I’m doing something a bit different today.
Every day, I’m asked questions or I see something on a forum that piques my interest, but isn’t full-post worthy. I might have a thought or two about it, but I don’t want to write a full post about it or don’t think it’s worth it.
Today, I’m going to do a bit of stream-of-consciousness to get some of those thoughts down for posterity. Hopefully it provides a bit of amusement or knowledge to you. If not, well, at least I can stop trying to remember all of these things!
Some people are better at learning through words. Others need to see pictures. On one of the many Facebook forums about personal finance, we were recently talking about when to close credit cards in order to earn another signup bonus. A couple people mentioned that a visual aid would help them understand it better. I said I’d try to create a chart that explained it. Well, here you go.
(You can click on that chart to make it bigger)
Note that this is an entirely notional plan and should not be used as a guideline. I did not delve into the rules for each card to create this. This just shows how you can plan out your credit card churning plan. For those cards that allow you to re-earn a signup bonus, you need to know how long you have to wait before reapplying. You also want to keep track of when you should cancel or downgrade cards.
The way I set this up is that as you build your plan, you would estimate out how long it would take you to reach the minimum spend. Then you would mark the calendar in green (or whatever color you choose) when you earn that bonus. I also recommend marking the month before any annual fee is due as the month you should either cancel the card or downgrade it to a no fee card. You can always keep it open, too, which would just be the continuous white block.
Then, looking at the rules for that particular card, mark down which month you are eligible to apply again that would allow you to re-earn the signup bonus. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Make sense?
If you want my current thoughts on how I will be deciding whether to cancel or downgrade credit cards in my own card churning experiment, you can find that here.
I’m tired of seeing articles about how expensive pets are. First of all, what are you doing that is making your pet so expensive? I have a 65 pound dog and he costs on average $70/month. That’s counting food, vet trips, toys, treats, and anything else I may need. For a whole living being! In exchange for that, here’s the value:
- Constant companion! Unconditional love!
- Work out partner (key for me because I am inherently lazy and my job requires a basic level of fitness)
- Security system
- Lower stress
- Gets me outside the house (I could happily stay indoors for days at a time)
- He attracts tons of attention from strangers. This forces me to interact with people (hardcore introvert over here)
- He is hilarious. Especially when he falls off the couch. And when he is dreaming and starts quietly barking!
All that and more for about $840 per year? That’s a bargain.
Also, my dog is awesome.
It’s almost the end of 2017! If you have some spare money and haven’t maxed out your workplace retirement account or IRA, go put that money in that account! There are only a few weeks left!
I had a coworker recently who had a small battle with Finance. He PCS’d to our base a few months ago and his paycheck was still reflecting his last location. Of course, because part of our paycheck includes locale-specific amounts (BAH, tax status, etc) that meant his pay was wrong. And in this case, wrong meant he was getting paid too much. I don’t know if the military is the only place where getting paid too much is a bad thing, but I know this is a bad thing.
He’d told this to Finance multiple times but nothing was getting fixed. Predictably, they finally “fixed” it…by subtracting the full amount without warning from his paycheck. That means he’s going into December, typically an expensive time of the year, with thousands of dollars missing from his paycheck! Thousands of dollars – poof! – not there. And it’s not clear yet whether they even withheld the right amount.
There’s really nothing else he could have done, since he’d been telling them this for months and trying to get it fixed. But c’mon, Finance. Why can’t we at least give servicemembers a heads up before shrinking their paychecks??
It really bothers me that people hate on Black Friday and Cyber Monday so much. If you are buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have, then yes – that’s bad. But what exactly is it about these particular days that causes people to mock others for getting a good deal? I really needed a new computer. Mine is literally falling apart. By buying this weekend, I bought it at its all-time lowest price (verified via CamelCamelCamel). I saved $100 over the normal “sale” price!
And since when does the personal finance community mock people for going after deals? Chill out, everybody.