Thursday, March 5, 2009

how to monitor your use of plastic--it's fantastic!

This is a paid review from BlogHer and Discover. =)

When I first was notified about the chance to review Discover Card's SpendAnalyzer program, my thought was, "But I only use my Discover Card for gas." It's true, for the most part, that is what our card is for. We have never been the type to ever carry an outstanding balance on our card. We pay it off every month without fail, and mostly only have it for emergencies. But I thought I'd try this new tool Discover Card offers on its site.

First of all, I am no stranger to the Discover Card website. I use it at least twice a month as I am setting up and balancing my budget to make sure I'm on the same page as far as purchases and payments go.

And because of this (honey, close your eyes), I have my credit card number memorized.

Is that not sooo dangerous?

(Eyes back open, honey) Sure sure I have it memorized and could probably use it at whim to purchase any number of things online or over the phone. From late night infomercials of that mineral make-up I really want to try to the latest fat busting acia diet (as seen on Oprah!), I could really do some damage. But, alas, I am a smart shopper, budget wise, and a saver, not so much a spender. Thank you Mom and Dad. Again, when it comes to this card, it's mostly just used at the gas pump.

However, when I pulled up the SpendAnalyzer and adjusted the options to include everything I'd used my card on the last year, I was surprised I actually did use it for quite a bit more than gas. The program can be set up to view either the past month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, or just the past year. I saw immediately that the pie chart was distinctly divided between purchases under the categories of gasoline, merchandise/retail, travel/entertainment, automotive, education, home improvement, restaurants, and supermarkets.

I was reminded that oh yeah, we put our "Wicked" tickets on the card (and immediately paid them off--gotta love Discover Bonus Rewards!). And ahh yes, the almost a thousand bucks we put into our car went onto the card. Our school payments and books, some computer buys, a bit of home improvement when my hubby decided he wanted to build himself a shed (and it looks fabulous by the way), some eating out (using the aforementioned Discover Bonus Rewards of course!) and random things here and there in addition to about $3,000 worth of gas-o-line. Yikes.

I like how the bar graph shows your pattern of spending over the year--no surprise our bars are at the highest during the summer and around Christmas time--and how I can view my spending history with just a click of a button.

The SpendAnalyzer is a nifty little tool that can help you budget in the way of showing you what you've purchased with your card in the past, how much over a certain area of time, and in what categories. In that way it could help you plan for your future budgets as well.'s gonna force you to be honest with your spouse if he ever sees it.

Thank heavens I bought that set of Ginsu knives with a check.

Check out other blogger's experience with this program here.