Many people ignore their finances as much as possible because thinking or talking about money can be confusing and embarrassing. But getting a handle on your financial situation is a smart and necessary part of a simplified lifestyle. There are easy ways to get your finances in shape and streamlined so you can be a smart money manager without a lot of hassle.
Lots of people have accounts here, there and everywhere due to moving jobs or locations. If you have your banking or retirement savings at a few different locations, consolidate them to one bank or investment firm. This not only helps you keep better track of where you stand, but you will avoid fees that each institution implements for services or balance restrictions.
Use One Credit Card
If you want to keep several cards active to improve your credit score, that’s fine. But it’s tough to pay down debt or even just keep mental track of payments when you use multiple cards. Store the other ones in a safe place and only use one card for everything. That means only one statement and one payment a month. Since it will be easier to keep track of, you are also less likely to incur late fees and will notice any suspicious card activity faster.
Gone are the days when everyone needed a filing cabinet, and I say good riddance! Make all of your bills paperless and then keep one file in your email system just for bills and receipts. It’s unlikely you will ever need a copy of a statement, but if you do, they will be all right there in one place, safe and sound. Plus, what could you do with that extra space where your filing cabinet now is?
Set Up Bank Auto-pay
Most bills recur monthly with a consistent payment amount. For these bills, set up auto-payments through your bank, not through individual websites. That way you can go to one place to get a snapshot of your financial situation at any given time. Taking a little time to set this up will save you hours later, and you will never accidently forget a payment and be charged a hefty fee.
While most bills are the same amount each month, some fluctuate. To deal with these more easily, set up a tickler system in your e-Calendar to remind you a few days before each bill is due. If possible, make it even easier and set up level billing for these accounts.
For example, many gas, electric and water companies offer level billing options based on previous use, so you pay the same amount each month. Then you can add these bills to your bank auto-pay system and forget about it.