What did you do to improve your finances today?

This was one of my favourite threads on the old forum, and since there doesn't seem to be one here yet, I thought I'd create one :-)
 

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  • I called Ally Bank this morning and opened a new joint savings account.  Need to still verify and then start the ACH transfer, but it's started.  I figure if our JIC money is just sitting in an account, it might as well make 2% interest as that's twice as much as my credit union's money market makes.  Credit union's savings accounts make minimal interest so meh on them.  We'll leave the credit union account open but will move 3/4 to Ally.  For most big purchases, I'm probably going to have sufficient lead time to transfer the money or put it on a credit card and then move the money.  

    Reply Like 4
  • It's a very small thing, but I set up two goals on my two 0% balance transfer credit cards to pay the balances off before the promotional period ends.

    Reply Like 12
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 5 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Major Not such a small thing! Credit card companies totally bet on people not paying off their balance transfers before the promo runs out, so congrats on making a plan to not let that happen!

      Reply Like 5
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Drill I agree. That's massive.

      Turquoise Major Good luck beating The Man at his own game!! :)

      Reply Like 2
  • I continue to read all the emails that look like they might be about money owing, and discovered two more sneaky little subscriptions about to renew. Not so little, actually, they came to nearly $220 between them.

    Cancelled! :)

    Reply Like 9
      • Marsha
      • Getting ready to retire
      • ratz
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g I never knew how many of these sneaky subscriptions (loved your words) I had until I started YNAB.  Now I'm rounding them all up and gonna evaluate whether to keep or cancel.

      Reply Like 1
    • lindsay_g Nice catch!! Or should I say save? ;)

      Reply Like 1
  • Bit the bullet and rented out the guest room to an acquaintance.  Not thrilled about losing the privacy or the ability for out of town friends to stay, but that $1k/month is going straight to the line of credit (our only non-mortgage/non-student loan debt)!

    Reply Like 9
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      NotMyName 

      My SIL and her spouse have had one or more roommates their entire adult lives.  It's how they can afford their California mortgage and all the travel they like to do.  Nothing wrong with it but good boundaries and respect for same on both sides will make or break the experience.  

      Reply Like 4
    • Marsha
    • Getting ready to retire
    • ratz
    • 5 mths ago
    • 5
    • Reported - view

    I finally got on the Meal Prep bandwagon.  Instant Pot to my aid & I cooked a whole chicken that I will use 3 different ways this week for all my dinners.  There were so many juices after I cooked the chicken, I had enough to make the quinoa taste really good...not the bland icky stuff you eat because it's good for you.  It was actually tasty. Plus I saved the skin and bones in the freezer to make a bone broth after the next whole chicken I cook.  It was $7 spent well!  Plus I'm going to get some pretty healthy & tasty meals.

    Reply Like 5
      • Voracious Reader
      • YNAB broke is not the absence of money, but rather the judgment that it has something more important to do.
      • Orange_Cheetah.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Marsha 

      I really believe for most of us, cooking is one of the top things we can do to keep our finances and our bodies healthy. Great job!

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Voracious Reader Marsha

      Getting fast food for my family can cost $30.  A sit down meal can cost us $100 easily.  I spend about $27 a day on food and feed two adults and the three walking appetites disguised as my children.  We can't afford to eat out but we eat very well because we cook from scratch a lot. 

      Of course, we also have the benefit of lower cost bulk purchases.  However, even when we didn't have the walking appetites, we'd buy 5lb of chicken or beef and re-bag them into 10 portions.  The extra cost of freezer bags and time is well reimbursed by the $1-4 savings in the per pound cost of the meat.  Meal planning is a great cost savings.  Make larger recipes and freeze some - in the long run, you will save money and have a larger variety of meals with no additional cooking time.  We do this also because I get tired eating the same thing day in and day out.  

      Reply Like 1
  • Paid one of my credit cards the moment the bill arrived, rather than waiting until the payment date. I'd budgeted the money in YNAB using the goals set up yesterday, so I knew I could comfortably pay it and not worry about the money :)

    Reply Like 5
    • Turquoise Major That's awesome!!  I do that too - I figure since I'm buffered a month ahead I send out all payments on the 1st of the month regardless of when they're due.  Then when the credit card bill cycles, I pay it immediately in full.  I know some people like to hold on to their money as long as they can, but for me I love not owing anything and not having those bills weighing on my mind.  

