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!
35 thoughts on “How to Organize Your Financial Life”
Great advise Michelle, I don’t make copies but I have all my important papers in folders that I name, such as homeowners, medical, etc. so I can find what I need easily, and knowing where your money is going to, is very empowering. Thank you
Thank you! It takes away a lot of stress when everything is organized and in the same place. 🙂
Awesome post. Organizing your financial life can never be over emphasized !
Thank you! I agree with you! :)v
Great post Michelle! It is nice getting finances in order, so much less stress! Okay, not properly stated, I never was good with grammar. One time I went from several thousand dollars in debt to debt free and money in the bank. Didn’t take very long but I admit it wasn’t easy, worth it however. I still have problems setting up a proper monthly budget but I think I’m getting better at least. Keep it up Michelle!
Thank you! That’s great that you went debt free! You’re right – it’s not easy, but it is definitely worth it. 🙂
Yes, it feels so much better being debt free, gets rid of headaches!?
Great pointers! I recently started budgeting. It’s empowering because you can actually see where your money is going every month.
Good for you! It makes it less stressful when you actually know what’s going on with your money. 🙂
It’s amazing how you don’t realize how much money you can spend on junk or eating out until you track the monthly spending. Cooking at home is a huge savings for me
Exactly! We cook at home, too. We try to only eat out once a week and sometimes not even that. Most of my money is spent on groceries. Ugh… 😀
Such a practical and necessary post! Keeping track of finances is definitely not my strong suit sadly. I need to get better!
I’m organized when it comes to paper financial info but my husband likes everything on the computer. I let him deal with all that! ?
Another thought with reducing credit card debt. If one has two or more credit card balances, try to pay the smallest balance as quickly as possible. When the smallest balance is paid off, begin focusing on the next biggest balance. I believe that Dave Ramsey calls it the “snowball” effect.
That’s a great idea!! We’ve been working on that for a little while now. It has definitely eased some stress!
Wonderful to hear. My wife and I used Dave Ramsey several years ago to get our financial house in order.
You are right Michelle, credit score is one of the bigy to keep an eye on. My husband’s credit score was 320 when I moved here in the states. I helped him to being his score upto 840. You have to be organized with your finance or you are in big trouble.
Good for you for helping him! It’s a huge factor in so many things here.
Awesome points, Michelle! When your financial life is in order, it really helps everything else fall into place 🙂
Thank you! I agree. It definitely takes the stress off. ?
This is very important. Thanks for great tips. Finances can break or make life.
There are some great tips here Michelle. I really ought to check my credit score – I’m so terrible when it comes to organising my finances! xxx
Thank you! I’ve found some mistakes on mine and fixed them. That really helped my score! 🙂
Solid advice here all around. Thanks for sharing.
Very useful! Bookmarking this.
This is super helpful, thank you for sharing your tips Michelle! I really need to start tracking my spending and seeing where I need to cut down. Great post! <3 xx
Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com
Thank you! It’s a little challenging at first, but once you get in the habit it becomes easier. Thank you so much for reading!
When my husband and I got married, we vowed to always track our monthly spending. This has really helped open our eyes as to what we truly spend money on. With credit/debit cards being the main way to pay for things now it is easy to forget how much you are spending.
That is so great that you guys started out tracking spending right away. Our finances were a huge issue when we got married. We learned the hard way! 😀 Thank you for reading!
These are some really great tips! Reading this made me realize that I have to do better with my budgeting. Thanks!
Thank you!! Good luck with your budgeting! ? Thank you for reading!
Thank you for this post, it will be really useful for my family. I totally agree with the setting goals and emergency funds. Thank you for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome! I’m so glad you found it useful. Thank you for reading!