Stop Making Financial Excuses
Changing bad financial habits usually requires a lot of hard work and determination. At times, it
seems easier to put off this daunting task and make excuses. These actions could of course delay
your financial progress on the road to financial freedom. Below are some common financial excuses
and how to overcome them.
“I deserve to “I don’t have time “It is hard to save “I will start saving
treat myself.” to save money.” in a bad economy. ” money tomorrow.”
Working towards building Establishing a realistic According to a recent For tasks that require hard
your reserve account is hard spending plan and eliminating survey conducted by the work, it is easy to procrastinate
work. Rewarding yourself unnecessary items from a Opinion Research Poll, 77% and say that you will begin
occasionally is a good way to budget can be rather time- of Americans feel that the tomorrow or at a more
recognize your efforts and an consuming. You may have media is making the economy convenient time. The first
incentive to keep striving for to set aside a few hours worse with negative coverage. step to achieving your goals
your goals. However, treating each month for tasks such Frequent reports about the is to begin immediately. It
yourself everyday or more as tracking your expenses, state of the economy may may also help you to make
than your budget can handle clipping coupons, and sorting make some people have a long-term and short-term
may lead to overspending. through receipts. Dedicating pessimistic attitude, which goals. The chart below may
To keep your reward system sufficient time to a particular can inhibit achieving goals. help you brainstorm future
in perspective, try setting a goal usually pays off in the Although the current economy goals that you would like to
schedule. For example, every long run. You can use online is not in the best of shape, accomplish. Many times seeing
time you discover one of your resources to help you save it is important to keep a your goals in writing can help
debts have been settled, treat money. Sites such as Kiplinger’s positive outlook and hope that you envision your success.
yourself to lunch at a nice online budget worksheet circumstances will improve in Eliminating budget busters
restaurant or the new best- (www.kiplinger.com/tools/ the future. Many consumers such as expensive lattes and
seller. The items do not have to budget/) can help you create a also exercise frugality in the vending machine snacks are
be extravagant. You may enjoy workable spending plan. You midst of a recession. It is a also habits that you can start to
and appreciate your rewards can also search for coupons good idea to get together with break today instead of waiting
more when you realized that online at www.coupons.com. friends and family to find ways until tomorrow.
you have worked for them. to cut costs.
Long-term goals Short-term goals
VOLUME 8 Stop Making Financial Excuses • Making Work Pay • UCAN Corner • Spare Change
#3 Frugal Tips for the Environment • Inspiring Thoughts • Financial Job Scams Rise in a Bad Economy
After the collector got tired of calling the
consumer’s home, calls began at her place of
employment. During the course of the calls,
the collector talked to multiple people at the
consumer’s work, including the receptionist
Corner and several co-workers. The consumer also later
learned that the collector placed collection calls
to several of her family members, who had
became very agitated upon receiving unpleasant
UCAN obtains justice comments. Understandably, the consumer was
for a California client shaken up by the collector’s actions.
After some investigation, the matter was
pex Law Group LLC (“Apex”) recently referred to an experienced FDCPA attorney.
won two cases and helped two From the written statements and other evidence,
consumers triumph over unethical the FDCPA attorney was convinced that the ü Thank you for your kindness and all of
collection agency’s actions went beyond what your help. You can’t stop them [calls]
collection harassment. Last month, we gave
is allowed under Federal and State law. As with but you sure do calm them down!
you the details of a Texas client. Below are
experiences involving a California client. all FDCPA referrals through the UCAN-APEX
A California debt settlement consumer program, the attorney agreed to take the case on ü The calls have really trickled down to
a contingency basis. almost none. I am very appreciative of
received a barrage of harassing phone calls from
After confronting the collection agency and all your help in this matter.
a debt collection agency concerning a debt
on a major credit card. The collection agency their attorneys, the FDCPA attorney obtained
thoroughly harassed the consumer while at a settlement. In addition, the debt collection ü UCAN has always helped me
agency had to pay substantial attorneys fees as immediately and has given me
home and work in order to embarrass and
part of the settlement. encouragement, which I appreciate with
humiliate her. One example of the harassment
This is just one of the ways that UCAN is all my heart.
the consumer suffered was when she started to
receive calls from the collector on a helping debt settlement clients on
weekend morning. During one a daily basis. If you have any ü We have had excellent results in the last
questions regarding any week with no calls. You are amazing.
call, the collector repeatedly
conversations from collectors, This is a difficult time and it’s good to
claimed that the collection
feel free to contact us at know people are out there for you.
agency had initiated a lawsuit
against the consumer. The collector 1-877-462-8226 or e-mail us
also threatened that the local at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our normal ü Staff are very pleasant, understanding,
business hours are Monday thru and cooperative in assisting me in
Sheriff’s office had been contacted in
Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST dealing with problems.
connection with the allegedly unpaid
and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
Commission (FTC), the only authorized source spend less cash, according to new research
to get your free annual credit report under from the University of Maryland’s Robert H.
