Thanks for the input and encouragement

I think I’ll request a debit card from our bank. I picked up the application a while ago, but was slightly offended by my bank’s monthly fee for having one….(only a dollar a month but oh, they make me so mad sometimes….) Come January, I should have about 3 months’ living expenses in savings. At that point, given a few month trial run with the debit card, I’ll look at this decision again. We have a business trip to Seattle in November which should test everything nicely.

I am also thinking that Tonya’s idea to lower my credit limit is an excellent idea. I lowered one card to use on the net – I figured any fraud would be quickly curtailed by the low limit, but left the other “main” card at the limit as given by the company. Who would just love for me to run it up…..a few years back when we were using the credit card waaayyy too much – (moving, new job, new house etc), they just kept raising my limit.

It’s funny because I almost think that they have psychologists on staff. I had a “comfort zone” of keeping the balance at about half of the total limit–didn’t seem like I was out of control if I wasn’t near “max”. And it sure seemed that they recognized that…..half of a thousand isn’t that much but half of 15,000 sure is.

Some time back I remember a thread about Super Wal-Marts

Well, we now have 2 within 20 miles that just opened Wednesday. I think someone said they always check their receipt because WM is notorious for getting things wrong.

I can sure see why! The sale items didn’t ring up with a name of the item – just a bunch of gibberish and numbers! Next time I go, I’m going to write everything down with the price on the shelf and double-check it against the receipt. That sounds a little anal, doesn’t it? LOL! But, I always check my receipts anyway – WM just makes it more work.

And they made good on the prepackaged fabric bundles! It is such a weird experience to go into the “fabric” department (I use that term loosely) and feel like you are buying sheets and tablecloths. Everything is in folded squares or plastic wrapped. The whole experience is just so foreign.

Where’s the chance to see all the colors and patterns at a glance? Not there!

The clerks did say that if enough people complain, they will change it back to a regular fabric department. And I did, in spades. There are a lot of home sewers around here and I’m sure they will get an earful.

One thing to remember is that Wal-Mart guarantees their prices. If they undercharge you at the register, you get it at the lower price.

If they overcharge you [the only exception being competition busters which has to be manually price overridden anyway], they give you three dollars off the item, or the item for free which ever is lower.

One thing, though, is that it has to be identical sized containers. If Kroger is selling Kroger Brand OJ for $0.99/half-gallon, they won’t let you get a full gallon jug of Wal-Mart OJ for $1.98.

And I know what you mean, I walk out of there with free or discounted merchandise all the time! At my Supercenter, though, they don’t like giving you the discount. Unless you ask for it, they will only price-override it for the correct price. And even then, most cashiers are so incompetent that they won’t give you the discount [even though you can show them the policy printed right there on their register] without consulting a CSM [perhaps it’s a conspiracy to make it just inconvenient enough that most people will just give up and leave].

Anyway, is WM any cheaper than Winco? (For those of you who have both)

One thing that he points out

One thing that he points out, and quite correctly, is that there is a greater psychological feeling of loss when you put down that $20 dollar bill on the counter; however, that feeling of loss is less when you slap down the plastic [whether it is a debit or credit card]. This tends to result in an average 18% increase in spending. Top that off with the fact that you are paying about 18% [average] on that credit card and all of a sudden those cards aren’t that good of a deal. As for your question of closing out my credit lines, I did that years ago and have been much happier for that. I did a little happy dance when I sent off the last payment [about 4 months ago] to the last credit card because I knew that never again would I ever have to look at one of their letters or talk to one of their collection agents.

As for Nancy’s point about breaking up baby-step #3 into smaller more manageable sub-baby steps I think is a good one. Take it in manageable chunks, and then treat yourself to a luxury item when you get there. Now I don’t think I drive in the country or an inexpensive desert will be much of a motivating factor; however, a good, but relatively inexpensive, dinner at a nice restaurant – just you and your spouse [get a babysitter for the kids] after each sub-baby step will be an excellent motivating factor. Also, don’t deprive yourself of the small luxuries while you are tackling each sub-baby step. I’ve heard many people testify that the thing that kept them going through the first three baby-steps was the fact that they didn’t deprive themselves of the small luxuries. Cut back, yes, but not totally eliminating them will make the steps easier. Go on a date with your spouse at least once every week or two. Buy yourself the occasional book at your favorite book store. If you treat yourself, in moderation of course, you will find that the baby steps are much easier to accomplish.

In mine and my DW’s budget, we have first and foremost our 10% of net income coming out for the support of our Church and other Christian ministries [every single person I know who gave their 10% – the first fruits of their income – to God whether they could afford it or not are in better shape financially then we are now; I can’t help but to believe – after all, I’ve seen it – that God honors the gift and fulfills his promise to return it to you “pressed down and shaken together”]; we then pay our basic living expenses [rent, food, transportation, utilities], my student loans, then we give ourselves $10/wk each to blow on whatever we want, and $20 a week for entertainment, that leaves us left over $150/month to put on whatever baby-step we are currently on. We are tackling it little by little, enjoying life, and don’t feel deprived at all of the things we enjoy.

Speaking of Dave Ramsey

Speaking of Dave Ramsey……. we’ve been on the baby step plan since last January or so. The first couple of steps were reasonable for us – mini emergency fund and paying off all debt except the house. But now it is getting harder and beyond the simple fact of there is only so much money, it is psychologically harder.

My next step is to accumulate 3-6 months’ living expenses in that emergency fund. That’s a lot of money; and it’s slightly discouraging. But beyond that step, has anyone closed out their credit lines?

That is the one recommendation of Ramsey’s that I just had trouble agreeing with – like he wrote in the book, “I can use them responsibly”. But I’m beginning to suspect that maybe we’re not as responsible as I’d like to think…. Just wondering what other people’s thoughts and experiences are?

Maybe his baby step is too big for you right now. How about a premature baby step…1 week’s living expenses in the fund, then 2, etc. Maybe the goal is too big to see now, and a smaller goal on the way could work. Reward yourselves by having dessert at a good place (under $10?), or going to Barnes & Noble and looking at books, or taking a drive alone…whatever (cheap!) reward would do it for you.

Yep, Dave has a couple of books. The two that I know of are “sister” books – “Financial Peace” and “The Financial Peace Planner”. I read the first one and *loved* it. Luckily, I found the second one at the thrift store for 79 cents! They cover the same ideas and I don’t know if I’d say you “have” to get both, but I really do enjoy having the planner–it has some additional information and worksheet type stuff. Can’t imagine giving it away to the thrift!

Good idea on setting mini-goals!) for my 6 month living expense goal. I didn’t even think of that. Just saw it as this big goal that I had to keep chugging away at until I could say “done”.