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The Art of Less Doing

Lesson 15 of 19

Finance Efficiency

Ari Meisel

The Art of Less Doing

Ari Meisel

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Lesson Info

15. Finance Efficiency

Lesson Info

Finance Efficiency

So in this section, it's called finances, obviously, and we're going to be talking mainly about keeping track. This is really where eighty twenty sort of comes to a head, and we figure out how you're spending your money and where you're spending it and sort of that resource allocation. This is not so much about financial planning or what you do for your retirement, although the principal's could extend to that in some ways, but this is more about really again bringing that awareness back, and then the second part of this session, we're going to talk about how you khun monetize some of the new knowledge that you've been able to discover having cleared your play with this seminar. So the first one is probably something you've heard about four, which is meant dot com. So mint is your personal dashboard if you haven't ever tried it, I recommend everyone do it's free, and it sinks in real time with all of your bank accounts, credit cards, mortgage statements and a lot of others, and it will...

give you this really great overview of how you are spending your money, and what it does is it will show you like a pie chart of you're sending this much on shopping and household goods this much on transportation this much on utilities this much on medical expenses, for example, and just as with all the other information is going on our lives that we become sort of blissfully unaware of these things, that certainly happens with finances it's very easy to just swipe a credit card and then not really think about obviously, I think about the dollar amount here knocking that so think about it, what you're spending that money on so it's good to bring that awareness back and get on up there and get a snapshot of how you're using your money. It can set alerts for you. So if you get, uh, if you decide that you wanna have a certain budget like one hundred twenty five dollars a week on groceries or whatever it is, and if you go over that, it'll start to give you alerts on that kind of things to you again can check in with yourself and know when you're hitting those limits remember organization, you might want to set those artificially restrictive limits and see how you can make that happen. This is another example where you can use that, and then sort of the basic stuff about telling you if you have a low balance or or even a fee that you weren't expecting what's nice about it, too, is that it works on your behalf because it gets this sort of financial picture. It can start to give you examples of offers that are specifically tell it to you for ways you can save money, whether it's on a credit card or car loan or some other deal that they come up with. So there are the two sides of that there's, another app, another web service called one receipt. Yes, link with papal till look at where the transact does it. You sure you like? Yes. Paypal is one of the accounts that meant will work with, uh, yes, if you're using it for business purposes, there is a very, very somewhere website called indian arrow. Uh, which is sort of the well, not sort of it is like the business version of mint, so you can use it for that as well. But yes, papal certainly integrates with mint. So what one receipt does is it provides you with a personal expense report. What it's going to do is it's going to look at email receipts that you get. So whether it's for apple, you know, for an itunes purchase or victoria secret or doesn't matter if it's something that is a receipt that comes into your inbox, it will pull that all in and create this personal expense report for you. And then you can see how you're spending money at various merchants and how those break down into different categories. If you were to look at mine, you would see that about thirty percent of our income goes to amazon one hundred something transactions a month, and in addition to that, you get a very personal one, receive email address that you can take a picture of a receipt, like a restaurant or something, and send that in two year, one receipt, email address, and it will integrate that again into your expense report. So if you're a freelancer or you're just running a household, it actually provides you with some pretty actionable information, and the fact that it's pulling a lot of it from your email receipts means it just happens, you have to think about it, which is really nice, what I find with finances, with a lot of people, even if you are budget conscious and you're on it, you know, limited, come or whatever the situation might be, people still tend to sort of just get by when it comes to keeping track of your finances, you know, there's enough money here, and this is how much I'm spending, and then they sort of leave it at that, but the fact is, you can really drill down quite a bit, and get a lot more information that you can use to your advantage slice works similarly to one receipt in that it pulls from your email inbox but what it does is it pulls shipping receipts our shipping information actually so if you get on amazon notice that there's a package from ups or from another company and there's a u s postal service tracking number it'll pull all those in together which is really cool because first of all especially when you get into this world now where you're getting everything shipped to you instead of having to go shop for it we'll give you notifications and put it in your calendar even when our pop up as a counter notice when the package is going to arrive from a particular company in addition to that it will keep track of warranties so every few days or so I'll get an email from one from slice saying this product the warrant in this product is about to expire and there's something I bought you know, ninety days ago or whatever it is and it tells you the amount and then at that moment of course you can think do I need to actually get something fixed here? Because I had no idea where the warrant iwas actually recently had this happened on a k cup coffee machine which broken I hadn't realized that the warrant you guys run out but it hadn't and they replaced it takes a different approach to sort of keeping track of the way that you're spending money in purchasing it and again bringing that awareness to what categories you're spending the most money on bill guard is a really cool company was actually just in the tech news today for some new features that they added but bill guard I don't know how this word never got into the lexicon but bill guard will automatically uh scan through all your credit card transactions on a on a magic basis and basically it will flag what they call grey charges so a great charge is that double fee that wasn't supposed to be charged or that international processing fee that you don't know why it was there or the things that may or may not be legitimate charge they're not the soy scams but it's something that was possibly done incorrectly so it will pull that information automatically which is so cool and I will show you report of nine hundred something transactions are in the green and there's these three that are questionable what it will do you even further is that if there is something that the question questionable it can with one click it can get more information for you what that charge was about and they'll actually get in touch with the company and try to figure that out and then you can even in some cases dispute it through bill guard they actually have