I'm not sure how many people think about what happens to their money while it's in a bank account. Most people I believe leave their money in a checking account most of which gives you no interest and even savings accounts these days do not offer much.
Ideally, if you have excess amounts of money you don't plan on using for a large purchase or any other short term plans, you want to invest that. But these are some things to take into consideration when your money is just sitting in a bank account.
This is not to be taken as legal, financial, or professional advice. If you do need help seek out the assistance of a trained professional, who is qualified to do so.
The following list will be bank accounts from non-traditional banks, with no fees for banking and no minimum to open the accounts. So that I don't need to repeat this, all banks here are FDIC insured.
My top card and my favorite is Varo.
I have another blog going over the pros and cons of Varo. This blog is to focus on the savings account. Varo is the only bank I've found so far that offers an interest rate with an APY of 2.8%. To qualify Varo as some stipulations so check out the website for more information.
This year so far I've gotten over $100 in interest, of course I wish it was more, however it is the highest for any account I've seen.
With Varo there is a maximum of $10,000, meaning in that account to qualify for the highest interest rate possible you can have no more than $10,000 in that account and anything more than that will get an interest rate of 0.81%. Which is still pretty good.
What I do is keep the maximum amount in this account and use another account for any remaining money.
So say you have the maximum amount of 10k, for the entire year, you can expect to get $280 for that year, which would be around $23 a month. This is just extra money and it feels super good to get.
The great part is that the interest rate hasn't changed all year, even as most banks have fluctuating interest rates due to the current economic impact of Covid 19.
Your money is also insured by the FDIC. Check out the full details and other requirements to qualify here--> Varo.
After I put my maximum amount into Varo, then I'm taking the rest over to Chime. Chime offers an APY of 0.5%, previously 1%. No minimums or maximums. Of course no fees. This bank like all the other banks here are FDIC insured but I figure I'll just make it clear. So ideally you can leave the rest of your money here. However not all banks are for everyone so I give you more options below. To see if Chime will work for you, get more details here--> Chime.
Marcus offers an APY of 0.50%. Surprisingly when I had originally started looking for high yield accounts this was one of the first accounts I had found and was using. I opened this account in 2018 and the interest rate was over 1% which I was amazed by. After I found Varo, I transferred my money over to there, because it makes more sense for what I want. Check out the other features and benefits here.--> Marcus.
Credit Karma offers a 0.40% APY. You might know Credit Karma as that website you can get free credit reports, which is true, however they also have a savings account and checking account coming soon. I haven't saved much with Credit Karma, every month they have a competition that you're entered into if you deposit a dollar. So I deposit a dollar every now and again. Why not? The interest rate is just not high enough for me to make this a primary way for me to save but at least you have the option.
Sofi offers a APY of 0.25%, I opened their account to take advantage of a bonus, I got $150. Love that. They have investment accounts and IRA's and gives you the option to link all your none SOFI accounts so you can easily track how much you spend and save, across all accounts you own. I actually really love that feature, this way I don't have to open all my accounts and then calculate or estimate my total, Sofi gives you that information.
Capital One offers an APY of 0.30% so if you prefer banking with a brick and mortar bank this could be an option for you. Their accounts are online accounts however you're still able to go directly to a bank if you must.
So a big part of my plan to saving money this year, was to reduce bank fees. The bank fees were a drainer on my budget, taking $15 from me every month. If you have more than one checking account to help you manage money better, then that could add up. Sure with a minimum balance you can waive that fee, but you might have different plans for your money. Also If your money isn't getting interest why leave it in a checking account. I had a Td bank account solely to make purchases and pay rent. Meaning money went in and came out, and never stayed. I didn't want to keep that minimum because I needed to use that money.
Yea, it wasn't working for me. I had the same issue with Chase and it's not worth it. You don't need to pay bank fees, and honestly you shouldn't even have to worry about it. You shouldn't have to figure out if you're meeting the minimum deposits, making enough transactions, which is something I had to do with most traditional banks. I had so many bank cards and at one point or another I would be charged a fee.
Well I'm here to tell you, if you're tired of bank fees, you don't have to pay them anymore. Most people don't even go to the bank. I didn't except for once a month. And if you do, you don't need to. Everything can be done online and it's much easier and faster.
Here are some great bank cards to get with no bank fees.
This bank card has no maintenance fees, no fees period. The thing I like about this card the most and it really surprised me; was how many Atms, were available around me. I was a little worried about getting this card at first, because if I needed money, where would I go? After all there are no physical banks. I used the app to look up Atms around me, and literally there were so many I was giddy.
I went to the city and Duane Reade was one of the places you can go to use the ATM at no cost. There was a Duane Reade everywhere. Around my area I can go to a CVS to use the ATM. CVS is also a very popular store that's around most people.
Another thing I found super cool, is that you might go to the store and you don't have enough money to cover the cost and Varo will allow you to go over your balance by $50. When you make a deposit then that amount will be taken out.
