Tips 6-10: Spend Your Money Productively
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Spend Your Money Productively
Too many businesses waste money on things that make them feel successful rather than investing it in things that will make them so. Expensive office furniture, a company car, and even fancy business cards are never going to bring a dime of income. Before every purchase, ask yourself, "What will this add to my bottom line?"
Shop Every PurchaseIf you spend $1,000 for something you could have bought for $800, you'll need to produce an extra $200 to make up for it. Make this easy on yourself by using a standard form to solicit bids on purchase over a certain amount. E-mail it to at least three vendors, with a tight deadline for their bid. You'll be surprised how well this works. I once saved more than $4,000 on a car purchase with just this method. Even better, I saved hours of time I would have spent driving to each dealership and dealing with the whole sales pitch hassle.
Avoid The Paralysis Of Analysis.You can spend hours, days, and even months preparing spreadsheets and tweaking assumptions about something you know in your gut will or won't work. This is not to say you should just go with what feels good, but there comes a time when more analysis is just a waste of time. Make a decision and get on with it.
Automate Your Bill PayingNo one, not even a financial nerd, likes to pay bills. To make the time you spend on this necessary evil more productive, pre-schedule as many payments as possible.
Most accounting software and bank services allow you to schedule payments for a later date. The next time you pay your bills, schedule payments for the next three to four months for all the bills that are typically the same from month to month. Even if the payment isn't exact, schedule an amount you're sure will cover the bill. I pay all my utility, telephone and loan bills this way. I even send what I know will cover any minimum payment on my credit cards so I never have to pay a late fee.
Another method is to allow companies to direct debit your account for what's owed. I'm not a fan of this method because it's out of your control. But when you pre-schedule them on your own, you can easily cancel the payment before the payment date if something changes.
Track ExpensesIf you're using a computerized accounting system (and you should be), take an hour or a day (or whatever it takes) to set up income, expense, asset and liability categories. Then train it to automatically categorize expenses. If you write a check to Verizon, it should automatically assign it to your telephone expense category.
This will not only save time on repetitive tasks throughout the year, but it will also make it easier to train someone else to pay the bills. And it will save you a ton of time when you prepare your taxes.