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Friday Finance: Six Ways to Simplify Your Finances

friday_fiance.jpgAre you struggling to keep up with your financial activity? Here’s some ways to revamp your personal finances…
Six Ways to Simplify Your Finances
By Tamika Y. Richeson
1. Get Organized: Organize your finances with a simple bookeeping journal or excel spreadsheet. Also consider personal finance software like Quicken Starter Edition or MoneyDance to maintain an organized bugdet and record of all of your financial obligations. Knowing where your money goes will help you make adjustments and changes easily throughout the year. This will also help you when tax season approaches.
2. Consider Direct Deposit: For transactions that involve deposits whether from an employer or from one account to another, consider
using the direct deposit method. It is a quick and efficient way to make sure the funds get deposited on time with no delays from waiting on a check to clear.
3. Account Cleanup: Reducing the number of accounts you have will help you reduce risks in account fees, overdraft fees and confusion! Consider maintaing a free checking account for your deposits, another chekcing account for your deposits and cash withdrawls, and a high-yield savings account (i.e. ING Direct, HSBC, or Ally Bank) for investments and long-term savings.
4. Establish a Budget..and Follow It!: Many of us have a rough budget in mind…literally in our head. But it helps to visualize it on paper or on the computer screen and glance at it every pay period to see how we are doing with following it. This keeps us accountable and focused on long term goals.
5. Automatic Bill Pay…What a Blessing: It amazes me how unreliable people still trust themselves to pay thier bills on time. Then they get frustrated with late fees and finance charges when all they had to do was link thier account to thier online billing account, which most companies offer now.
6. Overdraft Protection: Most banks offer overdraft protection and I’m not talking about the one you’re probably thinking about. No dipping into the credit card accounts over here! I mean the overdraft protection programs that allow you to link protection from a savings account as opposed to a credit card account. Most overdraft protection programs based on credit not only withdraw the amount overdrafted, but they also take out an additional fee of $50 per overdraft! Robbery! So consider the savings account instead, its your money and there are no $50 fees.

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