10 Simple Ways to Organize Personal Finances

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In today’s uncertain economic times it is more important than ever to understand personal finances. We know you are busy and offer these ten simple ways to organize personal finances:

1.      Know due dates for all of your bills. This includes credit cards, loans, utility bills, mortgage or rent, car payments and dependent expenses or payments. Dependents include children or parents that you support.

2.      Select a place for all bills. A clearly marked container is a great option. Tell everyone in your household that is where bills (and only bills) are to be placed.  With the evolution of online billing and banking, the place to put bills might be a dry erase magnetic calendar where you can track online bills and stick paper bills.

3.      Organize bills by due date. Whether it’s the calendar we just mentioned or placing paper bills in an accordion folder, know your due dates. It is important to pay your bills on time. While paying late may not hurt you today, it will in the future.

4.      Have an exit strategy for debt. Know how much you owe, how you will pay it off and the payoff date. Having a goal will make you more accountable. Set up a minimum automatic payment (or more) to save your credit from late payments.

5.      Go green and manage bills and bill payments online. This will save a few trees, make your office more organized and take away the stress of wondering when you have to pay which bill.

6.      Set aside time each week for looking over your finances. Even if everything is automated it is still important to have an understanding of your financial status. You also want to be sure your bank didn’t have a glitch and that your bills are really paid. Tell your family your need an hour of uninterrupted time for this activity.

7.      Balance accounts via financial software such as Quickbooks. The online version will cost a monthly fee but will save you the time of manually entering transactions. As soon as you log in you can see the bank balance vs. your ledger balance and in a few clicks your accounts can be reviewed and reconciled.

8.      Have a budget & stick to it is a key to any budget. You really don’t want to spend more than you are making so it is important to know how much you can spend in categories such as dining out, groceries, gas, cable/internet, phone, utilities and personal expenses. By looking at your money in categories you will have a better understanding of where it all goes and where you can make spending or savings changes.

9.      Have address labels & stamps available for those bills that have to be mailed. This will save you time and stress. You may opt for a rubber stamp with your address to save even more time when paying the bills.

10.  You are not the Bank of Mom & Dad. Teaching children the value of money benefits the entire family. Create a schedule or list of chores for them to do in order to earn an allowance of a specific amount. Not only will you have some household tasks off your to do list but you will know the maximum amount you will have to pay out to the kids. You add that amount to your budget and tell the kids that is the money they have to spend eliminating the variable from your budget.

We hope you found these tips for household budgeting helpful. Please send us feedback and ideas!


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