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Blog: If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy
Sneaky & Savvy Ways to SAVE Money

Yesterday a friend called me, one who I have advised regarding her and her husband's finances over the past few years, hoping I would have some answers for her in regards to the points she earned on her check card. So we discussed the matter and came to some conclusions that I would like to share with you in case you might have some of the same questions. 
If you have a check card that you can earn points or cash from, here are some suggestions and hints to maximize the benefits.  First, she shared with me an interesting fact which was signing for her debit card purchases instead of using her pin earned her more points.  She had already earned some points that she wanted to use the cash back option which would have been around fifty dollars.  I have to interject that my friend and her husband have been working out of their debt faithfully over the past two years.  They have made sacrifices in order to accomplish their financial goals and know the rewards will be well worth the wait so knowing you could have a little extra cash would be nice once in a while.  With that said, she continually has to condition herself with not spending on things that are not needed.  You know how it is, a little extra cash and it burns a hole in the pocket fast.    
I threw out an option for her to think about which was using the cash back option as a type of savings account for Christmas.  December is an expensive month for her family since it is the holidays and they sometimes travel to her family's home in Indiana and her and her two children all have birthdays that month.  So if she can earn more points on the things they would use a debit card for anyway by signing for the purchases, but still be disciplined to use cash for the items they use cash for then it is a win-win situation.  Like I explained, if there wasn't a good reason to get the cash back rewards right now for no other reason than just having a little extra cash then saving it for a time when that cash will be really useful would be a better choice.  There is enough time before the holidays that she will be able to take advantage of the cash back bonuses.  She had not thought of doing that and loved the idea and now feels like they have a jump start to the end of the year already and it's only April. 
I think everyone is getting the picture quickly in today's economy that credit cards are not the way to go unless you want debt.  So be picky with the check card you use and compare benefits from one bank to another.  My bank credits back any ATM fees or other fees every month and I earn interest on our checking.  The fees returned to us are most often around seven to ten dollars…that's around $100 in a year's time of saving. 
One more item of interest that I would like to add is with rebates.  Often times from Staples I will get a rebate card usually in the amount of $25.  I cannot tell you how fun it is to go shopping with money that is not coming out of your account.  Look for these types of rebates that you can receive from items that you need to purchase.  I am a huge advocate of being patient, for the most part, when I am buying items.  Keep in mind that most items we NEED are not really needs they are just wants that could wait for a good sale.  I get only the Sunday paper delivered to me so I can look through the ads every week for the items I want and items that are a great deal that I will NEED. 
Use coupons too!  I know I have mentioned this before, but the friend I am talking about in here called me last week to tell me she found an item she wanted but it was not on sale so she asked if  I had any suggestions of where she could get a similar item for less.  I told her she could get the item she had found and really wanted because I had a 40% off coupon for that store and I would not be using and she was welcome to it.  She was thrilled!  She text me later saying yeah, she saved $10 on her purchase.  We help each other stay accountable to maintaining our money and its fun when you can help each other save at the same time. 
Be a connoisseur of your money and how it is spent and what you can do to earn money back on items you spend on over and over.  Don't' forget to use cash for things you need to keep on track in your budget.  Using a debit card for groceries or household items can add up much faster than you can keep up with so budget how much you need, go to the ATM and draw out the cash and sort it into the proper categories.  Remember how I had my credit card experiment…I can't tell you how much I enjoy having cash to pay for things again, less receipts to enter into Quicken and no more credit card balances adding up…yes, we still are paying off the stupid thing, I swear a credit card balance keeps multiplying like rabbits…I do NOT like credit cards…the experiment taught me that what I have been doing with cash is worth it in so many ways.  So again, be an expert with the cash you use, the cards you use and how you use them and the benefits that you can gain. 

posted on: 4/8/2009 11:30:00 AM by Triste Horrell
category: Finances

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Discuss This Post

by Healthy Diet Lets Woman Lose Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days on 4/30/2009 11:10:24 PM:

Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for posting. I'll certainly be coming back to your blog.

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If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

by Triste Horrell

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About Triste:

Being an organizing expert makes one want to be a "showroom" in all areas of life. However reality can hit hard when you're a mother of small children and a military wife and own an organzing business. Of course Triste would like to have a picture perfect Better Home and an even Better Garden. Throw a Pottery Barn in the backyard for exceptional creative time to become the wiz-woman for all the ideas and inventions that the world could not live without. But Triste has settled on the fact of telling herself "I can be perfect in my mind and no one can mess up my space there!" In reality Triste is very self-motivated and has true business accomplishments like having SYSTEMIZE since 1997, the first home and business organizing firm in the state of South Carolina. She has been repeatedly recognized in her Greenville, SC area for her organizing expertise and makeovers on local NBC and FOX news, Greenville News, local magazines such as Greenville Magazine and Upstate Parent and NPR radio. She has turned people's lives around by focusing on what she calls the "four building blocks of being organized" consisting of space, time, financial and personal. This is even represented in her business logo. "That's what I'm in business for, turning people's lives around!" Also applying her popular 3 Steps to Systemize have not only organized her clients but KEPT them organized for years.

Triste's Website:


Downtime Activities

  • Reading Magazines
  • Spending time at our cottage
  • Keeping our Westie pretty
  • Putting tealights around after the kids are in bed
  • Adventures with my awesome hubby
  • Making microwave smores...just for me
    1 graham cracker, broken in half 1 small piece of chocolate 1 big marshmellow On one side of cracker put piece of chocolate and marshmellow on top. Place in microwave and heat for approx. 17 seconds (while cooking replace marshmellow on top of chocolate if needed). Put other half of cracker on top, eat and enjoy and watch out for oozing chocolate!

My Organizing Tool-Box

  • Time - Outlook
    This is a great way to keep papers off the desk and track where you need to go, task list, jot down quick notes on the virtual "post-its, keep up with contacts in the virtual Rolodex
  • Personal Finances - Quicken
    This simple yet practical program keeps your bank accounts in tact...did I mention simple?!
  • Business Finances - QuickBooks
    I have used this program for years and have set many clients up on it. It is a must for keeping track of business transactions and keeping tax time easy...push a few buttons and out come the reports, your done and your tax preparer loves you.
  • Space - turntables
    I love these things! You can put them in cabinets, the fridge, garage, and closets. They are inexpensive, easy to find and available at any discount store and you can even find fancier ones. If you are not sure what they are, they are the white (or other fancier kinds) and spin around like a lazy susan, you can have a single or double-tier one for spices.
  • Personal - Magazines and Internet
    I love to look at magazines and the internet for good articles on personal development, pictures for decorating inspiration and fun projects to do with my family. I keep my magazine subscriptions to a minimum (3) so I can read them and enjoy each one. I look for things on some of my favorite websites for whatever fancies me at that time.
  • Online Recipe Boxes
    Use these on some of your favorite websites, bring the laptop into the kitchen while the recipe is up and you never have to have the paper clutter. One of my and my husbands favorites is Williams-Sonoma.

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