit card to credit card thru four years of undergrad. I wouldn’t have graduated without discover and visa. I learned a lesson and paid everything off. Now I’m just biding time til my score gets better.

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11 susan May 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I agree make sure you pay off old debt, it does not go away! Especially student loans. Just because school was so many years ago the debt does not go away. It will just ruin everything if you do not pay it, get on a payment plan, just do something!

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12 Yana May 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm

It is true, at least it was true for me, that student loans do not go away. Other debts, however, DO go away in time – the ones that could be bankruptcied. I regret having taken out a student loan.

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13 Beckey & Jeff May 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm

We were both left with debt from previous relationships. I was on medical leave then laid off from that job. Quite a few of my credit cards didn’t get paid and got sent to collection agencies. Once I was working, which only took about 3 months, I called all of my credit cards and arranged temporary payments until I was able to start making the regular monthly payments. All but one were willing to work with me and now we are in a much better place. We haven’t been late on any bills in over 6 months and even have our emergency fund back in place.

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14 S.K. May 9, 2010 at 6:40 am

This book sounds like it would be extremely helpful to many of us!

Like many people, my financial drama began when I was naive to the mess I was creating for myself. My father died when I was in high school and I made some pretty awful decisions after his death- the most prominent being to drop out of school, despite having spent the better part of my education in “gifted” classes. Thankfully, I was blessed to have supportive people in my life, and about a year later I decided to get my act together.

By that point I was out on my own – my poor mother couldn’t really handle me (after all, she had just lost her husband) and I had decided that it would be best for both of us if I moved out. I’d been working full time since I had dropped out of school anyway, so I figured I could afford it.

Turns out I wasn’t quite prepared for the reality of living on my own, and my full time job barely kept me afloat. Going back to school on top of this was a ridiculous burden, but I was determined. I felt like a total screw-up for having dropped out of high school and was determined to “prove the world wrong”. I was also determined to eat, though, so my first two years of college consisted of me taking 20 credits/trimester and working a full time job AND tutoring part time on campus. When I couldn’t afford books, or when I had car trouble or a bill that was late I just put it on a credit card, figuring it was an “investment in my future”.

Of course, at 19 years old you never realize that there’s no way you’ll be making enough money fresh out of college to pay back all that cash you borrowed. Now I’m 27 working as a drug treatment counselor for teens. I absolutely love what I do, but no one gets rich in human services, and I haven’t opened mail or answered a call from a number I don’t recognize in quite a few years.

Bankruptcy is probably in my near future (if I can afford to pay for it haha) but I’ve accepted that. I don’t feel sorry for myself or anything. I mean, everyone get handed challenges in life, and I’m only paying the consequences for my own actions. But some guidance on what to do now would certainly be helpful!

I don’t need to live “well” in my current financial condition. I’m perfectly content to live modestly. I’m not particularly materialistic and, frankly, I’ve adapted to living happily on very little. I would, though, like to know how to get through the basics of our society with a terrible credit score, because most days I feel like I’m one step behind the rest of the world.

Thanks for this offer and the post in general. Considering the economy’s current state, I’m sure there are plenty of people who will benefit from this book!

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15 aj May 10, 2010 at 9:06 am

Our credit score right now sucks! Honestly I don’t know what it is now, but I am sure that it is very low. But that is okay. We have learned to not rely on credit, which forces us to not buy, or save to buy…which is what we should be doing anyway.

It all began when my Mother-in-Law had a heart transplant. She spent months in Cleveland Clinic even prior to the transplant as she had to be close in case there was a heart that was a match. We live 5 hours away from Cleveland. We missed alot of work during this time, and made countless trips back and forth…which led to using credit cards to cover our gas, food, and any other costs our measly paychecks wouldn’t cover. Our debt quickly added up, but we had no other choice.

Once we made it through that ordeal (she is still doing great 9 years later by the way!) we decided that we were going to stay in our home town to stay close to our families. We had two girls ages 8 & 9 and a newborn baby. We needed some space…we needed a house.
We found a great place at a great price. We scrimped and saved, and it took everything we had to get our house. But I swore to myself & God that if we could just get this house I would do anything & everything in my power to keep it. I knew that we would be really strapped to make the mortgage payments (although they were just a little higher than what we were paying for rent anyway) with all of our other debt.

It didn’t take long for it all to catch up to us…we were falling behind in payments which of course caused it to be even harder to pay with the late payment fees, etc. So we just quit paying on the credit cards and made sure that we paid our bank loans for the house & car.
Not something I am proud of, or wanted to do…but had to do. So our credit score quickly went south!

Since then we have been working hard on improving our financial situation. I have gotten a much better job that I love, that pays much more. My husband started his own business as he was gettting nowhere in the minimum wage jobs around here. He is doing really well, even though it is only seasonal. We learned we could live without cable, lol. We have cut costs everywhere and really changed the way we consume/buy. We are now (finally) in the position to start socking away money for our emergency fund. We have been paying off our debt, including the old ones-working with the collection agencies. We have just a few more payments on our car…and a few more old debts to pay off…but then we will be down to only the mortgage and my student loans, plus our utility bills.

I know it will take time to get our credit back up to where it should be but I am not as worried about that anymore since we have learned to be smart with our money. We now know the importance of not racking up debt…we know that it is best to save our money for those big purchases. We have learned a lot from having to live with bad credit. We definitely have learned the importance of an Emergency Fund!!

The ironic thing is if we would have operated that way in the first place we wouldn’t have bad credit to begin with!

