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Fast Fixes Now will Save Money & Frustration Later
August, 2011 - Issue #82
For Individuals

Start a Savings Account Today
While we can't stop bad things from happening, we can keep difficulties from turning into disasters. With planning - and a little discipline - you can stash away cash every month and be better prepared for life's inconveniences. One of the easiest ways to get started is to begin having a percentage (or set dollar amount) automatically deducted from your payroll and deposited directly into a savings account. If an automatic payroll deduction doesn't work for you, you can manage your savings yourself using online banking transfers, or consider setting up an auto transfer with your bank. Once or twice a month, have a set amount transferred from your checking to your savings. The hardest part is getting started - but think of it as "disaster preparedness" and know that once you have a couple thousand dollars tucked away in an emergency fund, you will sleep better at night. Tamara Gurney of Mission Valley Bank; Valencia 775-4112 Centre Pointe 753-5680 www.missionvalleybank.com

Know the Signs of Financial Trouble
Here are the signs of financial trouble: You only pay the minimum due on your debts each month; you have used a credit card to buy necessities, such as groceries or gasoline; you have used a credit card for a cash advance at least once in the past year; you are at or near the limit of your credit lines; you are not sure of the amount of your total debt; you have little or no savings; you have skipped a payment on at least one credit card within the past six months; you receive telephone calls from bill collectors; if you were out of work for more than two months you would be unable to pay for your living expenses without borrowing money. Fortunately, debt relief can be just a phone call away. Susana B. Tolchard, Esq. of Law Offices of Susana B. Tolchard; 287-9986 www.californiabk.com

Don't Buy a Lemon
While you can rarely predict a "lemon" vehicle if you purchase the vehicle new, you can reduce the odds of a lemon on used vehicles by doing your homework. Prior to purchase, have any used vehicle carefully inspected by a certified mechanic and by a quality body shop that can tell you if the vehicle has been in a serious accident. If it has been, don't buy it! Go to www.carfax.com to see if the vehicle has a salvaged title. If you see that the title has been transferred more than two times, pass on it. Insist on a written warranty for any used car. Check Consumer Reports to discover which vehicles are reliable and which are not. And, if despite your best efforts, you still find that you have purchased a lemon, you should contact an attorney immediately. Vehicles are major investments which are heavily relied upon to get you and your family safely to your destination. You have the right to be treated fairly, with complete honesty and integrity. Do not compromise your rights and, most importantly, be a wise consumer. Barry L. Edzant, Esq. of Law Offices of Barry L. Edzant; 222-9929 www.valencialaw.com

Get a Prenup
Most everyone is familiar with a prenuptial agreement. However, even with the divorce rate what it is, the majority of the population does not take advantage of prenuptial agreements as often as they should. My favorite analogy for a prenuptial agreement is to think of it as flood insurance. You hope and pray that a flood never happens, but in the instance that it does, the insurance was a one-time cost that saved you a lot of money and stress in the long run. You also have the piece of mind that, should a flood ever happen, you'll be covered. Unfortunately, divorces are much more common than floods. Depending on how complex your finances are and which attorney you employ to draft your prenuptial agreement, the cost for it will vary. However, the amount paid to obtain a prenuptial agreement is minuscule compared to the cost of the average divorce or the average wedding. Obtaining a prenuptial will help protect your current assets and income as well as future assets and income you acquire during marriage. Lovette T. Mioni, Esq. of The Reape-Rickett Law Firm;
288-1000 www.divorcedigest.com

Complain about your Credit Card Interest Rate
Most people are unaware that credit card companies will negotiate with you if they believe that it is in their best interests to do so. A recent study revealed that over half of cardholders who called and complained about their interest rates got an interest-rate cut. Fact: Credit card companies are in a very competitive market. They know that it always costs more to obtain a new client than to keep a current one. Thus, if you have been paying on time, you may be able to re-negotiate the terms of your contract. But what if you are behind in payments and/or your accounts are already in collections? This is where debt settlement may be a good idea. It is a known fact in the collection industry that as time goes on, the ability to collect on a past-due debt diminishes. Thus, the longer your accounts have been in collections, the better your chance of settling your debts for a significantly-reduced amount. For example, it is our experience that creditors will accept a cash offer of 60 percent of the original debt amount. Ray Bulaon, Esq. of Ray Bulaon Law Offices; 866-477-7772 www.valenciabankruptcy.com

For Businesses
Invest in Good Design
It has been said that good design is smart business. Putting your company's best face forward with a strong visual identity gives your company brand a confident image and a presence of success. One of the best investments you can make for your business is to create a look that is on target with what you provide - whether a product or service. Cutting corners in this aspect of your business can lead to a weak assumption about what you do, possibly project an unprofessional aura and ultimately force you to scrap what you have and start over, costing you time and money. Take time to consult on this issue to build a dynamic and consistent visual image that will endure into the future. Steve Dole of SD Creative Services; 287-9230 www.sdcreativeservices.com

Think before your Print
Consider paper stock options. Be open to more than one choice for paper. Why? Because many papers require a minimum number of sheets purchased. This may not be cost effective when running a small quantity. What to do? Ask for alternative paper suggestions. We will find exactly what you are looking for. Run larger orders. Ordering larger quantities will save you money. For example, if your company uses 5,000 envelopes every six months, print them all at one time, not every other month. Why? You pay for wash-ups and set-ups every time you print. Running more at once will save you money per piece. Cory Peterson of Peterson Printing; 255-2846
www.petersonprinting.com

Show your Stuff at the SCV Community Expo
Exhibiting at the Chamber of Commerce Community Expo helps businesses build lasting relationships, yielding a long-term return on investment. If you're a business looking to attract local customers, whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer, this year's SCV Community Expo is your opportunity to stand face-to-face with Santa Clarita Valley business owners and residents. Just imagine, thousands of potential customers crossing your threshold over the course of one weekend. Presented by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce in association with the City of Santa Clarita, the 27th-annual SCV Community Expo (formerly known as the Home and Business Expo) is the ultimate meet-and-greet for all things SCV. Expo returns to the Santa Clarita Sports Complex with easy access via the cross valley connector and expanded parking facilities adjacent to the event. Expo weekend starts Friday, September 16 with the Taste of Expo! celebration, Santa Clarita's largest annual business mixer featuring as many as 30 of Santa Clarita's finest restaurants and caterers. Exhibit halls will be open during Taste of Expo! and throughout the weekend: Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Expo committee is formulating plans to attract the largest crowds ever. Don't delay; exhibitor spaces and sponsorship opportunities fill quickly. Laura Kirchhoff of SCV Chamber of Commerce; 702-6977 lkirchhoff@scvchamber.com
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