Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stay at Home Parents Denied Credit Cards

I am afraid it is a sad day when a stay at home parent is denied a credit card.  I realize the best way to get a credit card is to have your own personal income source.  When this is not available the next criteria can be to look at the household income.

Many years ago I saw a television program where a woman was having trouble establishing her own personal credit.  I knew early on that good credit was important.  It surprises me that a stay at home parent would not be able to use the household income to obtain a credit card. 

If you are not the main account holder of the credit card you will not be able to make certain changes to the credit card account but you will be able to make all the purchases and pay the bills.  The main account holder needs to make the request for a higher credit limit or raise the question about lowering the interest rate. 

I hope that household income is considered in offering credit cards but I doubt that a stay at home parent will have the same issues with obtaining debit cards.  In the past many people have forgone using their credit card and opted to use their debit card instead.  Maybe the wave of the future will be to utilize cash more often.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Put Out the Closed Sign

A friend and her husband are starting their own business.  Getting out of the 9 to 5 grind can be appealing but in reality the hours become more than 9 to 5 because you are the owner.  Another family took over a restaurant.  They realize that the business could take over their lives and they closed the business two of the seven days per week, one for family time and one to get ready for the next week.

In our own lives, wouldn't it be good to be able to put up the closed sign once in a while.  Some people make appointments with themselves.  We also need to make time for the financial parts of our lives.  Whether you are a teacher, an architect, or a financial planner; money is important and we need to take the time to manage it. 

Do you have unnecessary atm fees, bank overdrafts or other banking charges?  Do you have time set aside to review your bank statements or do a bank reconciliation?  Try spending some time to plug the holes that are draining your bank accounts and investments.  In my case, my 529 accounts are costing me money because I am not investing currently and fees are being taken out.

Put out the closed sign for your family, friends and work.  Say hello to your financial side.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Something Happened in the Last Four Years

Just recently, I noticed that there are many 4 bedroom single homes that are affordable and costing less than my current home.  My first inclination is to consider moving.  My second thought is to take a look at what is really going on.  If these houses have become more affordable what is happening to my own home?  Is the value of my home staying the same or decreasing?
I recently looked at a four bedroom home about 20 minutes from my house that costs $220,000.  What was the value of that home four years ago?  Have the prices of homes gone down significantly or only slightly.
Some of the home valuing websites have my home listed as having three bedrooms rather than four bedrooms.  This will make some of the valuations lower than expected.  Overall my home has not increased in value.  Sad but understandable. 
Have you looked at your home's value recently?  Is there anyway to increase the value of the home?
Recent upgrades to your property could increase the value of the home.  My home could use a new shed.  We recently installed a remote controlled ceiling fan in one of the bedrooms. 
Another thing to look at is the current balance that you owe on the home.  Ideally you never owe more than your home is worth.  Over the past four years we have refinanced our home once.  If you are not planning to stay in your current home over a certain amount of years refinancing does not always pay off.
One good thing that happened over the last four years is that our source of income (my husband's job) is now local.  We are officially moved.  Both our home and employment are in the same zip code. 
Now the trick is to start paying down the mortgage significantly so that a house that is 20 minutes away non rush hour does not look so appealing because the overall mortgage amount would be less. 
It is time for an epiphany.  A time to realize that if we tighten our belts we can knock out years from our mortgage by doing a bigger snow ball payment each month.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Leftover Supplies

What do you do with your leftover supplies?
Use, Donate, trash?
Food Ingredients
Recently I purchased ingredients to make two desserts.  I also purchased a couple extra items in case I made a second one  either because the first was so good or because I thought I might do a trial run.
End result: what do you do with the extra ingredients?  In the past I found a web site that you type in ingredients that you want to use and it will produce recipes that use those ingredients.  Also you could ask people that are local if they would like the extra ingredients to use.  Third, if you are not planning on using the item before the expiration date you might as well toss the ingredient and keep the room in the cabinet or the refrigerator.
If you know ahead of time that you are going to have extra of an item such as buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, plain yogurt or other perishable things maybe you can find another recipe that will use the excess ingredients.  Your family may enjoy the unexpected cheese cake.  Can the item be repackaged and frozen for later use?
Craft Items
I recently bought iron on letters to use on a shirt.  I only used 7 of the letters.  What should happen to the rest of the iron on letters?  Can it be used for another project?  Can you give it to someone else?  Should you toss it?
The Excess
We should consider what to do with the excess when we buy the item.  We might buy a smaller amount or buy something different that we can reuse or buy something different where there is nothing left over.  How many of us have a few plates from a party or a piece of wrapping paper from whatever gift giving occasion?  I once had a pollyanna type party where I wrapped all the gifts in different left over pieces of paper.  An idea for the extra plates is to use at another party even though the theme is not correct or save them for vacation so you have less dishes to do when you eat in.  When buying the plates you could buy less of the themed plates and include more generic plates so that you can definitely use the extra plates at another event. 
It is good to save things but only if we seriously plan to use the items in the future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Living

As the calendar advances forward, summer is on its way. Two and a half months where your finances can get out of whack quickly if you are not careful. While your spending increases you also need to keep your eye on the goals that you have for the entire year. Some parks offer discounts, whether it is on certain days or during certain hours. Take advantage of discounts for the parks at nearby restaurants. Sometimes there are discounts offered to school children for doing something such as reading books. How can you go to the park without spending top dollar?