Credit Myths

Read the “Don’t fall for these 7 credit myths” article on msn.com by respected journalist Liz Weston; and categorically disagree with almost everything she printed. YES you can dispute negative items on your credit report by yourself or with the help of a professional and have those items permanently removed from your credit reports.

How to Save More Money by Lowering Your Monthly Expenses

Every family is faced with the same struggle every month. How do we save more money and reduce wasteful spending? Lowering your monthly expenses each month can enhance your quality of life in a number of ways. First off, as Americans we are all faced with a very high standard of living and live by the motto of “keeping up with the Jones’s.”

The first step is to change your mindset. This is the hardest part. We are conditioned to spend spend spend! The most important first step is to change our way of being. Train yourself via your mind to believe that frugality is important and the key to a happier and more financially fruitful lifestyle. Once you have convinced yourself to change your spending habits now the technical effort can begin.

Let’s begin. Start by writing down on a piece of paper a list of your monthly net income and monthly expenses. Then, begin to assess how you can pare down those expenses. If you are paying some bills late and are being billed excess late charges then set up automatic drafts to be deducted from your checking account to eliminate those wasteful charges. Secondly, reevaluate your cell phone plan. Do you have too many minutes that you aren’t using but paying for? Call your cell phone carrier and instruct them to back test your last three months of bills to see what you can cut out. For example, international charges, phone insurance, thousands of unnecessary unlimited minutes or text messaging. Do the same with your cable bill. Reducing those featured channels to a basic plan can save you hundreds of dollars. Next, analyze your car insurance. Call your insurance provider, (if you have a good driving record), and increase your deductible to lower your premium. Signing up for an online defensive driving course can reduce your insurance bill as well. Evaluate your home owners and life insurance. Perhaps you were overcharged when you first signed up and now it is time to seek out a cheaper competitor who can still offer comparable services? Think about trying to refinance your auto loan to a lower interest rate, especially if you have a decent credit score.

Lastly, cut down on your grocery shopping list by eliminating expensive less healthy sugary products and snacks. They tend to be the most expensive items in the supermarket. Stop shopping until you drop and start saving to thrive.

How to Stop Those Annoying Debt Collection Calls

Anytime you don’t meet the minimum payment requirements on your unsecured credit card debt you may be subject to annoying, or worse, threatening phone calls, demanding payment from creditors or debt collectors representing the original debtor from a collection agency. You have undoubtedly received unwelcome calls if you have fallen behind on your credit cards. They sound like, “we demand the you make at least the minimum payment this month” or better yet, “we will sue you or garnish your wages if we don’t receive your payment today.” My advice is to welcome those “unwanted” calls.

Yes, I know receiving tons of unwanted calls from debt collectors can make you crazy. Creditors tend to call you at all hours of the day and night. I also know it can be embarrassing as well. Deal with it head on. The reason is simple. If the creditors are still calling you and “harassing” you that means two things. First, debt collectors want a dialogue with you to negotiate a settlement or reduced payback terms. Second, debt collectors have not litigated against you. It’s when the phone stops ringing that you should worry. Typically, the calls will last several months followed by letters for several more months giving you up to at least a year to work out a favorable settlement arrangement.

Debt collectors are normally paid on a commission basis. They will call you endlessly, not because they care so much about helping out Bank of America, Chase, American Express, or Discover. They harass you because they get paid a percentage of the money that you send in to satisfy the original debt that you owe.

Do not be fooled. You can still maintain a significant amount of leverage although you may be behind on your credit card payments and still struggling financially. I read somewhere a wonderful slogan that I will share with you. “Bad things sometimes happen to good people.” Remember that slogan when a creditor or better yet a collection agency calls you to collect on the debt.

The most important thing to understand is that from a purely negotiation or business standpoint it is to your benefit to have your phone continuously ringing from creditor calls. The longer they call the more time they are really giving you to get your act together and get the money necessary to speak to them and negotiate successful settlement that works out in your favor.

In summary, here are SOME HELPFUL TIPS ON HOW TO STOP ANNOYING CREDITOR CALLS. First tip, don’t get upset or angry when the phone rings. Second tip, answer the phone. Answering the phone and having an empowered intellectual dialogue with the caller will usually lessen the calls. Third, speak truthfully and honestly to the creditor, telling them your hardship, so that they can notate it in your file, and lessen the harassment. Fourth, always remain calm on the phone, and have a pen and paper handy to document if they are calling you during hours that would violate national telemarketing rules. If they are, report the activity to the FTC. Lastly, if the calls are just too much to bare, disconnect your home phone, and turn your cellphone to mute or vibrate. In short, welcome the calls, and set aside some money in the meantime for a potential settlement later on. Good luck.