› Simplify Your Money

Simplify Your Money!

Get a grip on your future and simplify your money!

‘Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.’ ~ Henry David Thoreau

One of the biggest hassles in life is dealing with money. It seems like there is never enough. I hope to give you a few tips to simplify your money, so you can get your financial house in order.

When you simplify everything in your life, including your finances you will find additional healing for your body-mind-soul. All your financial clutter is definitely weighing you down.

By cleaning out the paperwork, going electronic, consolidating accounts, paying yourself first, getting rid of too many credit cards and making a budget, you will feel good about your financial future by putting your financial house in order.

If your finances are out of balance your life will be out of balance. If you work on your physical body to create balance, the balance will spill over into all aspects of your life 

What else you might find when you attempt to simplify your money might be surprising. Relationship issues often come up. The biggest fights in ALL relationships revolve around money.

Financial planners are becoming life coaches and counselors much to their surprise. Financial planning is always about body-mind-soul issues, especially if the planning involves another person. Take the time to deal with this issue and also involve your significant other or the result may be devastating.

I offer a few tips in this article, but my favorite resource to simplify your money and put your financial house in order is Suze Orman. Learn all you can about your finances and simplifying your money. It could save your retirement, your mental health and your relationships.

Clean Out the Financial Cobwebs

To simplify your money, take a long hard look at your credit cards. Do you really need 10 different credit cards, or will 2 or 3 do? If you have more than 3 credit cards, are you overextended and need to reconsider your consumerism?

If you are in over your head, it’s time to seek financial help. If you can simplify your finances by getting rid of a few too many credit cards, just do it. Make sure you have enough credit cards with a significant history to keep your credit score.

Another way to simplify your money is to figure out how to consolidate your accounts. We used to have financial paperwork all over the house. I bit the bullet and reduced the clutter by throwing away all the financial statements for prior years. I only saved the annual statements. I kept all the current year statements.

Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, COHanging Lake, near Glenwood Springs, CO

Next, I went online to every account we had and requested electronic delivery of all our statements, so I would no longer receive paper statements. I now keep backed-up computer files of all our financial information.

If you haven’t done this yet, you will be amazed at the clutter that you can reduce. No more files and files of stuff you never look at. Simplify your finances, save your sanity, save the planet, and save the trees.

A good rule of thumb in cleaning out financial paperwork is if it has nothing to do with your taxes, throw it out! I learned this rule somewhere and have consistently used it in making decisions regarding what to keep and what to toss. I challenge you to cut your financial documents and paperwork down to one drawer in your desk! Electronic storage is most likely the only way you will achieve this. Simplify your money by going electronic.

Simplify your money by setting up bill pay online, if you haven’t already done so. There are so many advantages to this. It will save you time, save you money in stamps, checks and envelopes, your identity will be more secure since there are no paper trails in the mail, and you will save more trees!

PayItGreen Alliance estimates that if just 20 percent of households switched to paying bills online it would save more than 1.8 million trees a year! Now there’s a reason to switch.

I even take bill paying one step farther to simplify and earn credit card points. I set up automatic payments to my credit card to pay my bills. I do this for every possible bill that will take a credit card. Then at the end of the month I only pay one bill – the credit card bill! And I do it online!

Plus I earn points on the credit card, or you can earn frequent flier miles, or whatever credit card program you are on. In addition my bills are never paid late. Talk about a triple advantage! Just be careful not to over-extend your credit. It would be horrible if you tried to simplify your money and instead overextended yourself! See the next section to prevent this!

A New Approach to the 'Checkbook'

When you simplify your money, always, always, always pay off your credit card bill every month. You can save even more if you choose a credit card that does not have a yearly fee, if you don’t care about the interest rates. This would only work for you if you do not carry a balance each month.

In order to pay off my credit card each and every month I write every credit card transaction in my checkbook register, so I will never overspend! This works like a charm. Every credit card transaction is recorded in the checkbook as if I have written a check.

Then when I go to balance the ‘checkbook,’ I have my credit card statement available as well and double check my transactions. If you do this you will never spend more than you make! Try this simple trick to simplify your money – it works! This process is more difficult when you use multiple credit cards, but it still can be done.

Now I realize that most people under forty don't use checks or checkbooks anymore. Then, consider setting up a spreadsheet instead. Add your income when you get paid, then reduce it with each transaction, including credit cards. This will also work like a charm. When you reach the end of your money, you need to stop spending! 

In fact, I go to my online accounts, both checking account and credit card account, and check my transactions on an almost daily basis, to ensure I don’t miss anything.

I also ensure no illicit activity has occurred. As soon as the transaction comes through, I toss the matching receipt. That way I don’t have a bunch of receipts to periodically wade through.

This can simplify your finances so much if you do it several times a week instead of letting it pile up. You no longer have to dread the monthly statement if you have kept up with your transactions all along. Plus you will always know the status of your account and where your money went! This is very empowering!

