Even with all of the smart phone financial apps available, there are still millions of people who organize and file their financial paperwork in shoeboxes that they store in the back of the closet. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not financial organization but it is a recipe for financial disaster. With that in mind we put together 10 Easy Steps that you can use to organize your Financial Life, get your finances back on track and start meeting your financial goals ASAP. Enjoy.
Step 1 – Get all of your Financial Documents and Information together. Whether you use a digital storage program or “old school” system, you need to have a file for each of the following accounts;
- Online banking
- Credit cards
- Personal loans
Step 2 – Create a basic Budget. We’re not going to go into how to make a budget just that you need one. There are plenty of budget apps and programs available that even the newest of computer users will understand. Take all of the information that you’ve accumulated about your finances and use it to create your new Budget. If you need professional help to do this, now is the time.
Step 3- Go back and Review your Budget Monthly. Now that you have a budget set up you need to constantly be going back, making sure it’s working and, when something isn’t, changing or fixing it. A budget will not work without your input, and will thus be worthless, so go back to it monthly and make sure it’s working for you.
Step 4- Calculate what you will need for large 1 – Time Expenses. If you pay anything only once or twice a year, like taxes, make sure you calculate those payments into your monthly expenses so that they can be put aside for when that payment is needed. If you can handle this one Step you will save yourself a lot of stress at least once a year.
Step 5- Store your financial paperwork and bills where they are Easy to Access. Keep your bills and important financial documentation, especially those that you don’t pay online, in a safe location that you can easily access when needed and your family can access in an emergency.
Step 6- Use a Set Schedule to Pay your Bills. Setting up payments for your bills as well as paying them as soon as you receive them is an excellent idea that will save you not only time but money from late fees and penalties that you won’t have to pay.
Step 7- Automate your Bill Paying. With today’s technology there is no reason to avoid automatic payments right from your bank account. There is no possible way to forget paying a bill if it’s automated.
Step 8- Keep your Payment Records. Using an App to do this is definitely convenient and will help you if someone ever makes an error. If you don’t, make sure you have a good filing system available. Errors happens, and keeping your payment records is the best way to fix the problem if it arises.
Step 9- Keep all of your Receipts. Another task that can easily be completely automated today, you should keep receipts for at least three months on any small item and a year on anything large.
Step 10 – Purchase a Document Shredder and use it. These are great little machines that will completely shred any documents that you don’t find necessary but that might contain your valuable financial information.
There’s really no way to achieve your personal financial goals unless your finances are well organized, easy to access and safely kept either in your home, in the cloud or even in a safety deposit box. You can follow the 10 Steps above you’ll find that your much more organized, have much less stress and, when a financial situation does arise, you’ll be able to handle it much easier.