Feeling a bit scattered when it comes to your finances? You’re not alone – with so many bills, it can be hard to keep track of where your money is going every month.
So, here are a few simple tips you can use to save money and organize your finances more effectively.
1. Build A Household Budget
Financial planning always starts with a budget. You can’t know how to manage your money if you don’t know how you’re spending it – so we recommend compiling a household budget to track both your spending and your income.
Not sure how to get started? Here’s a guide to the basics. You can use a spreadsheet to track your budget, or software like Mint, You Need a Budget or Personal Capital to
2. Track All of Your Assets & Debts
Along with building a budget for your monthly income and expenses, it can be helpful to compile a list of all of your assets, such as bank accounts, your home and property, cars, and investment accounts, as well as debts like:
- Student loans
- Car title loans
- Credit card debt
- Mortgage debt
- Personal loans
And other such debts that you may be repaid. This can help you track your debts as you repay them, and measure how your net worth is increasing over time as you continue to pay down debt and save your money.
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3. Always Look Closely at Your Bills & Account Statements
Whether you get electronic bills and account statements, or you prefer mailed paper statements, it’s a good idea to take a close look at these statements whenever they arrive to look for any potential issues or irregularities.
For example, you may notice a fraudulent charge on a credit card or an extremely high-water bill that could indicate a problem with the water systems near your house. On the off chance that something is wrong, it helps to catch it early by checking your bills and account statements.
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4. Establish A Bill-Paying System That Work for You
Some people prefer to pay bills online, while others write checks. Today, the easiest way to pay bills is usually to set up automatic bill payment online – the cash can be automatically withdrawn from your account and sent right away.
Whatever you choose – whether you organize your bills on the kitchen counter as they arrive or pay electronically – keep the system consistent. This will ensure that important bills don’t accidentally fall through the cracks. Paying personal loans late, for example, could result in late fees and penalties.
5. Keep Your Financial Records in One Place
If you prefer electronic bills, it can be helpful to save them to a folder on your desktop or to print them out and store them in a safe or a drawer. If you still get a lot of paper bills, you can store them in the same place as your printed-out electronic bills, or you can choose to scan them and upload them to your computer or to the cloud.
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer paperwork or digital bills – but keeping all of your financial information such as bank account statements, past bills, tax returns and documents, and other such information in the same place makes it easy to reference them in case you need to do so in the future.
After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than needing an important financial document – and being completely unable to find it.
6. Start Saving – Even If It’s Just a Little Bit at a Time
Even if you can only save $20 a week, do it. If you can build up an emergency fund, you can have cash on hand when unexpected expenses come out, and you can avoid high-interest debt like short term loans.
Short-term loans have high-interest rates and fees – which can devastate your budget. If you can save up a few hundred dollars and avoid the need to take out a loan, you’ll be in much better financial shape when an unexpected expense comes up.
7. Cancel or Shop Around for Monthly Subscriptions
Do you need Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+? Look at your monthly subscriptions and cut whatever you can. Every little bit helps.
For other monthly costs like short-term loans, cable, internet, and cell phones, shop around. You might be able to find a better deal with another service provider or be able to negotiate a better rate with your current service provider.
8. Shop Around for Insurance Coverage
If you pay for auto insurance, home insurance, renter’s insurance, and other such insurance policies, you should shop around each year to see if you can get a better rate. Even saving $10 or $20 per month on insurance will add up over time!
Follow These Tips to Save Money and Keep Your Finances Organized!
Building a budget, tracking your assets and debts, looking at your bills, setting up a system to pay them on time, and properly organizing your financial records will all be very helpful as you take control of your finances.
So, start implementing these 8 steps today – and you’ll be able to manage your money more quickly and efficiently, and with fewer headaches.