Throughout our day to day schedules, there are bound to be times when life gets incredibly busy. Between working full time, having a social life and hobbies, as well as keeping your home or apartment clean and organized, there’s barely any time to focus on other important parts of your life.
Unfortunately, when a busy schedule gets in your way, vital tasks can fall by the wayside and add unnecessary stress to your life. One of the biggest aspects of your life that this can impact is your finances. Money management is already a difficult task to begin with, so it’s no surprise that when adding on the additional stress of daily life, it can fall off your everyday to-do list. However, this leaves many people in difficult financial situations in the long run, so it’s important not to let your finances fall far behind.
So, read on for a list of five ways you can stay financially organized even with a busy schedule. Follow these tips, and your finances will be at the top of their game in no time!
Keep a Planner
One of the first steps you should take if your finances are being impacted by a busy day-to-day schedule is to reduce the amount of clutter in your life. After all, before you can even start focusing on your finances, figuring out how to manage a busy schedule is going to help you free up some time to work on this area of your life. The best way to do this is to create a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule that you can keep on hand at all times.
There are a few ways one can go about doing this itinerary. One way is to have a physical planner or journal on hand. These are often a popular option for people who prefer to handle task management by hand as opposed to automatically. Studies show that manually writing out tasks and reminders help you store these memories better than if you were to simply type them out. Spending money on a physical planner is also a good motivation to use it frequently as well.
However, one of the downsides that may accompany this method is time management. It’s not nearly as convenient to write everything down in a physical planner as it is to use voice-memos or other digital apps to track your schedule.
This is the reason that many people in recent years have decided to take their schedules digital. They’ll usually try different organizing and scheduling apps on their smartphones or computer in order to take advantage of the benefits from technology. This can include getting instant notifications a few days, hours, or minutes before an event or assignment so that you don’t miss anything important. While it may often lack the memory-boosting benefits that can come with manual writing, digital tools are a great way to use tech to stay on top of your day-to-day organization habits.
Digitize Your Finances
Since we’re in the digital age, it’s no surprise that a number of tools and techniques are being developed in the world of technology to help people better organize and manage their finances. The name of the game these days is FinTech, short for Financial Technology. This relatively new field of services is becoming increasingly popular for the variety of options it can provide, both to consumers and businesses. By utilizing technology to help guide and maintain people’s finances, the FinTech industry is proving to be lucrative, and as a consumer, taking advantage of the many different options and benefits available is going to help you in the long run.
One way you can use financial technology to boost your finances is the use of budgeting tools and applications. Due to the variety of budgeting tools out there, it’s important to do some research and determine which one will be best suited for your needs. Some people prefer budgeting apps that link directly to their bank account in order to automatically track their spending and saving. Others prefer ones that allow you to manually add in any income and purchases so that you’re able to visualize your spending habits.
There are also online-only banking platforms now available at the consumer level. These are increasingly gaining traction in recent years. Due to the higher overhead costs associated with having brick and mortar locations, these online banks are able to provide unique services to their customers that may not be available from traditional banks. These may include things such as fee-free accounts, easy online access, and the opportunity to get paid early with faster paycheck deposits.
Track Your Budget Regularly
Keeping an eye on your budget on a regular basis is a key way to make sure you’re not overspending. Your spending habits can be a major factor in determining if you’re in good financial health. Overspending puts you at risk for taking on unnecessary debt, which can pile up and hurt your credit score. Whether you are using a budgeting app as mentioned previously or keeping track of a budget via spreadsheets or a physical planner, keeping track of your spending is vital.
Your first goal with any budget tracking plan is to make sure you are earning more than you spend. At the end of each month, you want to be sure you have enough left over to pay off all your bills without taking on extra loans. As is often the case when it comes to spending habits, people often focus on the short term rather than the long term, which can often lead to difficulties. When you create a budget, always make sure that you’re constantly staying up to date on it and making sure you aren’t overspending.
Your financial future is not something to be overlooked either. This is why you also want to make sure that you leave extra money in your budget for saving and investing. You should also look into the different ways to invest in your future. It is recommended that you contribute at least the minimum amount to match your employer’s 401k program benefits, but many financial planners suggest that you put in 10-15% of your monthly income into a 401k. Another consideration to budget for is an emergency fund or saving for other major expenses you are expecting to take on.
Automate Your Payments
If you’re dealing with a hectic day to day life, managing bills manually, along with the paperwork that may come with them, is going to be a difficult task. Many people end up dealing with excessive clutter when they receive manual bills, and this can cause people to miss payments. Making bill payments on time is vital to everyone’s financial life, because missing payments can have a negative impact on one’s credit score and bring about things like late fees.
If you’re a busy person, this is why it may be a good idea to set up automatic bill payments. Whether it’s your monthly credit card payments, a mortgage, or student loans, almost all of these can be set up with automatic payments. Automatic payments will link up directly to your bank account, so instead of dealing with monthly bills and sending checks in the mail, the bills will automatically be withdrawn from your account every month on time. This can be especially useful if you’re someone who’s apt to forget bills due to a busy life.
However, if you do take this route, be sure you are always keeping your bank account monitored and managed. You don’t want an automatic payment to come through when your account is empty, leaving you with hefty overdraft fees, or leaving your bills unpaid. Keep track of when your bill payments are expected to come in (usually the end of the month) and have enough money in the desired account to cover it when the time comes to make the payment.
Your debt and bill payments may still prove to be a struggle to manage, especially if you have multiple different credit cards or loan providers. Having your bills split among a few different companies can make it hard to manage. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to look into getting a debt consolidation loan. This can take many of the loans you may have and combine them into one easy to manage loan.
Set Aside Time Each Week
Finally, even if you have a busy life, you should always take the time to sit down and recuperate. There are many benefits to taking time for yourself, both for your physical and mental wellbeing. Burnout is real, and you want to make sure you can avoid it at all costs. Consider having set blocks of time, whether it’s weekly or daily, that you spend on yourself, and don’t make any plans. Some activities you can do to destress may include:
- Watching movies or TV
Of course, there are many more. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something that’s both relaxing and fulfilling. By reducing stress and setting aside time for yourself, your mind is going to be better prepared to take on both your daily tasks, as well as any financial planning strategies you were looking to tackle each month.
While having a busy life and schedule may be difficult to manage, there are a number of ways that one can make the most of a stressful situation. This is especially true when it comes to managing money while on a tight schedule. By managing your time properly, focusing on yourself, and using smart financial organization habits, you’ll be able to be both financially savvy as well as organized on a daily basis!