Nora and Tim help you find balance when dealing with a stressful debt situation. Learn how to manage stress and enjoy travel without breaking the bank.
Is managing finance not a passion for you? An onerous task you'd prefer to ignore than attend to? No problem. Here are nine ways to automate your finances so you can focus on other things in life.
1. Manage it in One Place
Many of us have bank accounts, credit cards, and investments spread across various institutions. Manage it in one place with an online financial planning tool such as Mint or Thrive. This allows you to track your spending and get a snapshot of your financial picture easily.
2. Lose the Bank Accounts
A friend of mine had four different bank accounts and was paying over $20/month to maintain them, without knowing why she had all these accounts! One checking account will suffice for deposits and debits.
3. Use Online Savings Accounts
For multiple savings vehicles, use high-interest online savings accounts (such as ING) which carry no fees and allow you to transfer money in and out easily. This also staves off impulse buying, since you need at least 24 hours before money from an online savings account is transferred to your bank/debit account.
You can create as many online savings accounts as you wish; each one dedicated to a separate savings goal (i.e.: one for a house down payment, one for a new computer, one for the kids, etc.).
4. Go Paperless
It's easy to manage your financial affairs online. Register for online banking, and arrange for all bills to be sent to you electronically.
5. Pay Bills Automatically
Never miss a billing deadline by paying bills automatically. Non-fluctuating bills can be debited directly from your bank account, since they're easy to budget for. Rent can be paid with post-dated checks. Fluctuating bills can be charged to your credit card for review and payment - as long as you pay it off in full each month!
Money-saving bonus: some vendors will give you a discount for setting up direct payments.
6. Adjust Billing Dates
Shortly after your pay is deposited to your account, you'll want your bill payments and savings to come out. This way, the money left in your bank account is yours to spend discretionarily.
To do this you might need to adjust the billing cycles for some bills. This is as easy as calling your provider and asking them to bill you on day "x" of each month going forward.
7. Save Automatically
Remember those online savings accounts you opened? Just like paying your bills automatically, set up automatic savings too! Think of your bank account as an inbox of sorts; your paychecks are deposited first, then everything gets allocated (automatically) to different places: savings, debts, and expenses.
8. Join the Company Retirement Plan
If your workplace offers a retirement plan, get involved. Money is often deducted before taxation (which gives you more bang for your buck), and if there is a matching component, it's like receiving an immediate 100% return on investment.
9. Use a Rewards Credit Card
As long as you're paying some bills automatically with a credit card, maximize value by using a credit card with rewards benefits like frequent flyer miles.
Saving and managing money doesn't have to be about sheer willpower! By automating your financial affairs, you remove the discipline; pay yourself first, and rest assured nothing has been overlooked.
Financial Planners are not Only for the Wealthy
Having the Discipline to Reach Your Goals
How to Conquer Impulse Shopping Syndrome
Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She is a contributing writer under the CareOne Debt Relief Services Life Balance blog. Having sold her business and belongings to travel, she has been on the road since 2007. She travels in a financially sustainable manner, taking advantage of creative volunteering positions. As a former certified Financial Planner, she is financially responsible for her actions along the way. She believes there is a fine balance between planning for tomorrow, and living for today. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services. You can follow Nora on Twitter @hobonora
To follow CareOne click here!
I have found it a lot easier having all of my payments automatically taken from my checking account the day after pay day. This way I know my car payment, insurance, etc... are all paid for without having to think about it. I also have money taken from my account after pay day that goes into my ING account. It is set up like another bill so I don't think about it. After everything is paid for I then take out my budgeted amount for fuel, food, spending etc... anything left over is the amount that I can increase my CareOne payment by. This seems to work for me.
I believe in this statement, and really have no trouble putting money into the savings account. What I have trouble with is taking money back out of the savings account.