How to Organize Your Financial Life
Taking control of your money does not have to be an extremely difficult process. Learn how to organize your financial life and clean up your wallet.
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Managing your finances can feel like a full-time job, but a necessary one if you want to have an organized financial life. Keeping a good organizing system when it comes to our finances is a great way to take control.
Living frugally also helps keep us out of debt, plus there’s not as much to organize.
I’ve put together a list of ways to help you organize your financial life.
How to Organize Your Financial Life
Set financial goals
Decide what your financial goals are by asking yourself what it is that you are saving for. Examples of financial goals are:
- kids’ college education
- new house
- new car
- pay off debt
- starting a business
The following steps will show you how to set your financial goals.
1. Write down your goals
Grab a notebook and write down all of your financial goals – big and small. Writing down all of your goals will hold you accountable and keep you focused. Stick them somewhere you’re going to see them such as on the fridge, bathroom mirror, or even hang them in your car.
2. Be specific
Don’t just write that you want to make extra money with your blog this year. Write down exactly how much you want to make for the year. Break it down and write down how much you want to make each month.
3. Make them reachable
If you set your goals too high and unrealistic, you might not be able to reach them. This will leave you feeling disappointed and unmotivated to keep trying. Break your goals down into smaller chunks to make them easier to reach.
4. Set a deadline
Set a timeline for your goals and a deadline as to when you want to reach them. “Someday” isn’t an option for setting financial goals.
Track your monthly spending
Track your spending over a one month period so you can see where all of your money is actually going. Keep a record of how much you’re spending on subscription services like Hulu and Amazon Prime every month.
Write down the small things, too, like that Starbucks coffee you think you have to have on a daily basis. (By the way, you don’t need it!) If you have a subscription and actually take advantage of it, keep it, but if it’s something you rarely use and can do without then get rid of it.
See also: 12 Ways to Get Books Free or Cheap
According to a study conducted by creditcards.com, 65% of people with debt don’t know how long it will take them to get out of it.
First, figure out what you owe and make a plan to steadily pay it down. Think back to your financial goals and let them be a motivator to attack your debt.
One way to do this is to pay an extra $100 a month towards your credit card bill, for example. Consider carpooling with a coworker to save on gas, babysit a few nights a week, or be a dog walker on the weekends for the extra cash.
Be prepared for emergencies
Unfortunately, emergencies happen. Last month our septic system completely gave out and now we are going through the process of having to hook onto the town sewer system.
Luckily I’m very organized when it comes to paperwork, so I had everything together and ready to go. The last thing you want to do when an emergency occurs is to tear the house apart looking for your financial papers.
Take inventory of your important papers like insurance policies, bank and investment statements, recent tax returns, mortgage statements, etc. Store everything in a file cabinet, or safe, and consider making copies of each. Stash the copies in a separate place, such as in a security deposit box at your bank.
Keep all of your important papers and information in a home management binder.
Being prepared for emergencies is an easy way to organize your financial life and keep it organized.
Know your credit score
Did you know that insurance companies, cell phone carriers, landlords, and even utility providers can use your credit score to determine how financially responsible you have been?
Not keeping an eye on your credit score can cause you to miss out on any fraudulent activity. Mistakes do happen and are actually quite common.
Your FICO score is calculated based on data from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Check your credit score regularly once a year for free with annualcreditreport.com. Your bank or credit card company may offer free credit-score monitoring. Check out Credit Karma as well, which also offers free credit-score monitoring.
Create a budget
Creating a monthly and yearly budget is very important when trying to organize your financial life. There are so many different ways to create a budget, but you have to create a budget that works best for you.
My husband took the Dave Ramsey course through our church and that’s what we go by. He uses a spreadsheet to keep track of all of our expenses. It has really helped to see exactly how much we are spending and where. This system has also taught him more about living frugally.
See also: Meal Planning on a Budget
Managing your finances now will help you in the future. When an emergency happens, you will be prepared. Saving money now and paying off debts steadily helps you to live comfortably when you retire. Not having debts hanging over us is a huge stress reliever. Take the time to get your money under control and organize your financial life.
Looking for more organizing tips? I recommend these great posts:
Bedroom Organizing Ideas That Will Work for Anyone
Organizing a Small Closet on a Budget
How to Maximize the Storage Space Under Your Bed
How to Organize Your Paperwork
Declutter and Organize Your Phone
Be sure to check out my clutter-free series!