Fiscal Responsibility and You! *zzzzz*

Retro Image: Darling! Let's get deeply into debt.

After all that debt nonsense, the last thing I need is a new credit card… or is it? That’s the problem with the mystical credit score, you know what can obviously help it, but beyond that you can barely tell what will make it look better or worse. Still when I paid off the AmEx debt, they asked if I’d like another line of credit. Clearly an obvious trap to bring someone back into the fold, but I do see the merits of having a credit card, and after the BofA secured card went unsecured, they didn’t really give me much of a credit line to speak of. The new card arrived last night and I inaugurated it as I do all my cards these days, with a small purchase that sits for a month and is paid off before I decide what I really want to use the card for, if at all. Where did I kick off? Starbucks, of course.

AmEx isn’t quite as fast as BofA as posting authorizations to their online accounting, and I’ve become a real financial data junkie. Especially with Mint, which goes a step further and sees what amounts are associated with common utilities like cable or phone and tries to help you find better deals. It’s not quite as social as Wesabe, but I found the social aspect of that site too distracting. With Mint, you see your balances and transactions and can set alerts for any account related to the amount you’re spending. It also shows you your spending trends over time and compares your activity to the national average.

Compared to the national average, my spending/debts are really low, but I’m definitely in the “other” list, being a single person household with no dependents, no car, fair-paying job with relatively low-cost commute. And I have been affected by the recent economy in that I just don’t want to buy stuff anymore. Shopping used to be like my comfort food and unfortunately that has now been replaced by actual food. In fact food may be the only place I feel the crunch, but each store trip has coupons at the ready, when I can find what I want on the shelves. (I haven’t been to the new Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan simply because I have no need for it, got 2 good grocery stores within easier walking distance.)

Before I even remembered about the Economic Stimulus payments I did make a slightly frivolous purchase, so now it’ll be offset by the check. However it is something I 1: had been eyeing for a while, 2: could afford and 3: need. Putting it in a completely different category from the HD TiVo 😉

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