Don’t you just love sitting down to balance your accounts and pay the bills? Well, no, probably not. Of all household chores, many people list personal accounting as one of their least favorites. It’s relatively uncommon that anyone actually looks forward to sorting through all of those statements, or going over everything in search of errors.
No matter what, you’ll always need to devote some time to your personal accounting each month. But taking these steps can help you drastically reduce the time you spend on that odious chore.
Consolidate your accounts. How many checking accounts do you hold, and why? Unless you have a good reason for having several accounts, get rid of them. Multiple accounts means more statements to examine, more checkbooks to balance, more debit cards that can be stolen, and more hidden fees to discover. Choose the bank or credit union with whom you have the best relationship, and get rid of the others.
Go paperless. If your bank offers online banking (nearly all of them do, these days) opt for paperless statements that you can view online. You’ll clear the clutter from your desk, and everything is stored effortlessly for you. And if you download your bank’s app onto your smartphone or tablet, you can check up on your finances with a simple tap of your finger.
While you’re at it, opt for paperless bills from credit card companies, utility providers, and more. All of these statements can be delivered into your email inbox, reducing clutter and helping you find each bill more quickly.
Automate bills. Automate bills such as your mortgage and car note, so that they are withdrawn from your account each month. Now you never have to worry about them.
Use cash instead of cards. It’s smart to look through your account statements each month, checking for errors and signs of fraud. But that becomes a lengthy task when you use a card for every purchase. Set a budget for gas, groceries, and incidental purchases, and withdraw that cash from the bank each week. Now your credit and debit card statements will be much shorter and easier to review.
For more financial planning advice, give us a call. We can help you identify your trouble spots, and make recommendations to streamline this part of your life.