Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The best online budgeting tools. Also in the news: How to choose between a 15 or 30 year mortgage, what to do when your home is underwater, and simple ways to raise your credit score.

The 5 Best Online Budgeting Tools to Help You Save Money
Tools that could help keep more money in your wallet.

30-year mortgage, or 15? 5 questions to help you choose
Deciding which mortgage works best for you.

What to Do if You Owe More Than Your Home is Worth?
How not to drown when your home is underwater.

Simple Ways to Raise Your Credit Score
It’s easier than you think.

Will Paying Bills Before They Arrive Help My Credit?
If paying bills late hurts your credit, shouldn’t the opposite be true?

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  1. I always read your HARP links hoping for something useful, but it never happens. HARP is not easy, not readily available, and you have to be good enough credit-wise to do a standard refinance. I have been trying to refinance with HARP for more than two years and have watched rates go from 3.25 to today’s 5.25. Why so high, you might say? Because almost every lender out there adds 1 percent “because it’s a HARP loan.” Not only that, the latest closing costs quote I got was for a whopping $14,000. My credit scores (which aren’t supposed to count) are not good enough for most lenders. My income (which isn’t supposed to count) isn’t good enough for most lenders. There isn’t a single bank out there that even comes close to following the HARP “rules” suggested for HARP 2.0. It’s frustrating because it always feels like a bait-and-switch, and it’s terrifying because I really need to refinance and nobody will help. Please write something helpful for people like me.

    • Liz Weston says

      I’m sorry you’re having such a frustrating time. Have you been in touch with a HUD-approved housing counselor? What has he or she told you about your situation?