Decorative Art & Crafts was a division of Art & Design was one of a hand full of major disciplines I was immersed in as an entrepreneur. I thought that this creative endeavour had come to an end. I discovered otherwise.
Begun in the early 1990’s, Decorative Art & Crafts lasted until very early in the 21st Century. Several other ventures intervenes. Then about 3 months ago, in the beginning of the scorching summer of 2018, I resumed indulging in this passion. Since it was too hot for me to engage in outdoor activities, this was the perfect hobby for indoors. I took of like a rocket bound to experience the heavens. And I have been doing just that.
Decorative Art with A Twist
Originally Decorative Painting by Alison Gilbert, my decorative tools were primer, paint and a protective coating. In revisiting this discipline, I introduced some new tools, duck tape and contact paper.
‘Recycled with Love Collectibles’ Revived
The decorative tools are the same and then some. Previous collectables only had primer, paint and a protective coating. Now, I have introduced all different kinds of trinkets and accessories. So far these have included:
• cloth flowers
• glitter medium
• contact paper
• broken jewelry pieces
Making them is really fun and the results are very exciting. Look below for the results. There will be more to show here as pieces are completed.
Being seniors enhances our opportunities for savvy shopping savings. As a senior, if you like travelling locally by car to go shopping, these suggestions should be appealing. The following examples are where we shop. But these days, I suspect that many suburban areas would have these or similar ways to take advantage of saving shopping savings.
Compare is another terrific supermarket that has a lot of Latino foods to cater to the demographics of the immediate neighborhood. The prices are good and I love the variety of foods. Seniors get 10% off today.
Target offers 5% off everyday with their credit or debit card. Since we are in the neighborhood on Thursdays, this is the day to go here. Staples is also right nearby so this is a good day to go here too. We get 5% off with their credit card everyday.
There are many other local savvy shopping savings opportunities everyday. Besides Target, here are a few of them:
• CVS offers 30 to 40% off on a regular basis. This is one of the few stores that I pay attention to coupons. It really pays off. They email me and send me postcards to notify me of sales. It makes it very easy to shop and save here.
• Staples offers us 5% off with every purchase made with our Staples credit card.
• Wild by Nature offers 10% off to seniors. If I shop here often enough, I get another quarterly coupon.
• Michaels Stores, Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing has coupons every week. We actually get notification of them by email. Even though this store is not on our regular shopping route, my husband likes to take a short trip to Michaels for his week art supply needs.
We will either include these everyday savings stores into our shopping routine near their location(s) or make a fun trip on another day or the weekend. In the case of CVS, there are five stores in the areas where we do our other shopping. Therefore, we have the luxury of going to any one of them no matter where else we need to shop.
CONCLUSION: CONVENIENCE BUT CONFLICT AS WELL
I like to shop local and am a supporter of small local shops. But our financial circumstances require that we save money and shop frugally. It is very difficult to find a balance between the two systems, supporting small local businesses and shopping where we can get savvy shopping savings.
With the exception of Long Island Cares, Inc. which is a food bank that supports us, it seems that our finances dictate our choices. But they do not dictate our values. In addition, the direction that business has gone in makes it difficult to shop primarily at small local stores. So it would seem that practicing savvy shopper savings is in direct conflict with shopping small local stores. Or is it? Has anyone found their situation to be otherwise? Here’s what’s been in the media about this issue.
The other day I got an email from one of the credit card related websites I subscribe to notifying me of a credit card cancellation. I was shocked and in disbelief. What account was this referring to and why, I wondered? It referred to an account with CBNA which meant nothing to me. In fact, I am not even sure how I uncovered what account it was. The next step was figuring out why it had been cancelled due to my unblemished credit report.
Uncovering the Mystery
The email I received had two links which allowed me to figure out what was going on. The first link was the highlighted words, ‘contact your creditor or file a dispute’. The second link was a button, verify the details.
The First Clue
The first link in the email led me to this post, Why Is My Account Reported As Closed? Scanning the post, I noticed only one possible reason for an account being closed, inactivity. The next thing was to find out which account.
