4 Steps to Simplified Personal Accounting

Modern life is often harried and overwhelming. We all face a to-do list that seems a mile long, and often need to be in two or three places at once. Then, on top of that, are all of the bill deadlines, complicated tax maneuvers, and decisions to make about your future. It’s no wonder we get bogged down in paperwork, bills, and account statements.

Sound familiar? Try these four steps to simplify your financial life, and you can remove at least one heavy weight from your shoulders.

Consolidate bank accounts. Some of us ended up with two or three bank accounts, without a good reason. Occasionally this is a smart maneuver, but often it’s just confusing. Holding onto multiple accounts increases your risk of overdraft, losing a debit card, or paying hidden fees for months or years before noticing them.

Unless you have a good reason to keep multiple bank accounts open, roll them into one. Choose a bank with a convenient online banking program (and install their app on your smartphone, if you have one). Your checking account will become so much easier to manage.

Opt for online statements. Physical clutter leads to mental clutter, and nothing is worse than stacks of bills everywhere. Sign up for online banking, and opt for paperless statements (via email) from your utility and credit card companies.

Use cash. Decide upon a budget for cash, groceries, and incidental purchases, and withdraw that amount in cash each week. It seems old fashioned, but will help you avoid impulse purchases or going over budget by abusing your debit card.

Automate your bills. Assuming that your income is level and bills don’t tend to fluctuate too much, you can save yourself a lot of time by automating your bills. Time your mortgage payment, car note, and other bills to be withdrawn from your account after each payday. You will save time on bills, and avoid late payment fees, too.

Since you’re automating things anyway, go ahead and do the same for your retirement plan contributions. After all, one of the primary rules of retirement planning is to pay yourself first! Give us a call, and we can help you decide how much you should be saving for retirement each month.