Volume 5 #4
Credit and Car Buying
Inspiring Thoughts • Spare Change
Spring Clean Your Wallet
Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill
Welcome to the Freedom Debt Relief monthly newsletter! As part of our
ongoing goal to enhance our services, we will be sending you a monthly
newsletter filled with interesting articles and helpful financial tips and
1-800-655-6303 advice. We hope you enjoy this issue, and that you find the enclosed
information helpful as you continue on the road to financial freedom.
idea of the type of car that you would like to will not budge on the payment or loan terms,
purchase. Visit sites such as www.Autoweb.com, consider taking your business elsewhere.
www.Cars.com, and www.CarsDirect.com to
search for vehicles in your area and to research Read all paperwork. Before signing any
makes and models. You may consider obtaining a paperwork, read everything carefully. Oftentimes,
vehicle history report at www.carfax.com for any dealers add a variety of miscellaneous charges
car in which you express an interest. Unlimited such as VIN# window etching, dealer prep, and a
reports for 30 days cost $39.99. warranty that you never requested. In most cases,
Since you are enrolled in a debt settlement these services are not necessary and can be done
program, select a reasonable-priced, modest cheaper on your own.
vehicle. Remember, you are buying a car for “The buyers need to be reminded that they
reliable transportation and not as a status are in dire straits, they can barely afford the car,
symbol. In most cases, you want to select a late- so they should be going there to buy a car only,
model used car opposed to a new car. You can nothing else,” said Ostroff.
find many quality pre-owned vehicles for less Visit Ostroff’s site at www.carbuyingtips.com
money. Besides, the previous buyer will take the to read in detail about the top ten car dealer
hit on the first year depreciated value of the car scams. Arming yourself with knowledge will help
while you can take advantage of it. prevent you from falling victim to car salesman
Choose a financing option. There may
be lenders who will extend credit to you despite
ince you are currently enrolled in a your financial trouble. With the rise of the
debt settlement program, buying a car internet, you no longer have to rely solely on
may seem difficult. However, if your the dealer for financing. CarBuyingTips.com
only means of transportation is unreliable and strongly recommends the use of online lenders
creating costly repair bills, you may make the such as www.autocreditfinders.com. This site will
decision to purchase a different vehicle to save put you in contact with lenders who specialize in
you time and money. Here are some tips that high risk loans. You may also try applying for a
could help you purchase a reliable car at an car loan through your credit union.
Be aware of dealer scams. Salesmen Helpful Car buying
Make a list of expenses. Establishing a realize that individuals with flawed credit reports
budget will help you determine how much of a and tight budgets focus heavily on the amount of Web Sites
car payment you can afford. the monthly payment. Therefore, they may offer
you a car loan in which payments extend for 72 Ø Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com):
Know your credit score. It is good to months. Although the payment amount may This site provides car buyers and sellers
know exactly what your credit score is before fit your budget, you will most likely be paying with new and used vehicle information.
you apply for a car loan. You have the right too much for the vehicle. If you decide to sell Visit this site to see how much your car
to receive a free copy of your credit report by or trade in the car before you have made all of is worth if you are selling it.
visiting www.annualcreditreport. the payments, you will be “upside
com. For more information on down in the car,” a phrase used by Ø Consumer Reports (www.
how to purchase your credit dealers to mean that you owe more consumerreports.org/cro/cars/index.
score, visit www.myfico.com. than the car is worth. htm): The auto section of this site gives
According to Jeff Ostroff, Try to obtain a car loan for no details and unbiased reviews of new
host of the informative web longer than 48 months. If the and used vehicles in categories such as
site, www.carbuyingtips.com, figures are not workable with the safety and value.
“Lenders have greatly tightened car that you choose, select a less
requirements after the financial expensive vehicle. Oftentimes, Ø Bankrate.com (www.bankrate.com/
crisis to ensure a buyer’s ability some dealers prey on your calculators/index-of-auto-calculators.
to pay back the loan. It’s more emotions and make you feel as aspx): Bankrate offers a long list of
important than ever to make sure though you should be grateful that helpful online calculators that may
your credit report is as clean as it they approved you for any car. assist you with car buying. There are
can be.” They might also tell you that you calculators such as the “Car Early Pay
could not get financed through Off Calculator” and “Negative Equity
any other dealer or lending Auto Loan Calculator”.
