This blog is a way for me to share hard learned lessons about money with those who are just starting out on their own. I hope it's a way for you to avoid making the mistakes I made, and to benefit from my experiences

Friday, September 22, 2006

Get Free Bill Pay Service

If you want a full featured FREE Bill Pay Service, look at AOL. America OnLine (AOL) is restructuring from a membership model to a ad supported model. In doing so, they are making many of their services free to all. Their Bill Manager Plus is a full featured Bill Pay system, integrated with their Email. All you need is an AOL account, which is free too, just go and sign up for one

Here's some of what it will do:
Receive Secure E-Bills from over 4,400 support billers and bankers.
Receive and Pay Bills from your inbox
Automatically Add Bill Due Dates to your calendar
Track Monthly expenditures with easy to read charts.
Spending Alerts -- designed to protect you from fraud.
Credit card and banking alerts enable you to monitor suspicious activity and large transactions
Cell phone minute alerts allow you to avoid monthly-minute overage fees from your cellular provider.

AOL is also offering other free services, including 5GB of storage, free safety and security software, local voicemail, picture storage.

AOL is no longer the stodgy dial-up company with their own weird software. It is definitely bringing on the heat and is offering hard core competition to Yahoo, Google, and MSN. We consumers can only benefit.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Great Deal on Prepaid Wireless

I just ran across a company offering a great deal on Prepaid Wireless. The company is STI Mobile. They offer prepaid plans at 12 cents a minute or less. Most prepaid plans have gotcha's like all the minutes expire in 30 days or whatever. I could could find no such conditions on their web site, other than you have to make or recieve at least 1 call every 60 days to keep your number active, and you must maintain a positive balance on your account. They use the Sprint 3G network, so you have nationwide coverage.

If you are like me, and only use your cell phone for 30 or 60 minutes a month, this is an incredible deal, compared to most of the major monthly plans that generally start at $29,99 + fees and taxes. It's also a good way to keep your kid in line if they have a cell phone. Buy them a new prepaid card every month and let them juggle the minutes. If they run over, they're out of luck, unless they want to pay the difference.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Precautions for Dealing with Debt Collectors

There are many scavenger debt collectors buying old debts and then sending out collection letters to anyone with a same or similar name, and then dinging your credit or forcing you to pay a debt that isn't yours, when it's crunch time like when you need to close your home loan. Rules for dealing with debt collectors, courtesy of radio consumer advocate Clark Howard:

  1. If you receive a collection letter for a debt you do not owe or are disputing, always replay in writing via Certified Mail within the 30 days allotted. Otherwise they can ding your credit report. You tell them that the debt is not yours and to go buzz off. You also tell them you will sue them if they put that debt on your credit report.
  2. If you make an agreement to pay a debt collector for a debt you do owe, ALWAYS get that agreement in writing before you pay them. Do not pay them anything unless you get it in writing. Do not even make a good faith payment until you have the written agreement in hand.
  3. Never give a debt collector your checking account number - EVER! They'll cheat you in a second.
  4. Do not give them a post dated check. Again, they'll cheat you.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Get Rid Of All Those Credit Card Offers

The major credit bureaus routinely sell your credit info to all sorts of companies, and those companies send you those annoying credit card offers in the mail. How'd you like to stop those annoying offers cold? Then go to

This site is run jointly by the 3 major credit bureaus that will prevent your info from being sold to those company's who send you those unsolicited offers. I've done it and it works great. I've gone from getting 4 or 5 of those offers a week, to 0.

You will have to give some private information, like your Social Security Number. You shouldn't trust me, but trust me, it is OK to enter that info here. If you doubt this, check our Clark Howard's web site at and do a search for OptOutPrescreen. You'll find out it's legit.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Contest Winner Announced

Philip is the winner of the Best Web App contest for recommending Google Notebook. Unfortunately, he was also the only person to enter.

I guess I'm going to have to do more to get greater exposure to the blog.

Philip will be receiving his Amazon gift certificate by email shortly. Congratulations Philip.