NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy information, I suggest you skip this article.
I have written several times about leading a paperless lifestyle. I have tried to do so and now live about 98% paper free. I love it. I don’t ever want to go back to cluttering my life with paper.
Even at the NGS genealogy conference I am attending this week, when anyone in the exhibits hall hands me a brochure or a business card, I simply take a picture of it with my smartphone’s camera and then hand the paper back to the person who gave it to me. I won’t need to stuff my suitcase full of paper for the trip home. Unlike past conferences, I won’t lose the various pieces of paper. The smartphone pictures automatically get copied to my private space “in the cloud” within seconds after snapping the shutter. They are then easily searchable and retrievable for years to come.
Of course, the conference syllabus is already available in digital format. When the conference organizers handed me the flash drive containing the syllabus, at the first opportunity back in the hotel room, I uploaded the entire thing to my private space in the cloud. I will later recycle the flash drive by reformatting it and using it for something else. Life without clutter is great!
Now Jacob Wade suggests that the next step is to go money-free. However, “going money-free” probably isn’t what you may have thought when you first read the title of this article. It means to live without handling cash or even a checkbook. In other words, plan accordingly and automate your bill payments. Doing so adds structure and planning to your life and reduces the time spent with mundane tasks such as paying bills. It also simplifies the goal of maintaining a budget.
After reading his article, I think I am about 75% of the way to accomplishing that goal. According to the checkbook I keep in a bureau drawer, I wrote exactly three checks in the past twelve months. I generally have very little cash in my wallet and no longer carry pocket change. I also check my financial status daily on Mint.com. I never receive surprises. I hope to become 100% money-free within the next few weeks.
Most bills can be automated, and even if a particular bill doesn’t have an automated system, many banks will send scheduled checks for you.
Wade suggests you:
- Automate All Your Bills.
- Automate Your Budget For Necessities.
- Automate All Your Savings.
For a few expenses, such as grocery shopping, a credit card or debit card will eliminate the need to carry cash. I prefer debit cards because there is no debt involved. A debit card simply transfers existing funds from your bank account to the store’s account. By using a debit card and monitoring my bank account(s) daily with Mint.com, I never receive an unpleasant surprise at the end of the month when a credit card bill arrives.
This won’t work if you are living paycheck to paycheck and have no savings. However, if you have even a modest financial cushion, living money-free will mean you stop worrying about your finances and will instead sit back and MONITOR the process.
Monitoring is the operative word.
Monitoring instead of doing means you will be more in control of your own finances. When you don’t even have to think about the money, there’s no stress. As long as you have set out a plan to minimize wasteful spending, maximize valuable saving, and spend a few seconds every day monitoring the progress, you can enjoy life MUCH more.
You can read Jacob Wade’s article, How To Not Worry About Money Ever Again (And It’s Not What You Think!), at http://www.iheartbudgets.net/2014/05/how-to-not-worry-about-money/.