How to Be Lazy (And Succeed in Money Management)

by Jason Unger

Let’s be honest: most of us would love to spend less time worrying about our money.

Maybe you’re not a procrastinator at heart, but when it comes to managing your money, you can succeed by being lazy and doing less.

I’ve talked at length about why investing is a lazy man’s game: buy index funds, don’t try to time the market, and watch your money grow.

Heck, there’s even a personal finance book and unrelated blog dedicated to laziness and money.

So when it comes to money management, laziness can actually go a long way to help you succeed.

Pay Your Bills Once, Then Forget About Them

Automatic bill pay is a win-win product for both users and service providers. You don’t have to worry about remembering the day your monthly electric bill is due — you just need to set up a recurring payment.

Your service provider loves it, because they don’t worry about you forgetting to pay the bill.

Nearly every big service provider offers some kind of autopay option, and you can always set up billpay through your online bank.

Be lazy. Set up your payments, then go have fun.

Automate Your Savings to Pay Yourself First

If you like waiting until the end of the month to tabulate your spending and see how much money you have left over for savings, congrats. Enjoy.

If you’d rather ensure that you’re saving for your goals and not spending the money elsewhere, pay yourself first with automated savings.

Set up a recurring transfer on the first or 15th of the month from your checking account into your high-yield online savings account, and you never have to worry about remembering to save.

Be lazy. Let online banking tools do the saving for you.

Use a Debit Card to Track Your Spending

I always advocate using a debit card for spending because of its convenience: it’s much easier to carry around than cash (but acts the same) and it’s easily tracked online.

Keeping receipts from all of your spending is a thing of the past. Don’t bother trying to keep it all organized and write it all down. If you use a debit card, you can log on to your online banking site and see all of your transactions laid out before you.

Be lazy. Track your spending using a debit card and online banking.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee Distad July 23, 2009 at 10:46 am

Great advice! I will say though that if you’re self-employed, or work a straight-commission job where not all of your expenses are covered by your employer you should still be keeping and filing your receipts for anything that you intend on using as a tax deduction.

I don’t know how well a printout of your debit card statement would work if the tax man asks to see your receipts, so in the absence of contrary advice from a tax professional, I’d say keep your receipts!

B Simple July 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Good tips to make your finances simple. Setting up automatic payment for your bills is great way to make sure bills are paid on time but you can’t just forget about it. You should at least check to make sure the payment was take out of your account or that the payment was made. As well was the correct amount taken or charged. Because if you don’t check on it you could have problem on your hands. At would check on them at least monthly.

Another tip instead of auto pay from bank account maybe have the bill charged to your credit card. But only do this if you pay off your credit card at the end of the month. Good stuff.

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