Category Archives: Budgeting

A new (to me) Planner: Franklin Covey Day Planner

In my last post, I mentioned that I was acquiring a planner and here it is, says hello to my ‘new to me’ Franklin Covey (Classic) Day Planner.  After a lot of research, I decided that my planner of choice would be a Franklin Covey and although I was impressed with the videos and written posts about them, I decided that I didn’t want to spend that type of money to purchase a new planner. From my research, new this planner cost over $100 however, I was able to purchase it for under $25. Yes, that included shipping. Where did I purchase my planner? Ebay of course! I went on the website and found exactly what I was looking for and it had the added bonus of this cute hangtag.  Do you see what it says?

“Attitude is everything!” Isn’t that the truth, if we’re constantly filled with negativity, is it any surprise that the ‘world is against us?” 🙂 The ‘world’ really isn’t,  but at times our negative attitude pits us against ourselves whether we know it or not. But back to the planner. It arrived at my house quickly. I won the bid for it on Friday and Monday it arrived!

This Franklin Covey Classic day planner was in amazing condition and after wiping it down with a soft cloth and adding my own homemade leather conditioner, it looked as good as new. I’ve had this planner for almost a month and I must say that I’m thrilled with this purchase. I use it daily. Currently, I am on the lookout for a Franklin Covey Monarch day planner. Why would I want one? For my 8″ x 11″ documents that I don’t want to fold in half when I give information to clients, I never fold their paperwork, however, what they do after I give it to them is their prerogative. Another bonus for the Franklin Covey planners is that they will last years since they only thing that “needs” to be changed is the paper and since I’ve been making my own inserts, I save even more money.

 

It’s Amazon PrimeDay!

It’s Amazon PrimeDay!  Amazon has been promoting this day for several months. There are a limited amount of products available for the items that are reduced and you have to make the purchase in a few short hours, so in some cases you have to act quickly, otherwise the items will be sold out.

Today, I’ve seen many Facebook groups, sharing what they purchased. Of course, others responded within the comment section to show what they’d purchased. Some people were undecided, since they ‘wanted’ the items but were unsure if they’d make the purchase since it wasn’t in their budget. Did I purchase anything? Yes, but I’d budgeted for those purchases in advance, so I was fine. I had planned on buying one item this past weekend, but then I remembered that today was PrimeDay and so I held off until now to see if I could receive a better deal. I didn’t for that item, but I did for the other.

The cleaning sprays that I purchased for my Toyota Prius weren’t reduced more, but…

the sketch pencils that my daughter needed for an upcoming class were!  An additional $7 was knocked off the price.

How much did I spend on Amazon PrimeDay? $26.34. It was budgeted and I came out ahead. You want to know something?  It’s the first time I’ve ever purchased anything at Amazon on  PrimeDay. I’ve been an Amazon Prime member since the service was offered. Were there items that I wanted to buy yesterday, but didn’t? Of course, but those items were ‘wants’ and although I COULD have made the purchase without going over my budget, I chose not to do so. I figured those items that caught my interest would be good deals for someone else.

Towards the end of this week, I’ll be cleaning the Mass Air Flow sensor in my Toyota Prius instead of taking it into the auto mechanic to take take care of this for me. This past weekend, I drained/refilled the oil in my Toyota Prius. Another way to save money for car maintenance since the work was done by myself. I typically do most of my own car maintenance, some jobs I save a few dollars and others I can easily save over $100. 😉 To ensure that I have my 2003 Toyota Prius for a long time, I stay on top of doing the maintenance when it’s recommended. Often times, I do it at least a thousand miles before the suggested maintenance.

New Credit Card: 666, the mark of my credit score

As mentioned, in May of this year, I acquired a credit card. I hadn’t had one for years. As l already mentioned in earlier posts, I stopped using it because my debit card did exactly what a credit card did with the added bonus that it came directly out of my checking account, just how I liked it to be.

For several years, I’d been using my debit card and I was fine with that, however, I started thinking about the possibilities of it not being accepted at some places. Now granted, I had never run into this issue, but I’m the type that typically has a back-up plan for everything (that’s just how I roll) so I must say I’m surprised that I went without a credit card for so long.

Approximately 14% of the population has no credit score whatsoever, and is labeled as credit invisible. As a result, these underbanked individuals will have difficulty obtaining new lines of credit.

