Consolidate the Bank Accounts
Do you have banks all over the place? It is far easier to keep track of everything if you have a single savings account and a single checking account all in one. If you have multiple accounts, consider consolidating it into a single branch with the best services. This makes it easier on yourself and you will be less likely for any banking errors or lost information to cost you. The same should be done with your retirement accounts as well. Roll everything into one self-directed IRA account, especially if you have older accounts from former jobs.
Cut the Credit Card Numbers
Do you have a half dozen credit cards? It is time to streamline this. First, you should look at paying individual cards down and then cut it up and dispose of it. Now, you shouldn’t close the account completely because that is still a line of historical credit that can prove beneficial to you. But how many credit cards do you really need? If you have an AMEX than you do need a second Visa or MasterCard to cover where AMEX isn’t accepted. Outside of this, you only really need another card if you have a small business account.
Ditch the Paperwork
Paperwork is no good. Nobody wants to deal with it, yet you probably receive all sorts of documentation in the mail. All of this is enough to cause a rather large headache dealing with it all. Documents and statements from investments, banks, loans and anywhere else piles up. Ditch the paperwork if possible so you receive emails instead. If it helps, have a dedicated email address just for your financial information.
Ditch Unnecessary Services
You probably have subscriptions and services you really don’t need. This is money coming out of your pocket, and for what? Maybe you have that audio book monthly download you hardly ever use. Cancel that (you can always return). Cancel other services you don’t use or downgrade what you may want from time to time. This is money you can put back into your account or to help pay off debt.
Everyone needs goals, so you should still have some. However, if you have a ton of goals it will make it difficult to focus on one. If you spread out all your time over a dozen goals, you’ll never complete any of them. Instead, focus your time on one, go after it, and then move on to the next goal. You’ll find you accomplish more and feel more fulfilled. This doesn’t mean you are abandoning different goals, it just means you are prioritizing some over others.
Investing in stocks is stressful. Real stressful. Watching the market going up and down can cause all sorts of problems and issues with your health. You may even become compelled to check the stocks far too often. Instead, consider pumping your investments into funds instead. Mutual funds are safer and consistently remain strong. Exchange traded funds work in a similar manor. Either way, it reduces your level of stress drastically.
Rent Your Home
Now, there are many people who will tell you it is better to buy than to rent. After all, you are putting money into an investment you can potentially sell for growth later on. However, owning a home comes with all sorts of long term expenses and responsibilities. You may not know where you want to be in a few years, and by renting you won’t be saddled with maintenance, HOA or unexpected expenses that come up. It is easier to budget your renting expenses than owning expenses. This, by nature, simplifies your financial life.
Focus On What Brings in the Income
This is more geared towards the small business owner and self employed. What makes you the most money? Yes, you probably have a few pet projects, but chances are you are not making much money on those. Focus most of your time on what is bringing in the income. You can use the additional income to pay off those debts and then to focus on achieving the goals.
Go Easy on the TV and Internet
Focusing on what everyone else says is distracting. You need to follow your own goals and set your own timetable. If you are constantly listening to what the experts say, you’ll drive yourself crazy. After all, what these so called experts say changes every few months. This becomes more confusing than anything else. So, instead of dealing with this kind of an issue, you’ll be far better off just going with less TV and less Internet so you don’t have to hear the continual speak of these “experts.”
Pay With Cash
Who carries cash any longer? You should. Paying with cash reduces all of the paperwork of credit cards and it prevents you from building up debt. Now, if you are debt free and building up those vacation points on the credit card, go right ahead, just know you are more likely to spend more on a credit card than cash, because with cash you know how much you have to spend.
Go Debt Free
Yup, it is the dream for many people, but it is something you should shoot for. Holding debt costs you money every single month. It might actually cost you hundreds of dollars, if not more, every month, based on the interest you’re paying. Think of what you could do with all of that extra money. By removing debt, you remove complications. So target one form of debt and do everything you can to eliminate it.
Budget everything and you’ll always know where you stand.