Are you finding it a challenge to save money?  Does it seem like as soon as it is deposited into your account it disappears?  Are you looking for a simple way to save money as well as simplify your finances?  We all have a tendency to spend a little more when we know we have some money in our checking account.

Here is a solution HIDE IT FROM YOURSELF.  No I am not saying pull out the shovel to dig a hole to bury it in your back yard or stuffing it in your mattress.  There are some easier ways to hidden your money so you can build your savings and begin to simplify your finances.

Here are a few ways to hide your money from enemy number one yourself:

Hide it in a savings account – open a savings account and set up automatic monthly or bi-weekly transfers from your checking to your savings account.   Decide how much you will need to cover your monthly expenses and send the excess to your savings account.  By doing this you will not see money sitting in your checking account which may tempt you to buy something.   It also forces you to save.

Hide in brokerage account – just like you opened the savings account you can open a brokerage account instead.  You can set up automatic monthly or bi-weekly transfers from your checking to your brokerage.

Buy a certificate of deposit (CD) – you can purchase a CD with your excess funds.  You may need to accumulate a few months of excess to purchase the CD but it’s an option.   Purchasing a CD at current low interest rates may not be the best option currently but it prevents you from spending it.  The added feature with a CD is that you cannot pull the money out until the CD matures without a penalty.

Buy a mutual fund – if you have a brokerage account or mutual fund account automatically transfer funds each month to purchase mutual funds.   Holding mutual funds makes it a little more difficult to spend the cash.  You would have to sell  the funds to have cash to spend.  Having mutual funds forces you to save and invest as well as helps you build a nice nest egg over time.  Making monthly purchases enables you to dollar cost average your purchases over time.

Transfer funds to your IRA – automatically transfer cash to your IRA to help you save for retirement.  To maximize your retirement savings, divide the maximum annual contribution amount by 12 and contribute this amount each month.  This way you can contribution the maximum allowed as well as make sure you do not over contribute.   By using your cash to contribute to your IRA you will not be able to spend the money and once its contributed you cannot withdraw it without penalty until 59 1/2.

Before you begin to hide your money make sure you have established a budget so you know how much excess  money you should have each month.

It is now time to TAKE ACTION.  Which hiding place will you use to begin saving instead of spending your money.  Remember take it one step at a time in order to simplify your personal finances.

 

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As I have state before simplifying your finances is a process.  It is not something that you can do overnight.  One question I hear often is where do I beginning?  It is a valid question.  So I have come up with 5 simple questions you can answer to help you get started with simplifying and organizing your finances.  By answering these questions you will immediately identify where you should begin.

How many do you have?

How many credit cards do you have?

How many bank accounts do you have?

How many retirement accounts do you have?

How many investment accounts do you have?

Asking how many is the first step to begin simplifying.  You can not really know where you are going to begin until you find out exactly how many and how much you have.  Sometimes we forget what we have and where its located.  So good way to do this is to gather your most recent statement.  Once you have all statements, you can beginning reviewing them.  The next question is a little harder.

How many do you really need?

How often do you really use that credit card? How often do you use that second checking account? Can you consolidate those retirement or investment accounts?  Frequency of use can be used as a way to decide what you can keep or eliminate.  Some things may only be used every once in a while and others may not be used because you may have forgot you had it.  If this is the case now is the time to decide if you really need to keep the account active or open.

Why are you still holding on to it?

You do not need to just start closing accounts without asking yourself why do I still have this account.  There was a reason why you opened the account.  Did the account offer a specific benefit that you liked originally?  For example, you opened a new credit card account to receive a specific discount at the time of purchase.  Do you still receive the benefit?  Maybe you opened a new deposit account because it was paying a higher rate of interest but you no longer receive this benefit.  So decide what is the reason for each account.  This will help you begin to eliminate unnecessary accounts.

Does it currently fit your lifestyle?

Now consider your current lifestyle.  Do you travel more now?  If  you are traveling more maybe you need a National or Regional bank account instead of your local bank.  Also if you are traveling more you may only need the credit card that provides you with mileage points or special airline privileges.  Have your banking needs changed?  Maybe you are looking for more online capabilities?  So the local bank is great but there online capabilities are not as good as the other account I have?  Reviewing your lifestyle will help you determine which accounts maybe eliminated that do not fit your lifestyle.

Now what do I do with the extras?

After answering the above questions, you now should have identified a few accounts that you can eliminate that you do not need, does not fit with your current lifestyle or  you just forgot you had.  Now what do I do with them.   The banking accounts if they are with the same bank you can consolidate them. If they are with another bank you should close the account and transfer the funds to your primary bank.  The credit card you can close them but look to see how long these account have been opened.  The reason for this is because you may not want to close a credit card account which you have a long history with it could possibly impact your credit score.   The investment and retirement accounts should consolidate them if possible.  For example, you are not able to consolidate traditional IRA accounts with Roth IRA accounts.  Before you begin consolidating retirement accounts check to make sure they can be consolidated.

So now take action by asking yourself these 5 simple questions.  Answering these questions will help you identify where you should begin simplifying your personal finances by eliminating or consolidating various accounts.

