Most of us have heard the saying “work smarter, not harder”. This simply means to find the best way to be as efficient as possible. As such, many times we make this a habit at our jobs. We work to get the most done while at the same time putting out as little energy as possible. Today, I want you to start taking this idea and applying it to your finances.
5 Ways to Make Your Money Work Smarter, Not Harder
Many people don’t get excited about personal finance, so the smarter we can be to make it as effortless as possible is the route to take. Below you will find a handful of ideas to work smarter, not harder with your finances.
1. Sign Up For Bill Pay
Technology is making it easier for us to work smarter in terms of our finances. One such way is to sign up for automatic bill pay with your bank. More and more banks have the ability to retrieve your monthly bills online and if you so choose, you can set up to have your bank automatically pay the bill for you.
This means no more late payments (and fees). No more having to spend the time to write the check out or even enter the bill pay information into your account if you manually pay online. In one step you can add bills and check the box to have your bank pay the bill.
2. Automate Savings
The same idea applies with saving money as well. Take 5 minutes to set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. If you do this on the days you are paid, you will never notice the money is missing and will guarantee that you save some money every month.
Simply choose an amount you would like to save in a year and divide it by the number of times you are paid. Then set up the transfer for this amount. For example, if you want to save $5,000 this year and get paid bi-weekly (26 times a year), set up the transfer for $192 every time you get paid.
Read More: Save Money Automatically with Digit
3. Increase your 401k Contribution
Here is another trick to save more money. Email your benefits department or human resources department to see how you go about increasing your 401k contribution. Some might have to fill out a form while others can do it right from their online account. Whichever you have to do, do it now and increase your contribution by 1%. Then go into Outlook (or whatever email provider you use) and set up a reminder for this date next year to increase the amount you save another 1%.
Some readers will be lucky in that they can just check a box and each year their contribution amount will automatically increase 1% per year. For the rest of us though, we have to set the reminder.
Read More: Why You Should Save 1% More Each Year
4. Switch to Cash
If you find yourself spending more than you make, then you need to switch to an all cash diet. Put the credit cards away and start paying cash for everything. It saves time in that you won’t have to record every purchase you make (though you still should). Plus it helps you to avoid debt.
Even if you are not in debt, I suggest you try this out. It really is amazing how much more you question purchases when you have to part with the $20 in your hand as opposed to simply swiping a piece of plastic.
5. Switch to Store Brands
Tired of comparing prices at the grocery store? To make things simple, just opt for the store brand. Most times they are the same as the brand name item and will cost less. Of course, make sure you double check the first time just to be certain.
Also, when you are grocery shopping, bigger usually means lower price per unit. But this doesn’t mean you should always opt for the biggest size available. If it is an item that spoils or you use infrequently, then buying a smaller size and paying a higher unit price makes more sense than buying in bulk.
Read More: 11 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
There are many other ways you can start working smarter with your finances and I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments. Remember, the more efficient you can be in terms of personal finance, the more likely you will be to stick with it long term, especially if you find personal finance is not your cup of tea.
Take the time to start using some of these ideas and in time you will notice that you have a stronger financial picture than you thought possible.