The Second Clue
The second link, the verify the details button revealed the issue. It showed me the accounts I had that had been closed. Only one applied, the CBNA Account closed on March 23, 2018. This still did not make sense to me. Therefore I decided I needed to speak with the bank that closed my account. Consequently, that was my next move.
The Phone Call to CBNA
It was confirmed that due to my inactivity my account had been closed. I had not received any of the warnings the bank swore they had sent. As a result, I became rather annoyed. But because it was written in the original contract of terms I had with them, they were not obligated to do anything besides close the account, They refused to reopen it or contact Transunion so that my credit score would be be affected negatively.
From this credit card cancellation experience, I learned three crucial things, about the process, the reasons behind it and how to avoid it in the future:
• Banks have to pay to notify the credit reporting agencies of your status on open accounts whether you are using them or not.
• If you are not using your account, the credit line the bank has extended to you is wasted. The bank would rather give it to someone else who will use it.
• When I make up My Credit Card Maintenance System Spreadsheet, I need to include this detail of the usage terms contract.
Had I known this detail about my account, I would have simply made a small charge to keep my account open. This is especially relevant because I did not know it. An account was closed on me. But in the end, I learned a very valuable lesson. Read the terms of my credit card contracts and know how often I need to use a credit card to keep the account open.
Containers for growing and display microgreens are limited only by one’s imagination. This post will focus primarily on two types, teacup microgreens and decorative containers microgreens.
Teacup microgreen containers remind me of teacup breeds of dogs. They are tiny and adorable. They are a great way to display and introduce microgreens as gifts.
DECORATIVE CONTAINERS MICROGREENS
Microgreens in a decorative container make a really nice gift and are very decorative just to grow at home. The below photos are from Maggie’s Microgreens, a company that offers this kind of product with all the items you need.
You can get a fair idea of how to grow microgreens from this kit. It has everything you need to start small. If you appetite for them grows, and it will, then you will want to move on to something much bigger. In the meantime, this is a good place to start.
I love the flower pot that Maggie’s Microgreens supplies. When you go on her Etsy.com site, you will find other decorative containers in addition to the adorable purple flower pot.
Once all the steps are completed, you have an adorable, edible mini garden. After you have eaten them or given them as a gift, you will want to move on to move flavors of and bigger containers for your own use. In addition, this type of item is a great gift to introduce this teacup sized portion of microgreen to others.
LEARNING MORE ABOUT MICROGREENS
Because these edible superfoods are so easy to grow and healthy to eat, I want to guide you to additional information. Because microgreens have become so popular, there is an abundance of information online. As a result, I want to mention a few sources that have been especially helpful to me. Most noteworthy is The Micro Gardener.
Probably the most educational route I have found is joining groups that share my interest. Especially relevant is Sprouts and Microgreens!
Consequently, there are many paths to the same goal, growing microgreens. From creating a teacup microgreen splash to start to digging into large trays as a daily consumer, it is almost a certainty that this is only this information is only the beginning. Therefore, learn as much as you can. Experiment as much as possible by getting your hands in the soil. In conclusion, have fun because this is a great hobby, healthy food and most of all, you never know where you can go with it.
Green heroes loom large in the world of animation. First of all, middle aged people will remember The Incredible Hulk® as one of the more popular ones. Furthermore, younger folks will easily relate to the loveable, animated Shrek® as one of today’s best known characters. Consequently, both are beloved, admired and influential green heroes.
Less well known are the real world influential green heroes. Most noteworthy are people who have started sustainable projects and created productive, profitable businesses. Some are green in familiar ways. Others follow my broader definition developed in the upcoming ebook, Mastering the Art of Green. Hence including:
• a focus for individual survival and profitabiity
• an inventive and untraditional successful enterprise
• something for community well being
• solutions to world hunger and poverty
As a result, with growing green consciousness, poverty and scarcity will decrease. This will be due to the tangible results from green thinking and green resources. Most of all, the global crisis of hunger can be impacted in a positive way. Here lies the area of my greatest concern.
