In 2014, I will properly manage my money. This is less of a resolution and more of a if-I-don't-do-it-I'll-be-in-trouble thing, honestly.
Here's the truth: I've used my credit card to live off of since I arrived in GTMO. This was for 2 reasons. Credit building and an easier way to manage my money due to late funds and my money situation settling. In the Navy, you are often paid after the fact when you move and Gentle Readers, moving is expensive. Truly. Also, when you're in the military and you move, your pay might change depending on where you go (yay hazardous duty pay!). This happened to me in GTMO and Bahrain. I knew that I had the money at the time, but it was easier to use my credit card and then repay everything at once. Additionally, the security of using my card meant that all my transactions were backed by my credit card company. Along with, not being charged the 10% international transaction fees in Bahrain for each time I used my card (which I probably could have done with my home bank, but its easier with USAA since they are used to working with military members). Finally, the using the credit card meant I could get cash rewards DING DING DING!
But I'm not overseas anymore and my money has been stable since the beginning of 2012, yet I continued to use the credit card for all my transactions because cash rewards, duh. While there were valid reasons to use it sometimes, like when I went on DET to Scotland and Australia, mostly, it hasn't been necessary. That didn't change my ways, because I didn't really feel like I needed to. I paid off my credit card monthly, so it was no big deal. And cash rewards.
At some point towards the end of December, when I was checking Amazon deals and Woot every day to see if they had anything I should buy (which the answer to that question is obviously NO if I was looking for things to buy), I realized part of my problem. I was just spending, spending, spending. After Teh Bear moved in, finances quickly became an item of contention. The grocery bill doubled, eating out probably stayed the same if you combined Teh Bear's and my habits, and the power bill went up (I think mostly due to the season changes, but also because very rarely is the house empty). Money stressed me out, ya'll. Truth. My credit card was no longer being completely paid off each month. Instead there always seemed to be a remaining amount left to be paid and the credit card balance was growing and growing. I was taking money from other accounts (Yurtle and my savings) to bring the balance back down to zero. Despite the changes in the bill situation, my spending habits really didn't change. Probably not how it's supposed to work.
Although I think my real "come to Jesus" (no Christmas pun intended) moment was when I realized that my car payment hadn't been made in FOUR months because the automatic transfer had been deleted, and I'm still not sure how, because I wouldn't have done that (at least knowingly). When I called the bank to inquire what had happened they had no idea, but they were pleased to tell me that I could still go one more month without paying the bill. WHAT? NO! I over pay each month so the loan would be payed off early.. Yeah, I definitely lost 4 months of that and I'm back to only being one month ahead. I am still super disappointed in myself and thankful that I happened to catch the mistake when I did.
So as of today, I'm no longer using the credit card. I have to quit caring about cash rewards, because the $200 at the end of the year just isn't balancing out my overspending. After years of living with practically no limit, it is going to be a very difficult transition for me. I have a feeling there will be lots of frustration and feeling like I'm back in college again. Man, those were the broke days.
The worst part was realizing this problem right before Christmas. It made me want to get out all my spending before today so that way it wouldn't be so hard when today came. I knew better, and I only let those feelings get the best of me regarding gifts
|Yeah, never thought that instagram photo would actually be useful.|
Goes to show.... you never know.
So in 2014 I'm going to:
-learn to properly use my You Need a Budget program (that I paid $60 for and have the app on my phone).
-stick to the budget.
-plan for the big things (annual car insurance, Yurtle's registration/inspection, savings/vacation fund, create an emergency fund in case that sequester crap happens again).
-have at least one month where we don't eat out. Period.
-stop using my credit card for daily purchases
-change from the Target credit card to the Target debit card (saving 5% matters, yo).
-properly manage my money.
Also, I'd like to participate in another photo a day month challenge. But that's way less important than money management.
Happy 2014 Gentle Readers!
What are your goals??