xoxomarina: Princess Ai ({ manga } » smile)
[personal profile] xoxomarina
Anyone who thinks they were affected by the Equifax security breach (or even if you weren't), feel free to check out the post I created with tons of resources for pulling and freezing your credit: https://xoxomarina.dreamwidth.org/239500.html
beatrice_otter: Are you challenging my ingenuity? (Ingenuity)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
I don't know about you, but I grew up in a family that HAD a box of shoe polish and supplies, but never really USED them.  But now I am a convert.  I need professional shoes for work, and my basic black ones were getting pretty, uh, unprofessional looking.  They were bad.  Really bad.  So I was talking to my Mom about how I'd have to replace them.  Dad looked down and said, naw, they just need to be polished.

Now, I was skeptical, because we're not talking actual good-quality leather shoes, here.  We're talking cheap fakes.  But he insisted, so I went to a shoe store (one of the nice ones) and got myself a bottle of black shoe polish.

The shoes do not look new, but they are back in the firmly professional category.  And not only those shoes.  I also tried them on my black tennis shoes.  Again, not real leather, and this pair had places where the top layer of the vinyl had come off.  With polish, you have to look very carefully to see where those places are.  They no longer look like "good for nothing but yardwork," I can wear them out and around town.

I got the bottle of polish for like $9, and it will be enough to last me for years to come even polishing all my pairs of black shoes on a semi-regular basis.  It will save me so much money in not having to buy new shoes.

And, best part?  It's this new thing where you don't have to brush the shoes or polish them after.  You just make sure the shoes are clean and dry, daub the polish on with the included applicator brush, and let them dry.  That is it, that's all you have to do.  The same company (tarrago) also makes clear polish, so you don't have to get a bottle for each different color shoes you own.  I don't think the clear polish would cover the places where there's an actual layer of vinyl missing, but it would probably get rid of scuff marks. 
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I recently started looking at credit unions that are interested in serving small businesses, and although a lot of them have pretty exclusive membership requirements, I found out about two that have interesting prerequisites you might find doable. (I only looked up stuff for US residents, sorry.)

  1. If you join the Financial Fitness Association (USD $8 per year), that gives you eligibility to join several credit unions, including First Tech Federal Credit Union. First Tech consistently gets a lot of recommendations on Ask MetaFilter, e.g., "interest-bearing checking accounts with no minimum balance, 2-factor authentication, online banking and bill-pay" and "friendly to foreigners" and "best bank in the world" and "their staff is great, caring, competent, and actually funny, and they're never too busy". I am particularly thinking about First Tech because they are open to serving businesses.

  2. The UNFCU or United Nations Federal Credit Union has various cool features, such as toll-free international numbers, customer service via Skype calls, customer service via secure email or web chat, and ApplePay. One way to get membership eligibility is to become a member of UNA-USA, a nonprofit supporting the goals of the United Nations. That's USD$25 per year for an introductory membership or if you're on a fixed income, and if you're a student 25 years old or younger you can join UNA-USA for free. (The normal rate is USD$40 per year.) I am probably not going to join UNFCU right now because they aren't interested in serving businesses.

There's an ethical argument for joining credit unions but there are also the general financial arguments -- there are often better rates and lower fees for various banking products, including credit cards and mortgages. Thought it was worth mentioning here.


Feb. 23rd, 2014 09:12 pm
xoxomarina: ({ emilie autumn } » weird)
[personal profile] xoxomarina
Hi there! I hope no one will mind me posting this here. I took the time to write my own little "credit 101" for anyone who's interested. Feel free to head on over to my journal for the read: http://xoxomarina.dreamwidth.org/165330.html

Let me know what you think, thanks. :)
geeksdoitbetter: (Default)
[personal profile] geeksdoitbetter
the lovely folks at ING (now captialone 360) have a really easy to set up saving goal thingie


when you hit significant milestones, they send you congratulatory emails!

