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Overwhelmed By Too Many Choices? Here’s How To Simplify

Overwhelmed By Too Many Choices? Here’s How To Simplify

National Simplify Your Life week occurs during the first week of August and it reminds us that less is more.

Simplicity is an age-old practice. Proverbs 14 states that “the simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” That is, an effective person prunes out the unnecessary in order to forge a better path. Islam teaches Muslims that there is “dignity in humility and grace in simplicity.”

Cut the clutter

Choice is good: We love freedom and choice gives us more. But at what point does too many options lead to complexity and stress? How often have you stopped at the grocery to buy a couple of items before eventually finding your shopping cart overstuffed with a dozen purchases. Supermarkets on average carry over 42,000 products, according to the Food Marketing Institute—reflecting the myriad choices we’re forced to make each day.

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“Paralysis is a consequence of having too many choices,” says psychologist Barry Schwartz in this popular Ted Talk presentation. Schwartz, who is the author of The Paradox of Choice, explains that too many options—i.e., complexity—lead to people feeling overwhelmed. And according to his research, that causes non-participation or delay in taking action.

Here are key considerations for simplifying your personal life.

1. Decide what matters (and what doesn’t)

Clutter prevents you from getting organized and being efficient. Simplifying is an exercise of prioritization—so as you focus on what’s important, you’ll ignore what doesn’t matter as much.

Be specific in what you’re trying to accomplish each day and remove all items and activities that serve as distractions. That may mean doing any of the following:

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  • Cancel irrelevant magazine subscriptions
  • Delete apps that waste your time
  • Consolidate your accounts
  • Unfollow people on social media who flood your feed
  • Limit your technology to ones that are actually useful
  • Use all-in-one applications that present most or all of your personal information
  • Donate or sell items that don’t add value
  • Eliminate clutter and organize useful belongings

If you need help, here’s a free app that prioritizes your goals and to-do lists in a priority matrix. And a similar app, Prioritize Me!, lets you select which of your goals are most important.

2. Focus on the 20 percent.

Follow the 80/20 rule which states that 80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes. In layman’s terms, that means 20 percent of your activities lead to 80 percent of your effectiveness. If you’re a homeowner, 20 percent of your possessions are associated with 80 percent of your activities. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, we wear just 20 percent of our clothing. Perhaps it’d be prudent to donate or sell the rest.

If you want technology to help you simplify, the Tody app lets you organize and prioritize tasks. And to keep you on the right track, the mobile app will prompt you when a chore is due.

National Simplify Your Life Week
         July 2016 Capital One Simplify Your Life Survey (1,000+ U.S. respondents, ages 18-54)             

     3. Be practical.

    Love life and personal finances are the two most challenging areas to simplify, according to the July 2016 Simplify Your Life survey by Capital One. A majority (60 percent) of over a thousand respondents said a practical approach is the best way to simplify their finances:

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    • Practical (sensible and straightforward): 60%
    • Mindful (reflective and introspective): 14%
    • Optimistic (positive and hopeful): 14%
    • Ruthless (strict and unrelenting): 6%
    • Creative (unique and unexpected): 6%

    According to the same survey, 41 percent said a mobile app—with access to all account information—was their must-have tool. Most smartphones are littered with random apps. However. it’s essential to know which ones boost your productivity. For example, one tool that comes with Capital One’s Quicksilver and Venture cards and consolidates your account information is Capital One Wallet. It’s a mobile app that allows you to keep track of all your purchases in real-time.

    The paradigm of simplicity requires attention to important matters, and treats the rest as noise.

    National Simplify Your Life Week

      The takeaway

      When it comes to purchasing decisions, consumers often succumb to buyer’s remorse because of unmet expectations, says Schwartz. Moreover, people often have unrealistic beliefs that better alternatives exist—even if the original selection of a product was a great one.

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      Our gadgets and possessions should guide us toward our goals rather than distract and steal our precious time. It’s interesting to note that in the Simplify Your Life survey, only 6 percent of Americans surveyed said that creativity is the best approach to simplifying their financial lives.

      So forget the fancy methods. Rather, do the important stuff and weed out what no longer needs to be done.

      Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via stokpic.com

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      Marvin Dumont

      Entrepreneur, Disruptor

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      Published on July 4, 2018

      Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

      Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

      Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

      The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

      One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

      Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

      1. Personal Capital

        When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

        Here are some of its main features:

        • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
        • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
        • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

        With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

        Available for: iOS and Android

        2. Mint

          If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

          Here are some of its main features:

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          • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
          • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
          • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

          Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          3. YNAB

            Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

            Here are some of its main features:

            • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
            • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
            • Customized categories setting saving goals

            The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

            Available for: iOS and Android

            4. Wealthfront

              Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
              • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
              • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
              • Daily tax loss harvesting

              Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

              Available for: iOS and Android

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              5. Clarity Money

                If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
                • Synchronize bank accounts fast
                • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

                Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

                Available for: iOS and Android

                6. Acorns

                  What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Automatic contribution option
                  • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                  • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                  Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                  Available for: iOS and Android

                  7. Albert

                    Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                    • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                    • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                    While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                    Available for: iOS

                    8. Prism

                      Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • View all your account balances in one glance
                      • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                      • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                      If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                      Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                      9. Mvelopes

                        Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                        • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                        • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                        Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                        Available for: iOS and Android

                        10. Wallaby

                          Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                          Here are some of its main features:

                          • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                          • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                          • Free to use

                          If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                          Available for: iOS and Android

                          Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                          Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                          It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                          You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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