This time tomorrow, I’ll likely be buzzing about our kitchen, whipping up some pumpkin pies and corn pudding. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will be on in the background, and Johnny and I will be contemplating just how much we should allow ourselves to eat for breakfast so that we’re still amply famished come feast time. And then later, as we stuff ourselves with, well, stuffing, we’ll take a minute to sit back with our families and remember what we’re thankful for. But just in case we’re more focused on getting second helpings than on giving thanks (not that that would EVER happen), we wanted to take today to share some financial stuffs for which we give thanks.
So here goes.
- Priceline Negotiator – Don’t make fun. This is for real. Thanks to Priceline Negotiator, we’ve stayed in many a four-star hotel and haven’t had to pay top dollar. Or even middle dollar. I’m thankful to be able to sleep in a swanky place and know we didn’t break the bank to do it.
- HomeBudget App – This is our budgeting app that we use to track every cent spent. It keeps us in line, y’all. Oh, and we pray to it. Just kidding. Kind of.
- 401ks – Or rather, my 403b and Johnny’s now Roth IRA. I’m grateful for a company that gives 3% just for kicks and then matches another 3% with the 3% I give. We’re all for free money that also grows on its own. Woo!
- Airline Rewards Cards – While we don’t recommend having even a cent of credit card debt, we sure love our credit card rewards cards. We’ve saved hundreds on airline tickets over the years thanks to our plastic babies. We just put our everyday expenses on our cards, and in return we get free flights!
- Debt Snowball Method – This is where it all started. Thanks to debt snowballing, we were able to pay off $20k in school loans in under two years. And when we were debt free, all of that money went to savings — and we’ve never looked back.
- Ebates – When we shop online, we’ve trained ourselves to first check to see if it’s listed on Ebates. It’s totally free to sign up, and the site gives you cash back when you shop your favorite stores through their site. Cha-ching!
- 529 College Savings Plan – We’re grateful to have a place where we can save money for our girl’s college education and watch our money grow and give us tax kickbacks. Yes, please (and thank you, of course).
- Amazon Prime – While it’s not for everyone, Amazon Prime is our go-to location for online shopping. It prevents us from compulsive in-store shopping, we get free two-day shipping (even though we pay for it via a subscription), and I save extra on baby items using Amazon Mom. Oh, and I’m obsessed with reading consumer reviews so I know I’m buying not only cheap items but also quality items.
- CamelCamelCamel – Speaking of Amazon, the site CamelCamelCamel is suhweet — weird name aside. It tracks the price history of items on Amazon and other sites and lets you know the historical low and high price for any item. We also get deal alerts when we’re waiting for certain items to go on sale (like my KitchenAid mixer!).
- Envelope System – Our very first month of keeping a budget was spent using cash-only and envelopes (dividing the cash into each of our spending categories). Although we don’t stick to this method now, it’s what got us on the path to budgeting success. We will always be grateful for it, and we’re planning to start off 2014 by revisiting the envelope system in January. More to come on that later!
Each new tool Johnny adds to his toolbox only increases the likelihood of not being able to find any of the other tools in there. But in the case of our financial toolbox, I say the more tools the better. What tools would you add to this list?