Celebrate New Year With a New You

December 30, 2013

Whether you call them resolutions or goals, most people begin the new year in hopes of losing a few pounds, paying off credit or finally snuffing out the cigarette habit.

To get you started on the right foot, follow these suggestions from Better Business Serving® Northern Colorado and Wyoming:

Get more exercise and join a gym: Before signing up, visit a prospective gym at the same time of day you would use it. How crowded, clean and orderly is it? Read and understand the agreement so you know upfront about costs and the cancellation process. Check out gyms you’re considering with BBB at wynco.bbb.org.

Lose Weight: Be leery of extravagant claims for products, supplements or diets such as “eat all you want” or “lose 5 pounds a week!” Check with your doctor to make sure the plan is safe and effective for you. Watch out for free trial offers –  unless you cancel within a certain period, you could continue to get billed for the product or service.

Stop Smoking: Consider different methods that might work best for you. Be leery of guarantees; there may be restrictions, and quitters often have to try more than once or try more than one method to succeed. Get support. Going it alone is never easy.

Get Whiter Teeth: A variety of teeth-whitening products and services are available, all with varying degrees of whitening. If it’s movie-star white teeth you’re after, talk to your dentist for his/her suggestions. Be leery of free trial offers. Unless you know that you want to continue using the product, be sure to cancel the offer to make sure you don’t keep getting billed.

Improve Your Credit Record: Beware the quick fix (“your credit repaired instantly!”) and guarantees. Know your rights. The FTC’s Fair Credit Reporting Act specifies that you get a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting companies. Challenge anything on the report that is incorrect or too old to be reported. If necessary, add your side of the story to the record. If you need help getting your financial house in order, start with BBB’s Credit Made Simpler at bbb.org/credit-management and/or contact a Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Find one near you at nfcc.org.