Monday, May 23, 2011

The Times They Are a-Changin'

I am writing this on Monday, May 23, 2011.  Today I am trying to get back into blogging....again.

It seems that I am having trouble making a habit out of this.  Actually, I never intended on it to be a habit, but I did think that I would be using it more than I have.  So, I am going to try again to share my thoughts and experiences on here.

I have been catching up on a lot of reading recently.  One of the blogs that I follow talks about minimalism.  I went into my Facebook account and deleted any "friend" that did not pass my theoretical friend test.  For each person, I asked myself this question "If this person was to receive an urgent message from me in need of help, would they immediately come to my aid?".

This resulted in me removing ex-girlfriends that I no longer communicate with, old school classmates and acquaintances that I no longer keep up with, and people that I met at some event but never ran into again at other similar events.  My Facebook friends count is now 27 and I am very happy with that number.  I am honored to know 27 people that I would consider a true real friend.  I have "un-followed"  most of the people I had followed on my Twitter account.  Remaining are 7 very solid resources that I want to read everything from so I will no longer have to browse the Twitter feed for something I actually want to check out.  My next step is to clean out my Facebook photo albums.  I want to fine a single place to store my photos for online backup and sharing purposes.  My first thought is to use Picasa by Google.  I will give this a try and report on my findings.

My email has all been centralized to gmail, so I am happy with consolidation of email accounts.  I only have one phone number, which is my mobile, so I am happy with that.  Email communication, communication, check.

I switched from Wells Fargo to Chase about 2 years ago and I have been happy with Chase so far.  I have one username that can see my personal checking, personal savings, personal credit card, business checking, and business credit card.  That is extremely helpful.  I have 2 other credit cards that I keep open to help my credit score.  One is only used for gasoline.  The other is only used for food.  This helps keep 2 open credit card accounts in low use of available credit and also helps in tracking expenses by category.  These 2 additional credit cards do require 2 more sets of un/pw to remember, but I must keep one open since it has over 10 years of positive credit history. 

I am thinking of closing out the other additional card, but that would increase my credit utilization ratio, so I am still trying to decide the best option on it.  I want to think that keeping the old card and moving activity from the other non-Chase card to my chase card would make things better by reducing the number of un/pw combinations to remember, but that would be closing out an older, higher limit card for a newer, lower limit card, which could shorten the average life and increase the utilization ratio. 

Do I trade what should be better on calculating my credit score for what should make my life a little more minimalistic?  It is a difficult question that I have not yet determined the answer to...if there is one...

So, I have taken the minimalist's cleaver to my Facebook friends list, my Google reader subscription list, my Twitter follows, and my financial institutions and accounts.  Everything is in either Dropbox or Evernote now, no more Google Docs.  I see the use for Google Docs, but my primary need is file synchronization across multiple devices and Dropbox is the best solution I have found.  Evernote is perfect for taking a small clipping to save for future review or reference.  Together, these 2 solve all of my digital document storage/access needs.

Going forward from today, I will be using both my Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates.  I use TweetDeck, so I can make one update be broadcasted to both services.  So, whether you are a friend on Facebook, or a follower on Twitter, you will be getting all of my updates.  If you want to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @RichMcCollum

That is it for today's update.  I am not promising daily updates from now on, but I am going to try.

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