28. Schedule a quarterly review of investments—with yourself. Record the date and time to review these on your calendar or in your planner, and go over your bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement plans.
29. Switch to online banking. How much time do you spend each month writing checks, addressing envelopes, and affixing postage (not to mention mailing the checks)? It’s faster to do your banking online, especially since you can set up recurring bills to be paid automatically. If you’re intimidated by the sometimes-complicated computer work required to open an online account, ask a computer-savvy friend or family member to help.
30. Use a single checking account. Keep your checkbook in your purse or briefcase and return it there immediately after using it. Keep your check register and a few emergency checks (but not another checkbook!) in another location, in case you lose your checkbook.
31. Keep plastic to a minimum. The more credit cards you have, the more statements and receipts you’ll have to contend with. Better to stick with one or two major cards and avoid the high-interest store and gas cards. Consider new card offers only if the terms of the card are clearly superior to the terms of your current cards.
32. Get a debit card. Keep it in your wallet, and use it instead of a personal check whenever possible. Each time you use the card, make an entry in your check register as if you had written a check. That way, your checking account stays balanced.
33. Keep some extra cash on hand. Put several hundred dollars in a waterproof plastic bag and place it someplace safe but easy to locate (maybe your freezer). That way, you won’t be caught empty handed if a storm, power outage, or some other natural or man-made disaster makes it impossible to use ATMs. For more on preparing for a disaster, go to redcross.org.