Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Project 8: Decluttering Financial Paperwork - An Update

It's been a while since I originally wrote about my shred-happy day of organizing my financial paperwork. So far my significantly down-sized accordian folder has been serving me well - not that I've totally stayed on top of the filing, but the piles of important papers have been significantly reduced in size and number.

I wanted to share a step in the paperwork decluttering process that I completed this past weekend that I feel will be of immense benefit to my personal finances and sanity. This past Saturday, I cancelled all of my store-specific credit cards. There are 4 reasons that I did this: 1. Once I'd bought the things I needed from each one using the enrollment bonuses, the rewards really weren't that great for each card; 2. They encouraged even more spending at stores I frequented too often anyway; 3. getting 4 statements a month (plus updates to card plans and all that) is a LOT of paper; 4. God help me if I ever lost my purse (or worse yet, it got stolen) and I had to call all 4 and go through the cancellation process AGAIN (seriously folks, this took me well over an hour's worth of phone calls, and I wasn't even trying to request new cards).

Instead, I've opened up a new credit card that I can use anywhere with a pretty nice credit limit that far eclipses the 4 former cards' limits combined (hooray credit scores). This card will give me perks outside of coupons at stores that I've already bought the things I need from - namely, free airline tickets. YES. It's one card with one statement, which means one bill to pay instead of 4. Basically, I'm much more likely to pay the bill on time, much less likely to keep contributing to my habit of frivolous spending spawned by $10 off coupons that I got for rewards from the individual store cards, and I'm much more likely to get something beneficial out of it (if I can get even one free flight anywhere, that's worth it to me).

I know this won't work for everyone, but I've already seen a noticable improvement in the amount of paper I have to hold on to. My purse is lighter, my spending habits aren't killing as many trees, and Linens-N-Things is going out of business and won't honor their credit card coupons anyway. Plus, all that shredding is kind of theraputic. :D

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