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Today we’re going over a step by step guide on how you can quickly and easily automate your money!
Why Automating Your Money Makes Sense
How do you feel about managing money? Is it something you enjoy doing or do you see paying the bills, knocking out debt, saving for your future, etc. a bit much?
When we were first married it was honestly a little overwhelming. We had the bills to pay, a car loan, and eventually student loans that were going to come due.
The idea of getting a financial system seemed complicated.
The good news is it wasn’t.
With a little organization so we had our acct info in front of us. It was a one evening thing.
And it’s made a huge difference for us.
We’ve paid off over $30,000 of debt, bought our cars with cash, started investing for retirement, and giving more.
Through the years, we’ve had to take a step back to help out loved ones and deal with our family. With two little ones as our priority, we sometimes have put money conversations on the back burner.
The automated system allowed us to still take care of the essentials and not miss a beat.
But I also know that the idea of setting up a system sounds like a ton of work.
The truth is the initial setup typically isn’t as difficult as you think and the benefits are more than just the money.
To make this easier we’re going over:
- Peek into Our System so You Have a Real Life Example
- Setting Up Your Financial System
- Tools and Apps to Make it Easier to Set up and Track Your Money
I hope you enjoy!
Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!
Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.
Resources to Stay on Top of Your Money
Here are some resources to make managing your money much easier!
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint, and Zeta
- Free 401(k) Analysis: blooom
- Grow Your Stash Faster: High Yield Savings with CiT Bank
- Automatic Saving: Qapital
- Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money
Setting Up Your Financial System
I hope our experience makes you feel a bit more comfortable with getting your financial system up and running.
My first suggestion with setting up your system is to make sure you keep it as simple as possible. If you are just starting out and you’re trying to keep spending in check, then focus in on getting the essentials covered
Once you’re comfortable you can always build out and include investing, savings, whatever else you need.
Your financial system should reflect your goals and circumstances.
So let’s start with the essentials.
Your Bank or Credit Union's Bill Pay
Bill pay is one of those underrated features that banks and credit unions offer. It’s not as exciting as seeing higher interest rates on your savings or getting a low rate on your mortgage, but it’s a crucial piece to your financial system.
Now as you’re setting up your bill pay, you may see opportunities to start optimizing your expenses.
One area you want to examine is your subscriptions.
Do you really need all of them? You may have signed up a while back and enjoyed it at first, but now you either don’t have the time or you’re not really getting as much out of them as you used to.
You can either manually cancel them or if you’re pressed for time, there are options like Trim that can save you money by canceling subscriptions, finding deals with insurance, or negotiating with your cable bill.
And after you set up your accounts, it’s smart to stay on top of things so check-ins during your money dates are quick and easy.
If you have several accounts between you there are different and handy tools out there to help you manage your money.
A few of my favorites are:
Track your accounts – Personal Capital, Tiller, Zeta, and Mint.
- Personal Capital – If you have a ton of accounts between you, this makes it easy to sort them out.
- Tiller – Love how easily you can customize it based on your unique budget.
- Zeta– Created for couples, by couples, Zeta is designed around how you two want to share your accounts.
- Mint – If you're looking to get a handle on your budget, Mint is a very visual way to see what's happening.
Whether you’re going with a debt snowball or avalanche method, automating your debt payments is a smart move.
When you’re dealing with paying off a good amount of debt, it’s normal to get frustrated and discouraged when you’re not making the progress you had hoped for.
Now if you don’t automate your debt payments there’s a good chance, you may slow down or even quit.
Getting your debt payments started is as simple as getting the minimums and extra payments with them scheduled.
Make sure it’s early enough so you avoid getting hit with late fees.
Life happens, so something that we knew we needed was an emergency fund. Tucking away a stash can be simple if you pay yourselves first.
Start small and automate your money to put into joint savings. You’ll hardly notice the slightly smaller paychecks.
If you need help with gamifying your savings you can create ‘rules’, like rounding the total up to the nearest dollar, transferring a dollar you grab a coffee or sweeping away an extra dollars you have at the end of the week.
Monthly money challenges can also be fun like $20 date nights because you’re mixing things up and find inexpensive ways to have fun and pocketing the savings.
Automating your investing can be even easier since options like 401(k) means that money is coming out of your paycheck pr-tax. Your employer's HR department handles the set up once they get the paperwork from you.
And if you put in enough to get a match, it’s like a double win for smart money move.
When my husband first started his job, those contributions were small, but since they were automatically coming put, they were consistent. Now over 10 years later, his nest egg has grown considerably.
He’s tied his contributions to a percentage of his income. Every raise – no matter how big or small – means he’s putting in more into his 401(k).
And since it’s taken out before he sees his paycheck deposit, it’s not missed.
Want to make sure your 401(k) is hitting you with too many unnecessary fees? Use blooom's free 401(k) analysis tool so more of your hard-earned money is staying with you!
If your company doesn’t offer a 401(k), you may also check out something like Acorns where you can take your change and have it transferred into a basic taxable investment account with exchange-traded funds.
Just remember, you don’t have to do this all in one day. You can up step by step based on your schedule.
Make it a Thursday night thing where you reward yourself with a movie or your favorite show on Netflix.
The great thing is once it’s done, it’s done.
Support the Podcast!
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- Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in 4 weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!