Entries from September 2011 ↓
September 30th, 2011 — Frugal Living
I have a lot of good qualities but moving checking accounts isn’t one of them. It’s a big hassle and we both know it.
But you really hurt my feelings this month when you went against the agreement we had. When we opened our account with you 25 years ago, we signed that agreement. You promised we would have free checking and we stuck with you. A few years ago, a sneaky fee appeared on our statement. When we talked, we asked if you remembered those papers we signed. You pulled them out and said “ah yes – now I remember!” Since you took back the fees, we continued with you.
When it happened again this month, my husband and I decided that meeting with you to remind you of your promises was starting to get old. We checked out our local credit union and found that we had been missing out on a lot! Thanks to you, we are now enjoying free Bill Pay and debit card use, interest on our checking (not much but still …) and we don’t even have to buy our checks any more! We aren’t being charged a single fee.
Mr. Bank, you have been our partner for many years. You helped us buy our dream home and raise our family. You’ve seen many checks for mortgages, tuition and shops, services and even charities in our community. We’ve been through a lot together as I know you saw those checks for that traffic ticket and those funeral expenses too.
I wish you the best as we part ways and again, thank you for helping us to find better value in our banking needs.
September 29th, 2011 — Inspiration, Motivation
“This one decision about a car can literally change your life.”
Like finding a great quote that you just can’t forget, this short presentation from Dave Ramsey’s group sums up everything I believe and feel about finances. It’s a 3 minute capsule of Dave Ramsey’s genius combining a little teaching, a viable option, great inspiration and tremendous results. Give yourself three minutes and watch this to the end to get fired up about your financial plan! Make sure you hear the last statement; it’s the bomb!
Drive Free Cars
This changed us forever. We put it into practice several years ago and it’s working for us. We love driving our “free” cars while we watch our wealth grow!
If you haven’t discovered Dave Ramsey, check out his best selling book and his website. You won’t be sorry! We’re debt-free except the house and you can be too!
September 28th, 2011 — Personal Finance
Even with home values falling, it still seems that the dream of home ownership is alive and well for most Americans.
I wish I had read “The hidden costs of home ownership” from CNN Money before we bought our home.
Is it just me, or does it seem like the bank is the landlord but the mortgage owner has to bear all the responsiblity? I think the right rental might be a very smart move!!
September 27th, 2011 — Frugal Living
This week we traveled on business. I had a lot of time to think in the car and realized some savings let you double dip!
Here are a few examples:
- Mowing the lawn yourself instead of paying someone else to do it and instead of paying gym fees.
- Buying a whole chicken (much cheaper than buying chicken parts) and getting three meals from it (roast chicken, shredded leftover chicken for a casserole, and the carcass and roasting juices for a soup).
- If you are single, eating on an expense account/not having to use the groceries you have at home so next week’s spending is less too.
- Drinking coffee that has already been brewed in the hotel lobby and taking the hotel coffee packs home with you.
- Using olive oil that’s already in your kitchen for skin cleansing while giving up your pricey skin care system (my old one cost several hundred dollars and I had to buy the products twice a year).
- Buying chicken breasts at 99 cents a pound, skinning and de-boning them to make ground chicken (a far less expensive alternative to ground beef) and getting to make high quality chicken stock from the leftover bones and skin.
How do you double dip? Do you apply those savings somewhere?
September 26th, 2011 — Uncategorized
Part of your regular routine should be to back up your CheckMATE files.
You can do that easily by making a copy of the folder where CheckMATE resides. I keep a copy on my hard drive and I also keep a copy on an external hard drive (any USB drive works well for this).
I don’t think you can back up your files too much! I back up every time I enter transactions. If you need more details on how to do this, just ask in the comments.
September 25th, 2011 — Frugal Living, Goals
I really make an effort to save money but realized I don’t do such a good job actually applying those savings to a current financial goal.
I’m determined to take action on this! Our current goal is to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible. I found out we are allowed to make extra payments to the principal during the month (we don’t have to wait and add it to our monthly payment). I’m going to use this tip to make sure money we save gets sent directly to the mortgage.
We got a $37 certificate to be used at Costco (a perk for using an American Express card for gas all year). I’m going to use it for groceries and then make sure I send that much to our mortgage lender.
Does anyone have other tips for making sure those savings actually get applied somewhere? I think this is harder to do when you save money on food. It seems like those savings help stretch your food budget and the way prices are going up, we need help stretching our grocery money!
September 24th, 2011 — Frugal Living
I have a ton of allergies and am not supposed to eat dairy, yeast, wheat, egg white or peanuts. The yeast restriction knocks out just about everything you can think of!
We shop by eating food the way God made it. We eat lean protein, veggies, fruits, brown rice and quinoa. Potatoes and sweet potatoes (one of my staples) round things out. Oatmeal and almond milk are my friends.
It really doesn’t cost much to eat this way.
It’s also funny how it works – if I come in starving and see a pot of thick chicken/brown rice/carrot soup on the stove, it looks good and it smells good!
If I come in having eaten out, and see that same pot of soup on the stove, it doesn’t look appetizing at all.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work!!
September 23rd, 2011 — Frugal Living, Motivation, Personal Finance
After I finished college and started working, our finances eased up. We became a two income household and it really helped. We both got a little lax though until I read something from “The Wealthy Barber” that changed our outlook.
The Wealthy Barber, Updated 3rd Edition: Everyone’s Commonsense Guide to Becoming Financially Independent
This book is a great read and it’s crammed with basic knowledge on personal finance. There are also a few golden gems that I never remembered reading anywhere else. One is that if you waste a dollar, you can’t just go out and earn another dollar. Due to the taxes you pay, you have to earn more than a dollar (how much more depends on your tax bracket).
I realized the opposite was also true. Every time I saved a dollar, it was tax-free! Paying off a credit card was like getting a tax-free raise. It changed my outlook and made me more careful. It also helped being frugal be more like a game with a real prize if I played it well.
September 22nd, 2011 — Personal Finance
Mortgage rates have fallen again to new lows.
If you can see that refinancing would save you money and you already had a 15 year mortgage, consider asking your lender for a shorter term. The last time we refinanced to take advantage of lower rates, our banker shared that tip with us. We got a 12 year mortgage and happy danced straight out the door of the bank!
Make sure refinancing makes sense for you – you’ll need to consider the cost to do the refinance (if you refinance with the same lender you may save some closing costs) and how long you plan to stay in your home.
Dave Ramsey offers great advice in his article “Is a mortgage refinance right for you?”
Bankrate offers a refinance calculator to help you gauge if refinancing would put some money back in your pocket: Refinancing calculator
September 21st, 2011 — Motivation
Sometimes you learn the best financial lessons in unexpected places.
Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength
This book taught me to visualize NASA charting a spacecraft to Mars. If the craft got off course the tiniest bit, it would end up far away from its destination. In the same way, small decisions now can take us either closer to, or further from, our financial goals.
I keep saying “just for today”.