Budgeting and financial management can be mentally demanding, and were not exactly designed with the couch potato in mind. Sure, an individual can work on his or her budget worksheets and execute their budget with a brain surgeon's precision while parked in the well-worn groove of their favorite sofa or chair, but do they really want to? The mental effort expended during budgeting activities makes them a chore and many people, especially lazy folks, like to avoid chores.
TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics
Fear not lethargic loot organizers, there are many ways that lazy people can indulge their inner financial side.
Take Advantage of Technology-Based Budget Planners
Online, there is a whole world of budget planning software just waiting for you to log in and get started. There are websites devoted to helping you manage your finances with just a few keystrokes of data entry and programs that you can buy, install and run within 10 short minutes. Many of these programs work by simply connecting with your online bank records. After linking up to your bank and gathering your historical spending patterns, they allow you to tweak your monetary allocations in order to meet the financial goals you have established. Another major benefit of many of these programs is that they create graphs that give you a visual of how your money is being spent, which can make it easy for you to recognize problems and change your spending habits. (You don't need a degree to understand your money, begin saving and pay down debt. Check out Top 5 Budgeting Questions Answered.)
Before entering your personal information or bank log-in data into a website or software program, do some research to ensure that the site or program is safe and secured.
Use Simple Budgeting Techniques
In the days before the Internet and personal computers, people used simpler methods to create budgets. You may be happy to hear that these simple methods are still completely workable and very valid ways of managing your money. These methods include:
Using paper and pen to create a basic budget. Often the hardest part about keeping track of your finances is getting started. Software programs are not for everyone, but if you use paper and pen you need to be diligent, and organized. It is easy to get started, but calculating and adjusting is where you will lose time. You need to file properly and trust your manual writing and calculating skills.
Utilizing jars, envelopes or separate savings accounts to allocate money for your various budget categories. For this, you simply need five to eight clear jars with labels. Place the amount of money in each jar based on how much you want to spend in each category. When you are out of money in the "Restaurant" category then you can't spend any more in this area. (To find out more about budgeting, read Are You Living Too Close To The Edge?)
The key is to find the method that is most effective for you that you will have no trouble sticking with because a budget that works is the goal, not one that's fancy and has bright lights with a sleek interface.
Automate Your Budget's Execution
A budget is nothing if its financial guidelines are not followed. Making sure to exercise all of the points on your budget, however, is not something lazy people want to do. Luckily, you can automate many of your payments so that the budget is honored and upheld by an invisible hand whose control you need only establish once.
You can set up automatic bill pay either through your bank's website or the individual websites of your creditors and service providers. You can also set up automatic transfers into savings and retirement accounts. The one thing you will need to oversee is your bank balance. Making sure that you have enough money in your account to meet your preset payment obligations is the one responsibility that you can't automate … unless your bank allows you to create an email alert when your balance falls below a certain point. (Automation can be a painless (and free) way to remove the stress of bill scheduling from your life - if you do it right, check out Automating Your Bill Payments.)
The Bottom Line
The ideal life of a lazy person is one of ease in which a majority of time is spent doing whatever low-key activity the lazy person likes best. Investing a minimal amount of time in creating a budget that works by itself is one of the best things you can do to secure your life of minimal activity with minimal effort for maximum return.