federal law is AnnualCreditReport.com. To Smith School of Business. Researchers find
reinforce this message, the FTC is featuring two people are more likely to think twice about
new videos with their own catchy tunes. Both making a purchase when they carry one large
videos are available at www.ftc.gov/freereports denomination of cash rather than many smaller
and www.YouTube.com/FTCVideos. The denominations equal to the same amount of
new videos highlight the differences between money. For example, you are more likely to
AnnualCreditReport.com and those other sites hang onto a $20 bill than 20 one-dollar bills.
that claim to provide “free” credit reports. Other This is because there is a greater “pain of paying”
sites require users to pay hidden fees or agree associated with breaking a large bill and there
to additional services. For example, some sites is a good chance you will lose track of spending
provide a free credit report if you enroll in a new when you break a large bill. When those studied
service. If you don’t cancel the service during a knew they had to save $100 and exercise self-
short trial period, you’re likely to see membership control in spending, they were more likely to
fees on your credit card statement. choose a single $100 bill than five $20 bills.
Enjoy your city ‘on the cheap.’ A major credit card
Spare Change Motivated by the current coupon-clipping
climate, Cities on the Cheap (www.
company offers a helpful
guide. Chase Card Services
citiesonthecheap.com), was created to help those
in partnership with College
that want to check out the low-cost activities
News, financial tips, and other in their local city. This site consists of a rapidly
Parents of America has issued
an informative guide that helps
information regarding personal growing network of “On the Cheap” blogs. Each
parents discuss financial issues
blog highlights city-specific freebies, discounts,
financial freedom and deals. Visit the site to see if you can find
with teens and young adults. Topics
include “Understanding Credit
ake sure your credit some deals in your city. Cities on the Cheap now
Cards” and “Creating a Livable
include more than 40 city blogs in the U.S. and
report is really free. Many Canada, with more in development.
Budget.” You can download
TV commercials with catchy this free 32-booklet by visiting
jingles claim that consumers can get a free www.chaseclearandsimple.
credit report. According to the Federal Trade Save money by carrying big bills. com/Students_Guide.
Keep large bills in your wallet if you want to
Making Work Pay
The new stimulus plan may
put more dollars in your paycheck.
he Making Work Pay credit, one of change without any action on their part. This
the key tax provisions included in the means that workers don’t need to fill out a new
American Recovery and Reinvestment W-4 withholding form to get the Making Work
Act of 2009, will result in more take-home pay Pay credit reflected in their take-home pay. Frugal Tips for
for millions of American workers. Though all eligible taxpayers will need to claim
Available for tax years 2009 and 2010, the the credit when they file their 2009 income The Environment
Making Work Pay credit is 6.2 percent of a tax return next year, the benefit will generally
taxpayer’s earned income with a maximum credit
of $800 for a married couple filing a joint return
be spread out over the paychecks they receive
beginning this spring and continue until the end Reduce
and $400 for other taxpayers, but it is phased of the year.
out for higher income taxpayers. According According to CNN Money, taxpayers may
to the IRS, most workers will qualify for the want to be careful that they are not getting • Use energy-efficient appliances.
maximum credit. Because the credit is refundable more money then they are entitled to through Visit www.energystar.gov for more
(people can get it even if they owe no tax), most the Making Work Pay credit, which may affect information.
low-income workers will also qualify for the full future tax returns. Specifically, people that work • Don’t leave the refrigerator door open as
credit. multiple jobs may want to ensure that enough you decide what you want to eat.
Taxpayers will not get a separate, special check withholding is held to cover the tax for the
mailed to them from the IRS like last year’s combined income. Also, married couples that • Take shorter showers to conserve water.
economic stimulus payment. Payments will file jointly may want to check that they will • Turn off lights and appliances after you
appear in smaller increments in the paychecks not surpass the $800 allotment. The IRS has an use them.
of taxpayers. The IRS urged employers to online calculator at www.irs.gov/individuals/
implement this process on April 1, 2009. page/0,,id=14806,00.html to assist taxpayers in • Repair all leaks. According the U.S.
Eligible workers will get the benefit of this figuring out the amount of withholding. Environmental Protection agency, a
leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons
It may be normal to experience these
feelings, especially if you recently enrolled in
a debt settlement program. As time goes by,
you may begin to prioritize your expenses and Reuse
distinguish the difference between needs and
wants. When you recall some of the previous • If you do not plan on using
purchases that you made on credit, you may household substances such as cleaners
realize how frivolous they were. Your closet may and paints, give them to a friend or
be overflowing with trendy clothes that were neighbor instead of disposing of them.
out of style by the next season. That shiny new
car eventually depreciates or breaks down. You • Wash and reuse all dishes and eating
bought a living room set during a “No Interest utensils. Avoid using Styrofoam and
for Five Years” sale and a year later you are tired paper plates on a daily basis.
of looking at the color. • Donate all unused items to charity.
