I hate to admit this since I have a personal finance blog and would probably lose any credibility I have. But I’ll just go ahead and say it: I’m financially lazy. I’m a sucker for convenience and would throw away money just to save some time and effort. In my defense, that can make perfect sense sometimes. But not when I’m getting take-out six nights a week.
Trying to right my ‘financially lazy’ ways has always been a constant struggle for me. Sometimes, I’ll take it to the other extreme and waste loads of time just to save a couple bucks, which isn’t good either. I’m sure many of you can relate. I think I’ll always be sort of financially lazy (at least a little) but there are little life hacks I’ve implemented that have made my finances better and my life easier.
Set up automatic payments
I’m terrible with remembering to pay bills. In fact, I remember one fiasco years ago when I forgot to pay a credit card bill and they had the wrong email on file for me. Months later, a collections agency called me asking about payment (R.I.P credit score!). Since then, I’ve signed up for automatic payments for any and every bill that I can. It gets deducted from my checking account and I don’t even have to think about it. For bills that don’t have auto-pay, I make a little reminder for myself on my phone. I still check the statements periodically though to make sure all charges are correct.
Sign up for subscription meal services
I’m not a very good cook. I actually don’t mind cooking, I just don’t know many recipes. I use to eat out a lot but I’ve managed to slash my food budget by meal planning, testing new recipes, and using subscription meal services. Companies like Plated and Blue Apron will send you a recipe along with all needed ingredients on a weekly basis. All you need to do is make it. It certainly isn’t as cheap as making your own meals but cheaper than dining at a restaurant. You also get to try new meals designed by professional chefs.
Keep your credit cards at home
If you’re an impulsive shopper and know you’re going to be stepping inside a store, just leave your credit cards at home and avoid temptation altogether. If I know I just need to pick up a couple small items, I’ll just bring a small amount of cash with me. That way, I can only spend so much.
Get a piggy bank
One thing many people forget to save up for is emergencies. Everyone needs an emergency fund simply because you never know what can happen. It can be difficult to put money aside but every little bit can help when you need it the most. One thing I’ve found helpful is putting aside change. Get a piggy bank or a ‘rainy day’ jar. Collect your loose change and pretty soon, it’ll add up. Many banks now have coin counting machines and you can put that money directly in your savings account.
Take advantage of a 401k
Investing can seem overwhelming at first. But what many people don’t realize is that they can start simply by opening a retirement account. Consider investing in a Roth IRA or a 401K through you employer. If you’re going the 401k route, remember to find out if your company will match your contributions since that’s basically free money. After you’ve done that, start an separate investment account through companies like Vanguard, which makes things super simple.
What is a life hack that has made your finances much easier for you?