Effectively managing financial institution accounts is equally important as saving money and investing money. Still we don’t usually put much attention to the managing side of personal finance. We concentrate mostly on saving money, opening new investment accounts, saving for retirement and diversifying income, etc.
As a blogger, I haven’t written a single post emphasizing this important need, to of keep track of your money, so far. Long back, I wrote about managing money like a Shepherd, and knowing every details about it. I also wrote about how do I track my net worth and watch them grow but, that was it.
These tips aren’t just for those who tend to forget things so easily. These are for every person who wishes to avoid getting into the same troubles as I did or even want to keep their home more clutter free:
Before I open a bank account (saving, checking and CD) or an investment/brokerage account, the first thing I check for is the online account access. The next thing I look for is whether they are accessible through Mint.com or Yodlee Money center. If they are not I can’t track it in one screen, it is as good as not keeping track of the progress, the growth and the rate of return.
This is another way on how to organize your accounts and one reason it’s great to have just one bank for paying bills from. I have set aside one active checking account, which I use to pay off all my bills. I automated this account by having automatic direct deposit from payroll to cover all my potential bills for the month.
Then I authorized permission for utilities, other banks, and creditors to debit my dues from this bank account. This way, I don’t have to remember plenty of deadlines and force myself to line up just to pay off some bills. Creditors also prefer this method because it saves them time. If I need to keep track of all my payments, I just take a look at that savings account.
I have another checking account where other part of the payroll is deposited, and gets diverted to different investing accounts, saving accounts, etc. We do not touch this part, which is roughly 50% of the salary.
Make use of Technologies
One of the great things about owning a smart phone is you can download apps that will help you manage your accounts and financial information. I have Yodlee. I think it’s the best there is today. It doesn’t just let you monitor your accounts, but it provides comprehensive information of your transactions and balances. It syncs with your online account, so you can maintain only one Yodlee account (you can use mint too, it doesn’t have to be Yodlee).
All major U.S. banks are currently listed in mint, and the app can alert you if you need to pay certain bills and how much you should spend.
There’s also Mobile Banking
It surprises me how many still don’t take advantage of it. When you’re going to transfer funds or even create a new account from the same bank, you better go for mobile banking. It’s definitely not time-consuming, and you can see all your transactions or activities while on the go.
Let someone take care of it for you
I am lucky to have a great job. They pay well. However, we know that our needs will increase in the next few years and we want to prepare properly for retirement. Hence, we decided to invest in different portfolios, such as certificates of deposits and a couple of mutual funds. If you are busy with job and family, you can hire personal financial adviser and let him/her handle it for you.
Once the bills come pouring in, file them immediately. Don’t let them accumulate, or you’re bound to lose some of them in the process. Your organization process can be as easy as folders and envelopes specifically labeled with the name of the bill.
Use a journal
You don’t really need to buy a journal book for this. You can use a spreadsheet program. Just create columns for income, expenses, and your different accounts. List down all transactions you’ve made and debit or credit in the corresponding account. You can then use the journal for reconciling accounts.
Our finance is simple, your’s might not be. You may have will, trust and different other things to consider. The best way is going to a certified financial planner and take expert opinion, you have to pay the fee but, you can get valuable lessons that can set the direction for your financial life. get going.
In personal finance diversification is important but, equally important is managing that diversified portfolio. Learn to do it effectively for greater success.
Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says
We are big fans of Quicken and find it works really well in keeping track of everything from savings to investments. We have used it for years.
Great post, SB. I’ve been working on a post about how managing your money is like driving a car. You can’t have 15 dashboards and drive effectively. There are too many great information aggregators like Yodlee, Mint or Quicken.
Not waiting on the bills has been a big one for us. If they come in pay them…don’t wait till the due date.
family photographer san luis obispo ca says
Thanks for the tips. I actually wanted to save a lot and need to organized my earnings and expenses. I guess I need to write down what I spend and try to check if it fits my budget and hoping that it will really do good with the monthly income.