SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

January 17, 2013 11:27 ET

BMO Harris Bank Financial Tip of the Week: Simplify Your Finances

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2013) -  As part of BMO Harris Bank's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and Making Money Make Sense, BMO Harris is providing weekly financial tips. This week's tip provides ways to simplify your finances.

The New Year is a great time for a fresh start. And when it comes to your finances, simple is often better. This year, consider making a resolution to eliminate clutter and simplify your finances.

The first step is making a detailed plan. A little more time spent planning upfront can benefit you enormously later. It can help you think about your financial goals and the steps you can take to achieve them.

BMO Harris Bank also suggests the following tips for simplifying your finances:

Pay with cash. The easiest way to reduce the amount of recordkeeping you need to do is to pay for (almost) everything with cash. It also provides an easy way to stay within your budget. Limit yourself to one cash withdrawal each week and when you run out of money, you'll know you've spent all you can afford.

Track spending as you go. Facing a mountain of receipts at the end of the month is about as intimidating as it gets. To make things more manageable, consider tracking your spending on a weekly or even daily basis. Make it part of your routine and it will seem easier and less time consuming.

Use direct deposit and online banking tools. Signing up for direct deposit and using online banking tools allows you to bank 24/7 from the convenience of your home, office or wherever life takes you.

Sign up for automatic bill pay. Instead of having to remember to pay your bills each month, a service can take care of them for you. You can review all of your bills and due dates in one place, analyze your spending habits and view your payment history up to 24 months. You'll also be free from late fee worries -- your payments are guaranteed to arrive as scheduled.

Use only one credit card. The more cards you use, the more accounts you need to track. To make things easier, try using just one major credit card -- these often have a lower interest rate than store cards and provide the most versatility.

Using a budget management program can also help further simplify your finances. Look for one that allows you to review your accounts, transactions and account history as well as organize information.

Put yourself in a comfortable place and get started with helpful steps.

The Learning Center is brought to you by BMO Harris Bank, WGN, CLTV, WGN AM 1070, Chicago Tribune, RedEye and Hoy.

About BMO Harris Bank

Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris BankSM is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

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