Let’s face it, finances can be a little spooky. But it’s easier than you think to get them under control and come out on top, turning them to your advantage.

So here they are, our top 5 financial monsters—and how to tame them!

the ghost of ancient debt

The Ghost of Ancient Debt

The Ghost of Ancient Debt follows you from one financial decision to the next, waiting for any opportunity to rattle you with interest payments and send your credit score to the grave.

The scariest part? Not knowing how to pay it off. As long as that debt keeps hanging around, its ghost will keep haunting you. You need a ghost-busting plan!

The solution? Here’s the good news: You don’t have to pay it off all at once. In fact, for low-interest loans, the best thing might be sticking to your regular payments, like for your student loan or your mortgage.

The key isn’t to avoid all debt, but to understand where and when it makes sense. Some debt you’ll want to pay off quickly. Other debt you might want to pay off over time, leaving you free today to do something else with your cash, like building an emergency fund.

The rule of thumb:

Take control of that debt ghost by making a plan to put it to rest.

  1. Dedicate a set amount every month to making additional payments on your debt
  2. Use that money to pay extra, above your minimum amount, on the debt with the highest interest rate first
  3. Once you’ve paid that first debt off, roll those payments into paying off the next one even faster

When you’ve vanquished all your high-interest ghosts … er … loans, evaluate the rest of your debt against other opportunities and decide what you want to do next.

How Simplifi can help! 

  1. Connect all your loans so you can see your debt balances
  2. Target the debt with the highest interest rate
  3. Create a savings goal to work on paying it down, making the contributions equal to the extra money you want to set aside for this every month
  4. Simplifi will include those contributions in your spending plan, reminding you to make those payments every month!

The Ravenous Glob of Overspending

The Ravenous Glob of Overspending gobbles up your paycheck month after month. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes or takeout to make the kids happy, the Glob will always tempt you to keep right on spending.

The scariest part? Worrying that it might gobble up all your cash before the end of the month, eating you out of house and home—with nothing left to pay your bills!

The solution? Here’s the good news: You don’t have to stop spending. You just have to understand your spending and take control of it. In other words, you don’t need to slay this monster. Just put a leash on it and tame it!

It might sound scary to take on the Glob head-on, but worrying about this one is a lot worse than looking at it honestly. Once you do, you’ll start to see where you can save money without giving up anything you really care about—and you’ll start sleeping a whole lot easier.

The rule of thumb: 

Make a plan to put your spending into 3 essential buckets:

  1. Set aside 50% of your income for things you need, like rent and electricity
  2. Put 20% toward paying down your debt or adding to your savings
  3. Spend the last 30% on anything you want, knowing the rest is covered!

With this one simple solution, you can take control of your spending and still buy those shoes, or that takeout, with confidence.

How Simplifi can help! 

Simplifi is set up to let you see all your recurring bills & subscriptions so you know where your money is going automatically.

  1. Set up your income, bills & subscriptions in Simplifi
  2. Create a savings goal for whatever you want to put toward debt or savings
  3. Check your spending plan to see what you have left to spend

It’s that easy! If you want to pay special attention to your spending in a certain store, category, or unique tag, set up a watchlist too and keep an eye on it the easy way!


The Dreaded Were-bills

Like a pack of vicious werewolves, the Dreaded Were-bills look like normal, everyday bills until they’re overdue—or until that electricity payment suddenly shoots through the roof. Then they turn big and nasty, raging out of control.

The scariest part? Never knowing when they’re going to turn ugly. Paying late fees feels like throwing your money away, and unexpected amounts can threaten your bank balance.

The solution? Here’s the good news: By tracking your monthly billing cycles, you’ll always know when those bills are about to be due. Add those “silver bullet” alerts to your personal or work calendar to make sure you pay them on time. 

As for unexpected amounts, those are trickier. The best thing to do is to add those calendar reminders several days before each bill is due, so you remember to look at them well before you have to pay them. That gives you enough time to plan ahead.

