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How to organize your finances

by on January 10, 2013 11:24 AM

1. Reduce your number of financial accounts/close duplicate accounts. If you have more than one bank account or credit card, consider downsizing unless the accounts play specific roles.

2. Establish a good filing system, whether it be a filing cabinet or a folder on your computer. You should have one file for each credit card, bank account, auto insurance, health claims, health insurance and life insurance.

3. Set a monthly budget, factoring in gas, groceries and other costs. Make sure to set aside some of the budget to include unexpected expenses such as medical bills and car repairs.

4. Set up automatic bill payments or designate the same time every week to send bill payments. If you have a regular bill with a regular payment account, you may want to consider setting it up as an automatic bill payment. Schedule your investments to automatically be invested on a certain date.

5. Carry a notebook and record all purchases. It might be helpful to keep one notebook in your car to record gas purchases, and one in your office or at home.

6. Save receipts and make sure all purchases are accounted for. This will help reconcile your credit card statement as vendors can often appear on the statement with a different name than the store where you bought your item. Saving receipts also helps track your spending. Every day, put the receipts in your designated “receipt folder” in your file cabinet. Don't leave them in your purse or on the counter.

7. Keep a copy (in the same place) of all important documents, including passports, credit cards and social security cards.

8. Have one location at home where all bills are kept, and check that location (such as a box) regularly.

9. Use digital calendars. Spend a day on the weekend to organize your Google, Outlook or any other type of digital calendar, and mark important dates. Set days you want to review how much you're contributing to different accounts, when you should check your credit score, file insurance claims, do your taxes and other important personal finance tuneups.

10. Organize a sweep into your emergency savings fund. Even if you can only afford to sweep $5 into an emergency savings account each month, having one is important. Set up an account that is not directly linked to your checking account, then put in place a monthly, automatic transaction that deposits the target amount into your savings account. Once the emergency fund reaches six months of living expenses, start sweeping those savings into a different place, such as a long-term savings or investment account.



Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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