When purchasing products at Sam’s Club I pay for the purchase with the Citi Double Cash card. Now when using credit cards, accountability is a big issue. It is not wise to buy 20% more products all in the interest of saving 2%. So with that in mind, the items purchased were truly needed, and by using the card there is a 1% cash back bonus at the time of purchase and another 1% will be received after paying the card’s monthly statement. Also I picked up a couple of containers of dishwasher pods. They were on sale for $2.50 off and this is something we use nearly daily. So on a $70.00 purchase there was a savings of $5.00 by stocking up on a sale item and $1.40 by using the Citi Double Cash card, in addition to the regular savings Sam’s provides.
After purchasing items at Sam’s Club I then filled up with gas. Sam’s Club and Costco are frequently the least expensive gas providers in my community. Since I was already at Sam’s, I filled up the tank and charged it to a Sam’s Club Master Card. With this card there is a 5% discount on all gasoline purchases (unless at Costco or another discount warehouse). This is the best cash back card I have found for gasoline purchases! So the gas purchase cost about $15.00 with a savings of about .75 by using the card.
Bills were paid recently as well. One strategy I use is to pay certain bills with my Citi Double cash card. Now it is important to check to see if this is allowed by the business to whom money is owed and also see if there is a convenience fee for doing such. Routinely I pay three bills this way: AT&T, Suddenlink and our local provider of electricity, water, trash and sewage. Each of these three businesses do not charge a convenience fee when paying with a credit card and I get 2% cash back along with the savings of a stamp for each bill I pay like this. So the three bills I paid totaled about $600. While it takes some time to determine which companies to pay like this and some time to set up an online account, after set up the time needed is virtually the same as if I were to write a check. The amount I receive in cash back and stamp savings totals about $13.20 this time around, not bad for 10 minutes work. I’ll write more about this strategy in a future post.
In my garage and car were about a dozen books. We were ready to get rid of them so I checked their value on Amazon. The going price was too low to justify the time necessary to list them. I had tried selling them at my local Hastings stores and the books were rejected there as well. I could donate them to Goodwill and receive a tax deduction. However, I don’t plan to itemize my taxes this year. Next year I might, should this blog really take off, so I considered saving the books, donating them in January and claiming a deduction. But the value of the books would probably be only about 12 bucks. A Wiser Dollar strategy considers ways to increase income and reduce debt, but also free up more time and live more contently in one’s present space. While I could make a little in tax deductions possibly. The space the books consumed was not worth it. So I gave the books to my local Friends of the Library.
Once again I consistently ate lunch at home, saving money each day I did so. This is one benefit of buying a home close to your work. My home is about one mile from my office and takes 3 minutes to travel from one location to the other. Over the 17 years we have lived here I have saved many hours commuting and many dollars on gas and food by being able to make such a short trip.
On Saturday I sold a pair of one of my son’s outgrown basketball shoes to Play it Again Sports. I was surprised when they offered me $25 which I quickly accepted. Then I sold a few rusty tools to Retool for $7.
Finally, I’ll share one Wiser Dollar failure. I recently shared our preferred plan for shoe purchases and that is to pay no more than $100 for a pair of shoes; however, we went over that amount quite a lot.
I knew one of our sons would begin his basketball play soon, but we didn’t begin our search for needed shoes until just a few days before the season began. We went to 7 different stores hoping to find shoes that provided good support, were comfortable and were less than $100. After 3 hours of shopping, when we finally found some that fit well and looked good to him, we paid far more than the budgeted $100, actually $40 more than the budgeted amount. And to be quite frank, if the search had gone much longer, I would have probably been willing to pay twice the budgeted amount! But as I’ve said before, our lives are more than finances. The issue of money needs to be balanced with the needs of family and the use of one’s time. On hindsight, we should have begun our search earlier and then maybe even order some discounted shoes online. But life isn’t perfect and even someone like myself, the writer of a blog about saving money, doesn’t follow Wiser Dollar strategies 100% of the time.
Have a good day!
photo credit: by Steven Depolo / Jar of Money via Flickr cc License – 11/11/15 with no changes