This is one of my favorite features, because like I mentioned before. I use these cards to pay bills and shop. I'm not leaving my money anywhere that doesn't get me interest. So sometimes I might spend a little extra, but unlike a credit card, where you will more than likely spend too much and you will be charged interest for spending, this doesn't. Other than you paying back the amount your negative, and it's only $50, it's not gonna throw you into debt. However if you think this is something you can abuse, you can turn off this feature. Or just don't activate it.
Another perk that I really like, is that I get paid two days early with Varo. This might be based on your job, I'm not sure. I have two jobs and for one I do get paid two days early and for the other I do not. Not sure why. But the one I do get early is my main job, so getting that on a Wednesday instead of a Friday is a game changer for me. I can start paying my bills a little earlier, which is great. Most often when I pay my bills on a Saturday it won't be posted until a Monday, because it's the weekend and there's a cut of time. Paying early means payments are posted the next day. It also gives me more time to be able to check all my accounts and see what I need to pay. I'm usually off from work during the week, mostly the middle of the week, which works well for me. I'm never off on a Friday or any weekend for that matter, and I'll always work late. So I rarely have enough time when I get paid to plan out my bills. It just doesn't work for my lifestyle, so getting paid early gives me so much more freedom.
Overall the idea of no fees ever, is great and you don't need to make a deposit when you open the account. However if you do use this link and deposit $200 there is $75 bonus coming your way.
What I don't like?
What I do not like so much about the card is; which I know will sound weird. However when making purchases it will allow you to go over. It does not do the same for cash, and it does not do the same for bill payments, which would be a great feature. Hear me out. I have a discover card, and when a payment goes through it sends me a notification saying this payment was submitted there is no money in your account please deposit money now or it will be returned. I like that, that's great. Sometimes I'm sending in so many payments I forget which ones came out already, sometimes they come out at different times, different days, and being charged a return fee on a credit card sucks. Varo will just refuse the payment, even though I have a beautiful savings account with them, getting over 2% in interest with money I can transfer instantly. I tell you that part sucks.
The next con is that you can only withdraw a maximum of $750 a day at the ATM, If you need more than that, good luck. But knowing this means if you can plan ahead, you can make two trips like I do. Or just keep a second debit card with another bank, which I now do, so my money isn't all on one card and if I need cash really bad I can just get it from the other card.
Another thing Varo doesn't have is the ability to Zelle friends and family money. However to those people I say, that's what Cashapp is for, isn't there also Venmo, and when all else fails, like before you can keep another card that gives you that options, getting both benefits. I find it strange how people would say I have this bank and I don't want to change. Honestly you don't have to. I have like 6 bank accounts, do I have money in all of them, nope, but I use the benefits they offer when I need to, and when I don't need to, I don't use them. It's that simple. It cost nothing and you don't need to keep a minimum balance. I've had a capital one savings account I completely forgot about, until the other day I was like wait I can use this for putting aside some extra money for x reason. But if you want to be stuck with your crappy bank that gives you nothing, then that's your problem, not mine. Sorry, not sorry.
One think to note is that Varo is consistently making changes and adding new features so always do research for yourself as some of these cons might change in the future.
Chime is similar to Varo, pretty much the same concept. No brick and Mortar banks, however there is the beautiful benefits of having no fees baby. I'm talking no overdraft fees, love that. No maintenance fees. No ATM fees. No fees for having fees for too long; thanks for that one Chase. No fees period. There's a possibility you get paid early with this one too, but as before this could be based on the establishment you work for.
The one thing I do not like about Chime, is that there are far less ATMs than Varo does. Atleast for my area. You do have lots of options however to do cash back. Clearly I'm not gonna get cash back for hundreds of dollars to pay my rent, but still great to know I have options.
I went to Stop and Shop to got $100, and I was very happy to see they had self-check out options. It worked there, didn't need a human. I bought something for like $2 and it made me put in $100 for cash back. Not sure if you're able to get more than that or what the max is.
Chime also boosts that they'll spot up to $100, however they only gave we $20. This amount apparently based on your history, spending habits and such, however it isn't as clear cut as I would like. Tell me what to do, so I can do it. Varo makes it clear, how you qualify.
And the card design is nice which is important to some people.
Capital One 360
Capital One 360 offers a no fee bank card, like above, no overdraft fee, return payment fees, no minimum deposit needed. This one has many Atms around and even a few banks if you must. It is designed to be managed online, but I'm certain they'll help you when you go in to the banks. I must however say, they did close my account in the past for too many return payments. Who's to say what's too much? Anyhow. That was upsetting, however I was able to reopen another one after some time has past.
No fees, no minimums. Discover also has lots of Atms, that charges any fees, through their partnerships just use their app to find one. As I mentioned before, I do like the fact that before returning a payment I have the option to add money to the account, a luxury some banks do not offer before they sully your name and making it seem like you're broke. I could be broke, or I could be bad at managing my money. It could also be both, but at least give a girl a chance Varo.