geeksdoitbetter: (Default)
[personal profile] geeksdoitbetter
 am speaking politely and honestly to a creditor right now
i love messing with their heads

i wanted to point something out to y'all:

when you default on a credit card, that debt gets sold to a third party

that debt collection company only expects to recoup something like, less than 10 percent of the debt it buys (10 cents on the dollar), and not even from all the accounts they purchase

now, i'm not even a bit saying that you shouldn't pay for what you got (goods, services, hospital care)

what i *am* saying, is that when the debt collection person tries to get me to agree to a repayment plan of 60 cents on the dollar over 6 months, that might sound awesome, like "wee hoo, i get to just pretend my debt is 40 percent smaller than it is!"

however, if i had that sort of room in my budget, i wouldn't have defaulted on my credit card in the first place, right?

and so, i feel very much ok with continuing the repayment plan that *does* fit my current budget ($50/month with no interest til next june).

and, being in repayment changes the category the debt is listed under for credit score purposes (not that it's even useful to look at my score right now. i won't need to start working toward that until i plan to move again)

tl;dr - being in repayment (with no interest) is a very good place to be. don't let them guilt you into a worse short term deal

devilc: Jupiter in her wedding tiara with the word "imagine" (Default)
[personal profile] devilc
Apologies to everybody for the tone of my last post. I ended up stepping on toes when thinking it through a bit longer would've made the same point (is this a need or do I want it because of the "ooh! shiny!" factor?), and made it better.

Thank you to the community members for pointing out several points of utility I had overlooked in why a person would choose to have a cell phone, such as transit scheduling and medical apps. A vigorous discussion is a good thing, and you certainly provided it.

Thank you to the community members who pointed out the more economical carriers and the best value plans. You shared a lot of valuable knowledge.

Thank you to the mod for her forbearance.
devilc: Jupiter in her wedding tiara with the word "imagine" (Default)
[personal profile] devilc
I see this so often where I work and amongst my friends -- people who struggle to make ends meet and yet the majority of them have a smartphone (with a dataplan).

A friend of mine who has 2 part time jobs and no health insurance recently had a medical emergency that landed her in the hospital for two days and she's dreading that bill. But, she's got a Samsung Galaxy SIII and a phone bill of over $100/month for it.

If you want to free up some money, ask yourself, is that smartphone a want or a need?

1) Is your phone your sole source of Internet connectivity? (Did you ditch your previous ISP when you got this phone? Or is this the first time you've had your own Internet connectivity?)
2) Do your job's work duties require you to have a smart phone? (And if so, is there a way to get your employer -- if you're not a temp or a freelancer -- to pay for it or subsidize it?)

If you said "no" to either of those, then, sorry, it's a want. There was life before Twitter, Facebook, etc.

It might not be cool, but a pay as you go feature phone with a plan that lets you call and text really is all you need, and many of these can be had for out of pocket cash of under $75, with calling plans of about $15/mo.

If what you really use your smartphone for is entertainment while standing in line or while in transit? Get an iPod Touch or a small tablet and load it up with books, music, videos, and games. It will pay for itself in 4 months, tops.

And the extra $50-75 of cash you can throw at bills or put into your eFund is a very good thing.
killing_rose: Raven/corvid in the frozen surf (Default)
[personal profile] killing_rose
So I'm decent at putting an arbitrary number on my bank account and saying, "You don't get lower than [x]." But arbitrary is arbitrary and my saving hasn't been going as quickly as I want.

discussion of finances )
sporky_rat: The Roman Orator from Rome, hand upraised. Text: Ahem (ahem)
[personal profile] sporky_rat
Hello, all!

I'm trying to whittle down my student loans as much as I can as well as the credit card statement that I use during the work-lean summers to help pay for groceries (those withdrawal pains are killer, I hear).

My question is, however, should I keep throwing as much money (On Time) at my loans and statement that I can afford or should I just keep at the minimum payment due? Now, I can't always pay more than the minimum but when I can, should I?

On the plus side, I've been able to save up a good bit in my savings account in the credit union!


