Monday, April 4, 2011

Day #18 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life --- Go for Financial Freedom

Happy Monday to you!
Day #18's task is:

To achieve financial freedom, first figure out what you have and then manage it well.  Today, collect your documents that are associated with large assets---documents for your car, house, investments, and so on---and put them in one filing cabinet called Assets.  For your house: file your deed, purchase contract, closing papers, title policy, and insurance papers.  For your investments: file confirmations, year-end statements, and tax reporting forms.  For cars: file ownership papers, registration documents, and insurance papers.  (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 116)

OR for serious simplifiers only...

Don't use your credit card for three months.  Be resolute.  Or, every time you use your credit card, deduct the amount in your checkbook.  Better yet, trade in your credit card for a debit card.  It automatically withdraws the amount from the bank.  You'll spend less.  
(30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 122)

What does financial freedom mean to you?  For me, financial freedom means freedom from crushing debt (currently we don't have any debt now other than our mortgage---which we are upside down in because of the housing market crash, but that's another story), the ability to live without fear of not having enough, and having the opportunity for an occasional treat like a nice family vacation (we're currently saving for Disney World for fall 2012).  I don't know if anyone is perfect in this department, but I think we're doing pretty well.

It wasn't always this way.  Shortly after we got married, the Cobbler's mom gave me a foot tall stack of paperwork (she had been paying all his bills for him prior to our marriage) and said, "Oh and by the way, you guys owe me $10,000."  Turns out she had been paying some of his bills with her money!  I wasn't much better.  When a credit card statement would arrive, I would hide it and pretend it didn't exist.  I had the money to pay my bills; I just had this weird phobia about actually paying them.  Well, those days are long behind us after nearly 11 years of marriage.  The Cobbler is now in charge of managing the money.  I used to be until he decided that he wanted to try doing it seven years ago, and I was more than happy to hand the bill paying duties over.  He manages our accounts using and is happy with it for the most part.  I think he has some issues with credit cards not syncing properly, but you can't expect too much from a program that's free.  When Microsoft stopped supporting Microsoft Money, he was devastated (really---the man was broken up).  It took him a long time to move on to something else.  We try to live below our means and save the rest for retirement or the kids' college education.  The biggest ways I've found to save is to diligently plan our meals so I only need to grocery shop one time each week and  to not shop when I'm bored.  The less I shop; the less I can spend.

Not using our credit card?  Not going to happen.  The Cobbler has it down to a fine art which credit card I am to use for what purchase.  Here's my decoder ring --- the grey HSBC one is for groceries, gas, drug stores, and Target (for some reason the company counts Target as groceries.  Who knew?) because we get 5% cash back on those categories, and the blue Chase one (that gets some other lower percentage back) for everything else.  Once we hit the limit on the 5% bonus on the grey one, he then has me start charging everything on the blue one.  He's constantly looking for new ways to make more money off the credit card companies.  I guess this would only work if you can pay it off every month, which luckily we are able to do.  It's like a game to him.  As long as it doesn't get too confusing for me, I'm willing to play along.

One thing I want to do today is find a secret spot to put the combo for our safe that has our important documents in it (i.e. our will and trust, deeds, etc.).  It's all fine and good that they're in one place that happens to be fireproof, but if we ever had to leave in a hurry neither one of us knows the combination by heart.  We're going to be stuck towing the safe away in the kids' wagon or something.  Not a good scene to contemplate.

Back to my day #17 ugly computer drawer.  As a reminder, here's a photo of that hot mess again.

Here's how it looks now.
Here's what I was able to purge out with the Cobbler's help---about 20 CDs in all!
My favorite thing I found in the drawer was the CD for our old digital camera that we bought in 1999.  I think that its maximum mega pixels was 2.0 and we thought that was absolutely amazing when we bought it.  Not to mention, I think we paid between $300 and $400 for the camera back then.  Eek!  We haven't had the camera in I don't know how long and yet inexplicably we still have the CD.  Well, not anymore!

I think today I'll be back to working on the unfinished projects.  Yikes!

On a totally separate and unrelated note --- go look at the live web cam pointed at the baby bald eagles in Norfolk, Virginia here.  Red and Tom Thumb were riveted yesterday when one of the parents was there at the nest feeding the wee baby eagles.  Amazing!

1 comment:

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

I put all the most current paperwork for investments, bank statements, etc. in a 3-ring binder. It makes it so much easier to find things now and keeps the most up-to-date information easily accesible. Here's what else I did: