Regardless of what experience you have organizing your personal finances, it’s important to have a straightforward system to help. Take a look at these great tips to organize your bills and personal finances.
1. Take paper out of the equation.
Today, almost every bill you have can be paid online which means everything can be handled digitally. It may seem like a bit of a challenge at first, but it makes managing your personal finances a lot easier to do down the line.
The concept of going paperless may be a bit confusing. All it really means is instead of getting your bills through the mail you’ll go to the websites of your service providers and set up online accounts. Once you do, you will be given the option of going completely paper free, which means your service providers will stop sending you paper statements, bills and promotional offers that you’re used to seeing in your mailbox. You’ll receive email alerts when your bill is due and can pay your bill on their website instead of writing a check and mailing it in. When it comes to your household and financial accounts, you’ll never have to lick a stamp or seal an envelope again.
The two major reasons to pay your bills online and go paperless are:
A. You’ll help protect the environment by reducing your use of paper.
B. You can reduce the clutter of paper in your house and help save your sanity.
Not only does getting rid of the stacks of paper they send each month going to relieve a lot of stress but it helps to save the environment as well.
2. Pick an organizational system that fits your needs.
When it comes to organizing your personal finances, one size does not fit all. Even though many believe that paying your bills online is the only way to go, that’s only the first part of this four-step process. Even though you have all of your accounts set up electronically, you’ll still have to find a way to make sure they’re all in one place. Otherwise, you will have to go from site to site, and with that many usernames and passwords, you are bound to forget a few.
There are two different ways to go about doing this. First, you can purchase bill-organizing software, such as Moneydance and Family Finance Planner. These packages give you the ability to manage bills and organize your personal finances from one program. You can pay your bills, view important account documents, and receive alerts when important due dates are approaching. Many packages available will also give you the ability to create a budget and will help you to stay within it by letting you know if you’re exceeding it or if you’ve got funds left.
If purchasing financial software doesn’t appeal to you, you can do what many do and create a financial spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel. It’s a bit more complicated, as it requires more manual labor, but like with most tasks that’s been mentioned here, it will pay off in the long run. There is no law that says financial spreadsheets have to be the same, so create one that represents your financial life. Note which bills you have to pay, how much they are for and when they are due. Subtract your monthly finances from your monthly income so you know how much money you have to spend each month. Once the bill is paid, mark it paid in the spreadsheet so you’ll have the peace of mind that it’s been taken care of until next month.
3. Think about the future.
Planning for your financial future plays a big part in organizing your personal finances now. Unfortunately, life isn’t predictable and putting together a financial plan for the future so you can handle anything that can happen which means it’s important to set financial goals for your future.
Setting up a savings account for emergencies is a great start. Putting back six to nine months of living expenses gives you money to use should something happen. This money should be used for emergencies only, hence the name “emergency savings account,” such as paying for rent and utilities after losing your job.
Setting up a retirement savings account is another great way to plan for your future. Your employer may offer access to a 401(k) which is a good example of a retirement account. Every time you get a paycheck, you can contribute a portion of it to this fund. These accounts are designed for your employer to match your whole contribution or at least a part of it.
Retirement funds like these can give you the future you want, whether it’s sailing a way to Bora-Bora or simply being able to do the basic things we enjoy like going to the movies and taking yearly vacations after you retire.
4. Don’t stress.
The old quote “There ain’t no stress like money stress, but you can only worry so much.”, basically means, don’t go crazy worrying about your finances. Worry enough, and then let it go. Using these steps, create a budget and implementing the financial bill organizer that works for you. Then, just enjoy your life!