Q&A: Debit cards, GIMP, price-matching, & more!

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I have had lots of great questions lately, so I thought I'd share some of the FCF Q&A with you in case it helps answer some of YOUR questions!
Good evening Jordan, I just found your blog and I love it. I am the big budget person in our family and my wife does not dealing with finances. I have tried everything to get her to understand how to budget but she feels like I am taking her freedom to spend away. This is how I found your “The 7 bank accounts every family should have” post and it was a great post. I want to introduce this to my wife and see if it helps our budget but I have a few questions for you. 
 
Does this mean you carry around 7 debit cards, each marked with their spending category? I assume, when the paycheck comes in each months it is divided automatically into the other 7 accounts you created? 
 
Also, if you are like me then occasionally you overdraft the account and have to pay an overdraft charge. With 7 accounts, that can be a lot of fees. How do you get around overdraft charges? Thank you for taking the time answer my questions. Have a great day! -Mike

Awesome questions, right?? Here's my answer to Mike:


Hey Mike!

To answer your question, no, I don't carry around 7 debit cards. I have 1 credit card that I use for all of my spending, and we have a family credit card that we use to pay for everything else (including bills). 

So in my wallet I have:
1) My Costco AMEX card (for my personal purchases) and
2) Our Master Card credit card (for family budget items). (Click HERE to find the right card for you)

I only have 1 debit card, and that is to my personal “wife checking” account. I, to date, don't know if I've ever used it more than 5 times. We really feel that buying things on a CC offers great benefits. Especially if you are used to using a debit card anyway, it's nice to use a CC to get the security and perks. You could also use prepaid cards, see HERE for a post on that.

We do it this way so we can put EVERY purchase on ONE card (or two cards in our case) and simply use the bank accounts to transfer the money to pay OFF the credit card at the end of the month. 
THIS post might help. 

As for the overages, you just need to track your spending well to avoid overages. We never have overages because we put everything on a credit card and pay it off once our paycheck has cleared in our accounts…but I wouldn't recommend CC's if you're having trouble with overspending or over-drafting, because overspending can be really easy with a CC! As long as you are organized and clearly define your budgets, you should be able to avoid overages. Hope that helps!

Thanks for reading,
Jordan

Here's another question:

First off…love your blog.  I've been reading now for about a year, and I've learned some really great tips.  
 
I've noticed in a few posts you've mentioned you use Gimp as your photo editing software of choice (see HERE).  I'm am a Photoshop virgin (because I don't want to pay for it), so I was super excited when I learned about Gimp.  I downloaded it this morning and realized that I have no idea what I am doing. 🙂 I typically use basic photo editing software like Fotoflexer or Picmonkey, and there are so many choices in Gimp and I have no idea what any of them do! 🙂  
 
Anyway, I know you are really busy with a new baby, but at some point would you mind doing a video tutorial of how you use Gimp? Thanks again for all of the great posts and tips, I really look forward to them! — Britni

Here's my answer:

Hey Britni!

I know, isn't Gimp great?! It's so nice to have a free version of photo shop. BUT…it's a NIGHTMARE to learn. I cried from frustration the first few times using it. Because of time constraints (and because I'm still a GIMP novice, really) I won't be able to do tutorials. BUT…for me, Youtube was my saving grace. I just searched “gimp tutorials” and watched as many as I could. They are out of order and sometimes taught me things that I would never really use, but I learned what the main buttons meant, what you can do with GImp, and made me more comfortable with terminology. Now I know enough of the “basics” to do the super simple things I do regularly. And, if I need to do something more complicated, I turn to Youtube to learn how! 🙂 Good luck, and thanks for reading!
Jordan

Here's another:

I am super excited to have found your site on Pinterest!!! I absolutely love it!!
Anyways, I have a question about Walmarts price matching. There are a lot of Hispanic grocery stores in our area (Dallas, TX), and they have a lot of great deals! Once I was able to price match boneless skinless store brand chicken breasts for $1 per lb.!! I ended up getting 40 lbs. of it and freezing it! A few weeks ago one of the Hispanic stores had their avocados on sale for 6 for $1!! And their Navel Oranges were on sale for 7 for $.99, I got a bunch of each and when I got to the register she basically told me no that they will not price match either of those items that they just had a meeting about it, she even called over the manager and they said no, so I put everything back and left the store, I wasn’t rude but I was not happy about them picking and choosing what they would and wouldn’t price match, that’s not their policy. So now I won’t go to that specific Walmart (there are a bunch around me), I went to another Walmart in the area and they gave me the deal but limited how many I could get, which was fine with me (I was trying to get 30 avocados and 14 oranges, I LOVE avodacos!! Haha), she let me get 18 avocados and only 7 oranges, but I was so excited to at least get the deal that I didn’t care. But I don’t understand how they can advertise to price match and then be picky about what they will match!
Thanks in advance for your help!
Sincerely, Astin 

Here's my answer:
That's a great question. (First of all, to see how I grocery shop to get up to speed, click HERE.) To be honest, Walmart's policy can be pretty open-ended. Ultimately, is up to not only the store manager, but the individual cashier too! (Which can be a bit annoying). 

