Prevent Auto Theft, Protect Your Hearing
Thieves May Read Your Garbage
Do Crooks Have Your Remote Control Codes?

Frugal Living Tips
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March 20, 2003 issue

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Vol. 9, March 20, 2003

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    What you throw away can tell them a lot
    Cheap and effective
    Don't put your hearing at risk
    Theives might have your code
    Count on these savings in April
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Thieves can learn a lot about you through the garbage that you put out on the curb. You should never discard credit card statements, bank statements, etc. without shredding them first. What you discard may have all the information a crook needs to start accessing your account. With just a little information a thief could start to use your credit card account. For example, some companies only require a zip code for security.

However, most companies require more than that. I have found the two most often requested pieces of identification are my social security number and/or my mother's maiden name (with spelling). Therefore it follows, NEVER give out this personal info unless absolutely necessary. Some accounts, such as health insurance accounts, may use your social security number as part of the account number. Shred these statements when discarded.

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The best way to keep a thief from stealing your car is to install a cut-off switch. This device is cheaper and more effective than commercially available alarm systems. A cut-off switch is a switch between the ignition wires inside the car and the starter. It is a very simple device that a knowledgeable mechanic should be able to install easily for about $75-$100.

It works this way: when you turn off your car, you simply flip a hidden switch. This makes it impossible to start your car. You can hide the switch anywhere. Since most car thieves are in a big hurry they will not want to spend precious minutes looking for this switch.

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Noise is another hidden danger than many people are unaware of. Most of us know that a sudden loud noise can damage the ear. For example, President Reagan suffered a hearing loss as an actor when a stage gun went off close to him.

However, just as damaging is continuous loud noise over a period of time. Simple foam ear plugs will dampen noise considerably while allowing you to hear at a much softer level. These cost about $2 for a package of 12. You can usually find them near the gun section of discount stores. They may also be carried in drug stores. You can reuse them for a number of days until they become hard.

Make sure you read the directions about the right way to insert them into your ears. Twist and compress the foam plug very tightly and then insert it into your ear. The ear plug will expand after it has been inserted. I now travel with a set of ear plugs. I find that a lot of music is played much too loud for my taste.

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Some of these modern marvels come with security codes that each person can program into the gadget. Devices such as automatic garage door openers and cordless phones may have a preset code which you must change to your own personal code to gain security . The only problem is that many people never change the code from the one that was preset. A thief can drive around a neighborhood and open a number of garage doors with a remote control using the factory set code.



Easter candy goes on sale after April 20. Look for packages with Easter markings. While the chocolate may be the same as any other box, the price is much lower. Expect as much as 90% off on chocolate and other candy. Stock up for birthdays and anniversaries.

Get free tax record books from banks and tax preparers. Always ask if you don't see them.

Some early spring clothing may go on sale at close-out prices. Fruits and vegetables: asparagus, artichokes, avocados, bananas, beans (green & wax), celery, grapefruit, nectarines, pineapples, onions (bermuda), radishes, rhubarb, spinach, watercress.


    is used by the national media, such as:
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    Interview -- July 2002
    Cut Clothing Costs
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  • Editor, Rick Doble interviewed by WTVJ (NBC) Miami, FL, May 2002
  • Editor, Rick Doble is under contract with Penguin Books to write a book tentatively entitled Breaking the Price Barrier
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