Alright guys: confession time.
You know how I advocate automating your finances? I talk about how automatically saving and investing is the best way to pay yourself and automatic payments saves you important time so you can focus on the stuff you really care about.
Well the thing is…I don’t always do it.
Sure, I set up SmartyPig to automatically pull money from my checking account every two week, but the truth is that most of my bills (and all of my investing) are paid manually.
Each month, I authorize credit card payments using ING.
I log into Comcast to pay the cable bill.
I only transfer money to Vanguard for retirement savings in bunches.
Every month or so, I take any extra money and throw it into SmartyPig.
Phew, that felt great to get off my chest. I love the IDEA of automation, it’s just that it’s not always the best thing, for a couple of reasons.
First, my excuses:
I pay the Comcast bill with my roommates, so we switch off paying. Having it automatically charge my credit card isn’t very practical.
ING doesn’t let me automatically pay the entire bill each month. I have to go in and tell it to pay more than the minimum (this is a huge fault that should be fixed!).
I don’t nail my budget every single month, so I sometimes have extra money in my checking account.
No excuse for the retirement savings: My action plan for this week is to actually take care of that. Maybe it will be my Take Action Tuesday? We’ll see.
Now, my commentary:
Sure, fully automating your finances is great when you’re in control. It’s nice not to have to worry. But going in, paying your credit card, and always knowing how much money is in your checking account is important. I use Mint as my budget software and log in every single day. I always know what’s going on and love being aware and in control of everything.
There will come a day when I will be fully automated. But for now, I’m happy having to manually pay my credit card bill. Sometimes, I see a huge number and realize that I need to cut back, and that alone is enough to connect and make a difference in my spending habits.
Readers, do you fully automate your finances? If not, why? Is it to take control? Or because you’re out of control?