Consequently, we want to pay close attention to such green thinking and the results of these green heroes. Ideas and people like them will mold our future and probably change our world for the better. Towards this end, I have included several green heroes from a variety of venues in this post. In addition, it is my hope that their projects, the snapshots of their work and the details about them in the Sources & Resources section at the end of the post will serve to inspire all of us.
FROM CLEARANCE TO CASH: RYAN GRANT
FARMERS CUT PILOT PROGRAM: MARK KORZILIUS
“You can probably guess by now, that we’re not an ordinary farm. Originally a farm was a place where people celebrated nature, enjoyed pure, good food. All around the world harvesting was a special occasion where people came together as a community to enjoy their gratitude for good food.
“Now, imagine a world of not just one harvest cycle, but many. We are talking of up to 20. Imagine the many pleasant occasions we can come together and enjoy pure good food! Together, we will bring back the joy of food and our farm will be home to that feeling and a place for you – the avid food lover.” Mark Korzilius, Farmers Cut
GOTHAM GREENS: URBAN ROOFTOP GREENHOUSES
Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO
Eric Haley, Co-Founder and CFO
Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, Chief Agriculture Officer
“‘Gotham Greens’ pesticide-free produce is grown using ecologically sustainable methods in technologically-sophisticated, 100% clean energy powered, climate-controlled urban rooftop greenhouses. Gotham Greens provides its diverse retail, restaurant, and institutional customers with reliable, year-round, local supply of produce grown under the highest standards of food safety and environmental sustainability. The company has built and operates over 170,000 square feet of technologically advanced, urban rooftop greenhouses across 4 facilities in New York City and Chicago. Gotham Greens was founded in 2009 in Brooklyn, New York and is privately held.” Gotham Greens
GROWING CITIES MOVIE: URBAN FARMING IN AMERICA
A documentary that examines the role of urban farming in America and asks how much power it has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. This film is based on a 13,000 mile trip around the United States researching answers to this question.
“In their search for answers, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time. Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too.” From their website
JIM WANG: WALLET HACKS
First of all, Wallet Hacks is an internet encyclopedia of financially green ideas. Jim Wang writes about untraditional tools to save money, from everyday items to phenomenal travel tips.
He is constantly amazing me with his suggestions and data. As a result, I cannot applaud him enough as a green hero whose research is invaluable and needs to be studied. Almost any area of life that you want to save money on can be found in his writings.
KATHY TERRILL: I LOVE SELLING ON EBAY
A master ebay seller, Kathy Terrill presents all kinds of useful and fascinating information about selling on ebay. The inspiration for this video was a presentation for members of Sarah Mueller’s Declutter My Home, Facebook group.
PASCAL BAUDAR: URBAN OUTDOOR SKILLS
This man is a wild foods artisan. I am in awe of the delicacies he makes from foraged as well as commercial ingredients.
TABLE TOP FARMING: INDOOR FARM TO TABLE FOOD
“Wish you had the space to grow your own food? Wish you could be in your garden even in winter? Table top farming is your solution for both. You can grow healthy greens, herbs, sprouts, vegetables and even fruit indoors, all year round.
“As a result of using growing techniques like microgreens, hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, you can do your own ‘table top farming’ indoor and out. This page shares my experience doing ‘Table Top Farming’ for fun and a source of nutritious, fresh food.” From the Facebook page
Our journey became one of survival. That became our priority. We had to learn to live all over again under very different financial circumstances. We explored many different avenues and began to build our financial survival tool kit.
OUR FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOL KIT
Building our kit involved many lifestyle changes. We went from a two bedroom apartment to subsidized senior housing. Access to food was a big challenge. Instead of the opportunity to purchase expensive, organic foods and eat out on occasion, we had to depend on the generosity of others and the government. Food pantries and food stamps are crucial financial survival tools. But they may be hard to swallow.
We went from middle class comfort to former middle class frugal living. It was a huge adjustment. We explored many tools that didn’t work for us. Things like couponing and taking surveys. Many more thrifty tools are mentioned in the first ebook. Eventually we found one tool that not only helped us survive but also became profitable. That tool is credit cards.
