Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Let's Play Flag: An Answer to Small Cents

I woke up to a Full-Blown Crisis.

Our kitchen faucet has been threatening to give up the ghost for weeks. Dave 'fixed' it, but warned that we'd need to replace it before long. Thankfully, the faucet held out while he was in Rhode Island. But early this morning it broke, apparently when he was getting water for coffee. (The spray must have been spectacular, based on the number of under-the-sink items hurriedly thrown out so he could turn the water off.)

Obviously the new faucet is now on the high-priority list. I'm cool with that. What I feel badly about is:
*There's a sink full of dirty dishes (guess they get washed in the laundry room)
*Dave is still coping with the difference between East Coast and Mountain Time. His body has no clue WHAT time it is! And he's had to work extra hours, as well. Poor guy.

Perhaps I'd better learn to replace a faucet myself, rather than depend on a very capable husband.

Like you, I have some blogs I regularly visit -- in fact, some, like http://www.lentilsandrice.blogspot.com/ , http://www.likemerchantships.blogspot.com/ , http://www.onefrugalgirl.blogspot.com/ , and http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ -- I visit nearly every day.

Today's post from Small Cents, written by a American who lives overseas, is an interesting one. You can see it here:

$mall C€nts: My Superlative Money Meme

She's starting a 'flag' game -- post your comments, then pass on your website. So here goes:

Most money ever carried in cash on your person.

Something like $10,000. It was the downpayment on a house, we'd saved it up. I got the cash at one bank, and carried it to another. (Never occurred to my pea brain that I could have gotten a cashier's check, instead!) I felt very strange carrying those bills around, even if it was only for 30 minutes or so.
Normally I am lucky to have $20 in my wallet...except for an emergency $10 or $20 hidden away behind my driver's license. We normally use credit cards (and pay them off each month). It's easier, lets us keep better track of what's spent where, and we get reward $$ for using them. The only place I use cash is generally at the thrift shop, which only takes cash or checks. (Even there, though, I tend to write a check. ) Even our local fast food places now take credit cards... we use credit cards for everything possible. It just bumps up our cashback, and it's purchases we'd be making, anyway!

Best frugal tip.

Always spend less than you make. No matter what.
Charles Dickens' Mr. Micawber (based, sadly, on his own father) emphasized this -- live on what you make, and things are fine. Spend just a little over, and if you can't pay your bills, you'll eventually be in big trouble. Not to mention bleeding away your future in late fees and penalties.

Most open credit card accounts at one time.

Three -- but usually we only have two: a Discover, plus another card. (Many places down south don't take Discover, although it's certainly king up here in Colorado.) We opened two new accounts in 2008 to take advantage of some cashback offers -- but the third card still has some available money on it. We'll use it until that's cleared away.
For a while, we did actively use three cards: two different Discover cards (one for gasoline purchases), plus another. (A Mastercard, I think.) It was way too easy to rack up charges on one Discover card, pay it -- then realize there was going to be a second Discover coming in, as well.

Highest interest rate of said credit cards.

Beats me -- we honestly don't ever have a balance. I pay no attention to this. That's not why I use a credit card. Sometimes this 'rule' is difficult -- but so far, God willing, we've stuck to it.

Favorite book[s] on personal finance or frugality.

Millionaire Next Door. I learned sooo much from this book, especially about living a middle-class-life when your money would let you splurge. (In other words, just because you've got the money -- don't use it all. You might need it in the future!)

My first personal favorite in this area, though, is Larry Burkett's Debt-Free Living. His name is not mentioned much nowadays, but Burkett was a giant in the Christian financial field for decades. He died some years ago, but his wisdom is still sound. I realize many people rely on Dave Ramsey's financial advice, but Ramsey strikes me as more of a 'just-do-it' kind of guy, rather than explaining HOW in detail. Burkett was much more practical.
Burkett's books rely on lots of stories as illustrations. I love a good story!

Also Suze Orman's The Courage to Be Rich and her Nine Steps to Financial Freedom . Extremely practical -- but I benefitted most from her matter-of-fact explanations of options for mortgages, annuities, things like that. (Hey, I was an English major -- not an accounting one!) And she tells wonderful stories, too.

Now it's your turn. How would you answer these questions? (Make sure you mention your blog or website as well.)

Most money ever carried in cash on your person.
Best frugal tip.
Most open credit card accounts at one time.
Highest interest rate of said credit cards.
Favorite book on personal finance or frugality.

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Getting Through Life (And This Week)

In a few days, it will be better. Really.