Lizard Head Peak, Telluride, COLizard Head Peak, near Telluride, CO

Always Pay Yourself First

The best and simplest rule there is to simplify your money and to get ahead is to pay yourself first. I am amazed at how folks don’t get this concept. You will never get off the poverty wagon if you do not put money away each and every single paycheck, no matter how small the amount.

This is paying yourself first. If you spend every cent of your paycheck or worse, spend more than your paycheck, you will always live in poverty. You will always be behind.

I have read stories of people who died with hundreds of thousands of dollars tucked away, who lived a meager lifestyle with a meager income. Yet they found a way to pay themselves first – saved as much as they could to ensure they could live without ever running out of money. They were experts on simplifying their life and simplifying their money!

The easiest way to start paying yourself first is by saving in your employer's 401K plan. The money is taken directly out of your check and you never see it, so you won’t even miss it. You get tax benefits on the account too and most companies also match some of your money you put in. Free money! Set up the automatic savings to your 401K or other high interest account of your choice.

If you believe you don’t have to save because social security will take care of you, plan on living out your retirement in poverty. Or worse, plan on living with your children and at their mercy. The US government is almost broke. All of their entitlement programs will be insolvent in just a few short years – unless of course they tax us to death. Either way you will have much less money. Vow to simplify your finances now and plan for your future.

I also have doubts about the future of pension programs of any type. I worry that government-based pensions and even large company-based and union-based pensions are becoming dinosaurs. General Motors anybody? They are a health care provider with a side business of making cars!

How long can the government continue to bail out failing companies, bail out banks, and still fund Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? Add a national health care plan on top of that? Whew! A lot of government money needed! Make sure you pay yourself first when you simplify your money and get ahead of all this.

I actually don’t save 100% of my savings to tax-deferred retirement instruments, but suffer and pay some taxes now. I try to keep a healthy balance between tax-deferred and non-tax-deferred accounts. That way if the government decides to tax these funds differently in the future – and they can do that anytime – I will have more control over my own money.

The way the government is spending and throwing easy money into the system, it is just a matter of time before they get very creative on how to tax us – without taxing us. I fear that 401K’s, Roth IRA’s and other tax deferred retirement plans may get hit with different and/or more taxes in the future to fund the programs for our aging population.

Until you take your finances out of the hands of control by others you will have anxiety and your body-mind-soul will suffer!

Until you are debt free, your life will always contain conflict surrounding money.

Until you stop obtaining and maintaining, your life’s goals will not bring you satisfaction!

Make a choice today to simplify your money, or as I like to say, just choose it and do it! Make a choice to get your financial house in order. Start with the lowly, but oh so important budget.

Make a Budget

I have no simple tricks to making and managing your budget. To simplify your money you just have to go to the work to figure it out. Only you can go through the time consuming process of looking at where all your money goes, and how you can make cuts. Often your bank will have this type of information built into your account online. Use whatever tools they give you to help you. Go to the library, the bookstore or search for information online to get you started.

Elephant Head WildflowerWildflower called Elephant Heads (look closely!)

Suze Orman is my role model in this arena. She has a debt eliminator and expense tracker tool on her website, to name a few. Use them to get an understanding of the situation you are in and to start planning your financial future.

You need to decide what you can and can’t live without and start chopping. Make affirmations to change your outlook to believe that you have as much money as you need to balance your budget. Make affirmations to change your beliefs about what is important to you. Make affirmations to find peace and regain control of your budget (See Creating Positive Affirmations).

Remember that if you carry large amounts of debt and keep up the obtaining and maintaining lifestyle that you are paying a great personal cost. You are paying in its effects on your body-mind-soul. Your Body Window knows it is so! So make a commitment to simplify your finances and let Suze Orman help you!

Henry David Thoreau said it best: ‘The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it!’ I would also add that the price is the amount of worry and stress that you carry regarding this problem. The price you pay shows up in your body, the barometer for your total health. The body speaks and screams at you through your Body Window because you mind will not accept the truth of your situation.

Plan for Emergencies

To simplify your money and the headaches that surround it, you must always have an emergency cash reserve. You cannot manage your money in the ways I have described if you do not have emergency cash available. Always have enough set aside for 6 -12 months expenses, in case the worst happens. You may want to pay your credit card balances down first then save for emergencies.

Get a financial planner. If you are not financially savvy, hire someone to help you. The few hundreds you will spend to help you get your financial house in order may save you thousands later.

Relationship issues always come up when it comes to money. You may need to take a hard look at your own issues, who you will leave your money to, or who in your life means the most to you. And you thought that to simplify your finances was not a body-mind-soul issue!

If you can’t afford a financial planner, scour your public library and the Internet for free information.

Clean out your financial clutter and deal with your issues. It will bring conflict that will need to be felt and released (See How Emotions Affect Our Body - Feeling vs. Denying Your Emotions).

When you simplify your money, it will come with better health and a better understanding of yourself and your body-mind-soul.

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