Where to Find Your Finance Charge. You’ll see your finance charge listed in several places on your monthly credit card billing statement. On the first page of your billing statement, you’ll see an account summary listing your balance, payments, credits, purchases, and the finance charge, which may also be referred to as an ”interest charge.” In the breakout of transactions made on your account during the billing cycle, you’ll see a line item for your finance charge and the date the finance charge was assessed.
If you want to calculate your own finance charge, you have to know your credit card balance for each day of the billing cycle. While your credit card statement won’t list each day’s credit card balance, you can use your statement (or your online transaction log) to figure out the balance. Start with the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle. Then, add or subtract from the balance each day you have new transaction. Let’s say your APR is 12% and your billing cycle is 25 days long. You started the billing cycle with a balance of $100. On Day 4, you made a $100 purchase. On Day 20, a $25 payment was credited to your account. Your daily balance for each day during the billing cycle would be: Day 1 – 3: $100. Day 4 – 20: $200 ($100 purchase). Day 20 – 25: $175 ($25 credit)
The ending balance method uses your balance at the beginning of the billing cycle minus payments plus charges made during the billing cycle – which is essentially your balance at the end of the billing cycle. The number of days in the billing cycle doesn’t affect the amount of the finance charge. Having a high balance at the end of your billing cycle would increase your finance charges under this method. The previous balance method uses the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle which is also the ending balance of the last billing cycle. No payments or charges are included in the balance. The number of days in the billing cycle doesn’t affect the amount of the finance charge.
Here’s how it works. Your credit card has a grace period, which is typically between 21 and 25 days after your billing cycle ends. You can typically find the length of your grace period on the front or back of your billing statement. The grace period is your chance to pay your full credit card balance and dodge finance charges. Your statement may even include a disclosure that states the date you have to pay off your balance to avoid finance charges. Pay the full balance listed on your credit card statement to avoid seeing a finance charge on your next statement. If you pay just part of your balance, your next billing statement will have a finance charge calculated based on the unpaid balance and any new purchases you make.
HomeBank is compatible with both Linux and Windows. Setup can be a little tricky, but the extra effort may pay off, as HomeBank is loaded with reporting and charting options. They’re available through either the Reports menu or the main toolbar. It has translation capabilities for 56 languages and will flag duplicate transactions. You can even filter your transactions by selecting your own criteria. It may not be suitable for businesses, as it doesn’t support items such as double-entry accounting procedures. However, if you are an individual who just wants to keep a firm grip on your money, then HomeBank might be the right software for you.
Money Magazine: This monthly publication does a fantastic job of profiling real people and the financial steps they can take. They offer solid advice for all income levels. But when they start talking about the ”5 Funds to Own Now” or other such commercialized headlines, just roll your eyes and flip the page. The financial planning industry has a saying for those types of headlines; we call them investment pornography.
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