You might be surprised that I’m publishing a lazy person’s guide to money! Of course, I want you to spend time proactively managing your personal finances – but no more time than you need to! Money management can feel time-consuming and overwhelming. And some money gurus make it harder than it needs to be.
If you’re imagining that wise money management requires hours of your time and multi-tab spreadsheets, prepare to be relieved! I’ll show you how to optimize your personal finances so you only need 15 minutes or less per week to thrive with money.
The Lazy Person’s Guide to Money
Online Bill Pay
This tip probably isn’t breaking news for you. In fact, you might already use online bill pay through your checking account. But I’m suggesting something a little different. Set up online bill pay directly with your vendors (utility company, mortgage, car payment, cell phone, etc.) and authorize them to take the full monthly payment due. Even though you’re putting them on autopilot, you still need to open those bills. Make note of the due dates and amounts so there’s plenty in your account to cover it.
This saves you time because you don’t have to do ANYTHING to ensure these bills get paid. With online bill pay via your checking account, you need to log in and schedule the bill to come out, especially those that change monthly.
I can’t even remember the last time I physically walked into my bank. Mobile banking allows you to easily transfer funds between accounts, snap deposit checks, pay bills, and even track your spending. I admit, the first time I used my mobile app to deposit checks, I felt nervous and skeptical. Now, I love it so much, I would cry if it went away! It saves me massive amounts of time because I no longer drive to a physical location to wait in line.
Use laziness in your favor to save more money! Exercise a tiny amount of self-discipline to set up automatic transfers to your savings account a day or two after your payday. Every Friday, my bank transfers money from my checking to my savings without me doing anything. When I reach the point of not feeling the pain of the money coming out, I modify the transfer and increase it a bit.
Afraid it will be too easy to cancel your recurring transfer? Check with your HR department to see if they will split deposit your paycheck. Sure, you can change or cancel it, but it takes more work to do it. And if you’re lazy, you’ll probably let it ride.
Keep Tabs on your Spending
Using a personal finance app helps you to stay on top of your spending and make better choices in the moment. No spreadsheets required!
Check to see if your bank has a spending tracker built into their online banking. This is becoming common even with small credit unions, not just the banking giants. Because your accounts are automatically linked to the spending app, all you need to do is set up your budget categories and goals. Just make sure your bank will allow you to link outside accounts. If you use credit cards outside of your main bank, you want those transactions pulled in.
If your bank doesn’t offer a spending tracker, consider signing up for AskZeta (designed for couples) or Mint. Both are free and easy to use. It can be overwhelming and time consuming to set up a personal finance app. If you’re feeling super lazy, you could hire someone to do the initial set up for you! I include this service for my clients as part of my 6-month financial coaching package. Even if you DIY it, once it’s set up, a spending app will save you tons of time – and money – down the road!
Pay Someone Else to Mind Your Money
Speaking of paying someone to do it for you… I am a huge fan of delegating. Honestly, some money tasks aren’t a good use of my time, because I’m not skilled in that particular area of personal finance. (Sorry to break it to you! I’m not an expert in ALL areas of money.)
In college, I earned my one and only D of my entire scholastic career in Tax Accounting. It makes sense for me to delegate my business and personal taxes to an expert – my CPA, Alice. I also delegate the selection of my investments to my financial planner, Darin. I have zero desire to stay on top of tax law or the ups and downs of the stock market. I pay a little bit of money to have people who are smarter than me handle those parts of my money. And you probably should, too.
One Little Note
Now that you’ve discovered the lazy person’s guide to money, there’s one caveat. This doesn’t mean you ignore your personal finances! These hacks are meant to optimize your money management time and effort. Now, you should only need to spend about 10-15 minutes per week to stay on top of your personal finances.
Yes, there will be weeks when you have to spend more time dealing with things like home buying, reviewing insurance policies, and prepping for tax time. But at least you won’t be spending hours updating budget spreadsheets. Even a money nerd like me is relieved to hear that.
Did I miss anything? How do YOU make money management easier and faster? Drop a comment and let me know!