Now that we have cleared the financial clutter, it is time to get organized. While all members of the family should be aware of the family’s overall financial situation, choosing one person to conduct the day-to-day financial tasks is a good way to stay on top of things. The appointed individual should be organized and a good communicator. They should be given uninterrupted time to do their tasks effectively. I’m sure you can guess that the appointed person in my family is Moi!
Consider making the job of family CFO easier by establishing an online bill payment service (offered free-of-charge by many banks and credit unions). Even better, check with your creditors about setting up automatic bill payments.
Designate a spot in your home for organizing financial paperwork. Used office supply stores offer great bargains on filing cabinets, or consider small plastic filing cabinets instead of metal or wood. If your goal is to have a paperless filing system, make sure that you back-up your computer regularly and invest in a good security program to prevent criminals from obtaining sensitive information. To keep your most valuable documents safe, consider opening a safety-deposit box at your local bank or credit union.
5 easy steps to get organized and save money
Did you know that being organized saves you money?
• You waste money buying duplicates of items you didn’t know you had
• You waste money on late charges because you can’t find the bills you need to pay, or you forget to pay them on time
• You also waste money not deciding in the store where you should store the item you’re thinking of buying, and then not using it
So now that you know why you should get organized, let’s discuss some practical tips to show you how you can get your finances organized.
It’s a big myth that organizing is difficult and time-consuming.
Yes, you do have to take some time initially to set up your system but unless you want to make things really complicated, it’ll only take you about 15 to 30 minutes.
1. Put all bills to be paid in a specific folder
When you bring in the mail, throw away the junk mail and envelopes immediately. Only keep the actual bill in a dedicated plastic see-through envelope in a specific place. Arrange the bills in order of when they have to be paid so that the one facing you is also the most urgent bill.
This way you and the rest of your family always know exactly where to find all the bills.
2. Automate as many bill payments as possible
We live very busy lives so if you don’t have to think about paying it, all the better for you. That said, schedule a day of the month to check your online payments against your actual budget.
3. Dedicate a specific day or days of the month to pay your bills.
Mark off a date on your calendar when you pay bills. If your bills are due on different days of the month, you may need more than one date.
Because life happens, schedule the date a couple of days before the payment is actually due so you don’t incur any late fees.
Once your bills are paid, file them in the way that’s easiest for you to manage. If you’re not a file puncher, don’t fool yourself that you will start punching and filing. The road to hell is paved with good intentions!
Rather use a filing system where you simply drop the paper in and it’s done.
Restrict your filing space so that it forces you to clear out old bills every 6 – 12 months.
I actually keep my bills for 12 months because I have all my household categories in one file binder.
This easy-to-use system will take you only a minute or two a day, and about 30 minutes when you sit down and pay your bills.