A wide-ranging directory of credit markets--with a wealth of tips on how to stay out of trouble while going into debt. Nelson (The Joy of Money, 1975) first reviews the pros and cons of securing cash for routine personal needs from banks, insurance policies, small-loan companies, relatives or friends, and even pawnbrokers. (While hock shops typically advance no more than 25 percent of a pledged article's wholesale value and charge high interest rates, it's hard to beat their convenience and discretion.) She examines interest-rate and credit-card gambits at some length--noting, for instance, that card holders who know their billing dates can get free rides of up to 55 days. In the big-ticket sector, she assays the advantages of leasing rather than purchasing a car and furnishes an up-to-date survey of the fast-growing assortment of unconventional mortgage instruments. (Whenever possible, it makes sense to buy and renovate--owing to recently-enacted tax breaks and the chance of getting government aid.) Also covered are loan programs to underwrite higher education; raising capital for small-business ventures; snaring grants for public-interest projects; and--for the hopelessly profligate--exercise of the last-resort bankruptcy option. When negotiating for credit, Nelson sagely advises, ""Never, never assume that the other party isn't as able or as intelligent as you are."" Appendices list sources of further information (on college loans, SBA offices, venture-capital firms, investment bankers); included too is a rundown on federal laws protecting borrowers' interests--the Equal-Credit-Opportunity Act, the Truth-in-Lending Act, etc. An expansion on material available in family-income guides, like Bob Rosefky's Money Talks (p. 852); more up-to-date--on creative home financing, in particular--than Robin Gross and Jean Cullen's estimable Help! The Basics of Borrowing Money (1980). Tops, currently, on the intelligent, economical use of credit.