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Money

Rita R. Robison Newsletter

This week, I wrote the 100th issue of my newsletter Helpful Money Tips for You.

To celebrate, instead of offering my usual 10 tips, I offered 100.

To sign up to get my free newsletter, go to http://eepurl.com/gkZ6JH. You'll get it in your email.

Here are the 100 tips from my celebratory newsletter this week:

Cars
 
1. Review this list of the best of cars of 2021 before you buy.
 
2. Check out this list of the best used cars for teens.
 
3. Check out this list of new cars for teens.
 
Credit
 
4. Call the customer service department for your credit card company to get a fee waived or address a suspicious charge.
 
5. Take action when there’s a huge data breach to protect yourself from identity theft.
 
6. See this list of seven ways to improve your credit score.
 
7. Freeze your credit if you’ve lost your wallet or have been the victim of a data breach.

8. Don’t hire someone to fix your credit score.
 
9. Be aware Doordash and Instacart may issue their own credit cardswith rewards and incentives.
 
Education
 
10. Check out these tips to help college students save money in 2021.
 
11. Be aware many for-profit colleges have made deceptive claims about future job opportunities for students.
 
12. Be aware getting married could increase your student loan payments.
 
Electronics
 
13. Check out this list of the best gadgets for 2021.
 
14. See what Consumer Reports ranks as the best laptops, smartphones, video game subscriptions, and streaming services for 2021.
 
15. Do research and compare prices for smartphones because it’s an expensive purchase and there are differences among the phones.
 
16. Be aware LG will stop manufacturing smartphones in July, but will provide updates to phones for three years.
 
Energy
 
17. Check out these tips for using appliances more efficiently.
 
18. Save money by reducing energy use.
 
Finances
 
19. Track your spending so you’ll have information on which to base your budget.
 
20. Use these tips to spruce up your finances for spring.
 
21. Review your finances to help figure out how to make your money work for you during the pandemic.
 
22. Make a plan to get out of debt.
 
23. Consider hiring a financial coach if you need help to figure out how to get out of debt.
 
24. Select a financial advisor to help you meet your financial goals.
 
25. Pick out a system for organizing your finance records and get it done.
 
26. Be aware debt relief companies can’t request and receive fees before they perform their promised services.
 
27. Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors.
 
28. Be aware the IRS will soon begin sending refunds to people who paid taxes on unemployment benefits due to the American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11.

29. Check out these suggestions for how to stay calm during a market fluctuation.
 
30. Consider these tips on how to make better financial decisions.
 
31. Read about why you should contribute to an IRA in addition to your workplace 401(k).
 
32. See if your local library has one or more of these best personal finance books for 2021.
 
33. Listen to podcasts from this list of the best personal finance podcasts of 2021.
 
34. Use this worksheet if you’re going to borrow from or lend money to family or friends during the pandemic.
 
Financial institutions
 
35. Compare prices for fees before you choose a bank.
 
36. Be aware some banks have opened unauthorized accounts and signed consumers up for unapproved services and products.
 
Food
 
37. Check out these 35 tips for reducing your food costs.
 
38. Get tips on how to eat healthy on a budget in 2021.
 
39. Find out which grills are the best for $400 or less.
 
Funeral costs
 
40. Know your rights related to funeral costs.
 
41. Be sure to get information about funeral costs before you sign anything.
 
Gardens and yards
 
42. Get creative to plant your first garden on a budget.
 
43. Check out this list of food that is cheaper to grow yourself than buy.
 
44.  Find out which walk-behind lawn mowers are the best and worse.
 
Health insurance
 
45. Be aware a new law ends surprise medical bills next year.
 
46. Don’t be pressured to buy or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment.
 
47. Compare health insurance policies to select the best one to meet your needs.
 
Housing
 
48. Be aware listing and sale prices for homes are at all-time highs.
 
49. Look for new ways to buy a house if you’re a younger first-time buyer.
 
50. Use Zillow for the best realtor reviews.
 
51. Get information on mortgage and rent relief during the pandemic.
 
52. Check out these tips for how to stage a house to sell.
 
53. Learn about five renovations that don’t increase your resale value.
 
54. Be careful using Angi’s (formerly Angie’s List) because some advertisers are given preferential treatment.
 
55. Don’t raid your 401(k) to pay for a down payment on a home.
 
Marketplace issues
 
56. Watch out for free trial offers.
 
57. File a complaint when you’re a victim of price gouging.
 
58. Be aware of the dangers of using payment apps.
 
59. Read the details for each gift card before you buy to avoid problems.
 
60. Write down or make a cell phone note on the return policy when you buy gifts or make large purchases.
 
61. Keep up on recalls because you can often get an unsafe item replaced or repaired or you can get a refund.
 
62. Be aware loot boxes in gaming are a temptation and a snare.
 
63. Fight back against hidden fees and you’ll often be successful.
 
Memberships
 
64. See if Best Buy’s new membership program with perks would work for you.
 
65. Check out this list of the best Amazon prime benefits for 2021.
 
Relationships
 
66. Be aware dating sites may use fake ads to get subscribers.
 
67. Take a look at this list of challenges if you’re considering a “gray” divorce.
 
Retirement
 
68. Plan for retirement because 29 percent of older Americans have neither a pension nor any assets in a 401(k) or IRA account.
 
69. Be aware millennials need to start saving early if they want to retire like their parents and grandparents.
 
70. Check out these ways gig economy workers can save for retirement.
 
71. Don’t tap into your retirement savings this year to buy necessities or pay down debt.
 
72. Make a plan for your virtual valuables when you’re an older adult.

73. Try to get your mortgage paid off before you retire so you’ll have more income for retirement needs.
 
74. See this list of the five most affordable Caribbean Islands to retire on and two to avoid.
 
75. Consider taking a gap year before you retire.
 
76. Check what’s in a retirement fund as well as how many is too many.
 
77. Use a check list when you're visiting nursing homes or adult family homes to pick out one.

78. Ask your kids if they want to inherit your home and treasured possessions.

79. Avoid these six retirement killers at all costs.
 
Side hustles
 
80. Consider these side hustles that start earning money right away.
 
81. Check out these tips for selling old stuff on social media.
 
Scams
 
82. Watch out for scams when you use CashApp.
 
83. Be on the lookout for coronavirus scams.
 
84. Beware of covid-19 vaccine related scams.
 
85. Watch out for multilevel marketing schemes.
 
86. Be on the lookout for scams related to stimulus payments.
 
87. Know what to look for to avoid charity scams.
 
88. Don’t be fooled by financial scams.
 
89. Watch out for work-at-home scams targeting college students.
 
90. Make sure a scammer isn’t getting employment benefits in your name.
 
91. Beware of scams targeting minors.
 
92. Watch out for phony florists when you order flowers.
 
93. Be aware romance scams are rising sharply.
 
Taxes
 
94. Choose wisely when you select an income tax preparer.
 
95. Avoid these 22 IRS audit red flags.
 
Travel
 
96. Do research to find out what airlines offer the best frequent flyer program.
 
97. Consider RVs and camping this summer to escape covid-19.
 
98. Do research if you’re going on a cruise to save money on what can be an expensive vacation.
 
99. Don’t book a cruise now because refund policies aren’t favorable.
 
100. Check out ways to save money for travel in 2021.

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