How to File a Consumer Complaint

Editor's note: Knowing how to file a consumer complaint is a necessary part of being an informed consumer. Here's one experience from a Get Rich Slowly contributor with a list of tips and tricks anyone can use.

A few months ago, I decided that I needed new furniture. I didn't want new furniture. My 3-year-old couch and loveseat were in great condition. On the other hand, I began to realize that I had once again been blurring the lines between being cheap and being frugal.

Since we are now free of consumer debt, my husband generously offered to upgrade our current furniture. I was stoked. After shopping at a few local stores, I quickly fell in love with a reclining sectional sofa. And this wasn't just a reclining sectional, it was the fancy power-operated model. This meant that I wouldn't have to endure the jarring motion of manually reclining it myself. Of course, that probably doesn't sound like a big deal to someone who doesn't have back problems. Yet, those of you who have experienced recurring pain can probably attest to what a big deal it really is. Being in chronic pain can make almost everything a burden, and it is often something small that has the potential to set off some sort of episode. Anyway, I was thrilled to be offered the option of "push button" reclining and I eagerly bought the couch on the spot.

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Lowering expectations for Christmas

Personally, I begin to panic every year as the holiday season approaches. It's not because I don't love Christmas. I really do love the holiday season, in general. I just cringe at the thought of all of the money that gets spent unnecessarily, especially mine. And as holiday spending has steadily grown out of control, expectations have come along for the ride. What is now considered to be a reasonable amount of presents is completely different than it was when I was a kid. Nowadays, children are getting showered with big gifts, expensive toys, and things I never would have dreamed of receiving as a child.

My mom once told me that, when she was young, she typically got an orange and some candy in her stocking on Christmas. Seriously. And she was thrilled to get it. She also reminded me that she and her siblings would each get only a few small toys as well. The thing is, this isn't just some story about walking 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways. It is actually the truth. Of course, it happened 60 years ago, and I cannot believe how times have changed. Kids certainly expect a lot more gifts now, and it doesn't take much to figure out why things have changed so dramatically.

Doesn't it seem like the holiday season creeps up on us earlier every single year? It is no longer surprising to see stores decorated for Christmas in early November... way before Thanksgiving! This year, several stores even announced that they would open for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day, and they made many customers upset in the process. Continue reading...

More about...Budgeting, Giving

Preparing for the inevitable

There are few occasions in life that anyone dreads more than the death of one of our parents. After all, our parents gave us life. They most often raised us. As most of us grew and had our own children, our parents became grandparents. We have watched them age and grow...and no matter what we say, or do, or day they will die. It's inevitable and there is nothing that anyone can do to change this unfortunate fact of life.

Still, there are steps that we can take now in order to make this unavoidable event easier. Planning ahead can lighten the burden when the time comes. Being prepared and knowing what the next steps will be can give a person peace of mind and security. Having a plan can reduce the incredible stress you may be under when the time comes.

Working in a mortuary has helped me to see planning ahead can truly make this unfortunate experience easier to digest. While it may be a difficult conversation to have, it is important to talk to your parents about their wishes. Having this conversation can prevent surprises from arising when the time comes. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a family scramble to put together the pieces of their parent's finances, all while trying to grieve their loved one. The truth is that failing to be prepared for a parent's death can create a lot of unneeded stress and grief when you are the least equipped to deal with it. Make things easier by finding out some details ahead of time. Although you don't need to know everything, here are some things that every child should know as their parents age.

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Churning credit cards for a fun profit

Note: We're not encouraging people to go out and sign up for credit cards, especially if you have debt or plan to carry a balance on a card. (The interest you pay will wipe out any rewards benefits.) But if you can control your spending and pay your bill on time and in full every month, Holly's money hack may work for you. Also keep in mind that your credit score takes a hit each time you open a card, and whatever balance you have on your credit card as of the statement closing date will be reported to the credit bureaus. If you pay the balance in full before the statement closing date, your balance will be reported as $0.

Almost two years ago, we began our journey out of debt. Like the average American family, we had car loans, student loans, and consumer debt. At one point, we were making minimum payments on several credit cards and a loan I took out to buy a Kirby vacuum. I'm serious.

However, getting pregnant with our second child made us realize that we needed to get our finances together quickly. Once we committed to new financial goals, we cut out nearly everything from our life that was "enjoyable." We said goodbye to cable TV and dinners at restaurants. We quit shopping for fun and only went to the store to get groceries and absolute necessities. Our new budget was cut down to the bare much so that I hesitated to buy almost anything.

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Being a landlord: Is it worth it?


In 2006, my husband and I bought our first rental property. We put 10 percent down ($8,500) on a small brick ranch in the same Midwestern community that we call home. I had gotten my real estate license several years prior, so I had some basic knowledge to build from. We still weren't 100 percent sure about what it meant to be a landlord, but we thought that it would be a great opportunity to build long-term wealth. We also hoped that the home would provide a passive income stream for us once it was paid off. A few months later, we converted our starter home into our second rental, and we bought and moved into our third home, where we currently reside.

So, there we were - 27 years old, with two rental properties and high hopes that everything would turn out as planned. Another landlord we know gave us a copy of his lease to use, and we got lots of advice from other friends who own rental property. We placed ads in the local newspaper and signs in the yards of both homes. Luckily, they both rented out quickly for the amount that we asked without much effort. We were young, dumb, and in love...and we thought that we were real estate moguls!

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More about...Home & Garden, Investing, Side Hustles