How does taking back control of your finances sound? If things are out of control, follow these 10 simple tips to simplify your financial life.
Rent, Instead Of Buying A Home
There are countless long-term advantages to buying a house. However, if your goal is to simplify your finances, you should be renting. When you rent, here’s what you pay for: rent and utilities.
Homeowners have the following obligations: mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance (maybe), homeowners association dues (maybe), maintenance and repairs. Not so simple is it.
Don’t Have More Than One Bank Account
I’m sure you’ve heard all the advice saying you should have a bunch of different bank accounts to help you save. One account for your cashing your checks and paying your bills, another to put money away for a vacation and an emergency savings account. Well that sounds okay, until you realize you have a long list of accounts you have to manage! Plus, if there’s rules about how many withdrawals you can make per period, account minimums to maintain or perhaps a monthly fee, you can see how having a lot of accounts doesn’t make sense.
Instead, you should really consider consolidating your bank accounts into just one account. You don’t even need one checking account and a savings account. After all, does a bank really give you much interest on a savings account? If you’ve got extra money, that money needs to be in an investment account.
Keep your retirement accounts down to the bare minimum too. It will make it easier to manage your retirement money. How about just having one IRA account instead of multiple 401k accounts? Reduce your taxes, reduce your fees, reduce the paperwork, oh I love the sound of that!
Rid Yourself Of Paperwork
Speaking of paperwork, what’s the point of having statements mailed out to you every month? Do you look at them, do you keep them, do you collect them for fun? Well that’s just a waste of trees, ink and creates unnecessary clutter.
Paperless is the way to go not just for the minimalists, but for anybody looking to simplify their finances. Most banks, insurance companies, cell phone companies and utilities let you see the last two years of statements online. If you ever need to have a physical statement you can easily print out the PDF file. Voila!
Live A Debt Free Life
Sure it’s easier said than done, but debt just over-complicates your life. The way budgets should work is simple: you earn money, you spend it and hope to have money left over. Having debts to pay off causes stress and extra work in making payments to different creditors.
Focus on paying off the smallest debts you owe first. Get rid of them all, one by one. Every time you eliminate a debt, it’s great not just because you save money, but because it’s another weight lifted off your shoulder.
Limit Your Side Hustles
Having side hustles is great, but is it really worth it to spend so much time on a hustle that’s not brining in the big bucks? Instead, only do the tasks that make you the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.
With this blog in particular, I’ve begun outsourcing repetitive tasks that took up too much of my time. Thus, allowing me to focus on what matters the most.
Cancel The Services You Don’t Use
How many subscriptions do you have? Do you really need them all? I love my Amazon Prime, and their unlimited photo storage has allowed me to cancel my Dropbox subscription. Ditto for canceling Spotify since I have Amazon Music. And my Netflix? Yep that ones gone too. Just one yearly fee has allowed me to cut down on the number of my subscriptions, logins and monthly payments.
Only Have One Credit Card
In your pursuit of zero percent interest rates or insane sign-up bonuses, you may have found yourself with quite a few credit cards. But now that the introductory periods are over and the luster of the reward bonuses are gone, put the cards away – for good. Better yet, cut them up and be done with them. You don’t have to close the accounts, as having them open won’t hurt your credit score, it actually might hurt your score if you cancel them.
I see no reason why you would need more than one good rewards credit card. Sure, one card might give you 2% at gas stations while another does 3% at restaurants. But does it really make that big of a difference? Just stick to the best credit card of the bunch and use that one card alone. I use a Capital One Visa that offers 1.5% rewards on everything.
You’ll find it much easier to stay on top of your payment due date and track your spending if you stick to using just one credit card.
Avoid Investing In Stocks And Instead Choose Funds
Sure it might be fun and rewarding to invest in individual stocks like Apple, Amazon or Facebook. But it can also become a mess and take up your valuable time. When you invest in individual stocks you need to be on top of the latest news and market trends. If stock trading is a hobby, go for it, but if you’re looking to simplify your life, get rid of them all.
Instead, choose to invest in mutual funds or index funds. It’s almost no work and it’s practically a guaranteed return.
Cut Down On Your Goals
It sounds so bad to say that you should cut down on your goals. But let me explain. How many goals can you actually accomplish at the same time? Probably just one at a time. How about just having a laser focus on achieving one major goal? Once it’s done, focus on another one.
Learn, But Limit Your Information
One hundred blogs, twitter accounts or self help books are not going to help you. All they’re going to do is clutter your head with so much information it’s going to explode.
All that you really need is a trusted source or two. Knowledge is great to attain, but limit the amount of information you receive by sticking to trusted sources and tune out everything else.
Got any other tips for simplifying your financial life?