Can we talk about blue M&M's?

My co-worker buys a big jar of m&m for the office. They sit on his desk and we all eat them. Yesterday, he asked us not to eat the blue ones, but to set them in another jar.  It's for a gag gift or something. Or course, he has to explain this to each person and have them follow along. Looking at the big jar, blue is well mixed all the way to the bottom. Of course, the task will be completed when the jar is empty. However, it's going to take a while and everyone has to remember, follow instructions, etc. It seems like it would be easier to dump them out on wax paper, pick out the blue ones, and dump them back into the jar. Which would you do?

I think it's a good analogy for debt. If I'm in debt I could take a while to pay it off as a I go, take advantage of 90 days same as cash, earn points, remember to make payments, still following the budget, etc. OR I could be laser focused on the debt and get it over in a shorter time with more immediate effort (debt snowball, etc.) Which would you do?

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  • The thought of many different people touching the m&Ms as they sort through their handful & put the blue ones in a jar makes me cringe.  Who on Earth wants leftover pawed over candy?

    On the other hand, the thought of my dollars & cents being put into different categories & then a small amount collected into a different category makes me happy & motivated to find more leftover pennies. Leftover money is useful! :)

    Reply Like 3
      • Ben Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
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      adriana01 I pointed that out today. I guess the gag gift isn't going to get eaten, the candy will just sit and age in a jar. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
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      Ben K. I can see the M&M factory from my house. Unused M&Ms make me sad.😢

      Reply Like 1
  • More to your question.... I've taken advantage of financing offers, and done debt avalanche payments at different times. A lot of it depends on interest rates, what my cash flow needs are, how much I hate that debt, general level of stress around my finances, etc.

    I've done same as cash financing for furniture twice, once with the money saved up ahead & payed out over time, and the other with payments I had to budget for. Even though the payments I budgeted for were the same amount I would have saved if I was saving up, it felt more stressful because I was locked into those payments. I don't think I could ever handle juggling more than one of these accounts or other 0% cards at a time.

    I've also opened up credit cards & bank accounts just to meet their requirements for a bonus offer. That can be stressful too esp if there are a lot of things I have to transfer or spending habits I have to change, so I haven't done that in a while.

    So there can be an "ick factor" around trying to optimize interest rates, just like with the M&Ms, but different people might reach that point with different activities in their budget.

    Reply Like 1
      • Ben Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
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      adriana01 Totally agree! It could get like one of those buy a gift card on a cc to get the cash back points on the cc, then use the gift card at retailer to get groceries, which also gets points for their gas station (the gift card did to, double points), to get cents off gas, and you say, "Look at all the money I just saved!" and I'd say, "How else could you have used that time?" Sorry very close people I know who do this. 

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      • nolesrule
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      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
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      Ben K. Our AmEx has a cap on $6k grocery spending with 6% cash back and we probably only spend about $4k/year at grocery stores (the rest at target/Amazon with their 5% cards), so it's a no-brainer to buy gift cards at the grocery store for places we spend money at regularly and would get a lower percentage cash back otherwise.

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      • Ben Khaki Storm
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      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
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      nolesrule but is it worth your time? Could that 10 mins been spent on making a change to your 401k or shopping for better car insurance?

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      • nolesrule
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      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
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      Ben K. I'm already at the grocery store, so no, it's not a waste of time.

      Car insurance takes longer to shop for, despite what the gecko says. So does making changes to the 401k, which requires a deliberate plan encompassing your portfolio as a whole. I have a spreadsheet with about 15 tabs devoted to that.

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      • Ben Khaki Storm
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      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
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      nolesrule I guess it's different preferences. I'm with an independent ins. rep. I call him and in a few days I get quotes from all the companies he represents. On the 401k, it's company managed, so my choices are really inputs, years until retirement, level of risk, and some others. 

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      • nolesrule
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      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
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      Ben K. I don't bother with reps. I do the legwork myself so I can see what I'm getting in a true apples-to-apples comparison. Even independent reps have their own agenda.

      As for 401k, we have 2 IRAs, 3 401k accounts and a brokerage. It's one whole portfolio, so I pick the best investment mix based on what is available in each account and also for tax efficiency. For example, my work 401k is high fee, so I choose to hold all bonds in that account in order to suppress the acceleration of the fees relative to the rest of the portfolio. 13% of the portfolio generates 74% of the expenses. Sad really.

      I hold only international total stock in the Roth IRAs. The taxable brokerage holds total US and International total stock market indexes. I'm working toward getting international out of my wife's 401k because it's really a large-cap DM fund. Same reason I don't hold international in my solo 401k, because i don't like Fidelity's international offerings.

      There's no way I could have an efficient plan if I couldn't pick what I wanted in each account.

      Reply Like 2
      • Ben Khaki Storm
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      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
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      nolesrule my employer forced me to consolidate all. I used to do almost what you did, but not anymore. I know I'm not doing as well as I was before.  Also, I check up on the rep every 3 yrs or so, so far best deal every time.

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    • nolesrule
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    • nolesrule
    • 2 mths ago
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    Ben K. said:
    my employer forced me to consolidate all.

     That's a shame. I know there are industries where that is required.

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      • Ben Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 mths ago
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      nolesrule yep. I could do better than the mgt co.

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  • I'd grab a handful and eat it all. 🤗  If co-worker complains, I'd say, "the rule I learned is, 'you touch it, you eat it.'" If they want to arrange for such a gag-gift, they can put the effort into arranging for the gift (sort it themselves)!

    Reply Like 1
  • Earning purchase rewards isn't exclusive to paying down debt. In fact, the incoming rewards probably more than cover the monthly interest on those new purchases if you're continuing to use the card that has a balance.

    In all cases, I would still follow the budget. That tells me how much I can afford to send toward debt while maintaining my other financial obligations.

    Reply Like 2
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