Money can be a hot button issue for many people. Depending on your knowledge of finances, it can either be embraced or ignored until it becomes the elephant in your emotional space or a sore spot in your relationship.
The same way one organizes a house or apartment, it’s essential to get your finances in order. Fortunately, with a little planning you can simplify your financial management, saving you time, energy, and money. Check out some easy ways to de-clutter and organize your finances.
An easy way to avoid the clutter is to move to paperless billing and e-statements. It can also reduce the risk of identity or credit card theft by idiotic dumpster divers.
Create a budget
A great person has a 5 year financial plan that lays our recurring bills and more important a savings plan. If 5 years is intimidating, try creating a 1 year budget. List all known bills (estimate utilities) and income to see where you will stand at the end of the year.
Set a Savings Goal
Keep it realistic but hold yourself accountable for that goal. Make mini monthly goals to make sure you are on track.
Automate Your Savings
Easy way to make sure your staying on track with your savings goal.
Separate ‘Spending’ Money from ‘Bill’ Money
It’s best to have 2 separate accounts. Use one account for discretionary spending and saving, and the other for paying bills. This way you can prevent yourself from accidentally spending bill money on a night out that should have gone towards rent.
Create a Money Diary
Refinery 29 has a new series entitle ‘Money Diaries’ that details spending for women across the country. It gives you a chance to see where you’re spending your money. Track your spending over a one-month period to find out exactly where all of your money goes. Are you spending too much on incidentals like coffee and vending machine snacks? Are you falling behind on your savings goals or spending more than you make? By the end of the month, you should have an answer to all of these questions.
Make a list of all your usernames and passwords
Keep it in a safe place (If using Excel, you can use password protection). You’ll want to be able to access this information on bill-paying day, so keep it readily available.
Limit the number of credit cards you hold
Maintaining several cards can tempt you to spend more than you would otherwise. Whatever cards you use should never carry a balance from one month to the next. Pay them off every month and if you’re tempted, lock them in your safe to prevent impulsive purchases
Consider Using Apps
These days there are apps for almost everything, and technology tools abound to help you organize your finances and save more money. To make it easy to organize your finances, consider using an app or two to help, such as Mint, YNAB, and Chime. Checkout my post on my favorite financial apps
Financial management doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little effort, you can cut the clutter out of your finances and enjoy more free time and a lot less stress.