Regardless of your busy schedule, it’s essential to keep track of your financial procedures and ensure everything is done on time. Let a single financial process fall by the wayside, and you’ll find yourself facing steep late-fee charges or worst, a damaged credit card score. That said, to stay on top of your monthly bills and spending, automate most, if not all, financial tasks. After all, automating these procedures will allow you to focus on the fun aspects of your life, without worrying whether you have paid off a particular bill or you will have to overdraft again. With that perk in mind, I am going to enumerate 3 recurring financial procedures most people undertake manually instead of availing readily available automation technologies.
1. Retirement Contributions:
Automation is the key if you would like to nurture and increase your contribution plan. Better yet, you do not need to land a job with a six-figure income to start investing or contributing to your retirement account. Even individuals working on their 1st jobs, and newlyweds still living on a tight budget can develop a healthy saving habit. That said, here is a list of ways you can automate your retirement contribution program to make it less strenuous.
A. Automatically contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement account:
Can your employer match your retirement donations to your retirement or 401K plan? If he or she does, ensure you avail the free money. Sign up for the employer-sponsored retirement contribution program and allow your contributions to be deducted from your paycheck automatically. This option will save you money in a couple of ways, but most importantly, it will save you money on taxes because your contribution will be deducted from your pretax income.
B. Schedule automatic transfers from your savings account:
If an employer-sponsored retirement account is not an option, simply create a savings account and schedule automatic transfers from your bimonthly or monthly paychecks. For maximum savings, schedule automatic transfers to take place a day or two after your paycheck’s issuance. This implies that your retirement contributions are a priority.
2. Bill Payments:
These days, finding time to pay off your bills can prove to be a tedious task. Worst yet, besides the fact that it’s stressful, boring and time-consuming, watching your hard earned dollars fly from your palm to your creditor’s hands is also pretty annoying. Furthermore, integrate these nuisances with the fact that fees from “late payments” can skyrocket your overall payments past the roof and there! You’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a poor credit score. Automating your payments is an attractive way to combat these evils brought about by paying bills in cash. It’s effortless, easy and most fundamentally, free. Here are two ways you can automate your bill payments.
A. Through the bank:
To avail this, send an enumeration of every bill you would like to pay off to your creditors on a monthly basis. Consequently, your bank will automatically deduct these funds from your account balance and send them to your creditors. Note though: should you terminate your relationship with a particular creditor, ask your bank to cancel automatic transfers to that specific, now ex-creditor.
B. Through your credit card company:
In the same way as with the bank, you will need to provide your credit card company with a list of creditors you would like to pay. Successively, the credit card company will ensure an amount is deducted from your account balance to pay off these creditors.
If donating to charities is part and parcel of your monthly budget, I presume you receive a piece of mail every day asking you to contribute to a given charity program. At times, you let these mails fill your table until you have garnered sufficient annoyance and guilt to go through them all. Subsequently, one after another, you sort through your mountain of “donation mails”, trying to decide which ones you’ll make a contribution to and which ones you’ll toss. Given donations are on your monthly budget, I guess most of the time your schedule is fully packed, so spending more than one hour a week trying to sort through you “charity mails” is not a viable idea. Besides the fact it’ll consume your precious time, it is a sign of poor financial planning, and these small, unplanned donations may end up costing you more than you can afford. To streamline this noble aspect of your life, identify the best organizations you would like to donate to, determine the amount of cash you would like to give every month and finally set up recurring donations with your bank or Credit Card Company.
If you’re a freelancer and your income is irregular, think twice before putting your funds on autopilot. As an alternative, you can set up a reminder on your phone’s calendar when payments are due.