Organizing Your Finances
Whether you broke your New Years resolutions on the second day or are still going strong, it’s time to revisit one of our resolutions (no, not the home gym, we’ll get to it, we swear!) but the one about organizing our finances. While organizing your finances may not be how you want to spend your afternoon, lack of organization can harm you much more than just being short on cash. Not keeping track of your bills can lead to late fees, high interest rates and overdraft fees. We’ve included some tips that will help you stay on top of your accounts, lead to better organization and smarter spending.
1. Update Your Budget Monthly:
Your bills can change on a month by month basis, so it is important to sit down in the beginning of the month and budget accordingly. Start with essentials such as any loans or bills and work your way down to non-essentials (like as eating out during your lunch hour or ordering in for dinner). You may notice that your electricity bill is higher in December than in June and may rise again once the temperature rises. Since electric bills signal a change in expenses, refer to your monthly budget to see what you can adjust so you can pay your electric bills. Packing your lunch from home may save you an extra hundred dollars a month – but make sure not to reward yourself too soon! Just because you have some extra money leftover doesn’t mean you can’t add it to your savings (remember that vacation you’ve been wanting to take?) Forcing yourself to budget your expenses will help you see which other areas of your life you can be spending more wisely on. And If you haven’t made a budget before, it’s not too late to start now!
2. Update Your Filing Cabinet:
It can be hard to find important documents when the file drawers are cluttered with old and outdated paperwork. Make sure to scan and shred old documents before you file your new ones. Create a folder for all tax-related paperwork (such as 1099s or W2s). Put this folder where you go through your mail and as your forms arrive, place them in this folder. You’ll be able to get a jumpstart when the time comes to file your taxes with everything in one location. If your bills arrive electronically, make sure to label everything accordingly. You can also keep scanned copies on your computer, just make sure to name exactly what the bill is and keep all bills in your online folder.
3. Declutter your Home:
We need to throw this one in for good measure – decluttering your home can help your finances. When you remove items from your home that you no longer need and donate them to charity, you can write those donations off on your taxes. Whether you bring them to the donation center yourself or call The Junkluggers to lug it all away for you quickly and easily, keep a list of all the items you are donating! Put this list and receipt in your taxes folder – you can use this donation as a tax deduction. Use our handy valuation guide to determine the value of the items you will be donating beforehand.
4. Automatic Payments:
With so many responsibilities on a day to day basis, it’s sometimes easy to forget to make on-time payments to your credit card account. Going online and setting up automatic payments for your credit card help prevent any late fees while continuing to build your credit. Some companies even offer lower interest rates for automatically paying because it saves them the hassle of processing paperwork. In addition, you can also set up automatic payments for other recurring charges such as your cell phone and cable bills – just make sure to mark it in your calendar so you won’t be surprised when you check your statement!