Minimalism

Discussion in 'Personal Diaries' started by Bryan Leak, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak Member
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    Two recent developments concerning my personal financial events. I mentioned my high limit VISA (acquired in April 2019) attached to my retirement account. The card pays 2% across the board for purchases. I was unaware of the process to redeem the rewards, but have since discovered where it goes and how to redeem them. My rewards are deposited in my investment account, easy peasy. That was one of the noted downsides of acquiring this card. Works out well for me my pension also is deposited monthly into my investment account. I have access to the money through my debit card (ATM) I first got back in 2010 when I retired. It's seamless and free through our local Credit Union. It was in limbo until I had reached their threshold of 5,000 points ($50, 2 points for every dollar spent), I noticed the reward automatically deposited last month.

    2 is the financing of my new-to-me auto. Been paying since Dec '19 to the online bank that loaned me the funds. I mentioned before that I had rescinded the warranty contract back prior to my first payment, (removed 12-24-2019). I had been going over my contract discovering the interest rate higher than the going rate for my FICO score. I logged onto my other credit card issuer to see if I pre-qualified for auto financing, was accepted. I decided to refinance at their rate, 1.1% less than my existing loan. My new refi at the new rate lowering my payment $22 while not a make or break me range it does save me nearly $5,000 (added to the non-existant warranty) over the life of the original contract, a 28.5% savings. Sometimes a little leg work is worth the effort.

    Minimized
     
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  2. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak Member
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    This AM (Jan 20th 2020) received an email concerning my rewards statement from my pension provider, my high limit VISA has 4302 points which converts to $43.02 in rewards that will then be automatically deposited to my investment account when I reach 5000 point threshold. That means that during 2019 I used my card to charge $2151 on the card (2x$1=$2). I therefore need to ring up $349 on my card for the 698 points I need. In other words I’ll swoop down from the bushes to get my cash.
     
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  3. Ed Wilson

    Ed Wilson Very Well-Known Member
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    It all boils down to living efficiently which you learn with the wisdom acquired by age. How's that for a minimalist explanation? Short and to the point.
     
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  4. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak Member
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    My web access was compromised a coupla days ago. I'm still not sure if it was an error on my part or not. I was using my smartphone for web surfing, our wifi is terrible in my current temporary location. But be as it may I received a notice when trying to access my bank app that the credentials were invalid. I had used it for months prior to this date, then all the sudden it no longer worked, I called the bank to see if they had been receiving calls. I was sure it had something to do with either me or the android operating sys on my phone (Google). I couldn't get the app to open so it wasn't the bank but the OS.

    I freaked because it was my financial well being that was in question. I done a little more research, then decided that something was amiss. I have my laptop running a secure Linux system so I knew it was something with the phone or OS (Android is Linux based). I immediately reset my phone to factory settings wiping out all my contacts, passwords, logins,,,etc. I do keep all my login scripts minus passwords on a text file on my laptop so I did have a backup. It took a little while to access and change all the accounts and passwords. I feel confident I nip it in the bud, but taught me a few lessons.

    I have 4 auto pays that access the same card, so I lowered the limit considerably to lower my exposure, I put a lock on the other 2 cards that are active and removed the Amazon Prime retail card from my Amazon account. I'm not saying I'm okay but I did take some preventative steps to reduce my chance of fraud. The lock is only as good as their service, it does give you some rights. I put an fraud alert on my CU account just in case. I really never trusted the openness of the smartphone OS but rather than complain I just decided to go back a few steps and utilize my more secure OS on the laptop.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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  6. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Veteran Member
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    Bryan-- I hope it was just a fluke and you don't have more headaches to deal with.
     
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  7. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak Member
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    Personal Anger Management Alert! On SuperBowl Sunday I was perusing the web as usual. I found I had another email from Amazon that my order I had made on Jan 11 this past month was due to be delivered before 9 PM today. I have Prime should be no more than 3 days with free shipping. I have received several probably in the neighborhood of 5 with the same message. Where I reside during the winter has NO USPS service or normal deliveries except for UPS or FEDEX. I have noted that on my account orders. Well the company who sold the items through Amazon shipped them DHL. Nope aint going to happen. I tracked the package up and down the west coast, the items were just under $45.