USING CREDIT CARDS FOR SURVIVAL AND PROFIT
Let me make very clear right from the start that our use of credit cards has involved a very responsible set of guidelines. We pay all our bills on time and in full. Our credit rating fluctuates between 775 and 800 depending upon which credit reporting agency you ask.
Credit cards have given us a financial cushion between sign up promotional bonuses and monthly cash rewards. My refinement of credit cards as a financial survival tool lasted about eight months. What I have learned, and continue to learn about credit cards is fascinating and extremely informative. I have my accounts charted with spreadsheets for each month. Read My Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System for the details of my system.
In less than a year, I had become sophisticated in the financially lucrative use of the credit card benefits tools. All of a sudden, the additional hefty promotional signup bonus credit card memberships applications began receiving denial letters. My stellar tool of acquiring credit cards with promotional sign up bonuses of $100-$200 had lost its winning streak. Clearly, it was time to rest that tool, re-examine some of the other financial survival tools that I had discarded in the past and to research additional new tools. I was at a loss and needed new financial fertilizer.
MASTERING THE ART OF GREEN
Mastering the art of green is a process. For me, it has involved taking stepping backwards to get a different, larger view on what ‘green’ means. It can refer to money. It can refer to food, lush grassy fields, innocence and inexperience.
Sure enough, once I stepped back and started to look at green in a new way, as fertility and productivity, new tools started to sprout. I started growing food indoors calling it, Table Top Farming. I am growing microgreen in soil and hydroponics in water.
This project is of major importance to us since healthy, live food sources can be scarce for seniors on fixed incomes. Food pantries tend to offer the lowest quality packaged/processed food. The SNAP (food stamp) program provides a miniscule amount of money to supplement nutritious food. So growing one’s own live, local greens can be better than money in one’s pocket.
RECONSIDERING COUPONS, STORE SALES AND SELLING SITES
Coupons and other money saving programs do have their value. They are not as lucrative as credit card sign up promotional bonuses. But what is? There again, when I took a step back to get a better perspective on what made sense for me to pursue, I found many options.
Decluttering, Sarah Mueller style can provide lots of potential items you no longer need and want to sell. The above video is from a workshop she did with an expert at selling stuff. Two of the most popular selling sites are Ebay and Etsy. I have not sold on Ebay. I do have an Etsy store, Tin Can Ali. It displays some of my painted items for fun. I have not really tried to sell anything. But Ebay can be a great place to sell things especially if you watch the Kathy Terrill videos from I Love To Be Selling.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Prioritize your options. Find what is most beneficial and takes the least time to execute it. New savings hacks are invented all the time. Be resourceful. Do the research. Continue to read my and other blog posts for the latest information.
Have you ever gotten one of these ‘Facebook Page LIKE’ requests that goes something like, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page”? I find these requests very frustrating and a waste of time. Worst of all, the request is an illustration of a total lack of understanding of how social media works and what a great marketing tools it offers.
Social Media Skills
Unskilled social media users think that the rules of salesmanship and engagement do not apply with social media. Because the medium of contact has changed and seems to have a veil of anonymity, they think they can be impertinent and request something that they have not earned. What they have not earned is the privilege of being ‘LIKED’ by a prospective customer or potential colleague. In addition, they do not know what to do with a Facebook Page LIKE, how to use social media to get business from it and get it in droves.
Would a salesperson walk into a store and demand that a business owner carry his product? Would a business owner demand the same from a potential customer? Of course not. In a face to face situation, a smart salesperson would never do that. But that is what it is like to say to someone on their Facebook page, “I LIKED your page. So now LIKE mine”. At the very least the protocol of salesmanship needs to apply. This includes an introduction such as, “How do you do, my name is so and so. I am interested in knowing more about your business or I’m just looking, thank you.” At this point, the real drive of what social media can accomplish have not even been put into gear.
Depending on the response of the business owner, a salesperson would take his next step. He would figure out how to warm up a potential connection. He would work on engaging the other person. Where is there any attempt to nurture a connection or to engage with the demand, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page.” There is none. In fact, this approach may have the opposite effect and put off the person or business asked to reciprocate.
