I felt overwhelmed to manage bank accounts, especially multiple credit cards and debit accounts. By using remember the milk, I can maximize the benefits from cashback credit cards and avoid paying fees. Repeating tasks are used heavily in managing bank accounts.
There are many many many scenarios I use remember the milk to organize financial life. Here is my own experience in recent 2 months. First I need to mention my rules of managing personal finance.
My rules of personal finance:
1. Even if banks and HR can do a lot of stuff automatically for me, I should double check everything by myself.
2. If I made a financial mistake, I should think about how to avoid this mistake in the future.
FICO score and credit history
1. I use creditkarma.com to monitor FICO score. Creditkarma updates the score every week. I created a repeating task to remind me to check it weekly and write the score to a Excel table. If my score changes, I will easily know why it changes and how to improve it.
2. This year, I opened a new Discover it credit card which offers free FICO score. Similarly, I created a repeating task to check and record the score monthly.
3. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian offer one copy of free credit reports every year separately. It's our responsibility to make sure that the reports are correct. I set up three yearly repeating tasks to remind me to check the reports. The interval of two reports are 4 months. For example, on January I check Equifax report, on May, TransUnion report, and on September Experian report.
1. Avoid montly fees.
Chase checking account requires that every month $500 should be deposited to avoid monthly fee. A monthly repeating task reminds me of checking whether $500 is deposited to the account on the 15th of the month. Why I do that? Though I ask HR to deposit $500 to this account, one month last year HR made a mistake that they deposited less than $300. As a result, I was charged. According to rule 1, this is also my mistake because I did not check the bank information by myself. RTM helps to prevent me from making this mistake again (Rule 2).
2. Future changes
My BOA checking and saving accounts did not charge monthly fee for first 5 years. This year is the 5th year and I set up the repeating task in the future to remind me of change and meet the minimum requirement to avoid monthly fees. I know the bank will mail me paper notification but I should have my own reminder. (Rule 1)
1. Waiting reply from banks
You know that I opened a discover card recently. When I applied for this card through phone, the representative said I need to check the status of approval 3 days later by phone or online. A task was setup. I checked status online 3 days later and the card was not approved, then I immediately called the bank.
2.Bonus for new credit cards
Usually new credit cards have some bonus. I got a bonus that I need to pay $750 first 3 months to get $150. My problem is that I do not use credit card frequently recently or sometimes I will forget to use new card. Now some tasks about future purchases are created. Credit card name is shown in the name of the task. A task to confirm whether $750 is charged before the end of 3 months was also created.
3.Increase credit limits
It is said that every 6 months we can increase credit limits if we manage our credit cards well. I set up a half-year repeating task to remind me to choose one card to increase credit limit.
4.Cancel credit cards
I gave up Costco membership and want to discontinue American Express costco card. Before cancellation of costco membership, I called Amercian Express, the representative ensured me that the credit card would be automatically discontinue because of cancellation. But I still created a task to call them again after cancelling membership. (Rule 1)
5.Check whether obtaining the benefit promised by banks
Chase Freedom has additional 10% points because I have chase checking account. A task was created for double check whether I really got the bonus. Happily, the answer was yes this year.
6.Cashback when buying
Some cards have great bonus categories. When planning to purchase stuffs, the name of the card is also written in the task.
7.Activate bonus category
A repeating task to activate bonus category for Chase Freedom and discover quarterly.
8. Keep utilization ratio low
In order to improve our FICO score, we need to keep utilization ratio low, such as, 5-10%. I created a repeating task for each credit card. The due date of the tasks are before the end of billing cycle (not due date of payment). The amount of 5% of credit limits of credit cards is shown in the task name. If the money I owe is above 10%, then I need to pay some money before the end of billing cycle but not in full.
1. A repeating monthly task to download online statements of all the bank accounts.
2. A repeating monthly task to check whether statements are correct. Last month, I found someone charged me over $200 but did not remember doing it. I called the bank and money was returned. I made this mistake before and now RTM helps me to successfully decrease the possibility to make this kind of mistake. (Rule 1, Rule 2)
3. A repeating weekly task to backup all the stuff in the computer, including bank statements and RTM tasks, in a removable disk.
1. A daily repeating task to remind me of gathering today's receipts and keeping them in appropriate place. If possible, I will scan the receipts use iphone app then save the files in the computer. The receipts will be back upped weekly. (see above)
2. A yearly repeating task to clean the receipts. Some online articles discuss which receipts should be kept and how long to keep. I don't want to clean receipts frequently. But you can set up your schedule to clean them.
1. I am in charge of payment in the apartment. After obtaining and calculating the bills, I should request the money from my roommates. A monthly repeating task reminds me who should give me money and how much.
2. When I transferring money between banks, a task is created to double check whether the money is processed correctly after 3 business days. The advantage is that I don't need to worry about it every day.
I mentioned BOA, chase, American Express, and Discover here. But all the other banks are similar.
I hope that my experience will inspire you and that you can tell me your own experience. I am willing to learn from you.
Posted at 1:40am on March 5, 2014