Managing our financial lives takes time and attention. But with many choices and opportunities, life slowly gets more and more complicated. Any day is a good day to simplify. And with the holidays around the corner, getting a jump on paring down administrative tasks give back time for more enjoyable activities. The following 4 tactics aren’t new; it just takes a little time to start a new habit and manage personal or small business admin:
- Sign up for auto pay and/or electronic payments. Enroll with any creditors or vendors that can be directly debited on the due date. If you don’t want to auto pay, and want to view payment options, then sign up for electronic billing with due date reminders. Going green with paperless billing means that paper bills don’t get lost or misplaced.
- Use one primary credit card each for personal and business. Consolidating payments means less time paying bills. And keeping personal and business expenses separate saves time sorting through charges to prepare expense reimbursement requests. You may want to hold onto unused cards as opposed to cancelling them. One component of your credit score is a ‘utilization ratio.’ If you cancel all of your cards, then it appears that you are using a higher percentage of available credit, which can hurt your score, even if you pay off the balance each month.
- Consolidate files. Life is simpler with less paper and less need for storage. Whenever possible, scan documents you need to save. Even the IRS accepts digital copies of support documents. Several online sources for storing docs include: Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Apple iCloud Drive, or Dropbox. Another tool is shoeboxed.com, with limited free service, and plans available for higher volumes. Things you need to save include: birth certificates, social security cards, marriage license, divorce decree, military service records, car titles, home purchase documents and improvement receipts. You also need to keep records that prove a history of health insurance (for tax purposes), and keep investment statements that show cost basis as long as you own the investment. Keep a shredder busy with: pay stubs (after you receive Form W-2 for the year and verify accuracy), brokerage statements after you receive an annual statement (unless you need a record of gain or loss on specific transactions), and any paper credit card statements.
- Stay focused. Distractions are constantly vying for our attention. You’ll get more done when you focus on one task before going to the next. If necessary, put your phone on silent or ‘off,’ and shut-down email when working on important projects.
Tackling just one time-saver at a time pays off. At Salmon Sims Thomas, we value your time and appreciate your business. Talk with us about time-saving options for managing business or nonprofit finance.