Saturday, June 22, 2013

Quicken Deal

It was the acquisition of my new laptop that forced us into an examination of our use of Quicken software.  Why?  We'd lost the installation disk.  Did we really want to spend $60 for the new software?  Especially since we use it as a register for our various accounts, and do not use it for the "auto" updates.  We're old school.  We enter expenditures and deposits, and then cross check it with statements.  And every now and then we find errors.  Trust them to sink up?  Never.....at least not my engineer husband.

So -- do we make another purchase?  Alternatives were considered, none seemed that great, or able to handle the various accounts.  Joint checking, emergency fund, business accounts for me, business accounts for him, a credit card, and then our investments: retirements, HSA, college funds.  Quicken had what we needed, so we moved forward.

And then a moment of loveliness for our frugal family occurred.  If we signed up for a Quicken credit card we'd receive $60 toward a Quicken purchase.  And the basic software we wanted was....$60.  We signed up, and intended to cancel the card once it was received.  Sure enough it worked.  Approved, credited $60, paid in full -- as we do with every and all credit cards.  But then we got an even more pleasant surprise.  Should we use the card at drug stores, gas stations or restaurants we would receive a credit of 2%.  Double the 1% we now get with our USAA credit card.

Credit is not our go to when making purchases, as business owner we are aware just how much of an extra costs our convenience creates for the business owner.  And when an owner has higher costs, they are passed on to the consumer.  Used sparingly, I do routinely use them when buying gas for no reason other than when I have two kids strapped into car seats, I am not inclined to run in and use cash for the purchase.

Credit cards should not be the first line of payment in a frugal home.  If you are disciplined, they can save you money.  Keep it frugal by:

  • using one that pays you CASH back....skip the miles and other teasers;
  • track each purchase in your budget....you don't want a surprise when the bill arrives;
  • pay your balance in full; and 
  • never use it for a cash advance.

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