There is another very important reason. In fact, it may be the most important one. Asking for and getting LIKES do not make a lasting impression with a prospect. It will unlikely improve or increase one’s business. In fact, getting a like is only the key to unlock the door of social media’s magic.
It’s Not Just About LIKES
In social media’s earlier days (and apparently still today), there was a limited understanding about the role of getting ‘LIKES’. Social media is about making connections, engaging and building relationships not just exchanging ‘LIKES’. It takes much more than just gathering LIKES on the road to increasing business. I would rather build ten meaningful relationships online with other business owners or potential customers than have 100 perfunctory ‘LIKES’. But you don’t have to choose between the two options if you know how to use social media.
In the long run, business will grow from growing relationships. It has always been this way. Today, savvy social media users know how to reach so many people and they don’t use the come-on line, ‘I LIKED you. Now LIKE me’. If one handles oneself social media professionally, one will never say, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page.” A LIKE will be a natural part of the relationships one works to establish with the bells and whistles that social media offers and requires to do its job.
There are programs and apps specifically designed to use the LIKES and ‘click throughs’ one does get to take a prospect to the next step of engagement and sales. What does that require? Collecting the email addresses and other pertinent information about prospects. Offer something for free on you facebook page or a special promotion that requires a name and email address. That is where you really need to start to use the social media technology.
Take a look at Shortstack and Sumo.com These companies has comprehensive tools for turning LIKES into relationships and relationships into sales. You can also contact me in the comments section below to learn more about the right way and the wrong way to get Facebook Page LIKES and what to do with them when you get them. Future blog posts will elaborate on this topic and other facets of social media marketing.
According to Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks, millionaires tend to have 7 streams of income. To quote him, “Have you ever heard the statistic that millionaires have an average of seven streams of income? I tried to find the survey, report, or some official repeating that statistic but was unsuccessful. That said, seven sounds good to me.” His list consists of the following sources of passive income: • “Interest – from a variety of loans, either to individuals (peer to peer lending or private notes) or companies (bonds, notes) • Dividends – from investments, partnerships • Capital gains – from the sale of investments • Royalties – from products you sell or license • Rental income – from real estate • Business income – which may or may not be passive but the idea is you build something that generates income without active work, like a website or the sale of information products”
Our 7 Streams of Passive Income
Even though we are part of The Former Middle Class and were One Day From Homeless, we have 7 streams of passive income. Does this mean we are traditional millionaires? Let’s look at our sources of passive income: • Social security retirement benefits
• credit card sign up promotional rewards
• credit card cash rewards
• Assistance with housing and medical expenses
• Medicare and Medicaid
• Food stamps
• OTC card for over-the-counter medically related expenses up to $100
Are We Traditional Millionaires?
We actually have 7 streams of passive income. By definition then, we could be millionaires. But in the real monetary world, we are far from traditional millionaires. In spite of that, let’s say there is another world and another currency. It is a frugal world where large amounts of money do not define us. Our frugal living world involves: • living on a very tight budget • buying what we must • acquiring what we can without having to purchase it • being creative in making or scavenging for what we need • limiting frivolous purchases as much as possible • experiencing joy and meaning in life through activities other than consumerism and spending money as an addiction
Another Kind of Millionaire
You could say that we live in a world that is a microcosm of the mainstream financial world. Our world offers much more but in comparison to the mainstream, we do qualify to be micro millionaires. The reason we do is because we have succeeded in surviving in the miniature financial version of the middle class world we used to inhabit.
Survival comes first and we have not only managed to survive. We have become members of the group, Savvy Saving Survivalism.
It allows for most of the things that our middle class necessities allowed for but in much simpler terms and smaller quantities. In order to fit in to this new life while being comfortable in this smaller financial box, we have had to downsize our world to a minimum of material wants. We focus realistically on our material needs and away from consumerism as a lifestyle.
Nourishing Minimalism has helped a great deal. Because of these internal and external space shifts, we are finding that we now have room for many new interests and goals. Because we are not consumed by wanting lots of dollars to spend, the currency of our current lives is focusing on our dreams. We dream about the avenues we want to explore, the subjects we want to study and where serendipity might lead us going forward in our lives.
