Advice for Organizing Your Finances

Advice for Organizing Your Finances

By Michael Peterson
In February 22, 2022

Do you feel like you have no idea how much money you’re spending each month?

Are your credit card statements always a surprise?

In short, is your financial life disorganized?

It can be extremely stressful to face the unknown every time you balance your checkbook. Lost bills, missed payment deadlines, and overdrawing your checking account leads to penalties and fees. Forgetting to pay a bill (or two… or three…) due to disorganization is frustrating and can cause some financial hiccups – but fortunately it’s also an easy financial problem to fix. Read on for seven easy tips you can start today to help organize your financial life.

Expect your expenses.

If you have already created a budget, great! If not, start simple: Write down all of your expenses exactly how you expect them to play out. At the end of the month, record your actual expenses and adjust the budget accordingly. This process lets you see how accurate your spending expectations are and how you can use your funds more wisely.

Create a checklist of bills.

You pretty much know what bills you pay each month. And if you have other bills that you pay on a quarterly or annual basis, you expect those at certain times as well. Make a checklist of all your expenses, and tick them off each month to keep track of what you’ve paid and what’s left. This is especially important if you’ve recently moved or changed your email address – you’ll know if you didn’t receive a statement you were expecting.

Pay your bills immediately.

Sure, there may be months when you’ll need to wait for a paycheck to post to your bank account before being able to write a check to cover a bill. But try to get into the habit of taking care of your bills the day you get them, whether they arrive electronically or via snail mail. This solves two problems: You won’t risk losing the bill, and you won’t miss the payment due date. 

Synch with your significant other.

If you share expenses and accounts with someone else, it can be easy to overspend if you’re not tracking each other’s financial activity. When more than one person is writing checks without communicating and logging those expenses diligently, it’s easy to overdraw from your account.

Confirm your direct deposits.

Obviously, you can’t spend your paycheck before you’ve received it. With paper paychecks, this is easy to determine. Unfortunately, if your pay is direct-deposited, you don’t have control over when it actually hits your bank account. Electronic payments don’t always post on the expected date. Before you make that big payday purchase, check your bank statement online to verify that the funds are in.

Split up your money.

Set up two checking accounts: one for paying bills, the other for discretionary spending. Tend to your obligatory account, and always fund that one first to make sure you have enough to cover your bills. Any “leftover” can be put toward your discretionary account. 

use a financial app

Use a financial app.

Financial software can be a great way to organize your finances. Numerous online budgeting apps are available (many for free!) to keep track of daily and household expenses. These can be individualized to fit your unique circumstances and goals.
Hopefully these tips will be useful in organizing your financial life. Already tried to implement tricks like these with little to no success? Maybe it’s time to seek professional advice. Reach out to to speak to one of our friendly financial counselors. We’re here to help you find solutions that make sense for your unique circumstances.

Mike is the author of “Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich” and he has been published in a variety of local and national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Deseret Morning News, LDS Living Magazine, and Physicians Money Digest. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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