I am a dreamer. I do not like to spend a lot of time stressing over finances. These are the tools that have helped me stay financially responsible, make my money go further, without having to stress too much over finances.
Capital One 360
Capital One 360 is an online bank account with checking and savings This is the first purely online account that opened (back when it was ING Direct) in college. I had a job on campus, and I typically made at least $200 dollars a month when classes were in session. I set up money to automatically be withdrawn each month $50. This helped me to get in the habit of saving.
What is really cool about Capital One 360 is they allow you to create Sub-Accounts. When I was saving for my first apartment, I was able to create sub accounts for a security deposit and for purchasing furniture. When I was saving for my wedding I renamed one of those sub-accounts to “Dream Wedding” and used it to save and pay for my wedding.
I enjoy having separate accounts for short term and long term savings goals. We had an expensive wedding and it reduced stress and anxiety knowing that the account I was using to save and spend money for the wedding was especially for tackling wedding expenses. I would have felt a little irresponsible using my emergency savings for throwing a wedding.
I still have sub savings accounts in my capital one 360 account. I have accounts for “treat others’ which I use for charitable donations and gifts on special occasions. I have a “treat yo self” account which I use to splurge on my self. This may be a spa day, or a new outfit, or a shopping spree at home goods. I add a little money to these accounts, automatically every two weeks. I withdraw money from them when I have an expense that needs to be handled.
I have connected my Capital One 360 account to 3 other bank accounts and transfers have always gone smoothly.
I have a debit card for my Capital One 360 Checking account. I rarely use it, as I prefer to transfer money to my brick in mortar banks, and withdraw funds from there. However Capital One 360 checking does come with a debit card that can be used at a variety of locations.
I used to underestimate the value of cash back. My husband would get excited about 3% cash back and would be over the moon about 10% cash back deals. I did not understand his excitement it barely seemed like a drop in the bucket. The truth is it does add up, especially on large purchases. Or on multiple small purchases.
Since joining Rakuten (formally Ebates) we have earned over $1200 in cash back.! What is nice about Rakuten is that they mail you a check, so it is money that you are free to use as you choose.
What is nice is that Rakuten can be used with other offers. I wanted a recliner for my son’s nursery from Macy’s the recliner is normally in the neighborhood of $900. Well it was on sale for $600, my credit card company was offering 5% cash back on department store purchases for the quarter. Rakuten was also running a cash back promotion with Macy’s for 9% cash back. So I got $30 in cash back from my credit card company. I also got 9% or about $60 cash back from Rakuten. For that one purchase I got a combined total of $90 cash back!
Sometimes combining credit card deals with Rakuten promotions doesn’t workout as smoothly. If you need to click a link to get cash back with your credit card, it will likely replace Rakuten’s cash back promotion with your credit card’s promotion. In which case you should just use the promotion with the higher cash back value.