Til next time take one step at a time to simplify your finances.

 

 

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We are in the heat of the summer and year end is less than five months away.  How do you feel about your personal finances as we come closer to year end?  Do you feel like you are on track to reach your year-end financial goals you set for yourself?  Do you feel like you have some catching up to do in order to reach your goals?  Well now is a good time for you to check whether you are on track to achieve your financial goals for the year.  Its better to check on your goals now instead of waiting until the end of year.  At this point, you still have time to reach your year end goals even if you are a little behind.  So take action time now to review your financial goals so that you are on track to reach them before the end of the year.

Here are some steps to get you back on track:

Review the financial goals you set at the beginning of the year – Takea look at the goals you set to accomplish and look to see if you are on schedule to reach the goals you set or have already accomplished what you set out to achieve.

Identify what you have accomplished so far – Give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing the goals you have achieved.  Hopefully these goals have helped you simplify your finances and reduce financial stress.  As well as provide you a sense of accomplishment.   It’s important that you take time to enjoy your success.  But remember if you still have some goals to accomplish, time is running out so don’t celebrate too much and lose focus.

Re-evaluate the goals you set at the beginning of the year  – Look at the goals you set at the beginning of the year to  determine if these goals still meet your financial objectives to want to achieve.   Your situation may have changed so the goals you originally set out to accomplish may need to be adjusted or eliminated.  For example, you may be expecting your first child or have made a career change.  Both of these situations will impact the goals you originally set.  Now is the time to reevaluate  your financial goals to determine if they are relevant.

Identify top priorities for remainder of year – After you re-evaluate your goals, there maybe some financial goals you need to add or subtract.  So now is the time to identify the goals which are most important and you want to accomplish before year end.

Put action plan in place to achieve financial goals- Once you have identified your top goals you would like to accomplish, develop a plan of action to achieve them.  Determine what do you need to do to stay the course so these goals are achieved before year.  This is a very important step.  You want to make sure the actions steps you put in place are achievable.  You want to celebrate your accomplishments by year end not asking yourself what happen.

Now that you have these simple steps to get your financial goals back on track, you have no excuse for not reaching the goals you set out to accomplish.  You must act now while you still have several months before the end of the year.

 What are some additional ideas you use to make sure you remain on track to reach your year end financial goals?

Remember take one step at a time to simplify your personal finances.

If you enjoy what you’re reading and want to stay up to date on the latest posts please make sure you follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my RSS feed.

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Fear

We all have fears at some point in time in our lives.  Such as fear of putting money into the stock market and the fear of losing it all.  But you can not allow financial fears hold you back and prevent you from achieving your financial goals.  The only way you will achieve or reach your financial goals and objectives you set out to achieve is to get over your financial fears.

Here are 5 ways to help you get over your financial fears and help you achieve the lifestyle you want to live. [click to continue…]

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April 15th is here and hopefully your tax return is completed.  So now it’s time to celebrate right.   Maybe if you are receiving a refund or if you didn’t have to pay much.  The best news is that you don’t have to worry and stress over your return for at least eight to nine months.

Not exactly.  You just completed this year’s return and now is the best time to start planning for next year’s return while it is still fresh in your memory.  You still remember the pains that caused you to pull out your hair while preparing this year’s tax.  Instead of just putting it off for several months why not better prepare yourself by implementing a few changes for next year.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you prepare for next year’s return: [click to continue…]

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It’s April and tax season is upon us.  As you gather your W-2s, 1099s, 1098s and other tax documents to complete your tax return or provide them to your tax preparer, you are probably hoping  to receive a tax refund instead of owing additional taxes.  As you visualize that tax refund check, you are probably also wondering how to spend it.  Instead of spending it on something you don’t need or just splurging it.  Why not use it to help you begin your journey to simplify your finances.

Here are a few ways you can use your refund check to help you simplify your finances: [click to continue…]

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How can I eliminate the urge to splurge?

by B Simple Budgeting

Splurging – Spend (money) freely or extravagantly .  All of us do it every once in a while.  We go to the store with a list of things to buy or a set amount you plan to spend but you saw something you just could not leave the store without.  You ask how can I […]

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Did you know cash can help you simplify your finances?

by B Simple Simple Tips

I am sure you have heard the term cash is king.  It is true but not only is cash king it can also help you simplify your personal finances.  You have probably read articles that cash will become obsolete.  Well as long as we are still using cash let it help you simplify your finances.  […]

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Did you know your 401k can simplify your finances?

by B Simple Investing

You are probably wondering how can my 401(k) possibly help me simplify my finances?    Investopedia defines a 401(k) as a qualified plan established by employers to which eligible employees may make salary deferral (salary reduction) contributions on a post-tax and/or pretax basis. Employers offering a 401(k) plan may make matching or non-elective contributions to […]

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What do you plan to do with year end bonus or salary increase?

by B Simple Simple Tips

The year end is only a few months away.  Many companies usually payout year-end bonuses and make salary adjustments at the end of the year.  Have you considered what you will do or would do if you receive year end bonus or salary increase?  Will you spend it or will you allocate it to help […]

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