8 Steps To An Organized Financial Life

AAA

Lack of organization can harm your finances as much or more than being short on cash. Losing bills can lead to late fees, and not keeping track of your bank account could cause overdraft fees. The following are some tips that will help you stay on top of your bills and accounts, and will lead to greater organization and, most importantly, less spending.

Pull Out Your Budget At Least Once Per Month

Your bills could change on a monthly basis. Revise your budget as bills come in and adjust other expenses to make up for it, so you don't accidentally overdraw your bank account. For instance, some months and seasons bring higher electrical bills than others.

What if you don't have a budget? Create one today! Start by writing down your budget the way you'd like your expenses to unfold. At the end of the month, start tweaking your budget by adjusting other expenses when one expense is more than you expected. (For more budgeting tips, check out Get Your Budget Into Fighting Shape and 6 Months To A Better Budget.)




Use Financial Software

Financial software isn't just for investments. You can find free, scaled-down financial software on the web to help you keep track of your daily expenses. Within the programs, you can get detailed information as to where your money is actually going. When choosing budgeting software, verify on the Better Business Bureau website that the service you consider has good customer service records

Have One Place For Bills

Even if most of your bills arrive electronically, you still need a place for bills that come by mail. For storage, keep your bills wherever you normally write checks or pay bills online. Throw out bills once they are paid, preferably after shredding them for privacy and identity theft protection.

You can also keep scanned copies in your computer. If you don't like filing bills by hand, scan them and save a copy in file format. Give the file a name that says exactly what the bill is and keep all bills in a file labeled: Bills.

Open Bills and Pay Them the Same Day

If you have money available in your bank account and you don't have other debit card or bill pay charges coming through that could cause an overdraft, pay your bills the same day they are received.

Pay extra attention to paper bills that normally come electronically. You don't want to pay a bill twice because you received a duplicate by mail. Always call your creditor when a paper bill arrives when you think you have an automatic payment scheduled or electronic billing set up. (For more, see Automating Your Bill Payments

Have A Checklist For Bills You Are Expecting

Neither mail nor email is perfect. Create a checklist at the beginning of the month with every bill you are expecting. You can keep it on your desk, bill paying area or create a file on your computer. What's important is that you are aware of what bills you are responsible for paying at any given time.

Consult With Anyone With Whom You Share Accounts

Whether it's your spouse, significant other or relative, you can easily bounce a check or debit card payment if you don't know how much the other has been spending

Let's say your spouse has the day off and decides to go to lunch and golfing with a buddy. When you get home, you're told about a great game of golf. What you're not told is the $150 spent amidst day-off festivities. You end up bouncing a direct-debited student loan payment because your bank account had $100 less in it than you thought. (To learn more, see Teaching Your Partner About Household Finances.)

Verify That Your Paycheck Is Direct Deposited

If you have direct deposit, you get used to your paycheck being there on paydays. However, sometimes your check may not arrive electronically on the correct date. It only takes a moment and can save a lot of financial stress and confusion. Don't start spending your paycheck until you've checked your account balance.

Have Two Bank Accounts

Use one account for spending. Use one for bills. This way you can prevent yourself from accidentally spending bill money on a night out that should have gone towards rent. It may take a little extra accounting to maintain the two accounts, but in the end you'll be more than likely glad you made the change.

Conclusion

Missing bill payments because of lack of organization is the easiest financial problem to fix. You don't have to use all eight of these tips, as long as you pick an organizational system that you can stick to every month.

For further reading, check out Enjoy Life Now And Still Save For Later, Your First Checking Account, and Take Control Of Your Credit Cards.
Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    8 Steps To Becoming Your Own Boss

    If you’re serious about being your own boss and setting up shop in your living room, you can do it. These steps can help get you there.
  2. Active Trading

    5 Tips For Diversifying Your Portfolio

    Follow these 5 easy steps to achieve a fully diversified portfolio you can be proud of.
  3. Savings

    Conclusion

    Check out these 8 easy steps that can help you take the confusion out of your personal finances
  4. Credit & Loans

    7 Tips For The Do-It-Yourself Debt Manager

    Take charge of your finances in seven simple steps.
  5. Savings

    8 Financial Tips For Young Adults

    Learn financial tips that will help you in the real world.
  6. Savings

    Banking: Check-Writing 101

    By Amy FontinelleThe ability to write checks from your checking account allows you to pay bills or send money to relatives more securely than using cash and less expensively than using a cashier's ...
  7. Budgeting

    8 Steps To Teach Your Partner Household Finances

    Follow these steps to give your partner a clear picture of your household's financial situation and the confidence to take over.
  8. Savings

    8 Steps To An Organized Financial Life

    Check out these 8 easy steps that can help you take the confusion out of your personal finances
  9. Investing Basics

    Women: Invest In Your Financial Literacy

    Learning about money may seem intimidating, but it's not as hard as it looks.
  10. Insurance

    Your Financial Life: From Stressful To Stress-Free

    Find out how to get the ball rolling on your future financial security. Then sit back and watch things unfold.

You May Also Like

Trading Center