Best Financial Hacks (Financial Wellness Quickstart)
Managing personal finances can be overwhelming and time consuming. Over the years we piece together different accounts and tools to track our cashflow. There’s usually not too much thought put into it. From notes to spreadsheets, we do whatever we can to avoid fees and achieve our goals. We don’t tend to think too much about leveraging systems to work better for us. It’s time to change that mindset! Let’s get hacking!
Unlock the Potential of the Smartphone
In 2011, only 35% of adults in the U.S. owned a smartphone. By 2015, ownership was up to 64% and the smartphone quickly became one of the main access-points to the internet. Today just about every possible financial service is mobile-based. If you optimize the built-in features on your smartphone, you can significantly improve your financial wellbeing.
Use your calendar!
- Schedule alerts/reminders for recurring bills – include amount due, website link and category for easy tracking
- If you get electronic bills, use your email tools to schedule a reminder to pay a few days before it’s due
- Track your Goals by creating tasks, blocking time and setting deadlines
- Add your paydays to your calendar as an event – you can edit each one with your actual net amount
- Include birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, festivals, vacations and set reminders/tasks to send gifts or save for big ticket items over time
- Use different colors to visualize income/bills by category or purpose
Use your calculator!
- Update your account balances quickly after purchases/bills – don’t rely on banking apps to show real time balances (we’re not quite there yet)
- Calculate your Debt to Income Ratio once a month to make sure you keep it under 40%
- When paying off Credit Card debts, start with your minimum payment due then add enough to cover any new purchases and a little more to go towards paying down the previous balance
- Download a financial calculator for tools like mortgage calculators, retirement calculators, etc.
Use your Notes!
- Set up labels/folders for your financial accounts and update your balances every day
- Add photos of important receipts/warranties
- Create inventories of important items, such as laptops/cameras – include date of purchase, serial numbers
- Start a gift list for your favorite people
- Create grocery/shopping checklists of regular items
- Take photos of favorite recipes and have the list of ingredients handy when you need it
- Organize project ideas
- Plan trips with links, prices, images and more
Use your Camera!
- Capture gift ideas with UPC and price
- Snap interesting landscaping or projects for future reference
- Take a picture of any damages or broken items that you need to repair/get quotes
- Save images of important financial info – debit/credit/gift cards and drivers license/passport
Use free Financial apps!
- Banking apps save time with deposits, balances and transfers
- Stock apps provide Market updates, historical data and news – create your own watch list and track performance in real time
- Insurance apps make it easy to manage auto, renters or home insurance
- Compare gas prices, grocery items and more before you buy
The best financial hacks are easy to access and customize to fit your personal style. Organize your data with intention and purpose. Set up folders that make sense to you. Back up your data to the cloud and make sure your smartphone is locked.
Ready to get started?
If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about managing your financial health, I encourage you to take our free Financial Health Assessment and schedule a free 30-minute Financial Coaching session to review your results. Learn what you should be tracking to reach your goals.
image courtesy of sewuparistudio