a integration with the iphone two we're in the air passbook app you can have all of your various credit card accounts and see the most recent transactions right then and there and it's all very, very secure uh one of the nice things about the fact that it identifies these unusual charges is if I were to say that I have one vice I'll admit to everybody it's that if there's something on an infomercial, I probably own it and if you've seen it at three a m it's in my house including the flexi hose that goes into the pocket hose I think it's called actually and several different knives and things like that I don't know why I just like things that are on infomercials and sometimes they're useful but the problem with those purchases that they usually show up on your credit card statement something like msc industries inc unlimited dot dot dot and you have no idea what it's for ever and I get a lot of those sometimes so having something like this in your back pocket where it can check for you and kind of find out what it is is it is pretty good the next one is called file this and file this is an integration with evernote you might have noticed that actually the other day when I showed you my ever note folder but what file this does is extremely simple it pulls e statements from your various service providers, whether it's, your bank utility company or your mortgage company or several others credit card statements, all that stuff and it will pull it into ever not or drop box. But we like the fact that it pulls into every note because remember pds that aaron ever note are searchable. So if you have multiple counts, you managing multiple businesses, you have all these different statements coming in it's one thing to be happy and efficient, that you're downloading the statement that the pdf statements every month and putting them in a in the right shoulder, but then you don't do anything with them, whereas in this case, if it becomes a part of every note and you need to search for that one transaction but have no idea which account was in, you're just searching every note, and we'll take you right to the statement that you were looking for. In addition to that, if you have to share information with someone else on your team or with a book keeper on accountant you, khun do that automatically by adding them to these shared notebook, and then, whenever those files are automatically added into the notebook, that person will get the update as well, this used to take me. Almost two hours a month to deal with this kind of thing because of the various companies that I have and the various real estate projects has all these different accounts and my accountant needed me to get a statement through them every month and share that with them. So originally that required me logging into various different bank accounts on different websites getting the pds pdf statement in some cases where it was paper I would have to scan it and then get that all together into one email and it just took so much time and now it's completely automated and of course searchable on archived now for saving money there's the invisible hand which is a really great plugin forthe chrome and I think for safari as well and what invisible hand does is that when you're shopping online whether you're on amazon or new egg or all these hundreds of sites that works with it'll pop up a little bar at the top of the page and it will show you that the product you are currently looking for is available for a better price at this other site right at the point of persons you can click and go to it at the same point you can find out the place that you were currently at offers it for the best price on the web and it is completely automatic and it works with hundreds of sites and thousands of products coupon it's coupons that check out actually coupons that check out sort of self explanatory, but a lot of you and sure know when you get to that check out screen on a lot of websites, it offers you the opportunity to put in a promo code. In this case, all you have to do is click in the box, and it will pop up with all the available coupon codes that it knows off. And in fact, if it doesn't have any available, it has a button where you khun tweet at the company on asked them for a code which I have heard works in some cases, but you wouldn't even know, you know, there's like especially now with the holidays and black friday and all that stuff, there are lots of opportunities to get those protocols you wouldn't have otherwise, and if you use other sides like retailmenot or things where you have to search for things and a lot of times, those codes are no longer valid. It's right there in the box, you can try six ko's with no problem and see if they worked or not, and people raped them and it's really effective and then bill cutters is an outsourced service where a real person will call on your behalf and I'll call the company. Where you have a monthly charge going on with them whether it's your verizon cellphone bill or a cable bill or car payment or anything where there's a monthly bill and they will call up on your behalf and negotiate a better price for you using some super special secret technique yes and they get fifty percent of the savings if they don't save anyone I don't get anything so I have currently I saved over three hundred dollars a month on various bills because of them just calling for instance with my verizon bill they save me forty dollars a month I don't know how on dh I have do nothing and they get some of that savings so they are actually working on your bath and they have all their methods in place or any kind of monthly bill they will tackle that and if they can't then they don't get anything out of it so it works really well so all of these are just you know their acts and their services that you could just try and use there's no reason not to and as I said before you don't just jump in and get to it but before we move on to the second part of this which is about generating come I really want to stop for a sec talk to everybody about your challenges not only with tracking your finances but also things where you know that there is knowledge that you could share with the world and maybe monetized but you haven't been able to yet and I know that you had mentioned that you started a new fabric line write something that you weren't able to do before. So does anybody have something they want to share about that about either the tracking or were these situations have spoken to them quick question is do they take fifty percent every month or just for the first month or so? The bill carter's people it's it's an annually the annual isn't oh yeah, so if they're going to save you twenty dollars a month, then it's two hundred forty dollars they got a hundred dollars for the first year or every universe there for just one news for one year sounds interesting I had all of last year attract every month for when I was newly married, what we're doing where it was going and created pivot tables and excel and, you know, graphs and all these things so that's a lot of work it was that I wanted a better idea where those air going, what did you learn from that? What were the inside? So you actually gained uh that it was really just way too time consuming to continue this year on dh being newly married, it was kind of nice to see where it was going for my business which was new in his, which has established and what the difference was for where things were going for each of our businesses. But were you able to learn things that were actually actionable about how you're spending your money and things that you were able to adjust? Maybe, uh, yes, did I adjust them now, it's