      Reply Like 3
    • Whiskey Mama Yeah, I've always been of the mindset of keeping the money in my account until it's due as it's earning me interest, but I've just come to the realisation that I earn so little in interest, the piece of mind that the bill is paid is worth more to me than a couple of pennys!

      Reply Like 3
      • eloquentz
      • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
      • eloquentz
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Major I did this with the hydro bill yesterday. They hadn't even emailed me that my bill was ready yet. I logged in to see if it was there and it was and I just paid it.

      Reply Like 2
    • Voracious Reader
    • YNAB broke is not the absence of money, but rather the judgment that it has something more important to do.
    • Orange_Cheetah.3
    • 5 mths ago
    • 6
    • Reported - view

    So... on the 20th of May my apartment flooded. For the third time. First I lived in my landlady's dining room. When that became unworkable, my beautiful silver kitty and I moved to a hotel. Eventually got the news from her that the apartment won't be habitable in the near term and I will have to move. I was renting the basement apartment because 1) my landlady is a true jewel, a kind and gracious individual that was a blessing in my life and 2) I really had an unbeatable price point to live in the area that I do, especially with a pet.

    Have been searching for potential living spaces as the hotel bills are adding up rapidly. Unfortunately everything available this month is more expensive than if I could wait until fall. Today I bit the bullet and made an appointment to meet with a potential roommate tomorrow. I really prefer having my own kitchen and bathroom, but if I sacrifice this preference and we manage to work something out for at least the next 6 -12 months or so, I can get into living arrangements that are closer to 600 a month vs almost 900 a month. I also would like to relocate to Portland eventually, so if we are a good fit, we could possibly live together until I move to Portland, which would make that a financial possibility much sooner.

    The cat will miss the hotel though. She likes the enormous window.

    Reply Like 6
  • Finally got round to switching my energy supplier for a better deal. Not much of a saving , but £20 a month is £240 a year I can put to better use :)

    Reply Like 4
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 5 mths ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    I've been off a med my Dr wanted me to drop if possible for about a week now and so far so good.  Because of dosing issues, I have to get RX and OTC versions.  Since things are going well so far I dropped the OTC version from my Subscribe and Save list yesterday (about $20/mo savings).  I also realized I have about 5 months of it stockpiled, so if I do need to go back on it I won't need to order any for a while.

    Reply Like 3
  • I finally looked the truth in the face. Having 0 budgeted in categories I know I'll spend in anyway - ordering food at work, dates, even groceries - only meant I would wave my hands at it and spend without thinking. Then I would WAM or even pull the money from TBB, thinking that the red TBB would bite me hard... but nope. It was annoying because I still felt like I was borrowing money from my future self, constantly.

    So I looked at things and decided that although I would like to have them budgeted already, two bills that are arriving (at least a few days) after my next paycheck can wait. I reallocated the money and now know how much I can reasonably spend on x or y - or rather how much I can reasonably spend on x or y while still respecting my own priorities. Hopefully it will stop me from further overspending and unlock the full YNAB potential for me!

    I also decided I can live with cc debt - I hate it, but I think it's more important for me to build myself a safety cushion for when the semester starts and my income drops. I played with YNAB goals and set a new one for my cc, which I think may be more reasonable. Worst case, I can even live with making only the minimum payment - yes, I know I'm mainly paying the interest, but it's better than having to resort to the cc again in September because my books cost too much or something.

    Reply Like 5
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 5 mths ago
    • 6
    • Reported - view

    Today I found some clothes on incredible clearance. Some of them, the store doesn't stock my size in store and they always have to do a "ship to home" order for me. So, since there are no hassle returns if it doesn't fit, I jumped on them all. I was in hospital for 4 months this year and lost 70 lbs, so I have limited options of clothes that fit.

    Reply Like 6
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 5 mths ago
    • 8
    • Reported - view

    I went into town Saturday to run a few errands and resisted picking up snacks at the dollar store while there and resisted stopping for fast food on the way home.  I guess it helps going into town AFTER lunch not before.  :P

    Reply Like 8
  • I cancelled my pledge for an item on Kickstarter.

