Posted on December 18th, 2019
Aquiring a mortgage and other massive expenses makes it so that I really have to watch where my money goes. One of the best tools I've found for that is the "pro" version of the TrueBill app on my iPhone. For $3 a month, the app helps me to track my spending and plan for expenses, all while keeping me on top of my bills and credit cards. It also makes it easy for me to squirrel away the money I save for my Black Friday Shopping day... and my vacation. It's surprising just how helpful it's been and I wish I had started using it earlier.
One of the things that surprised me most after tracking expenses was how much I was spending on groceries. I knew they're expensive every time I end up at the store. What I didn't expect was how much it was all adding up to. The monthly total was staggering and caught me off guard when I saw it. A trip here... a trip there... the amount going towards groceries was absurd.
That's when I started buying generic or store brands instead of name brands... making my own meals instead of buying prepared... and, of course, only buying something when it was on sale (unless I had no choice). In short order I had cut my grocery bill by 30%. After a while I was pushing 40% because I got smarter about buying ahead, freezing, not buying stuff I don't need, and hunting down sales and specials.
And then there was eating out at restaurants.
I used to eat out at least twice a week. Sometimes much more when work was piled up. Which, this time of year, is often. I never gave it a thought. I never kept track. I never kept a total. But TrueBill put the expense in vivid relief. If the money I was spending on groceries was surprising, the money I was spending on restaurants was downright shocking. Once I had it spelled out for me, I stopped eating out.
From there it was only a short reach to canceling magazine subscriptions, cutting cable, and reducing the amount of money spent on entertainment.
So now, all these months later, I've gone from having absolutely nothing at the end of the month and wondering where all the money went... to not having to stress so much and being able to set aside a few bucks for when unexpected expenses come up. Which is almost certain to include a new water heater or (shudder) a new HVAC system one day all too soon.
It's a far better feeling than I ever got from the money I was tossing at things I didn't need to be spending it on.
All it took was finally taking a look at what I was spending. And finding an app to help me do it.
Posted on March 9th, 2010
For the FIFTH frackin' time now, the company which handles the credit/debit cards for my small local bank had a "security breach" which means I have to get a new bank card. This sucks hard, because every time they issue a new card, you have a brand new PIN to remember. I usually end up forgetting the number, which is inconvenient when you're... ohhhh let's saaayyyy... at a cash machine in a foreign country trying to get some local currency to pay an impatient taxi driver.
Not wanting to go through something like that again, I decided to go to the bank and ask if they can change my PIN to something I remember. Turns out they could, so they did, and so now I'm back to the PIN I had for my very first bank card (which is the only one I can seem to remember). Here's hoping I get to hang on to it for more than six months.
Otherwise, I'm going to have to brutally murder the dumbass who keeps losing his laptop with everybody's bank card info on it.
Just like I almost had to brutally murder an old man in a car who tried to zoom ahead of me as I crossed the street on my way back from the bank. Except he realized he couldn't make it in time, so he slammed on his brakes.
And then proceeded to rev his engine at me while I crossed.
I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and stared at him while I said "SERIOUSLY?" Because I may not be much of a fighter, but I could have easily broken this geriatric asshole in half with one hand.
Rudeness like this just pisses me off. It's a rage thing I'm working on.
But at least I have perfect color perception, having scored a perfect score of ZERO at the ColorIQ Challenge!
Apparently 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency. If you want to know if you're color deficient, you can click here to take a free test online.
Hopefully you'll get a perfect score like me!
Hmmm... I guess that means I'm officially perfect at everything then.