Everyone has some ongoing streaks they are proud of – maybe you haven’t smoked a cigarette in 15 years, your spouse has lost 20 pounds so far this year or you have managed to hit the gym at least once for 4 months.
Mine are a bit different. I don’t smoke and although I exercise regularly, I gave up on the idea of a new year’s resolution years a long time ago. My streaks relate to my finances – and I’m proud of them.
Here are a few of the financial streaks I am most proud of.
We Have Used One Car for 7 years
It’s been a bit of a juggling act at times, but my wife and I have managed to only use one vehicle in a city dominated by the automobile. Our city is built for vehicles – new major roads are continuously being built and while public transit exists, it doesn’t take priority like the automobile does.
We bought a new Toyota Corolla in late 2007 and still have it. My Own Advisor drives a car that is 14 years old, and I definitely plan on keeping ours that long (if not longer).
When other couples were buying new vehicles every 2-3 years, we spent our money elsewhere – mainly on saving and building our investment portfolio.
It’s no secret vehicles are money pits – so I am a bit hesitant to buy another one, although I know I will have to eventually down the road.
When we couldn’t make one vehicle work due to conflicting schedules, we have made due by either taking public transit, renting a vehicle or taking the odd cab ride.
In 7 years I estimate a savings of over $16,000 – not even including the actual cost of the vehicle.
I Haven’t Paid a Bank Fee in 9 Years
Everyone knows I hate bank fees, so I tend to avoid transactions that I know will have a charge – such as withdrawing money from an ATM.
Since I usually carry very little cash I chose an account type that gives me unlimited debit transactions for no additional charge.
I strategically chose a bank that has a location within walking distance of my house, so that I wouldn’t need to pay any fees for using another bank in case I need to quickly withdraw money.
9 years ago I paid a fee to order some cheques for my chequing account but I rarely write cheques anymore, so I don’t have to worry about paying extra for them. I still have about 20 cheques left so I don’t have to worry about paying again for a while.
My bank has attempted to charge me for various transactions when my account has dipped below the minimum required balance. But with some good negotiating skills and a smile, I have always been able to get the charges reversed.
I Haven’t Paid Any Roaming Charges in 5 Years
I’ve heard cell phone horror stories about people who forgot to use an international SIM card while travelling or thought they were covered by their plan for international data usage, only to come home to a bill worth hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.
When I travel, I always check with my cell phone company about the coverage/rates in the country I am travelling to.
I also use text messaging apps like Viber that rely on wifi, so that I don’t use the network data to send/receive messages.
My phone isn’t unlocked, but if it was I would probably buy an international SIM card to save even more.
5 years ago I was somewhat naïve about roaming rates and sent a few text messages while travelling in Vegas. When I returned home I was surprised to see that 25 text messages cost me almost $20 extra on my bill. Since then I’ve made sure I have successfully avoided any additional (surprise) roaming charges.
Conclusion: I’m pretty frugal so it doesn’t come as a surprise that most of my streaks are related to finances. I try to save costs where I can and avoid paying any additional fees that aren’t necessary.
What financial streaks are you proud of?