6 Questions to Financially Get to Know Each Other

This topic has been blatantly stolen from Budgets are Sexy.

1) How do you spend: cash, debit or credit? I use cash almost exclusively.  I live in Minnesota and have two small children, so bundling the brats up to go inside the gas station to pay is nuts.  Gas stations get the debit card.   Online shopping, or automatic payments set up in the payee’s system are done on a credit card that gets paid off every month.

2) Do you bank online? How about use a financial aggregator (Mint, Wesabe, Yodlee, etc.)?  I bank online.  I use USBank for my daily cash flow, INGDirect for savings management and Wells Fargo for business.  I used Mint strictly as a net worth calculator and alerting system.  I use Quicken to manage my money and a spreadsheet for my budget, but I really like the quick, hands-off way that Mint gathers my account information and emails low balance alerts.

3) What recurring bills do you have set on autopay? Absolutely everything except daycare, 2 annual payments, and 1 quarterly payment.

4) How are your finances automated? I use USBank’s billpay system, instead of setting up autopayments at every possible payee.   This gives me instant total control and reminders before each payment.   The exceptions are  my mortgage, netflix, and Dish.  My mortgage company takes the money automatically from my checking.  The other two hit a credit card automatically.  Our paychecks are direct-deposited and automatically transferred to the different accounts and banks, as necessary.

5) Do you write checks? If so, how often? Once per week, for daycare.  Occasionally for school fundraisers.

6) Where do you stash your short-term savings? I have quite a few savings accounts with INGDirect to meet all of my savings goals.  For the truly short term, I add a line item in Quicken and just leave the money in my checking account.

Who’s next?


Budget Lesson, Part 5

I’ve explained my budget in some detail already.  See these posts for the history of this series.

Now, I’m going to go through each section, reviewing ways that I can reduce, or have reduced, my spending.  I’ll be starting with my monthly payments.

  • House Payment – I’ve mentioned that we have a small house payment.    A few years ago, when the interest rates dropped to almost the lowest point they reached in that particular cycle, we refinanced and got in under 5%.   There is nothing to cut.  We won’t refinance again, and the loan will be paid within 7 years, according to the lender’s schedule.  I’m aiming for 4 years.
  • Netflix – We’re on the 2 DVD/unlimited plan for $13.99.  We could drop down to the single DVD plan, but I’m worried that will trigger a rash of movie-buying.  2-at-a-time scratches that itch well.  I don’t think we’ll be reducing this plan in the foreseeable future.[Continue Reading…]

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanuchristmakwanzivus.Family and travel. No posts today.Make the most of the holiday. … [Continue reading]

No comments yet

Make Yourself Accountable

Everybody knows the reputation New Year's resolutions get for being abandoned in under a month.  Following through with your saving and budget goals can be difficult.   There are thousands of strategies for keeping your resolutions, but I've found … [Continue reading]