Thursday, June 9, 2016

Credit Card Loose Ends

Finding extra money by looking for credit card "loose ends".
As we've kicked off this website and formalized our journey I knew we needed to find a better way to track our expenses.  I have tried different programs throughout the years but never really stuck with any of them.  There were always things that made the program too difficult or not insightful enough.

Well we just tried Personal Capital and discovered how great of a tool this is.  While I am brand new to this tool I am already discovering amazing things.  One of the challenges of tracking for me has been what do you do with credit card payments and charges.  I've seen several programs book these as essentially double charges. First the charge when you spend on something, then the second charge as you pay it off.  Example if you bought a new TV on your credit card in March, you would incur that charge into your monthly expenses as Electronics in March and then again when you paid it off in April.  Personal Capital handles this well and only books it when you purchase.  So far I really like this software and at some point will probably due a full review on it once I've had some more time to work with it.

Now on to the fun stuff.  As I've been going through the expenses I've noticed a few credit card charges over the last few months for small recurring payments to online services and other things that honestly I had forgotten about or really don't use anymore.  Yes, I know I should catch this in my monthly billing statements but honestly hadn't been that religious about it.  Now that I can easily identify these charges I am going through and taking care of these "loose ends" if you will.  They are small amounts, $5 here, $15 there but they add up.  So far I'm up to $42.  Since I have been spending this $42 monthly I am going to start adding $42 to my monthly investment contributions every month.  This is $502 a year that over time will add up.  At 7% interest over ten years it's an additional $7,269 added to our retirement account.  Additionally this has served as a reminder of some other online payments that I am going to reevaluate if I truly need these or not in the near future.  It will be interesting to see how much all of these loose ends of automatic payments can add up to and help us reach our retirement goal earlier.  This has been a reminder of just how much income can be wasted if you aren't paying attention to it.  I'll also continue to watch these as some of these type of payments only occur quarterly or annually.  More opportunities to tie up loose ends.

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