What Will the Future Bring?
I don’t know how or where we will go. But one thing I know for sure is this. We have managed to have fruitful and peaceful lives in our frugal world as micro millionaires. We have challenges even fears, at times. But they are less than when we had lots more money. We have learned that it does not take lots of money to make dreams come true. So I am sure we will accomplish what we am meant to do. It does take some money. But more importantly, it takes faith, hope and being tenacious about our dreams.
Conclusion: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs
Nowhere in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs does it indicate that one must be a traditional millionaire. It seems to me that being a micro millionaire fits very well with his philosophy. Maybe that is why we feel fulfilled without having lots of money but lots of what money can’t buy.
For anyone who can’t resist having an encyclopedic amount of information about passive income ideas, either in number or details, there is a voluminous blog post from Bengu. The name is 45+ Proven Wealth-Building Passive Income Ideas. Be prepared for a very long read. It is also suggested to take on one idea at a time. Become proficient in it and then move on to another passive income stream suggestion. Otherwise, you may become totally overwhelmed. But you will never run out of options.
Compound cash rewards are an important part of Mastering The System of Extreme Credit Card Benefits. To begin with, the largest perks I have gotten are from the credit card sign up promotional bonuses. They start at $100 each with specific qualifications. Once they are met, not only can a customer receive this bonus in a variety of forms but it is also possible to get the regular cash rewards along with it. Here is the reason.
Increments of $20, $25 or even $50 are the minimum distribution levels applied to most credit card cash rewards. Those are the amounts when regular cash rewards are involved. But when someone receives their promotional bonus, the regular cash reward levels are automatically met. As a result, the initial bonus will include both the sign up promotional bonus and the regular cash rewards bonus.
Sign up Promotional Details
Credit cards require that the purchasing threshold be paid in 90 days to 3 months. I like to complete the process in much less time than that because I often count on receiving these funds to help pay my bills. One way I accumulate purchases while keeping within my budget is to pay all my bills for the month on the new card. Occasionally bills must be paid directly by my bank account. More times than not, I can charge the payment to the credit card I have signed up for to receive a promotional bonus. Between my cable, cell phone, contents insurance, gas, food, prescriptions and even medical bills, I can meet the needed spending threshold within a month. In other words, a card that requires $500 in charges to pay oui a sign up bonus of $100-$150 will net me about 20-30%. Not bad for a month’s work.
Read The Fine Print
One time I signed up for a card without knowing that it did not pay the bonus when the spending threshold was met. When I called the bank to claim my promotional bonus, I was told I had to wait. Their terms are different from any other bank I have gotten a sign up promotional bonus from. Usually I get it immediately. With this bank, I had to wait for the full 90 days. I was not happy about that because it sure put a squeeze on my budget for the month. That was money I had expected to help pay my bills. Fortunately, I would get it next month so it was not a substantial delay. But it was an inconvenience. So be sure to read the fine print or inquire when signing up for a credit card promotion when the bonus is paid out.
Go For The Gusto, Active and Passive Techniques
In my experience, compounding cash rewards is not for the meek. Some of the perks I have gotten have required being rather brazen.
For example, one card had a promotional bonus of $150. I met the terms and got my bonus. Almost immediately after that, a new promotional bonus appeared online for $200. As soon as I saw it, I called the credit card company and asked for the additional $50. They gave it to me! You never know what you can get unless you ask. I like to make a habit of asking as often as possible. Being part of The Former Middle Class living rather frugally is an incentive to explore every possibility to get additional perks.
Occasionally someone comes up with a passive, brilliant technique. For example, using something called ‘card linked offers’, Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks has come up with an impressive, passive (nothing to do after it is set up) triple whammie for cashback dining. Read Triple Your Cashback Dining Out at Restaurants for all the details.
Whenever you can, compound your sign up promotional bonuses and cash rewards. With the knowledge of the proper tools and how they can work together, this is possible. Behind every benefit there can be another bonus and even another cash reward. See how many you can collect. In future posts, I will be discussing compounding travel points card benefits and online coupon compounding.
