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15 Ways to Simplify Your Life

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

In terms of your to-do list: simple begets easy, easy begets accomplished, accomplished begets having time to do all of that other stuff you really wanted to do.  Here are some ideas to get you started saving that most precious commodity: time. 

1. Unsubscribe from junk emails.

It is easy to just hit the delete button, but that’s not solving the problem.  Just scroll to the bottom of the email and look for the tiny tiny unsubscribe button.  Save yourself the trouble of sifting through your junk box for an important email or switching addresses all together.

2. Set up automatic bill pay.

Living in small towns for the past 2 years has made me miss this one.  Pay your bills on time all the time?  Yes please.  If you like to know the exact moment your bill gets paid, many companies offer email notifications when the payment is drafted. 

3. Opt for electronic statements.

I feel like I’m getting more than just a bank statement nowadays.  I’m getting envelopes, return envelopes, fliers, advertisements, oh my!  Many banks are also starting to charge for paper statements.  Save your space and money.  Do it now. 

4. Adopt the 4+ Text Rule.

A friend suggested this one recently and it really does save you time.  If a text conversation requires more than 4 messages back and forth, just make the call.  Consider how much extra time is added to the conversation when you factor in typing and waiting for responses.   

5. Keep track of your budget automatically.

What’s the one thing that everyone’s worried about?  Money, duh.  Automate your budget and keep track of your spending using your computer.  Oh, off the top of my head, there’s Quicken ($35), Mint.com (free), and your bank may even offer some sort of expense tracking tool like the one at USAA (free). 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 27/07/2010

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Judge Not, Lest Nobody Like Ye

Everyone judges other people’s spending habits at one time or another, but eventually the shoe will be on the other foot.  Today the shoe was on my foot; my newly pedicured foot.  And it was smelly.

 

Today I went and got my nails and my toe nails done; rare occurrences by themselves, practically unheard of at the same time.  Sure I could do it myself, but my left hand just won’t paint worth a da… darn.  Actually, today I just felt the need to take care of myself in a special way.  This is my rationalization and I’m sticking to it.   

Actually, I was treating myself big-time because I also got my hair done (I love Wal-Mart, you only have to make one trip and POOF! everything you need is all in one place).  My stylist noticed the toe-separator-thingamajig and said to me with judging eyes, “oh, do you get pedicures often?”  So, I may have misread said “judging eyes,” my own judgment clouded with guilt by my previous splurges, but I felt judged

With my sensitivity on alert, my ears perked up when Stylist mentioned she was a smoker.  Ah ha!  What a hypocrite, judging me for spending just a few bucks on myself when she herself was throwing money down the tubes daily…  Wait a minute.  I realized the reason I was peeved was that she had stuck her nose into my finances without knowing me, and I was doing the same to her. 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 31/08/2010

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Around the Interwebs: Week of September 13th


Carnival

Here are the carnivals where I was featured this week.  Enjoy!


 


Carnival of Personal Finance Editor’s Choice! @ Danielle Liss – Spending Under Pressure


Festival of Frugality @ My Personal Finance Journey – Home Economics: Beer Brewing

As long as you are browsing the interwebs, here are some of the articles that I found worthwhile this week:


Why We Have Joint AND Separate Accounts @ Couple Money


How Credit Card Companies Make Money @ Narrow Bridge


Nobody Cares About X as Much as You @ Ultimate Money Blog

Find more amazing reads by browsing through the Yakezie Blogroll.

Article publié pour la première fois le 17/09/2010

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The Yakezie Challenge

As we all go through our financial journeys at some point we realize the benefit good old-fashioned benchmarking.  Without goals the Broncos and the Bengals are just a bunch of dudes running around hitting each other. 

This blog is relatively new (you'll notice the archives only go back to June) and without going into too much bloggy, technical detail, when it comes to getting your writing out there, your rank matters. 

