So 2017 is kind of a big year. This whole wedding this is quickly approaching & our travel bug continues to get bigger and bigger (especially to places like SE Asia and Iceland and…everywhere else).
As someone who goes in a million directions on any given day, I knew I had to figure out a system and set up some “rules” for myself to keep everything in check.
What you monitor, you manage.
Isn’t that so true? I’ve shared that quote a few other times because it is so applicable to our lives – our time, our health and diet, our weight, and our money can be better managed if we pay more attention to it.
Without being obsessive about money, I decided to utilize some amazing systems both mentally and technologically that have already set me on a path of success. Here are some principles that I’m living by more and more. Not perfectly by any means, but making progress…
Buy less clothes and better quality pieces
All the articles and videos about fast fashion make my heart kind of die inside for our planet. And for so many men & women who are working for little pay to make these shirts and pants and shoes for us.
At one point very recently, Z pointed out that my vice is online shopping. He’s totally right. If not for that conversation, it wouldn’t be on the forefront of my mind. I love clothes, but at the end of the day I love traveling more and having money to buy delicious food from local restaurants and the grocery store! Clothing helps me express my creative self, but that doesn’t need I need to be sporadic or fill my closet up until it’s full. 🙂
Use Mint.com to track spending
I set up my categories & figured out a way to see how much of my money is going to any given area (restaurants, shopping, house, etc.). It’s not a perfect system, but it certainly gives me a quick recap of where I’m at with spending. I also use it to help me track business expenses as well. You can connect any and all of your accounts, so I’ve got my mortgage, retirement, car lease, student debt and all my other accounts linked.
It’s a great hub for your financial data. If you like seeing everything in one space, Mint.com will certainly help.
Use Evernote & Google Drive for tracking (everything)
These super slick tools mean less paper (less waste) and easy access. I keep all my grocery lists here, my recipes, important documents, passwords, etc. This is relevant because at the beginning of the year my laptop’s hard drive crashed but 95% of everything I have was stored in the cloud… cause ummm, I definitely didn’t back up my computer for a couple years. So if you need a prompt to do that, here it is.
This actually helps me save money and time because I have notes with explanations, my reminders, or to-do lists plugged in there. Both can be accessed from my iPhone at any given time. I love these digital tools.
If there’s a way to automate paying bills or moving money to my savings account, consider all those things done. It took some time to get it all set up, but I don’t have to worry about excess mail (that takes me foorrreever to read & went to recycling) and bills potentially being late from uhh the problem earlier in the sentence.
Unroll.me is a great tool if you’re ready to overhaul the number of email lists you’re subscribed to. Even though I am really truly buying less, the temptation was always in my inbox! Rude! 😉 I will look online ONLY if I need something specific, like a bachelorette party dress that is currently sitting in a shopping cart & awaiting my wonderful gift card.
Use those coupon tools & apps
I’ve shared my love for Ebates before, but have you heard of Honey? Man, oh man. This thing combs through every single coupon code when you’re in the checkout and tests them all. So if you are shopping online, use these tools! Seriously, you’ll save money left and right. And I’m absolutely going to get into Poshmark for selling some pieces in my closet that I don’t love anymore. It’s also great to buy clothes secondhand when possible! (Here’s the code for $5 off your first order: GSDVN.)
Only use point-creating credit cards
Why? Points, baby, points!! The two best cards on the market (IMO) are the Chase Preferred and the Chase Reserve. If you can meet the requirements to get the bonus points (Chase Reserve is up to 100,000 no joke) it is so worth it! That 100,000 in points is nearly $1500 in travel, which means almost all of our travel in 2017 is paid for outside of Airbnbs. And we are not spending a TON of money every month.
When we are not using our points though, we’ve found that Airbnb offers some amazing options with a home-like feel (or in the middle of the woods if you prefer). Definitely worth the exploration.
Make my own coffee
Well this one for me is a no-brainer. I can still buy my beans locally, but that doesn’t mean someone else has to make my coffee for me.
Everything else requires me to be just a little more mindful. I haven’t purchased anything online (except a hard drive…) since the beginning of the year.
It is refreshing to know that I have so many easy-to-use tools to keep me organized and on a path that keeps my moolah managed. As you can tell, some of it means more self-control and others just require some systems to keep me in check. It’s a mix for me and so far it has worked well!
What are you using to keep your finances in order (and help save you cashola)?
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