As many of you know, I’m all about simplifying, simplifying, simplifying. We’ve done it with 99% of our bank accounts/retirement accounts – having everything under one roof – and I continue to work on mastering it across other ares of our lives too. Even when it backfires on me like it does every now and then (dang you wardrobe!).
So when I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day (My Money Blog – the one that inspired me to start THIS blog 5 years ago!) and saw Jonathan posted about even more ways to simplify your finances, I was ’bout it ’bout it. You can never read too many tips on bettering your financial set up, and at the very least you walk away with some more pats on the back if you’ve already happened to implement them :) Which in this case happened to be for 6 of the 9 tips listed – woo!
I’m not sure I’d agree with *all* of them exactly, but they’re definitely all good things to consider. And I share my thoughts on each of them below.
Here are the 9 tips to simpledom:
(I should point out these tips actually came from Time online which Jonathan borrowed for his post. So you can blame them if you feel these are stupid :))
- Get down to one mutual fund [FAIL]. Time recommends latching on to only one target-gate fund, which is definitely simple. And while I have wayyyyyy more than I need myself at probably around 20+ (gasp!), I don’t think just one is the answer either. I feel like my trusty vlogger friend, Kathryn, has it right who recommends people only need about 4-5 funds in total, but I’m in no position to argue. I just know I don’t need over 20 of them and have to combine at some point in the near future :)
- Keep two credit cards [WIN!]. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one. One of my favorite ways to simplify cuz it just makes life so much easier in my opinion. I give props to those who rate chase and get all kinds of free miles and rewards for signing up to dozens of cards a year, but to me it just muddles everything and adds more pollution to the game plan. So I stick with my two credit cards (one for personal (USAA World Mastercard) and one for business (AMEX Blue for Business) and continue on my merry way.
- Pay bills online [WIN!]. Makes life much, much easier. I don’t know how we survived without it! Though I do remember whipping out the ol’ check book to pay bills at the last minute and invariably getting hit with late fees all the time, ugh…
- Choose one financial institution [WIN!]. My favorite of them all!! I can’t tell you how much of a difference this has made over the years… No more signing into multiple accounts to find everything and remembering/losing passwords left and right too. This was by far one of the best things we’ve done since combining our money (another reason to choose just one bank – makes it easier when merging two live’s worth of accounts!), and I’ll never go back to multiple accounts again… Even if you get a free $50 or whatever in doing so.
- Automate everything [FAIL/WIN!]. I’m a strong believer in automating as much of the recurring bills as possible, especially those that are roughly the same all the time, but I DON’T like automating big things like mortgages or credit card bills in case something funky happens that month. Plus I like to feel the “sting” of them both when manually doing it so it’s a constant reminder of how “real” and annoying it is, haha… More motivation to find ways to nix them ;)
- Get overdraft protection [WIN!]. If I ever bounce anything in my checking account, it’ll go directly to my savings account and pull all remaining money. Thereby avoiding any ridiculous fees for, well, doing something ridiculous myself and not managing it all correctly!
- Create an emergency fund [WIN!]. Ours has fluctuated over time, but I always ALWAYS have back up money in case the $hit hits the fan… I’m terrified about not having cash on me at any given point in time, and my wife even more so. (10x more if I were to guess ;))
- Pay yourself first [WIN?]. I can never tell if this is meant literally or figuratively, but if it’s the former then no – I like to have all my bills paid first so I can make sure my family has a roof over their heads and food in their bellies – call my crazy ;) But yes, I also make sure we’re “paying ourselves” every year by maxing out our retirement accounts too. Which I also think is super important (just not as much as having shelter and food).
- Get organized through new technologies [FAIL]. Unless you count credit card budgeting using technology? But we don’t use Mint.com or YNAB or any of the other services/products out there really cuz again I like to manually do stuff to stay on top of exactly what’s going on. And I find I get lazy when things are automated (and not in a good way). For the majority of people that suck at dealing with money, I would probably advise automating as much as possible though.
I like these a bit better than that “everything you need to know about money” index card that was being passed around all last month too. Though it didn’t really have to do with simpleness I guess, haha… it was just simply *said* on one simple note card ;)
Anyways, hopefully some of these help you out. Let us know how many you can check off yourself in the comments below. Or how many you think are asinine, if you’d rather, haha… But I’m sure you’d agree that simplifying DOES work in general – finances or not. It’s done wonders for us since committing to it earlier this year when we named our new year’s resolution after it – The Year of The Simple! - and I reckon it’ll continue doing so as well.
Speaking of resolutions, how many of you are still working on those???? ;)
Photo cred: Robert Benner Sr.