Day 26: Managing Money (30 Day Financial Wellness Challenge)

Automate and track your finances with ease.

Day 26: Managing Money (30 Day Financial Wellness Challenge)Welcome to Day 26 of the 30-Day Financial Wellness Challenge.

Each day will comprise of financial exercises, some short and others a bit longer, to help you become financially fit. The goal is to tackle different aspects of personal finances one day at a time.

After the 30 days, you’ll have a stronger understanding of your financial health and an action plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Review Day 25: Budget Better

Managing money can be stressful and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

On day 26, you’ll learn about managing money with ease.

You’ve done a great deal of work in the past 25 days. Take the moment to congratulate yourself. You’re at the homestretch. Now, that you have a budget, how do you stick with it? Today, you’ll learn how to monitor your budget and about managing money through automation and tracking.

Automating your money

Make it easier on yourself and automate as much of your finances as possible. It might seem you’re releasing control because you’re not “doing” the work. But the benefit of sound financial management is the ability to free yourself from the mundane and tedious parts of managing money.

Automating your finances supports good financial habits. And more specifically helps you hit financial milestones and achieve your goals.

How to automate your finances

Follow these steps to financial automation success.

1. Start with having the right checking account

Refer back to the banking relationship challenge. Make sure your checking account offers automation tools.

2. Enroll in direct deposit

Deposit your entire net-pay into your checking account. You’ll need to set this up with your employer. Make sure your pre-tax retirement plan contributions are set.

3. Set up auto-transfer saving rules

If your savings accounts are with the same financial institution, then automate the transfers. This should be a relatively simple process allowing you to set the amount and date of transfers. Consider switching to a different banking provider if this isn’t the case. Or set the automatic transfer into your online savings account.

4. Set up auto-bill payments

Free your mind from having to remember to pay a bill on the due date. You take control by making sure bills are paid on time. Auto-pay all your bills listed on your expense statement. This helps you avoid late fees and penalties.

5. Automate your investments

Use the auto-transfer features with your investment accounts to electronically withdraw money from your checking account. By setting a date, you know exactly when money leaves your account. Additionally, use automatic dividend reinvestment and rebalancing features offered by robo-advisors brokerage services.

6. Use cashback services

Get back some of the money you’re spending. Whether you decide to use a cashback credit card or cashback shopping portal or both, use services that make cashback earnings easy. Many offer browser extensions for automated cashback earnings.

Tracking your money

Budgeting might have sounded tedious and tracking money sounds laborious. And that’s why there are plenty of money management apps to help you.

It’s important to track your finances, not just your spending, to make sure you’re progressing towards your goals. There are many different services, many offered for free, to help you stay on top of it all.

1. Use a money management app

Aggregate all your accounts in one place to get an overview of how your managing money. Some financial institutions offer the feature to link external banking accounts. Make sure, however, they also offer insights. Third-party apps might be a better option. They offer general account overviews, expense categorization, and recommendations. The Personal Capital app is one of the best and free money management tools available.

Additionally, do the following:

2. Get alerts from your financial institution

Keep up-to-date with deposits and withdrawals from your checking account. Many offer notifications or text messages. It’ll easily help you identify any unusual or fraudulent activities.

3. Set credit card notifications

Get notifications of credit use, limits, and payments. Stay on top of your credit cards for any unauthorized uses.

4. Get alerts for changes in credit reports

Many free credit monitoring apps offer more than just credit scores. They offer updates on changes reported on your credit file. Consider using multiple apps to cover all three major credit bureaus.

Giving you peace of mind is the main benefit of alerts, notifications, and money management apps.

Let’s begin your challenge.

Day 26 Assignment

Today, your task is aimed to make managing your finance easier. Use the checklist to assist you.

Tracking Checklist

  1. Download a money management app. Try Personal Capital. It’s free.
  2. Download a free credit monitoring app. Try Credit Karma. It’s free too.
Download a Money Management App Yes [  ]   No [  ]
Which app are you using?
Download a Credit Monitoring App Yes [  ]   No [  ]
Which app are you using?

These tools have been recommended throughout the challenge. So, you might have already downloaded these apps before.

Automation Checklist

  1. Once completed, indicate with a checkmark.
  2. Add comments for issues or decisions on why you’re unable to do a task.
Completed Automation List Comments 
Completed review of your primary checking account
Enrolled in direct deposit
Contributions to employer-sponsored retirement plans set
Emergency savings funds: auto-savings transfers set
Other savings accounts: auto-savings transfers set
Mortgage or rent: auto payment set
Utilities: auto payments set
Cellphone services: auto payment set
Credit cards: auto payments set
Student loans: auto payments set
Other debts: auto payments set
Investments: auto transfers set
Using a cashback shopping portal

Managing Money Tips

  • Take your time to complete the challenge. It’s a tedious process but will support your financial wellbeing.
  • Assess the system. Determine how the alerts, notifications, and apps are helping you manage your money better. In time, you’ll see what’s working and what’s missing that’s not supporting your unique needs.

Additional Reading

  • Personal Capital is a free personal finance app with a 360-degree view of your money. With Personal Capital, you can see all your accounts in one place with planning and analysis tools.
  • Credit Karma offers you two free credit scores and access to credit report cards using the information found on your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports.
  • Rakuten is a shopping portal to earn cash back on your purchases. Get coupons and discounts too. Download the app and the Chrome browser extension.

Next Daily Challenge: Day 27: Earning More Money

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