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Checking in on Our Automation – Our Finances in Review

For the last few months, I’ve let our finances basically go on auto-pilot since we do make enough to pay our bills and save some for the future.  I was watching everything like a hawk daily last year since we were buying the house, so I set everything up this year to make it pretty easy to handle again.

Automation Kicks Butt

We have automatic payments set up in our blog income account to auto-transfer biweekly paychecks to our checking account.  All of our bills (except the stupid water bill on the new house) are automatically charged to our credit cards or drafted from our checking account depending on what the billing company accepts.  The water bill has a 5% fee for having it auto-drafted, so I get the bank to send them a real check every month through bill pay.

Other than that, I only log on for about two hours every month to print off our credit card statements, enter everything into our budget, and once I verify all of the charges were ours, I set up the credit cards to draft their payment from our checking account.  I also use that same time to move any extra money to the savings account or investment that we are working on at the time.

So our finances are handled with about 2-2.5 hours of work per month.

Reviewing Our Finances

The odd thing is that even though this is working for us – in fact, it’s awesome for us – I still can’t help but to want to review everything in detail every few months.  I guess that’s great since it means that I am keeping an eye on everything, but it also means that my anal side is showing.  Oh well.

Here is what I’ve decided for right now:

  • Our emergency fund is going to take a $6000 hit in a couple of weeks for hubby’s dental stuff, so refilling our emergency fund is becoming a priority.
  • The automation is working well, but we could stand to review all of our little splurges and see if there are any painless cuts that can be made again.
  • We need to make up our minds on whether to fully fund hubby’s Roth IRA this year as planned or save that $5500 towards a down payment on another rental property.
  • Early next year, we’ll need to decide whether to start funding a SEP IRA or use that cash for rental properties too.
  • Overall, we are on track.  All of our bills are covered and we are hitting all of our basic savings and investment goals.  It would be nice to cut our bills down by $500 or so in food and entertainment splurges, but overall, we aren’t hurting ourselves.
  • I really, really miss late 2011 and early 2012…our income was just amazing back then.  But I am very thankful we are still doing well.

Do you automate your finances?  Do you check in on everything anyway too?

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6 comments to Checking in on Our Automation – Our Finances in Review

  • I bet you can get that water payment automated, too. Almost all banks now have a way to automate bill pay, so you can still avoid the water company auto-draft fee, but also not have to worry about manually paying the bill. (I pay the HOA dues on our rental condos and a few other things through automated bill pay.)

  • @Shanendoah, I didn’t see the option at Chase that would let them know what I owe every month without logging in. I have to tell them to send x amount and then they take it from there…

    How are you? Long time, no hear!

  • I love posts like this! I like to see other people’s prioritized goals lists because I fail so hard at having one for my finances. We are in a holding pattern!

  • We have some bills automated. I get an extra 1% if I automatically pay my AT&T bill on my discover card. While it’s only like $0.80, it’s free money! I log in all the time to check our charges. I don’t write check ever except for our apartment since they charge for credit card payments.

  • Chuck@Tortoise Banker

    Set up a $458 auto investment into a vanguard Roth and skip the rental property… I think you’ll be better off. Just my 2 cents

  • Jennifer Solak

    I like the idea of using potential Roth funding to put toward a rental property. My husband and I are considering doing the same with our 2013 contributions. I am in the middle of reading “How to Manage Your Monthly Nut” and I really liked your discussion about the importance of keeping some of your savings in a place that is accessible before age 59.5. Although the rental property investment money is not fully liquid, certainly any rental income would be. I’ll be interested to hear what you end up doing!