Use Google Calendar to Organize Your Money

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I don’t like to forget to do things. I also don’t have the best memory so those 2 personalilty traits clash like money management and Nicholas Cage. Keeping up on credit card payments, savings goals, donation committments, and student loans can be too much for anyone’s brain to remember.

That’s why I use Google Calendar as my second brain.

Gmail is automatically connected to Google Calendar and the two work together to create reminders for users. Therefore, I can create a GCal “event” called “pay $300 student loan” on the 16th of June and set an e-mail reminder. On the morning of the 16th, I’ll receive an e-mail from GCal that will remind me to pay my student loan. Then I can sign into my bank’s site and send a check for the loan. Easy, right?

GCal’s effective because you don’t have to spend a month constantly reminding yourself to do a task; instead, you’re almost guaranteed to do it if you don’t procrastinate and complete it right when you receive the reminder email. GCal also declutters your life since a lot of people rely on sticky notes taped to computer screens or refrigirators to remember tasks. Remove those nagging pysical reminders (distractions) from your work area and your productivity will surely increase.

GCal can be used for any task, but here’s some ways you can use it to organize the money in your life.

Pay credit cards

I’m amazed at the stupidity of my credit cards online payments which have the option to pay a certain amount every month (say, $45), but don’t have the option to pay 100% of the bill. You wonder why peole say these companies are the scum of the Earth?

Therefore, it’s up to you to pay your credit card bill – and let’s be real – sometimes you forget. The problem is that one missed payment can cause the credit card company to jack up your interest rate and hurt your credit so it’s vital to pay your credit card on-time every month.

To combat this, click “create event” in GCal  and title it “Pay credit card(s)”. Figure out when your credit card bills post every month and schedule the event a couple days after. There’s no reason to wait until the day your bill is due to pay when a 9 hour memory lapse can cause a late payment; get it out of the way early in the bill’s life. You won’t miss a payment and your credit will remain in tact.

*Productivity bonus* You probably have more than 1 credit card so find a day after the bills post where all of your cards can be paid at once. Concentrating on one task always saves time, so scedule 1 event, instead of 3 or 4 different events for each card, and get the card payments out of the way for the month. You can also choose to have the reminder repeat monthly so you’ll receive the same e-mail reminder every month.

Schedule savings

A lot of online banks provide the opportunity to transfer a certain amount from your checking to savings every month, but sometimes the amount you want to save fluctuates in a given month. If you try to rely on the adige of “I’ll save more later” you’ll find a reason to not save and spend that money elsewhere.

Create an event called “SAVE NOW” (yes, capital letters – this one’s important) that will remind you to check your savings for that month and transfer money from your checking account to your savings account. Schedule this event 4 or 5 days after your paycheck for the month posts – or at the end of the month if you get 2 paychecks a month.

It could be $75 one month, and $1,500 the next, but it’s important to get in the habit of saving something every month. Don’t rely on your memory and optimism to make your savings grow; GCal takes the chance out of it and guarantees results.

Schedule investments

The same reminder idea can be used for your investments in IRAs, 401Ks, or taxable accounts. Sometimes you want to send contributions in January, other times in October. Your probably don’t invest every month, so schedule an event to remind you every 3 months to look at your investment accounts. At this time, go over your finances and determine if it’s the right time to to make your contributions to your accounts. Dollar-cost averaging can help your investments, so perhaps 4 different investments a year will fit your schedule and funds the best.

If you prefer a one time contribution for a Roth or Tradiitonal IRA, then using GCal is very easy. You can make your first contribution for the year in January, or your last one in April of the following year. Schedule one event within that time frame, make sure you have the funds in place, and purchase the funds, stocks, bonds, etc.

GCal takes the worry out of it and allows your mind to be used effectively in other areas instead of worrying about remembering to make your IRA contribution before tax day.

Reminders to increase student loan payment amounts

Many people set the amount they pay on their student loans right when they get the loan or are required to make the first payment. It’s easy to have that amount deducted from account each month and not have to worry about it. However, if you can afford it, you’ll save huge amounts of money by throwing extra money at your loans and paying them quicker.

Set a reminder every 6 months called “Add $$$ to Student Loans?”. When you get that e-mail reminder, take a look at your financial situation. If you have a healthy emergency fund and some savings under your belt, then increase the payment to your loans. If it’s not a good time financially, let it pass, and check again in 4 months.

The average person pays student loans for more than 10 years. You’re financial situation and income are bound to change in that time. Paying off your loans quicker is a guaranteed return on your investment and an easy way to save yourself a lot of money on the back end.

Reminder to increase mortgage or car loan payments

The same idea is true for your house and car loans. Remind yourself every 4 months with a reminder called, “Increase house/car loans?”.  At this time, look at your finances and see if it’s a good time to increase your payments so you’ll save money by not paying as much interest over time.

These are especially important reminders because they’re such big money events in your life. Big events are usually the one’s we procrastinate on the most, so a kick in the butt to look at your payments a couple times a year is something you need.

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The key to making these reminders work is the follow-through. If you click “archive” on the event reminder emails, you’re tasks will pile up and you’ll end up forgetting them.

When you see the e-mail, complete the task. Every time – no excuses. You’ll be saving tons of time making your money tasks reminders, so take a tiny chunk of that time and pay a bill, increase a loan payment, and improve your financial standing.

Humans are pretty smart, but sometimes a little technology can bring some clarity to our lives – and help out our wallets too.

Photo: Kingologik

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