If you spend several hours a week managing your personal finances, it might be time for a new system.
Putting your finances on autopilot takes the hassle out of money management. There’s barely enough time in the day to eat and sleep, and somewhere between work and caring for our families, we have to find time to manage our personal finances. Since there are only 24 hours in a day, some people put off thinking about their finances. However, an apathetic approach doesn’t benefit your bank account or your credit score. You might overlook due dates, which adds to your financial stress.
You have a choice: either maintain your current system — although it’s not working. Or you can automate your finances and simplify your life.
If you think automating your money is too complicated, I’m here to tell you otherwise. Here are three incredible tips for putting your finances on autopilot.
1. Never visit a bank again
Going to the bank and dealing with never-ending teller lines is nothing short of a nightmare. No matter what time of the day I go to the bank, I’m always stuck behind the person who spends 10 or 15 minutes completing a transaction. This wastes time and gas, and it can test our patience. Putting your finances on autopilot is a surefire way to avoid this headache.
Approach your employer to see if direct deposit is an option. Setting up direct deposit may sound complicated, but your employer only needs a few bits of information from you. This includes the name of your bank, the routing number and a checking or savings account number. It takes a couple weeks to get your first deposit, and after you’re enrolled all paychecks are directly deposited into your bank account. No more paper checks and no more bank lines.
2. Make saving a breeze
I read a lot of personal finance articles, and many money experts recommend saving about 10% for retirement, 10% for a cash reserve and living off the other 80%. But as most of us know, saving money is one of the hardest things to do. We know the importance, but savings plans don’t always work out. With your personal finances on autopilot, saving becomes a much easier task.
There are several ways to effortlessly save, and your bank may offer features to help you. Start with your job and enroll in the company’s 401(k), if offered. Decide how much to contribute to your retirement account, and each pay period contributions are automatically deducted from your earnings — in most cases, you won’t miss the money.
Some employers don’t offer a 401(k) — no problem. Speak with a banker or a financial advisor and set up an individual retirement account. You can also select a date to have contributions automatically drafted from your bank account and deposited directly into your retirement account. And with regard to your regular savings, set up automatic transfers once or twice a month from your checking account to savings. You can save money without lifting a finger.
3. Use online bill pay to never miss a due date
Now that you’ve got your paycheck on direct deposit, and you’re automatically saving for retirement and a rainy day, it’s time to put your bills on autopilot.
To begin the process, sign up for online account management with your financial institution. Most banks offer free online bill pay. This is a great budgeting tool, and one of the simplest, most convenient ways to pay your bill. This feature lets you schedule single payments or set up recurring payment for the same time each month. And the best part — you can use online bill pay for all your bills from mortgage payments to utilities.
Simply sign into your online bank account, enter the bills you want to pay, determine when to pay, and how much to pay. The only thing you have to worry about is making sure there’s enough cash in your account to cover the transaction. Online bill pay reduces the amount of time you spend managing your personal finances, and it gets your payments to creditors on or before due dates.
Managing your personal finances might be your least favorite task. However, with your finances on autopilot, you can avoid the stress of money management and keep your finances on track.
Photo credit: Surveybee