I keep an electronic budget, but I don’t always enter all of my credit card transactions right away. At least once a week (typically on Saturdays), I log on to my credit card account and download all the transactions and review them individually, placing them into categories.
And this weekend, I found a transaction that wasn’t mine.
Someone used my credit card number to charge $100 worth of Starbucks gift cards.
No worries – I called Chase and told them what was up. Immediately, my card was canceled and a new one has been shipped to me. I don’t know how my number was acquired, but I’m not too worried about it. But this revealed a flaw in my plan.
I have two main credit cards. One is used for all of my auto-billing. It pays the cable bill and the insurance bill, etc. And the other card is my “everyday” card. No, I don’t use it daily, but it is the card I use for all of my other purchases. Except at some point, I fell off this plan and had a few revolving payments hitting my everyday card. Which meant that I had a few accounts to change since the card was canceled.
But I keep good records, so it wasn’t too hard to fix. Let’s hope this was just a small blip.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.