Perhaps one of the most challenging things I have had to manage since my husband died are the finances. When he was alive, I handled the majority of it, but we also rented, and didn’t have as many responsibilities as I do now. Plus we also had more income coming in, so I’ve definitely had to learn how to spend more wisely and make better choices. Learning how to do this up until this point, and still learning how to manage, is not an easy task for me and often leaves me feeling overwhelmed.
One of the changes I am trying to make is switching from my bank to my credit union. I have too many bank accounts and need to consolidate, so that is the first item on my list. Unfortunately we’ve had this bank account for over 11 years, and it bothers me a bit to cancel it because we opened it on our first anniversary! That change will be happening soon though, and I suppose it’s just one more step I need to take. I really just want to streamline everything and have it at just one bank/credit union.
Re-financing my mortgage is also an option I am considering, but that is going to take a lot of researching on my part, but I do want to do it. I’m toying with the idea of a 20 year vs 30 year mortgage, which I have already. Has anyone had any experience with that? 20 year sounds very tempting, but I am concerned about my payments going up, especially being on a fixed income every month. I like having my homeowners insurance and taxes paid through my mortgage as well, that way I don’t have to deal with it.
And lastly, I just canceled an old credit card today that had a zero balance on it (as well as a shitty interest rate, and I never used it either). I know many will argue with me that it’s a ding on my credit history, but….credit history counts for only 15% of your FICO score, where as payment history and outstanding balances count for 35% and 30% respectively. The rest is made up of new credit (10%) and what types of credit you have (10%), (The Source for that is here) . So while I may have dinged my credit just a bit today, I will recover in the long run because it was such a small change, and I do have great credit already. Because I am closing the bank account, and moving over to the credit union exclusively, I will also do a balance transfer on my bank credit card to a new credit union credit card, provided I get one. I don’t think that will be a problem though.
I’m looking forward to my finances being more streamlined and a lot easier to manage. If you’re a single parent, how have you managed your finances?