not especially okay, but no, but not to push it too much, but could you share what some of the things one of those things where that you didn't act on it? I didn't act, but that you saw some place that could be adjusted? Um, I can't remember, but I think mint will make it much easier than going through, and maybe it will make me want to continue with it and actually implement some of the changes I observed. Well, the example that one of these animals that was kind of hoping for, but I know this is going to resonate with people is that when you switch from people who are eating out a lot to somebody starts eating at home, seeing the difference in the change of how much money you're spending on food is really interesting and on an even grander scale, if you start to switch to cooking at home, you may see that your health care costs go down. In the long term so there's this idea well, it's not even idea I not the turn of the century but I want to say sixty years ago or something the average american was spending uh eighteen percent I think eighteen percent of their income on food and five percent of healthcare the current ratio is about seven percent on food and about thirty percent on health care, so it would be very easy for someone to say oh it's so much cheaper to eat this way or this but the real cost is something that we actually don't consider on a daily basis and something like mint can really show you that but that's a typical one that I've seen where people switch from eating out a lot too then eating at home and they see that that being shift that happens it's like, oh, but it's so expensive eat organic and healthy and all this up it really ends up being not difference for me would be that if I worked out more, I would stop buying clothes film editor well, your feet probably don't change shape at least used on then what? So what about like knowledge that oka had gross reason stuff? But then I couldn't tell because it classifies targeted grocery as groceries because I wouldn't know where I spent the money, so I guess something like using a bill place like when received would tell me fighting cross views are about something else. Electronics a target because mine classifies that stella's groceries, right? I thought you said men classify that I'm sorry. Yes, right so meant does and and men can learn, by the way that's one of things, but that you brought up another point, which is good. That one receipt also has another cool feature when you use the one receipt plug in if you go on american express, starcom, citibank, bank america and and on meant using that plug in because it's pulling in the email receipts you can hover over a transaction, and it will pop up with the actual receipt of what was purchased that is related to that transaction. So in my case again, where we literally have thirty or forty amazon transactions a month and all it says is amazon dot com and then unaddressed, I can hover over and actually see what the charge was four. So I know if something had to be returned or if it was credited or if I was actually ordering the thing I'm supposed to be ordering particular use men. And so it's definitely helped me a lot, and I made a huge change in my spending habits and what well, as so basically, um students like go out a lot you know what to eat out and so well I just that um you know, even the small piece like fight always and you should all just nothing but it adds up at the end of the month and so when you see that it's like, oh shoot, you got to stop eating out last time limit to maybe like five times a month or something and so that's what I started doing I started making my living limiting myself I'm going out as much on dh started he'd buy more groceries and because of my new spending habits men and also has a really cool future like you said that kind of gives you suggestions oh my credit card someone you shouldn't suggestions over the credit card that you can use for your spending habits and so instead of ongoing I like and I want to travel in the future so it suggested that I drive a lot too and so the sound since you like to travel I want to get a travel card and both of your knowledge points so they're not I was awesome so I investigated more um credit cards that have like my college point and stuff like that it was awesome, right? So that's a perfect example of how it can help you and counter so what you were saying before about how you had to spend so much effort teo just track the stuff not even to get the insights from it right so yeah something like that will really give you actionable tools in ways that you can save money and it's sort of watching your back so I was doing the same thing as you are you've got x l and it's like you sit down the first day of the month and it takes three hours because you have to go through a bank statements credit card paypal but what I started to notice wass how many purchases from my business since I am some prime I spend an amazon because I can get all of my angst involved everything I need and then I was able to realize that if I put more of it on the amazon credit card already had I think it all the points for it which then I could just to buy things yeah so it's saved a lot of money in the end that's really okay so that's that's really right to and you brought up something also which I forgot to mention which is amazon prime so if you don't know amazon prime seventy nine dollars a year and for that you get free two day shipping on everything that amazon offers prime which is majority of the things that they stock and that's not just the little things so a lot of that subscribing so himself small but you can get you could get tv's on prime you can get uh wait just got like a place that for my son that is big, they actually have like a fourteen hundred dollars swing set that's prime my name is I don't know how they do that but it's free today shipping it's three ninety nine for overnight shipping and if you live in certain meant measure of problem areas at seven ninety nine for same day delivery that way we don't have they recently took down our tv antenna as well and we don't have cable so everything you get all the amazon contains anyone demand stuff as well included that seventy nine dollars a year it's more than paid for itself very quickly does it connect with the subscribe? Yes? Well, so well I think yes, it does and if you have the prime than these private savings done today as opposed to the standard five seventeen so this which by the way would be free so the trumps privacy was already discount and the five to seven days shipping is free. But with prime you get it today, which is really nice, especially if you need to get an extra shipment all of a sudden because you ran out and it's sometimes by the way frank the mission that as well it does sometimes take a little bit of time to figure out how much is something you actually need, right? So they recommend certain things for every kind of product, but maybe you don't realize that you should change your toothbrush every three months that's something that I didn't learn know either until I learn that, but every three months we get temple tooth brushes, by the way, and then we throw out the old ones quick question from the web about meant has lit is wondering whether it's international or just based it is international, they're they are constantly adding new bank accounts and companies that they worked with, but it is definitely national. I know people who use it in london, I know people who use it in india, and I know people use it in australia, so yes, that is definitely international and and cheeseburger in paradise wants to know if you've ever heard of people using