Choose a vehicle. Before institution. If the dealership
you apply for a loan, have some
News, financial tips, and other
information regarding personal
New legislation may reform the credit issued cards. Banks issue nearly all credit cards,
card industry. The House of Representatives including co-branded cards that have the name
recently passed legislation to rein in many of an airline or a retailer. The FTC is providing
common lending practices in the credit card a telephone number (1-888-600-4804) for
Inspiring Thoughts industry that have been deemed unfair and
deceptive. The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights
Act of 2009 was passed by an overwhelming
consumers with non-bank cards to call for their
estimated pay-off information. Information
is available in both English and Spanish. For
margin. The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights consumers who prefer to use the Internet, the
If you don’t like something change it; Commission also has posted on its Web site a
Act would level the playing field between
if you can’t change it, change the way you calculator that provides the same information.
borrower and lender by putting an end to some
think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit of the most arbitrary, abusive, and unfair credit To access the FTC’s on-line calculator,
consumers should click on http://www.ftc.gov/
card lending practices that trap consumers-
hanges in our lives are usually particularly disadvantaged and minority creditcardcalculator.
inevitable. Whether it is spring borrowers-in an unending cycle of costly debt.
changing to summer or trying to The bill would:
change a bad habit, most of us will experience • End arbitrary and unfair interest rate New legislation may reform the
some form of change at one point.
As we undergo a major change, we may have
increases on existing balances; credit card industry. The ACA International
• Prevent credit card companies from Education Foundation introduced a brand
mixed feelings. For example, if you recently gaming consumer payments; new, completely free consumer education Web
enrolled in a debt negotiation program, you • Prohibit unfair and hidden interest rate site called www.AskDoctorDebt.com. The site
may feel optimistic that you took the first step charges on balances repaid during the was created to serve the Foundation’s
to achieve financial freedom. Yet, the fact that grace period, and stated mission of improving financial
you must live on a budget and have limited • End unfair late fees for on- literacy through consumer outreach.
access to credit may scare you. time payments. One of the reasons for the campaign’s
Living without available credit may be quite
success is that “Ask Doctor Debt” carries
an adjustment, especially in a world where
Time is money. MoreBusiness. an overwhelmingly positive, friendly
credit cards are accepted everywhere from local
com recently release the Time is and timely message aimed at helping
pizza shops to furniture stores. Many retailers
Money Calculator (www.morebusiness. consumers dealing with credit and debt
may also pressure you to apply for credit cards
com/time-is-money-calculator), a issues. Serving as a sort of online “Dear
when you checkout and you may have to
free tool that allows anyone to enter Abby,” “Ask Doctor Debt” features a
decline more than once.
their current salary and the price of a dynamic and searchable FAQ Database
Some consumers may also use credit cards
product they want to buy to calculate that allows users to quickly find answers
to pay for unexpected emergencies or to buy
how many work hours it would take to the most commonly-asked questions
necessities before their next paycheck arrives.
them to purchase it. The calculator related to credit and debt. The Web site
Without this security, new debt negotiation
factors in your tax bracket depending also allows consumers to submit their own
customers may feel like they will never be able
on your salary, so that you will get individual questions to an “Ask Doctor
to survive without credit.
a more accurate calculation. This Debt,” expert. “Ask Doctor Debt” also
Although overcoming your dependency on
resource is designed to help people features budget calculators, a free personal
credit cards may be difficult, try to focus on the
put their purchases in perspective so financial management Web course and
positive aspects of your financial decision. Look
they can budget their time and money better. other consumer resources.
to the future and imagine how relieved you will
feel once you are free from the bounds of debt. For example, if you make an annual salary of
As a result of hard work and perseverance, you $30,000 and you want to buy a pair of designer Financial literacy program for kids
may one day not receive any more calls from shoes that cost $500, it would take you more combines education and entertainment.
