Protect Yourself – Things You Did Not Know

Divorce or end of Long-Term Relationship

Fortunate or unfortunately your relationship did not work out. Only you can decide what you feel, I am going to tell you things you may not know about your finances up to a year after the ending.

Most people own joint accounts; my reasoning was at my age what would happen if Lord forbids I passed how would anyone get the money from my account. So, yes I added him to my checking account. Do not do this, use your person of significance as a beneficiary, not as an account holder. What you have done is give them carte blanche to take any money as little or as much as they want legally. You, yes you did this. If it is a soured relationship and you are only civil getting them off can be a chore. Both must be present regardless of whose checks are being deposited. If he leaves the state you are stuck. I had to shut down an account I had for over 20 years and start over.

If he did the same thing, but refuses to take you off there is an ulterior motive. If he or she runs the account into the negative the bank has the ability to reopen a shared account and take the money from you. Now you can shut down his account, but they can still use the card forcing it open and causing fees and overdrafts. Arrgghh frustrating, but it is the life of today. I am continuing to go through this process and just want him to shut the account down. He has a wife, and they have new accounts. So this is just spiteful, but you need to know this can happen to you.

Banking & Beneficiaries

The bank that will work with you the best in this situation is Huntington. I would suggest using this bank to everyone. There are many perks and I have yet to have a bad experience.

Again, protect yourself, the good, bad, or indifferent relationship never combine your money. Use each other as beneficiary, which only gives them access once they bring a death certificate.

Credit Scores

I am telling you this because credit scores are everything and once you start having bank issues and overdrafts it will reflect on your score and I am very happy at nearly 800!

regards

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The Basics

Recently it has come to my attention during a conversation with an adult near thirty that they had no idea how to budget a household or what exactly are the “normal” expenses of running a home.  So, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to post about the most basic of needs for your home to run smoothly without being caught up in a windstorm of how do I pay that.

Renting or Buying Basics

  • Rent or Mortgage Payment
  • Taxes if buying
  • Electric
  • Gas or however you cook or heat your home
  • Food
  • Sewage/ Water
  • Refuse
  • Insurance Renter or Homeowner
  • Car Payment – if your car is paid for you are ahead of the game
  • Car Insurance
  • Yearly Plates or sticker for your car
  • Health Insurance
  • Sundries (dish soap, bar soap, toothpaste etc)
  • Credit Cards/ Personal Loans

These are the bills you have, they can’t be avoided or forgotten. Average can be somewhere around 2000 a month. Some pay fewer others more, it depends on where you live and what type of insurance you have be it health, home, or car. Higher crime areas pay more. As long as you understand you need to pay these you are set, if you are looking at this list and saying I don’t have renters insurance stop and think, what will you do if there is a fire? How will you recoup your loss? The homeowner recoups the loss of the house, you need to cover your contents.

Checking Budgets

A new year is upon us, and I have not kept up my budget blog trying to keep up with my budgets. We all go through many life changes. I happened to be having a full on life change that kept me busy leaving me in a position where much like a budget you need to allocate your time to whichever project you are working on.

With that said, I am back although still going through some major changes I am able to handle them all. Do they affect the budget? Why thank you for asking, yes they do. As in life, we will adjust accordingly. Firstly, I was told to start writing as I speak…umm yeah not so sure you will appreciate this but here it goes.

People come and go from your life, friends, family, and associates either through leaving as in walking out or they die. Then comes the odd situation of health issues such as ALZ, that person has not physically left however you hardly recognize them.  All of these at some point require a budget change. I know you are confused so I will break it down in my situation.