I Have a Low Credit Score Because I Didn’t Use a Credit Card

When I went to apply for a card, guess what I found out? There was absolutely no credit history about me to report and I received a message (like the one quoted above) stating that my credit was invisible? I pay my bills on time and have no debt, but it still had no credit history of me within the system. I have read about this from some homeowners that don’t use credit cards and I suspected this might be the case if I ever decided to acquire a credit card.

 Personal Responsibility: I pay my credit card bill weekly

But as you can see, with the chart below, I make payments on my credit card frequently. It’s about personal responsibility, I don’t spend what I don’t have, even with a credit card. So yes, I treat it exactly as cash or a debit card.

As you can see the first month, I only used it for a few purchases, however, in June I increased the amount I purchased and this month that has increased even more. Sorry credit card companies, but you won’t make any interest off of me for carrying a balance. As mentioned many times, I pay my weekly and have a zero balance. I love paying for my credit card purchase as soon as it’s used. That might sound ‘odd’ to some, but being debt free makes me happy.

However, I’m not fooling myself into thinking they aren’t making anything. You see, when I make a purchase using my credit card, the merchant is charged a fee. It would make sense for the merchant to factor this into their listing prices, so I don’t feel bad about that at all. My credit card doesn’t have an annual fee so I’m not ‘paying’ that way. Also, my credit card doesn’t have an annual fee.

I have heard some say that people tend to spend more with plastic than with cash. I honestly don’t. My purchases are always planned and I don’t go over my budget. I am a natural saver. My debit card should arrive any day now, but I’ll still be using my credit card for all my purchases. I’m thinking I won’t use my debit card at all since it was compromised. You can read about the attempted unauthorized use of my debit card issue here.

What if  I lose my job or am ill?

As mentioned, I’m a natural saver so I do have an emergency fund in place to prepare for the unexpected, so my bills will still be paid, regardless. That goes back to personal responsibility and preparing for the unexpected in advance, so you aren’t scrambling when those unfortunate circumstances happen. I don’t indulge in my wants. I rarely go out to eat at restaurants. I much prefer cooking and it saves additional money that I can put aside to planning for our future. Also, when it comes to entertainment, most of it is free. This all ties into me being able to effectively set aside money for the unexpected. It’s just smart and being a wise steward, just like Joseph from the Holy Bible. Also, I’m not dependent on one source for an income, that’s the importance of creating multiple income streams.

I Budget

I use YNAB (You Need A Budget) for my budgeting needs. I’m enjoying it immensely. I still keep a budget on paper too, but YNAB is great since it gives me the opportunity to digitally record transactions when they occur. By the way, you can try YNAB free for 34 days by clicking on this link. YNAB contacted me a few months ago about joining their program and I was honestly thrilled, but I didn’t act upon it until now. This is an affiliate link. You can search my website to see what I’ve written about YNAB. After the trial, if you do decide to use their service we both receive a free month of YNAB! I manually enter all my transactions into YNAB. I simply like that level of control, however, you can allow it to link to your bank accounts.

Resources:

  1. Does Your Credit Score Matter if You Don’t Do Debt?
  2. Average Credit Score in America
  3. Thank You To People With Credit Card Debt
  4. How Paying A Credit Card Works

Debit Card: Unauthorized access

Wasn’t I just writing that one of the reasons I decided to get a credit card was in case of incidents happening out of my control? Well, last week, I had unauthorized access to my debit card, which is tied to my checking account. The good news is my bank stopped the fraudulent activity instantly, contacted me and nothing was removed from my account. They immediately froze the debit card, so no money was lost! This past Thursday, I went into my local back and signed the ‘hot form’ so I could receive a brand new debit card.

It’s a bit of a puzzle to me how the person gained access since that card has been used at the same places for years, so perhaps one of those businesses had to be compromised? Also, the past few months, I have not used the debit card. I’ve been paying for all of my purchases with my credit card that I acquired in that same month. The credit card is new to me since I haven’t had a credit card in years, not because of poor management, but because I didn’t see the need for one with a debit card.

Credit Card: I don’t spend what I don’t have

I just have one credit card, and as I mentioned earlier I acquired it recently. Before, I hadn’t had a credit card in about thirteen years. I was responsible with it when I did have it back in the day and I only had it for two years. With my credit card, I treat it no differently than my debit card, meaning if I don’t have money in my checking account, well I’m not making the purchase. There’s always money in the account.

