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    Discretionary Dollar Spending

    Racking Up the Rewards

    Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Rewards points are certainly not new. Nearly every major credit card, bank or airline has their own form of currency called miles, rewards, points or something else. Companies “reward” you to build customer loyalty and return business for simply using their company’s credit card or purchasing their company’s product.  However, with some forethought and a few minor changes in your habits, you can convert your rewards points into cash.

    Spend a Dollar to Save a Penny
    Let’s be clear here. Spending a dollar to make a fraction of a dollar isn’t usually a good strategy. However, if you already must purchase a product why not benefit a little from it.

    We do our best to maximize our rewards and usually end up with about $1000 a year in cash.  We put this bonus in our replacement fund which we use each year for trips and vacations.  Not a bad starting point.

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    Borrow or Buy?

    Saturday, January 16th, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    Why do we buy? Do we buy because we need to use or do we buy because we want to have?

    This simple question not always has a simple answer.

    Are you spending extra time and money purchasing things you could be borrowing instead? Here are a few things to consider before you hit the store next time.

    Benefits of Borrowing:

    Test Drive Products for Free
    Would you dream of buying a car without a test drive? I know I wouldn’t. A major benefit of borrowing is that you get to try before you buy. And if you do end up needing to purchase this item (perhaps rarer than you may think), you will be informed with hands on experiences on what features you like or don’t like.

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    Cash for Clutter

    Friday, January 1st, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    So you have now identified a few items to sell for your replacement fund. But how do you turn those items into cash and grow your replacement fund? Here are some ideas.

    Pick The Best First
    Set yourself up for success and sell your best items first. This means items with the highest profit and that are the easiest to ship or transport. These are usually books, electronics and other consumer goods.

    Price to Sell Fast
    You have already decided you wouldn’t mind shedding these items, so don’t let price get in the way. It’s easy to get hung up on what a “deal” the buyer is getting. After all, you paid -insert your price here- and it has the -insert some feature here-. The past is the past, so don’t get hung up on the other guy. (Yes, he is probably getting a good deal). Good deals are what drive sales. The fact is, if it wasn’t such a good deal the buyer wouldn’t be knocking at your door. Make your item a great deal and don’t look back.


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    Tracking Expenses The Easy Way

    Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 9:46 PM

    Do you wonder where your hard earned dollars get spent? Here are some ways to track your expenses in just a few minutes per week.

    1. Use Online banking

    Some smaller banks are still catching up but the larger banks have done a great job of giving you all the tools you need online. If you aren’t using online banking then tracking your expenses will be much more difficult and may require far too much time and effort.

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    Credit or Debit? Plastic Explained

    Sunday, December 6th, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    credit-card-main_Full

    because there is some confusion on what types of plastic are out there. You bank
    sends you a card but what does it really do? Here is my definition of a few commmon types of plastic.

    You might have a good idea about how your cards work, but it seems there is still a whole lot of confusion on what types of plastics are out there. Your bank sends you a card, but what does it really do?

    Credit Card – Most Widely Understood.
    This is not your money. You simply sign and present this card when you purchase something. You can use it interest free for about 30 days, then you must pay it off, or make minimum payments plus interest.

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    Funding your Fund

    Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 at 3:44 AM

    So you are ready to start funding your replacement fund. Now what?

    Finding Items to Shed
    Here are a few ways to surface and identify items that you can sell.

    1. Inventory Your Emotional Baggage
    What item would you never dream of selling? Are you held back by emotional reasons? What are these emotions costing you? Now of course there are things worth keeping simply for emotional sake, but what if it is something you know you will never actually use again? Can you justify having this item take up space in your life? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t.

    One way to let go, is to take a photo of the item with sentimental value. Take 10 photos if that helps. Save the photos somewhere safe, and shed that item. Next time you feel like bringing back those memories, view the photos. You will find you get nearly the same emotional reaction to a set of photos, as the actual item. Not to mention, photos are a lot easier to organize, backup and save!

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    What is a Replacement Fund?

    Monday, November 30th, 2009 at 3:18 AM

    My wife and I started developing the replacement fund idea right before we started packing for our last move. As do many couples, we seemed to have a lot of things, that we either didn’t use, or only used a handful of times. As we started to pack we starting dreading packing, moving and unpacking all these things we rarely even used. We wondered why we had all this “stuff”.

    Now let me just say, we live lightly. Most of our friends and family have far more “things” in their lives. My point? If we can benefit from using a replacement fund there is no doubt most of us could!

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