Thursday, February 4, 2010

Credit Cards

I recently received our credit card bill for the month of January. The balance was not a surprise, I paid for my tuition with our credit card. I will be paying the balance off next week, as we have the money to pay if off. What I was shocked by was the newest disclaimer on credit card statements:

Minimum Payment Warning: If you make only the minimum payment each period, you will pay more interest and it will take you longer to pay off your balance. This is not a surprise.

If I pay only the minimum it will take 23 years to pay of and I will pay $7,343 in interest! This is a shocker! If I double the minimum, it will take only 3 years to pay the balance off. What a difference!

No wonder people are unable to get out of credit card debt. This disclaimer also included a blurb that if we pay late our interest will go up to 29.99% APR. None of this was really a surprise to me. I knew all this. What was a shock to me was the fact that a relatively small balance take me 23 years to pay off, I will be 61 years old in 23 years.

I am a huge advocate for paying credit cards off in full every month. If you can't than stop using them and put yourself on a payment plan to get yourself out. I will not lie, my husband and I found ourselves in the credit card trap when we were young and just married. The idea of instant gratification was very attractive. If we wanted it, we bought it. We got ourselves into debt in our 20's and got ourselves out in our 30's. Our debt was paid off one bill at a time, taking a lot of patience and perseverance. We are lucky that we took care of it before everything came crashing down in 2008.

We do use our credit cards now. We pay them off every month. One might ask, why do we use them when we have no credit card debt and an emergency fund. We use them because to not use them will ruin your credit. We worked too hard to create a solid credit score, pay off our debts and build an emergency fund to have our credit score ruined by lack of credit. It is an unfortunate cycle, but it the reality we all live in, so why not embrace it and take comfort in knowing that if you ever need credit it is there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Here is a link to an interview with an author who wrote a book about frugality. The interview is kind of boring, but the book looks very interesting. I might check it out from the library.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Astrid and Veronika

Just a quick blog tonight. I recently read the book Astrid and Veronika. If you are looking for a beautiful story, read it. Rarely does a book make me cry, this one did. In fact, while getting my hair highlighted (I used a gift card) I was reading this book and began to tear up. This book made me realize that in life it is never to late to make changes and restore relationships in your life. A lesson that I think we all could learn.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saving Water

I am still here. Last week brought me sick kids 3 days, a pretty major clog in our plumbing and your normal life stuff.

When we had our plumbing fixed, we were told that our septic system is nearing the end of it's life. We knew this, but ignored the fact a bit. So, the plan is to "baby" the system until we can hook up to the city sewer. According to the guy who fixed things on Wednesday, if we limit the water and have the system pumped every 4 months we should be fine until the city allows us to hook up. So, we have decided to embrace the challenge. We are doing the following in an effort to save the system:

1. 2 minute showers. We have a timer. The kids are excited and trying to see how fast the can shower.

2. Water is not to be running when we are brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.

3. Water softener water is being redirected to drain directly outside. So is the humidifier.

4. I am going to use the laundromat for SOME of our laundry.

5. Dishwasher is being run only when full

6. Toilets have been fixed so that nothing leaks.

7. Toilets are not always being flushed.

That is all we could come up with. If anyone has other ideas. PLEASE forward them. We need all the advice we can get. I think that in the end this will prove to be a good exercise. We are going to really learn how to save water, save money and probably save a system that will eventually be replaced by a city system.