Thursday, April 3, 2008

Step by Step Tutorial - Week 1 - Day 3

So, we have tackled gearing up....getting your bills in what was my next step?

It is time to take a good look at your finances!

OK..I am not going to tell you what to invest in or anything like that. Although, I have mentioned before, you should take a look at this aspect of your life and ensure you are socking away the appropriate amount. I have always believed in the motto, " pay yourself first ". My parents drilled this into my head from the time I was a small child.

So, we sock away the appropriate percentage of our income and then live off the rest. AND, some of that rest actually gets invested for the kids college, weddings and the 3 homes I want to own someday. ( yes, my retirement dream is to have a home by each of the matter where they move someday....and we spend 1/3 of the year near each of them ). Crazy, I know. But, we all have dreams! And, if they all live near each other, well, hey, we should have enough for a pretty fancy 2nd home down South somewhere. :-) now that I have rattled on, what am I telling you to do for your 3rd day? I am telling you to tackle the smaller financial items!

Where is your checking and savings account? Is it earning a high interest rate?

What credit cards do you currently have? Are you getting the maximum money back out of them?

Although I really only have two items for today, they are both important.

You can read my article on high interest checking/savings accounts here, how long it took me to switch, why I decided to keep my brick and mortar bank for minimal amounts, and the ease of using these banks. Do NOT let them intimidate you! If you are online reading this right now, you have the capability of banking online.

I chose Salem First, but I actually have a friend with ING Direct, who absolutely loves her bank. She is actually the one who finally convinced me I was crazy not taking advantage of this extra income. Thanks Lili!

How much have I earned so far this year on just my checking? $90! That is just for having a checking account, which I had before, too. Do you have a checking account? I am sure you do. Then, it is time to sit down and open a new one!!

Now, on to credit cards. If you choose not to have any, then don't even worry about this part of the post. But, if you do have credit card, you better figure out if you are getting the maximum benefit.

Here is one of my top picks:

  • ( Email me for the name of this specific card ) - 6% back on Gas, Groceries, and Drugstore
  • ( Email me for the name of this specific card, too )- 6% back on utilities, internet/phone, garbage, etc
  • Chase Freedom(SM) Credit Card - 3% on your top 3 categories ( so I only use it for 3 categories that aren't covered by the 2 cards above )
Read here on how I manage my credit cards. How I keep from using them for anything BUT what their top categories are ( and keep my husband in line, too ) and once again...THANKS LILI for the helpful hints on this!

If you want an example? Yesterday I got my statement for the card I get 6% on Utilities. The only 3 items on the bill were my home phone/internet, my cell phone and my garbage bill. And, for paying those three things ( which were going to be paid anyway ) I made $7! Plus, I got actually keep my money in my high interest checking account a month longer before having to pay the bill. :-) Bonus!

And, well, the card where I earn 6% back on groceries, gas and drugstores is a whole different story. With gas at sky rocket prices, and the little bit I spend on groceries, I earn quite a bit on this card.

In total, as of today, I have earned $226 back on my credit cards. And, I haven't paid any finance charges ( of course ) and keep my spending the same as it would be with cash! If I keep this pace up, my credit cards will have paid me approx. $1,000 by the end of the year.

If interested in finding the best fit cards for you, click here to go to credit card search engine and find the appropriate card. Scroll to the bottom, and click on the link for the appropriate credit card sponsor, and it will take you to what is available. You can then find the cards listed.

AND...look around, there may be others that work better for you. The goal is to look at your current spending categories and see what pays you the most for those.

Hope all this info helps...and I can't wait for you to start earning all this free money, too! After the original set up, the $ just comes each month on it's own!

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