Similar to all the above, so I won't go into too much. No fees, and you can use any ATM, and those fees would be reimbursed. I've open this one with the goal to get in on the promotion they have of $75 if you set up direct deposit, and make a deposit of $500 sent at least two times to the account. You do have to keep the account open for at least two months and it might take a couple weeks to get the reward. It's still more than I would get from any savings account for that amount for the year. And I can put that amount back into my savings account, and get more interest.
This is worth a mention. Haven't tried it yet, but will soon. You do need a $500 deposit to open the account. It is however the only bank I know that offers interest on a checking account. So if you're the type to keep all your money in a checking account gathering no interest then consider this. This bank could probably solve some of my problems. I can leave money in my checking account get interest and since I'll have money in there, I won't have the return payment issues. However the interest is still less than my Varo savings account. So.. Maybe I'll have to incorporate a jounal and a calculator in my plans, and track what payments I submitted and which ones came out. What I always do is go, oh I have extra money, I should pay this bill, not realizing that something did not come out yet, and is still pending.
That's all I have today on checking accounts you must try, these could greatly improve your lives and the way you manage your money, if used correctly.
There are checking accounts and even savings accounts out there that gives you bonuses when you open an account and other cool benefits so I'll be bring some of those to your attention so you're able to take advantage of everything that is available to you.
Until next time, Save money. Build wealth.
*All these APY and bank features are subjected to change, so check each website to get current information.
1. Not making a solid plan.
We all want to pay off our debt and reach financial freedom and security. We all know we should aim to pay off our bills, but knowing we should, isn’t a solid plan. It’s a goal for what you want to achieve, but not how to do it.
Ever since I had acquire this debt, the goal was to pay it off. I’m sure you’re thinking; then pay it, right? Every time I got paid I would throw money at it, and still it was going nowhere. I’m sure at this point I’ve paid more money than I actually even owed and still I have the debt.
How’s that even possible, you ask? Because there were different factors at work here. Where if I had done actual planning; the right planning, I would have realized this. Which takes me to my next point.
2. Following the advice of others without doing my own research.
Everyone has their own ideas of what they think you should do to solve your problems. If they do not know your specific circumstances and have not been through a similar situation; do not listen to them.
Everyone thinks they are smart; wise beyond their years or wise because of their years. Experience is the best teacher and if these people have not experience this situation; they can’t know what to do. They might sound confident but I assure you, they are guessing. Sure they can make an educated guess, and maybe it will work out. Do you want to leave it up to chance that they might be right?
I’ve gotten advice that I should file for bankruptcy from someone who never had to do it. It sounded like a great idea at first, however upon further research, I realized that it’s not that easy to do. It will destroy your credit and will stay on your report for up to seven years. Which might be fine for some people. Except if you have any goals of buying a home in the near future; then this will set you back a bit.
Another person suggested using a debt consolidation service, which is even worse than bankruptcy, in my opinion. It will destroy your credit as the process involves not paying your bills. Letting them pile up in an effort to force companies to allow you to pay a lower amount than what you owe. It will take 3-5 years to recover but at least you would have paid less.
This is pointless to me, because based on my calculations, with the right planning and sacrifices I would be able to pay off my bills in a year. And have my credit intact and be able to move on to working on my other goals unhindered. Not 3-5 years, not 7 years, 1 year. The downside would be that you have to pay the full amount of your debt plus interest. However for most people, you did accumulate this debt yourself so you should pay it back. For me that’s not the case, but since it is my credit card it’s my responsibility.
My point is, people rarely know your specific situation. This is unless you share every detail about your finances with those people. I promise you they can’t make a plan that will help you. They don’t know your goals. They may not know how much debt you have and where it came from. They don’t know your spending habits. They don’t know how much money you make. They don’t know what responsibilities you have. They only know the perception, and despite what everyone wants you to believe; perception is not reality.
With this lack of knowledge and experience, listening to someone else, is something you shouldn’t do. Unless they are going to pay your debt for you. Then great, go ahead.
This is the same with information you find online and on YouTube. Please understand that people give advice based on their experience. This is better than the first group, at least these people have experienced it; like me. What they don’t know is your situation and so the information is not tailored to you. It’s made for themselves. What you do is use this information as a baseline. With the understanding of your specific situation, come up with a plan suited to you and that will work for you.
Research and learn more from different sources; online, videos and books. Then use that information to make it work for you.
3. Paying off small cards first.
So my biggest downfall was following the advice that I should pay off all my smaller cards first. I had no idea where that came from. I thougt it made sense though because at least they would have been out of the way, leaving me with the bigger cards to focus on. I recently found out that this is the philosophy of a guy called Dave Ramsey. He believes doing this will give people the motivation to continue to pay off their debt. This did not work for me. Now that I understand more about how credit cards work and I have looked at my own finances and my own situation, this was stupid and the worse way for me to pay off my debt. If I didn’t do it this way I would have been in a far better position than I am now, especially since I’ve never lacked in motivation.
