Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“I want to stop having money automatically taken out of my checking account,” said my son.
I looked at him, puzzled, wondering why he would say such a thing. He was referring to the automatic transfer from his checking to savings we setup to occur the day after each payday. He went on to explain that payday was four days away, and he didn’t have any money left. He worked a couple days before payday and he wouldn’t have any funds to buy snacks while he was on break. He said he would continue saving, but he wanted the freedom to spend more if he had a need to.
“The fact that you’re out of money is a money management problem, not a lack of funds problem,” I replied.
I look at his checking account frequently just to keep an eye on his spending. His discretionary spending basically falls into three categories:
- Food at work
- Entertainment with friends (snacks, movies, etc)
- Online gaming credit
I reiterated to him that saving money is a requirement; he cannot stop the automatic transfers to his savings account for the following reasons:
- Having the transfer setup actually saves him a monthly service fee for his teen checking account
- He will want his own car at some point
For many of us, there are always plenty of things you need to spend your money on rather than put it away into retirement savings.
The problem comes when retirement suddenly looms on the horizon and you realise that you don’t have as much money as you would like to retire with, but still want to try and lead a good life after you stop working.
Some people are unfortunately forced into early retirement as a result of an accident or injury, but as you will see on their website, there are companies like Claims Direct who are specialists in helping you make a claim and not miss out on any compensation you may be due. This will often be what you need in order to meet your financial needs and obligations.
If however you make it to retirement unscathed, there are some budget tips you can follow to make the most of the money that you have and enjoy a richer retirement than you might have thought possible.
Put back the date
The first suggestion to put forward is hardly a palatable option for anyone looking forward to the day when they can finally put their feet up, but delaying your retirement is a plan that could work for your finances.
If your current retirement pot is not sufficient enough to provide you with an income that either replaces your current salary or covers your expected living expenses with something to spare, putting back your retirement date might be an option worth considering.
A few weeks ago I ordered my free Fitbit One as part of a program offered by my employer to encourage physical activity and overall health. I found I can connect the Fitbit to my employer’s physical vitality web portal, and earn points for my activity which can be exchanged for merchandise or gift cards. My hope was to earn $150 in Amazon gift cards in time for Christmas.
Unfortunately, my first attempt at the program lasted exactly one day.
I received my Fitbit within 2 days of ordering it. I got it all setup, and had the device firmly attached to my hip. However, after only a single day of use, it ceased to synchronize with my phone as well my computer. I called customer service, and after several attempts to breathe life back into my Fitbit, they gave up and said they would send me a new one. After a week, the new device finally showed up in the mail.
I had set my $150 Amazon gift card goal without knowing anything regarding how quickly I could accumulate points. Now that I’ve been using the Fitbit for a weeks, as well has spent some time exploring the physical vitality portal, I’ve learned some very important pieces of information.
A $5 Amazon gift card costs 500 points. To earn $150 in Amazon gift cards, I would have to earn 15,000 points.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Author’s Note: Sometimes I like to lighten it up a little here at The Dude, and today is one of those days. Here’s a story about a little surprise I got in the mail last week. Enjoy!
I assumed the letter from Target Optometry was one of those gentle reminders that it was time for our yearly eye exam. But when I opened it, I found a check along with this note:
I am reaching out to you due to a programming error, which resulted in an error in the price you were charged on your eyewear purchase in regards to your premium Anti-Reflective lenses. I regret this error and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. New procedures are in place to prevent this type of error from happening in the future.
I cocked my head, and wrinkled my face as I thought about when we purchased glasses from Target. It wasn’t this year because we purposefully went somewhere else as we were not happy with the exam at Target. I dug out my receipts and confirmed that we purchased the glasses in March of 2014, over 17 months ago.
I unfolded the letter again to find out how much they had overcharged my wife’s sunglasses. I remember that they were quite expensive, so I was hoping it was sizable. I groaned a little, and then laughed as I read the digits: $12.24.
In just a few days my son will be starting his junior year of high school. He’s about to embark upon the journey of a new school year where he’ll be taking new classes, making new friends, and making new memories. There’s something else new that he’ll be dealing with this school year.
My son will be on a lunch budget.
When I was in high school, we didn’t have the choices that he has. There was simply lunch. That’s it. My son’s high school cafeteria looks more like a restaurant. They have the base hot lunch, but they also have several other options to choose from. Sometimes my son eats the base lunch, sometimes he chooses one of the options. Sometimes he eats the base lunch plus gets some ice cream, or an extra drink to take with him for the afternoon.
His first two years in high school I took the approach that I wanted him to be able to get whatever he needs to satisfy the hunger of a growing teenage boy. But throughout his sophomore year I started seeing days where he would buy upwards of $8 to $10 worth of food (I can see how much he spends, and what he buys through an online tool). I’m all for him getting his fill, but I also have to be mindful of my own budget. So, this year there’s going to be a limit regarding how much I’m willing to fund his lunch account.
I enjoy going to the gym. I really enjoy the full service health club I belong to, and I don’t mind the monthly payment because I use my membership every day. However, something happened last week that has me contemplating canceling my membership.
I won a year membership to a different health club.
A local television station is running a contest each time our regional NFL team has a televised preseason game. When the right commercial is broadcast, contestants can send a text message to the television station to enter, winners to be notified at noon the following Monday.
Sitting in my office last Monday, I received a text message stating I had won a year membership to a newly opened health club. I contacted the station as instructed, and am awaiting the details to be mailed to me. I’ve seen commercials listing the prizes, and the prize is listed as a $480 value.
I know some people that go to that health club, and they like it a lot. Mainly because it’s price point is fairly inexpensive compared to the club I belong to now. Of course, it doesn’t have a lot of the amenities of my current club, but it does have almost everything that I use. My initial thought was that I would dump my current membership, and use my free membership for a year. I can decide what to do after the free year is up.