NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Losing weight or swearing off a certain food is usually top of mind this time of year. But Howard Schwartz, executive communications director of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau, has a few resolutions to help keep money in your pocket.
1. Read All Terms and Conditions
Resolution number one? When making a purchase at a store or online, read all terms and conditions.
“Terms and conditions constitute a contract,” Schwartz explained. “You’d be surprised how many people have disputes with retailers or financial institutions because they weren’t aware of what the limitations or exclusions were in the terms or conditions.”
That also pertains to those so-called “free” trials, which can end up costing you more in the long run.
“If you don’t put a note in your calendar reminding you that the free trial is going to end, the next month you can find that the price of whatever it is you’re trying is going to go up,” Schwartz said.
2. Avoid Doing Business at the Front Door or Over the Phone
The second New Year’s resolution consumers should make in 2018: To avoid doing business at the front door or over the phone.
“If somebody is soliciting business in the neighborhood, that doesn’t give you the opportunity to do your research, so don’t bow to any kind of high pressure sales tactics such as this is a one day only offer,” Schwartz explained.
He says the vast majority of scams happen over the phone.
“Our caller ID is not reliable so we don’t know who we’re giving our information to,” Schwartz said.
3. Check Your Credit Report
Third on the New Year’s resolution list is to check your credit report.
“It will be one of the first places you’ll see if you’re the victim of identity theft,” Schwartz explained.
Looking at your report can also help you find ways to improve your credit score, such as by closing accounts you didn’t realize were still open.
“We’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three agencies every 12 months,” Schwartz said.
4. Do Preventative Home Maintenance
Lastly, in 2018, resolve to do preventative home maintenance.
“You might want to start off by getting your furnace cleaned, getting your air conditioner in order,” Schwartz explained.
A little work up front, can keep those systems working, and prevent any unexpected breakdowns.
“It will save you a lot of fear, a lot of headaches, and it will save you a lot of money in the long run,” Schwartz said.