How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

What small tips and tricks have you found that made a difference in your personal finance life? What great article did you just read? Found a great blog?

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dalekeener
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby dalekeener » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:21 am

One way I have tried to simplify filing is to have one file for each month. So after I pay a bill I put the receipt into the appropriate month file that is was paid. One doesn't have to look up old bills that often. Now they tie directly to the date in the checkbood as to when it was paid.

The only files other than that are of the permanate nature such as Auto file keeping all repair receipts etc. At the end of the year I just pull out the previous year and put into storage box.

If you have room I would even suggest keeping the last two years in an active file and color code the files to distinguish between years. Cuts down on the number of files I need to keep.

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Mays Financial
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby Mays Financial » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:47 pm

This option isn't available to everyone, but I'm there may be some ways to achieve similar results. One of the best things I did was combining the majority of my financial assets. I use USAA for my checking, savings, credit cards, homeowners and auto insurance policies, and many of my investments ($5.95 trades with Platinum status). I used to have my IRA with them before switching to Fidelity for lower index fund expense rations.

But it is so easy to manage my finances. I go to once website to transfer funds, pay my credit card (all bills automated), invest, etc. It is ridiculously simple. Because it's all the same company, I can instantly transfer money between accounts. The rates are very competitive, but even if they weren't I would pay higher fees for the convenience. I think this is part of the reason I've never, ever missed a bill payment or carried a credit card balance.
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jimnz
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby jimnz » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:35 pm

Making everything done automatically is a really good idea but you have to find also a way to keep track of every thing in the case something going wrong.
It is a good idea to keep everything as a record in an excel file on your computer.
But keep a backup using some online storage.

ashanti
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby ashanti » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:26 pm

I usually make a sort of things I need to buy in a month. starts from the regular or basic needs. This include the extra needs and debts if any. I never spend money for fun and entertainment till I paid the debts. Personally I will spend money for entertainment a few days at the end of the months.

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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby madison85 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:42 am

Having automated mail is less paperwork and quick, it is also environmentally friendly reducing paper usage. I automated my bills and record then on an excel spreadsheet so I can keep a double record from my personal account and the spreadsheet. I have saved so much time having automated billing system.

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LifePart2
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby LifePart2 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:31 pm

The more you have the more you need to organize; it is a fact of life. When Vonda and I decided we wanted to take early retirement we knew we had to trim down. We wound up getting rid of virtually all tangible assets. Now we don't have to manage much. No car inspections, no A/C repair bills, no cable, and since we are off the grid, no electricity! It is amazing how liberating doing without can be.

I guess my best advice would be, before you buy or commit to a contract on anything consider how much time and effort you will have to spend managing it vs. enjoying it. If I had just applied that simple logic earlier in my life I would have been at least three boats, two jet skis, and a few cars richer!

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bejki
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby bejki » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:34 pm

I've cut out some monthly bills such as cable. Not only am I saving money by doing this, but it reduces accounts and bills I have to keep track of and of course I watch less television.

In addition, paying off debts has really helped simply things. We no longer have car loans or credit card debt. At one time this amounted to 5 extra payments per month that I had to keep track of.

I also like to use Quicken.There I can easily managing my bills and track my reducing debt and growing savings. It takes some time to get everything set up in Quicken, but once you do it really simplifies things.

Also, for monthly bills that have fixed amounts, you can sign up for a bill pay service at your bank or credit union. This service is free at my credit union. The money will automatically be sent at the set day each month. You just have to make sure that you take these payments into account when looking at your checking account balance. I probably wouldn't recommend this service though to somebody who is going through a rough patch and is living pay check to paycheck where some months they have to prioritize what bills they pay.
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby ngstevenm » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:05 pm

@Bsimple.

I am on the same page as you. I really enjoy automating. Less work on my end, but I still try to actively manage so I know what's going on. I use ING Direct and they have great automatic transfer tools.

Does anyone else use a bank that has good automatic transferring tools and has the ability to open multiple accounts. With ING Direct I can open up to 25 saving accounts.

Thanks!