collectors or have to keep track of multiple than 44 hours of work -- more than a full work The CENTSABLES web site, (www.centsables.
credit card bills. week -- to purchase those shoes. Is it worth it? com), enables kids to explore the concepts
Throughout your debt negotiation program, of money, how value is determined, basic
we will provide you with a variety of money- FTC offers credit card tools. Carrying economics and investing, without being too
management tools such as this newsletter. a credit card balance can be expensive for technical to understand. Using activity pages
Our goal is to equip you with knowledge consumers, especially for those who make and downloadable forms, children can master
that will help you remain debt-free. During only minimum monthly payments. To obtain banking skills such as check-writing and
these changing times, remember that your appropriate information, consumers should call budgeting, preparing deposit slips and earning
negotiation company is here for you. Feel free the telephone number for pay-off information money. The site features action-comics based on
to give us a call if you have ever have a question that will be on their credit card billing the animated television series, an informative
about your program. We realize that the many statement. Large banks and the Federal Reserve parent link, plus exercises and games that
changes that you are experiencing can be Board (FRB) will be providing consumers reinforce learning and keep
stressful and we want to help you accomplish with telephone numbers to call for pay-off kids
your financial goals. information for bank-
inflated. Visit the Car Council’s educational web
site at www.carcare.org for more auto maintenance
tips. Also, keep in mind that gas prices tend
to skyrocket during the warmer months. Web
sites such as www.gaspricewatch.com and www.
gasbuddy.com track gas prices in your area and
are updated by local volunteers. You can also save
on gasoline by carpooling. Visit www.erideshare.
com to search for local commuters that are going
the same way you are or you may post your own
listing. Client Reminders
Sell items that you no longer use. During
the spring season, some people shed all of their Updated Client Web site: Freedom
unwanted and unused items. Ebay (www.ebay. Debt Relief has updated and improved its
com) is the largest online auction site and a good client site. Visit www.fdrclient.com for new
source to sell items that you no longer use. Visit information and a user-friendly layout. For
their web site for more details on how to begin your convenience, you can now submit
selling. You can also try your local Craigslist site
certain customer service requests online 24
(www.craigslist.org) to place an online classified
arm weather allows you and your hours day without having to pick up the
ad for free to people in your area. Also consider
family to complete certain chores phone. Creating a username and password
placing ads in your local newspaper, host a garage
and participate in seasonal activities. is simple. Just follow the instructions on the
sale, or check with the recreation department
Throughout your neighborhood, you may see
in your local community to see if there are any webpage to get setup today!
people planting gardens, washing cars, and
neighborhood flea market days. You may be able
children playing in backyards. Below are some
to reserve a table. Education Materials: Did you
money-saving tips that may help cool your wallet
as the temperature heats up. know that all FDR clients also have access
Save money on home improvements. Many
people perform home improvements in the spring
to our FREE educational and financial
Save money on your air conditioner. You literacy tools? You can find them at www.
and summer months. Although you may have to
may want to prepare your air conditioning unit freedomdebtrelief.com/clients.php. To login,
hire a professional for some complicated projects,
for hot and humid days. For example, keep all enter FDR for the username and FDR for
you may be able to tackle some tasks yourself. A
objects away from the air conditioning unit. Make
it a habit to routinely remove grass and leaves
wealth of informational resources exist to teach the password.
you how to do home
from vents. These items
improvement jobs such Contact Info: Have you moved
will block airflow. For more
as cleaning your gutters,
tips, visit the Department
painting, and installing a
recently or changed your phone number?
of Energy’s web site at Please contact customer service to ensure we
ceiling fan. Visit your local
www.energy.gov. have all of your updated information.
bookstore or library to find
a comprehensive guide
ways to have family
on do-it-yourself home Tax Debt? If you owe money to the
improvements. IRS and would like information on how
fun. Some families plan The Internet and
vacations during the spring to reduce your tax debts, please contact
television are also great
and summer seasons and sources. DIY Network
our sister company, Freedom Tax Relief at
these excursions can be brings you such cable 1-800-455-6TAX. Our tax attorneys and
costly. Just because an shows as “DIY to the tax specialists are eager to immediately start
elaborate vacation is not Rescue” and “DIY Be Your Own Contractor.” helping you resolve your tax troubles. In
in your budget does not mean that you can’t have You can also visit their information-packed web addition, existing FDR clients are eligible for
fun. Discover the many activities that you can site located at www.diynet.com. This site features a $100 referral bonus if they refer someone
enjoy in your local community. Most libraries a wide array of do-it-yourself projects, with
offer summer reading programs for children and to Freedom Tax Relief.
