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A Tip for Tracking Rebates in Quicken

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I love using Quicken to keep track of my finances, and I cannot say enough great things about it. I thought it would be great to share some of my knowledge of the program here.

Today’s tip revolves around Rebates! Rebates can be great, but they can be problematic. I know I have forgotten about rebates that were due to me, so I set up a system to help me remember πŸ™‚

First of all, you will need to create a new account within your Quicken file. Name it “Rebate Receivable” (or whatever you’d like) and make it an Asset account.

When you make a purchase, fill in the information as you normally would, including the split detail and breaking down your expenses.

After you finish entering things normally, go to the next line and enter your Rebate Receivable account. Insert the value of the rebate.

In the next line, choose what expense that rebate is going towards. Make sure that it is a negative amount. Making it a negative amount reduces the amount of your expense, which is what the rebate is doing.

When both lines are entered correctly, the total showing in your register will equal how much you spent and now you will have your rebate showing as an asset. It even has it’s own register that you can open and review and make sure you have been receiving your rebates.

Now, when you receive your rebate check, you need to do the following to record it (and remove it from your Rebate Receivable account).

Enter your deposit as you normally would. On the next line, choose your Rebate Receivable account and enter the amount of the rebate check.

Once you save it, that rebate amount will be removed from your Rebate Receivable account.

And that’s it! Just a few simple steps that can help you keep track of those rebates! πŸ™‚

Post included in the Carnival of Personal Finance #46 at Consumerism Commentary.
Tags: quicken, rebate, tracking+rebates


My Husband Quit His Job

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UPDATE My husband did ask for his job back, but changed his schedule to work during the week. The extra money coming from his income was hard to give up in light of our debt reduction situation.

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My husband came home from work on Saturday and told me that he gave his notice at work. It has been something that we have discussed him doing, seeing as though I am working a few different jobs right now and he should really be focusing on developing his business and getting more clients.

I just didn’t know he’d was going to do it so soon, and when he told me, I had to catch my breath.

I want him to do it, and I want his business to succeed. At the same time, I get the feeling of uncertainty in my stomach. My husband’s income contributed about $500/month to our total income and it has been helping to pay more towards our debt recently. We will no longer have that, so I have been busy taking a look at all of our expenses and running various scenarios in my head. Where can we cut? Are there any monthly payments we can eliminate right now to free up extra money per month? May 31st is his last day, so I do have some time to think things through.

I believe in my heart this is for the best, but with any great leap of faith…it’s tough.


A Little Bit More About Me – What Do I Collect?

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I’ve been reading some Personal Finance blogs today and I came across one that I have to mention. Why? Because they have an awesome pic of a bird that I have a great respect for…the Bald Eagle. A thanks to Mountain Girl for showing us why The Best Things in Life are Free. I certainly have to agree πŸ™‚

Those who enter my house will pick right away that I love Bald Eagles because I am a bit of a collector of Bald Eagle items. I have knives, jewlery boxes, binoculars, band-aids, back scratchers, spoons, whiskey bottle – all with Bald Eagles on them. I started by collecting figurines, but I soon had too many. Now I look for the odd things. My collection will never be worth thousands, and probably not even more than a few hundreds of dollars (I don’t think any single thing in my collection cost over $15). But I guess it is a way to have the beauty and strength of the Bald Eagle surrounding me in my home.

I have yet to see one this year, and one day I would love to catch the courtship flight of two Bald Eagles. For those unfamiliar with some habits of Bald Eagles, they generally mate for life (but will “remarry” if they lose a partner). Every year, the male and female eagle do a courtship flight. They start high in the sky and position themselves so their talons are locked together. They tumble and do cartwheels around and around, falling rapidly to the ground. At the last second, they release their talons and fly back up to the sky before hitting the ground.

That, to me, would be absolutely priceless to witness.

Tags: bald+eagle, eagle

Keeping Motivated to Become Debt-Free

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You can have all of the advice and all of the debt-fighting tools out there, but they will not mean one thing without motivation and determination. You have to finally decide that you want to become debt-free and you are ready to commit to making that dream a reality.

But how can you keep motivated?

Some people are more naturally motivated than others. If you are they type of person that is having troubles getting yourself in the right frame of mind to become debt-free, here are some ways I have found help keep the motivation strong.

1.) Start a Blog! Having your financial situation out there for all to see has created a sense of accountability for me, even though it is anonymous. The last thing I want to do is to write how I spent my tax return on a huge HDTV that we really didn’t need (although, I admit – it is sooooo tempting). There are also comments that others leave that can make you feel like a million dollars, like one I received on this post.