Let’s say that I have for example 10 small cards with $1,000 on each, all adding up to a balance of $10,000. And say 5 larger cards adding up to $20,000. Paying off the small cards worked out to be more than at least 2 of the large cards which I was being charged interests on and was a part of the bulk of the debt. I would still have a debt of $20,000 either way, however I would have saved a heck of a lot on interest. What I didn’t realize is that with an average interest rate of 22% for most of my cards, some are more, but we’ll go with the average, I’ll end up paying $4,400 in interest for the year. Imagine now that you’ve had this debt around for 2 years or maybe even three years like I did. Consistently in that cycle of trying to pay off the small cards. Over that time you’ve paid so much money in interest. Almost half of what I owe, and your debt balance stays the same. So in theory paying off small cards could have worked, but it didn’t work for me. Why?
4. Not putting aside money for myself.
If you don’t put money aside for yourself, essentially it will force you to use the credit cards if something comes up or you need something. Put aside just a little for yourself, just a little, please.
5. Not budgeting.
This goes with the previous one of putting money aside. Budgeting however is more than just putting money aside though. It’s looking deep into your finances and this is where you will get into the root of the problem. Where you will begin to gain ideas on how to solve it. Budgeting forces you to look at everything you spend your money on. Now the goal is to remove anything that is not a need.
What is a need? Food and shelter. Okay, fine, you may also need to factor transportation in if you can’t walk. Not Uber or Lyft, those transportation gets expensive over time, check your bank statements.
Some may say clothes, but unless the clothes is for that second job you got, you don’t need clothes. Everyone has clothes, at least I would assume that most people that have a good amount of debt has clothes. Unless the debt is from medical expenses or student loans, I don’t see anyone spending money on a car, house etc and not having clothes. The thing that people buy the most of, other than food, is clothes. Use what you have and don’t buy anymore. Figure out how to use what you have and don’t make excuses to get more. Don’t talk yourself into in; I lost weight or gain weight; it got ripped. If you look for a reason you will find it, don’t hinder yourself.
Your budget will focus on where you need money first. On mine, I have rent, food, and a little extra for myself, and my mother who I help, and Netflix. That’s it.
Everything else I cut. No Spotify, Hulu, CBS All Access. All those unnecessary subscriptions that you think you need but you don’t. Again, do not convince yourself that you need these. Instead of Spotify premium I use the free version, it is annoying. I’ve also used Pandora, which is better than free Spotify because Spotify has been shuffling my songs and Pandora doesn’t. Also, after you watch the one ad, you get to listen to a good amount of songs before the next ad.
I watch mostly YouTube which is free, but Netflix is for my mother and sister in Jamaica. Find other things to replace what you usually use if you need to. If you use Hulu, look at what you’re watching and see if you can find those shows on another platform that is free. And if it isn’t I’m sure you can go a year without Hulu, Disney plus, etc. and save those extra coins. I promise once you start it, you won’t notice that you’re missing anything. Cw is free, Tube tv etc, point is there are other options, you just need to find them.
Maybe you can work out at home, maybe you don't need cable, think if anything you can live without.
Once you cut all the unnecessary debt, then what you have left can go towards your credit cards, student loans, etc.
Stick to the budget. Write it down, don’t keep it in your mind. Make it tangible.
6. Putting everything towards bills.
I was too focused on paying off the debt. So what had happen was. If I got paid $1000, I was paying $1000 on my card, and it felt great. At least one small card would be paid off. Then, I had no money. What I would have to do, was use the card, maybe even the ones that already had a high debt because we’ll get to it.
The problem here is that not putting aside money to take care of your other expenses, means that you will always have to use the credit card. You’ll always have that debt on there, because you’ll either be in a cycle of paying off the small cards over and over again, because you keep having a balance. Or you’re adding to the balance on the big cards, making them bigger and also increasing interest.
Once you do the budget, you’ll leave a small amount for yourself, just in case you need it. Not to go shopping or spend more money. If you don’t use it one week, it roles over to the next. Doing the budget allows you to put money aside for food, rent, etc. first and what's left goes towards the debt. This way you have no reason to pick up that card.
7. Saving too much.
I know what you’re thinking, saving is good, right? Not for me, it wasn’t. The point of paying off the debt is for you to pay off the debt fast, when you’re done, then you can save. Don’t get me wrong, you can save a small amount because everything adds up. You can start with $1000, or more. But you shouldn’t be focused on that.
When I started I was paying a little more than the minimum payments for the credit card, and I was saving the rest. I had saved $10,000 and as you can imagine it took some time to save, I’m not over here balling. All the while racking up on the interest. Eventually I noticed things weren’t adding up, and I knew I add to be paying more. So I took my savings and threw it all on the credit cards. Where I went wrong was, as I mentioned before; I was paying the smaller cards first and so years later I still have the same amount of debt because I did it the wrong way.
Some things are a lesson to be learned. Now I realize I can’t do it that way, and this year, 2020, is the year I pay off all my debt. It will take me an entire year with extreme measures in place. I’m almost done with paying off one of my large cards so I feel hopeful. Only four more to go.
