Monday, September 20, 2010

Moving More to Facebook

As some of you know, I am trying to maintain (poorly) three blogs, three websites and two facebook pages.  That's kind of silly.  Especially in light of my current efforts in getting some new books and home study courses created.  So, in order to manage my time, yet try and stay in touch, I'm going to cut back on my blogging for a while and increase my facebook presence.  Please encourage your family and friends to follow the IOU NO MORE facebook page.  And stay tuned for an announcement regarding a brand new newsletter coming this fall.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Inconvenient Fee

It's Property Tax time in Georgia.  Oh, joy!  Regardless of any resentment or questions about value for money, it's time to pay.  As I normally do with bills, I went online to pay my property taxes.  Our local Govt. has a nice page so we can pay without the bother of writing checks or affixing stamps to envelopes and walking out to the mailbox. 

I went through the usual routine of entering all my information and debit card number.  I hit enter and get a 'review payment' page.  Nice touch.  It is there I noticed that there was a significant difference between the total I was paying and the actual tax bill. 

Reading through the darned thing, I discover a $58 'convenience charge'.  Convenience Charge?  $58?  I think not.  I already feel gouged by taxes and now they hope to get more with a convenience charge?  No, thank you.  I cancelled the order and am writing a check. 

The moral to the story is, always watch for hidden fees.  Some of them are doozies. 

In a related note, Suntrust Bank, where we keep our farming account has just announced the end of our free checking program.  We will be assessed a monthly fee if we don't maintain a minimum balance.  The problem is, we don't maintain anywhere near a $1k balance in that checking account.  We opened it for two reasons; 1. we want to keep our farm business as separate from our personal accounts as possible and 2. they offered us 'free checking'.  Well, now they've removed the 'r'. 

I have great news for Suntrust, we are going to make their administrative duties a bit easier.  We are closing our account.  That way they don't have to do all that adding and subtracting and fee assessing.  I'd rather have an account.  But I'm not paying fees for such a small regular balance.  So, we're going cash. 

Decision made.  As the radio commercial says, "Day one, living solid".  Much more solid without Suntrust fees.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Falling off the Wagon or Just Getting Lazy?

As some of you know, I'm working on an updated edition of IOU NO MORE and a BUDGET BOOT CAMP audio and workbook home study workshop.  As I've worked away on the project, I've become aware at how lax I've become in financial matters over the last couple years.

It's not like my Bride and I have started ringing up credit card debt again, or took out a car loan or something, but a lot of cash has flowed through my fingers in frivolous spending.  I'm sad about that.  I've been really good about the big things, but little leaks have meant that we have not saved as much as we should. 

So, while I haven't fallen off the wagon, I have certainly become somewhat financially lazy.  I wanted to share it with you for a couple of reasons.  First, by making my own foibles public, I add a layer of accountability to my life.  Secondly, I am hoping that it will help others will understand that money management is a lifetime commitment like our health.  We all make mistakes.  I am a fellow traveler.  On beggar showing another where to find bread.

In some ways, being debt free (except for the mortgage) has been more difficult that trying to become debt free.  It's been easier to lose intensity.  So I'm it the process of trying to refocus and get back on track with my financial goals.  And my goals are lofty ones.