 

I pay my credit card bill soon after making a purchase

But back to my credit card, I pay the amount owed to the credit card the same day or within a few days after the purchase. My final backup was setting up auto-payment so if something happens to me and I’m unable to do what I normally do, it’s still automatically paid in full before the monthly billing cycle. So regardless, my credit card balance will be zero every single month. This is an effective way to avoid credit card debt and eliminate finance charge, because every month I will have a zero balance. No, I won’t slip up and get into credit card debt. I’m wise and disciplined enough to know, what I purchase, I also owe. This again, is one of the areas where I disagree with Dave Ramsey. I disagreed with him even before I acquired another credit card, not everyone is irresponsible or will purchase items with money they don’t have. Come on Dave, give some of us more credit than that. I’m also taking advantage of the ‘points’ that some credit cards companies offer. I’m using those points to acquire free stuff. The beauty of it is that the credit card company isn’t making anything off of me since I pay the credit card of every single month. Lol, I love it and that’s winning with credit cards.

Fun Fact: Credit card companies refer to people (like me) that pay their entire credit card balances off in full each month, DEADBEATS. Because they make no money off of us. Well, in this case, I’m proud to be a deadbeat.

 

Resources:

What does it mean if the bank Hot Carded My Debit Card?

So… I have a credit card

I recently wrote about the fact that I haven’t had a credit card in years. In fact, the short period of time that I did have one (perhaps one or two years?) I didn’t use the card that much and simply stopped using it since the debit card was doing the same thing, the only difference was the money was coming directly out of my checking account.

However, credit cards had been on my mind lately. I know they can be used responsibly and paid off monthly before an interest charge takes effect. This is what I did, when I did have one. I learned that from my parents and Mike mentioned being the same way and also taking advantage of points that are offered by some cards. Guess what? Credit card companies refer to people that pay off their balance in full monthly as deadbeats.

In my thoughts about credit cards, I’d been thinking about worse case scenarios where I was unable to use my debit card, but that hadn’t happened to me… yet. However, I had heard stories of it happening to others. Also troubling was reading of accounts where some companies looked at your credit history to determine employment. While that really isn’t something I’m thinking about now (I work for myself and out of the home) perhaps it might be a concern in a few years if I choose to work somewhere else. I’ll be enrolling in college this fall to complete the courses needed to complete my nursing degree. Although, with that field, it most likely won’t be an issue finding work, but that revelation just gave me more to think about, and then it happened… I was at the Crown gas station using my debit card, as normal, and it was declined. Hmm? I’d just used it to purchase groceries at the store. I knew there was money within my account because I stay on budget. Also, quickly checking my phone confirmed that yes, nothing crazy was going on with my bank account. The money was there, my card was just not being recognized. Sighs… About a week went by and I decided to start researching cards and finally selected one. I’ve had it for a little over a month and I use it similar to my debit card, but there’s one additional step. Once the payment is made on my credit card, I log on to my account and pay the money the same day. Having read that it is wise to leave a certain amount until your credit card statement has posted, I have done that, but the next day the bill is paid.

So, now if/when I do run into issues with my debit card, well the credit card is there. Actually, when I’m out I now just use the credit card, since it carries additional security features that my debit card doesn’t offer I only started doing that about a week ago. The reason is simple, a FB’s friends checking account was compromised and instead of receiving their money instantly, they had to wait several days. Now for myself, that would be a non-issue, I have a budget, adhere to it and have an emergency fund, but it’s the principle behind that. It still feels a bit odd using a credit card, but I just have to go through one extra step, getting online to send money from my checking account, but I’m willing to jump through that additional hoop.

This is where Dave Ramsey and I part ways on our way of thinking. Even when I wasn’t using credit cards, his approach to them, they are evil seemed a bit over the top for me. Basically because he assumed that no one would be responsible with a credit card and I know that isn’t true. I was, my parents were and there are many others who are. Of course, having a credit card and using it wisely, is another great teaching moment for my daughter. It’s the first time I’ve had one since she’s been around and I’m showing, by my example, how they should be used properly. Pay the bill in full each month so you don’t have any interest charge and a nice little bonus is free points.  Sorry Dave, it’s highly unlikely that I will ever forget to pay my card bill. Auto payment would take care of that if I’m away from the computer for a month, but me being away that long is highly unlikely.