I loathe personal finance.
It’s tedious, it’s limiting, and there’s nothing glamorous about being #frugal.
As a career girl working in the finance industry, this typically comes as a shock to most people when I tell them I am terrible at handling my own finances.
I like to compare it to the year I spent working a side-job at Gap. I am a very organized, clean, tidy person, and doing laundry was more of a favorite hobby than a grueling chore. There was nothing better than the therapeutic process of folding clothes fresh out of the dyer into neat, tidy piles and organizing these piles into their respective places in dresser drawers.
A year spent at Gap ruined this Saturday ritual for me. Every shirt, sweater, pant, skirt, dress, etc. that did not require a hanger had to be folded in clean, crisp lines and placed in exact piles around the store. As soon as I started getting paid to do this job that I once loved, cherished, and excelled at, I began to hate it.
Very similar to working with money daily and being responsible for your client’s personal finances. When I come home from a long day at work, the LAST thing I want to do is sit down with my Chromebook and tackle a budget or balance a checkbook.
As you can imagine, my finances needed a little TLC. Here are the 3 steps I am taking to put my financial future first, without compromising my daily lifestyle.
- Unsubscribe. Although time-consuming, I unsubscribed from all those pesky shopping emails that always find their way to my inbox. Cutting back on unnecessary shopping is much easier when I’m not constantly reminded of what flash sales I’m missing out on. #OutOfSightOutOfMind.
- Increase my 401(k) contribution. This is by far the easiest step to take. I made myself an ongoing annual task through my Outlook inbox to increase my Traditional and Roth IRA contributions by a percentage within my company 401(k). While I won’t notice the small decrease of immediate funds I receive from my net paycheck, I will notice the exponential growth to my retirement funds when I receive my monthly statement.
- Auto-save. This past year I began making automatic deposits into a savings account with funds from my paycheck. Most employers offer employees secure direct online views of an employee’s paycheck. I can easily access my account and set up as many banking accounts and update funding amounts as often as I wish. I have a portion of my check flowing straight into my savings and the remaining proceeds transfer into my checking with each paycheck. It was painless and after a few months I increased my savings amount as my lifestyle was un-impacted by the minor change.
These three steps are just simple, minor changes, but they each come with a major impact on my financial future. After a year of automatic savings, increased retirement contributions, and decreased bad shopping habits, I’m taking a much greater interest in my financial situation as it becomes more and more healthy.
My next step on my financial horizon – implementing that #budget!
What are some of your favorite ways to remain frugal without sacrificing financial freedom? Comment below or contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or twitter (@sarah_renieri)…I’d love to hear from you!