If you’re looking for ways to take control of your financial life, the best way to start is by simplifying it. There are so many small ways you can create a more simple structure in your finances, and each small thing you do can add up to big changes.
Consolidate Your Bank Accounts
Do you really need more than one savings account or checking account? Do you have a really good reason for having multiple accounts with more than one bank? If you own a business, you defenitely do, but for your personal needs, probably not. If you can consolidate your bank accounts into one checking account and one savings account, you can not only simplify the paperwork, but the amount of financial information you’re tracking too.
Cut Up Your Credit Cards
Get rid of your credit cards. Seriously. Take out a pair of scissors and cut them up. Ok, maybe not all of them. If you have one credit card you keep, and pay it off in full every month, you can keep that one. If you can’t pay if off, or if you have more than one, you may not actually need it. If you want to really simplify your financial life, this can be a good way to help you start living within your means. If you can’t pay off your expenditures every month, or pay for what you want with cash, you’re living on debt, which is the fastest way to complicate your finances and your life.
Create a Budget
If you’re ready to start living within your means, or you just want to see where all your money goes, it’s important to create a budget. Once you start keeping track of where all your money is going, you’ll be really surprised at how much you’re spending, and how much you could save.
Try to Implement ‘No Spend’ Days (or Months!)
This one is tough, but it’s one that I like to try out at least a few times a month. Try to go for at least one day without spending any money. No Starbucks, no groceries, no gas, nothing. If you can do that even once in a while, it will make you aware of all the little expenditures that add up to a lot of needless expense.
Get Paperless Billing
Streamline your financial paperwork by going paperless. Most companies offer paperless billing, and most banks will give you paperless statements. Less paper bills, less clutter. You can create folders on your computer for all of the important documents you want to keep, and get rid of the ones you don’t.
Consolidate Your Insurance Accounts
Just like you don’t need multiple bank accounts, you likely don’t need multiple insurance accounts either. Consolidate is the name of the game, and you can save yourself money when you bundle your assets that need insurance. Start calling around to see who can save you the most money when you consolidate. And make sure your bill is paperless.
Start an Emergency Fund
This is not the same as a savings account. You can start by putting away small increments each pay check. This isn’t saving up for a big purchase, this is the fund that you only tap into when something catastrophic happens. Starting an emergency fund is really more for your peace of mind than anything else. It’s your financial safety net if you should ever need it.
Create an Inventory of Your Stuff
Taking stock of all of your stuff can be quite eye-opening. Start with your closets, and work your way to the bigger ticket items. You’ll find that you probably have more than you’ll ever need, and you may have even forgotten about some of it too. It’s a good idea to then get rid of whatever you don’t really need. Part of cleaning out your financial clutter is cleaning out your life clutter as well.
Use Public Transportation
For those of you who live in the bigger cities, this is a no brainer, and sometimes the most logical choice. For those of us who live in cities where it’s still more convenient to have a car, this may be a new venture. It can be a good idea to start by taking public transportation once a week. You might be really surprised at how much money you can save when you don’t have to gas up so often. Plus, you help out the environment too.
Buy a Smaller House
I know, I know, bigger is better here in America. Our cars are bigger, our houses are bigger, our food portions are bigger. But do you really need a large house? Sure, it’s nice, but if you really want to simplify your life, downsizing can help. You don’t need to spend so much money for a house that’s too big. Unless you have a huge family, chances are you can live in a smaller house. With all of the money you save, you can put it in your emergency fund.
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