  • I ended a relationship since I was last posting – budget change
  • Part of my health care system for my father is leaving – budget change
  • Friends moved – budget change (no longer need the entertainment budget)
  • Father became iller – budget change (diapers, pads, wipes, peri-care)
  • I am moving in with him – budget change
  • New person in my life- questionable budget change

You must be ready for any scenarios you can think of when it comes to your budget from retail to gas prices. Accidents, car rentals, new additions to the family and old ones moving on. I have it under control however I realized I had not touched on this subject in any of my posts. Are you ready for any change? Do you have wiggle room? Did you give up on your budgets my friends? I hope not because they are relevant regardless if I am posting or not.

regards

Gift Giving without Breaking Budgets

There are so many ways to gift give without spending a great deal of money. Here is a page from the Dollar Tree with some great idea’s most $10 or under http://www.dollartree.com/custserv/custserv.jsp?pageName=Non-Profit-Organization-Ideas

One gift I will be giving out will be the Glade warmer, and two scents (six blocks each) in a dollar basket with the paper shreds and shrink wrap with a bow.  Warmer 9.95 at Dollar general, 4 for the two scents, a dollar for the basket and paper shred and the shrink wrap or bag with bow for a dollar (two in a package)  about 16 dollars total.

Another good idea is again at the Dollar Tree, hat, scarf, sunglasses and gloves in a red bag with green and white tissue paper  total 6 dollars.

Have someone that loves candles? Try an assortment there, glass jars approx six inches tall, decorate them yourself to fit the person or their home, use a basket, box, or bag to wrap, less than six dollars.

Homemade gifts –  these will be for friends or family you know well. I honestly got tired of paying out all that money for flavor coffee creamers and rarely finding them in powder form. Here is the gist of it, buy some good coffee mate or creamora , mix 1 cup of powdered coffee mate and one 1.25 oz (single package) of Land o Lakes flavor and mix well in a ziploc bag. Pour into a pint jar, label it with the flavor. There you have your own mixture of a dozen different flavors. If your friend likes cinnamon mix in 3 Tbl spoons of cinnamon mix well and you have made your own cinnabon flavor. Be creative, but be frugal.

Let’s say you feel cheap, try this to make you feel better, basket, paper shreds two cups and a box of tea in between, or cocoa and a kitchen towel festive or plain to wrap gather at the top and twist tie it together.  Now how precious is that, even the towel is reusable!   Compare that to what you would find at Kmart for 15 bucks, compared to 6 dollars.

Just a few ideas to get your mind going, let it roll.

regards

Let’s Talk Christmas

The holiday season quickly approaches, and let’s keep it real you have already started purchasing items for Halloween if you have kids, or are having a party. You know we all do it, say we have a limit although nine out of ten times you go over your limit. A few more bags of candy, more expensive costume then you had planned on.

Some ideas – candy – well you are stuck with that one, but bring it in, when you are out do not run out and buy more instead turn off your porch light.  You rarely can make homemade and if you are making it have a little party, because parents are going to throw away your hard work due to mistrust in our society. Be mindful of what you spend.

Thanksgiving – I never understood the idea why I had to do the holiday to take it somewhere else. My home would not hold everyone, my father could not make it up the stairs, so we take it to his house. Now that I have grown adult children, we are now giving everyone something to do. If you are having a large Thanksgiving let everyone bring a dish so you are stuck with the cost that could climb upward of 300 dollars for larger families. Mine is usually 8, and others show up during the day leaving us one of those that will reach the 300 mark. But that drastically changes when each person brings their own dish. Delegate, one brings dessert, salads, hot dishes, and we of course do the Turkey, Ham, and potatoes the rest is from everyone else.  Use existing things around the house as center pieces, check out some DIY projects! Be frugal!

Christmas – one comment about it not being Christmas but “Winter Holiday” I am going to virtually give you a head smack. So, if you were thinking it consider yourself popped good.  One gift folks, for adults put your names in a hat and pull out a name. For your children, please Lord quit spoiling them beyond your means. What is the point?  You buy all the new gadgets, smartphones, playstation four, xbox, iPods, iPads, or some other tablet allowing them to unplug from reality and plug into the craziness on the web.  How about a football, soccer ball, bat, glove, ball, hoola hoop, books, I will give you an e-reader without the capability to get on and play games. Give them a Y or Gym pass for a year, that also goes for adults. I can go on and on.

Shop at outlet stores, discount stores, some good things can be bought at Goodwill and Salvation Army. Yes I did just say that. Do you have someone in your life that has a theme in their house that they have been working on for years? Can’t find anything that matches, check out those stores and help your community at the same time. For instance, my kitchen is country and I have some specific things I am looking for ex: old Mason or Ball jars, old spice bottles and racks. They have them there. I want an expensive purse, I found one at Goodwill, and let my daughter know because on Weds it will be on sale, so if you want to get me something that is what I want. My son and daughter in law can do the same with the racks only $3!  It is not the amount of the gift, it is the thought. Once you get over that the better off you will be. Who exactly set up the higher the cost of the gift the more you care?  Not true, just not true.