Mar. 23rd, 2013 01:03 pm
foxfirefey: A guy looking ridiculous by doing a fashionable posing with a mouse, slinging the cord over his shoulders. (geek)
[personal profile] foxfirefey
You Need A Budget 4 is on sale on Steam for the next twenty hours for $20.40. I've been using it this year and enjoying it; I find the interface cheerful and not too hard to get the hang of. Buying it on Steam doesn't mean you have to use it on Steam--you can get the key for it and download the program and run it normally.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai

And with no lien on my car, my insurance will go down!
alexseanchai: Supernatural's Crossroads Demon from 3x05 (brb selling soul)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
Dear Mother, the correct response to 'hey, you used to have a personal finance qualification, can you check my math on the taxes on this paycheck vs the preceding paycheck, how come my estimate is so off' does not actually include 'maybe you should buy less junk food and do less online shopping'. That just makes me want to BUY ALL THE THINGS.

Actual answer appears to be 'payroll taxes went up' with a side of 'reinstate the automatic deduction for retirement savings, it actually will do you more good accumulating interest than reducing the credit card interest you need to pay'. On that subject, she went on for a while about Roth IRAs--does anyone have a compare-contrast for Roth IRAs vs 457(b) accounts? Or vs 401(k) accounts, I'm pretty sure 457(b)s are like 401(k) accounts in all the ways except whether the owner is a public- or private-sector employee. I know 457(b)s get taxed when the money comes out, Roth when the money goes in, which I think means the difference between 'money I put into account' and 'money in account' is taxable with 457(b) but not with Roth...
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Okay, I wasn't sure about this but here goes.

I'm 30, just graduated from grad school and have my first professional full-time job (not my first job, but my first in my field full time and with benefits and everything).  My salary isn't high, but it's not low either.  I'd call it solid.  I've kept my lifestyle similar to what it was before, with little inflation; living frugally isn't normally a hardship for me.  This has allowed me to really pay down my debts on both my student loans and my car.  It should only be a year or two before they're both paid off in full (and I always pay off my credit cards as I go, so there isn't much debt there).  I have a 401k that I am funding to the max, and a 403b through my employer that both me and my employer are funding, and between those and social security I am not worried about retirement.  My job is steady and should be reliable throughout my life.

What I'm worried about is my parents.  They own their own business, and it's never been a very lucrative one.  They love it, but it was barely enough to raise a family on, and so they don't have much saved for retirement.  Now my brother and I are out of the house, their expenses are less ... but the economic changes of the last ten years have really taken a bite out of their business.  Their main retirement plan was to sell the business and the building it's in when they retire, but these days their business isn't really worth anything to sell, and the building may or may not be worth much--it's hard to tell what commercial real estate in my home town will be worth at any given time.  It's good they like their work, because I don't know if they'll ever be able to afford to retire.  When they have to retire, they'll probably end up living with me or me with them (depending on where my job is at that time).  I don't mind; I'm single, and we get along very well, and I've spent enough time living at home with them in the last decade to know it will work.  And if they ever end up in a nursing home, if it requires anything more than medicare pays, I'll probably be the one footing the bill.

Also, I may choose to adopt a child sometime in the next five-ten years.  Children are expensive, and so are foreign adoptions.

The problem is money.  How do I save for this?  How do I plan?  My financial wisdom of the last decade has been mostly "keep debt to a minimum."  Well, that's great as long as you're in a low-income situation, but doesn't give me any guidance for what to do now.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
I am getting a more substantial federal tax refund than I expected. MUCH more substantial. To the tune of, once I subtract what I'll need to put in savings to get that account over a grand, I can pay off my car. Or I can pay off my highest-interest-lowest-balance credit card and a substantial fraction of the next-highest-interest card.

I very badly want my dad's name off my car title, which I can't ask him for until I can prove his name's off my car loan. My last payment, if I don't lump-sum it when the refund shows, is in May. That payment is twice my next biggest loan payment, so the sooner I can use that part of the budget for other things, the better. On the other hand, the credit cards I'll pay if I don't pay off the car are the same ones I'd be paying with the ex-car-payment money if I do pay off the car, and the interest rates on those cards are about twice the rate on the car loan.


(It would be bad of me to buy the learn-to-piano software I want and the learn-to-sing software I want and the cute fannish denim jacket I want with some of the refund money, yes? It would be okay of me to buy one of these things, or a couple books adding up to the same dollar figure, with some of the refund money, yes?)

