Costco Hacks, EOY Checklist, & A Lucky Month Ahead 🐇

November 1, 2022

Rabbit 🐇 rabbit 🐇 rabbit 🐇!

Apparently saying rabbit 3 x times first thing in the morning on the 1st of the month will bring good luck.  Does it work?… 🤷‍♂️ We’re about to find out!

Oh, and I also just learned that if you forget to say rabbit rabbit rabbit first thing on the 1st… worry not! You can still have good luck this month, you just need to say “tibbar tibbar tibbar” right before you go to bed tonight (rabbit said backwards). 🤔

Superstitions aside, I think it’s going to be a killer month! 60 days left in this sui generis year — let’s finish 2022 strong! 💪💪💪


TO DO

Calculate your net worth 🧑‍💻

Also on the 1st of the month… it’s a great time to update your net worth spreadsheet.

For those of you who don’t know what your net worth is, here is how to calculate it…

1) List your assets: bank accounts, investments, physical property, and any pirate treasure you have hidden under your mattress. Add up all the cash values…

2) Subtract your liabilities: debts, credit card balances, mortgages, and any money you owe to mafia loan sharks. Subtract all this stuff from your total assets value above.

That’s it. Assets – Liabilities = Net worth.

Doing this exercise every so often (we recommend it monthly) helps you monitor your overall financial trajectory. We talk about it in detail in this podcast ep, and if you want free tools to automate net worth tracking, check out Personal Capital!


SAVING

Cool Costco Hacks 🛒

Just when you think you know everything about Costco… you learn a new shopping tip or trick that blows your mind!!! 🤯  Here are a few Costco hacks I learned recently that you might not know about…

1) You can skip the food court line!
When you’ve finished shopping and are checking out inside, ask the cashier to add some hot dogs or pizza to your bill. They’ll ring up your shopping cart + food order into one tab, then you just take the receipt to the To-Go window at the food court. Voila! No need to line up at the food court 😉

(you can also place food orders at the self-serve checkout kiosks!)

2) Costco Price Tags…
Costco label different item types with special pricing codes. Here is what to look out for:

  • Price tags ending in .99: This means the item is Costco’s standard price. For example, something that’s $2.99 or $12.99 is the normal everyday retail price.
  • Price tags ending in .97: These items are marked down and on SALE!! It’s a smart idea to stock up if you notice any Costco items with .97 at the end of the price tag.
  • Price tags with .00 or .88: When Costco has a manager’s special, they round to the nearest dollar so all the price tags end in .00. Sometimes .88 is another code for manager specials and items they want to get rid of ASAP.
  • Any tag with *asterisks*: If you see ** in the top right hand corner of the price tag… it means the item is soon to be discontinued at Costco and won’t be returning after it’s sold out. Stock up while you have the chance!

3) You don’t need a Costco membership (for some things):
Buying alcohol, Pharmacy prescriptions, groceries via InstaCart, shopping at Costco.com, using a Shop Card… These are several ways non-members can buy things at Costco. (I still think my paid Costco membership is worth it, but still it’s good to know!!)

Maybe you already knew this stuff? Have you got any tips/tricks we should know about (and share)!?

Related Costco stuff:


TOGETHER WITH CARDRATINGS

Spotlight: Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Matt’s family spend about ~$725 on groceries each month. They pay with this Amex card because it gives them 6% cash back on all grocery store purchases in the US. (up to $6k spend each year, then it reduces to 1% cash back).

So at minimum, he gets $360 cash back every year by always using this card to pay at grocery stores. (There’s also 3% cash back at gas stations which is also pretty sweet!)

There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, but right now Amex is waiving the fee for year 1, plus there’s a $250 sign up bonus promotion right now.

If you’re looking for a new credit card and buy a lot of groceries —> check out Amex Blue Cash Preferred. It’s a no brainer 😉


PLANNING

EOY Finance Checklist 📝

And the reason we encourage everyone to start their year-end checklist NOW is because some actions have big tax advantages/consequences and this gives you plenty of time to make changes.

(Also November/December are notoriously high spending months due to holidays, so planning ahead can save on unnecessary expenses – this year and next!)

Retirement accounts:  It can take 1-2 paycheck cycles to redirect deductions, so change them early if you want to contribute more to your tax-advantaged accounts in 2022.