The rule of thumb: 

Set up an alert for each bill a week before it’s due:

  1. Find all your bills and subscriptions
  2. Figure out when each one is due
  3. Add a reminder for each one to your calendar a week ahead

It’s a simple solution, but it takes a lot of work to set up, and it takes almost as much work to maintain. Each month, you have to go to each biller’s website ahead of time and then check against your past bills to make sure things look normal.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

How Simplifi can help! 

Simplifi makes it easy to stay on top of your bills:

  • See all your upcoming bills in one place—Simplifi identifies and tracks your recurring bills & subscriptions automatically
  • Alerts & notifications remind you when bills are due soon
  • If you connect your bills to your billers (like your utility company), Simplifi will automatically update your upcoming bills to reflect the actual amounts
  • Cash flow projections display your future account balances so you can see how they’ll change with each bill and paycheck
credit score

The Invisible Credit Score

The Invisible Credit Score is always there, looming just out of sight. If you don’t protect yourself against this particular monster, it could raise your rate on your next loan, or even prevent you from getting the funds you need.

The scariest part? You never know where it is, or when it might strike, stealing your financial opportunities and making them disappear.

The solution? Here’s the good news: By keeping your debt level low and using a free site to check your credit regularly, that invisible credit score won’t be invisible anymore. In fact, it can even become one of your greatest financial allies, fighting for you instead of against you.

Your credit score improves when you have open debt accounts, like credit cards, that have low (or no) balances. One of the best things you can do for your credit is to keep those accounts open and use them, but pay them off every month so you never carry a balance.

Free sites like Experian let you check your credit score at no charge, and some bank accounts do too. Take advantage of these opportunities to stay on top of your credit.

A few rules of thumb: 

These tips can help you manage your credit score wisely:

  • Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850
  • A score over 670 is good; over 740 is very good
  • Keep your credit card balances under 10% of their max
  • Pay your bills on time, especially any loan payments

These tips can be easier said than done. Those Dreaded Were-bills can get away from you, and the Ravenous Glob of Overspending can work against you too. A big part of managing your credit is keeping those other monsters under control.

How Simplifi can help! 

When you use Simplifi to manage the other financial monsters, it’s easier to pay your bills on time and keep your spending under control. That keeps your credit card balances from creeping up!

Here are a few other ways Simplifi can help you turn your credit score into a financial friend:

  • Connect all your credit cards to stay on top of them
  • Check your projected balances to make sure there aren’t any surprises
  • Check out your credit card account reports to make sure your balances are trending down (or staying low) over time

The Investment Zombies

Investment Zombies wander up and down aimlessly, often in groups. Since no one is keeping track of them, you never know when you might run into one. 

The scariest part? You never know where they are, or where they’re going to be tomorrow.

The solution? Here’s the good news: By taking control of your investments and actively monitoring them, you’ll have a much better feel for the movements of the market.

Investments normally move up and down, so don’t panic if you’re just starting to watch your investments for the first time. Still, as you investigate how your investments have done over the last 3 months, the last 6 months, and the last year, you’ll get a feel for how they have performed.

That’s the first step in de-zombifying your investments and bringing them back to life!

A few rules of thumb: 

Here are a few rules of thumb to be aware of, especially if you’re just getting started with investing or starting to track your investments for the first time.

  • The historical average return for the stock market is 10% per year
  • That return varies from year to year and can even be negative during a recession
  • Over time, at a 10% return, you would double your money every 7.2 years

How Simplifi can help! 

Simplifi makes it easy to start watching over your investments. Just add your investment accounts, and Simplifi will keep track of them for you, automatically.

Keeping your financial monsters under control

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to taming your finances is that it isn’t something you can just do once. You need to keep those monsters under control over the long run by making the process a habit.

To keep an eye on your debt, spending, bills, credit usage, and investments the easy way, consider an app like Simplifi—giving you the tools you need to stay on top of it all in less than 5 minutes a week!