Because my credit card accounts maintenance system is so effective, I can manage a substantial number of credit cards responsibly and profitably. Even as the number of credit cards has increased, it has not interfered with my accounts staying in order. In addition, my credit scores continue to hover between 780 and 800, my credit report profiles are in good standing and I have very good to excellent credit.
My Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System
I’ve developed a Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System that consists of a set of tools combining old fashioned manual bookkeeping techniques with up-to-date digital tools:
1. credit card information chart
2. manual ledger paper spreadsheet
3. digital bookkeeping program with checking ability
4. manual checking account with a colorful checkbook cover, checks and paper register
5. email access to and from all my accounts
6. online account access to each credit card listed in my bookmarks
7. online bill paying capability
8. telephone contact with each credit card company
1. Credit Card Information Chart
I created a table in Microsoft Word®. It consists of the data for all my credit cards. That includes every bit of pertinent information about each card. There are even icon size images of all my credit card for visual recognition and order. See the categories shown below this illustration.
2. A Manual Spreadsheet
Perhaps because I grew up in the paper world before the computer, I still find it easier to use manual ledger paper for my credit card accounts maintenance system. But if I become more comfortable with Excel, I might shift my spreadsheet to Microsoft Excel®. Digital or manual, it is possible and prudent for me to keep a tally of every dollar I have charged on each card. Actually, all my tools create a checks and balances system to make sure my accounts are accurate. It doesn’t matter if they are manual or digital. Use what works for you.
3. A Digital Bookkeeping Program
Because I have a Macintosh Computer, I got the only bookkeeping program that was specific to Apple many years ago. It was originally called, MYOB an acronym for ‘Mind Your Own Business’. The name was updated to Accountedge because it now has many accounting features in addition to its original bookkeeping features. Accountedge.
4. Manual checking account with a checkbook cover, checks and paper register
I still pay a few bills manually using checks. Doing this makes it possible for me to keep track of certain personal loans as I pay off them off. This way I have a check copy on my monthly statement for record keeping and documentation. The purpose of my Checkbook Register is to keep a record of every financial transaction I make. I even devised a system of color coded symbols that shows when:
a. a purchase was made
b. it is recorded online by my bank
c. I entered it into my online bookkeeping system
5. Email access to and from all my credit card accounts
The Credit card companies contact me by email. They remind me when bills are due and let me know if there is some other issue concerning my account.
6. Online Account Access to Each Credit Card
I bookmark every credit card URL so that I can easily check each credit card account daily. This is another way for me to make sure that the numbers online coincide with my manual spreadsheet numbers.
7. Internet bill paying capability
Each credit card websites is listed on my Internet bookmarks to be accessed easily. Most of my bills are paid on line. Some are even on autopay. When I get a new card, I have my closing and bill paying dates adjusted so that my payment is due shortly after my monthly fixed income arrives. This way I can get all of my bills paid on time and not have to think about whether or not I paid them all month long.
8. Telephone Contact With Each Credit Card Company
Having telephone contact is very important. One can use any phone, a landline or cell phone. I make telephone contact with each credit card company when I have questions about my balance, closing or due dates.
Since most of these companies are open 24/7, I enjoy calling very early in the morning. It is usually the quietest time at their end. I’ve enjoyed hours of what become personal interest conversations with their staff who are located around the globe. It is fascinating and one of my favorite tools. In fact one call was such a delight for both of us that the customer service person from Capital One actually sent me flowers!
As I mentioned in the previous post, if a person needs or desires to have many credit cards, it is prudent to keep a very close watch on them in order to maintain a good relationship with each company as well as the credit reporting bureaus. This involves accurate reporting to keep my credit score high, to pay all my bills on time and stay within my budget. Because having many cards is based on need, I am very careful about using them responsibly. It is essential for me to be able to I continue to make use of what has helped me to make ends meet since we became part of The Former Middle Class.Extreme credit card benefits have been a tremendous help to me in making ends meet.