Living On Credit Cards

About 2 months ago, Linda and I decided to go back on the envelope system for all of the parts of our budget that we aren’t able to automate.

English: Money seized during

English: Money seized during “Project Coronado” by the DEA. Going in “La Familia Michoacana” article. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reason we’re doing this is because we’ve been consistently over budget when we do all of our spending on our credit cards.

The reason we switched back to using our credit cards is because it’s a royal pain in the butt to always make sure we’re carrying enough cash for groceries and gas and date night and fundraisers and cover charges, etc.

It’s still a royal pain in the butt, and we still suck at it.

But one of our envelopes is labeled “This went on a credit card” and is used for those times we forgot to grab cash before heading to the store.

In the last two weeks, that’s $500 that we forgot to bring with us.

Cash sucks.

I’m tempted to go back to using the credit card for our primary spending. ¬†Yes, we are consistently over budget, but it’s not terrible….for some odd definition of “not terrible”.

We generally seem to have about $1000 left on the card after making our last monthly payment every month. ¬†Every month. ¬†The overall balance never grows, it’s just hanging out $1000 over what we have budgeted to be paid automatically on the card.

That’s a bad thing, but….

Since I make a payment every couple of weeks, the interest is never assessed on that balance. ¬† In the last year, we’ve paid exactly $0 in interest, without any funny balance transfer deals.

By my calculations, that means our credit card has given us $1000 for free.

If we pay that off and get strict about using cash, won’t that mean our free $1000 would have to evaporate?

I like free money.

That also means that the total interest we paid in 2014 is $672.91, all to our mortgage. ¬† Even if we have a small balance we carry, we’re not paying interest on that debt, and–worst case–we could raid our savings to make it vanish tomorrow. ¬† I’m tempted to make that happen, but our savings goals are more important to me that paying back the free money.

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Making the Most from Your Home Theatre with Window Treatments

Home theater projection screen displaying a hi...

Home theater projection screen displaying a high-definition television image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once upon a time home theatres were only reserved for the rich and famous – the equipment and rooms necessary were just far too expensive for your Average Joe. Now, the landscape has changed and with projectors and all of the other core essentials being more affordable, home theatres are more popular than ever before.

Rather than pointing you in the direction of the latest equipment, we’re instead going to talk about another way that you can boost your home cinema experience. The windows in this room can make or break your movies, even though they are often left until the very end of a project. However, make a bad choice in this¬†this regard and the whole expense associated with your home cinema will have been for nothing.

Your window treatment decisions should mainly revolve around your viewing preferences and the type of room that your system is located in. If we start with the latter, if your home cinema happens to be basking in glorious sunlight for most of the day, it goes without saying that you’re going to suffer from the dreaded screen glare. Right in the middle of the best scene in the film, you’ll be hit with a glare that means “part two” will have to follow the day after.

In the above instances, new blind technology is your best friend. Turn to something like a solar shade to eradicate the beaming rays that blind your screen and tune into your movie without any disruption at all.

The above solution assumes that you actually want a bit of natural daylight streaming into your home theatre. Of course, some people might not want to rely on this.

It’s these instances where a more traditional treatment enters the picture, like a blackout blind. As the name suggests, these are able to eradicate all natural light that would otherwise be flowing into the building, to leave your room blanketed in darkness. In other words, your home cinema has just mimicked the setting of the traditional high-street cinema. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Depending on the type of room that your system is based in, there are other options. For example, a lot of people decide to install their home cinemas in the basement, completely out of the way from the rest of the house. In these instances, where the room temperature tends to drop, it might be worth considering a blind that can retain some of the room’s thermal efficiency. Insulated shades are one of the best choices and do exactly as their name suggests.

Already, the window treatment options for your home cinema are starting to become endless. As you’ve probably been able to see, this is a room which relies heavily on its blinds or curtains and making the wrong choice can ruin your whole viewing experience. Just ask yourself what you actually want from the room, and what the room requires. Answer these two points and your home cinema will be the real deal.

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What is the financial prize for winning the Super Bowl?

When you win the Super Bowl, you get a big ring and your team takes home a giant trophy. But for most guys out on the field, there's a bigger prize waiting elsewhere. There are financial incentives associated with winning the big game. Some of them … [Continue reading]

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Extra Money? What Do I Do With Extra Money?

A couple of months ago, I started a new job. The new job has bonus potential every month, andgetting that bonus is largely under my control. Effectively, if I'm not a total slacker, I'll get about $500 every month, but it's not … [Continue reading]

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