Monday, October 23, 2006

When Will You Decide to Change Your Spending Habits?

I was recently talking to a woman who is unable to pay her necessity bills (utility, car note, car insurance, food, gas for car, etc.). She is working but is not making a lot of money. I wonder at what point does a person say enough is enough. I am tired of being broke, busted and disgusted. Are you tired of having no food, living paycheck to paycheck, charging groceries and gas, unable to pay for basic necessities?

Times are hard and you have to wake up and realize that you have to change your mindset if you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck. There are many ways to save money and reduce basic expenses. First you have to decide if you want to live a better life, if you do then you have to change the way you think about money, spending money and saving. Saving money is your safety net, your emergency fund in case you get sick or lose your job you can use your savings to hold you for a few months until you can go back to work or get a new job.

Even if you are not making a lot of money you can still save money and reduce your expenses. Here are 10 tips to help you reduce expenses:
1. Cancel you cable service or reduce your services to basic and/or expanded basic service.
2. Reduce your cell phone service down to the cheapest plan and don't use the phone until non-
peak time when the rates are free.
3. Turn off lights, televisions, computers, etc. at home when you are not using them.
4. Bring your lunch to work.
5. Catch the bus, subway or carpool to work. If you don't mind walking walk to the subway or walk to the next subway stop (saving a few cents now will add up later).
6. Have a yard sale to sell things you haven't used in the past year.
7. Donate things you aren't using anymore or didn't sell at the yard sale to a charity (you can write the donations off on your taxes).
8. Donate that old abandoned car in the garage to a charity and write it off on your taxes.
9. Shop at superclubs such as Costo, BJ's or Sam's Club.
10. Use coupons when grocery shopping.

This is just a sample of the information I provide in my debut self-help book entitled, How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free Using the System I've Used Successfully with Thousands of Clients available online now at and all bookstores in Dec. 2006. I hope these tips help you lead a better financial life!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Should You Buy Insurance

Everyone should have some type of insurance no matter no matter what your salary. Insurance is used to reimburse for a loss that occurs or protects against loss or harm to something or someone.

There are several types of insurance available: life, health, dental, home, auto, fire, flood, credit card insurance, disability (short term and long term), and many more. The basic types of life insurance everyone should have are: health, life and disability. All three actually work together. Health insurance is needed if you ever develop a health condition or need to go to the emergency room. Disability insurance is used if you have a short-term or long-term medical condition that prevents you from working and ensures that you still continue to receive a paycheck (usually at least 60% of your salary). Life insurance is used in the event a family member dies. Having at least these three may affect your pocketbook now, but will cause you less headache and expenses in the future.

According to the National Health Care Coalition, nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured. A study by Harvard University researchers found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partially the result of medical expenses. Since 2000, employment health insurance premiums have increased 73 percent.

I had surgery in May 2006. I stayed in the hospital overnight. I was checked into my room at 7:00 pm and was released at 12:00 noon the following day. I received some basic medication and had staff assist me. The total bill for less than 24 hours was $12,000. This did not include the cost of surgery. The total bill was $20,000, luckily I had health insurance and only had to pay $5.

Many people go into debt and have bad credit due to medical bills from lack of having some type of insurance. When buying insurance it is best to comparison shop. You can also go to the Better Business Bureau's website at to search for companies and view their reliability report.

A few good websites you can use to comparison shop for insurance are and (for auto insurance). If your employer does not provide health insurance , life or disability insurance you can purchase insurance on your own. Go to or (for selected states) to find information on affordable insurance. If you need insurance for your children visit They also offer accident and critical illness insurance. For information on affordable disability insurance visit or If you really cannot afford to purchase insurance make sure you get enough rest, eat well and exercise. Try to get a part-time job to pay for the insurance.

If you are able to purchase additional types of insurance some as home owner's insurance, auto or fire insurance, it is best to purchase bundled packages or insurance several types of the same item with the same company (such as insuring multiple cars with the same company). Many companies give you a discount if you purchase multiple products but you have to ask for it.

For example, I purchased my home and auto insurance with the same company and saved about 15% of the total cost versus buying home owner's insurance with one company and auto insurance with another company. Purchasing bundled packages or multi-line policies can result in a savings of 1 to 25% depending on the company. As my grandmother used to always say, "it is better to be safe, than sorry". At the very least try to purchase health insurance for yourself and your family.

For more information and resources on insurance,,,, (Medicare and Medicaid), (maternal bureau information), (click on glossary to get common insurance definitions), (auto, home, rental insurance).

Harrine Freeman is the CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit repair and money management services company.
She is a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers.
She is a credit repair expert and the author of, "How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free Using the System I’ve Used Successfully with Thousands of Clients. For more information on how to get out of debt or to buy my book please visit She can be reached at

Monday, October 09, 2006

How to Deal With Rude Creditors

Are you tired of creditors calling your house day and night? Are you tired of creditors being rude and asking for a payment every hour on the hour? You can stop it and answer your phone in peace.

A creditor is a company or person that extends "credit" by allowing a consumer to borrow money based on an agreement between the two parties that the money will be paid back at a later time. Creditors provide you with a form (agreement) to fill out that gets approved allowing you to use their credit based on the guidelines of the signed agreement.

If you make just one late payment (usually 30 days or more late), all creditors have a Collection Department that quickly calls to remind you to send a payment (even if the payment is one day past the due date). The first few calls the creditors seem really nice and ask when you will be able to send a payment. Then they quickly turn into the Attila the Hut and start being rude and use all kinds of tactics to get you to make a payment. This is unethical and is illegal according to the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which can be obtained by calling the Federal Trade Commission or going to their website.

The FCRA was instituted in 1996 to ensure the accuracy and fairness of credit reporting for consumers. The FDCPA was instituted in 1996 to stop abusive behavior by creditors. A creditor cannot call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. Also, creditors cannot use threats, profanity make false statements, use unfair practices, or make repeated calls to your home to collect a debt.

If a creditor contacts you, as a consumer, legally you have the right to ask them to stop by writing a letter indicating that the creditor should not contact you any further to obtain the debt owed. If you feel a creditor has violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act you may file a complaint against them by calling the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or going to to fill out an online complaint.

In the future, if you ever fall behind on your payments and to prevent creditors from harassing you, notify your creditor immediately that you are having financial problems and try to setup a payment plan with them to prevent bad marks on your credit report.

Harrine Freeman is the CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit repair and money management services company.
She is a member of the American Association of Daily Money Managers.
She is a credit repair expert and the author of, "How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free Using the System I’ve Used Successfully with Thousands of Clients. For more information on how to get out of debt or to buy my book please visit any major bookstore.

She can be reached at