Nine Ways To Simplify Your Life


WHEN DID LIFE GET SO BUSY? I’M HEARING THE MANTRA, “TOO MUCH TO DO, TOO LITTLE TIME” FAR MORE THESE DAYS. 

When I became a widower, all of life’s have-to-dos seemed to double.

I became a widower just before the emergence of COVID. The stress that was put on me both personally and professionally was crushing at times, with the death of my wife Mary meaning not only the loss of my life partner and best friend but the person who took care of the family business while I looked after my company.

Mary was responsible for all things financial at the Dri home. Oh, and this was while taking care of three kids (and me!) and working her part-time bookkeeping job. I’ve always said I had an easy job in our marriage.

With her gone, I had to take on her past role over and above my already packed 9-to-6. I knew I couldn’t maintain my business life and handle all of Mary’s responsibilities too. I needed a plan – one where I could continue to run my business, be a mom and dad for the kids, and somehow do all the things that Mary did. 

NEVER OVERESTIMATE YOUR ABILITY TO ‘DO IT ALL’

If you read my blogs, you know I tend to overestimate my time availability and take on too much work. So, of course, I assumed I could do my job and Mary’s too. 

NINE CAN’T-LOSE TIPS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE

With her gone, I had to take on her past role over and above my already packed 9-to-6. I knew I couldn’t maintain my business life and handle all of Mary’s responsibilities too. I needed a plan – one where I could continue to run my business, be a mom and dad for the kids, and somehow do all the things that Mary did. 

NEVER OVERESTIMATE YOUR ABILITY TO ‘DO IT ALL’

If you read my blogs, you know I tend to overestimate my time availability and take on too much work. So, of course, I assumed I could do my job and Mary’s too. 

NINE CAN’T-LOSE TIPS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE

1. ONE BANK ACCOUNT AT ONE BANK

Ultimately, this was an easy fix. I closed all my bank accounts except my one chequing account. That’s it. I don’t even have a savings account.  

Life’s a lot easier today, with only excess cash transferred monthly out of this account to my Scotia Wealth Management account (my brokerage account).

2. ONE CREDIT CARD

Like my bank accounts, I had several Visas and Mastercards. Some of them I never even used, but I kept them just in case. (“Just in case” of what?) 

So, I cancelled them all except for the Scotiabank Visa. Now I’m on top of my cards (or “card”, singular) and I never miss a payment date.

3. BANK ONLINE

Now that I’m down to one bank account, one brokerage account, and one credit card, having them all connected and available online is a major time saver.

4. AUTOMATE YOUR BILLS 

Most people pay the same bills every month, and a surprising number still put cheques in the mail. 

I’ve established auto payments for all recurring bills.   Each of these are paid through a pre-authorized chequing plan from my single bank account.

For my nonrecurring expenses (groceries, haircuts, clothing, gas, travel, wardrobe updates, and so on), I use my one and only Visa.

For any bills that can’t be paid by Visa, I use an e-transfer. 

To sum up: pre-authorized chequing. Visa. e-Transfer. Simple. Easy. Streamlined.

5. AUTOMATE SPEND TRACKING

I hate budgeting and tracking expenses. Hate it. 

I wasn’t interested in building an Excel spreadsheet and manually tracking every single penny.

There is an app called ​Mint ​(owned by Intuit) – you can connect it to your bank and easily download all expenses and income into a simple-to-read income statement.

Once a week, I click a button and all my transactions (incoming and outgoing) are automatically downloaded and organized into a personal statement and compared against a budget that I established at the top of the year. The program syncs in real-time, and I know exactly how my money is spent.

6. SIMPLIFY GROCERIES AND MEALS

Food planning and prep is one of the most time-consuming aspects of life.  Order meal kits.

7. DELEGATE PERSONAL CHORES

I turned to a professional cleaning company that provided bonded employees and accepted Visa payments.

8. HIRE A PROPERTY MANAGER

I own a few investment properties which constantly demand something be done or fixed. My solution was to hire a property manager.

9. LOSE THE PESKY LITTLE EXPENSES 

Everyone has those pesky monthly banking or credit charges that they never get around to stopping. 

I called Visa, canceled my card, and asked for a new card. This caused an immediate stop to all pre-authorized credit card charges, like Apple Music, Audible, Globe and Mail, and several industry journals that I subscribed to but never read. 

TAKE A BIT OF TIME NOW – AND SAVE ENDLESS HOURS LATER

I was able to put all nine of those action plans into place in just a few weeks. And it was one of the best investments of time I’ve ever made.. Mary would be proud of me.

Any of these tips are sure to help you downsize your busy lives. If you need further help to simplify your personal finances, please give me a ​call​ or send me an ​email​ ​and we can begin working on giving you back your personal time while controlling your finances.

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