Time for the weekly roundup from the Frugal Blog Network.
Shanti at Antishay Ventenne has a couple good posts about credit cards. She’s been shunning credit cards since digging herself out of debt, but is reconsidering – with strict rules attached. Her readers have been surprised by her change of heart, and she’s addressed their concerns too – I think she’ll be just fine. I’m a big fan of credit cards. We have two – our main one is a Visa that we use for everything. The other is an AmEx that we use at Costco (where they don’t take Visa). We pay them in full every month, get rewards rebates (we always take the cash back rewards rather than getting “stuff” as rewards). We don’t pay interest, we’ve never had a late fee… credit cards work pretty well for us. I think Shanti has some really good points in her articles – she mentioned that when she ran up debt, it was when she was young and less mature than she is now, and spent money without regards to a budget. Now that she’s spending less than she’s earning, and thinking about each purchase before she makes it, credit cards will be a tool for her to use, rather than a burden.
Not Made Of Money has a post that’s a must-read for anyone who has an option for a health reimbursement account or a health savings account with their health insurance. My husband and I have our own individual health insurance, so we don’t have an option for a health reimbursement account, but we have a similar plan with our HSA-qualified health insurance policy. We have a $3000 deductible for our whole family on our health insurance policy, and a health savings account where we put money each year to pay for medical expenses (if we don’t use it, the money becomes retirement funds). We had to use $6000 from the account this year, to pay our midwife and to pay for my husband’s knee surgery (meeting the deductible). Since we had the money in an HSA, we didn’t pay tax on any of it, which made all that spending less painful.
Andy from Tight Fisted Miser has a post about stuff, and how we accumulate it. This is something I’m really working on right now. We’re staying in our 1300 square foot house, with our baby, our cat, our dog, and two work-at-home jobs. So space is at a premium. I used to love going to thrift stores, “just looking.” But I would invariably end up buying stuff (usually clothes and purses). I have come to the realization that nobody needs a whole closet full of clothes. Or 25 pairs of shoes. So I’ve started donating my stuff back, without going inside the stores. I’ve only been thrift store shopping once this summer. I did buy two shirts that day, but I was on a mission to find shirts that button or snap down the front, for easy breastfeeding. That’s what I got, and nothing more. I’ve decided that I only want stuff in our house if it serves a purpose. No more stuff that’s just decorative. We just don’t have room for things that aren’t serving a purpose. I have a couple of shelves here and there where I keep stuff like pictures and items with sentimental value, but I’m not allowing those spaces to grow. It’s a one way street for stuff in our house these days – out only. It is easier to keep the house clean this way, although it’s still a work in progress – I have lots of purging to do.
Hope you all had a good weekend!