Flex Spending Accounts:  Use it or lose it! Check out The FSA Store or Amazon FSA for eligible products if you’ve got money to burn.

Holiday spending: Buy your gifts EARLY so you don’t get trapped into last minute convenience expenses! Consider opening a new credit card for all holiday spending (bonus + cash back opportunities). Also, start a 2023 “sinking fund” for gifts next year.

Nerdy portfolio stuff: It’s a great year for tax loss harvesting, possible rebalancing, and could also be a good time for conversions from your Traditional IRA –> Roth IRA (pay taxes on a smaller amount now, vs. a bigger amount later).

More resources:


ICYMI

Newsy news news…

Shopping 🛒
Amazon is finally accepting Venmo as a payment option when you check out online. While it might seem convenient for heavy Venmo users, don’t forget that you’re missing out on additional benefits and purchase protection, by opting for Venmo as opposed to a cash back credit card.

“Magic Number” 🌴
Apparently $1.25 million is what the average American thinks they’ll need as a nest egg for comfortable retirement… This comes from a new study by Northwestern Mutual. Hmmm… 🤔

Side Hustles 👩‍🎨
Pretty inspiring video — about a 28y/o who brings in $200k+ a year from her side hustle as an artist. “If 20 year old me saw what I was doing, she’d be absolutely shocked.”

Middle Seat Lottery ✈️
Nobody likes flying in middle seats on an airplane… So Virgin Australia created a lottery for anyone who get’s stuck in a middle seat. Starting from now through April 2023, there’s about $230,000 worth of prizes that can be won. Such a fun idea!

RIP Turkeys 😥
Everyone’s Thanksgiving Turkey just got a lil more expensive this year… Sadly, over 6 million turkeys died from an avian flu outbreak, causing a shortage ahead of Thanksgiving season. Estimates show we’ll pay around ~20% more this year per pound.

AARP Membership? 🤷‍♂️
It was designed for “old people”, but young folks are starting to realize AARP offers killer savings benefits!.. A membership card costs $63 for 5 years (you must be 21y/o or older) and you get discounts on meal delivery, rental cars, entertainment, cell phone service, and a bunch more stuff. Here are ALL the benefits.


HOW *YOU* MONEY

Britney, 24y/o from New York! 🗽

Occupation: Freelance Social Media & Musician
Salary: $50-55k/year

Paycheck deductions: Since I’m a freelancer, I have no monthly deductions from paychecks! However, every month I put 30% towards taxes and $400 towards my IRA

Rent: $0. I live with my dad! But I am currently looking for apartments with my boyfriend. We have a budget of about $1700-1800 split between the two of us!

Other debts: None!

Living expenses: Green Chef (My slightly more expensive craft beer equivalent 😅) ~$300/month, Entertainment ~$200, gas $200, phone $37, Subscriptions about $100 (some of them are for plugins/software for music making!), misc. purchases $200.

Leftover savings each month: ~$2300 (although sometimes I go over budget 😳)

How are you investing your excess savings each month? 
I invest $400 a month in my Traditional IRA! When I have extra left over I try to put it into my IRA as well. Right now, I am trying to save $800/month towards a home down payment and have been saving another $800 towards brokerage fees and first and last months rent. Then if I have enough leftover, I allocate $500 towards travel and put anything leftover into my IRA. Since my income can vary month to month, sometimes my savings rate differs slightly, but it usually only varies by only $100-300.

Biggest “craft beer equivalent” splurge:
Music related purchases, good coffee & Green Chef!

Best savings hack/advice:
Something I like to do is order clothing from a store I like in Australia! The USD is stronger than the AUD and their seasons are opposite ours! So you get nice, high quality clothing for a fraction of the price. Just sign up for emails and order when they do free shipping promos.

Recent money win, and how did you celebrate?
My student debt was canceled! 🙂 I celebrated with a nice coffee.

What’s your biggest money challenge right now?
Sticking to my budget. When I get burned out, I tend to overspend on convenience/time saving items and services. I’m also struggling with deciding what to do with money I’m using to save for a home down payment in the next 2-5 years.

**We share these money profiles because some of the best money hacks and advice comes from YOU, the community… If you’re up for being featured, we’d love to hear from you –> fill out the How You Money form here (we only post once you give permission!!)**


Cheers to a great day, a happy week, and a luck-filled month ahead!

Best friends out 🍻

*****

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