I hate budgets. Have I mentioned I hate budgets?
That said, I hate having things undone in my life, because I’m distracted, I feel guilty, it weighs on me, and I can’t be present in the moment.
And I’m kind of addicted to being financially healthy.
If you don’t tame the money beast, the m oney beast will tame you.
So I’m a big fan of simple and elegant solutions that make money my loyal friend, and I've created a video to help you manage your money like a pro AND keep your mental game tight!
Six actions you can take away from the video:
- Always do e-statements.
Useless paperwork that piles up is the worst kind of psychic leach. It’s pulpy fire fodder! You can download the statements if you want, but mostly all you need is annual statements and tax related stuff. So, just let it live in the Interwebs.
- Pay bills immediately.
Unpaid bills will suck the life out of you and mess with your accounting. You have to pay your bills so you know how much you can spend on the fun stuff. Don’t let bills pile up. Get them off your desk stat.
- File paperwork as soon as you get it, and in a system where you can retrieve it.
When bills come in, you can use PayPal or online banking to pay them, and then use Evernote to file them for tax purposes or long term records. Just forward them using your customized Evernote email address. If you haven’t discovered Evernote yet, you must. It’s an online filing cabinet, note taker, and basically my virtual brain.Now I pay for the pro version, since they started charging for the email feature, but it’s only $3 a month! Really inexpensive and totally worth it.I’ll put a link to some great training resources about it in the notes for this video. Don’t keep confidential data there—but bills and invoices are fine. You can put codes in the subject line of the email as you forward it Evernote that organize your documents automatically so they are all searchable.I use the Scanbot app on my iPhone to take pictures of receipts for deductible expenses when I’m out, then trash the receipt. No receipts have credit card numbers on them anymore, so there is no security issue there.For paper bills from new vendors, set up electronic bill pay. I use a ScanSnap scanner for paper items that I want to record, so my office is completely paperless.
- Open snail mail at least every other day.
If you use e-statements 100 percent of the time, most mail is trash. But make sure you shred credit card applications so someone else doesn’t get their hands on them.
- Have a money minute.
You know, I might say this in more than half of the articles I write and videos I make. You might be tired of hearing it. But do you DO it? The most important practice to simplifying your finances is logging into your bank accounts and seeing transactions every single day. This takes me less than two minutes, I check out all of my bank account and credit card transactions so I always know what’s happening in my accounts and can get mistakes or fraud cleared up quickly.
- Use the multiple bank account system to automate your finances.
I’ve automated my savings so that I pay myself first and keep money earmarked for disposable spending in its own account. This strategy combined with the multiple bank account system where I have a single spending account with its own debit card means I never have to balance a checkbook again. This makes me so super happy.
BONUS! Know your net worth.
I use Guide Financial (Mint.com is an alternative if you like) as a financial aggregator so I can see all of my investment accounts and bank accounts in one place. In that way, I have my net worth in a single glance—my financial dashboard. Personal net worth is a key financial indicator and knowing it empowers you to better pilot the plane.
My finances are completely simplified by staying on top of those key daily tasks. I haven’t had an overdraft fee in years, haven’t balanced a check book, haven’t wondered how much money I could spend and still make my retirement account contribution, haven’t worried about buying holiday gifts and always find that I have more money saved than I can spend on vacations.
Freedom and simplicity!
Download Evernote to your computer here. You can find the Evernote apps for your various devices, including smart phone and tablet, in the App Store on your device. The great thing about Evernote is that once something is in it, you can find it on any device.
You can simply forward emails to Evernote with your own comments in the text of the forward, or codes in the subject line like I mentioned. To forward to your Evernote account, use your customized Evernote email address, which you can find here.
I really enjoy Michael Hyatt's blog, and he's written a ton about how he uses Evernote and gives really useful advice such as specific tips for writers and authors, how to find stuff in Evernote, and even how to use Evernote to take meeting notes. There is an index of all of these posts here.
Having a paperless life requires a scanner (and a shredder). I use this one. Admittedly, the price point of this device might not make sense unless you use it for business, but it is the one I use, and I simply love it. I'm not in the business of giving tech advice, so I can only recommend what I know! I'm sure there are plenty of scanners that will do the trick at lower price points.
Having efficient systems like this makes me very happy, and I hope it does for you, too!