I had a boss who spent every morning reading emails on his computer screen. He then printed them, sorted them, and filed them away into neatly labeled folders. I never understood the point of accomplishing one task – the reading of the emails – with four steps. I believe in simplicity. Avoiding complications is very important to me, especially when it comes to my financial life. In order to keep myself ahead of my money, I keep it simple:
• Online bill pay. Do your bills come in the mail and pile up in a corner of your desk, kitchen counter, or dining room table? Get rid of the clutter as well as the checkbook and stamps by paying your bills online. Schedule when the money will be taken out of your account, and your receipts and confirmations get emailed to you.
• Automatic savings. Everyone should have a digital piggy bank. Set up monthly automatic withdrawals to your savings account, retirement plan and any other savings. All the money you put towards savings is already budgeted.
• One credit card. I am not trying to judge, but if you need more than one credit card, you are probably either in debt already or relying way to heavily on money that you do not actually have yet. Try to get down to just one credit card. It will save you money and keep your credit organized.
• Use a tax preparer. Unless you are an accounting genius, let a professional do your taxes. You may bristle at paying someone, but it is one less financial headache you have to worry about. Plus, you know your taxes are getting done right and on time.
• Don’t touch your investments. Are you one of those people constantly moving money around in your retirement plan? Just leave it alone. The market has been a little crazy these last couple of years. Stop obsessing over the balance and review your investments every quarter or even every year.
• Get an app for that. Mobile banking is great if you have a smart phone. Sign up for whatever your bank offers, including texts when your balance falls below a certain amount. Let technology make your financial life easier.