5 Ways to Automate Your Way to Simpler Finances

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You know what they say about “many hands” making for lighter work?  Delegation rocks.  Who doesn’t get excited when their children finally reach the age to do meaningful housework?  What spouse doesn’t love the opportunity to coax their other half into taking on a dreaded chore?  Who hasn’t experienced the rush of finally moving up the ladder at work to warrant an assistant?

Having help with the tedious aspects of life is a blessing.  Why not leverage technology – another efficient way to delegate — to help you with the tedious financial tasks of life?  Here are five ideas to get you started.

Autodraft your bills

Recurring bills such as utilities can easily be drafted automatically from your checking account.  Use caution if you decide to have bills drafted from your credit card, as falling behind on paying off the card balance each month can be costly.  If you can’t afford the bills and are worried about drafting from your checking account, you don’t need automation – instead, you need to sit down and figure out a better spending plan.

Automate your savings

Your savings can be automatically drafted from your checking account each month, just like your bills.  It’s an easy way to discipline yourself to save.  Determine to “pay yourself first,” and have an amount automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings account.

Automate investment rebalancing

If you have a 401(k) or other retirement account, investigate setting up your account to automatically rebalance the investments.  Ideally you have chosen various investment types to own in your account for diversification.  The best practice is to rebalance the account regularly to get back to the target allocation you elected.  This practice forces you to buy low and sell high, and it is an excellent discipline to cultivate.  The ability to automate it is icing on the cake.

Automate your financial email 

If you have diligently set up your bills to come electronically, versus on paper, you run the risk that those bills now come into your inbox and get sucked into the notorious inbox black hole.  Or maybe that is just me?  Set up a “bills” folder in your inbox and set up your computer to send the electronic bills right into that folder.  Just don’t succumb to the temptation to automatically send them right into the trash!

Automate your debt elimination

Working on getting out of debt?  Instead of paying only minimum payments, add an additional amount on the principal.  It might take a bit of work but contact the lender and ask that your automatic payment be increased by the extra you can afford to pay, and stipulate that it be applied to the principal.

Taking any of these five steps will require a bit of time up front, but in the long run, you will save time on your financial management each month.  Embrace delegating!

What other ideas do you have to automate your financial life?  Please share them below.

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