We know what it’s like to be busy; sometimes, our head runs in circles with so many things we should be doing that we lose track, of, well, what we should be doing.
One bad habit we used to have was going to extremes in the way we checked on our financial life. Sometimes, avoiding our long to-do list turned into checking the stock market compulsively or logging in to see our credit card transactions many times per day, even though we hadn’t made any extra charges. Other times, we’d get so busy that we’d stop checking in altogether, because keeping track of our finances became just another chore on the lower rungs of our schedule. Then, of course, we’d stress out once per month when our bills came in.
Instead of falling into that trap, we want you to achieve a healthy balance that’s neither compulsive nor negligent—and, most of all, not stressful. So, we bring you the LearnVest guide to a healthy everyday thought process around money.
Here’s how we suggest scheduling your financial check-ins:
(generally when you get in for the day or around that 4 pm coffee break)
- Go through your emails.
- Open all bank notifications you’ve received via mail or email.
- Take a quick peek at the financial markets, if you follow them.
- Don’t let the due date of any bill pass you by; if it’s due today, make well and sure it is paid on time and in full.
- Browse through credit card transactions online to make sure there’s no suspicious activity.
- Verify bank account balances so you know what’s in there, in order to avoid overdraft fees.
- Make sure you have enough cash until the next time you visit the A.T.M., so that you’re never stranded in a pinch.
- Look over your personal budget to make sure that your spending is on track.
- Make sure to send in your rent or mortgage payment on time.
- Look through your credit card bill for any errors. If you find any, dispute them. If there are none, pay in full.
- Pay bills for utilities, cell phone, cable, internet, etc.
- Keep up with all debt payments, such as those for student loans.
- Check your credit score.
- Reevaluate your budget to make sure that it accurately reflects your spending and any changes in your income.
- File taxes.
- Max out your contributions to your retirement accounts.
- Reevaluate your position at work, whether that means negotiating for a pay raise or looking for a new role.
Tell us in the comments: What kind of organizational system do you use to make your money as stress-free as possible?