We live in an era of procrastination and our finances are not immune to it. It’s made worse by the fact that smart money management doesn’t produce immediate results. We only reap the rewards many months or years down the road, so it doesn’t feel too urgent.
Don’t let that fool you, though. The best time to kill financial procrastination is now. Here are some tips to help you save the money you deserve to save.
Join An Online Financial Community
Procrastination is mostly mental. Sure, there may be moments when we legitimately don’t have the time to deal with money, but for the most part, we push it back because it’s a hassle, it requires thinking, and we just want to relax. It’s a mindset thing, and the best way to change your mindset is to surround yourself with like-minded folks.
One of the most helpful things you can do — and it doesn’t even require much effort on your part — is join an online forum or community dedicated to being a responsible steward of your money.
The first place you’ll want to check out is Reddit. If you’re unfamiliar with the site, get up to speed with our quickstart guide to Reddit. Then, start off with two of my favorite subreddits: /r/PersonalFinance and /r/Frugal. You’ll save so much money with those two communities alone.
You may also be interested in these money-stretching subreddits.
But don’t limit yourself to Reddit. There are other communities on the Web that focus on planning finances and plugging money leaks. GetRichSlowly andSavingAdvice are good places to begin your journey (check out their forums).
Start Using Money Management Apps
There are so many tools out there that are designed to make money management easy. If you aren’t using them, you’re really missing out. There’s no reason why you must slave over checkbooks and balances when a simple mobile app can handle it all in half the time.
Mint continues to be one of the best tools for budgeting and tracking your spending. It started off as an easy-to-use website but has since expanded onto Android, iOS, and beyond. It taps directly into your bank accounts for maximum control, yet remains secure and free from worry.
For more life-changing help that fits right on your phone, check out our list of thebest money management apps. Save on gas, maximize your loan repayments, gain access to coupons and discounts, and so much more.
And if you’re ever stuck on a difficult financial decision, consider installing one of these decision making apps. Based on your own priorities and desires, these apps can help calculate the most cost-effective decision for you.
Get Comfortable With Online Banking
If online banking isn’t second nature to you yet, then perhaps it’s time to roll up those sleeves and plunge right in. There are so many benefits to it that can relieve a lot of your financial stress if set up correctly. Once you fall into the online banking rhythm, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
We’ve gone over reasons to love online banking already, but in case you missed them:
- Instant access to your balance and funds.
- Deposit checks with a smartphone or scanner.
- Quick and convenient money transfers.
- Automatic bill payments.
- Paperless and environmentally friendly.
On a related note, why not move your personal loans online as well? Instead of relying on a bank or credit union, you might want to start using peer-to-peer lending.
Gamify Your Finances
Financial goals are just like any other goals: they won’t help you at all if you make these critical goal setting mistakes. You probably have abstract long-term plans (e.g., retirement, debt repayment, buy a house) but you also need concrete short-term goals that lead you towards those plans. That’s where gamification can come in handy.
Gamification is the use of game mechanics – like achievement badges, progress bars, reward points, and even virtual currency – as a means for solving problems and cultivating motivation. It’s extremely effective when combined with management of finances.
Our own editor, Justin, gamified his life with a web and mobile tool called HabitRPG. With it, you can break down your life into a series of individual tasks and this system will reward you whenever you complete a task, essentially turning your life into an RPG. For example, you can have a recurring task to “Deposit $10 into vacation jar” and the system will reward you for doing so.
There are many gamification tools out there, including Beeminder, stickK, and the aforementioned Mint, which uses financial goals and progress bars to help gamify your money.
That being said, gamification is NOT a be-all end-all solution. Certain personalities will benefit from it while others may not see any improvements. My advice is to give it a try and see how it works for you.
Final ThoughtsThere’s no precise cure for procrastination, but you can certainly help curb it by making your financial management as easy as possible. Surround yourself with people who are smart with their money, learn to use mobile money apps, and familiarize yourself with online banking and lending.
How do you deal with money problems? Do you employ a lot of different tools and apps? Do you have any tips for when financial burdens become overwhelming? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!