Here’s the thing…we need to have some sort of emotional connection with managing our personal finances or it just won’t last. It’s easy to get distracted or forget why we started doing something in the first place. By crafting our personal financial management in ways to remind us about the “why” will help eliminate any friction that might trip us up along the way.
Account Title – this is a fun way to personalize your account(s). I have one account titled “Fun Money” and another “Household”. Account numbers are so impersonal and hard to remember which one is for which purpose. You can usually edit the account name online.
Automate It – make it as easy as possible to receive money and send money. Direct deposit means those funds are available immediately. Electronic transfers are usually next day availability – keep in mind that any transaction after close of business on Friday is part of Monday’s business, so Tuesday would be “next day”. Set up the ability to send money electronically, directly to another person.
Automated Clearing House (ACH) – this is the batching process that makes it seamless for you to send a virtual payment to pay your bill or allows for recurring bills to be authorized to pull directly out of your account. This is a good option to help avoid late payments. One caveat – it is incumbent on you to review your statements, make sure your bills are accurate and request any cancellations at least 3 business days in advance (some banks may require more).
I prefer not giving out my actual bank account number. I either set up to charge my debit card – much easier to shut down and replace – or, I pay online using my debit card each month. This also forces me to look at the bill and review the charges, maybe shop around to compare other options.
Alerts & Notifications – this is an absolute must for every financial account. The quickest way to avoid a total cluster is by receiving alters – either when balance falls below a certain amount or a transaction hits the account. Review the options available with each of your account and pick the ones that will work for you.
Find out what extra perks your bank or neighborhood branch offers. Some have free WiFi, coffee and coin machines. Ask about currency exchange and use of debit/credit cards before you travel outside the country. Some banks still have low cost safe deposit boxes and free Notary Service.
Take advantage of the tools and resources to craft a personal financial management process that works for you. Find a way to track your cash-flow, keeping in mind that not all transactions will show up on your bank’s website right away, especially restaurants and gas stations, which can really mess things up in a minute.
Keep it secret. Keep it safe. Never share passwords and PIN’s. It’s not theft if you granted access.
What are some other ways you have personalized your financial management experience?
Featured image courtesy of Pixaby: Geralt