Simplify your financial workout'm always looking for ways to streamline and simplify my financial routine. It's just like working out--the easier you make it, the more likely you are to stay (fiscally) fit. Here are a couple of things that work for me--I'd love to hear what works for you.

Find out how to make better money choices, get happy at work, live well and have savings to fall back on. It's all in this SELF guide.

1) Make technology your friend.

  • Put your bills or important financial tasks on your computer calendar, phone or PDA, so you get an alert when something is due.
  • Set up online bill pay so that the minute you get an alert, you can send the payment.
  • Get daily account updates from your bank, so you can check balances and transactions (I just signed up for this free service with my bank and it's surprisingly helpful!).

2) Customize your regimen. Are you a gym rat or a runner or a yogaholic? You can't get serious about your fitness routine until you have...a routine! The same is true with money. Designate a time of day, or an hour a week when you tackle your financial chores. Figure out what system works for you--the same way you nailed down a workable workout routine, by trying lots of different things. I tend to do a little each day. (Strangely, this does mirror my workout strategy! "Small steps add up to big gains" is my motto.)

3) Make mail sacred. Mail should have its own special spot in your home so that important papers don't get lost. Chuck the junk right away. Then have a place to put anything financial: an accordion file, a filing cabinet, envelopes, etc. (My husband and I still have the migrating mail pile....sigh...but we're pretty good about filing.) --MP Dunleavy

Feel good about your money! Learn how to keep spending in sync with your core values, avoid financial freakouts and live richly despite a dour economy.