This is a long post about money. My money, specifically.
I don’t read my horoscope regularly, but it pops up on Yahoo every day and I happened to glance at it earlier today:
You may be on solid ground right now in terms of money, but it would not hurt you to conserve a little bit more. Cut back on some of your excessive spending and get more aggressive in your savings plan — and if you don’t have a savings plan, you might want to get on that today. Ditch your credit cards for a while — they make it way too easy to spend way too much! You work too hard for every penny to let even one of them slip out of your fingers without a fight.
It’s an amusing coincidence, because just this morning we went to the bank to take care of some business. Business involving paying off credit cards and getting pre-approved for an auto loan.
We actually took out a loan to consolidate our debt. Actually I took it out, because I have a good credit score but Darren has no credit at all, so the interest rate is better without him. Anyway, the debt isn’t terribly high, but the interest rates on the cards are ridiculous. Consolidating them onto a loan with less than half the interest rate, plus a smaller monthly minimum payment, is going to save us an absurd amount of money in the long run- especially since we’ll be able to make payments much higher than the minimum. Once the payments go through to the card companies we are straight-up closing those credit accounts. SO OVER IT. Incidentally, paying off the CCs is on my 30 by 30 list. Nice.
As far as the car thing goes, we’ll see what happens. We’ve set a maximum allowance for a purchase price but I’m aiming to spend well under that. I obviously don’t want to take on more debt when we’re trying to get rid of it, but actually with everything else we’re doing, plus having payed off a couple loans this summer (two student loans left to go! One of them is 15 years away from repayment though) we’re not going to be paying any more in bills than we do now. Likely even less, depending on what we end up paying for le car. Plus our stupid old van eats gas like crazy, so saving money with a more fuel-efficient vehicle, which of course is what we’re looking for, is a big win. Andplusalso it’ll be a joint loan so Darren can finally build some friggin’ credit.
So that’s that. We’re also doing a lot of non-spending of extra money in general. I mean we spent plenty on vacation because of course we did, we saved for it for months, but now that’s over. Less dining out, less nights at the bar, less unnecessary shopping. Less Caribou, DARREN. More saving. That’s the goal. We want to go on more vacations, and maybe buy a house someday, so we’re making some choices now that will lead to fun things in the future. The downside is it sometimes affects how I kick it with buddies, but we’re all pretty excellent at making our own fun. Hello, toga party tonight?
I’m kind of excited about this, actually.
This is the part where I totally plug our new bank. We recently left Wells Fargo and joined Affinity Plus, a credit union based in Minnesota. It’s a non-profit, and everything is wonderfully straightforward. I researched a lot of CUs for a pretty long time before I made the choice (I wear the pants in the family, I guess? Everything was thoroughly discussed but the legwork was all me) Their employees are trained in every area of the business which has been so helpful. They want their customers to succeed and that has been very clear to me in every interaction I’ve had with them. Plus there are so many little things that are awesome. Participation rewards, for example. plus they have a program called Stash Your Cash, where your debit card purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the extra amount is deposited into your savings account. We’ve only been with them about a month, but it’s been a very good month. I’d recommend them to anyone. Bonus: the fellow we worked with today noticed Darren’s extensive customer service background and let him know that Affinity Plus is hiring like crazy, and said to use him as a reference if he was interested. He even gave some interview tips. Cool!
All this to say that my horoscope today was bizarrely accurate. Well played.