Hello my dear readers. I'm writing you today from a beautiful, cloudy, glorious autumn day here in southern California. Like many of you, I read a lot of blogs. There are some very popular blogs about living frugal, thrifty, on a fixed budget, etc. It's great that people share their knowledge as a means to help others. Lately, I find that some of these "ideas" are a bit short sighted. You need to give yourself a chance to "think outside the box". Here's some of my ideas to add to this list . . .
Everything in life might not be roses, but there are always ways to improve. I worked for a bank for too, too many years. My husband (and I) still have his original checking account he opened over 45years ago! But, we have numerous checking accounts and we pay no monthly service charges. If you pay a monthly service fee, ask your bank how you can avoid this. Many times, it's a matter of keeping a minimum balance. Also, if you have all your investments in one place, you can quality for a higher tiered account; thus not paying any fees at all for either your account, checks, wire transfers, etc. And, check with you bank to see if you can get an ATM card with no fees whatsoever. I have one that doesn't charge me for international ATM fees. No fees at all! Last, my number #1 tip for banking is to set up online banking. OMG, for me this has been a lifesaver. No more do I have to drive to the bank to deposit my checks. I pay all my bills via my bank's online bill pay. There are many of you out there that will say "no way". I know because I thought this way a few years ago. But, let me tell you, it's so, so easy. And, it saves me time, money and it's a lifesaver especially when I'm overseas. I can pay everything or anyone via my online bill pay from my bank. And, best of all, it's FREE.
I know that the clouds can sometimes block our "sun" so that we can't see ahead of us. Credit cards can be a blessing and a curse. I feel these past 20 years or so, they are a true predatory animal the way they "attack" people to apply and have numerous credit cards. I was brought up by parents who were raised during the depression. They always had a little "nest egg" put away for a rainy day. They were extremely careful with credit. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. My husband and I have been fortunate to have the same mindset. Do I have credit cards? Yes. My credit card(s) have taken the place of me writing checks at the grocery store, or retail store. But, the difference is I always pay my balance in full each month. I never ever accrue interest charges or late fees. Speaking of fees, there are many cards out there that may have a small annual fee but the upside is they give great points hence for mileage or other. Also, if you travel overseas, look for a card that doesn't charge you for international transactions. And, if you are a frequent traveler, you might want to check out American Express Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both of these cards have great rewards plus free airport lounge access throughout the world. The bottom line is, use your credit card as if it's coming from your checking account. Don't overspend since you need to pay the bill "in full" at the end of the month.
Speaking of a rainy day, it's nice to have a little something tucked away just in case you need it. One of the ways to do that is to take out a "whole life" life insurance policy. Especially if you are young and reading this blog. My husband took out one years ago and paid his premium in one annual installment each year. The policy has grown so that now it pays it's own premium from the proceeds it earns each year. As you know, the premium is based on your age. Hence, the younger you are when you take out a policy, the better off you are. It's great if you are young, take out a whole life insurance policy, pay the premiums, watch it grow and when you get "old", VOILA, you can sit back and enjoy the proceeds! And, after so many years, your policy will accrue what is called "cash value life insurance", CVLI, which means you can take out this money from your policy. It's a win/win situation. Find a reputable company and go from there if you're interested.
I love getting a bargain on anything! I hate to pay full price for anything unless it's an item that never comes on sale. Do you ever get those flyers in the mail for "zero" interest? Like from Home Depot or Lowes? I have accounts at both places and seldom use them except when one of my rentals needs something. The other day I had to buy a new refrigerator for one of my units (the one we're selling and needed it to look updated). Yup, $1,100 for some fancy refrigerator from the big box store. The upside is that this purchase qualified for a "zero" interest repayment plan. Hey, I'm going to save my money and use their money to pay for this. Hence, I have 6 months at zero interest to pay off this balance. Of course, I'm paying $200/month payment and it will be paid off before the offer ends. If you do this, just be aware that you will need to: (1) take your balance owing and divide it by the months of free interest they will give you to come up with the amount you need to pay each month, (2) make sure you pay the monthly payment you figured in step (1) so that you balance will be paid off before the offer expires, (3) their statement will list a minimum balance due, but if you pay this amount, your item will not be paid off within the set time frame, (4) BEWARE, if you pay the balance off "after" the expiration date, you will accrue all the interest charges and have to pay them! (5) be sure to pay OFF the balance in full before the expiration date! Lastly, are you needing a new car? You can shop around for a new car with "zero" interest rate or maybe .9% or even 1.9%. There's no need to be paying a huge interest fee for a car loan. There's bargains to be had out there. Just be credit savvy to save you money!
My favorite time of year is just around the corner. I already have my fairy lights in my kitchen! Christmas doesn't need to be "bah humbug". I have a beautiful, small family so I always try and do my best to remember all of them at this special time of year. It's so different than when I grew up with cousins and aunts and uncles who gave me gifts. I start my shopping early. And, yes, there are a couple on my list that want the "name brand" item and that's ok. They will get their wish but maybe only get few gifts instead of more. But, you can find great bargains at Marshalls, TJ MAXX and Ross! Yes, believe me. And, right now there are some great deals at Nordstrom and free shipping. The other day I found a lovely shirt for my son-in-law at TJ MAXX but didn't buy it since I wasn't sure of the brand. I came home and found the same brand at Nordstrom! I should have bought it. TJ MAXX and Ross too, carries many name brands. The downside is that you never know what you will find there. But, it's always worth a try. Also, with the holidays approaching many online stores offer great deals on any given day. I found some cute items for my grandchildren at Carters with an extra 30% off and free shipping. Believe me readers, you can find amazing deals at 75% off retail many, many times. I had bought a Christmas t-shirt for my little granddaughter last year after the season to give it to her this year. I wanted one for my grandson, too. Old Navy (which I never shop at) wanted $14.99! For a t-shirt too thin to ever wear in cold weather and which he will only wear for a month. I went to Walmart.com and got him one for $6.47 shipped free to my Walmart grocery store! Sorry folks, but I do not like Walmart except here where I live we have a Walmart grocery which is great for household staple items. Walmart came into the town where I lived for many years in Eastern Washington and wiped out all the small shop owners. It's not my kind of store...I know, I did buy the t-shirt though! :(
Wow, I have rattled on too much this morning and I haven't even had my coffee! Haha. I just wanted to help if I can and at the same time tell you to enjoy your day. Each and every day. We should be so thankful that we can walk and talk. Life is good. My heart goes out to all those innocent people who have lost their lives to the horrendous terror here in our country. Our country truly has to do something to stop this.
With my best wishes,
(Oops, almost forgot! Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes you sent to me!)