Biz Bits: Small steps keep financial resolutions within reach

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Keeping resolutions is the hardest part of making them. If you're like many, 2013 may be the year of getting your financial house in order. For some, that may mean getting out from credit card debt or paying off a student loan; for others, it may mean setting aside more for emergency savings or for retirement.

Whatever your financial resolution, keep in mind that even the smallest, simplest steps can add up over the course of a year to some sizable savings. If you're looking for a few ways to hold onto extra cash, here are five tips to trim your household budget without feeling too big of a pinch:

1. Get rid of unused memberships: Make a complete list of all your memberships and their associated annual fees. Objectively assess how often you use them. If you haven't visited the gym, the museum or that website in ages, then cancel your membership and pocket the savings.

2. Try borrowing: If you haven't been to your local library lately, it might be time for a reintroduction. It's easier than ever to borrow books, magazines, DVDs and even e-books, with many libraries offering convenient online hold services that allow you to request items and receive notification as soon as they're available.

3. Consider a cash-back service: Let's face it, no matter how stringent you are about saving, spending for necessities is inevitable. Why not make it work for you? In addition to cash-back services now offered by many banks and credit card companies, online sites with free membership can provide additional cash-back muscle and get you money-saving coupons and deals.

4. Review your cellphone plan: Are you paying for minutes, text or data you never use? If you're locked into a contract and are paying for more than you need, consider flexible no-contract plans that let you select a plan that meets your needs and change as often as you need without penalty. Be sure to understand any early termination fees with your current provider before making the switch; if the fees are exorbitant, it may be wise to wait until your contract is up.

5. Avoid late fees: If you're notorious for burying your bills and finding them well after their due dates, consider setting up automatic bill payment if your bank- offers the service free of charge. Avoiding late fees keeps more money in your wallet and can help your credit score, too.

- Brandpoint

BBB Watch

Consumers from Alaska to Florida and points in between have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau alleging that they have had unauthorized charges made to their debit and credit cards, and that they have received harassing phone calls from Waka Network Inc. located in Des Plaines, Ill. On its website the company describes itself, in part, as managing memberships of consumers and merchants for promotions, information matching and loyalty reward programs.

"The Better Business Bureau has received 83 complaints in the last two years. This large number demonstrates a 'pattern of complaints' as many consumers allege that the company contacted them repeatedly. Some complainants describe being charged the membership fee after they cancelled," according to Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. 

Because of the increasing number of complaints, Waka Network, Inc. was contacted by the BBB in June 2012 to discuss the claims being made by consumers. Many allege that for a $2.99 fee they were promised they would receive either $10 Walmart gift cards and/or $100 dollar gift cards (for Waka Network's online store) at no charge. However, in many cases the consumers allege they never signed-up for the promotion or did not get what was promised. There has been no response from the company.

"Waka Network has a F rating with the Better Business Bureau," stated Bernas. "BBB requested that the company provide a 'plan of action' on how they would eliminate the issues outlined in the complaints. However, the company ignored our requests."

For more information about Waka Network Inc., go to

The List

According to, here are the most valuable NBA teams:

1. New York Knicks

2. Los Angeles Lakers

3. Chicago Bulls

4. Boston Celtics

5. Dallas Mavericks

Tech Talk

Last year’s hit video “Gangnam Style” by Psy has made more than $8 million, according to Google. The video has the record of being the most-watched video on YouTube of all time.

GateHouse News Service