Baby Boomers in particular, though hardly excluding others—How ya doin’ with managing your finances and household? I’m in the midst of purging mounds of paper that have been stuffed in manila folders in hanging files for years. Before marriage, this wasn’t a big deal. My life fit neatly in a rolling file cabinet, accessible with a few flicks of my fingers through the labeled tabs to find what I needed. Receipts, instruction manuals, tax documents, credit card statements, bank account statements, etc.--not a problem.
However... NOW… it’s a different story. Marriage doubled all the aforementioned stuff because Darling Husband had his stuff and a different filing system, I might add, equaling “work” for me as the household administrator. Finally, after a year or two of marriage, I got the blending and purging and balancing and filing under control… until the babies came along… BUT, Repo Man has never visited and we’ve always had heat, air conditioning, and water… except that time when I was pregnant with Girl #2 and turned on the faucet and nothing came out.
I assume having the administrator job is not an issue for some of you, but for those of us who had parents born or raised during the Great Depression who had to work very hard as adults to own a house and car, we were taught to save and file… just in case. Problem is: We have several times the amount of accounts, memberships and material things that our parents had. Gone are the days when you pulled out your ledger on pay day and wrote 4 or 5 checks for the monthly bills; which brings me to the current.
My menopausal brain is on overload!
After clearing my office/den of everything to refurnish, I refuse to bring everything back into it. Sooo… I’m working. What I have learned is that over the years, the filing was happening, but no purging. And because EVERYBODY and his mother have a web site nowadays, I can trash or recycle a lot of the paper.
You might ask, “Why not toss “all” of the paper?”
“Well, because when I need to see what my stock is doing or why my Target bill is so high, it’s easier to pull the paper from the file than to go through my password list, find the password among 100 user names and passwords, type it in, be told that something is incorrect, try it 2 more times, get told that it is now deactivated, go to one of my numerous file boxes, find the hanging file containing the specific manila folder, locate the 800 number, call the company, have a new password sent to my email inbox, go back to the web site, change the temporary password to another password (because you can’t use the old one), scratch through the old password on my password list, and write the new one down.”
I have passwords for everything from financial institutions to phone services to grocery stores to retail stores to libraries to social media to charities to medical services to eBay to utility providers to email accounts, and more. Plus, I have a list of my children’s passwords and my mother’s.
Passwords to online access can be a pain at times… but, I still like it.
Another system that has caused a slight annoyance recently is my online banking. Because of a bank merger or whatever, my bank
Online banking can be a pain at times… but, I still like it.
Got any gift cards under the junk in the kitchen junk drawer? I found a few. I blame it on my children who don’t know the value of a dollar. Anyway, thankfully, most gift cards have no expiration, however, when I went online to find the value of one of them, it was $0. Hmmm… A maintenance fee of $2.50 per month (What are they maintaining?) charged after a year of inactivity quickly wiped out one of the kids’ Christmas gifts. Nice that they have a web site for checking balances, however, a system to email the gift card holder that they are getting ready to take the money away would be nice, too.
Gift cards can be a pain at times… but I still REALLY like them.
And while on the subject of kitchen junk drawers, one of mine is actually a semi-organized coupon drawer with a space for take-out menus, one for retail store coupons, and the last for grocery store coupons. There’s nothing like an episode of Extreme Couponing to get me clipping. Too bad that I forget to take the coupons with me to the grocery store 70% of the time. I’m better with retail stores.
So maybe those new 3-D looking scan images will become more popular and I can use my recently acquired smart phone to take advantage of coupons and sales. Hmmm…
Learning new features on my smart phone can be challenging sometimes… but I like it and have grown to accept it as a potential addiction; and that someday it will eliminate the frustration of forgetting my coupons.
Today, I found out that one of our service providers did not get our payment that was paid with online Bill Pay. The woman on the phone asked if I had proof that I’d paid, to which I answered, “Only my online bill statement that I can print a portion for you.” She said, “Nope, that won’t do.” So I paid the $27 again after she assured me that they will refund me if they or I find the missing money out in cyberspace; otherwise, I’ll be calling that 800 number again. I said to her, “Nothing is simple.” She said, “That’s right.”
So yes, even with the annoyances, I’m all for the new advances in technology, though I don’t know what effect it’s having on our brains. My 80 year old mother is even on board, albeit with her own learning curve going on. Last month, she was on facebook responding to a dead person with a little pleasantry.
“Gotta check those dates Mom.”
How do YOU feel about all the technology?