I have 16 personal savings accounts, 3 personal checking accounts, 2 business checking accounts, and 2 business savings accounts. ¬†That’s 23 traditional bank accounts, spread across 3 banks. ¬†Just talking about that gives my wife a headache.
Every account has a reason. ¬† Three of the savings accounts exist just to make the matching checking accounts free. ¬† One of the checking accounts handles all of my regular spending that isn’t put on my rewards card. ¬† 14 of the savings accounts are CapitalOne 360 accounts that have specific goals attached. ¬† A couple of the accounts were opened to boost the sales numbers for a friend who is a banker. ¬†Really, it’s almost too much to keep track of. ¬†One credit card, 5 checking accounts, 18 savings account, all on 4 websites.
Sometimes, when you extend your bank accounts this far, it gets easy to let it all slip away and lose track of where your money is going. ¬†How do I keep track of it all?
Whoa, you say? ¬†Simplify? ¬†I don’t simplify the number of accounts I have, I simplify the tracking, or specifically, the need to track.
Twice a month, I have an automated transfer that moves a chunk of money from my main checking account to C1360. ¬† I have a series of transfers set up there that move that money around to each of my savings goals. ¬†I move $100 to the vacation account, $75 to the braces account, and $10 to the college fund, among all of the other transfers. ¬†Doing that eliminates any need to keep track of the transfers, since it is all automated.
Using the same rules, I make every possible payment happen automatically, so I don’t have to worry about paying the gas bill or sending a check to the insurance company.
As you saw in the opening sentence of this post, I also complicate the hell out of my accounts. ¬†On the surface, it would seem like that would make it harder to keep track, but in reality, the opposite is true. ¬† I have 14 savings accounts at C1360, each for a specific savings goal, like paying my property taxes or going to the to Financial Blogger Conference in October. ¬† ¬†I can log in to my account and tell at a glance exactly how much money I have for each of my goals. ¬†In the account nickname, I include how much each goal is for, so I can easily see if I am on track.
Everything I do gets set up in Quicken. ¬† This makes it easy to track how much actual money I have available. ¬† ¬†Since I’ve moved my daily expenses to a credit card, I only have about a dozen entries to worry about when I balance my checkbook at the end of the month. ¬† At that time, any excess funds get dropped into my debt snowball.
This may all leave me with a needlessly complicated system, but it’s a system that grew slowly to meet my needs and it is working well for me. ¬†I spend about 2 hours a month tracking my finances, and can–at any time–tell at a glance exactly how my finances look.
How do you keep your finance organized? ¬†Have you tried any unique savings strategies?