When it comes to how we manage our finances in today’s world, it looks vastly different than what it did 20 years ago. Whether people used the envelope system or kept track of their expenses in an Excel document, managing finances has always been an overwhelming task. It is crucial to learn new ways of managing finances in order to manage the stress of financial responsibilities. Here are a few:
1. Automate Your Bills
For me, this is a no-brainer because the last thing I want to do is sit down at the table and read paper bills while writing checks to everyone that needs my money. To me, this provides me with a negative experience of handling bills which ends up making it even more dreadful the next time I have to do it. Most companies love it when you automate your payments because it guarantees they will get paid and, in some cases, they’ll even give you a discount! Not to mention that when you automate your bills, your payments are always on time!
2. Use Your Account/Routing Number Instead of Your Card Number for Online Bills Or Accounts
You might be slightly puzzled by this and asking, “what’s the difference?” Or some of you might not like the fact that when you put your account number in, as opposed to your card number, it takes longer to withdraw from your account.
The reason this is a smart idea is that you want to prevent yourself from falling prey to identity theft. In addition to identity theft protection (which I suggest to EVERYONE), using your account number will ensure that if your credit/debit card was to ever get stolen, you wouldn’t have to change your method of payment on all your bills. Of course, you’d get a new card number, but the account/routing number would stay the same, hence, making your life a whole lot easier during an already tumultuous time.
*Not So Fun Fact: In 2019, 14.4 million consumers became victims of identity theft which amounts to about 1 in 15 people. Not to mention that 1 in 5 victims end up experiencing it more than once in their lifetime. Make sure you’re protected! *
3. Space Out When Your Bills Get Paid
This is such an easy mistake to avoid but sadly, a lot of people fail to consider this because if you’re not careful, you can find yourself strapped for cash at the same time of the month every month or even worse, facing overdraft fees. When you spread your bills out throughout the month, you always ensure that you’re in a good financial position on any day of the month and, better yet, you won’t have to worry about reaching a dangerously low balance in your bank account.
If a low bank account still remains a problem for you despite this change, I would consider inserting a buffer of about $500-$1000 (depending on the need) that stays in your account keeping you from hitting that low balance throughout the month. However, under no circumstances should you spend that buffer! It’s there simply to protect you, that’s it.
4. Use Online Software or Apps
With technology constantly evolving in the financial world, it has never been easier to take control of your finances and track your spending. Most apps can even sync to your bank so that all you need to do is drop the transactions in the appropriate categories!
Some of my favorite budgeting apps include:
Of course, these are just a few of my favorites but as I say, find one that works for you! There are tons of great apps out there and if you find one that you like, that’s awesome!
You are officially on your way to rocking your finances and being a better steward of what God has given you! Remember, the goal is always to live generosity, save wisely, and live appropriately.