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40 credit cards

July 25th, 2016 at 09:06 am

Over the years I've accumulated probably at least 40 cards. I am one of those people who never cancelled cards. As long as there wasn't an annual fee if we opened and tried it I left it opened. So this weekend I don't know why my DH started looking at our paperwork. When we moved we literally threw stuff into boxes because we didn't get to it. I had debit cards expiring in 2005 from Washington Mutual. 4 of those cards and papers I found in our box of paper. I also had debit cards from chase that expired in 2008. So this obviously a long term problem. We haven't had either accounts since 2005.

We got to the decluttering easy stuff like clothes, kid toys, etc. But older harder stuff we are still working on. I mean we still have boxes of unopened stuff to look through in the garage. But the reality is that we have a ton of cards that I have no idea when I opened them or what is going on.

So yesterday I started organizing some of the cards and calling to see if there were closed. I had over 40 cards and had I think over 20 that were closed so I started to shred them and the paperwork. I still have a few more to work on but now it's a small stack that fits in a box.

I can't close any that we don't use and are open still because we want to buy a house in the next year and I don't want to hurt our credit scores. I need to pull our credit reports soon to check and make sure everything is okay. My credit dropped from 835 last July to 804 this July. It says because I have too high credit loan balances to credit limit. This is from discover and not an actual score. But I'm worried of course. My DH is 816 but it says the same level of credit used to credit limit is problem. Ugh.

Some of this is because Uncle J passed. We're trying to be motivated to get more organized. We shredded and got rid of 200 pieces of paper. I'm up to 958 things I've gotten rid of this year. Perhaps I am on track to get rid of 2016. But seriously I know we have a ton of paperwork still.

So I found a CC

September 28th, 2015 at 07:45 pm

So I found a credit card today in the parking lot of the grocery store I was entering. I stuck it in my pocket and gave it to the cashier as I checked out.

I felt a lot of guilt because I wonder if the person who dropped it will get it back? Perhaps I should have talked to the manager? I mean I get tons of good karma with all the wallets returned to me when I lose them. So I am trying again to pass along good karma. I've returned a wallet before I found in a shopping kart to the customer service desk. But this was a smaller grocery store I don't think with a customer service so I just handed it over.

It was a bank of america card and I know I probably could have driven to a branch and given it to them. But I didn't feel like dealing with getting the kids in and out of the car.

Do you think I did enough? I am feeling really bad like I should have done more than say "Oh I found this in the parking lot."

Money Saving Tip #3

June 6th, 2014 at 06:23 am

I use credit cards a lot, for everything. I don't do anything like chase rewards but I do try to maximize the rewards I can gain through the cards I have. I've contemplated getting an airlines rewards card or chasing bonuses, but right now it's difficult to find the time to pay bills or keep on top of our spending with two small kids. Plus I know we're moving so rather than opening cards I'm keeping our credit scores high since each inquiry is a hit.

Last year in 2013 we earned $954 in rewards and trading some in to discover closer to $1000 in credit card cash rewards. We spent approximately $25k on the credit cards giving me a return rate of 4%. Plus another $108 Costco rewards. That's extremely high. It'll be higher this year.

Because of my high return rate I've definitely maximized our spending over using a mileage credit card. Why? Most times it's only worth using miles on an airlines ticket if you can get 2 cents/mile. Why? Because miles aren't that valuable. Meaning a ticket costing 25k miles, costing less than $500, most rabid mile collector (go to flyertalk to learn) say it's not worth it.

Personally I always try to maximize our mileage as well typically getting close to 3-4 cents/mile. My most recent trip to Hawaii I spent 17.5k miles on a one way ticket costing $800 = 4.5 cent/mile. Like I said maximize miles. People use miles when they don't want to pay, but true mileage collectors (and I'm best friends with one) helps me calculate the true cost of using the miles.

But back to credit card rewards. How did we get so much? Well we only use 4 cards discover it with it's 5% rotating categories and 1% back on everything else. I use this for most things since I can redeem it for gift cards that are also discounted for further rewards! Like a $45 for $50 Panera gift card or $45 for $50 starbucks (hello teacher gifts). I also ALWAYS use shopdiscover, because it gives 10% back right now on groupon and living social. It also gives great rebates on other sites too for extra savings and you can still use coupon codes on other sites.

We have a Citibank Simplicity cash rewards. Probably never heard of it. We got it 10 years ago and it gives us 5% back on gas, 5% pharmacy stores like cvs/walgreens, and 1% back on everything else. I use this for gas and most everywhere I can't use my discover since it's a mastercard.

Finally my DH and I each have a Costco Amex. We love costco and my rebate check since we have an executive membership for $110 was $108. We are getting close to getting over that hump. We get 3% dining out, 2% travel, great for international travel since it covers the exchange fee, and 1% everything else.

So that's it in CC. I should consider maximizing our CC rewards, but right now I think we're doing relatively well. Except for people who open cards for rewards I don't know that many people get a better value using their CC.

I have considered switching to a mileage or hotel (starwood) CC. My biggest issue is that I would never spend more than $100 on a hotel room between priceline and deals, so it's hard to get a card and use it on a room that cost $300. But perhaps if people sell me on it.

Do you have a favorite card? What's your redemption rate? Do you get great rewards.

I will end with if you overspend on CC or can't pay in full don't use them.

My secret urge

May 29th, 2014 at 10:33 am

Is to charge everything I want on a credit card and not worry or consider how I'm going to pay or afford it. Then at the end of the month not pay it off.

For the record I've never done this so I've always wanted to know what it feels like. My DH and I have always been responsible with money. We were raised that that way.

But I want to know what it feels like to be irresponsible. I want to know a little bit of the thrill of not worrying about how can I afford this.

And the second part would be I'd like to see a paycheck where DH and I saved nothing. Where we just had taxes taken out and the entire thing would be deposited. Sounds nuts?

Truth is even though we make a good income I think the biggest check we've seen deposited has been $3k a pay period. When I see online people posting monthly budgets for $7k or more I wonder what it would be like to spend that much. What would I do with that much money? I know if we didn't save could potentially have that much deposited. And when we get bonuses we do see a really large cheack. But would I really feel better able to spend?

Have you paid off a lot of debt? Was it hard? Or were you always responsible? Did you change your ways? How did you change from overspending on a CC to paying it off?