10 Ways to Simplify Your Financial Life

Managing your finances can be stressful and overwhelming at times. I feel like the older I get, my husband and I tend to have a more complex financial situation. Things seemed much simpler and easier 10 years ago when we were living in an apartment in our college town. If you’re looking to simplify your financial life, you can definitely work toward this goal no matter what things look like today.

I will say that it can seem time-consuming at first and will take a lot of effort and determination. You will need to work to rewrite systems you’ve relied on for years and change some of your financial habits. But it’s worth it for a simpler financial life with less stress.

Here are 10 realistic ways to simplify your financial life.

Track Your Spending and Adjust Your Budget

Understanding exactly where your money is going every month is the first step to taking control of your financial life. Unfortunately, for many, tracking spending and creating a budget seems daunting. Start small. Use technology, such as financial management apps, to categorize your spending.

Once you have a clear picture, adjust your budget to align with your financial goals. Remember, a budget isn’t static. It should be a flexible tool that evolves with your life. This means you will need to set aside time to review and adjust your budget. Over time, you will start to see patterns in your spending that you want to correct. This will help you cut unnecessary spending and simplify your financial life even more.

Automate Savings

As the popular saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. By automating your savings, you’re essentially paying yourself first. Set up automatic transfers to a dedicated savings account to build your emergency fund or create sinking funds. This simple act will ensure that you’re consistently setting funds aside for your future without having to think about it or resist the temptation to spend it.

RELATED: 6 Saving Strategies You May Not Have Tried Yet

Order Groceries For Free Pickup

In the era of convenience, many grocery stores offer the ease of online ordering and free pickup services. Not only does this save time but it provides an opportunity for you to stick to your shopping list and budget without the in-store temptations. My husband and I have been using Walmart grocery pickup since it was launched. We do some in-store shopping at times but we also take full advantage of Walmart’s free pickup service.

Several other grocery stores now have pickup services and offer delivery as well. The nominal fee associated with delivery may pale in comparison to the savings you’ll make by avoiding impulse purchases.

Consolidate Shopping Trips

Each trip to the store, whether online or physical, comes with a small cost – not just in terms of money, but also in time and potential spending on extra items. Consolidating your shopping trips, whether it’s for groceries or new clothes, reduces the number of times you’re exposed to the potential for unnecessary spending.

Focus on buying all your necessities in as few trips as possible. We do one big shopping trip for toiletries and household items at the start of each month. This cuts down on weekly or random shopping trips that used to happen. We also shop for clothes seasonally and in batches twice a year.

Set Up Autopay

Late fees and forgotten payments can add up quickly and disrupt your financial peace. Automate your fixed expenses by setting up autopay for bills like utilities and subscriptions. Not only does this simplify your financial life by ensuring you never miss a payment, but it also frees up mental space to address variable expenses like dining out or entertainment.

Limit Recurring Subscriptions

With the surge of subscription services, it’s easy to become a member of multiple platforms without just cause. Take a critical look at your recurring expenses and assess the value each service brings to your life. Consider canceling those you rarely use or that can be replaced with a one-time purchase.

Subscriptions costs are sneaky, so you may need to really dig. Add up the monthly or annually cost of all your subscriptions combined to get a clearer look of how the costs add up. Be honest about which services and products you can do without.

RELATED: 7 Expenses You Can Cut This Year to Save Money

Stick to One or Two Credit Cards

Credit cards can be powerful tools for building credit and earning rewards, but managing multiple cards can quickly become complicated. Also, more credit cards means a higher potential to spend and more monthly bills. By limiting the number of credit cards you use, you streamline your payment process and minimize the risk of missing a payment, which can negatively impact your credit score.

Choose one or two cards that offer the best benefits for your lifestyle and goals and use those regularly. You can still open additional credit cards if you want to, but they don’t need to be in your wallet for everyday use. I used a cashback card regularly and while I could try to maximize my rewards by using other cards, it would probably just lead to more chaos. Instead, I stick with my main cashback card to help simplify my financial life.

Avoid Car Loans

When it comes to major purchases, like a car, explore options beyond traditional loans. High interest and long terms can bind you to financial obligations that complicate your life. Instead, consider saving for a used car or opting for a model that you can afford to buy outright. This may require some patience but will ultimately reduce financial stress.

We were able to purchase my husband’s used car in cash, and we really love not having that extra bill. I still have a car loan but I plan to pay it off this year then start setting aside money in a sinking fund for future car expenses.

Find Frugal and Free Ways to Have Fun

Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for community events, public spaces, and hobbies that bring joy without a hefty price tag. Whether it’s a book from your local library, a picnic in the park, or a hike with friends, choosing frugal or free activities can significantly reduce your monthly spending.

Just imagine having fun plans for the weekend to get outdoors or explore with friends and not having to spend much money at all. Whether it’s hosting a bonfire to hiking a new trail or visiting a vineyard to enjoy food trucks and free live music or free museum days, there are tons of things to do for free or cheap.

Use Dollar Cost Averaging When Investing

Investing can be a powerful tool for growing wealth, but it’s often thought of as complex and exclusive. One way to simplify investing is to use dollar cost averaging (DCA). With DCA, you invest a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, regardless of the price of the investment, which can smooth out market volatility and simplify your investment strategy.

RELATED: 10 Best Online Investing Courses

Summary: Simplify Your Financial Life With These Tips

By implementing these 10 strategies, you’ll find a notable reduction in financial stress and an increase in your ability to save and invest in a way that truly aligns with your values and goals. Remember, the key is not to overhaul your lifestyle but to make incremental changes that you can comfortably sustain in the long run. A simplified financial life is a personal one, tailored to meet your specific needs and desires – and it all starts with taking the first step towards a more straightforward approach to managing your money.