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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby brad » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:18 am

Like Fiscal Fizzle, I'm trying to consolidate as much as possible, reducing the number of accounts and institutions where I keep my money. I have an extra incentive to do so, because I'm a dual US-Canadian citizen living in Canada, and I have to fill out a form every year for the IRS listing every bank account and investment I own in Canada, its account number, and its maxiumum value during the previous year. The fewer accounts I have, the easier it is to fill out that form. :wink:

Like others, I automate as much as possible; another thing I do is to receive and pay most of my bills online. I never keep any paper copies of my bills; instead, I use the built-in free PDF creator in my Mac to save all bills and payment receipts electronically to my computer with one click. I save them to a folder that's backed up automatically to a secure offsite server, so if anything happens (someone steals my computer, the house burns down, etc.), I'll still have a record of all my bills, payments, receipts, etc.

I only receive one or two bills by mail now, all the rest are online. I don't worry about trying to organize my electronic receipts because they're all instantly searchable; if I need to find one, I just do a search for the name of the vendor and all bills from that vendor come up. I use Quicken to track all my income and expenses, so I have that as a record too. There's a way to attach receipts to your Quicken records, but my approach is easier and simpler.

eak
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby eak » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:35 pm

First I joined my account with my partner so we could see how much income we have combined and like many here I automate as much as possible so I don´t have to spend time each month manually paying the bills.

Off course I always check up on if the correct amounts were transferred. If there is a mistake it is so much easier to correct it right away rather than later.

Then I have a budget so I can see how much I can spend each month and if there is something that I am spending a lot of money on and not feeling like it´s worth it.
check out my blog: http://www.funforsaving.com

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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby ayitiere » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:34 pm

Like others, automation helps to significantly simplify my finances. No papers statements, if I can avoid them. No writing checks. Most of that is done by with online banking. Money automatically goes from checking to savings, with ING sub-accounts for savings goals, irregular expenses, car maintenance, etc.

I've also done a lot of consolidation after getting married. Multiple banks into one or two. Multiple retirement accounts into one or two. Less email and less statements to read.

But the biggest for me has been the Balanced Money Formula guidelines from the book All Your Worth. I no longer have a need to get into the weeds of my budget, unless I want to. As long as I follow the 50/30/20 percentage targets, I don't get too bogged down with the details of my budget. And to ensure I am doing better than those targets, I set an annual goal to aggressively cut where I can, especially with my needs, to help counter any rise in inflation.
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby Eagle » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:15 am

We have consolidated our bank accounts as well. From multiple checking and savings at my credit union and her bank to a new bank with one single checking account. We also receive all of our statements paperless through email.

From a budget perspective we have an excel sheet that we use. Once or twice a week we insert the expenses into the sheet and check them with mint.com to make sure we haven't missed anything. We tweak the budget once or twice a month so there really is little maintenance.
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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby Ms Kitty Cliche » Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:11 pm

I use a spreadsheet to track my regular fixed bills and check off when they are paid. That way I have one place to check. If I have a service planned that I know I will have to pay for, I put it on their too at the bottom so I don't forget to track it in the budget.

I keep my money at Chase for convenience (next to my house and work). Their online bill pay will even mail checks for free if the company doesn't accept online payment. In conjuction with the spreadsheet, it makes paying bills super easy.

I use mint.com to track the vast majority of our spending. It greatly helps to simplify alot. I also use the mint.com app on my phone to track cash spending when I'm out.

I rarely do auto-pay, unfortunately we sometimes have months that run too close for me to be comfortable with giving control to another company. I did put my student loans on autopay because they give you a .25% interest rate reduction for doing so.

We use "allowances" to keep from having to track every little impulse purchase though. We each get an envelope of cash each month and can spend it however we want.

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Re: How have you simpilifed your personal finances?

Postby FifteenYearPlan » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:58 am

I have actually found that for me personally, using envelope budgeting is really quite effective. While it may be quite "old school", I really do like it.

In a nutshell, I use various labelled envelopes and store my cash budget in each of them. That way, I know exactly how much money I have for each thing. For harder-to-manage bills such as utility, home, internet, etc bills, I simply tweaked the system a bit and included a convenient debit system on my bank account. Easy peasy!

For a relatively disorganized person such as myself, it really worked wonders. I highly recommend that you try it out for yourself too.

If you want to get more info about this, you can even go to my blog and see more in depth articles that I have made about it.

_______________

Adam Randall

http://www.fifteenyearplan.com - My personal finance blog dedicated to helping people take control of their finances.
Adam

http://www.FifteenYearPlan.com - How could this 35 year old save enough to retire working only fifteen years? AND WHY AREN'T YOU doing these things


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