What is the Proper Way to use a Credit Freeze?

I am guessing you have either lost your credit card or someone tried to make an unauthorized purchase using your credit card credentials. An increasing number of people are becoming victims to credit card forgery as things are getting more digitized now. Every website has its own online store and it has become very difficult to trust them with your credit card information.

What is a Credit Freeze?

Credit Freeze is a unique security feature provided by the credit reporting bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These bureaus forbid credit card thieves from getting access to your credit reports. Even third party websites like CreditKarma cannot access your credit reports during a Credit Freeze.

But keep in mind that you are not freezing your credit score(only access to the reports). Transactions done by your other credit cards will still affect your credit score. Your score will get updated as usual but can only be obtained once you disable Credit Freeze.

How to activate a Credit Freeze?

Before you contact the credit reporting bureaus, you need to credit a free account for a Credit Monitoring Service(if not already done). Websites like CreditKarma provide this service without asking you for a penny. Once your account is up and running, you will need to keep in eye on your credit reports and look for any malicious activity in it.

Whether you see any inconsistency or not, the next step is to contact Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion one by one and tell them about your situation. Most likely the will comply with your request and freeze your credit information within a few seconds. To contact them, you just have to fill a form on each of their websites and wait for confirmation.

Equifax

800-685-1111

Experian

888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Transunion

888-909-8872

When is the right time to lift the Credit Freeze?

The right time to permanently lift the Credit Freeze is when you get confirmation from your credit card company that your stolen credit card information is no longer valid. If you are still in doubt, let the Credit Freeze continue and only lift it temporarily.

You will have to temporarily lift it in case of a new job or before applying for a loan. Ask your new employer/bank which credit reporting bureau they plan to pull your credit reports from? Only unfreeze your credit with that particular bureau. No need to contact all three.

A Credit Freeze will not affect your credit score

Even during a Credit Freeze, you are permitted to apply for loans, purchase items you want and use your credit card as usual. There is no restriction at all. The only hassle is you cannot monitor your credit card activity without calling one of the above-mentioned bureaus to temporarily lift the freeze.

Summary

Freezing your credit information is quite simple. Just follow the steps provided in this post and your money will be safe. You should also consider activating various fraud alerts that will notify you in case someone uses your credit card number or social security number to do unethical things. To activate fraud alerts, you just have to contact any of the three credit bureaus and take advantage of this free service.

Guaranteed Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Are you trying out ways to buy bargain-priced foods items to save money on groceries? This post is all about that.

Usually, people just rack up their shopping basket without thinking about how much they are spending. After a single shopping session, it may not seem like a lot of money but you will be surprised by the total amount spent on groceries at the end of the month. It is possible to save roughly $350-$400 per month on groceries by following a few basic principles of frugal living. 

Here are a few guaranteed ways to save money on groceries.

1. Buy whatever is on sale

It takes a lot of planning and tact to save money on groceries. Instead of cooking food that you want to or feel like eating, try to synchronize your palate with what your nearest grocery store has on sale. So, if they have Salomon and Chicken breasts on sale, then your weekly meal plan should consist of these two only. By settling on your choice of food, you can save a lot of money on groceries.

2. Buy in bulk

Buying your groceries in bulk only makes sense if you consume the items within a week or so. There is no point in buying food items in bulk that are perishable and consumed scarcely. Most grocery stores like Target and Whole Foods already know what kind of items can be bought in bulk. So, they categorize them accordingly and mention the amount you can save by buying a particular item in bulk.

3. Avoid the mid-section of the grocery store

To make more money, the grocery store representatives place the items that have a high-profit margin in the middle of the store. Or any area that is visible to the person who walks in through the entrance. There are a couple of reasons behind this. People usually like to look at items that are trending. So, they gravitate towards the center of the store. And, placing items in the center also grabs the attention of people passing by the store.

4. Avoid pre-cut veggies

Not buying pre-cut vegetables and fruits is an easy way to save money on groceries. First of all, pre-cut items are expensive as they may contain preservatives. Plus, there is a packaging and labor cost attached to it which make it even costlier. Why not buy vegetables and fruits in their whole form which are a lot cheaper. 

5. Buy cheap cuts of meat

save on meat

Cheaper cuts of beef have the same amount of nutrients as that of prime cuts. There are numerous techniques to tenderize the had meat. To tenderize the meat, you can cook it in a slow cooker or marinate it for a long time. Another way of saving money on meat is by purchasing the whole chicken or meat with bones; instead of boneless pieces. Buying a whole chicken will cost you just $5.

Summary

Until now you would have had to pay up to $300 for a whole weeks supply of groceries. But by following the above-mentioned tips and tricks, you can do the same shopping for less than $200. Frugality is a way of life and should be implemented in all areas. By being a little frugal you get more for your dollar.

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