As I said in my notes from the last Money Talk, the best part of meeting monthly is actually happening between each meeting; that is, each month, different women in the group are taking concrete steps towards managing their finances.

I’m getting regular emails from other women in the group, like this one from Woman #3:

“Something I’ve been meaning to share with y’all is this cool online banking place:

http://www.ingdirect.com

My mother told me about it last year. It pays 4.5% for a savings account of any balance, and has some other nice banking services available online. I have a fixed amount deducted from my checking account (into which my salary check is deposited) and deposited into the online savings account every month. It’s automatic (once it’s set up). Even a spendthrift like me can save regularly through this system.”

It’s like getting money tips delivered to your mailbox – but already screened by people you trust.

Me, for instance, I decided to ditch my Mastercard ($85/year for American Airline miles) for a “TrueEarnings” American Express card through Costco. The card is free with Costco membership, and earns cash back: 3% for eating out, 2% for traveling, 1% everywhere else. If you have a small business, the card also includes 5% cash back for gas.

I also upgraded my Costco card to a an Executive Membership ($100 instead of the regular $50) because I could see that I had already spent enough at Costco this year to pay for the difference. You see, the Executive Membership earns 2% cash back also.

Another freebie: Costco members get $25 costco card for having an initial consultation with an Ameriprise financial advisor.

Small steps.

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