8. Credit Doesn't matter right now
Like most people I enjoy checking my credit and it gives me great pleasure when it goes up. When you pay your debt off this way, with the big cards first, it will take a longer time to see any changes. When I was paying small cards, my credit would go up all the time. That might have something to do with those cards not being maxed out and being able to pay off a couple cards. Paying off the bigger cards first is more to save you money in interest and fees and not so much about getting your credit up. When you pay everything off your credit will go up.
Please be warned that if you had a balance on a card for a long time, when you pay it off, they might reduce your credit as punishment; I’m guessing. This will no doubt affect your credit, but don’t worry about it. You know what happens when you’ve paid off all your debt? It will go up, and they will increase the limit.
There are different factors that goes into a credit score, but this is not the time to focus on that. It can be distracting and can make you feel like you’re not making progress. If your debt is going down; you’re making progress.
9. Shopping too much and Overpaying for things.
Look for deals and coupons, when possible. Check for the products you’re looking for at different stores before you buy.
Return things you don’t need. I was the person who would buy something, not like it but felt bad about returning it. I’ve since change. Don’t tell yourself you will use it one day, or give it to someone blah, blah, blah. Don’t buy things you don’t need, don’t pay extra for anything, and if you don’t like something, definitely return it.
I was also the person who would get charged bank fees the same day payment was due, and would pay the bill and not call to have the fee waived. Don’t do that. Alot of banks have a certain time to send the payment in and after that they charge you a fee. I would remember to pay the bill and wait until after work, but I work late. I will check the account when I got home and they would charge a fee. I’m not talking the day after, I’m talking the same day. Now that I’ve realized this, I wonder if it’s too late to ask for those moneys back. However, if you pay your bill a day late and they charge you a fee, call the bank and ask for a refund. If they charge you an overdraft fee and you are short by a couple dollars, call and ask for a refund. Those bank fees can add up. If they charge you a maintenance fee, call them and ask for a refund. Then close that shitty ass card and ditch that bank because you don’t need to be charged maintenance fees and you shouldn’t have to worry about it either. There are many other options such as;
Find one that works for you, there are so many. It’s not worth it, and it will save you time having to call a bank to waive a fee, if there're no fees in the first place.
Check your bank statement and credit card statements regularly for any charge that doesn’t seem right, and dispute it. Forgot about a subscription? Dispute it and cancel the subscription right away. Sometimes you’ll even get to keep the service; until it expires, of course. And if they say no when you call, be a Karen. Because you know what? Karen gets what she wants. But don’t be rude, obviously. Just be firm.
10. Thinking that I made enough money to pay my bills.
Boy, was I wrong. Thinking my little retail job was enough to take care of myself and pay off this debt in a reasonable amount of time. It’s all about time here. The longer you have the debt, the worse it becomes.
Getting a second job might be important, to getting this debt down. I calculated that an extra $500 a month would be very helpful. So I got a second job. You might need to do this.
It’s based on your situation. Maybe you don’t need more money and need to budget better. Maybe you need to reduce spending and expenses, only you can know. Just be honest with yourself and be relentless.
I have other blogs where I go into reducing food expenses, and cutting other expenses.
Hello Everyone, Welcome back.
So this will be the final blog on a few main ways to cut expenses this year. In my previous blogs, I went into detail about saving money by cutting food cost, phone bill cost, work, travel and general leisure expenses.
In this blog I will be going over bank fees, credit card interests and subscription cost. I'll start with subscription fees, because this should be the simplest.
So you know the ones, a lot of us have so many subscriptions and believe it or not these do add up. I was one of those people, I had Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All access, Spotify, Youtube Premium and the list continues.
A lot of the times, I forgot about some of these or I don't use them very often. I liked having the option to watch whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, but the fact remained that most often I watch Youtube, regular old basic YouTube. I've canceled all subscription except for Netflix, mostly because it's Netflix, but also because my mother and sister uses it.
Instead of paying for all those apps and subscriptions, consider using free options and limit what you're subscribed to, to one or two options. These should be the things you use the most often. I realized that a lot of the shows I watched were shows like The Flash, Super Girl, those super hero ones, Riverdale, Nancy Drew, and many others, were all shows that were available on the free app CW, there is also CW Seed, obviously Youtube. There are also a range of other apps I have not personally tried, like Crackle, Tubi Tv, Pluto TV, a quick google search could reveal others. I literally just watch Youtube.
The point is, maybe you don't have to pay for all these subscriptions, this might include gym memberships, I use to have one of those and I went twice, and it was hell to cancel after a year.
Look through your card statements and remove any and everything that you don't absolutely need or make the most of, and instead find other alternatives to getting the same features. Just be creative.
Maybe work out at home instead, or outside. Go for walks and runs. Use the free version of Spotify and Pandera for music. Icloud storage for like $10 for 2tb, yes I had that too. At times like this, these are considered to be a thing of luxury, and every little thing adds up.