    I really love the project and it's rewards, but on reflection I realised that I would never get a chance to use it.

    Reply Like 4
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Major I've been trying to mostly ignore Kickstarter and IndieGoGo while I get my finances to where they should be...so many cool projects...so little spare money to fund them with...haha.

      Reply Like 4
    • TechieM2 Yep, it can get addictive - particularly the "oooh! shiny!" factor! This particular project would look great on my shelf, however the sad fact is that it would only ever remain on my shelf.

      Reply Like 1
  • My car is a wreck. 14 years old, water pump gone, all the hoses perishing, wiring a mess. You name it. I can only drive it for 20 minutes a day because it overheats so fast and the temperature here is hovering around 50 degrees just now (122 of your Fahrenheit).

    Anyway, I managed to buy a replacement for 600kd which was a real turn up for the books. And... I had just under 500 saved up in the 'Next car' category, so I felt pretty good about that.

    Then I sold the old one to my mechanic for 100kd for parts! With the added bonus that he knows the car inside out, so he knows exactly what he's getting, so I don't have to feel bad about selling him such a lemon.

    Wins all round :)

    Reply Like 6
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g  I had to google your form of $, haha. And holy crap. 122*? I'd die.

      Reply Like 1
  • Been having all kinds of trouble with our trash service, for months, they were missing at least one service a week, often with zero notification.  Months!  But they've had no problems increasing rates, I'm paying more than 50% more than I was in 2011.  Ridiculous.  So I asked my local neighborhood website what other people were being charged and for what kind of service.  A neighbor posted that they were getting charged a whole lot less.  I finally called today.   While it will take a while to go into effect, I will get a credit to my account and will be paying $15 a month less.  Woot!  Mentioning the competitor's flyer I have helped a LOT.

    Reply Like 6
      • Pesto
      • Client Services
      • pesto
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah I'll have to remember bringing up the competitor next time I want to bring the price down on a service like that, good tip!

      Reply Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Pesto 

      One has to do some research, of course.  You can't quote pie in the sky unrealistic prices - Company A will generally be aware of the lowest prices that Company B has on comparable services or products.  I'd checked with a bunch of people in my neck of the woods on NextDoor and someone had a flyer from a competitor.  OTOH, like I told my kid, they might say no but they can't say yes if you don't ask (politely).

      Reply Like 2
  • First month on YNAB, a recovering Quickbooks + 2 spreadsheets money mover extraordinaire. Living on the credit card spread and transferring multiple amounts multiple times a month. My long term aim is to simplify and automate our money.

    And, of course, Murphy came to visit with a completely predictable property tax bill and an unexpected government bill.

    I fretted and worried and stressed and thought about just borrowing from the LOC that has become a stone around my neck.

    But, I was able to calm down long enough to simply MOVE money and cover both bills. Short term savings and some of the 'true expenses' that I'd budgeted for this month were sacrificed, but no more debt and the bills will both be paid by the end of the month.

    Onward!

    Reply Like 8
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Couch Cat Well done!

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Couch Cat 

      Yay!  Rolling with the punches in living color!  Now you can budget for the predictable tax bill on a monthly basis from now on! 

      May I suggest that you do a google search or similar for YNAB categories?  There is/are threads on this forum as well as on reddit and I found them to be a very useful.  Oh, yeah, I need to budget for the Costco membership.  And the cc annual fee.  And the museum membership.  And the annual umbrella and life insurance bills.  And the cost of car registration, emissions/safety tests, AND licensing!  I've been YNABing for about 5 months now and I've only had to add one forgotten bill in the last month whereas I added about 30 categories after one evening of searching....  

      Also, if you charge things on a credit card, maybe go back through a year's worth of bills if you have them available to remind you of subscriptions you charge and maybe categories you want to budget for.  

      Reply Like 2
      • Couch Cat
      • Lavender_Violin.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah thanks so much for that tip!

       

      I’ve set up a goal for the next quarterly payment and I’ll use that amount going forward.

       

      Off to search for categories I missed.