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16 Ernest S. May 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I had a weird recent experience with my internet service provider which could have affected my credit score. I noticed that I hadn’t received a bill or a credit card charge (auto-pay) for months, so I called to follow-up on the issue. I was told that it wasn’t a problem, and that I would be billed next month. A month passes, and I get a letter in the mail saying that I am delinquent on payments and that my name has been forwarded to a collections agency.

Naturally, I was shocked and angry. A couple of calls later, I had a manager from my ISP saying that it was a mistake and that they had a record of me calling a month before. Needless to say, this could have hurt my credit score!

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17 Erin May 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm

My sister stumbled upon horrible credit the minute she was introduced to credit cards. She started purchasing things to make her happy (temporarily) and just kept buying. This has been 2 years ago and I’m still not sure if it’s sunk in her head that buying stuff isn’t going to make her happy. The whole family has tried to help her out but we don’t know anything else we can do. She’s got to figure it out on her own. I would definitely pass this book on to her.

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18 Jen May 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Oh, boy, do my husband and I need this book! We had EXCELLENT credit while we both held very high paying jobs. Then my job took a pay cut and my husband lost his completely all at the time that I was pregnant and had a baby. We almost lost our house and our cars. The only way to save them was bankruptcy :( which we still, to this day, feel so guilty about. We’re trying to move past that and, actually, J., your blog has helped me create and stick to budget, budget, budget to the point where we are living within our means….somthing we’ve never done before!

HOWEVER, now we ARE dealing with bad credit…something we are not used to…and we would love to have this book as something to get us through the next year or so while we build our credit back up. Like you said, there’s TONS of info out there on HOW to rebuild credit (and we are doing that) but it takes time, and we feel so stuck until then!

Thanks for the opp.!

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19 J. Money May 10, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Wow, it was so sad reading some of these :( I’m sorry you all are going through such crazy times!! But I’m glad you’re on financial blogs and actively seeking to better yourselves!!! It’s too bad I can’t give this book out to everyone or else I would. If you didn’t win though, check out Amazon and see if you can get it super cheap! :)

Here are the 2 lucky winner:Leola and aj – congrats! I’ll be hitting you up for your name and addresses. Keep your heads up everyone!

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20 TopMom May 11, 2010 at 11:25 am

I would love the book, as I am trying to find the “up” side of a bad credit score. Not too long ago I got divorced…well several years before is when I SHOULD have filed for divorce….but after my husband left he whined that he would not have any health insurance…so I delayed filing seeing that getting re-married was not going to be in my future….later he was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident involving helicopter evacuation…weeks in ICU….and lots of bills….comming to me…the responsible policy holder….yep that’ll teach me…Oh and before the accident (yes he lived) he bought a huge front end loader and had his girlfriend sign my name and info as a co-borrower…they just defaulted and the creditor is now calling me…….is there something written across my forehead????? Live and learn and climb back up!

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21 J. Money May 11, 2010 at 11:44 am

Ouch! sorry to hear that :( unfort. the giveaway is over, but def. try and find it cheap on amazon! should be a good read :)

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22 Kathy D May 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I would love to know I am doing the right thing with my money… I got out of debt and want to stay out of debt think this book might help

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23 C Ann May 11, 2010 at 11:11 pm

As soon as I saw this book mentioned I headed to Barnes and Noble and I’m so happy I did. So often people talk about the benefits of a good credit score but forget about us that happen to have a low score. For a long time I literally felt like my life was doomed because I’m in my early twenties and fell into the credit trap during undergrad. Thankfully, this book has restored my faith. Prior to getting the book I already made a goal to eliminate all my $10,000 credit card debt by 2011but this book has given me something else to look forward to…an apartment of my own, maybe even a house, but most importantly I can now live without guilt, but perseverance instead! Thanks J. Money and the authors of Living Well with Bad Credit

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24 Lisa Munley May 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Wow, it’s hard to believe how many young people get into major trouble with credit. Really sad. Thanks for sharing this book with your readers.. it looks like it hit a nerve..

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25 J. Money May 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm

SO GLAD this is inspiring you C Ann! I hope the book proves to do what it says :)

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26 Mark May 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I know first hand your credit score is everything. I have had poor credit since my mid 20′s (I am now 53) and I have paid thousands and thousands of extra dollars in interest and loan rates for cars the past 30 years because of my low credit score. I can not get a credit card and loans for home, cars, condos…..no way. It is demoralizing and embarrassing to even try but I have made loan applications with banks, with lendors on line, and the rejection letters are numerous (in the hundreds and each time you make an application, it lowers your credit score even more)!!!

If I can tell one thing to a person just getting his first credit card in the mail – keep your credit score a top priority in your life!!!

I need to read this book and see their help for living with poor credit and what we can do? I have tried everything and even got burned by two credit counseling companies who I was paying monthly fees to in my 30′s and they were suppose to be lowering and paying off my debts (both were bogus companies bilking people for millions). I didn’t know who to trust and I have just said forget it and live my life without credit cards, not being able to buy a home (the best investment you can make)…..so many people I have known through the years, re-financing their homes and having thousands in cash to help pay for things. No such luck for me. Please let me win one of the free copies and I will put the co-authors suggestions to real life implementation!

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27 J. Money May 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Sorry mate, the giveaway is already over….hit up Amazon though and see if you can pick up a cheap copy! From what I’m hearing it’s def. worth it :) I hope your situation gets better bro, that’s def. not fun.

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