We live online. Work, social media, blogs, and finances. The huge stacks of paper clutter are quickly diminishing as more and more of our important financial documents are simply stored online.
One of my goals for the year was to get more organized and of course – save a little money. Getting digitally organized with your finances can clear mental clutter and turn your finances into a fine tuned system.
Track Your Spending in One Place
I have an excel spreadsheet to track my spending, a Mint account, and an account with Finovera – which is similar to Mint. Total overkill.
Really I don’t need to do much tracking when it comes to my spending. I can plan out my budget, and give or take a few dollars, pretty much stay on target. But when I want to take a quick glance at my budget categories it would be nice to pull up a graph or spreadsheet and see where I’m at.
Having too many accounts is confusing. It takes far too much work to type each purchase into a separate account which makes the likelihood of following through pretty low.
Since I’m liking Finovera’s calendar feature I’m going to give them a fair shot. They can track my debit card spending and at then at the end of each month I should be able to easily input my cash spending.
Switching to paperless billing can get you a pretty nice discount. And, if you’re paying your bills online already then there’s no reason not to go paperless.
Start with your insurance. Discounts for going paperless on your insurance billings are usually around 5 percent. This could save you an easy couple of hundred dollars depending on what you pay.
You can also go paperless on some utility bills, credit card bills, cable bills, and phone bills.
Set Credit Cards on Automatic Bill Pay
I made a pretty big mistake a couple of months ago. I received my normal credit card statement by mail. I have one bill automatically paid by it so there’s a recurring monthly charge of $45.
Instead of paying the bill immediately like I normally do I sat it on my desk. It got buried underneath a book and I completely forgot about it. Only after the bill was already two days late I discovered that I hadn’t paid it. And guess what? I got charged $30!!
I went ahead and set that credit card bill on autopay. I never use it so it’s only $45 a month. This way I won’t have to worry about paying a huge late fee or interest on my small charge.
If your credit card bill fluctuates and you’re worried about not having enough funds in your bank account to cover it set your account up to automatically pay the minimum payment. You can always go back and pay more on the card but you won’t have to worry about being hit with fees and interest.
Savings & Investing – Transfer Now
Another financial trap that’s easy to get caught into is saying that you’ll transfer money to your savings or investing account later only that day never comes.
I believe that automatic transfers can work wonders. But, if you’re budgeting on a variable income it can be hard to make those automatic transfers. Instead just transfer any extra money you receive the day you get.
By transferring money now instead of later you won’t have to live with the regret of not doing it at all.
Getting your finances digitally organized can not only save you money but it also helps with mental energy.
Since a good portion of your life is online you might as well take advantage of the free tools available to you. Let free budgeting software do the heavy lifting for you and set up automatic bill pay and transfers as much as possible.