Taking care of your personal finances, while rarely urgent, remains very important. The problem is that most folks don’t really like to manage their personal finance (or anything else that is important but not urgent). Call it procrastination, call it laziness or call it hiding from the cold hard truth; delaying the moment when you sit down and look at your financial situation can be very expensive.
In this article, I offer you a simple routine to review and adjust your personal finances on a regular basis. In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed, I suggest that you manage specific tasks according to given blocks of time. Therefore, you will be able to manage your personal finance in a more effective manner. So, I am sharing how I manage my personal finance on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.
Manage your personal finance on a daily basis: quick overview
Each day when I arrive home from work, I take 5 minutes to look over my personal finance. Within this 5 minutes I:
- Open the mail and email (review statements)
- Login into my bank account to make sure that my accounts, lines of credit are in order (no strange transactions)
- Log my purchases for the day into my budget software
Since I just take 5 minutes, I do not pay any bills or scutinize the transactions one by one. I just make sure that everything is normal. When I have bills to pay, I put them in a separate basket to take care of later on.
Manage your personal finance once a week: quick actions
Now that my day-to-day finance is under control, I make sure to spend about 15 minutes per week to “clear” what’s on my desk. This is when I:
- Pay the bills I received during the week
- Make sure I have enough money for the upcoming bills
- Take a brief look at the upcoming weeks to see if there are any one-off expenses
Manage your personal finance once a month: supervising the real stuff
Once a month (usually the first weekend of the month), I sit down and take a look at my personal finance for a good 30 minutes. During this time I:
- Make sure I have followed my budget
- Look at the upcoming month for unusual expenses
- Look at my investments to make sure everything is on track
- Calculate my net worth to see if I’m going forward or backward
Manage your personal finance once a year: planning the real stuff
This is probably the most important part of my personal finance management. This is when I look at what has been done over the past 12 months and plan for what is coming up. This is also where I set my priorities for the next 1, 2, 3 years:
- Compare my net worth to last year
- Review my financial goals and make sure I have reached them
- Establish my new goals
- Review my budget and look where I spent the most (I know it already; dining out!).
- Determine the amount I give to charity
- Review my retirement plan
As you can see, this step can take a few hours up to a full day to plan (especially when you do it for the first time). However, this is the day in your year where your time is definitely well invested!
Do you have any tricks to manage your personal finance?
I’d be curious to know what your tricks are when it comes down to managing your personal finance. Do you do it on a monthly basis? Yearly basis?