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?