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 Post subject: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 8:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:50 pm
Posts: 15
In order to simplify my personal finances, I have automated my monthly bills. Instead of receiving paper bills, I receive my bills by email. Instead of writing paper checks I have set up auto deduction from my bank account or have the bill charged to my credit card.

This has allowed me to spend less time sorting my mail, less time writing checks, less time worrying if my bills have been mailed and less time tracking my expenses because is done automatically for me. So instead of spending several hours managing my bills each month, I only have to check to make sure the payment was charged to my credit card or deducted from bank account.

What have you done to simplify your personal finances? Would like to hear others suggestions.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:52 am
Posts: 114
I found a style for budgeting that I really liked! I used to record every expense in a journal, and while that might work for some, it didn't work for me - it was messy and hard to follow!

Now, I have a format that I really like, and it makes recording expenses a breeze.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:08 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:04 am
Posts: 102
Location: Finland
As hard as it might be to believe, I actually prefer doing almost everything manually. Yes, I could automate some bill payments but I don't get a whole lot of them. I feel more in control when doing everything myself and actually enjoy it.

There is one exception though; the gym membership. I like that 'cause otherwise I'd have to go through the front desk at the gym to make payments. I used to do that but it was a hassle and not convenient at all when the holidays came around...or summer as business hours are irregular.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:12 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:41 am
Posts: 28
Reduced my bills and saved some money by bundling.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:14 am
Posts: 2
Location: Europe
I am just starting to get a hold of my own finances. In the past week I came up with a simple system of entering all my bills and receipts on an excel spreadsheet. It's basically about using colors for different types of payments.
Also, I changed my grocery shopping habits drastically! Surprisingly, I became a big fan of sticking to a shopping list and store brands.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:14 pm
Posts: 48
Has anyone tried this? I have been instead of individual files for bills that were paid have set up 12 monthly files (Jan-Dec) and when I pay a bill I put the receipt into the file for the month it was paid. Hasn't been a problem yet.

What that gives me is 12 montly bill files and I have a file drawer for any files that are contract or permanent files.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:42 pm
Posts: 34
Location: SW Florida
The primary thing we did to simplify was to consolidate all of our accounts--both in number and in location. We went from three checking accounts to one, from 3 investments accounts to one, etc...and we also brought everything together under the umbrella of one bank, and one brokerage.

Some other things we've done to simplify:

- Signed up for automatic billing of recurring payments.
- Emptied out our wallets and only carry one debit and one credit card.
- Started using index funds as an easier way to invest (and consolidated investment allocations).
- Took advantage of online statements, which reduced a lot of paper clutter.
- Started using "http://www.fiscalfizzle.com/2009/03/using-adult-allowance-to-cut-back-on-expenses/" to stop the need to track personal/fun spending.
- Bought a good shredder. :)
- Started buying more things in bulk.
- Developed a buffer in our checking account to stop overdraft fees.

Awesome thread!

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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:47 am
Posts: 10
I changed my monthly bank account package from the more expensive 'unlimted' plan to the basic plan. Even though i might go over the number of transactions included with the basic plan, the per transaction charges plus the cheaper fee still amounts to less than the price i used to pay for the unlimited plan.

-mrbones


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:32 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1633
Location: Seattle, WA
I have simplified my finances by spending less time on saving money. I have more money than time right now so this is a good tradeoff for me.

For instance, instead of trying to use coupons and look for sales, I just buy generics whenever I need them and don't worry about it.

Another example is that I still buy used things, but spend less time worrying about if some particular used item is overpriced or not. As long as it's more or less reasonably priced and it meets my needs, I just buy it. I am still saving money vs. buying new, but not spending as much time checking out multiple different items just to save a few more bucks.

It's a similar approach to "satisficing" from The Paradox of Choice. It's also following Pareto's principle - I get x% of the savings (vs. the worst case) for (1-x%) of the effort.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:36 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:52 am
Posts: 1
I simplified my budgets by making different kinds of budgets in excel and working from there. It put all my money in front of me and showed me where i was spending everything and where i could afford to cut back. I figured out what kind of budgets to use from here:

http://www.familyfinancesource.com/family-budget/types-of-family-budgets/


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:31 pm
Posts: 405
ChristianPF wrote:
one of the things I started doing a few years ago was to keep all of my bill-statements in a binder, so rather than sorting them in individual file folders, I have them all chronologically in a binder - it only takes a little longer to find a statement when I need it, but I rarely need to find one and it saves a lot of time on the frontend...


This is a great idea. I'm going to start this. Thanks for the idea.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:29 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:02 pm
Posts: 10
Location: Charlotte, NC
Paying off all our debts reduced the number of payments we need to send out. We also do bills and budget review at a specific time every week. Keeps us on the same page and everything flowing smoothly.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:20 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:38 am
Posts: 1
I basically organize my bills in a labeled folder and try to have a back-up list of all the expenses in a journal. :)

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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:50 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:41 am
Posts: 1
I'm not so sure this counts as "simplified" but here goes...

My bank account is automated to the point that I can look at it once a month. I withdraw a set amount of cash at the beginning of each month which is divided over a set of envelopes. That's my groceries, gasoline and entertainment for the month.
Luckily, I get paid once a month so I pay every bill in a single shot. Most of them get charged to my credit card throughout the month and an automatic transfer wipes out the balance shortly before the due date. Mortgage is an autotransfer on the day I get paid.
In addition to a monthly budget, I also created an annual budget. I took things like clothes, vacation, presents, haircuts (for my family and dogs :D), car repairs, gave them a value and divided it by 12. On the day the bills get paid, the value for each of the above categories gets transferred into it's own nicknamed account.
The no thinking budget, lol.

-Tim


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 Post subject: Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:04 am
Posts: 4
Location: Seattle, WA
I automate all of my bills and have my paychecks on direct deposit. The peace of mind in knowing that I'll never miss a bill is great.

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