topics that range from home improvements to
adults. You can also rent movies at the library decorating.
for free. Call your local zoos, museums, and Home Depot also offers free Do-It-Herself ***
amusement parks to see if they offer discounted Workshops, Weekly Clinics, and Kids Workshops.
rates on certain days or during specific times of Visit www.homedepotclinics.com to
Customer Service Phone No:
the day. register at a Home Depot near you. 1-800-655-6303
Spring clean your vehicle. Extreme FAX No: 650-393-6800
temperatures may be difficult for your car to
handle. Routine maintenance on your vehicle may
help its performance and improve gas mileage. Hours of Operation:
For example, have an oil change
performed regularly and keep Mon-Thurs: 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
your tires properly PST
Fri: 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. PST
Sat: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PST
Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder (www.absurdlycool.
com) is a site that automatically lists freebies on E-mail:
the web, while filtering out the scams. Common email@example.com
freebies include offers for household products,
fast food restaurants, and educational materials.
an opportunity to make local calls for free. Cell
phones usually use minutes whether you call
locally or long distance.
Use the same plan as your friends and
family. Some carriers allow friends and family
members to talk for free if they subscribe to the
same service. This can help you save money to
the people that you talk to the most often. There
is usually a discount if you form family plans. So,
ell phones have become a common Scale down your plan. In addition to your it is usually wise if everyone in the household has
gadget in most of our lives. According minutes, you may also want to consider if you the same cell phone carrier.
to CTIA – The Wireless Association, are paying for extras that you do not use or are
there are now more than 262 million wireless not really necessary. For example, you may be
subscribers in the United States, which includes able to eliminate extras such as games, ringtone
Consider a prepaid phone service.
83 percent of the total U.S. population and 3.3 If you use your cell phone sparingly, you may
downloads, and web surfing capabilities.
billion active cell phones worldwide. Since there consider a prepaid or pay-as-you-go plan, which
is a good chance that you may have a cell phone, usually allow customers to buy minutes as they
Decide whether to keep your landline. need them and do not involve lengthy contracts.
below are some tips that may help you save According to the FCC, nearly millions of
money on your monthly bill. Search for pay as you go plans by visiting www.
land lines have been discontinued since 2000. myrateplan.com.
Canceling your home phone may allow you to
Assess your minutes. Track your usage eliminate a bill each month. Before you decide to
each month to make sure you subscribe to a plan cancel your landline, ensure
Be wary of
that meets your needs. Check to see if you are that the decision is right for cosigning for
using more minutes than your plan allows. If you. From a debt settlement a cell phone.
so, you may benefit from subscribing to a plan standpoint, basic home Cosigning for a
that offers more minutes instead of incurring phone service allows you cell phone for
overage charges. You may also want to sign up to give collectors a phone someone that may
for a service such as www.overmyminutes.com. It number in which they can not qualify for one
is a free service that sends you an alert before you leave a message. Numerous can result in a costly
are about to go over your monthly minutes. On voice mail messages you experience. It is
the other hand, if you are not using not nearly cell phone may use up wise to think about
as many minutes that you are paying for, you some of your minutes. what can happen
may be able to save money by switching to a less Also, a land line gives you before you make that
expensive plan. commitment.
The Freedom Debt Relief newsletter is published by The Premier Institute for Financial Freedom. While articles in this newsletter are factual and accurate, they are not intended to replace the advice of professional financial,
accounting, and/or legal advisers. As with all decisions regarding your finances, the advice, techniques, ideas and suggestions offered herein should be followed under the supervision of the appropriate competent professional.
1875 South Grant Street
San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone: (800) 655-6303
FAX: (650) 897-8800