Money and More© December 1, 2018

Black Friday Discount Strategy that works on other days too!

I’ve looked at Fitness Trackers for awhile now and have narrowed it down to the Fitbit Charge 3.  I was happy that stores marked it from $150 to $120 on Black Friday.  I discovered that several stores offer additional store benefits as well.   For example, Kohl’s  in Orland Park gave a $30 Kohl Cash on top of the discount.  A few days ago, I found Kohl’s gift cards for about 7.5% off face value through cardbear.com.  Cardbear tells me which discount card sellers have the best discount at any given time.

Using the gift cards I effectively lowered the price to $111 plus tax–that is 26% off.  Or 46% off if I include the value of the Kohl’s Cash.   I will use the Kohl’s Cash to purchase holiday gifts along with the remaining balance on the discounted gift cards.  This clearly saved  some money and was good use of internet sleuthing while waiting for an appointment.  I use this kind of strategy all year long by combining discount gift cards with on sale items.

Postal Service’s Informed Delivery

The US Post Office rolled out a new service called Informed Delivery in the past year.  With this service, you can subscribe for free daily emails that show you today’s mail delivery (up to 10 items).  The scans are black and white pictures of the address side of envelopes.  It can be helpful to know what to expect in the mailbox each day and perhaps to see if it gets delivered.

It is very important to sign up for this email service before fraudsters do so.  With the service you can check for unexpected mail coming  your way.  Most importantly, the sign-up process is set so that anyone can easily though fraudulently sign up for an account.  A fraudster can create an account and then intercept mail after delivery based upon the account including the letter confirming the opening of the Informed Delivery account.  This potentially makes id theft and credit card fraud even easier.

Though I have a locked mailbox, I signed for this service in Orland Park.  It works.

Sign up today at https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action.

Cash is King

Having cash in hand gives many people peace of mind.  I have found for myself and many clients that having a comfortable reliable cash flow helps avoid feelings of scarcity or fear. Scarcity and fear can occur when living paycheck to paycheck and often beyond one’s means.  Having money in the bank and not needing it for immediate needs makes life much easier.    It permits covering the unexpected bills and not having to use a credit card, payday or some other sort of expense loan.  There is money available when one of these inevitable hiccups of life occurs.

So, with all these wonderful things about having abundant emergency funds/cash, how does one get into that position?  Frequently it is work and requires that we live on about 85 to 90% of what we earn so we can save the remaining dollars.   For many people (myself included), it is near impossible to go from saving nothing to save 10 or 15% per paycheck.  I suggest that folks first use their workplace 401K or similar plan to save money and gain the frequently offered employer match.

Even 401k savings can be hard to do.   So, I further recommend that folks start with 1 or 2% contribution level at the beginning.  Folks usually adjust to that contribution level with minimal lifestyle changes.  After a period of a few months, I challenge clients to bump up the amount again and again.  In one case, over a period of a couple of years someone I work with went from 3% to 30% of their gross pay being contributed.  That person is very comfortable with their lifestyle and has plenty of cash and does not feel like a tightwad while saving for retirement.

Getting to place with adequate liquidity (meaning cash) takes some work that is worthwhile and helps create financial peace of mind.

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