It's still that time of year when we want new beginnings. A great one is to simplify your finances.
These tips work for me and even tackling one of them could give you more time to concentrate on what's really important to you:
Pay everything by direct debit.
I got bored with paying bills and now direct debit everything possible from my credit card, which in turn I pay automatically and in full on the 28th of the month. All I need to do is check and file the bills. A bonus from this approach is that I earn lots of reward points from the ASB and don't have to pay any interest ever. Most companies offer discounts for direct debit payments as well.
Say no to paperwork.
Opening envelopes wastes time. Reduce the amount of paper coming through your letterbox be it junk mail, or mail from companies you do business with. You can also have your name added to the Marketing Association's Do Not Mail and Do Not Call databases. It works. It's also a good idea to get an expander file or other system to organise receipts.
I'm slowly moving all of my telephony needs to Slingshot. That includes landline, long distance calling, broadband and soon mobile phone. I get one monthly bill, which is emailed to me as a PDF and discounts for multiple services. Having said that, I wouldn't be averse to moving my business if Slingshot was no longer competitive.
Simplify your investments.
If you can't remember exactly what you hold, your investments might be too complicated. This one is on my To Do list thanks to historic investments in UK companies that I failed to sell when I came home. It's also a good idea to consolidate bank accounts if you can and consider consolidating debt. Beware that the latter can prove expensive if you do it through debt consolidation companies. Best to approach your bank and see what it can do.
Buy managed funds instead of equities.
A small number of managed fund holdings is a lot easier to administer than the larger number of equities you'd need to diversify yourself to the same extent.
Buy and hold.
New and particularly gung ho investors often overrate their own investing abilities and begin trading shares, Forex, property and other financial products. A few will do well, but for most it's a time consuming and administrative headache that often leads to losses. Buy and hold as a strategy does save an awful lot of time and effort. You do however need to remember to rebalance your portfolio from time to time.
It's really difficult to have the skills to be self sufficient in everything. Despite natural tightwad tendencies, I've accepted that certain time consuming jobs are better left to others so I can concentrate on what makes me the most money – my work and investing. Hence I've got a book-keeper, accountant, cleaner and a law mowing guy. I'm even considering going to student job search to get some small jobs done.
Simplify your life.
There is much more you can do to simplify your life so you can concentrate on the important things. Eat simpler food, use cash, cancel subscriptions (but not to the magazines I write for), and sell unused stuff from your home or give it to charity.
Do you have any helpful hints for simplifying your finances?