12 Ways to Simplify Your Financial Life
Few things can be more freeing than owing little or nothing to no one. However, keeping our personal finances simple though can be difficult. Life and its temptations sometimes get in the way of that, but it's not impossible to simplify your financial life. There are countless ways to begin; below are few tips to start the journey in taking control of your finances.
Set goals, focusing on one at a time
When it comes to money, most of our lives are complicated at best. Between juggling debt, saving for retirement, vehicles, children and weddings, the majority of us often feel overwhelmed. This is when its critical to set goals. Commit to one task. For example, if you want to pay down debt, do that first. Then, once that's done, move on to your next goal. Set a reasonable deadline for each goal and, before you know it, you'll find yourself accomplishing your final financial goal.
Consolidate debt, especially high-interest credit card bills
Consolidating multiple debts into one consolidated loan that you pay in a single payment each month can save a great deal of money and allow you to pay back your debt faster. It also can bring some peace of mind for those who get stressed come bill paying time.
If possible, keep one checking account, one savings account and one retirement account. Multiple accounts for each only cause confusion and more work for you in keeping track of your finances.
Avoid using credit cards by using cash, particularly for discretionary spending. It's that simple.
In addition to helping the environment, paperless billing will reduce the junk mail that arrives in your mailbox. You can scan or keep digital copies of any important paperwork or receipts. Paperless billing also typically sends email notices prior to when payment is due and also notification of payment receipt.
One-day bill paying
Batch your bill paying in order to pay all your monthly bills on one day each month. This will guarantee you don't miss payments and you'll likely even be paying some bills early by doing this.
Rent first, buy later
Home ownership can be wonderful but, in today's economy, you may be better off to rent, depending on your finances and future plans. Renting can save money in the short term and it leaves you with more freedom to move if necessary or to upgrade when finances improve.
Buy small or go for less house
If you're buying a home, don't buy too much house. Buy a home that fits you and your family and that, most importantly, fits your budget. The smaller the house, the less you'll spend on maintenance, insurance and your mortgage. A condo might also be an option. If you have a larger house (perhaps the children are now in college and you're an empty nester), consider a smaller home to lessen your costs.
Buy a smaller car
Buying a smaller car obviously can save a great deal of money, especially when you consider today's high fuel prices. Going with a smaller vehicle should be a no-brainer if you have a long commute to work.
Budget with pen and paper
Turn off the computer and get out the old pen and paper to perform your financial budgeting. You'll comprehend the details better and you'll probably be surprised just how many bills you're paying, and exactly how much—perhaps unnecessarily—that you're spending.
Stop signing contracts
Only sign contracts on the most essential needs in your life. This means stop signing cell phone contracts, gym memberships and long-term leases. Pay in advance or negotiate another option.
Be careful with income
If you work a full-time job, don't take on too much extra side work. As a general rule, try and keep one primary and only one secondary income source at any one time. This way, you can better focus your energy and not get bogged down by too much work. After all, you need to make some time for a little fun!
Simplify other areas of your life
While you're simplifying your finances, why not simplify other areas of your life? Eat out less (this saves money, too); remove clutter at home and at work by donating what you don't absolutely need to charity or selling it in a yard sale; and conquer one goal at a time. Put simply...live simply!
If you would like to learn more about the process of obtaining a personal loan from Citizens, or if you would like to learn more about other types of loans we provide, we encourage you to contact us today or stop by any of our convenient locations. You can also get the process of applying for a loan started now, simply fill out our online application form and a friendly Citizens representative will contact you!