My advice? Print out the policy (HERE), take it with you, hold your ground when you think you rightfully deserve a deal. 

But more importantly, YES – each Walmart is different…so just find the Walmart that is the best to work with! Always choose Neighborhood Walmart's rather than Super Walmart's if you have the choice. Why? Super Walmarts are more concerned with their electronics, clothes, toys, and everything else the sell. The food section is NOT their money-maker, so they aren't as familiar with price-matching food many times. Whereas for the neighborhood WM's, food is all they do! 

Additionally,  once you find a good checker that you like, find out when their typical schedule is and go to them every time. Extreme? NO WAY. It'll make all the difference in the world! Building a rapport with them will make your life so much easier.  I know that my favorite gal (Crystal at the Draper, UT Neighborhood Walmart for anyoen who is interested!) works most nights after 8pm so that's when I try to go. 

Good luck, and sorry they've given you so much hassle. P.S…I LOVE THE MEXICAN MARKETS! Amazing, right? We have some here too and I love them!

Jordan
Here's another question:


How much do you recommend adding to your family grocery budget per pet? For example, we have two dogs that we want to factor in. I can see it depending on the type of pets, because some pets are more expensive to keep than others. Any ideas?  – Anonymous

Here's my answer:

Great question! Here's what I recommend…
You would just need to add up exactly how much you spend on your pet in one month. Do that for 3 consecutive months, then find the average. THAT is what your budget should be. 

Really, your regular pet expenses (food, shampoo, poopy bags, treats, etc.) should be included in your grocery/other budget as-is. But, you must be realistic.  If you find that your budget isn't enough to include your pets then just increase your budget slightly, but understand that the money will have to but cut from elsewhere, like your entertainment budget for example. 

We all love our pets, but it's important to be frugal with pets too! I buy my dog food from Costco, as well as my treats and dog beds (see HERE). Click HERE for other ways we save with our pets! – Jordan

Here's another great question:

Hey Jordan; great ideas and we're going to try some of it this month! A couple questions though; 

How do you budget your husband's lunches? Does he just take leftovers or does he have money to buy his own groceries/lunches? We're trying to decide if my husband should have his own grocery limit deducted from our main grocery budget (so since there are 3 of us it would be something like $275 for me and $25 for him…which is only like a dollar a day for his lunch!); or if I get the full $300 a month for groceries and his food budget would be totally separate. Confused about what to do there. He never remembers to take leftovers and he works 40 minutes away from home so it wouldn't be practical for him to take things like milk, lunch meat, etc. to his work, meaning he needs to get his own stuff. 

With your 7 budgets, is your Family Emergency Savings the same thing as a 401K? I've read through a lot of comments and haven't seen anything that clarifies that. To us, it seems like pretty much the same thing but we want to make sure we're putting enough away into the various things we should be saving for.  Thanks! Jessica

Here's my answer:
Hello Jessica! 

 To answer your questions…my husband has his own monthly budget, which is described in the Husband Account in THIS post.  

If he wants that money to go toward things OTHER than paying for lunch, then he needs to brown-bag it! That's what my hubby does 99% of the time. He packs leftovers (as seen HERE). He also keeps a bag of Costco frozen burritos in his work freezer in case he forgets to pack a lunch, or in case he has a lunch appointment that cancels. 

As for the Family Savings, no, we don't have a 401K actually. Our situation is a little unique, though, because my hubby is an entrepreneur and owns his own business. Our savings is just a standard savings account through Chase Bank. Click HERE for more info on this and lots of helpful links. 
Hope that helps! -Jordan

Here's another:
So, I have looked at all your posts. I am a military wife who knows we send more then necessary! Your tips are interesting I may take on some and branch from them. I live in Guam and unfortunetly price mark ups for produce, meats and dairy are crazy! So this may be tuff for me! I wanted to ask you, if the item is not the best deal in your price notebook do you buy it anyway? I also do my best to be organic which is difficult here and pricer and there are just item we always use I dont know that I would stop buying them just becasue they arent the best deal. What do you do? – Mary

And my answer:

Thanks for your question! Yes, I often times buy items even when they aren't the EXACT price in my price notebook. ]Your price-notebook is a guide to help you notice when there is a great deal, so you can stock up like crazy on it. If the price of the item is MUCH higher than your notebook price, pass on it, don't buy it, and wait for it to go on sale…because it's bound to. You just have to get in the habit of only buying what's on sale and planning your meals around what's on sale during that week/time of year. It's so much easier than you think!!! Good luck! – Jordan


Lots of great questions, right?! Hope you enjoyed. What questions do YOU have?

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