Almost pulled a major blunder this month, by forgetting to pay my MasterCard Bill when it was due.
Let’s review, when you don’t pay your Credit Card Debt off monthly, you then incur exorbitant usury fees, that dig you a hole that you will have a very hard time to get out of, so paying your Credit Card debt off monthly and on time is of vital importance in any financial plan you put together.
What I usually end up doing is putting the date of when the payment is due in Outlook, and then download from there into my Smart Phone so that there is a reminder there as well. I should really write it on the Calendar at home on the Fridge as well, and you may have other places where you put important dates, but that one is really important.
Pay that darn credit card off ASAP!
Carrying credit card debt will hurt you financially, make sure you get rid of it and pay it right away.
You Can Get Penalties Reversed
I was able to call and ask that the penalties be reversed, since I am a “good” customer (i.e. I spend a lot of money with the card and I pay it off every month), and MasterCard was nice enough to forego it for that month. Since I had paid the entire amount, I didn’t have to pay any more penalties as well.
With a new year beginning the topic of resolutions on the financial side of things are inevitable (unless you are filthy stinking rich), so I will be touching on this subject a few times in the next week or so.
Some of my compatriots on-line have posted their resolutions, and I applaud their efforts, and with this in mind, I will post somehonestpersonal finance resolutions for this year, which may or may not have anything to do with me.
The Honest Financial Resolution List
Control the money supply and stop impulse spending, unless of course there is a big sale on at the local electronics store, or there is a great Boxing Quarter sale where you can get a 80″ TV on 6 month payment terms, who could say no to that?
Save more money, by setting up automatic withdrawals from pay cheques. Of course since it will go to an Emergency Fund if it is really needed for say: a nice vacation, the money might be used for that, because stress is a bad thing, isn’t it?
Pay off car loans or finish with the car lease, but then again, if a dealership is offering to pay off all car loans if you buy a new car, then that is about the same thing isn’t it?
Join a gym, because your health is an important part of your financial well-being. It’s important to look good at the gym, so buy some nice clothes for the gym. Canceling the membership won’t be possible (in April), because you signed up for a two-year contract, but you might go back in a few months so nothing to worry about, right?
Lower your home costs and bills by using your cell phone less, and only going with basic cable, but, sometimes you really have to watch a movie on your Super Phone while your spouse is shopping and is taking too damn long! It’s OK to watch the occasional pay per view money because you are saving so much with basic cable (and who the hell can stand only having basic cable any how), that’s only fair, correct?
Eat out less because that is a big expense. It is of course OK to go out on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, those days when you didn’t get home until late, days when you are just too damn tired to cook or days where dammit you deserve to treat yourself, again it isn’t that expensive, right?
Cut down on expensive coffee like drinks, and drink the free coffee at work, until you get sick of that stuff (because it really is made with pencil shavings) and treat yourself every once in a while on a good coffee (say once or twice a day tops), not a big thing, right?
Use credit cards less, because that is what got you in trouble last year, except that you did get all those great Airmiles or PC Points, so you were able to buy some groceries with that, and that was kind of free?
Be transparent about money with my spouse, except when I go out with my buddies, and she gets mad about how we are only going to ogle the waitresses at Moxy’s, so it might be better just not to mention those outings, or when we go to the lunch time ballet, it would only upset her, so that’s just being a good husband?
Keep close track of money by using Quicken or Excel to track all of the spending. Now sometimes it’s hard to get receipts (especially at the ballet) and you know, you get busy and after two weeks you don’t really want to look because you are afraid how bad things might be, so it might be better for your stress levels just to ignore it completely?
Read anything here that you can honestly say has nothing to do with you? If so, take a Sainthood out of petty cash.
Yup, the real end of year is almost here, given the last real business day is December 29th, 2011 (you know, Friday), have you got all of the things done you needed to get done for the End of 2011?
What kind of things do I mean?
Taxes if you pay quarterly or monthly for one thing, pay them first. If you haven’t sent in your taxes for 2010, maybe it’s time to start thinking about doing that soon as well?
RESP contribution, they bursaries tend to be paid quarterly, but it is still important to get as much out of this system as you can. Tuition fees are not going to be dropping any time soon!
RRSP contribution, yes, I know you can wait until February 29th, but you could make one now too, and you’d have two months of growth?
Charitable donation, better get those in right now, for it to count for your taxes. Having worked on the collection at my Church there is a significant amount of money that appears this last week of December, but get it in soon.
RDSP contribution, yes this has an over all maximum, but then again, the sooner the money is in place, the longer it has to grow.
Tax loss selling? Too darn late for that one, the deadline for that was December 24th.
Any others that I may have missed? You have 2 days left!!
This is for those of us who really do try hard to create financial plans but then end up not following them. Worse they abandon them without giving them a chance to succeed. For those folks, I have created the following graphic. Not I do not go into specifics like high interest savings accounts or the like, just the basics.
For those of you who do not remember your basics of flow charting (yes I am that old), remember to follow the arrows (and the comments in bold on the arrows are the reasons you are going in that direction).
The best part of this is I have completely minimized the hardest parts of this process, which is creating the actual plan and implementing it (and sticking to it). I am pretty sure I have seen this flow chart at a few free financial planning sessions for folks that I have been roped into attending.