Friday, April 5, 2013

Saving for a Rainy Day . . .

Ok, so those who really know me, know I love organization (but I never quite get there). I lay in bed at night thinking about ways to improve my house to make it as functional as possible. When I drive long distances by myself, half the time I don't have anything playing in the car, I think about how to make the best of the space I was given. I love that when someone in my family asks where something is (I so try to train these people but, again, never quite get there!), I can tell them exactly where to look and lo and behold, there it is. In fact, my hubby had an ah-ha moment when he was looking for a charger for his iPad. He started to ask where one was, caught himself and said never mind. He walked straight to the storage closet, opened the door, pulled out the labeled box and got himself a charger! I practically did a dance!! I also jokingly told him "good boy" and balanced a treat on his nose because you always want to reinforce that good behavior! In all honesty, he actually said it was nice to know where things are. Now if we can just work on him and his car keys!!

So I was reading some articles about how to organize money and I was intrigued by an idea I had read in one article. In our house, I am in charge of all the bills. My hubby takes care of long-term savings/retirement, but I am in charge of the monthly bills. For us, the biggest challenge is saving money for large bills that will be due in four months - especially when I come across a great sale while out shopping!! Anyone else have this problem?? I have money in my account so why can't I buy it?? We refinanced last year but chose to not have an escrow account so we pay our homeowners insurance, flood insurance, and property taxes on our own. This saves us a lot of money monthly but made me nervous about paying the big bills!! In the article I read, the writer talked about using Ally Bank to set up different accounts. It's an on-line bank and you can have as many checking and/or savings accounts as you want. I on-line chatted with an Ally customer service rep to ask questions and he patiently answered them for almost 20 minutes! There does not appear to be any hidden costs or loopholes. I read a bunch of customer reviews and the biggest complaint was the difficulty in setting up accounts. I set-up all my accounts in about five minutes and had no difficulty whatsoever.

Here's the game plan, I set up the following accounts: Homeowners Insurance, Flood Insurance, Property Taxes, Christmas, Car/Home Repairs, Rich's Life Insurance, Gator Season Tickets, Medical Expenses, Travel, Rich's Travel, Overdraft.

We should be getting our tax refund soon and when it clears my Regions account, I am going to transfer money to each of these. You can transfer money back and forth between Ally and a non-Ally bank for no charge, it just may take a couple of days so I have to plan ahead when paying a big bill. Most of those accounts are savings (ie - Life Insurance, Flood Insurance, Taxes) and the checking ones (Christmas, Rich), get a debit card. I don't plan on using the Christmas card on anything other than Christmas or birthday gifts. We recently gave my oldest her own small prepaid debit card for when she is out with friends. That account is at Regions and they charge us $5 a month. If this Ally Bank thing works out, I am switching her to one of these accounts.

So that is our new financial, organizational goal. In my head, it works like a charm and I picture myself happily buying airline tickets from our travel fund and skipping through the mall at Christmas time making purchases with my Ally card, no, little forest animals do not escort me (but that might be fun!). I will let you know how this works out but that is for another post!

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