      Reply Like
  • I reorganized our budget categories so that our reports make a bit more sense. I had at first tried to reorganize to facilitate getting a month ahead by whole groups of the budget.  However, actually calculating what we would need to be buffered showed that we're not ready.  Better to know reality instead of getting too excited about jumping ahead, only to find that we used our medical contingency savings... And we decided to use our extra each month for extra debt payments, not the month buffer. 

    So, the only tangible improvement was eating less appetizing frozen food and leftovers last week instead of going out to eat.  But, we have a plan to calmly progress, and having the plan is good.

    Reply Like 9
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 5 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    I've had a busy last few days.  I closed my old Savings account that I haven't used in years that had a minimum balance of $300 so I could use that for several wish farm items.  I linked 2 of my 3 CC/Loan banks to my Ally account to pay from instead of the checking account (the other it looks like I can't link a Savings account) and adjusted my direct deposits to send most of my paycheck there now instead of checking so I'll actually get some decent interest between bills.

    Reply Like 4
  • The latest installment in 'What happens when you actually read your emails and check your bank accounts, because you have become a Budgeter, not a Financial Idiot';

    I realised I had paid for my VPN twice this month. When I went looking I discovered I paid for it FOUR TIMES last year!!

    So I got in touch, and it took a few goes back and forth, but I have been refunded for this year's over payment into my bank account, and taken last year's in a mixture of cash refund and extended membership.

    Total YNAB win, to the tune of nearly $400!!

    Reply Like 10
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g Wow!

      Reply Like 2
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      TechieM2 ExpressVPN. A-MA-zing customer service. 👍

      Reply Like 2
    • lindsay_g Oh my! Nice catch.

      Reply Like 1
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 5 mths ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    I just found (hopefully) some winter tires on kijiji for my husband's car for less than I anticipated. Just waiting to hear if they are still available. I hadn't yet quite saved enough in that category, but this price is worth it to WAM from a couple of other categories that are savings for something 10 months from now.

    Reply Like 3
  • It's not directly impacting our finances today, but I rearranged my July budget to free up some cash from categories I'd budgeted more than the monthly goal.  That money and the dividends from our June on budget accounts will go into the mortgage category.  Where I live, property taxes are based on how much the county thinks your property is worth times a percentage that can change if they decide to change it.  My purported property value went up some this year and I expect that my property taxes will as well.   Having several hundred dollars surplus in my mortgage category will help ameliorate shortfalls in the escrow and me having to steal from other categories to cover the escrow shortage.  Also, I'd like to reduce any increase in my monthly payment/decrease the extra that goes straight to principal.  

    Reply Like 1
  • Hot on the heels of my recent 'YNAB Win' of paying my credit card early (on the statement date rather than the due date) I've just paid my personal tax bill early, and in full. (The UK self assessment tax system is a bit confusing, but you get billed for what the tax office think you will pay based on last tax year's income... This tax year I've earned more and so I know there will be a shortfall to pay in January 2020 - I've budgeted and saved enough to pay that early so I'm now paid up for in full for tax year 2018/2019) 😁

    It was nice actually having a positive Net Worth for a few days as that tax money sat in my account, but now back to reality 😂

    Also set a savings goal in August's budget to start saving for my tax year 2019/2020 😄

    Reply Like 4
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 5 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    I did not order a water filter from a distributor with a BBB rating of F. I don't want to be the next customer on that gets damaged product delivered and can't get a refund. For those across the pond: from Wikipedia: The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust, consisting of 106 independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the United States and Canada, 

    Reply Like 4
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Storm 

      Sometimes you get what you pay for.  I like to save money but sometimes I want to buy better quality that's going to last. 

      Reply Like
  • I cancelled my Calm App before it renewed for the next year. It  was $60.  My daughter hasn’t been using it but she also isn’t sleeping well now. So I will keep an eye on it and reorder it if necessary. 

    Reply Like
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 5 mths ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Re-evaluated and adjusted my categories and changed some to target balance or target balance by date instead of monthly.  That gets me setup properly for an expense that occurs every 2 years and simplifies categories that only occasionally have expenses.  It also put my monthly savings goals (excluding car) back below the amount of one typical paycheck.

    Reply Like 2
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