Q: If I have a car with a credit union or bank loan on it, and I make a payment on the 1st of the month, then I go in on the 2nd to make another payment, can that go to reduce the principal on the loan? Someone told me they won’t do that.
A: It depends on the terms of your loan. Advice from the Federal Trade Commission: “When considering a contract, here’s one question that’s well worth asking: Can I pay off the debt early without paying a penalty? The answer depends on how the contract is structured. Before signing any paperwork, it’s important to know if the terms call for simple interest or pre-computed interest.
- Simple interest is calculated based on the amount you owe: The quicker you pay it off, the less interest you’ll pay.
- Pre-computed interest is a fixed amount, calculated and added at the beginning of the contract. Even if you pay it off early, you still pay the interest in full. If a refund or rebate of interest is included in your agreement, you may get back some of the interest you paid — but not all of it.
Pre-payment penalty is another term to watch for. Banks and finance companies sometimes require borrowers who pay off a debt early to pay a fee. … And remember that even if your contract allows you to make extra payments, there may be a special process to do so. Before sending any extra money, contact the company’s customer service department and ask about the process for making a principal-only payment.”
Q: Where can we take the 10-year battery smoke detectors to recycle?
A: The Iowa Department of Natural Resources advises people to contact the manufacturer for mail-back instructions. Many manufacturers also list their address on the back of the unit. The U.S. Postal Service website has a list of smoke detector manufacturers with phone numbers, mailing addresses and recycling details for most of the major manufacturers and distributors of smoke detectors. Search at usps.com.
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Q: On the Cedar Valley Trail near Brandon, they are harvesting walnut trees. Who authorizes that? Where does the money from the sale of the logs go to?
A: The Black Hawk County Conservation Board manages that portion of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail and authorizes any tree removal. Mike Hendrickson, the board’s executive director, said the walnut trees are being removed because the nut crop creates problems on the trail in the later summer and early fall. Revenue from the tree sales helps offset the cost of managing the trail.
Q: In Cedar Falls, especially around College Hill, several of those green electrical stations are damaged or have had foundations washed out. Are they dangerous? Who is supposed to maintain them?
A: Cedar Falls Utilities encourages customers with questions about utility infrastructure to call 268-5297, said Mollie Strouse, CFU marketing manager. Crews will respond promptly and complete any necessary repairs.