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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

My Three Favorite Ways to Simplify My Finances

Happy Holidays! I hope everyone is enjoying time with friends and family. Amidst all the chaos and excitement of the holidays, I have been feeling like I'd like to simplify some aspects of my life. Chaos and change, in short bursts, can be invigorating. However, when it comes to finances I prefer simply and boring!

Here are my three favorite ways to simplify my finances.

1) Sort your mail everyday. I use a small, hanging file folder organizer so that as I open mail the bills go in the "Bill" folder; financial statements go in the "To Be Filed" folder, and school notes go in the "School" folder.

Of course, trash goes in the recycling bin. Sorting mail everyday keeps paper from accumulating and means I can find my bills easily when it's time to pay them. Remember approximately 60% of your credit score is whether or not you pay your bills on time – being organized can help!

2) Put your savings and investments on automatic. Decide how much you want to save each month (or paycheck) and set-up a system that will automatically take care of this for you. You may want to use payroll deduction to fund a 401(k) plan at work, or deposit money into a savings account or directly into a mutual fund. What's important is to remove the frequent decision-making -- save or not, where to put the money, etc.

3) Reduce the number of bills you receive. Too many bills mean it's easy to lose track of where you spend you money and who needs to be paid. Try using fewer credit cards. Consolidate accounts when it makes sense – for example, having one provider for services such as cable TV and Internet or combining savings accounts with relatively small balances at different financial institutions into accounts at one financial institution.

Do you have a favorite way to simplify your finances? Click on my name below to share your ideas. I'll post ideas shared to this blog so that we can all benefit.

Interested in other finance-related blogs? Check out this post and others on the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted this week at the Fraud Files Blog.

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