November 24, 2008

Credit Cards: One Down...

Today I did something I have never done before. I canceled a credit card.

Yes! I finally took the step I've meaning to for ages and got rid of one of my cards. While the card was one of my two oldest (I got them within a month of each other) it was the younger of the two, plus the only one of the four cards I have that charges a monthly fee AND an annual fee. (All three of the other cards do not charge either fee.) Also, it had a very small limit of $500. So it was an easy choice.

Not so easy, however, was the process of actually canceling the card. I had to speak to a "customer specialist" or something of the sort, who I literally had to tell four or five times, 'No, I just want to cancel the card," as she alternately tried logic, fee credits, and scare tactics to keep me from closing the account. But now it's done and I am saving $6 a month (the monthly fee) plus about $100 a year (the annual fee). And I still have three other cards to serve my credit needs, so I'm happy and my wallet is happy.

November 9, 2008

Riding the Money Train of Thought

My head is full of money. (Ha, if only that were true.) Actually, my head is full of thoughts about money. What I want, and what I need. What I will have to spend, and what bills I will have to pay. How to manage it all so that I can pay what I need to and spend only what I have to. The long-term goals I want to achieve for myself financially, and the short-term outlays I need to figure out.

Sometimes I get tired of thinking about money. I think with wistful joy of my childhood, which didn't involve nearly as much fiscal planning. Growing up, I knew we had money problems, but I didn't know the hard numbers, or the actual scope of the situation. There are times when I wish I had a "grown-up" around now that I could hand all these decisions off to. But the price of independence is awareness. Someone has to see that dinner gets on the table, the roof stays over your head, and the lights and heat stay on. And as hard as it is to make all these different tasks and dollar values and priorities work, it is better to know -- to be in control, to be independent.