tips

Cut These 3 Things to Actually Save Money

At The Motley Fool, Morgan Housel has an excellent article on how to actually save money. The bottom line: stop fooling around trying to drink less coffee or make your own lunches and focus on three things:

  1. Your house or apartment. Keep it modest.
  2. Your car. Get a car, not a truck or SUV, and make it an inexpensive, fuel-efficient one. Bonus points for buying used.
  3. Education. Go to an in-state school. Better yet, go to a community college for two years, then transfer to an in-state school for two years.

Pinching pennies is all well and good if you like pinching pennies. But savvy consumers don’t pinch pennies; they pinch dollars by the thousands. [The Motley Fool, h/t @DanielGershberg]

When You Call a Lawyer, Have a Pen and Paper Handy

Never call a lawyer without a pen and paper in front of you. During at least 90% of the calls I receive from people looking for a lawyer, I tell them something they need to write down. These days, it is often the name of a lawyer who can actually help them, since I no longer take consumer cases; formerly it was a list of documents I needed, directions to my office, or things I needed them to do before I could consider taking their case.

There are few things more frustrating than waiting while the person on the other end of the phone apologizes for not having a pen and paper and fumbles around in their purse, asks a waiter for them, or, worst of all, asks me to call them back later in the day. All these happen to me, with regularity, despite the fact that most of the time I am only trying to give a referral to another lawyer.

So when you call a lawyer, be prepared. This is especially true if you are going to ask the lawyer to represent you on contingency, because lawyers who do contingent-fee work want to know that they can rely on their clients. Whether you have a pen and paper handy won’t make up their mind, but it can’t hurt, and it might help.

(image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplerich/5462330040/)

How to Stop Debt Collection Calls and Letters

Getting a debt collector to “cease and desist” is easy thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you are getting calls or letters regarding a consumer debt (credit card, medical debt, rent, etc.), and you want them to stop, all you have to do is send a letter to the debt collector who is contacting you. This is all the letter needs to say:

Stop contacting me.

Just make sure you include your name, address, and phone number so the debt collector knows who to stop contacting.

If the calls or letters continue after you send this letter, the debt collector may be liable to you for $1,000, plus actual damages, costs of litigation, and attorney fees. If that happens, contact a consumer lawyer right away.

Featured image by thecrazyfilmgirl / CC BY 2.0.

Steps to Prevent Identity Theft, and What to Do if It Happens

20 Unique Ways to Save

20 Unique Ways to Save | Wallet Pop

Five car ailments you shouldn’t ignore

Common credit card tricks & traps

As part of our summer focus on credit cards, AFFIL compiled this list of common tricks and traps (PDF). We all know that credit card contracts are designed to increase the likelihood that cardholders pay high fees and get charged high interest rates. So while you will be hard pressed to find a credit card without these terms – at least until our government outlaws them – if you’re informed and cautious, you have a better chance of steering clear of the traps and saving money. Here they are:

Fees and More Fees – On any given month, you might pay a late payment fee, overlimit fee, cash advance fee, balance transfer fee, foreign exchange fee, bill payment fee, Western Union fee, and whatever else your lender can devise. Not to mention monthly and annual fees.

Tricks to Make You Pay Late – These come in many varieties. If you’re late you’ll pay a hefty fee and your interest rate may go up. Check each statement carefully and pay your bill as soon as it arrives.

Changing Due Dates – Your bill will not be due on the same day every month.

Early Due Dates – Bills may be due just a few days after you receive them. Keep Reading »

Five cool cell phone tricks

Bet you didn’t know your cell phone can (1) reach an ambulance anywhere in the world, (2) unlock your car, (3) go longer with a reserve battery, (4) be disabled remotely if you grab its serial number, and (5) get you free directory information.

5 Secret Things Your Cell Phone Can Do? | Apartment Therapy

[photo: freerangestock flickr pool]

Car buying 101 on YouTube

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Conscious Youth Media Crew in California put together Insider Car Report a very good quick look at car buying. Its worth a look and of course there are all the link to similar clips.

Landlord resources

Being a landlord is a job that a lot of people seem to just stumble into. So many people who become landlords don’t really know much about landlording. That is too bad, because when landlords do not follow the law, they can create a nightmare for tenants, which sometimes comes back to bite the landlord, as well. With that in mind, I think it makes sense to point landlords to a few very helpful resources that will make things better for everyone.

Keep Reading »