5 Tips For Simplifying Your Finances

Saving MoneySo many people that I talk to want to get a good handle on their family’s finances, but they are so intimidated by their finances that they don’t know where to start. How can they stay on top of all of their financial assets, their goals, and their debts at the same time? The overwhelming stress over personal finance can cause people to avoid even beginning to work through their concerns.

The stress can make sense. Finances become pretty complicated over the years. You might have a 401(k) with your employer, a checking account, a savings account, an IRA (rolled from an old 401(k) with a different employer) and a couple of credit cards. Then, you get married and find that your husband has his own version of the same things. The whole situation adds up to a lot of accounts to manage.

The trick to managing everything is to simplify wherever you can. If you’re hoping to wrangle your finances into a more manageable form, you can try these five easy tips.

Consolidate your finances
There are some accounts you can’t control. The brokerage company that holds your 401(k) is chosen by your employer, and you have no input in the matter. Many other things, however, are completely in your control. Merge multiple checking accounts into one, main household account. Use one credit/debit card for all of your purchases. The fewer different accounts you have out there, the less time you will spend reconciling statements each month.

Use financial tools to track your accounts.
No one wants to have to pull a bunch of different statements together to get an idea of their financial position. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that. There are multiple ways to tie all of those accounts to one tool, and some of them are free! While our family uses Quicken, one of my friends prefers to use Mint.com. The site has a cool budget tool, too.

Make automatic savings contributions
You don’t need the hassle of writing a check each month to your savings account. By simply enrolling in automatic deposit you won’t have to worry about making those extra trips to the bank. Instead, your money will automatically move to your savings account on the day that you instruct it to move. No fuss; no muss!

Utilize your bank’s electronic bill payment tool
Forget the days of writing a check and mailing it to your creditors. Manual check writing is inconvenient, and the checks take too long to process. Today you can pay your bills with a click of a button or two. You can also enter payments ahead of time, and specify the date that you want them to be paid.

Go green!

Did you know that simplifying your finances could be good for the environment? It can be if you turn off the paper statements for your accounts. Instead, access them online. You can print or save any statements you need from the appropriate website.

What ways do you simplify your finances?

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4 Tips to Save Money on Your Home Loan

Calculator and MoneyThe following article is a guest post. Please see my disclosure statement.

Getting a home loan can be expensive. Understandably, though, it is the best investment that a person can ever have, so sure it doesn’t come easy. But there are ways to make home loans more accessible and cost-effective to the working professionals and real estate investors. How is that even possible? Read on.

1. Consider getting a special packaged mortgage
Getting the right type of mortgage in the beginning can save you money and time. You should get a special packaged mortgage if you like the idea of;

Taking out at least $250,000 home loan
Using multiple credit cards
Having a variable rate home loan
Fixing your loan in the near future; or part variable, part fixed
Bundling your several loans all together

This home loan package attracts many potential customers for its money-saving benefits. It can reduce a substantial amount of money in interest off of your mortgage and it may come with affordable annual fees. Thus, if used correctly, you will be able to pay your loan at a shorter period of time.

2. Combine all of your active loans into a single package
This can be done by linking up your variable rate home loans to a 100-percent offset account. If you are a working professional, you might want to have your employer transfer a portion of your salary to a bank account that is linked to your home loan. As soon as the account receives money to keep the maintaining balance at bay, it may also reduce the payable interest on your loans in no time. For example, a $10,000 maintaining balance throughout the life of your home loan could give you approximately $47,000 savings off of 7.22% p.a. interest rate over a 25-year loan term.

3. Ask your lender about any available discounts
Yes, it is possible get discounts on home loan products and interest rates. For instance, in special packaged mortgages, the lender may charge you with an annual fee of up to $400. In return, you will be entitled to receive a friendly discount on the interest rate and on some other services like insurance products, check accounts, credit cards, and personal loans. The amount of discount largely depends on the size of all your loans, especially if the total is equal to a minimum of $250,000. And even if you have multiple loans in the package, you will only have to pay for a single annual fee.

4. Use your credit card(s)
When you’re under a special packaged mortgage, it is advisable to make use of your credit card(s) when purchasing items. No, really it works. You should use your credit card on every purchase you make rather than withdrawing funds from your account. And then, when the bill is due, use your linked (offset) account to pay for it on-time so as to avoid paying for the interest on your credit card bill. Add the fact that some credit card facilities offer a reward program, so you should be able to earn enough points to reimburse some items or earn discounts.

Indeed, there are cost-effective ways to go beyond a typical home loan. You can combine different loan products all together to avail of discounts on the interest rate throughout the life of the loan. As a result, you will earn enough savings to shorten your payment term. Just make sure to discuss with your lender about the features and discounts attached to a home loan product so you will be able to know if it is exactly what you’re looking for.