Saturday, October 3, 2009

Simplify your money

Just read a great article about many different moves to simplify your finances. I thought I would switch it up a bit and give a few tips on the same subject. Maybe give you a break from all these many pumpkin recipe's lately. lol.

When you are paying for routine things like food, gas and other items. Try paying with cash. This way you wont overdraft your account and worry about fee's or interest. My bank charges $25 each transaction you overdraft. No matter if its $8 or 2 pennies. Speaking from personal experience , it just sucks having to go in and beg for them to drop one of them.

I do not use the envelope system but many people have great luck with it. Get a stack of envelopes and label one for each of the ways you'll be spending your cash. Food, gas, and so on. Place the amount your going to spend for the week in each envelope and stash them in a safe place. There is your spending plan.

Use a gift card
Most retailers have gift cards in their store. They make it easier for you to get a gift for someone at the last minute. Use this to your advantage. Lets say you shop at Safeway and spend about $400 a month on groceries. Try to challenge yourself. Buy a $350 gift card to Safeway and see if you can do it for $50 less. Not only are you giving yourself a challenge but your sticking to your budget.

Kids on a budget
If your children get an allowance, try to set a budget for them. When your child wants to spend their money on something they have been wanting, remind them that if they spend x amount, then there will be only Y amount left. Makes them think "Is it worth it?" Maybe they can have a envelope with their name on it. Once they see that money, they wont want to let go of it so easily. Currently my girls do not have a allowance but they are allowed to earn money if they want. It does not happen very often but when they want money they just ask. The money they make will be saved for something they have been wanting. Lately its been books but since Christmas is not that far away, they are saving to buy each other something.

Use direct deposit and save some tree's. This way there is no misplaced checks! Most places offer free checking if you do direct deposits only. Plus your money goes into the bank automatically, meaning no waiting in lines to deposit it, no trying to get to the bank on time, and it just makes your life much easier.

Hover Online
You already check your email, facebook, and other sites daily. Why not add your bank to this list too? Register with your banks site and you will be able to check your account 24/7. This has made it so much easier for me to check to see if checks have cleared, deposits, and to see how much my ledger is. Check our account each time you check your email.

Bill Paying
Add bill due dates to your calendar. Just in case a bill does not show up for some reason, you will know that its due and you can call or make payments online.

Change your due dates
If you have bills due all over the month, try calling the company and asking if they can switch your due date. You might have to pay a once time fee charge but it might be worth it. This way it will be easier for you to pay them. Get them all done and out of the way and have the rest of the month to budget.

Auto bill pay
Sign up with auto bill pay if its a option. This way it will automatically come out of your account and you will not have to worry about it. I did this with my Gap card (since paid off thankfully!). After missing 2 payments by 1 day and having to pay $25 for each time which made my payoff date even further off. I opted for auto pay. I never missed a payment again and have since paid it off and cut up that card. This was obviously when I had only 2 children and not such a tight budget. No way would I pay those prices for clothes again. Yikes!

Pay online
Instead of using your paper checks (save some tree's?), go online and just make a one time payment electronically. The money will be immediately deducted from your available balance.

Slim down your wallet or purse! First of all try not to have too many credit cards. Only have the ones that truly will help you. Then only carry the ones on you that you use regularly. Keep the rest in a safe secure spot. This way if your purse or wallet is stolen, you know which card to call and warn. Plus you can fit everything into your wallet or purse. What an idea!

Manage Store Discount Cards
Many stores have those discount cards you have to have to save with their sales. Those things can really add up in weight! Make it easier on your arm . offers a clever way to consolidate up to six loyalty cards into one for free. There's a quick demo video on how it works.

Log on Daily
Now were not talking about your checking account card, this is your credit card. Most credit card companies have a online site that you can check on your account. This is a great way to keep an eye out on what your charging and any weird mystery fee's, or purchases you didn't make.

Separate Accounts
A long time ago when we first started our family out, my husband was the only one working. We each had a card for our account together. This made things really difficult considering we didn't have the convenience of checking our accounts online (not an option back then...yes I'm old) and things would come through later , he would spend some money, I would spend some money, and long story short it messed up our account. So I decided to get my own account for food and household items. This way I knew how much money I had to stretch as far as I did. And it also meant that he knew how much money he had to pay the bills. We still do this to this day. It has saved us many arguments and stress. We get along much better lol. I have since worked, and now I'm not working again luckily. Now my husband gets paid once a month and we each have our own budget. He keeps an eye on his, and I do the same with mine. We all get along perfectly now! No more overdraft charges, and no more worrying if he spend any money and did I have enough to buy what I needed. Might want to try this out if your having those type of issues.

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