About Death and Incapacitation

It is not something we like to talk about or even think about.

A bunch of us were collecting money for a group gift.

“I’ll send you money soon” one women wrote “my husband is not home and I don’t know the login to my bank account. He takes care of the finances.”

I have no problem with any division of labor in a relationship. If a couple decides that the husband should be on charge of the finances completely, I have no problem with that. Do what work for you. If she wanted to wait till her husband came home to discuss this with him or have him handle the money transfer, then that’s great. What I have a problem with is that if something would have happened to her husband- she would not have had a way to access her money.

(Disclaimer: I am using the terms husband and wife in this post but this obviously applies to any type of relationship you may have and whomever you have who takes care of your finances: whether it’s your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, significant other, mother, father, great-aunt etc.)

Think for one moment (even though you don’t want to)- what would happen if you husband (or whomever takes care of the finances) would die or be incapacitated for whatever reason. WOULD YOU HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR MONEY? WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO USE YOUR MONEY? Do you know where the money is hidden? What the code to the safe is? Would you know where your money is? Do you have the login info? Do you know how to retrieve the money you need? DO you know how to pay your bills?

For some of you reading this, you may think this is crazy. Of course you know this information- if so-good for you! But you would be surprised by how many people (particularly women) DO NOT have this information or access.

I was talking about this with some friends- one person had an issue with this: what’s the big deal? Just reset the password? Just go to the bank with paperwork and they will give you access. Possibly. Probably. But how long would it take? Do you have access to the email account which is connected to the bank account? Do you have paperwork proving you should have access to the money? Can you wait until Monday at 9 am to do this? Do you have time to wait for the manager to verify your identity?

Chances are, when unfortunately dealing with death or incapacitation this is NOT something you want to deal with.

So…

Know where your money is. Know which accounts you have and with which banks. If for some reason, you have separate accounts or private accounts- perhaps consider having a list of some sort (in a SAFE, SECURE space) that lists these details for the person you wish to have access to your account in the event you are unable to communicate with them.

Make sure your spouse knows that passwords to your bank accounts, email accounts etc. If you can’t trust them with this information than perhaps you should reconsider your relationship.

Designate your spouse as your emergency contact and “additional user?” on your accounts, credit cards etc.
If you have separate credit cards, consider naming your spouse as an additional user who has access the credit card as well.

If you spouse is unwilling to give you this information- you must seriously consider why. Financial abuse is a real thing and help is available if you need it. (Contact https://www.thehotline.org/ if you feel you may be the victim of financial abuse)

Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to take care of your daily finances if that doesn’t work in your relationship. Many couples are very happy with the division of labor that they have chosen. That’s ok. But make sure that you have the KNOWLEDGE and ACCESS that you need in case of an emergency.

Caring about someone means making sure they have the ability to take care of themselves after you are gone as well.

How To Save Money on Back to School Supplies

Read the full article where these tips were originally published:  https://www.opploans.com/blog/how-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies/

1. Make a budget and stick to it. If you have older kids, let them know in advance how much they have to spend. This way they can pick which items they want to “splurge” on and which ones they don’t. They may want to spend a lot on a nice notebook but stick to the cheaper pencils and pens.

2. Shop online and shop early. Many stores have back-to-school deals on certain items already. Quickly glance through some deal sites and store ads to see which items are on sale and stock up on the basics- pens, notebooks etc.

3. Coupon and cashback. Look online for coupons and take advantage of cashback apps. These little savings can add up in a big way!

4. See what you can reuse. Not everything needs to be new every year. Go through last year’s supplies and see what can be used, passed down and what needs to be replaced.

5. Plan before you shop. Make sure you have your school supply lists along with an idea of what items you already have so you don’t end up overbuying. If you have multiple kids that need the same items you may be able to split value packs as well so make sure to have an idea of what each child needs BEFORE you shop.

Happy shopping!

A Deal is only a Deal if you can Afford it…

A deal is only a deal if you can afford it… Keep on repeating that to yourself as all the Black Friday deals start popping up on your feed and you pass all those ads.

Black Friday can be a day to get some good stuff but it can also be a day where you blow all your money on impulse shopping.

So here are some tips to guide you through the weekend:

  1. Make a list of what you need and stick to the list. Spending $16.97 on Rubbermaid Storage Containers is great if you need storage containers, but if you never use storage containers then it’s just $17 in the garbage even though it’s technically a good deal.
  2. Decide how much you want to spend and don’t spend more! The same advice that always applies is even more applicable for Black Friday. Make a budget and stick to it! There is great pride to be had in not going over your spending limit.
  3. Allot some money for splurging. How much will you spend on impulse shopping and on fun things you see and don’t really need. It’s ok to splurge if you have the cash to back it up.
  4. Don’t count on rebates. Rebates can bring your purchase price down by a lot but don’t buy something unless you can afford to cover the entire amount. Rebates have a nasty habit of being lost, forgotten, rejected or take an endless amount of time to arrive. So if you won’t be able to afford to pay for the whole things- don’t buy it.
  5. DON’T FEEL PRESSURE- with all the advertising and marketing dollars spent over the next few days it’s hard not to get caught up in the pressure of needing to buy stuff. It can get to the point where you feel as if you “missed out” by not getting any “good deals” and being left out of all the action BUT there is nothing to gain by shopping for the sake of shopping. Don’t wake up tomorrow feeling like you spent all your money on things you don’t need and won’t use. Many of these items will probably go on sale again at one point and if you are frugal and stick to your budget then you can pay full price for these items at a later point.

Happy Saving!

Budgeting on an Uneven Paycheck

Some people get a set paycheck every month, but for many people it fluctuates depending on how much they worked that month, overtime, holidays etc. How do you budget when your income changes all the time?

The most important thing is to budget, budget, budget. Make sure that you are making smart choices with your money, especially in months when you make more.

  1. Add up all your monthly bills. Round up.
  2. When you get your paycheck-deduct 10% for maser
  3. Deduct 15% (or 30% or 50%!) for savings. Put this in your savings ladder
  4. Deduct your bills
  5. Decide on a percentage for all variable categories (clothes, spurge, coming soon etc.). Example, 10% for each. Deduct that amount
  6. The amount left over is for food and discretionary spending. If this amount is too small than lower your contribution to your other variable categories.
  7. If you have paychecks that are truly feast or famine (some months you make significantly more and some months you don’t even make enough to cover bills you will have to put extra in feast months into your bills and food accounts. It will take a lot of self-control and planning but it can be done!

The easiest way to calculate where everything goes is to use an Excel spreadsheet. Simply set it up with your desired percentages and your total bill amount, and then every month put your paycheck amount in and Viola! Each amount is calculated for you. I have attached a sample excel spreadsheet here. Play around with it and work out which numbers work best for you!