Sometimes I feel like a massive accounts manager just handling my personal family’s finances. From bills to credit cards to business expenses – it is mind-numbing how many passwords and due dates and other fixtures that I could forget about. So today’s post is all about automating your fiscal and related life – save money, save time, and save a ton of hassle.
Auto-draft all standard bills. The simplest way to automate finances is to have all bills autodraft from the appropriate accounts. Obviously, you should still review the bills monthly, but you don’t need to pay it every month to look at it every month on your own time. This is particularly useful for utilities like electricity and gas bills that can be very predictable every month.
Allow auto renewals that you trust. For those monthly, semi-annually, or annually renewing bills/insurances/virus protection/etc. that I trust to be correct, I allow auto-renewal and just make sure to review the card or bank that it drafts from routinely. I also keep track of all non-monthly, but routine, expenses and review that list frequently. The best part of this is avoiding periods of time without the service because it wasn’t renewed.
Have a receipt process – and follow it! Receipts can easily take over in terms of sheer volume, so make sure you have some way to track them, review them, and toss them regularly. And then – this is the hardest part – stick to that plan!
If possible, maintain all finances on ONE electronic device. I keep all my banking information on one computer. It’s quicker than shuffling between lots of electronics just to log on to one financial website, and it limits the possibility of theft by only having that information in one place.
Save all related websites on that same electronic device. By bookmarking or saving all the websites in a Word document, you can prevent having to search around online every time you need to check a site.
Update all contact information. Keep all the contact information, namely mailing addresses and emails, up-to-date on bank accounts and credit cards, that way when there is a problem, they can reach you.
Have one list with all your passwords and accounts listed. I know this is risky because it could get stolen, so this is not for everyone. But I highly recommend keeping one list because it is fast to just find it and review all your accounts at once every month. Naturally, keep the list locked away at your place of residence, and be careful with it, but I highly recommend just adding new accounts and passwords as you create them to that list.
Limit number of cards that are used. Try to limit the number of credit and store cards you use within a month – the less the number, the less bills to review, the less due dates to remember, and the less time you spend managing all that!
How do you keep up with all your finances?