This is a somewhat humorous question for Dave Ramsey.
- Do you think the Clinton’s made a written budget?
- Did you think the Clinton’s considered selling one of their houses?
- What do you think of the Clinton strategy of getting gazelle intense about increasing their income rather than cutting costs and working the debt snowball?
- What can the average Financial Peace University attendee draw from the Clinton experience?
Last month I bit the bullet and decided to be a bit more proactive about my spending, budgeting, and saving. Part of the problem is that I need to save more money for my emergency fund and I am embarrassed with 2013 spending. With the likelihood that my health insurance deductible will be much higher, a larger emergency fund is required. After analyzing my Amazon spending for 2013, I can see that I can make a major improvement in my spending by controlling my Amazon spending. With the recent problems with credit card theft it is in my best interest to watch my credit card expenses very closely. The solution to these problems is to give every dollar a name and monitor my progress with Quicken 2014. As I enter my second month on the system I can say that my budget is reasonable and balanced. The biggest psychological boost comes from monitoring the accounts frequently and seeing that you are winning.
Yesterday Amazon announced that it may be raising the price on Amazon Prime by $40. That got me to thinking. Was the Amazon Prime subscription a good deal for me? Since I track my expenses in Quicken I ran a report on my payments to Amazon. Next I imported the report into Quicken to do some quick calculations. I found that I had 5 transactions that were less than $35 and greater than $10. Transactions greater than $35 are generally free shipping and last year I bought my niece a bunch of books for school. They cost less than $10 and did not qualify for Amazon Prime. Then I remembered that two of the remaining 5 transactions did not qualify for Amazon Prime. Wow, I was very good to Amazon last year! I did not break even on the shipping, I barely used the video streaming, and I did not use the Kindle lending. My calculations tell me to cancel my subscription. I did.
This week we had another credit card breach announcement, Michaels Warns Customers of Possible Credit/Debit Card Leak. This breach sounds more like the Target breach rather than the alleged security problems with www.healthcare.gov. Once again the best information on the breaches can be found at KrebsOnSecurity. Unlike the problems identified at www.healthcare.gov by TrustedSec, the problems at Target and Michaels appears to require some inside access to get the malware on point of sale terminals. Like most security breaches we, the public, will not know the extent of the problems for some time. The good news is that I can minimize my exposure to credit card fraud and identity theft by avoiding these places. As an additional security measure I bit the bullet and installed the mobile client for Quicken 14 on my phone. Although I am a long time user of Quicken I am updating on a three year cycle. This version has a mobile client. I was not excited about using the mobile client until I got worried about credit card fraud and identity theft. My solution is to minimize my credit card use and monitor my spending habits more closely. Even though I may become a victim of credit card fraud, I can minimize the damage.
Last week I took a closer look at T-Mobile’s two cell phone plans. As a long time T-Mobile user with four lines on our family plan, I have very little interest in switching plans. One of the primary reasons people switch carriers is to get a new phone but I just don’t need one right now and my old G2 is doing just fine. However I am very interested in ways to lower my cell bill and that is where T-Mobile’s new plan fits in. It is called the Value plan and it looks like it will save me $30 each month while providing us with slightly more services. I have unlimited texting now! Now I can bug my son with texts even more!
For a better explanation of the two plans you should read Jessica Dolcourt’s article on www.cnet.com, T-Mobile’s ‘Value’ plan beats ‘Classic’ any day