About a week ago Mr PoP misplaced his credit card clip. We knew we had it when we went out to dinner one night, and then the next day Mr PoP couldn’t find it.
We searched the house high and low. Mr PoP called the restaurant where we had gone out. The darned thing was nowhere to be found.
A few years ago this might have really stressed me out. But this week, it barely phased me. Why the change?
Our Systems Are So Much Better Now…
System #1 – Mr PoP carries fewer cards
Mr PoP generally has few cards on him* these days. Generally each month we check which cards will maximize the rewards on the spending he’s got planned and put those in his wallet. The rest go into our home safe. This meant that we were easily able to tell which cards were missing and which ones we needed to keep an eye on and potentially report missing and replace.
System #2 – We are BOTH using Mint regularly.
A few years ago, I was the only one with an iPhone (Mr PoP had a blackberry…) and the only one that checked our Mint.com account on a regular basis to see where we were budget-wise. It was then up to me to report back to Mr PoP where all the accounts stood so we could adjust spending if needed. That also meant that watching the accounts for phoney transactions or miscategorizations all fell on me.
Now, we both have smart phones with Mint on them and were easily able to keep an eye out for fraudulent transactions.
System #3 – Our accounts are incredibly locked-down
If a criminal had gotten their hands on the cards that Mr PoP misplaced – which were a credit card, a debit card, and his driver’s license – the worst case scenario of what damage they would be able to accomplish was still quite small. As part of our post-identity theft lock-down, there would be no way for a criminal to use any of the personal information on those cards to gain access to any of our accounts. The worst they could have done was run some charges through on the credit card – charges that we could have easily spotted by monitoring our mint account, contested, and then closed the account.
So What Happened?
About a week after the loss happened, we felt like we had exhausted our search options and had convinced ourselves that we should give it up and call the credit card companies to issue new cards. We thought there was a decent chance the cards had been swept up in some garbage from where Mr PoP was tuning up my bike (using his awesome new garage space and a nifty bike maintenance rack that he custom built) and was likely picked up with the garbage and made its way to the city dump during the week. Crud, right? We’d need to replace the cards. But then I procrastinated one more night on calling…
Only to find the darned thing the next day at the bottom of one of our laundry hampers**.
While I definitely gloated about being the one to find the little card clip, finding it was still mostly a non-event. Sure, it saved Mr PoP the hassle of getting a new license (which would have cost $25, but he could have done it online http://www.dmv.org/fl-florida/replace-license.php with a bare minimum of hassle). And it saved me from having to call and get a couple new credit cards issued and call the two bills that we have autopaid from those accounts. But neither of those activities would have really taken that much time or money to finish.
The biggest accomplishment was having the systems set up that allowed us to take a “watch and wait” approach to this that I probably wouldn’t have been comfortable with just a few years ago.
* When it comes to carrying fewer cards, I should learn from Mr PoP’s example. My access to cards is kindof feast or famine. I carry virtually no cards most of the time, especially if I’m on my bike for the day, but then have way too many with me at other times.
** If you took this as a sign that I procrastinated on laundry last week, you are right. But I’m all caught up now.
What kind of systems do you have set up that make your finances boring, but in a good way?