Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at www.timesfreepress.com under Local Business.

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If your family is like mine, you’re overwhelmed with records: paper, digital, or a combo.

Q: I’m shopping around for a new car but am really confused by all the ads, sales, “best deals,” and the like. Can you give me a few easy tips that will save me money in the long run? — Annie Auto

According to The Week magazine, thus far in 2014, 10 percent of cable customers vow to rid themselves of this service by canceling their subscriptions.

I think I’ve made a bad mistake. After maxing out my credit cards and receiving many dunning notices, I sought help from a credit repair company. After several months, the company hasn’t done anything to help, and I’m still in bad financial trouble. What can I do now? — Harry Hoodwinked

A couple of weeks ago, I received a notice from Target reminding me of my free one-year Experian offer that allows that credit reporting company to keep an eye on and report if anything funny is going on with my purchases. (The notice is, of course, thanks to Target’s recent data breaching horrors.)

I just accompanied my friend to the Emergency Room, and it was a terrible experience.

ShopSmart, one of my all-time favorite resources, recently printed an article about road rage.

Unfortunately, it’s that time of the year when many of us turn into one, big mass of sniveling idiots, frantically culling through hundreds, if not thousands, of receipts in preparation for that dreaded date — April 15th.

I’ve just received an almost $1,000 bill from a health provider that, between Medicare and my secondary insurance plan, should have been covered. I can’t seem to get anyone explain why my claim was denied. Can you help? — Paul Patient

As readers recall from last week’s column, it’s vital we get our ducks in a row when hiring a cleaning crew who will have access to our home and belongings. Trust is key here, which makes it even more important to research before and during the interview process.

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