Keeping finances simple

It’s really easy to get complex with personal finance. With each account, loan or investment comes another thread to keep track of. Listing your accounts can feel like a daunting task – the monster under the bed that nobody wants to reveal… Except this monster may be worse than what you imagine.

Once I realized my financial life was a mess and too complicated, I vowed to keep it simple. A friend referred me to the simple card, which didn’t really work for me at first. I put some money in to test it out and nothing changed in my financial life besides adding another account! I did the opposite of my intention.

Fast forward and I set up my main income to directly deposit into my simple account. I still had Chase accounts and other various credit cards and loans but, this time I truly got to experience the simple card in a better way. The last piece was getting my wife on board.

I simply invited her to simple with an email, encouraged her to complete the basic info and set up direct deposit. It’s at this point my financial life got clean and easy. This is largely because we have independent financial lives with shared financial goals. I realize most couples combine finances in which case, simple would work out even better!

Once we were both simple card users, we used it for 0-sum budgeting. We gave every penny a job and included shared goals. Within a few months I closed my Chase accounts, paid off my truck and closed my discover card. I’m halfway to my emergency fund goal and my financial life hasn’t been clearer.

The simple life.

I now have 1 travel credit card which gets paid in full every month, my simple card, an Ally online back account and my vanguard retirement IRAs. I’m tempted to add a brokerage account for fun but I also know my goal is to keep things simple.

*Update: Simple is going out of business and I’m switching to SOFI. Social Finance is a company similar to Simple but the main factor I considered for making the switch is the “goals” or “buckets” or “vaults” – whatever they call it. The app simply allows you to budget and move your money into these “vaults” and when you spend from that card, you can simply say which vault you’re choosing to spend from. This is the main thing that helped me get on track financially. Keep track of every penny with budgeting built into your bank app.

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