Posted in Broke, Freebies

Treasure the moments before they’re gone

Imagine your kitchen has the basics that is necessary to feed you, your dresser has clean clothes, the car has enough gas to get you through the week, the bills are paid for the moment, and you have a job that you can get to. 

But, you’re flat broke until the next payday before the routine starts all over again to get those bills paid and you’re back to this moment again. 

Has that ever happened to you? Sometimes I feel like that’s me, after every payday. 

Why is it so hard to get ahead? It doesn’t help one bit that we live in Hawaii and our cost of living is astronomical, but we still need to really LIVE, right?

There’s the parks that the young ones can run around and play, but that only lasts a few minutes before they require you to join in, too. Reluctantly, I’ll participate a few minutes, but not enjoy it. Why am I not enjoying my time with my son? These moments are fleeting, I need to enjoy it! 

There are many free events of activities we can engage in. But I must get past the idea of how it affects me personally and focus on how I need to be present with my son and treasure those moments. He’s only young once and these are moments I can never get back. 

We may not have a lot of money to buy every toy that my son wants, but we have a few moments to give him. What will he remember when he gets older? What will I remember? Will remember the trips to the store and the toys we bought? Or will we remember that one day we went for a walk and fed the black duck and the white duck?

 

these ducks are always begging for food when we walk by
 
There were five ducks the last time we fed them, but we couldn’t find the others. Feeding the ducks is an experience to remember. It doesn’t cost us anything besides some old, stale bread or crackers that we aren’t eating anyway. 

It’s possible to make memories without actually spending any money. There are often fun activities with the simplest of things that will create fantastic memories for families. Reusing containers and fabrics and creating something new is fun, too.

What do you do to create memories for your kiddos?

Posted in budget, Debt management, finances, Payday

Auto bill pay or calendar reminders to pay?

It’s a relaxing Saturday, a small breeze (here in Hawaii we call it trade winds), it’s a mostly cloudy day (mainly due to that fabulous disruption in our beautiful weather that’s causing high temps and tons of humidity), and I’m sitting in our back porch. With nothing else better to do, I asked Siri, “How many seashells does she sell by the seashore?” A list of websites pop up. Then I asked Siri, “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Response? “Haven’t you got anything better to do?”

As a matter of fact, “Siri, is there anything I should be doing today?” And Siri’s immediate response is to show me my calendar:

  
All the yellow items are books I was planning to be reading but I’m super behind. Green items are bills that are due. “CareCredit?!” I asked out loud to the coconut tree in front of me. Whoa! I’m so glad I added that reminder in my phone! I’m on a mission to avoid bank and credit card fees the rest of the year. I think the bank got enough of my money the first half of the year!

Phew! I was able to get that payment scheduled without any snafus. Now I’m curious if I have anything else due that I failed to input into my calendar. I would mess up like that!

There are some bills on autopay, like tithing, Compassion International, and the electric bill. It means I need to be much more aware of what I spend on due to the need to have enough funds to pay the autopay items. It forces me to be more aware of what’s going on. 

In my current employment, we get paid every other Friday. It has its benefits, but managing for the month by dividing up the bills makes the bill paying much easier. I’m so thankful that I do it all via phone these days. Life is so much more convenient. Maybe too convenient?

My main question is: Auto bill pay or calendar reminders to pay? Which is better? I suppose it all depends on your needs and your bills. Unfortunately I allowed my bills to get out of control, so trying to spend less so I can pay off credit cards is proving more difficult that I imagined.

How do YOU manage your bill payments?

Its a mostly cloudy day
Posted in budget, Debt management, finances

Mint, do you like it?

Years ago, I completed my federal and state taxes online. Towards the end of this tax filing journey, I came across a website, Mint, that suggested the ability to view a budget online through connections with my bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and spending. I noticed it was offered by Intuit, who seemed to run the tax site I was using and I figured it’s pretty safe.

Soon after I found myself with a smartphone and I learned there’s an app for that! So, I downloaded it and started using the app more frequently. But my use with Mint has varied and I’ve deleted it and reloaded it several times since.

You see, I didn’t feel like Mint did what I need. Yet at the same time, there isn’t another app out there that does what I want either and I wasn’t about to pay for an app that doesn’t accomplish what I want. I often end up going in circles and emit seems each time I load it, I find better options with the app. It’s growing on me. 

  In Mint, users have the ability to connect to bank accounts, many credit cards, and users can categorize spending. Mint can show users how money is spent throughout the month. There’s helpful tips for saving, investing, etc. overall, I like the ability to recategorize expenses. For example, whenever I get gas at the Sam’s Club gas station, Mint automatically categorizes the expense as groceries, when it should go under gas. But, not all Sam’s Club purchases are gas, so having the ability to categorize is useful. 

There is an issue with some store credit cards who use Synchrony Bank, though. Synchrony is currently not allowing Mint to connect to accounts, which is personally frustrating since apparently three of my credit cards are now with Synchrony, after previous banks sold their accounts to Synchrony Bank about a year ago. Hopefully, this will be resolved in the next 30 days, says the notice in Mint.

Having visuals with my spending is useful because it deters me from spending unnecessarily. I’m sure there are other apps that have the same capabilities. I have recently downloaded Mint again on my phone in hopes of getting a better grasp on the crazy spending and fee paying that I’ve been wasting money on. 

Do you like Mint? Have you ever used it? Do you use any other personal budgeting apps? Please comment and share your thoughts!