Dealing with taxes, bills, and other financial paperwork is not enjoyable.
But, not everything about adulting is fun. In order to be a responsible adult and get ahead in life, you’ve got to organize your finances.
Check out these 6 ways to make your life easier and help you achieve financial success.
1. Set Up a Work Zone
When you are trying to organize your finances, it helps if you set up a designated area. You don’t need a fancy home office – although that would be nice. If you’re tight on space or live with a roommate, don’t fret.
All you really need is a small filing cabinet to stash away and organize your documents. You may even be able to disguise this as a side table in your bedroom or living room by covering it with a pretty tablecloth.
It also helps to set up a work area if possible. A small desk is preferable, but a counter or dining table will do. Just remember to gather everything up and file paperwork away when you’re done. This way, you will keep your home clear of clutter.
2. Get Supplies
The amount of supplies you need depends partly on how much of your financial information is stored electronically and how much physical paper you have accumulated.
To store and file financial paperwork, you may need to buy: file folders, hanging files, file dividers, staples and a stapler, paper clips, printer paper, and highlighter pens. In addition, it’s helpful to set up shop next to your computer and a printer in case you need to print anything that’s stored online.
3. Sort and Organize Paperwork
For starters, sort your paperwork into hanging files in your filing cabinet. You can label each one according to what it contains. This allows you to keep monthly household bills separate from loan paperwork, receipts, and any other financial documents. And here’s a pro tip: make sure you scan paid bills into your computer and then file away the hard copies right after you pay them.
Keep in mind that the more bills you have to pay, the more cumbersome it is to keep track of them all. A good way to remedy this is to limit the number of accounts you have. With this in mind, try keeping only one or two credit card accounts – and pay them off in full every month. Better yet, switch to debit to avoid the temptation of overspending and the need to continuously make credit card payments.
4. Automate Your Finances
While you can always use a paper calendar to keep track of the due dates of your bills, it’s more efficient to automate your finances. This saves you time and cuts down on clutter.
For starters, set up automatic payments for as many of your monthly bills as possible and switch to e-statements. This way, you’ll never miss paying a bill and you won’t have to worry about paper statements coming in the mail and cluttering up your kitchen counter. The less paper you have to file, the better!
Automating can also help you save money. For example, with Chime’s Automatic Savings program, every time you pay with your Chime debit card, your spare change is rounded up and deposited into your Savings account. Using this type of debit card can then lead to one less credit card payment to make pay and more money in the bank. A win-win!
5. Make a Budget
If you haven’t already done so, set up a budget that works for you. There are several different methods you can use to create a budget and manage your money.
To keep track of your spending, you can set up a spreadsheet, use an app, or go old-school with a pen and paper. Regardless of how you track your money, make sure your expenses do not exceed your income.
It’s also a good idea to review your budget every month. This way you can stay abreast of any changes to your expenses. Lastly, try to make room in your budget to save some money each month for your emergency fund.
6. Consider Apps
These days there are apps for almost everything, and technology tools abound to help you organize your finances and save more money. To make it easy to organize your finances, consider using an app or two to help, such as Mint, YNAB, and Chime.
It’s Time to Get Organized
Organizing and managing your finances definitely isn’t the most fun part of being an adult. But, avoiding this can cause stress and ruin your finances. So, follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to responsible adulting and shoring up your financial future. Let’s do this!