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?

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Homeschooling adventures…

I’ve already mentioned that my daughter will be homeschooled for the 2017-2018 school year. We’re both looking froward to this new chapter in our lives. Homeschooling isn’t ‘new’ to us since we have family, friends and acquaintances that homeschool their children.

My daughter will be doing a mix of online homeschooling and picking up a few classes at our local homeschooling co-op. Interestingly enough, the education background for her new teachers far exceed those of her traditional school teachers. Most have a Ph.D., while that doesn’t necessarily mean that their classes will be better, in other ways it will be since with her online learning it’s learning at her own pace and 1:1 via Skype and email conversations. With the co-op, the maximum class size is twelve students which guarantees the children have more interaction with their teacher. Up until this point, my daughter has attended a Lutheran school. Her largest class there was about sixteen students, so that’s still small compared to some traditional schools.

Since my daughter loves Math and Science, we can tailor her classes to focus on these subjects through a variety of regular courses and electives that are offered and she can work on strengthening other areas such as Public Speaking.

 

Getting back into skin care

One area that I do slack on is skin care. Yes, I cleanse and moisturize my face, but that’s all I do. I don’t wear any makeup and outside of using the base carrier oils during the warm months and butters like cocoa and shea during the cooler months, I don’t do too much else.

Since I am getting older. I’m 46, I guess I should change that a bit and so I ordered some more rosehip oil and sea buckthorn seed oil. Both are excellent for ‘mature’ skin. Sea buckthorn oil will also turn your skin a lovely shade of orange (temporary) and so I typically was using this at night, both oils are loaded with lots of nutrients that your skin will appreciate. A few years ago, I used it and it did an excellent job eliminating the hyper-pigmentation that I’d occasionally get with my brown skin. Well, I’m starting to get hyper-pigmentation again and so I ordered the oil and this time, I’ll continue to keep it into my daily routine.

Since my life has been hectic, I definitely have been letting some things slide, but I do realize that I need to make the time to include them, because I do need to include myself into the equation also. I’ll try to remember to post pictures of the hyper-pigmentation and the fading process that occurs when I focus on my simple routine. Checking my website, I specifically wrote about my skin care maintenance back in 2013. I had no idea it had been that long ago.

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.

Eight Grade Graduation: School is over

My daughter successfully completed the eight grade. My goodness, where has the time gone? Sometimes, it seems like just the other day when she was born. Her eighth grade graduation was last Thursday. Besides her daily chores, she’s spending her days relaxing.

Asus – 2-in-1 15.6″ 4K UHD Touch-Screen Laptop – Intel Core i7 – 16GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M

For her graduation gift, her grandparents (my parents) purchased her a laptop computer. It wasn’t something that I was going to purchase for her, so I wasn’t expecting that at all. She’s really enjoying the computer and has already started drawing on it and researching topics that interest her.

Another year

Today is my daughter’s fourteenth birthday. Sometimes, it feels like ‘just the other day’ when she was born. It’s so wonderful to see how much she’s grown and seeing her talents shine. She’s  good listener and her friends tend to come to her when they just need to talk. They know she won’t share their information and that she will be honest with them. Lying is  big pet peeve of hers, as with me. I pray that she has many more birthdays.

Harpers Ferry: Vacation on a Budget

This fall, my daughter and I will be going on a short vacation. It’ll be about two to three days and will land on the days when I don’t work out of the home. I recently picked up an additional job that has me working out of the home for a few days each week. Why? I have long-term goals, which I’d like to cash flow, one which involves relocating in five years.

Initially, I was going to surprise my daughter, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this would be a perfect opportunity to hand the vacation planning reins over to her and let her choose the place… on a budget. A budget can be as big or as small as you want. In our case it’s fairly small, $500. It will be cash flowed so no hanging debt, just how I like things. I told her the the state, Virginia and she surprised me and told me she would not mind visiting Harpers Ferry. I haven’t been to Harpers Ferry since I was about 14. I love visiting historical sites and am pleased my daughter seemingly shares my enthusiasm. She really enjoyed her class trip to Colonial Williamsburg, VA. She wanted me to attend and so I accompanied her as one of the parent chaperones.

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry is a historical landmark recognizing the last stand of the abolitionist, John Brown.

John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry (also known as John Brown’s raid or The raid on Harpers Ferry) was an effort by armed abolitionist John Brown to initiate an armed slave revolt in 1859 by taking over a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown’s party of 22 was defeated by a company of U.S. Marines, led by First Lieutenant Israel Greene. Colonel Robert E. Lee was in overall command of the operation to retake the arsenal. John Brown had originally asked Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, both of whom he had met in his transformative years as an abolitionist in Springfield, Massachusetts, to join him in his raid, but Tubman was prevented by illness, and Douglass declined, as he believed Brown’s plan would fail.

I gave my daughter the details. I wanted the place to be nice and cost under $130 nightly. I wanted to stay in a place that had a kitchen, so a condo or cottage. Having a kitchen means that we can prepare our own meals. I most likely will prepare the meals in advance, so the only thing we have to do is heat the meals and eat! Preparing your own meals, also reduces the cost of what you will spend. It also means the meals will be nutritious and delicious. I love to cook. She accepted the challenge and not only found several places, but a few were under-budget by at least $200! From her list, I did find a location that seemed perfect for us. It had excellent reviews and was owned by a retired couple that have a house on the premises. The cottage where we’d reside used to be home to dairy cows. Don’t worry, it’s doesn’t look like a cow’s home. The couple grows and harvest grapes which they then have processed at a local winery. They also have sheep! As a spinner, you know I’m thrilled. The only drawback is they’re about 20 miles away from Harpers Ferry. My daughter found a few other places also, but this is the one that really jumped out for us. They have a large pond on their property and that was a huge draw for her, also it’s secluded. We both love that. I’ll be following up with the owners very soon.

Outside of family, this will be the first vacation we’ve taken together. We’ve done day trips, but no overnight trips for just the two of us. I’m not counting the school based trips where they were away for a few days or the La Leche League Conference, that I attended with her, when she was only a few months old. We’re both looking forward to this time away and of course we’ll be armed with some portable crafts, excellent walking shoes to check out the historical sites and of course there will be lots of laughter.

Resource

John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry