Procrastinating My Way to Better Finances

I had no idea what to write yesterday.

We spent last week at my dad’s lake house, lounging around in wet bathing suits to beat the heat. Effective, but not conducive to writing blog posts. The weekend was packed with back-to-school shopping, church, Vacation Bible School, a birthday party, and a trip to the inlaws.

Yesterday morning, we got our new second grader packed off to school.

So I stared at a blank page and the page stared back. I glanced through my folder of unfinished drafts. Nothing doing. I skimmed the headlines on Yahoo! Finance and read a dozen blog posts. Nope.

Suddenly other things started to seem more important. Anything but that darn blank page.

Netflix beckoned, as did Facebook. Just because I didn’t know what to do, though, didn’t mean I should just goof off. At least, I should do something constructive.

I started thinking about things that put us in a better financial situation. Little things, things that wouldn’t take very long but nevertheless I had not done them. 

Even if I couldn’t figure out what to write about, I could knock some of those suckers off the list.

I Paid a Bill (and Made It Easier to Pay Going Forward)

Last month, I got a “Use It or Lose it” warning from one of my credit cards.

I rarely use the card, because it earns no rewards. However, it has no annual fee, has a sizeable credit limit with no balance, and a decent interest rate. Plus, I’ve had it for a long time. Between all of those factors, it probably contributes quite a bit toward my credit score.

I decided to start using that card for at least one purchase a month.

I used the card to buy gas one day, and the payment was due at the end of the week. Unfortunately, I had a problem. We ran out of stamps two weeks ago, and I keep forgetting to buy them.

On any of my other cards, that’s not a problem. I pay them all online anyway. On this one, though, I hadn’t used my online login in years.

So, instead of going to the store and getting stamps, I reset my login and paid the bill.

Did it save me time? Maybe not this time, but since I use a password program, I should be able to easily pay this bill each month going forward. I’ll keep the card active and paid off and my credit score high.

I Got Rid of High Fees

Almost 2 years ago, I decided to pay a little more attention to the fees in my investments. I had paid way too much for too long and needed to make some changes. Slowly, I have.By this time last year, I’d gotten rid of all the high fee funds in my self-directed accounts and replaced them with Vanguard funds.

When I mentioned selling them to my financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, though, he pushed back a bit. But as of last month, that’s no longer a problem. And while I thought I might need to do a bunch of data entry to make sure that my investment basis tracked over, I realized this weekend that the basis transferred too.

Now I really had no more excuses. All my accounts are in one place. The only thing holding me back from a streamlined portfolio of Vanguard funds was me.

No more procrastinating…at least on that score. I went through my accounts and sold any mutual fund or ETF I could find with more than a 0.5% expense ratio. Boom. The two-year fee reduction project is almost completed.

I Scouted Deals

Today, you may know, is Prime Day on Amazon.com.

Like Black Friday in July! Buy before the deals are gone!

If you can find the right deal, of course.

Limited window deals can be good if they are things you actually need and if you can catch them. So if you need specific things, deal scouting ahead of a big sale can pay off.

We don’t need a lot of stuff. As a matter of fact, we need less stuff. and have actively tried to reduce our clutter. But I got my fancy new Amazon Moto G5 last month, and Jon didn’t get one. So at the very least, I’m looking for an unlocked phone for Jon.

And maybe some early Christmas shopping too. We have some gift cards and credit card points available, so it was worth looking over the list of deals to see if there were any deals too good to pass up.

And then I looked.

There are interesting things on the deal list that we might conceivably enjoy (like a giant inflatable unicorn pool toy that I’m sure my daughter would adore.) And if you have some expensive hobbies, you might find some worthwhile deals on very specific things.

Basically, though, the only thing we need is Jon’s new phone, and the 64 gig Moto G5 is $60 off on Prime Day. That’s 24%, and worth pulling the trigger.

On the rest, we’ll give a pass.

 

Procrastinating My Way to Better Finances

Procrastination for Better Finances

Procrastinating didn’t just give me a blog topic, it gave me better finances!

I made sure I didn’t have a late payment (and the accompanying fee and hit to my credit score) for the credit card. I reduced the cost of investing. And, if I didn’t find a great deal on something I needed, I at least made it less likely that I would get caught up in Prime Day spending madness by scouting sales.

And that was just the easy stuff. What else could I have done?

  • Called my internet or insurance provider to negotiate a better rate?
  • Cooked some freezer meals or did something else to use up food we need to eat?
  • Found some unused stuff around the house for a charitable donation?
  • Listed things for sale on a Facebook group, Craigslist, eBay, etc?
  • Do something to take care of my long-term health, like scheduling a physical or exercise?

Every day, I realize there are things I’ve left undone for one reason or another. Some of them probably would put us in a better financial place, either short term or long term. When I’m struggling with one thing, I should start on the list of little things I’ve let slide. 

It’s way more effective than staring at a blank page.

What are some of the things you know you really need to get done, but you’ve been dragging your heels on? What productive things do you do when you’re procrastinating from other tasks? 

The John & Jane Doe Guide to Money & Investing is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

17 thoughts on “Procrastinating My Way to Better Finances

  1. Procrastination is my middle name. But I’d count your management of your credit card as a win!

    I find the real annoying chores float to the bottom of this week’s to-do list, then the top of next week’s — and so on. So they stay on the list. I’d put calling cable into that category.

    The 32 gb is $159 today which Amazon says is $75 off. I’m considering it — I need to join Prime but in effect that would cost $24. And my current phone is 8 gb so I think 32 is sufficient! Are you using yours with Verizon? Or a Verizon MVNO? If you bought the one with ads — do they bother you?
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Frugal Fitness for Everyone: From Busy Moms to Novice Obstacle Course RacersMy Profile

    • I think the $75 off is off of the regular (non-Amazon version) price rather than what they normally sell the Amazon version for, but I’m super happy with mine. I’m using mine with Cricket, which works off of AT&T’s network, but the phones work on Verizon too. The q&a section on the Amazon page indicates that Verizon/Verizon MVNO users may have to jump through more hoops getting it to work than AT&T/Sprint ones though.

      The ads aren’t bad at all. The lock screen gives you one ad, you have some Amazon apps preinstalled (which are still far better than the apps Cricket had installed on my last phone, and if you have Prime you’ll probably want Prime Music and Video anyway), and there’s something like a banner ad on one of the app screens. It’s basically the same stuff as we get on our Kindle, and easy to ignore.

  2. Good to see it turned into a productive day for you and gave you a post all in one. There are a few financial items on my “to do” list. We have three cable boxes in our home, but only use one of them. I need to return two and save on our monthly bill. We have been paying for a gym membership for our oldest son. $20 a month, he’s working now and needs to take this over. Just a couple of little thinks that can add to the overall bottom line.
    Brian recently posted…Tracking ExpensesMy Profile

    • We paid for a barely used cable box in the master bedroom for a couple of years. Your extras are probably good candidates for savings. We didn’t miss ours at all.

  3. Good for you for turning some writer’s block into a very productive time! Asking what I could do to put myself in a better financial place short term or long term is a great question to get started with. On my list of procrastinated items is helping Suzanne move her higher-fee retirement investments into some more reasonable ones and repairing the microwave turntable (cheaper than replacing the microwave!). I’m sure I can think of some more if I put my mind to it.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…21st Century Retirement Strategies That Will Make You Secure, Part 1My Profile

    • Moving investments has been pretty easy, so it’s a good candidate for savings. It may take a little time, but once it’s done, it’s done.

      And we’re all about repairing instead of replacing in this house.

  4. That’s the number one benefit of blogging: it keeps you accountable. So even as you stared at that screen, your mind went to your undone financial to-dos, and voilà! What I need to get done and am dragging on? De-cluttering! It’s my project for the summer. But I haven’t had the chance to get around to it yet …
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…Are You a Kite or an AnchorMy Profile

    • We have some serious decluttering to do too, Ruth. The only thing we’ve really accomplished this summer though has been not adding much. Good luck with yours!

  5. The most important step to create a financial plan to develop a budget detailing where your money goes now. All you need is to get yourself a notebook small enough to fit in a pocket or purse and carry it with you wherever you go. Every time when you spend money, take a note detailing what you bought and how it cost. You must follow top technique to save your money by managing your personal finance.

  6. i love your idea of doing the little things while you have time. That will help a lot so they won’t build up too. I hope you found great deals on Amazon prime day. I managed to buy an $25 Amazon gift card for a $5.00 discount. i was so sad though that I was just a minute late and the JC Penny cards were gone!
    Vickie@Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden recently posted…Ode to the DeerMy Profile

    • We got Jon a new phone…it was $60 less than we spent for mine 5 weeks earlier. I picked up the digital copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for $7.99 (We’re big Harry Potter fans.) And I got an e-book I wanted, with the idea I could get the 40% off coupon. I still had a bit in gift card credit, so it all worked out.

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