Be mindful, the seasons will come and go, but that credit card debt is a whole year long.

What’s your contingency plan?

If the government shuts down how will this effect your budgeting? It depends on several things, what will be affected in your life.  Do you work for the gov’t and told that you will not be paid until after the gov’t opens again? It will be retroactive although they don’t tell you what to do in the mean time.  This falls under one of those categories as an emergency plan, did you set one up? Will you be fine for let’s guess approximately 21 days at the most.

I have one for myself, and another for my father and his household that can keep us going for that 21 days not falling behind on any payments. Most people don’t plan for these things however I have had my share of emergency planning for a few years. Things come up, people die, the roof falls in, someone hits your car, you get laid off, your spouse loses their job. These are all unforeseen problems the average person faces daily. We are all one paycheck away from asking for help meaning anything can happen and are you ready to deal with it?

I saved for my father every month, decreasing his budget and putting that money into his savings, as well as the off months that an insurance payment is not due that money as well goes into the savings, taxes on the house there is a month none are due and that goes in. So here we are on the brink of a shut down, and he is retired from the gov’t so, what if he doesn’t get paid?  I am good, he is set for 21 days.

I on the other hand will be using credit cards that are low interest and paid off. I too get my retirement from the gov’t. I am set for almost two months. I have already started with the light bulbs which is making my family nuts. One in each room, that is all you need, yes there is a “hole” for another bulb, and yes we do have them, but we are conserving. Turn off the A/C and open a window. No splurging, no unnecessary driving.

Unplug appliances, you should be doing this anyway. Before I go to bed I unplug coffee pots, tv’s , all cell phones should be charged before bed, unplug them, computers and most of all your biggest energy hog in your house is your cable box it uses more energy then all the above named items plus your microwave and fridge. If you need to you can also suspend any cell in your home for the time being if there is a shut down for up to six months and not be charged for it. I have a landline that is only 9.99 a month, so I will suspend all cells in my home.

I sincerely hope this does not happen, but folks if you have not thought about it…maybe it is time you set up an emergency plan.

Budgeting –Time to check in

Hello there my few although very loyal followers. I am checking in to see how those budgets are looking this month. A few questions to ask yourself will be below.

  • Are you staying on budget
  • Have your needs changed
  • Do you need to review and adjust your budget
  • Lost or gained a job (income)
  • Are you using all available tools to find sales and save
  • Are you being honest and loyal to your budget

I have tried to post this several time, evidently I was not suppose to have done that or it would have posted three days ago.  The Midwest was warned by the media to adjust for a spike in gas prices, and it did not happen. Matter of fact it fell by a dollar. Something is going on with cows and chickens because those are the prices that are through the roof. Groceries are on the rise, but no mention to prepare for that. We can always take public transportation, but when it comes to food you are pretty much stuck with what the grocer sells.

I am still trying to figure it out, economics 101, if gas prices rise then everything rises due to transportation costs. But if gas prices drop, but food costs rise what is going on? It does not compute. Do we have shortage of chickens, is there something killing them or making them not produce? Why are the dairy products so high, is there another mad cow outbreak and we don’t know about it? Seriously don’t even get me started on meat prices. I am about to become a vegan here.  So, my budget changed I needed to allow more for groceries and take away from other categories.

I search for sales, there is not shortage in trees, paper has been on sale for weeks even before school started. Heck, I would allow them to come cut down a few unwanted trees at my house instead of stripping out the forest.

Each of us have different needs, unexpected happenstance, roof leaks, pipes burst, water tank goes out, the well quit, someone backs into your car. Those are unexpected things that happen every day. That is why it is so important to budget. However, if you are as unlucky as I am all those things do not happen one week after another in a few months time. My budget has been stretched to its limits.

Now get out your budget books, and go through them. If you are on track, leave it alone. If you are lacking then you need to adjust. It may be only temporary but it needs done.

Until next time!