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FI Weekly – August 29, 2023: Time Saving Tools, Best Uses of Capital One Miles, Ep 452 Takeaways

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.

Time Saving Tools From the Community

Last week I asked you to write in with time saving tips and tools and wow, did we get an amazing response! Over the course of the next few months, I’m going to share many of these gems:

  • Michael: “My time and stress-saving (arguably more important) tool is to live close to where you work.
  • “Time saver: garage bicycle hangers. Instead of moving the bikes out and in every time we work out in the garage, we’ve suspended the bikes above the car.
  • Mireille: “Except during harvest season, I buy almost only frozen veggies and fruits. They are already cut up, they are as nutritional, if not more, than fresh offerings, and they are regularly on sale. I stock up during those sales and run freezer challenges in between. They end up being less expensive than buying all those veggies fresh week after week. Cha ching! And the time saved not having to prep them is calculated in hours!!
  • Jennifer: “I have an annual subscription to Scribd and I like listening to audio book summaries; especially self-help books. You can get the highlights in about 10-15 minutes. If you are like me, you struggle with time to read/listen to everything.
  • Ashley: “I love spending money to save time. My favorite purchase has been my Roomba j7 vacuum robot. For $400, I save several hours monthly by not having to vacuum and our house is cleaner than it’s ever been. Based on my success with the vacuum robot, my husband recently purchased a lawn mower robot and is also saving hours of work every month (and spending less time out in the heat!).
  • Diane: “My time saving hack is that the night before school, I give my young kids a bath/shower then put them in their school clothes (to sleep in). This way in the morning they get out of bed and start their day. One less thing to wait to do the next day!

One of the most interesting ones came from Lina:

As a mom of 5 kids aged 10 and under, this one hack saves me hours EVERY SINGLE WEEK: I don’t sort laundry, and each person’s laundry gets washed in its own color-coded mesh laundry bag. Why mix things that then need to be separated? Just always keep them separate! All you have to do is zip the bag, and toss it in the laundry with another bag or two (depending on how full they are).

I did a huge amount of research to find the perfect bags, and we use these AMAZING mesh zippered laundry bags from Texon Towels, which college sports teams use to do their athletes’ laundry at the same time.

To get the largest size, which holds about a week’s worth of laundry, the 24″ x 36″, you need to contact the company directly to get a quantity less than 12, but their customer service is terrific, and it takes less than 10 minutes. (I first bought the smaller size online and regretted it since it was too small for a week’s worth of laundry for us).

Each person in our family has three of these large sized bags, one to be actively laundered, one to handle new dirty laundry, and one, frankly, to be filled with clean clothes still to be put away.

Because people ask, I don’t sort by color, unless something is pure white, and I have a separate white mesh bag for those towels, socks, etc. At the end of the day, it’s not worth it to me for the time it would take to sort by color. We use color catching sheets from Amazon, and that’s good enough for me!

Sweet Spot Award Redemptions Using Capital One Miles

If you collect travel rewards points & miles, you need to read this article I found on the Award Wallet blog that highlights the best ways you can use Capital One miles now that they have transfer partner options that make their points much more valuable.

The article gives you advanced strategies to book award flights by transferring points to seemingly obscure programs like Turkish Airlines, Avianca and Virgin Atlantic to book deals like:

  • 7,500 Turkish miles for a one-way flight from anywhere in the US to Hawaii
  • 6,500 Avianca miles for 100+ different United routes
  • 7,500 Virgin Atlantic miles for hundreds of different Delta routes

As always, if you’re looking for your next rewards credit card, you can find my top 10 recommended cards list on our website.

Episode 452: August Roundup Essential Takeaways

Katie from the “Money with Katie” podcast joined me on Episode 452 and here are some highlights:

  • Katie bought a Porsche recently, and said she “broke the cardinal rule of FI” and my response was “I think that was the old caricature; the beautiful thing about the new definition of FI is ‘we buy based on what we value.’”
  • “The things that you buy, they find a way of somehow owning you.”  The stress of owning nice things.
  • The test for every item you own:  Would you purchase this again if it you lost it or it broke?
  • Katie asked, “What am I doing that is holding myself back? Where am I complicit in the circumstances that I’m claiming I don’t want in my life?”
  • JT asked in Ep 449: “Are you pushing yourself because that’s what makes you happy, or because you’re not satisfied with everything in life?”
  • Jillian in Ep 451: “It’s easy to deprioritize your own dreams as we get older and prioritize our kids.”
  • Katie found a 40% savings rate was the “ideal” savings rate in an episode she released in July.
  • You get one shot at life and it truly is not a dress rehearsal.  Don’t waste it.
  • On limiting beliefs before finding FI, Becky said in Ep 450: “We could have had an enjoyable life and still saved money at the same time, but we just didn’t think we could.”
  • Create an identity statement about yourself that affirms something positive.

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Ben said, “My 1% better this week was finally paying off a $13,000 private student loan which had an adjustable rate which recently increased from 5% to 8.25%. The increase in rate made it an obvious decision to focus on paying it off rather than shuttling extra money into investments. Since it’s now paid off this will free up an extra $200/month to invest into our brokerage accounts. I also had a consultation with Student Loan Planner (using the ChooseFI link to save $100). Ben from student loan planner was able to give me piece of mind that I have the best possible strategy to tackle my massive pharmacy school federal student loan debt. He helped me find some tricks and tax strategies which will save me around $200/month on my federal student loan payment.
  • Carla said, “I wanted to cancel a hotel reservation with Priceline and it was saying it was only 50% refundable. I called the hotel directly and they said although they couldn’t cancel themselves, they could see the reservation was fully refundable up to 48hs before check-in. I called Priceline and shared what the hotel told me. It took then about 1h only and they were able to process my cancelation with a 100% refund back. This saved me $270.
  • Devon said, “My 1% better is re-scrutinizing our cable and entertainment subscriptions. We reevaluated priorities and cut services earlier this year. After living with reduced expense s for several months, we cut back again this morning, downgrading Netflix. Then I called DirecTV and in addition to removing a $4.99 channel, they gave us a $15/month discount for the next twelve months. No contract required. $300/year savings.
  • Sarah said, “My 1% better was gently convincing my mom to open a Roth IRA and make her first ever retirement account contribution. She’s a Boomer and thought it was too late for her to open one, plus she holds a belief that investing is too complicated for her to understand. I started to teach her the basic fundamentals of investing, along the lines of The Simple Path To Wealth by J.L Collins, but after about 30 seconds she said “I’m not interested in learning this. I trust you 100% so just tell me what to do.” So… baby steps. Finding the right “why” is powerful. It turns out she is motivated to action by the idea of creating a legacy to pass on to her children (her why), and I am grateful that we are also building a longevity fund for her so she can have a more secure retirement (my why). I had to go outside of my comfort zone, in the moment, and say “What if we just open an account for you right now?
  • Casimir said, “My 1% better this past week was proactively reaching out to a few friends to set up get-togethers, as it has been a long time since I’ve seen them in person. Nothing firm on the calendar yet, but happy that I took action. After we do see each other, I’ll set up a reminder for 3 months later to check in.
  • Rosalie said, “Our 1% better is finally moving our twelve-month emergency fund and long-term sinking funds to CIT Bank! I finally caught up on reading through the past ten Choose FI Newsletters, and was so glad I did, because I had previously not heard of this optimized savings account. We were already earning 4.3% APY at our previous bank, but for five minutes of brain power, and to gain .75% more, it was a no-brainer! This move alone will earn us an extra $360-$400 a year!

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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