Look, fixing our finances shouldn’t be hard. It might require you to sit down and look at some paperwork, but you don’t need to spend hours upon hours hunched over looking at numbers.
There are ways to help fix your finances in only ten minutes a day. That being said, it doesn’t let you off the hook from looking at your finances more deeply, like consolidating loans and looking over a monthly budget. But ten minutes a day is simple, totally doable, and you probably won’t gouge your eyes out.
A Quick and Easy Spending Plan
Tracking your spending isn’t hard. All you have to do is get a trusty notebook and pen, or even capture receipts on an app like Evernote. At the end of the day, take those ten minutes and figure out which spending categories it should go into. Like Monica from Our Debt Free Family says, you can then evaluate whether or not what you spent that day is a need or a want. Keep that up daily,then at the end of the month, take another ten minutes to evaluate how much went to needs and wants. Use this time to see whether or not your spending is in line with your values.
Note: A great book that helps you build a live based on your values and how to use money to get there is Jason Vitug’s “You Only Live Once”. Check out my list of money books that’ll change your life.
An alternative is to create a daily spending plan, according to Melissa, a financial coach. All you have to do is take ten minutes before you head out the door and see what you might be spending, or need to spend. It’s actually a lot easier if you have a spending goal for the month and be specific about it.
Get Organized to Fix Your Finances
Remember that saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Yup, taking 10 minutes a day to get organized with your finances is going to help you.
Zina Zumok from Debt Free After Three suggests automating your savings. Take the ten minutes to set it up via your bank account, and you can automatically have money deposited into whatever account you want. It’s great for those who aren’t so saavy with saving every month. That way, you don’t really have to think about it when everything set up.
Something else you can organize in 10 minutes a day is a budgeting software. There are so many out there that link all your investment, credit card and banking accounts. Andrew from Student Loan Hero agrees with this. “A lot of people seem to think a budget has to be time-consuming and complicated. But using a [online budgeting tools]can help you track expenses in just 2-3 minutes a day. Just enter expenses from the smartphone app as you make them daily, or import them via credit card accounts. It’s super simple, and the long-term impact on your financial help are enormous” he says.
These programs even help you track your spending if you use your credit/debit cards. It sounds like a no brainer to fix your finances right?
Note: I personally love using Personal Capital, which tracks not only what you spent, but your net worth. Best of all, it’s free! I highly recommend you check it out.
If you’re a spreadsheet type of person, it literally takes less than ten minutes to find one that fits your needs. J Money from Budgets are Sexy has a good compilation of budget templates you can download for free. Take another 10 minutes another day to learn the ins and outs of it, and start using it!
Steven Fox from Next Gen Financial Planning suggests taking ten minutes out of your day to check beneficiaries on insurance policies, IRA’s, and any other accounts with named beneficiaries. According to , “it’s quite common for beneficiary designations to be out of date, and the consequences of this oversight can be severe. Imagine, for example, having a former spouse receive the proceeds of your life insurance policy while leaving your current spouse (and subsequent children) with nothing. Take just a few minutes to double check all accounts/policies, then be sure to update them after any major life changes.”
The 1% Rule
How easy does 1% sound? If you use this number to improve your life, you’ll see miracles happen within months.
Cathy from Bright Water Financial highlights some great ideas to help you save at least a few hundred dollars over a year:
•Check if your employer offers any discounts on cell phones, gym memberships, insurance, etc. and have them applied to your current services. Or ask if these services offer teacher discounts.
•Shop your car insurance or call your current carrier to negotiate lower rates.
•Call your cell phone, cable, and/or Internet provider to negotiate a lower bill. The best approach is to go through the voice prompts for cancelling service. When you go through that voice prompt, you typically get connected to an operator that is a retention specialist. They will often be able to offer more promotional prices in an effort to retain you as a customer.
•Review your bank and credit card statements for fradulent or duplicate charges. Then call the bank to have these charges reversed.
•Call your bank and negotiate a lower interest rate on credit cards. If you are an excellent customer and accidentally made a late payment, ask them to waive the fee.
You literally have no excuse now to fix your finances. Seriously, taking ten minutes a day can seriously impact your finances. How will you spend those ten minutes today?