Monday, February 6, 2012

Making Your Finanaces As Simple As Possible

We are going to attempt to simplify your finanaces and make them not so overwhelming.  Here are some tips that may help you accomplish that.  Staying organized and cutting back on paperwork can help.  Automating a lot of it can help too. 

Sign up for automatic payment of regular monthly bills. You can also set this up through bill pay with your bank too. I recommend doing this only with bills that stay the same each month, not the ones that fluc...uate. It will help you not to forget certain bills and take some of the work off you.

Enable automatic transfers to your savings and retirement accounts. Whether you do this weekly or monthly. Remember, pay yourself first!

Carry one debit card in your wallet. If you must carry a credit card (ugh!) that goes the same, only one. Leave all the others in a safe box or safe place at home. This will keep you from so many calls to make when you leave your wallet someplace or have your purse stolen. You don't need to carry them all on you anyway.

Take advantage of direct deposit at your workplace. Beats waiting for the mail, or it getting lost in the mail. If you company has a currier bring it, who knows what can happen to them. Direct deposit is automated and usually never is rare.

Get on the "do not mail" and "do not call" lists to keep down the temptation of buying things.

Use budget billing to level your bills so they are the same each month. Usually offered on your utilities. This helps with budgeting. You won't have to wait till the bill comes in to see how much you owe.

Buy a good shredder and use it. Make sure you shred anything with any information about you on it. That includes telephone numbers, address, birthdates, social security numbers....anything that is personal to you.

Keep all your tax-related info for the year in one place. Have a folder, a box or something that you won't have to look for at tax time that you can keep all your paperwork, receipts and info in.

Consider a single insurance company for your needs so that you can consolidate the bills and get discounts.

Buy a used car with cash so you won't have to worry about car payments or taking out a loan.

Use software, whether you pay for it or it's free to keep up with you finances. Software such as Money or Quicken are great. among others are also available for budgeting.

If you invest your money for the long haul, stop checking the market or your investment balances.

When you are doing your budget, assign every dollar a reason (a name).  If you want to blow some money, put it in the blow catagory, but do it on purpose.  You need to tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.

Get rid of unnecessary expenses or withdrawls from your checking account that eat up your cash.  Such as automatic renewal of magazines, club fees, etc..

Get rid of accounts that charge you fees to keep them open.  This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards.  If your bank charges for debit cards you really need to ask why you still bank with them. 

Get a calendar and keep track of important dates, such as when your bills are due.  When automatic drafts are coming out of your accounts (such as life insurance, homeowners association fees, etc.).  You can also use it to keep up with "unexpected or pop-up expenses" such as birthday gifts, upcoming wedding gifts, baby shower gifts.  Don't forget to add in financial goals too, such as vacations. 

Put yourself on an allowance (a grown-up allowance if you will).  Then you can stop tracking your fun and personal type expenses.  Just stay within that allowance.

If you must have all these and it is cheaper this way, bundle your internet, cable and phone service.  There is usually a discount for having all three with one provider.

Store your valuables and important papers in a safe place, like a safe deposit box.  Or a fire proof lock box.  Make sure your spouse knows what is in it and where it is in case something happens to you. 

Use the bill pay feature your bank offers to avoid writing checks.  Saves you time and money!

Unless you plan on itemizing, use the standard tax deduction.  There is no reason to track all your expenses all year. 

All in all, just keep things simple.  We, as human beings tend to over complicate everything.  Make it easier and it won't take over your life.

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