Everyone manages their money a little bit differently — but how do the people who love to write about it doing it?
Today, we’re going to begin a series on Money Management by Personal Finance Bloggers, highlighting prominent bloggers and how they manage their finances.
I asked members of the MoneyBlogNetwork forums questions about their money management techniques, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting their answers.
First up, we talked to Jeremy of Generation X Finance.
How do you spend: cash, debit or credit?
I use a combination of cash, debit, and credit cards. I keep cash on me for my daily spending on things like lunch, grabbing a coffee, etc. Then I have a rewards debit card that I do most of my grocery shopping with and use it for some other in-person transactions. Then I have the credit card for all online transactions and for buying gas.
Do you bank online? How about use a financial aggregator (Mint, Wesabe, Yodlee, etc.)?
My banking is done almost exclusively online. The only time I ever go to an actual branch is if I have to cash a rare check or speak to someone regarding a problem. Otherwise all transactions, payments, and transfers are set up online. I don’t use an online aggregator but I do keep tabs on things in Quicken
What recurring bills do you have set on autopay?
All of my bills that are a fixed amount or payments for secured debt are set up as autopay. So, things like the mortgage, car payments, insurance premiums and the like are automatically paid. I tend to refrain from setting various utilities or other fluctuating bills up on autopay so that I can spot an error before money is automatically taken from my account. Although I do still have them setup through online banking for bill payment so I still only have to push a button to pay the bill. I just don’t want any surprises.
How are your finances automated?
Almost everything is automated. Most income comes in via direct deposit or ACH. From there a recurring transfer is made to move money into savings, and there are automatic contributions set up for the 401(k)s and IRAs. And with most bills set up to be paid online or automatically it requires very little interaction.
Do you write checks? If so, how often?
I rarely write checks. We do have two bills each month that will not accept anything but a check, so we have to write checks for those. Otherwise unless it’s needing to pay someone directly or some other rare issue there is no need to write a check.
Where do you stash your short-term savings?
I always keep a couple thousand in an ultra-liquid account at the bank where we keep our checking. This allows us to get our hands on the money either by visiting a branch or using an ATM in a true emergency. The rest of the cash is still easily accessible, but it stays in higher interest accounts online typically.
About the author: Jason is the author of Automatic Finances: 17 Days to Your Financial Freedom, a guide to automated money management. He started investing thanks to a free lunch, and after finding out how he was getting the short end of the stick, he sought out how to do it right. More »