Welcome to this week’s Simple Inspiration Interview. This week I have opportunity to interview Sam from Manage Your Means to learn how he has simplified his finances.
Manage Your Means is about financial education. Sam’s main goals are to:
1. Help people gain knowledge that will help them make more and spend less.
2. Keep it lighthearted; money is important but it isn’t everything!
3. Motivate people (including myself) to get on track, and stay there.
He also offers a Monday Motivate which is a great way to start your week. Check it out here.
Let’s hear how Sam has simplified so other can obtain a little inspiration:
What event lead you to realize you needed to simplify your finances?
It was something so simple as missing a payment and being charged a late fee on a credit card we had opened. I was done being charged for borrowing money and ready to take better control of my actions.
What area of your financial life needed the most simplification?
The sheer number of accounts I had open. I had six credit cards, four checking accounts, two savings accounts, and two brokerage accounts for stocks. When you add a Health Savings Account (HSA), 401(k) and an IRA… that’s a lot to keep track of!
Where did you begin to simplify your financial life?
I paid off the small balances I had on my credit cards and closed them out (I didn’t care whether that was going to hurt my credit score or not). Then I combined my two brokerage accounts into one and closed out the old checking and savings accounts. They were just lying around, doing nothing.
What was your biggest challenge or roadblock when it came simplifying?
I love technology but I had always paid my bills by check via snail mail. It wasn’t because I don’t trust electronic payments, it was mostly just out of habit.
How did you overcome this challenge or roadblock?
Once I realized how much money I was spending on stamps and envelopes, and once I knew how much time I could have been saving by paying online, it was an easy transition for me to make.
How has simplifying changed your life?
Making your finances simple makes them easier to do. When I had a complex and lengthy budgeting process, I didn’t want to do it. I’d avoid it – procrastinating until it’d been so long I needed to start over. Simple budgets are inviting budgets. When you constantly know the state of your money, you’ll naturally make better choices.
How long did it take you to simplify?
I’d say it’s an ongoing process, one that I’m never fully satisfied with. There’s always something you can be doing to be more efficient.
How much of your personal finances have you automated?
Most, but not all of my finances have been automated. For me, it’s important to know where my money is coming and going at all times, and full automation would make it easy to slip away from keeping an eye on my finances.
What do you automate?
I automate bills that don’t change regularly – mortgage, cell phone bill, internet, utilities (if they’re paid based on an average). I try to pay bills that fluctuate manually, so that I can see where the changes in my budget are occurring.
What advice or tips would you give to others who want to simplify their finances?
You probably already know all of the changes you ‘should’ make in order to simplify. If you’re on the fence, pick one or two and make those first. Try it for a couple of months, and you’re going to see that it makes your life easier, and you’ll want to make as many changes as you can to make it easy on yourself.
What book, blog, or podcast would you suggest to someone who is looking to simplify or improve their finances?
Stacking Benjamins podcast is really good, I try to listen when I can.
If money was not a concern, what would you do for fun?
I would pretty much be doing what I’m doing now – I try to live my life for me, not for money. I enjoy the work I do and the hobbies I have.
What percentage of your income are saving?
Currently, 23% of my income goes to a combination of retirement and savings.
What’s your best savings tip?
Save before you ever see your money – I make a habit of increasing my direct deposit savings whenever I get a raise, so that I never miss it or wish I had it. Lifestyle creep is a real thing, and can be avoided if you never give yourself the extra money in the first place (and instead save it for later).
Thanks Sam. I appreciate you taking your time to sharing how you have simplified your finances as well as the tips you shared. If you would like to read more from Sam visit Manage Your Means or follow him on Twitter @
To read previous interviews in the series click Simple Inspiration Interviews.
If you are interested in sharing how you have simplified your financial life, send me an email and I will follow up with you. Enjoy the rest of your week. Til next time, take one step at a time to simplify.