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5 Ways To Simplify Your Finances and Workflow

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5 Ways To Simplify Your Finances and Workflow

Working as a consultant has its benefits, but there are some tasks that can give you a real headache towards the end of the month. Don’t get me wrong, pay day is my favorite day of the week, but keeping track of paid and owed expenses, staying on top of clients, and organizing accounts gets old quick. Add that to home bills and personal finances, and things can get messy. Throughout the past couple years from reading books, blogs, and my own experiences, I’ve put together a pretty good system for expediting these tasks. Here are some things you can do to help ease the pain of paying bills and organize your finances.

Carry Cash

Carrying cash is an easy way to reduce clutter on your bank statements. Petty transactions like buying coffee, a bottle of water, or a quick bite to eat add up quickly throughout the month. It can really be frustrating going over your statements when you have a whole bunch of $1.29 purchases to sift through. Save the plastic cards for more important transactions like bills, larger purchases, and business expenses, and use cash for the small transactions.

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Automate

Automate as many tasks as you possibly can. Most online bills can be set up to automatically transfer from your accounts. This can save you tons of time logging in and out of accounts and manually paying your bills. Automation will also keep your mind clear as you won’t be worrying about whether or not you paid your bills on time; we’ve all forgotten to pay the gas bill at one point or another.

Use a Calendar

Not every bill is due monthly. Automobile registration for example is only paid once a year. Depending on what car you drive, that annual payment can be a large chunk of change and you probably weren’t expecting it to creep up on you so quickly. Keeping these types of items on a calendar can help you better prepare for expenses further into the future. You won’t be surprised when the time comes, and you’ll have properly kept enough cash on hand to pay the bill on time.

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Technology

Apps were invented for a reason – use them! While there are a lot of mediocre financial apps available, there are some that really do make finances easier.

Freshbooks

If you’re a freelancer or consultant, maybe you’ve heard of this. Freshbooks is an amazing accounting app that allows you to easily create and send invoices . Its accessible on all your devices so its easy to follow up with clients when you’re on the go. Its also free for up to three clients so it can save you money compared to the other accounting apps out there. Visit site.

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Mint

If you’re trying to budget, keep track of expenses, or organize your financials, Mint is the way to go. Its visual, easy to use, and free. Mint can save you a lot of time with its ability to tag and easily organize transactions by type, date, or account. Highly recommended. Visit site.

Pageonce

Pageonce is a fantastic app for keeping on top of bills and payments. Its an all inclusive interface that allows you to not only automate payments but track, organize, and pay bills. Use this in conjunction with other automated bill payment tasks and you’ve just saved a ton of time! Visit site.

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Venmo

If you really just can’t get yourself to carry cash or just want to keep it digital, Venmo app lets you pay your friends from your smart phone. You can easily pay friends back for lunch, the $20 they lent you three weeks ago, or buy them a drink. Visit site.

What are some methods you use to keep your finances organized at home or with clients? Share them!

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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