bill clutters for health care bills. So what bill cutters does is for monthly built, so it depends if the bill that you're paying is like a monthly health insurance bill. Yes, they can work on that it's not guaranteed, and again their savings are based on I'm sorry their fee is based on the savings that they are able to achieve, if any, but there is no harm and try, and I have interviewed the founder for my podcast, and he said, you know, we'll try anything so which leads me to think that maybe they're just really really nice when they get on the phone people have especially about them but yes with monthly health care across they certainly can do that if there's other things that are more specific that's the kind of thing that I would certainly have a virtual system tryto work on for me and they might have some ideas that you hadn't thought off so it's something to think about yes so that like for you want you you may be higher virtual sister or somebody to check out bank rains for loans or interest rates and tryingto evaluate different options for recon re consolidating our refinancing thing yes, absolutely and you know a situation like that we have virtual system working with you depending on your comfort level and in my case I would be comfortable sharing any of that information quite honestly you could say to someone look, you know their services that maybe do this automatically but look here's the last three months of statements from these four accounts like kind of get an idea of how I do things and what I've been spending and go hunting on by the way I mentioned being this intentionally vague sometimes with social systems that would be a case where I would do that because I honestly don't know how I would tell them to go look for that kind of information and I wouldn't want to tell them look on this site and missing this site because they may have much better ideas so that's certainly something that I would have a virtual assistant work on for me as well uh before you go into the generating companies or anything else coming okay, you do you have any results from the letters that you would like to share that you've seen and I'm like people used on our rent by the way to san francisco teo you know what if you if you're renting from a large company like a related property is something I don't see why not they would do it they'll still trying but then of course well they're splitting that saving me but why not try it but I know they would have that. Yes, I have saved money on horizon my cell phone bill I was saving money on time warner before I canceled it. Uh uh they saved me money on my geico bill actually, to which there were things that I just wore in a way that you could take care of. From what I understand some of the things that you have to do with loyalty like that they'll be like so how long has this been a customer had they ever had any problems paying like, you know, I wanted to give a loyalty discount and that works it actually does there's no harm in asking there is one more and I think this relates to this section robert wants to ask if you have any thoughts on scanning financially sensitive documents like tax returns on dh then you know that the case of weighing the convenience of it versus the privacy or the security okay so I said yesterday that the on ly thing that I've never given a virtual assistant access to is my actual bank account log in and that's not for privacy concerns the security itjust something has never come up and file this is one of the reasons why I haven't had to do that because if I want to share bank statements with a virtual assistant I can do that with file this forever no I don't need to give them the log in to then go in and do a bill pay for me for example my identity is protected by lifelock so I'm perfectly happy sharing my social security number when I give it to a virtual system doesn't worry me at all so lifelock protects me there if I'm going to save if statements and just keep them protected you can use any number of encryption software to do that and you can keep it encrypted when it's on dropbox or never know if you want but as far as sharing it with someone else you have to really think about what are you worried about them finding out are you worried about an assistant seeing where your purchasing things that probably shouldn't be a concern. Are you worried or bashful about them? Seeing what your balances, whether it's really low are really high? Does that really matter? Its a one to one situation that someone you don't have to see face to face, and they're not going to judge you? I promise. Either way, um, and then there's a force a question? Are you worried about them stealing information, doing something with it? I mean, credit card companies were so good at protecting fraud nowadays, honestly, you're and most companies say that you're not liable for charges anyway. If they have a bank account number, they could get that any number of ways if they really were a crafty person, so is it really a trade off? I don't think so if you if you have the illusion that your information is that private to begin with that's the first problem? Because as I think we've all seen in the news and various situations where companies have been hacked and information have been stolen, getting the number is not the hard part it's, then someone being able to socially engineer and do something with it and that's not something that you're going to help or prevent by sharing that information with a virtual assistant that hopefully works for a reputable company uh so I think that answers that question right? Yeah thinking another quick one from the web ari bruce wants to know if you use auto pay for credit cards or if you outsource it and why or why not? Okay, so I I to use auto pay for credit cards although realistically it's almost the smallest part of it so I use I try to do everything on american specify can because I'm a huge fan of american stress they're just really good about taking care of their customers and managing expenses all sorts of stuff so when I get a new americans rest bill it automatically says it will pay it on the day that the bill is due but that's the least of it so I don't even think about that the statement then goes to a virtual system who will go through the transactions with meant so the log into meant they'll basically see if there's anything that was erroneous they'll log into bill guard and they'll see if there's anything that came up that was a great charge and basically before I even have to get the statement they've already looked through four or five different layers of things so then tell me these things need to be returned these charges were incorrect this's the adjustment that should be made when you make the payment and the auto pay will take care of that anyway so essentially all I have to know is the amount of money that they need to have in the account when the pill is going to be paid and that's done through a reminder with fallen dot cc anyway. So, yes, I do use auto paint because it is just that one step that I don't need to be doing. Honestly. And quite frankly, what if I'm out of town that day that I would normally want to pay it? And I can't log into the web site for some reason. Why should I have toe worry about that? And it also goes back to that time shifting ability. Auto paid gives you that ability of time shift because just like you can send an email later, even though you wrote it now, I can schedule the payment now and then. I have to worry about scheduling the payment later, or even thinking about if I was, if I remembered to schedule it. So we get it done as it happens, and then move on from it, basically.

