We all know that it’s important to get your finances in order. However, a lot of people are unsure of what exactly that means. Never mind the fact that they don’t even know where to begin. That’s where I step in. As an accountant, getting finances in order is kind of my thing. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit of tips and tricks along the way. Here is everything you need to know about getting your finances in order. 

 

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List Your Expenses

Many of us are very “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” with our expenses. Our bills are on auto-pay, we use one-click purchases on Amazon, and swipe our debit card blindly at the grocery store. 

Many of us are unaware of the fact that gas prices have gone up, our trial offer for the cable bill is over and we’re paying full price, or the mill rate for the town increased again this year. How can you get your finances in order if you have no idea what you’re spending?

Make a list of your monthly expenses. Then, find out what these charges actually are every month. Trust me, no service, whether it be cable or phone, is the same price year in and year out. They prey on us being unaware that we’re paying more.

Figure out the essential bills, the grocery run, and ideal fun money allotment. Now, add it up and see for yourself what you spend each month. Also, be sure to save a bit of that, too!

 

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Pay off Credit Cards

Our biggest hurdle in getting our finances in order are bills. There is no bill more unnecessary than the credit card. You spend far too much money paying off the interest on this piece of plastic.

Once you have a list of your expenses, try to put anything extra toward paying down your credit card. After your finances are in order and the credit card is paid off, stick to the debit card or cash as much as possible. 

 

Enroll in Bill Pay

Sometimes being organized can be a bit too much for some of us to pull off. However, there are many tools out there that will do this for us. In fact, almost every bank does this service. 

 

 

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Enroll yourself in bill pay. That way, all of your expenses are generated in one place. Even better, most companies allow you to list the payees by the day the bill is due. Plus, these accounts can be paid directly from your checking account. 

So, now you have a hub where you can see what you owe, pay it on time, receive proof of payment, and have an online log of transactions for future reference. 

 

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Get Rid of Clutter 

Clutter is the opposite of organization. So, be sure to shred any documents that no longer serve you. Stop piling up bills in between magazines you’ll never read. Don’t put your pay stubs in a drawer of miscellaneous papers. There should be no miscellaneous. If you have no need for it, get rid of it!

 

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Come Up With a Filing Method

The best way to stay organized is to get organized in the first place. Figure out a filing system that works for you. Throwing bills into a pile, receipts in the junk drawer, and account statements in random sections of a filing cabinet won’t suffice.

I recommend you get an organizer with tabs. As bills come in, put them in a tab labeled, “To pay.” Once you pay them, place them in a “Paid” section for a few months. Shred when you know it’s safe. 

Also, start your tax prep. Make a tab for bank statements. Put receipts you plan to expense in their own area. Create another section for home repairs. Anything your financially responsible for should be in the same area but separate from one another.