I organized my personal financials

Since 8 years ago, I have developed this habit of plan my financial flow for next 18 months. As I had quite some debt accumulated due to family reason, my focus was more on cash flow: how can I pay all bills and loans next month or next three months. Doing monthly finance planning gave me a relatively calm mind from my life mess. I am really glad that I did this, even though it was more because I didn't really have a choice, it was painful but definitely pushed me to learn how important it is to organize my financials by myself.

As of Sep 1st. I officially became debt free. Since then, I kept thinking about when I will have “Okay-ish” money to start my business, without selling my long term investment or selling my apartment.

Then when I re-plan with a new goal, I realized there are so many weekly/monthly bills I need to manage both in China and United States. It consumes a lot of my mental energy, and I had no time/energy to manage it before, I was focusing on making sure next bill is covered from my crazy travel/working schedules.

Again, thanks to Pandemic when I finally have some time to get myself organized. Similar to how I cut down my physical ownings (refer to “What I really need” post), do I really need to manage this many bills?

To start with, I listed out every single inflow and outflow accounts I have. From Credit/Checking/Savings and Investment account, to all online digital banks, then to all monthly and annually bills.

I LOVE this exercise. When I listed out all of those, I realized so many things are just “nice to have”.

Here are things I decided to cut out – Deactivated my Chinese credit card, US credit card, EU credit card (since I was living in all those countries and used them for a while). – Deactivated all digital banks credit/loan account. Including Alipay Huabei, Jiebei, Paypal. – Removed all other banks account I have been using for years in China due to different purposes, housing fund, pension, medical care, investment, payroll... – Deactivated my Morgan Stanley investment account, merged it with my 401K plan account.

Now I have 5 financial accounts worldwide: one traveling credit card for credit building purpose (US...), one payroll/savings account, one apartment mortgage (in China), one 401K account which also for investment purpose, plus one Venmo account for social financials.

Here are things I changed impacting financials – Record every expense everyday helps me to cut out unnecessary spent. – Unsubscribing some memberships like Spotify/Amazon Unlimited Music that I use less than once a month. – Change monthly membership to annual membership for programs I know I will need all the time. Like Prime/ Audible. Saving $100+ yearly. – Switch all bills to email, easily I can get 5-10 dollars monthly credit. – Replenish things as I need. Do not stock-up for Toilet paper, garbage bags, tampons, sunscreens(!!!) Those are often ended up as trash when they expire – Less deliveries, more pick ups from restaurants and supermarkets. – Last and the most exiting one. Switching to a new apartment that will reduce 35% of monthly rent I am paying today! I also captured the trend when SLU rental market drop, negotiated down price from original 26% reduction to 35%.

Bill wise, I have 9 monthly bills and 7 annual bills. Those are all things I really need. Tested for 3 weeks now, and would like to continue maintain this till I have a car (then I will add monthly insurance and parking).

I want to keep financial planning as easy as possible, own as less bills/accounts as possible, but as much as I really need. The beauty of this is not to save the money, it is about how I gain the control of my life including finance.

SLU, Seattle, WA