Class Description

Get ready to learn a proven way to optimize your productivity. 

In this course, achievement and efficiency expert Ari Meisel explains a systematic way for accomplishing the things you need to do so you can open up more time for the things you want to do. You’ll learn to optimize, automate, and outsource both personal and professional tasks. 

Ari will help you identify which tasks are monopolizing your time and help you build strategies to make those tasks less time-consuming. Ari will also cover simple strategies for getting through everyday responsibilities like errands and paperwork more quickly and efficiently. You’ll also learn about applying the same level of efficient prioritization to your personal life, including how to approach health and fitness in a more streamlined way.

By the end of this course, you’ll be on your way to an easier, organized, balanced way of living.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Optimize Automate and Outsource Everything.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Book Excerpt.pdf


Ratings and Reviews

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WOW - I only watched the intro video (about 1/2hr in length), and already I'm completely blown away ... I'm definitely buying this course! Already a huge fan of Evernote, (lol - stone tablet!) but the other websites also seem very useful. And if it's a matter of the best parts of the movie are all in trailer - I will be back to let you know!

Amy Cantrell

Lots of great info! I love the concept of getting ideas out of your head, leaving your mind open to new ideas, and using Evernote to keep ideas and notes organized. The email tips alone could be worth the price of the class. Creating your own work week, tackling difficult tasks when you are at your best, making smart use of your time, progress begets progress, all good stuff!

Gina Bégin

I've already recommended this course to a number of people and followed up with Ari's team to go even further — though, sincerely, there is so much incredible depth in this course that if you're just starting out or in the midst of optimizing your workflow and cleaning up your "plate" of tasks, you will be blown away. He discusses great ways to use automation (IFTTT, Zapier) and how to make better use of Evernote, tricks to ... well, pretty much increase productivity in every aspect of life from health to work. I research this stuff all the time, but had no idea there was so much more out there. Well done, Ari.