2.) Read Personal Stories About Others Fighting Debt. Not only can you pick up some great tips that may work for you, you will also be able to follow someone’s story and share in the good times as well as the bad times. A great place to find personal finance blogs to read is pfblogs.org.

3.) Read and/or Join Message Boards. There are some great message boards out there for reducing your debt. Not only will you find some great information, message boards can be a place to “sound-off” when things are getting rough. There are many people in the world, and finding someone in a similar situation can help wonders if you stick together.

4.) Keeping Track of Your Debt Balances. There’s a big difference in knowing you have debt versus being actually being able to see the concrete numbers in front of you. It may come as a shock when you see that grand total, but it’s something you need to do. As you start paying off debt – keep making reports that show the progress you are making. Seeing the progress can help add “motivation fuel.”

5.) Add Up All of Your Monthly Finance Charges. Look at that number – that is the cost of your debt. That is all money that you would have if you were debt-free. There are many other things I would rather be doing with that money. Let that amount motivate you to reduce it to zero.

6.) Add Up All of Your Monthly Minimum Payments on Your Debt. For me, this was a HUGE eye-opener. After seeing all of the money that I have to use every month to pay debt, I realized that there is a very large chunk of money that could be used for other things, like perhaps saving for retirement someday or getting health insurance. The things that we just can’t afford right now because of all of our monthly debt payments. Use it to fuel your motivation and determination because there are other things in life you want to do.

7.) Try Not to Get Depressed. Depression is a big motivation-buster, but it is so easy to go into when your debt is making your life miserable. I still get depressed sometimes, and when I am I do not go shopping and I just stay away from financial decisions while depressed. Then, work on feeling better by focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t have.

8.) Allow Yourself Mistakes!! No one in this world is perfect, and we are all bound to make mistakes. We just have to figure out what went wrong then pick ourselves up and keep going. Learn from your mistakes and try not to dwell on them. Use them as motivation, because once you make a mistake and learn from it – it won’t be made again. Look at the positive side of your mistake.

And here are a few motivators for those with lower incomes like myself:

9.) Don’t Compare Lifestyles. It may seem like all of the stories you read in the media about debt success stories are for families with larger incomes. To fight debt they have eliminated expenses such as landscaping or trading in their expensive SUV’s. They do have more discretionary spending to cut. It’s hard, but do not focus on that! Rather, just look at the success story behind it and how they were motivated to make a change in their life. The goal to become debt-free is what binds us all together. Share in their success and keep yourself heading towards your goal.

10.) Realize How Strong You Are!!! When you have a lower income, you do have to go about reducing your debt differently and have to forgo what some consider “necessities”. Just remember that every time you lower your heat to 60 degrees during the day or everytime you purchased used clothing instead of new – you are really showing how STRONG YOU ARE!! If I could, I would visit every one of you that are having a hard time seeing this in yourself and I would be your personal cheerleader. Why? Because it is so true! You are already very strong, and already have the potential to move mountains. Get motivated and determined to become debt-free. You CAN and WILL do it!!

Now, with all of these ways to get motivated – let’s get to it everyone. Let’s become DEBT-FREE!!!!!!!

Post featured at the Carnival of Debt Reduction #32 at Consumerism Commentary.
Technorati Tags: motivation, debt+reduction, debt+free

Flushing Cash Down the Drain – Literally!

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This poor guy thought some old bank notes were worthless and flushed them down the toilet. Worthless ended up being a loot in the tune of $18,900 US.

The notes clogged the pipes and workers repairing the clog discovered the loot. The entire story is at MSNBC.

My question is – why did he flush them? If they thought they were useless, why not just throw them away??

Tags: toilet, bank+notes

I Spoke To Soon …

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I wrote that beautiful post about praising our car, and my husband comes home from picking up my son from school. “Hey Dear…” he yells up to my office, “the check engine light came on in the car.”

Oh, crud.

In the past for all of our vehicles, the check engine light coming on meant needing a small part replaced that cost a lot of money. Of course, I hope this time will be different, and I am going to try my hardest NOT to put the expense on a credit card.

Really though, there are a million other things my husband could have said when he came home. Among them being in an accident or someone getting hurt.

You know what, the car repair will be a small hurdle to get by before being able to pay more towards the credit card debt. But when I think of what my husband could have said (and didn’t), I feel pretty darn rich.

It’s always good to keep that in mind.