    After sending a reply back I got online with Amazon's customer service through chat. I few messages back and forth send me into a meltdown. They wanted me to communicate with the company on my own requesting a refund and such. Wait, the contract should be between Amazon & the offending company. They didn't deliver so I should be reimbursed in my thinking. I said if they can't get my money back to hell with them, I'll cancel my account. No threat to that multi billion dollar company. I got more and more frustrated so I canceled my account, closed and canceled my Prime Retail Card. Two companies out of my personal loop.

    I look back now and realized it was probably a good thing, yes I'm limited in my online purchases but I was looking for support to stem my impulse buying, that problem was resolved within a few clicks. I can make the same purchases at Walmart.com for probably less or at least the same price and get free shipping. Don't have to pay the $119 membership fee and eliminated a lot of unnecessary email advertising. They won't keep sending me those item alerts that they are sure I can't live without saving a few bucks and eliminate the stuff accumulating in my garage.

    One more card less along with getting my name removed from their ads, hopefully.
     
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  8. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    @Bryan Leak I order from Amazon on a fairly regular basis and have only had a couple of issues in the past few years. However, WalMart is an excellent alternative as long as you order the required $35 of merchandise for the free shipping.
     
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  9. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak Member
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    This afternoon my battery went south. I've had the laptop 7 years, batteries usually only last 5-8 years, Since my Amazon account is out of service I removed the battery and will wait until I get back home to order one from another company. You can run without a battery but a power bump will shut you down.
     
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  10. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Veteran Member
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    I pay close attention to Amazon orders these days; there are more and more "marketplace" sellers on their site that DO NOT have the same "terms of service" as Amazon. I have been burned twice in the past year but it was my own fault for assuming I was buying from Amazon when I was not. This is also common on the Walmart website where there are now a ton of sellers; make sure you are buying from Walmart.
     
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  11. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    The one that burned me the most was one that took a month and shipped out of China.
     
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  12. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Very Well-Known Member
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    One would never know how much I have minimalized over the last 5 years. I am even considering a tiny house in the future.
     
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  13. Bryan Leak

    Bryan Leak Member
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    Again I've been working on my budget (minimizing). I have now closed all but 2 of my credit card accounts. I keep the VISA with a higher limit and my MC that pays 4% for dining (one of my few unnecessary expenses). Got my first 2% deposit today a little more than $62. Took a while because of my lack of understanding of their reward system. But all is good now, somewhat surprising. I now use it exclusively for all purchases except dining out. The MC pays 4% on the total dining bill including tip.

    I thought about using the VISA for gas, when I buy locally they reward me with a $.10 per gallon discount paying cash, that works out to just over 4%, MC & VISA only pay 2%. I have also been transferring extra income to my online savings account which pays 1.8%. On the 25th I purchase a 12 month CD with the savings account balance that pays 2%. I remember my MIL getting and living on the 10%+ she got on her CDs back in the good ol' days, not now. Slowly - building up a little return. I used to invest in stocks but since retirement I settled into much safer venues, still getting a little ROI but not near as much as I did in my HEY DAYS.

    I'm not sure if I mentioned my approach to tipping. I base the tip on service without going overboard. 15% for adequate, 20% for beyond. And, on the total bill. We have no sales tax so they earn about the same as others with sales tax leave. The prices go up every year so I lower my tip because the service gains as prices rise. Being on a fixed income with very small adjustments dictate how the tip is figured. I may at some point quit dining out, so no tip.
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I try to avoid math so I tip $5 regardless of the bill. For a light breakfast, my tip might be 100%, and sometimes more than the price of the meal, but with a more expensive bill, it might be 15-20% or less. I don't go to really expensive places, and those I have gone to I have hated, so it seldom comes to much less.
     
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