While I love always having our finances up to date, I loath spending any more time than is necessary to do so. Time is a scarce commodity around our house these days but I sure don’t want to be caught having to pay a fee for an overdue bill. Over the years there have been a few methods we’ve used to simply our financial record keeping – methods which have saved us a considerable amount of time. Here’s what has worked for us:
An absolute necessity in handling your finances is to set up a system that works for you. Once your system is in place, it will take a minimal amount of time to keep it updated. Set aside a specific time each week and make it a habit to do your financial updates at that time. We usually do all our checkbook balancing, receipt matching, and bill paying on Sunday since that’s the best time for us. Staying organized with our bills means we don’t have to worry about late fees.
Schedule Automatic Payments
For regularly recurring fixed expenses (like our mortgage) we have automatic payments set up. We still monitor the accounts to make sure these payments occur without a hitch, but it’s nice to know that they will always be on time, even if we forget. We also have automatic payments set up for our savings accounts, so our savings account is being padded, even when we aren’t thinking about it.
Get all your bills and bank statements online. We’ve gone to e-bills and e-statements as much as possible. It’s definitely been a time saver because I don’t have to deal with the paper overload and it’s been much nicer to not have so much to shred!
Use Online Bill Pay
For those bills that you do not want to schedule to be paid automatically, use online bill pay. As soon as a bill comes into our house, we go ahead and pay it through online bill pay and then schedule when the payment should occur. It has been much easier to handle the bills this way rather than thumbing through a stack of bills only to find one that should have been paid last week!
Use Online Banking
Another good way to simplify your finances is to open a bank account online to save time. You don’t have to waste time in traffic driving to your bank or waiting at the teller window.
These are just a few of the ways you can simplify and save time on your finances. What do you do to save time?