A lot of us live our lives on autopilot. Wake up, get dressed, drink coffee (if you have young kids like me, lots of coffee), head to work, do the daily grind, come home, dinner, TV, bed. I’m not necessarily encouraging this as a lifestyle, but lets face it, we as Americans are pulled towards routine. Are you applying that auto pilot mentality to your personal finances? If not, why not? It allows you to stop spending time on the minutia of bill paying and gives you more time for fun things! Plus it eliminates late fees, credit report dings, the scramble for a stamp, the hand cramps from writing out countless checks. Ok, hopefully you don’t have so many bills that last one applies.
And here is the neat thing about automation, we can apply it to saving too! Remember that old adage pay yourself first. Get your emergency fund savings, retirement planning, and investing on auto pilot. We can even apply it to other saving goals…Christmas, vacations, home improvements. Remember, most of personal finance isn’t all about dollars and cents, it’s about behavior. If we automate our savings and bill paying, we know what’s left in our account each month is for the fun stuff. Before long you won’t even miss the money and it will start making money for you by accruing interest and ultimately compounding. Yes, we still need to budget each month, but we don’t need to spend hours paying the same bills every month. And how many times have you said “I should really start saving for that vacation” or “I really should increase my retirement contributions”. Stop talking start doing, put the boring stuff on auto pilot and take the wheel on the adventure of life!
(photo by mike miley)