It's crazy how these can add up and it's money you can use for other more important things. On average I was probably paying over $50 a month for these subscriptions, and no it's not a big chunk of change but again you can use that money for other things you actually need. And everything adds up so for the year you're saving $600 or more. Add that to the $2000 you saved on food, and whatever else you saved on your phone bill and you're on your way to saving a lot for the year. And on your way to paying off your bills faster.
Now on to the big guy.
Credit card Interest and bank fees.
Omg I don't know about you but I pay so much interest on my credit cards, for a number of reasons, I've had some debt for a while, my credit cards are high interest cards and if you're only making the minimum payments, sometime the interest is double, even triple that and in which case your bills do not go down.
So that's the main thing that has affected me, and the reason I've had this debt for so long. Based on how much I worked I was paying the minimum payment on each card and they did not move. So I have a great payment history but a lot of revolving debt.
I tried getting a personal loan way back, and got it, and it ended up being really bad. The interest was super high, over 20%, which was actually worse than having it on many different credit cards. Most of my cards do have high interest but there are a few that does not and it didn't really help in that sense. Only get a personal loan if the interest is much lower than what you currently pay or all that money you owe in one area will be way worse.
This is where I say I am not a financial advisor, and I'm not giving you advice based on your specific situation. I would however recommend you look into your finances and see where you can save money and where your money is going, then do research and make decisions for yourself, that is best for you. I'm merely sharing my experience and thought process, what I did and what did not work for me.
I think what could work is getting another credit card that offers a period of no interest or a lower interest and move a small amount from a high interest card to the low interest card and pay it off quickly. Then repeat. If the debt will stay on that card for a while, do not do it. That's just my suggestion, because then you have another card, and another bill to juggle. I made the mixtake of doing that but with all the debt and not being able to pay it off before the interest kicked in. Big fail on my part.
I've heard people talk about debt relief programs and in my opinion that sounds really sketch. I'm not a subject matter expert but look into whatever you feel like you need more information on. I didn't go with that option personally because of how it works. First you stop paying your bills. Yes all of them. This is to make it seem to credit card companies that you will never pay these bills again, and this will take some time for them to believe. So months to years. Eventually the Credit card company will cave because they want their money, they don't want to lose everything. So they will say instead of paying the $10,000 you owe for example, you can pay $5000, and they'll call it even. To me that sounded great at first but there is a catch. What happens when you stop paying your bills? Late payments, delinquent accounts etc, and this will tank your credit. In that time you will pool all your money together in a separate account set aside to pay off the agreed upon amount.
This might work for some people if you have no intention to use your credit for 7 to 10 years. Meaning no buying a house, or car where credit is needed, or anything else. Everything you do for the next decade will have to be cash, until you rebuild your credit. Maybe you'll be the lucky one and it will be sooner than that. But it's going to be more than 2 years at least, and according to some of the reviews for the companies that offer this service, it doesn't seem like many people are happy about taking this option. For me I don't want to have to wait that long. I have dreams and goals I would love to accomplish in the next 2 or 3 years, and 7 years is just not an option for me.
Someone also mentioned that I consider filing for bankruptcy and again after looking into it, I determined that the damages would not be worth it. I firmly believe with the newly made plans I have in place, I can pay off my debt in 1 year, and move on to accomplishing my goals. Of course it hurts that most of the money I'll make will go to bills, but somehow I got it, and whether it's my fault or not it's my responsibility.
Back to the topic at hand, my point is last year I paid over $4000 in interest with all my cards combined, similar for the year before. I know for a fact that this is the reason my debt takes so long to pay off and this is the one thing I have to figure out to move forward. However that's easier said than done.
You can contact your card company and see what options are available to you for reducing interest.
I was able to do a payment plan with Discover to reduce interest and have a lower payment minimum for a period of time. I was also able to do the same with my two American Express cards, but that was probably because they had no faith I could pay off the debt on those cards.
They said if I took the payment plan they'll close my accounts, which they already closed for whatever reason and if I pay the card off regularly, they would reopen both accounts I guess and give me $2000. And I was like keep it close. Apparently I missed one payment by $35 and I didn't pay the current month, but it wasn't due yet and I had plans to pay it actually today as I write this.
Banks sometimes do things like that for people that seem risky. Them closing it actually worked out way better, because my minimum payment was way too high and now I have a payment plan. This card will be going to the back of the line so to speak because it doesn't affect my credit. Meaning even if I paid it off it won't increase my available credit because it's closed. I do however have to do the minimum payments, because that would affect my credit. But it worked out even better for me, because honestly I have a lot of cards I'm not worried about not having those two. And the best part is, they reduced my interest so I can go ahead and pay off high interest cards first and save on interest.
Capital One did not offer me a plan, but that might be due to the fact that I paid a lot of payments this month to them, because that was my focus. They did offer to defer my payments until June and I can call to extend the time period. This doesn't help me, because getting a lower interest is really the goal, and they kind of charge me the most out of all the cards. I have three cards from them and each month with all cards combined I'm paying $220 a month, currently. Which at the end of the year is about $2600 in interest for just those 3 cards.
