Monday, January 7, 2008

Save more money (smm)

The general rule of thumb that I have started using is budget the saving approach, use the e-billpays to pay the bills, use Google apps to document expenses, yodlee the credit card accounts, so all the transactions snap shot is right in front of my eyes and I don’t have to hop from among various different credit cards sites to check my balances.

Budget the saving: I started making budgets to save money (at least 25%) from my paycheck and then paid myself to take care of the bills. I would normally budget my expenses prior to the saving and to my horror I use to rarely save a dime, as I would be paying myself more to indulge in all the lavishes, buy new gadgets add would celebrate with friends often even on wining in racquetball tournament.

I opened different funds in different banks earning higher yields (Flagstar) stay away from CITI (I wasted days trying to get my account activated), always have an account with credit union. I have a credit union account and I’m happy with the service they have provided me, not so much with the yield that my money earns. Hence, I maintain the bare minimum balances that I would require on monthly basis and transfer rest to the higher yielding accounts.

e-BillPay: I use the bill pay options to pay the bills and this way save few quarters every month in postage. Moreover bill-pay provides me the facility to pay the bill on time and never get in the bad books for missing deadlines and take a credit hit.

Google Apps: Normally as soon as I get a bill I will open it to see the due date and balance amount and write it on the top of the envelope and collect the bills from Monday till Saturday. Every Saturday I'll schedule the payments using e-billpay facility provided by my bank. Then I update the spreadsheet in Google documents where i enter the balances to update my Net Worth and Expenses. I use to manage my finances using Quicken (> 2 years) then moved to Microsoft Money(2 yrs), but then after 2 years the Microsoft Money asked me to pay for an upgrade in order to receive electronic updates of my credit card transaction and recently few credit card providers have made it even hard to download the transactions namely(Discover), so I decided that I will not allow myself to be held at petty ransom or at the mercy of the software companies and pay them my hard earned greens just to download my other expenses (That’s double whammy). Here in enters Google with its online suite of apps, where by I can access my expense log anywhere I can get connection to internet. So once a week I update my spreadsheet of expenses and maintain a local copy in my pc just in case if the Google server or the internet connection is lost. I will say that keeping a track on my expenses has helped me to reduce my debt and expenses and be more careful with my green backs.

Yodlee: It’s FREE software that keeps track of the transactions of the accounts you specify. It provides a snapshot of the accounts balances and there by saves time as I don’t have to hop from one account to another. I tired mint and wasabe, mint uses yodlee as its back end aggregator so i stayed with yodlee rather then moving to mint. wasabe shows too much details on every transaction, put my two cents in it why should i care who paid for the same item in new york or california.

People tend to save money and think about ways to save the money, but seriously how many of us have thought to ways to increase the income and the mantra to be "spend less then you earn" ?

I would like to hear your comments and view and any new ideas you readers would have.

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