ETA: I asked my mother, she asked my father, and he says if he's not on the title, I can't be on the family insurance. Solo auto insurance is probably more expensive. I'll have the money for it, given the reduction in monthly total loan payments, but.

ETA2: Looks like a solo policy through my family's insurance company, assuming the same level of coverage as now and no loan on the car, will cost two-thirds my share of the family policy. The difference in a month's premium comes very nearly as high as what I'd save on interest by paying the credit cards; two months, I'm making money. Sold.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
I now have a little wooden box with a lock. It contains all but one of my credit cards, plus one of my debit cards, such that what remains in my wallet is the debit card hooked to my flexible-spending health-expenses account, the debit card hooked to my primary checking account, and one credit card in case of emergency. I think I am also going to get in the habit of keeping hardly any money in that checking account, transferring everything I need to cover that month's bills into savings and pulling it back into checking the day before the bill in question comes due.

This won't make it impossible to use those cards—I think I have at one point or another used every single one of them for an Amazon purchase, so Amazon remembers them all, and while the box is going to live two floors up from my computer, I don't have trouble with stairs and the key will live on my keyring in my purse—but it'll make it a lot harder. Can't spend money while out of the house using a card that's in the house, after all.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
The rental market in my area has gotten kind of ridiculous. Our rent is going up, again: I don't know how many years we can absorb this kind of rent increase, since my partner is close to the wire and not getting huge raises every year; I make pretty decent money and could afford rent increases for a while, but I'm currently on contract and still looking for a genuine long-term job that pays enough to live on.

Read more... )

So...anyone have advice on apartment-hunting? We're also maybe looking at townhomes for rent, but so far the only one we've found in our price range that allows pets is literally right next to a train track, and I already have trouble sleeping.

I'm getting really discouraged.
devilc: Jupiter in her wedding tiara with the word "imagine" (Default)
[personal profile] devilc
I have a perfectly good working 2009 Samsung Rogue ... but I want a Samsung Galaxy S III, that would cost me at least $90/month for minutes and data. I can afford that (even though I think it's complete ripoff) but ....


I have a perfectly good, paid-in-full 2006 Civic with low miles but I'm ... thinking about a new car*. Which I can afford, but ....


I thought about why, all of a sudden, I was jonesing for new things and I realized that there's been a certain amount of change and upheaval in my work-life and the reality is: buying a new toy isn't going to do a damn'd thing to fix that.


*Although, I am going to need a different car at some point soon-ish. The Civic isn't a particularly low-slung car, but I do have a chronic bad back, and it would be easier to get into a car that rode a little higher. (I threw my back out earlier this week, and getting in/out was hard and painful.)

Time Tips?

Sep. 1st, 2012 08:23 am
red_trillium: my inspiration or creative icon, a purple moon rise and Joshua tree (Night Sky and Joshua Tree)
[personal profile] red_trillium
Does anyone have any tips on how to regularly manage your bills/account but that doesn't take a ton of time?

Our situation: I work full time. I leave the house at 6am, get back at 6pm. I do over half to 3/4 the house work & about 1/3 to 1/2 the cooking usually. My wife has had an increase in her chronic pain levels which means I'm now doing at least 3/4 to all the house work, all the cooking and my usual work schedule & trying to help her with daily things she's having problems with. We're busy at work and going through some Big Changes so I'm also running on low energy so not a lot available. Fortunately we're only just heading into spring but that does mean the gardening is going to start back up, at the very least for our food plants and regular watering.

I've always had a bad bill habit--leaving things until we get paid each fortnight. I've been trying to get better but at this point can't do it as regularly as I'd like due to time and energy being low. As you can imagine this starts a viscous cycle of over spending, dipping into the (diminishing) savings and making me reluctant to face the bills.

How do you stay on top of your bills and balancing your account regularly? Do you do it once or twice or more a week? Do you do certain parts at different times? I've tried to "reward" myself for doing it, I just feel guilty and go without doing/getting something then.

We're hoping that her pain levels reduce back below the spike she had a couple weeks ago, but as she's lived with chronic pain for over 30 years we know they won't go away. I need to get some good habits in place before things do get much worse.


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Acting Your Wage

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