Personal finance is one of those things that can get very complicated, very fast. Having multiple credit cards, loans, and sources of income make keeping track of your finances difficult. And don’t forget about taxes! Let’s cover some quick tips for simplifying your finances.
1. Try to stick to one or two financial institutions
There’s no problem with shopping around for the best rates, but your finances will be a lot simpler if you stick with one financial institution. For example, Oregonians Credit Union has plenty of great features – why not get your credit card and your mortgage loan from us? It will make it so much easier for you to have access to all of your accounts from our mobile app, instead of switching between various apps just to see all of your money.
2. Keep only a few accounts
You don’t need a ton of accounts! Try to keep your accounts to only the necessities. A checking and savings account are important, as is a credit card. It would also be good to have an investment account and perhaps an IRA for your work. Your exact situation may dictate that you need other accounts, but you should try your best to keep it to a minimum.
3. Consolidate your income
If you work a single job, then you’re already done with this step! But if you have a more unique job structure, you may be overcomplicating payments. First of all, getting a direct deposit will make your life so much easier. After all, physical checks are a bit outdated when digital options exist. If you are a freelancer taking gigs, try to invoice clients using a unified online service, or work through a third-party platform, like Fiverr or Upwork, that consolidates all of your client’s payments into one digital check.
4. Go digital when possible
There are many reasons for getting digital statements rather than paper ones, beyond it being better for the environment. When you get everything through your email, you can often pay down utility bills online right away, or even automatically! Then you can file away those emails for later reference. The same goes for your banking. Enrolling in e-statements is great for remembering to pay your bills, and downloading your bank’s mobile app gives you instant access to your accounts and spending history.
5. Keep track of your expenses
Keeping a spreadsheet may not seem like the most fun, but you’ll thank yourself later. Every time you make a purchase or gain income, add it to the spreadsheet. If you have multiple income sources, you can separate those out to make taxes easier. You can also separate your spending out by category, too, if you want to see what you’re spending on food, or on gas for your car. If you don’t want to get that detailed about it, many financial institution apps, or other money-management apps can automatically categorize expenses for you. Another quick tip is to list all of your monthly recurring bills (rent, phone, utilities) and check them off when you pay them for the month!
6. Set a budget
Coming up with a budget plan can help you manage your finances more effectively. If you want to learn more about creating one, check out our educational videos on Budgeting Basics and Building a Budget! It can be intimidating at first to make a budget and stick to it, but you’ll thank yourself later!