3 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances and Simplify Your Financial Life

Managing your personal finances is often a point of stress — especially if you don’t enjoy money management tasks. It takes time and effort to make sure you’re getting everything right when it comes to building wealth.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend endless hours on financial tasks just to set yourself up for success. There are simple ways to clean up your financial life and make it a lot easier. Here are a few suggestions to help you do just that, which you may want to try out as we enter spring cleaning season.

1. Get one or two great rewards cards

Earning credit card rewards is a great way to reduce the actual cost of your purchases. But many people try to make this process too complicated — often by signing up for too many cards and having to juggle different rewards programs, or by choosing a card that requires you to sign in at various times to activate bonus rewards.

If you just want to earn a good amount of cash back or points and you don’t want to deal with the hassle, opt to sign up for one or two great cards that give you cash back on most things you spend money on.

For example, you could get a card that offers 2% back on every purchase, and then one that offers 5% back on Amazon purchases if you routinely shop there. Then, use the 2% card everywhere except Amazon, where you can make your 5% card your default payment option.

By getting just one or two cards, you can earn a lot of rewards without much or any effort. You’re more likely to benefit from the rewards program since doing so won’t be a hassle.

2. Automate your savings and bill payments

If you really want to clean up your financial life and spend very little time on financial tasks, you can do so by automating everything you can. For example, you can arrange to automatically pay all your bills out of your bank account and transfer money to retirement and savings accounts.

If you’ve worked out goals for how much to save and invest, and if you’ve kept your fixed costs below around 50% of your income, then you should be able to have those bills paid and transfer the right amount to savings automatically every month, without thinking about it or worrying you’ll overdraft your bank account.

Once all of your automatic payments and investments come out of your account, you can spend whatever is left — and can do so worry-free.

RELATED: Best Budgeting Apps

3. Be sure your investments are aligned with your interests

If you love researching companies and finding individual stocks to buy, this can be a great way to earn generous returns as long as you’re a smart investor and buy and hold solid companies for the long term.

But if you don’t enjoy pouring over earnings reports, you may want to simplify your portfolio. You can do this by investing in low-cost ETFs (exchange-traded funds) that track the performance of the S&P 500 or that track the performance of either the stock market as a whole or a specific sector.

When you invest in an S&P 500 fund, you’re betting on big businesses in America and choosing a financial index that has consistently produced 10% average annual returns over long periods. You don’t need to check your portfolio regularly, or really even more than once a year or so. You can just leave your money alone to grow for you.

By taking these simple steps, you can set yourself up for financial success while significantly minimizing the money management you need to do. You can clean up your financial life and focus on other things — like how you’ll eventually spend all the money you’re effortlessly making and saving.

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