Do you ever dream of moving to a remote town (or island) for a life with less chaos and fewer distractions? There’s a lot to be said for living a simple life and striving for simplicity in your finances too. The more complicated they become, the more we tend to procrastinate or even ignore them. Ridding your financial life of unnecessary complexity can relieve stress and save you money. Here are a few tips to simplify at least one part of your life:
Put your finances on auto-pilot. The biggest headache for most monthly financial tasks is just remembering to do them (and then making time to actually do it). So don’t. Automatic bill-pay is available from most banks and keeps you from ever having that “did I pay the electric bill last month?” feeling again. Automating will prevent late fees, keep your accounts up to date, and keep those damaging late payments off of your credit report.
Consolidate accounts. Quick – how many bank accounts do you have? Unless you know the answer right away, there’s a chance you’ve got too many. You may have opened bank accounts over the years in different cities or to get special perks, or still have a retirement account or two with prior employers. Consolidating some of your accounts makes it simpler to keep track your money and could reduce fees you’re paying on those seldom used accounts.
Use one credit card. You may have a collection of credit cards that offer different benefits, came with sign-up bonuses, or saved you money at a specific store. Review what you have by looking at the annual fee, interest rate, credit limit and any benefits you receive. Choose the one or two with the best features and set the others aside (closing them could have a negative impact on your credit score). With only one card to keep up with, your spending is easier to track and you only make one monthly payment.
Use your cash. Cash is king and it can’t get you into debt. By limiting yourself to using cash for your purchases, you’ll typically spend less. There’s a reason credit cards are so easy to use and it’s not for your benefit. Try spending only cash for a month and you’ll realize how much spending you do just because it’s easy to swipe your card.
Get organized. With BrightDime’s always up-to-date balance sheet and budgeting tools all you need is about half an hour every month to stay on top of your finances. Select a time and put it on the calendar. By scheduling the time to think about your money, you free yourself from worrying about it the rest of the month. Your monthly money meeting with yourself is more than enough to keep things on track with help from BrightDime.
Finding ways to simplify your life can free up your time and money to do the things you love doing most. Take the first step and implement one or two of these suggestions today.