As you work towards paying down your You may not have any use for these
debt, you may not be able to buy new items on things, but they could help someone
Beauty always promises, but never a whim, but you can still occasionally pamper else save money.
gives anything. yourself as long as it does not stray too far from
• Use all of your items to the fullest
your spending plan. You may also consider less
~Simone Weil capacity. Purchase new stuff only
expensive alternatives or use creativity to breathe
when it is absolutely necessary.
new life into the items that you already have. For
mages of beauty constantly surround us. example, plant some inexpensive and readily-
Attractive actors and actresses entertain us available annual flowers to beautify the exterior
on television and in the movie theatres.
Beautiful homes catch our eye as we drive
of your home this summer. Find colorful fabric
to cover and disguise the color of the couch.
through town. We envy the shiny new vehicle Visit secondhand shops to find unique furniture
that our neighbor just purchased. These beautiful treasures that you can paint or refinish. All of
people often become our role models while the • Participate in recycling programs in
these projects can involve the entire family.
fancy cars and stunningly decorated homes serve your community.
Speaking of family, consider activities that are
as our definition of beauty. In fact, we may even easy on the wallet. For example, host a family
have acquired a lot of our debt because of our • Separate all recyclables according to
board game night, designate one day each week your local guidelines.
repeated efforts to beautify our lives. when the family goes out for ice cream, or plan a
You may now understand that paying off debt bicycle ride at a local park. Ten years from now, • Cash in aluminum cans and steel at
does require some sacrifices. Because buying parents and children are more likely to cherish local recycling centers in your area.
beautiful items may not be an option at this these experiences than that shopping spree to
time, this may depress you or make you long for buy a new summer wardrobe. In other words, • When possible, purchase recycled
a lifestyle in which you were able to indulge in find ways to experience life’s beauty without products. (ex. paper, toner cartridges,
nice things with the swipe of a card. spending a fortune. packaging, trash bags)
a $100 advance payment for your services. You’re
Financial Job Scams then instructed to withdraw $1,900 in cash from
your bank account, take it to a particular store
to have the funds wired to a person in Canada.
Rise in a Bad Economy Later, you’ll go home and fill out an evaluation
of the store’s money-transfer service. Eventually,
the cashier’s check you deposited will be returned
as counterfeit, and you will be responsible for the
money you withdrew from your account.
he economy may be slow, but thieves and you’re responsible for the money. For more
may be using these times to take information about work-at-home scams and a
advantage of unsuspecting individuals. complaint form, go to www.IC3.gov, a web site What can you do? To learn more about
The FDIC wants consumers to be aware of some established by the U.S. Department of Justice common financial frauds and how to protect
common job schemes being reported, followed and the National White Collar Crime Center. yourself, visit www.mymoney.gov/scams.shtml,
by tips that may protect you. a site dedicated to financial education and
sponsored by the FDIC. You can also research
Mystery shopper scams: It’s common for
companies by visiting the Better Business Bureau
Work-at-home scams: Thieves prey on businesses and consulting firms to pay consumers
web site (www.bbb.org).
people who have lost their jobs or need extra to shop at their retail locations or dine at their
Trust your instincts and be cautious before
cash by sending unsolicited e-mails and running restaurant. The mystery shoppers are then
you commit to any work-at-home job that
advertisements on the Internet. The ads offer required to submit confidential reports about
may seem too good to be true. If you want to
flexible, easy part-time jobs that allow you the experience. But fraudulent individuals are
work at home, determine what your strengths
to work at home. These jobs usually involve cashing in by setting up fake mystery-shopping
and interests are as with any other job search.
a lot of pay for doing very little. Examples programs that look very real, including job
Then, try to find ways that you may be able
include processing payments or shipping items. applications and professional-looking web sites.
to earn extra money at home. For example,
According to the FDIC Consumer news, a lot They are then convincing new hires to wire
consider baby-sitting or pet sitting for families
can go seriously wrong with these supposed money using funds from their own checking
in your community. If you
employment opportunities. This company account. Here’s a typical
have computer or data-
may steal your identity and commit fraud scenario according to FDIC
entry experience, consider
by obtaining your bank account and Social Consumer News. Your first
using your home computer
Security numbers, perhaps as part of a fake job assignment as mystery shopper
as an employment tool.
application. Or, you could face major losses if is to deposit a $2,000 cashier’s
Companies who ask for
your new boss requests that you deposit a check check into your bank account,
money in order to provide
or electronic transfer into your bank account supposedly to cover a $1,900
you with work should trigger
and wire funds out of your account. Later your purchase you’re about to make
a red flag.
bank tells you that the original deposit was bogus for your new part-time job, plus
The Road to Financial Freedom (RTFF) is published by The Premier Institute for Financial Freedom. While articles in the RTFF 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.
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