Guest post by Karen Collacutt, CFP
Are your financial papers all over the place? Are bills and documents hard to find? Would you like more control over your household finances? Well, families and individuals who focus on their goals and dreams become more conscious about their spending and make better overall financial decisions.
If your papers are piling up and hard to find, your journey to empowerment and control with your finances will quickly get derailed. By setting up systems to automate and structure your money, and the never-ending paper that goes with it, you can get and keep your financial house in order.
Follow these three simple steps to increase control and confidence in Your Financial System.
1. Create a Money Spot
Choose a particular location for all financial information to land when it comes into the house. Try a three-tiered tray system or three baskets. Collect the tools you need to manage your family finances: stapler, sticky notes, stamps, paper clips, envelopes. Keep them handy at your Money Spot so you can complete your financial tasks in one sitting.
Basket 1: All incoming financial information. Teach your family (and yourself) that all financial documents and requests go to the Money Spot: bills that arrive in the mail, receipts from your wallets or your cars, your child’s field trip request… anything to do with money and the family finances.
Basket 2: Bills to Be Paid. Set up 2 file folders in this basket – Bills due to be paid during the 1st-15th and bills to be paid 16th-31stof the month.
Basket 3: All items to be filed. Place all paid bills, statements and information here; ready to be filed once you have dealt with them.
2. Choose a Money Day
Decide when you’re going to deal with your money. Book a time each week, or each pay day to handle your finances. It could be weekly – Money Mondays, Financial Fridays, or perhaps bi-weekly Pay Day Parties! Instead of trying to handle finances daily, choose the time and day you will sit down and deal with all of your finances for the previous week or two. Use My Money Day Checklist to keep you on track.
3. Create and Maintain a Financial Filing System
Get rid of that six-inch stack of papers that isn’t filed! Download our tool My Financial Filing System to organize your papers and know exactly where to find them. Use the third basket in your Money Spot to collect your papers to be filed. Then file them at least once per month. If you do it every Money Day, they won’t build up and you will have very little to file each time.
Setting up these three systems will completely organize your household finances. You will know where your documents are when they come in and long after you deal with them. A sense of order and peace will follow, allowing you to check on your finances periodically and easily.
Remember, staying on top of your finances doesn’t mean shuffling financial papers every day. Streamline your System and Focus your Finances today so that you have more time for creating and living the life you want tomorrow…