Manual Managing Your Money: Personal Finance Simplified

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If you're in debt, your financial life is always going to be complicated -- so make a plan to pay off what you owe as soon as you can. While paying mortgages and student loan debt off early doesn't necessarily make sense because these debts usually have low interest rates and come with tax breaks, getting rid of all other consumer debt is the best thing you can do for your finances. Not only will you free up more cash for other things, but you'll also have fewer payments to worry about and won't have to work debt repayment into your budget.

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It will take time to pay off debt, but be as aggressive as you can in becoming debt free ASAP. You may even want to think about picking up a side gig until you've paid off what you owe so you can throw more money at the problem. Since it can still take months or years to become debt free, think about consolidating and refinancing debt.

If you can get a new personal loan to pay off all your credit cards and other consumer debt, you may be able to reduce the interest rate you're paying and simplify your life to just one loan payment to keep track of. To make money management easy, you'll need a clear idea of what to do with your cash so you don't have to think about where it should go.

Personal Finance Simplified

Setting financial goals will guide you, but it's important to set the right kinds of goals. You don't want to strive to do too many things at once, and you don't want goals to be so vague you don't know what to do. To set successful financial goals , make them specific, give yourself a deadline for achieving them, and track your progress. For example, "saving up a down payment" is a bad goal because you won't know how much to save to achieve it.

If you have very detailed goals, you can easily track progress -- and easily do the next step on our list of tasks to simplify your money management. This step is the most important of all if you want to make managing money easy.

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  • It involves making your money do the right thing automatically. You'll want to automate as much as humanly possible so your financial management needs very limited human intervention. Set up autopay for all of your credit cards, utility bills, and mortgage payment or rent. You can choose to set up an automatic payment to pay off your balance in full or to pay a desired amount toward debt repayment -- which is ideally more than the minimum. You should also set up an automatic transfer of money to savings each payday.

    You can allocate cash to go to your emergency fund, other savings accounts for other goals, and a retirement account. If you automate your payments and investments, you won't have to think about what you're doing with your money. And you won't necessarily have to live on a detailed budget either. You'll have to do the math at the beginning to make sure you have enough money to cover all the automatic payments and transfers you're making.

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    Price range R 0. They help protect you from identity theft , reduce the amount of paper you have to process or shred, and allow you to centralize all your incoming financial documents. You can go online to view older documents or print them out if needed. If you prefer paper statements, get a document scanner so you can scan the document for your records. Automation saves me an immense amount of time each month. This section covers automation. See the next section for how I track my finances.

    Autopay is a fantastic way to save time and money and to make sure no bill ever falls through the cracks. Most online savings accounts offer free bill pay as part of their service, and it has become very common through most brick and mortar banks as well. Set up as many bills on autopay as possible, reducing the amount of mail you send and receive, and reducing the time you spend worrying about paying bills. You can also link some payments to your credit card each month so you can take advantage of rewards points or cash back.

    Set your basic asset allocation and make automatic payments for your investments. This can often be done through work via k contributions or a payroll deduction.

    You can also do automatic transfers through many brokerages, investment houses, or other financial institutions. Be sure to go over your asset allocation every so often to maintain a balance with your investments. Managing money is much easier when you know how much is coming and going, and where it is coming from and what you are spending it on.

    Personal Finance Simplified: The Step-By-Step Guide for Smart Money Management by Tycho Press

    I track my finances monthly. I use a net worth spreadsheet I built that tracks my account balances for each financial account I have.

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    This includes bank accounts, retirement, health savings accounts, college savings accounts, and my house value and outstanding mortgage balance. I also track actions I take each year, such as Roth IRA contributions, k contributions, estimated tax payments, and other big-picture financial actions I want to track. Keeping track of my finances helps me ensure things are moving in the right direction and helps me to avoid making expensive mistakes.

    In addition to my custom spreadsheet, I also use online money management apps. I use Personal Capital , but there are many other great tools.

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    There are many great financial management tools including Mint. You can compare Mint vs Personal Capital in this overview.

    Simplifying your finances only takes a small amount of time and effort to set up and maintain and it can save you time and money by reducing clutter and wasted energy. Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life.

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    He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. Ryan started Cash Money Life in after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet. Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances.

    Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here. I love automating my bills… the only problem I run into is those yearly bills like life insurance.

    I agree that closing unused accounts checking, savings, credit etc. Looking forward for this to be finished! I prefer Mint. For a filing system, I found a really cool tool last night called Shoeboxed, which allows you or their team to scan your receipts and documents.

    You can also connect it to EverNote, for a completely digital filing system. My financial routine starts when I get paid. I totally agree!