Still trying to get Citibank on the phone and through chat, apparently they have long wait time. Right now I've been on hold for 40 mins and counting. I'll wait an hour and try another day.
Those cards are really the major ones, all my other cards have pretty low interest and I don't owe much on those either, they pose less issues for me right now.
The bulk of my debt is centered around 5 cards. And yes I guess you have figured it out, I have a lot of debt and a lot of cards. I hope you're not surprised.
Also one problem I had with my credit cards was late fees for being one day late, that gets me so upset. It doesn't go on your report because it's not actually late if your late by a day but you still pay. Some cards also charge return payment fees so be careful of that. Those are easy things to avoid paying, just be extra vigilant, we are all busy people and sometimes it happens.
The plan I made for this is to pay off the higher interest cards first, which is something I wasn't doing. I'm also paying off cards that have the largest balances first. So minimum on everything else and the bulk of the money on those important cards that will make a difference. It won't stop the bleeding right away but over time it will. Revisit your plan through out the year to ensure you're on track. I'm three months into the year and I remain optimistic. I feel so good about this plan, and though the timing is kinda weird because of Co-Vid 19, I feel good and I'll explain why in my other blog, about making extra money.
Lastly I really hate paying those maintenance fees. I had multiple bank accounts and I was paying multiple fees, for what? I use my cards for different things, and I need my money. This might not be a problem for you, because a lot of banks have the option to waive fees by keeping a minimum balance and that did not work for me. So I closed my TD account, my Chase account and I was so much happier for it. I was really tired of calling Chase to waive fees. This is an option you have for certain fees, you can call and ask if they can waive it. You can call your bank and credit card company and ask for a lot of things, doesn't mean you'll get it but you can try.
What I did instead was open a Varo card and also a Chime card. They don't have a physical bank but I don't need one. I've literally not gone to Chase once in 3 years. There are many atms I can use around me, and in some ways it's way better than a traditional bank. They have so many non-fee atms at pharmacies and corner stores I was really impressed.
The only downside is that they do have a small daily cash limit of $500 a day for cash withdrawal, which they changed recently to $750. Either way I make two trips if I have to, on my way from work I stop and get the cash if I need to or I take a short walk to a nearby atm. These cards charge no fees at all. No maintenance fees, overdraft fees, return payment fees, fees fees, nothing.
In fact my favorite thing is that Varo gives you the option to go over by $50 for purchases, so my balance is at $0 and I can still spend $50. This came in handy so many times, I can't even tell you. Chime gives you a $100 overdraft limit. When your account goes negative, when you get a direct deposit it comes out, or you'll have 30 days to add money. After that I do not know what happens, you can look it up, but why let it get to that? For all of that you might as well ensure you don't use the feature.
Also another cool thing is that you get paid faster, up to two days at times, which I think is the best gift of all.
That brings me to the end of this blog and cutting expenses. However at the end of the day cutting expense won't always be the thing that make you pay of your bill, sometimes you will need more money and that's the option I took to help myself pay off my debt. So that I will over in another blog.
Hello Everyone, welcome back.
So the goal of this blog is to give you ideas on how to save money this year. You might want to save money for different reasons, whether it be to; have more money for the things you do want to do maybe like go out more or take more vacations. Or maybe you're like me and you really want to save money so you can pay off your debt faster. Whatever the reason, you have come to the right place.
In my two previous blogs I outlined how to save money by cutting cell phone bill and other expenses, and I went over all the expenses you should be looking to cut, so go check those two out to see that. The reason for that is because it would be too long of a blog otherwise and a lot of people don't like reading super long blogs, so it's broken up for that reason. Today I will go over food expenses.
Depending on your lifestyle, you might spend way more money on food than you need to. That was sort of the case for me but was actually not as much as I thought it would be, nor as much as people around me thought it was. Solely because I have a super bad eating habit.
A lot of people around me would see me order these super large lunches at work, spending over 20 to 30 dollars each day, and a lot of people thought that was crazy. I even had one person mention that I was broke because I spend too much on lunch. This is one reason why a lot of people are opposed to letting others know about their struggles, and was also not true because no one really fully knows my life. You might know I'm broke because I said it but you definitely don't know why.
Was that a lot of money for lunch? Yes. Was it the reason for me being broke? Hell No! This is because lunch was the only meal I ate each day. At the time I didn't cook, which people knew, and I guess they assumed I bought food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but like I mentioned before I have a really bad eating habit and I only ate at lunch.
So... let me explain. Most of my life I just couldn't do breakfast. Honestly that gave me some anxiety, because when you have to go to school or places early and you have to wake up early, you know you need to eat because then you have to wait hours before you can; but still I couldn't do it. I would have a stomach ache and feel sick when I even tried. Overtime I got use to not eating breakfast. Then as it relates to dinner because I work in retail for a number of years I begin to push back my lunches until between 3pm to 5pm and then when I got home I was either not hungry or I was too tired to eat. The great news is, because I bought large lunches, I would have some for dinner on the off chance I wanted to eat something and that would be anytime after 10pm. The point is, I ate once a day.