So, I've taken on a little challenge to improve my rank and hit some of my own benchmarks.  The Yakezie Challenge was started over at Financial Samurai and is a great way for bloggers to support each other and improve their own visibility. 

Join me in making a mid-year-ish resolution, and start finding ways to accomplish some of your own goals. 

Wish me luck!

Article publié pour la première fois le 31/08/2010

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What is debt consolidation?

If you are finding it difficult to balance household bills and servicing debts, it may be time to consider taking action and finding an appropriate debt solution. For many individuals who have a number of outstanding payments, remembering dates and ensuring bills are paid on time throughout the month can be difficult, making the stretching of a monthly salary very difficult. This can, in turn, lead to financial penalties for late or missed payments and force an individual’s financial situation to spin out of control. One option that can aid in the management of debts is a Debt Consolidation loan.

This type of loan reduces the number of debts individuals need to service, as well as the number of creditors they need to deal with. This can benefit the debtor by reducing the stress associated with juggling debts and also allow them to keep better track of their money, ensuring they don’t miss payment dates while avoiding extra charges. In addition, consolidating debts into one loan can free up time spent managing these debts to make it easier to plan a budgeting strategy.

Depending on the type of debt consolidation loan taken out, it is often possible for the debtor to reduce the amount of money they are remunerating each month on debts, making it easier to pay essential household bills. This could result in the debts costing you more to eradicate in the long term, but it can help reduce your outgoings on a short-term basis and give you a fixed date in the future for you to work towards when you know you will be completely debt-free. Perhaps most importantly, if used correctly, debt consolidation can help individuals who have the potential to end up in serious financial difficulty to bring their finances back under control and avoid bankruptcy.

If you are exploring the financial solutions open to you to help you manage your own personal situation, take the time to review the debt consolidation options available. These loans are available on a secured and unsecured basis and can be tailored to meet an individual’s needs. Before you take out any loan, remember to shop around and talk to potential lenders about the conditions of any agreement.

Article publié pour la première fois le 27/11/2011

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How To Save Money On Your Taxes

As a former accountant I can tell you the reason accountants become anti-social: they get yelled at ALOT .  Just as the employee at airline counter cannot control the weather, accountants cannot control tax law, the weather or, for the most part, the amount of time it takes to complete your taxes.

I remember my first beat-down.  I might have told the gentleman how he could save money the next year (like I’m about to tell you), but I was too busy crying under my desk.

For starters, you should know that most firms charge by the hour.  Depending on the firm, even small tasks like phone calls are billable.

They also operate on a first come, first serve basis.  So, if you bring your information in the day before April 15th, they’ll probably just do an extention for ya.

 

Here’s how you’re gonna save this year:

1. Look at your last year’s tax return to see what documents you brought last year.  If you can’t find it, or understand it, just call your firm and ask them what you need to bring.

I know you think you’ve got it covered, but you are going to forget something.  A phone call is a heck of a lot cheaper than the time it takes your accountant to sort through your documents, determine what you are missing and call you back.  That’s all billable time.

2. Make 2 copies of everything (make sure you have every page), then bring the orignals and one of the copies.  A. It’s cheaper than paying some frazzled, exhausted worker who may take a while (especially if you have a bunch of statements).  B. If an anti-social accountant calls you and accuses you of forgetting your 1099-Whatever, then you can rub it in their face.

Don’t forget to bring the originals.  Accountants can be anal-retentive and illogical.  Just appease them.

 

3. Put everything in some sort of order (maybe even highlight statement headers).  Accountants are not robots and it can be mind-numbing to go through a billion forms that all look alike – shockingly, you are not their only client.  When you take out room for errors you are likely to save yourself some cash.

 

4. When your accountant calls take GOOD notes and ask questions.  If you bring in the wrong document or you forget your checkbook you’ve made a trip for nothing.

How are you going to save on your taxes this year?

Article publié pour la première fois le 02/04/2014

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