It happens once a year, well, (probably even less since it was also the end of my budgeting week), when everything comes due on the same day.
- Weekly Budgeting
- Expiring Offers
- Expiring Fuel Rewards
- Chase Freedom Categories
- Charitable Donations
End of the Week
At the end (or really beginning) of each week, I sit down and balance my accounts. This takes some doing since we have so many credit cards. I have to transfer income from our checking accounts into our Sallie Mae savings accounts. Since you can only make six withdrawals per month in any savings account, I had to open enough accounts to assign only five or six cards to each account. Every Monday, I make sure there is enough cash in each account for the bills that will autopay out of them over the next couple weeks since it takes several days for deposits to clear.
I also log all of our income and expenses for the week and look for any anomalies. This is much easier than it seems since all of our accounts are in Mint. This program allows you to enter all of your accounts’ information and access it in one web page. It lists all of our recent transactions, which I can then compare to the receipts for the week. I then review our discretionary spending in GoodBudget to see if we need to cut back our spending for the current week or if we have leftovers.
End of the Month
It seemed as if every deal I had ended on December 31. I had Chase Offers on four cards for 10% off at Starbucks that expired today, so naturally I needed to pick up a few gift cards for my husband. Unfortunately, they closed early, so I had to figure out how to reload Bryan’s gift card on his app and still pair it with my Chase Pay. It didn’t work, and it turns out you can’t use Chase Pay to buy a gift card for someone else. Weird quirk of the app.
Luckily, I already redeemed my expiring fuel rewards from Safeway before our trip last week, so that was off my list. It can get hairy trying to time a fill-up with a completely empty tank, but if I can get at least 17 gallons for $17 off, I’m happy.
Another deal ending was a $25 statement credit for spending $500 on my Chase Hyatt card at movie theaters and grocery stores for November and December, essentially a 5% discount. November was used up with the gift card deals at Safeway, while this month, only half went to the grocery store for gift cards, so I stopped by Harkins to put the rest on a gift card. We have our movie snacks and tickets covered for a good part of the coming year.
With Swagbucks, I like to earn at least 2175 SB to get 13% off the first $25 virtual Visa gift card of the month. Lately, with doing Swago and the Best Buy shopping bonuses, I haven’t had to work very hard to achieve the minimum. Used to be, I would start working a week or so before the end of the month in order to get to that first gift card.
End of the Quarter
Whenever the quarter ends, that means one 5% spending category is ending, and another one begins. I had gotten through a lot of spending on my Freedom, but Bryan’s Freedom needed some spending up. I like to make sure I maximize the bonus category in order to enjoy the rewards on my spending for several weeks or months after the bonus is over. This quarter is Chase Pay, Warehouse Clubs, and Department Stores. Best Buy is on Chase Pay, so between buying Disney gift cards and the kids’ iPads there, it was a healthy chunk of the $1500 limit per quarter per card. Since we don’t shop at department stores, I stopped by Costco today to put the remaining amount on a gift card to spend for next quarter (or more).
In addition, the end of the quarter means a shuffling of cards in our wallets. I try not to complicate things for Bryan, so I limit him to two cards. Usually, one is for groceries, and the other is a general all-purpose card, most often the Chase Sapphire Preferred, since it gets 2x points at restaurants. My wallet holds more cards, so I just have to shift my spending in my head. The Chase Freedom will now be used for gas stations. Tolls and drugstores are also included in the 5% categories next quarter, but we won’t use those, unless Retail Me Not has some good deals at Walgreens again. Chase used to reveal the categories for each quarter well ahead, even a year or at least six months ahead, but lately they’ve only been revealing one quarter at a time.
End of the Year
Normally, my timecards would fall in the end of the month category. However, at the end of the year, you have to get them in on time or else you won’t get paid. With the holiday tomorrow, I’ll most likely have to drive them down to the office, which is on the other side of town, instead of mailing them to make sure they arrive before they’re due.
The other task for the end of the year is what I wrote about the other day: charitable giving. Since I didn’t get to Walmart for a money order sooner, I’ll have to put in my last donation to our church’s charitable fund online. I can use a Visa gift card which I bought with 5x rewards, but the church incurs a fee to process the credit card. Still, it may be worth it to make this one last donation in order to be able to reap the tax benefits.
Lastly, I wanted to hit up Best Buy once more since I have achieved the highest status there over the year and earn 2.5% back in their rewards program which will probably reset tomorrow. An $100 gift card will earn $2.50 in Best Buy Rewards, plus 5x Ultimate Rewards points on the Freedom using Chase Pay, and 750+200 SB.
Did you have an end of the year to-do list?