I spent on average $20 a day, more or less, because there were times when I spent 15 dollars, it would really depend on where I bought food from. So $20 for 7 days is $140 a week, which was still a good chunk of change. Most single people would spend about $80 a week, maybe $100 at most; when shopping for groceries for the entire week. So that leaves about $40 each week. Which would be around $1920 for the year. Maybe you can even squeeze out $2000 and that can go towards your bills.
For me I wanted to take it up a notch. If I was gonna now have to not eat fast food as much and probably will have to take trips to the grocery store and cook, I wanted to make sure it was really worth it.
After looking into many options, which included buying pre-made, pre-cooked and prepackaged food, so I didn't have to cook. Eventually I realized I will have to cook and this would be the cheapest way. What I wanted was to spend around $50 a week on groceries, which doesn't happen for other reasons.
For me specifically I realized when I went to the store I would spend more than expected and I would buy too much and ended up having stuff in my fridge that goes bad.
This would be like vegetables, seasonings like tomatoes, peppers, etc you know the types. I would buy too much meat or cheese ravioli which apparently expires, who knew? Milk etc. I also have a unique living situated that affects me, so I don't have a big fridge or deep freezer for excess meat and perishables. You might not have that problem, which for you it might work out. But I realized I created a lot of waste when I do try to cook. I tried buying canned products but I'm not gonna live on canned goods alone obviously.
What seems to be working for me right now, is doing a food subscription service where for a decent price they send you the correct amount of ingredients and you just make it. Be careful to compare lots of options and find the one that cost the least. Right now I'm using Dinnerly, and I'll also leave a link below for that at the end.
There are options like Ever plate, Blue Apron, Marley Spoon, HelloFresh, Freshly etc.. I can always do a separate blog on the different options, just ensure you do your research.
I think as I cook more, I will learn how much ingredients to buy that is right for one person, which is cool that I'm learning that with Dinnerly, however when I went to the store they don't really sell meat like that. The chicken would be a whole pack, shrimp is sold by the pound, beef would be a pack more suited for more than one person. The problem here is that I will not eat it all. I like eating different things every couple of days, If I buy a pack of chicken like that I can cook it, but I'll eat some and leave the rest in the fridge and then one day I'll look and go oh crap it as mold. Or I'll leave it uncooked and then three weeks later it's gone bad. At least I think it is, I'm not sure if it's supposed to be grey.
Either way for me it's too much waste. With Dinnerly they send me like 10 shrimp, ok maybe it's 20, whatever it is, it's enough for me. At first I was like nah... they are bugging if they think I'm gonna spend $40 on this, and then I had to go back and tell them to send me less food.
I started off with 5 recipes and then I moved it to the lowest selection of 3 recipes for 2 people, which is like 6 servings. Don't forget most often I'm eatnig once a day so it last for the week. By the time the last day is here, day number seven, here comes the box again.
Like I said, for you this might now be the best option, but consider ways to reduce how much you spend on food, and not just with coupons but something that's going to make a difference.
For me Dinnerly is working great, and sure there are some days when a recipe is so good I feel like I need more, but that's just my greed showing. On average I spend $30 to $40 on Dinnerly a week and it does last the week. However my spending does not stop there for food. One thing I do now that I didn't do before was buy fruits. I figured since I'm cooking now I might as well go all the way and be healthy. So now I buy fruits and they ain't cheap either, but I try to be smart. I also have to buy milk and water but I've found ways to get water very cheap. You can just drink tap water if you want, but I don't want to. One day I might though.
If you are still unsure what Dinnerly is, it's a food subscription company. They send you the main raw ingredients for you too cook at home. They have different plans for different size families. The ingredients comes in a box, frozen things are in a bag with ice packs inside that box to keep them cool. You get the box the same day it ships in a few hours.
I'm sure you are also wondering, but Dinnerly is not sponsoring me, I did not get paid to say this and they do not know who I am. However if you are thinking about doing Dinnerly, please use my link and help a sister out. I can get money towards my box which helps me save more money, so if you are deciding to try it out consider doing that, you'll get a discount so it will be a win win.
The great part about me doing this box, is that during this crisis with CoronaVirus, I don't have to leave my house. I left once to get fruits but I haven't gone out in two weeks. I'm really happy I don't have to. They leave my box at the door, I get it and whip my stuff down and I'm done. I am so glad I decided to do this, because I tried getting fruits by ordering it through whole foods, amazon fresh, and so many others, and none of it worked for me.
I wanted to go over the remaining ways to get expenses but this is getting long so I'll that for next time. Coming up is credit card fees and bank fees, and you won't believe how much money you get charged for those, and that could be the biggest thing holding you back.
Thanks for reading, see you next time.