Browse Category: Passive Spending

Truebill Editor’s Finance Friday Picks, Edition 2: Must Haves, Reads and Do’s

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Not that I’m the type to wear tinfoil on my head, but even I get nervous linking my bank accounts to different financial tools, and I work for one. When I was first interviewing for my job here at Truebill I naturally downloaded the app, but was very apprehensive – would my future boss have access to my bank accounts (he doesn’t)?! Would he be able to see the asinine things I subscribe to (he can’t)?! Would he judge me that my credit card statement is nothing but food, wine and dog clothing (he probably would)?!

It’s funny how I can be so protective of my money, while so careless at the same time. While I will scoff at any shipping on an item that’s over $5, my own company’s app reminds me every month how many random, forgotten domain names I’m still paying into. It’s actually quite embarrassing – how many domain names does one person need to let sit there for years on end?

Those sneaky money traps can get us at any moment because they take so many different forms. It’s not just fees and forgotten domain names (seriously, how much has GoDaddy made off of me over the years?), it’s friends, personal disorganization and even frame of mind that can be a money trap. Here are some of my favorite tips and resources to keep you on guard.

The Receipts Organizer and Tracker

I hate hate HATE having receipts. Especially when they’re floating around my car or bag, or when they manage to collect on my kitchen counter. I know they’re often necessary to keep around should I need to return something, but they drive me nuts. I have two tools I love:

Low tech: Knock Knock Receiptable Organizer

This handy little organizer has everything you need to keep track of both receipts and expenses.

receipt organizer

Multiple pockets with divider tabs and category sticker labels so you can even organize your receipts by category, and a spending tracker pad. It’s an all-in-one organizing dream.

High tech: Genius Scan from Grizzly Labs for both iOS and Android

This handy scanner will allow you to grab an image of your receipts and turn them into a PDF to save or print if you later need a hard copy. The coolest thing about Genius Scan is that it automatically isolates the receipt for you, and enhances the final scanned image so that it is easy to read.

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The Afford Anything Podcast, Episode #051

The Afford Anything Podcast is the brainchild of finance expert Paula Pant, who interviews scores of experts from entrepreneurs to psychologists, investors to artists, to talk to them about building an extraordinary life.

This particular episode hosted author, speaker and financial coach Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP®, who wrote Work Your Wealth: 9 Steps to Making Smarter Choices With Your Money. In this particular podcast, Pant and Storjohann talk about the book in-depth, and in particular, 6 types of “frenemies” that can sabotage your financial health:

Frenemy 1 – the “I’ll Get You Next Time”

Frenemy 2 – the “You Can Totally Afford This!”

Frenemy 3 – the “One Uppers”

Frenemy 4 – the “Pryers”

Frenemy 5 – the “Green Eyed Monster”

Frenemy 6 – the “FOMO”

They even do a little role-playing to model for you how to handle these budget-busting frenemies. It’s worth a listen to at least this one episode, but I’m willing to bet you get sucked into some of Pant’s other episodes as well.

Negative Visioning

We all know the idea behind the power of positive thinking and envisioning the things you want for your life. Negative visioning is the opposite – envisioning the outcomes you don’t want for your life. This may seem counter-productive, but as author Trent Hamm of this article about negative visioning for The Simple Dollar points out:

  1. It can bring relief by seeing that realistic outcomes, even if undesired, are usually not that bad.
  2. It can help bring to light any flaws in your current plan that may need to be re-assessed if you notice where they could get derailed.

Personally, I love the philosophy of including negative visioning alongside positive visioning because I am a natural self-saboteur when it comes to my own goals and I find I’m much more motivated by avoiding pain that I am by trying to achieve a goal.

For example, when I started saving for my very first emergency fund, I was much more motivated by the thought of what would happen if there was a medical emergency with one of my dogs or cats than I was by the sheer pride of having my savings goal in the bank. If I was tempted to blow any of my savings on something I didn’t need, it was much easier to talk myself out of it by thinking of that horrible feeling of not being able to pay an emergency vet bill.

The Live Richer Challenge Book

If a book could be a hand, then Live Richer Challenge: Learn how to budget, save, get out of debt, improve your credit and invest in 36 days by Tiffany Aliche would grab you by yours and lead you down an almost painfully easy path to financial fitness.

When I say “painfully easy,” I mean this book lays out a day-by-day plan for you to follow, over the course of 36 days. The steps are simple and won’t take too much of your time, and within a few days, you’ll already be feeling like a financial rockstar.

Overcome Your Money Story

Maybe you grew up with no money, or grew up with a lot of money but was taught it was a taboo subject – however you grew up with money, it has shaped the story you’ve created about money and affects your relationship with money. As financial planner and author Michael F. Kay wrote for Forbes.com, how your exposure to money growing up can profoundly impact what your relationship with money is now. If it’s not a good one, it’s crucial to identify why to help you overcome it.

I love this article because Michael walks through 7 vital questions to ask yourself to get to the bottom of your money story.

What are you some of your favorite tips for overcoming financial saboteurs? Leave me a comment below!

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How to Cancel a Free Trial After it’s Over

avoidpayingsubscriptions

If it seems like it’s impossible to cancel a free trial, you’re not imagining things. Whether it’s Netflix, UFC tv, Amazon Prime or one of the many subscription services out there, free trials are popular for a reason…and we don’t mean popular with the people who use them. They’re popular with the people who sell the service because they so quickly turn into recurring fees people sometimes don’t even notice. The model works like this:

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This Subreddit is Here to Help You Cancel the Cable Bill for Good

Cancel the Cable Bill

One of the biggest trends in personal finance is the rise of those who are seeking to cancel the cable bill and become “cordcutters” – a TV viewer who saves money by “cutting the cord” on cable TV. Online streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have made it easier for people to see their favorite shows and movies without a cable TV or satellite subscription, but there are more nuances to becoming a cordcutter than just canceling cable. Many have concerns about finally making the commitment to cut the cord, such as how to access live sports broadcasts, or what kind of technical savvy is needed, that prevent them from taking the leap.

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The easiest way to manage your paid subscriptions