Mortgage Lender Calling Every Hour All Day Long!


Dear Mary: We are one month behind on our mortgage payments and plan to catch up this month. We have told our credit union we will pay half on the 1st and the second half on the 13th. This will bring us current. They call all day, every hour. When we answer they say they have to call us constantly until the amount due is paid. That is their policy. I say this can’t be true or allowed by law. It seems like harassment. Cindy, Maryland


Dear Cindy: I can certainly understand your frustration, but I can understand your lender’s policy as well. I know of no laws they are breaking by calling you at reasonable hours during the day. (You may be confusing this with laws that protect you when a debt is turned over to a  third-party collector.)

Look, when you signed the original loan document, you promised to make your payments on time, every month, in accordance with the agreement. You failed to do this. It’s not the end of the world, but you have to look at this from their standpoint.

If you broke your promise to make a payment on time, why should they believe that you will keep your promise to catch up on the 1st and 13th? If you didn’t have the money last month, what makes them confident you’ll have it this month in addition to your regularly scheduled payment?

Rather than feeling entitled to paying late on your terms, why not consider this through their eyes?

Untold thousands of people in this country have decided to walk away from their mortgages. But do they tell the lender this fact? No. They stop making their payments and then lie when the lender calls. They remain in the home until the lender can make it through the complicated and expensive maze called foreclosure. The statistics are staggering. Many people manage to eek out years of making no payments, while remaining in the home.

You missed a payment and that’s a red flag for your lender. Frequent calls are keeping them at the forefront of your every thought, which you have to admit is pretty smart.

Here’s an idea: Tomorrow, call them before they can call you. Be kind and once again express your remorse for running late. Tell them exactly the day and time that you will be bringing them money, even if you’ve told them a dozen times. Then keep your promise. Show up in person. And be grateful for their long suffering.

Dear Mary: Several years ago, I began following your advice use cash, not credit or debit cards for day to day purchases. On paydays I’d stop at the bank and withdraw enough money to last until the next payday. I then challenged myself to have some of that money leftover in my purse, which would then go into a piggy bank at home.

I just want to thank you because this has really worked well for me. I am way ahead of their game. I still don’t use debit cards for purchases―only cash. I feel like I have won and all from a lesson learned from you several years ago. Keep up the good work. We’re still listening! Carol, California

Dear Carol: Your letter just made my day. Thanks for writing.

Get Prepared One Tip at a Time


The idea of emergency preparedness is a good one. Every family needs some kind of plan in the event of an kind of disaster that could disrupt the normal course of life. But where to start? Hopefully, these quick tips will do the trick to get you unstuck and on your way to being prepared.

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Water storage. You don’t have to live in “hurricane” country to get hurricane prepared. Disasters can hit anywhere which means water could be in short supply. For flushing toilets and showers, line 30-45 gallon garbage cans with those large contractor plastic bags available at home improvement stores. Then, fill the garbage cans with water. Most people forget that three weeks without electricity means three weeks of no water if your provider has not attached a generator to pump water to houses. 

Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared


If there is one thing most people take for granted it is food. US supermarkets are always well-stocked and we don’t think much about how all that food gets there. When pushed to consider it, I wager most of us assume there are huge warehouses somewhere filled with enough food to feed the nation for some unknown period of time.


The truth is, as a nation we have little to no warehousing backup in the event of a supply shortage. Our concentrated supermarket supply system uses a technology known as JIT (Just-in-Time), a method made possible by computers and the Internet.

Here’s how JIT works: Instead of every supermarket needing a warehouse to store large quantities of food to be sold locally, computers keep track of inventory, placing relatively small orders daily. This precludes the need for massive warehousing. Retailers know their orders will arrive “just in time” to keep the shelves filled. 

So, You’re Getting a Tax Refund!


Discovering that you’ll be getting a tax refund is certainly not the worst news you’ve had in your life. In fact, it’s easy to see a tax refund as some kind of gift from the universe. But here’s the truth: It’s part of your paycheck that you should have been getting all along. Plan now for how you’ll manage it or your refund could evaporate into thin air. You have options. Choose well.


1. Treat it like a paycheck. Give away 10 percent, save 10 percent and put 80 percent into your household account.

2. Stash the whole thing. Your Contingency Fund or Freedom Account—or both—are the likeliest candidates.

No-Fail Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts


They’re convenient and, we’re told, more healthy. But there are few things quite as boring or more difficult to prepare well than boneless skinless chicken breasts (BSCB).


Here’s the problem: Chicken skin helps to keep chicken moist and the bones add flavor. Remove both and what do you have? The potential for dry, tasteless, tough chicken. But not to worry. Here are two foolproof methods to prepare BSCBs so that they come out moist and tender every time—provided that you follow these instructions exactly.

Help Available for Family Going Through a Difficult Time


Dear Mary: I have been a fan for more than 15 years. Thanks to following your advice over the years,  we have paid off our house and we are currently two cars loans from being completely debt-free. Recently my teenage daughter was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer and the bills are piling up. We are having to travel back and forth to Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville and we live in South Carolina. Do you know where we can get help with these expenses? There are only a few doctors that treat this kind of cancer. I appreciate your help and advice. Thanks and God bless. Barb, email

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Dear Barb: Take a look at “Local Organizations and Funds” at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital website. You’ll find many resources for families in your situation, including Jade’s Fund that helps families of children undergoing cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital with everyday living expenses that typically fall behind when a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, requiring a parent to stop working.

I am so sorry you are facing this challenge. My prayers are for your daughter’s soon and full recovery from this horrible disease. Thanks for being such a loyal follower through the years. 

Tips to Make Cooking Fun and Rewarding


I remember my grandmother saying, “If we didn’t need food, we’d all be rich!” This may be true. But then, a life without food would be a little less pleasurable. Still, there are so many ways to make great food cheap, make perishable food last and the grocery budget stretch like nobody’s business.

Enjoy today’s tips, filled with practiced wisdom for practical solutions to make cooking and brewing coffee fun and rewarding for you and your family. Bon appétit!

ONE LOVELY CUPPA. If you love coffee as much as I do and have never tried a gadget called Aerobie by AeroPress you are in for a delicious surprise. Aerobie is manual and the cheapest, easiest, fastest way to make a really great cup of coffee. And yes I do mean just one cup of perfectly brewed coffee at a time. Aerobie is small enough to keep  one in your desk drawer at the office and another at home. Can’t break the $4-a-day Starbucks habit? This could do it. For me, Aerobie makes such a superior cup of coffee, breaking that habit’s a cinch.

HEAT THE MUG. Tired of that first morning cup of steaming hot coffee cooling off too quickly? Do this: As your coffee is brewing, fill your coffee mug with water and heat it to boiling in the microwave. Pour out the water into a dirty dish or pan that needs to be soaked, and replace with hot coffee. You’ll be amazed by how much longer the coffee stays hot. 

Chromebook: Inexpensive and Awesome


You may recall a few months ago I wrote about the new inexpensive laptop computer series that is sweeping the tech world called, “Chromebooks.” I’m still onboard in a big way.


These little laptops that run on Google’s Chrome OS are great budget-friendly computers that can meet the needs of many people, especially those who don’t need all of the bells and whistles that come standard on computers with much higher price tags.

With the popularity of Chromebooks spreading, multiple manufacturers are getting on board, like Samsung, HP, Acer, Toshiba, Asus and Dell. Machines range in price from $199 for the minimal Acer C720, $279 for the gorgeous  HP11 and the 13″ Toshiba and $299 for the Acer C720P with a built in touchscreen and extra hard drive space.

That pricing pretty much blows me away because I still remember paying $2,400 for a fax machine. Ouch!