Most of us are pretty good at keeping on top of the housework when it gets a bit messy but far fewer of us are that tidy and organised when it comes to keeping our finances in order. Without organisation managing money can become extremely difficult and it’s very easy to lose track on what’s coming in and what’s going out. Therefore, it’s useful to be organised about our finances if we don’t want to be worrying about money issues all of the time.
The starting post for tidying up your finances begins with working out just how much money you have coming in versus how much you have going out each month. An article about budgeting in this section will give you more details on how to do this. Once you’ve done this satisfactorily, there are still plenty of other things you can do to keep your finances tidy and ship-shape. Keep a record of all your income and expenditure and, particularly with regard to the latter, that means EVERYTHING you spend money on down to a packet of mints on the way to work. There are many free budget planners which you can download online and you don’t even have to know how to formulate a spreadsheet, as that will all be taken care of for you. Some of these are more sophisticated than others and can not only calculate what you’ve spent already but can make projections for the next several months, based on your projected income and expenditure and can flag up if you’re going to end up living beyond your means and find yourself in the red instead of the black.
Even if you’re not keen on using an online budget calculator a simple pen and notepad will do. Keep records of all your payment dates, amounts to pay, who you’re paying and what money you have coming in and on what date(s).
Check out the Competition
Spring cleaning your finances from time to time can also give you the opportunity to go ‘finance shopping’. No, don’t worry at the mention of the word ‘shopping’. This is about ‘saving’ not spending money. In other words, take a close look at all of your regular bills each month. This might include your mortgage, gas, electric, phone, loans and insurance products. Then, do some research and see if you can save any money by switching to another company.
Clearing out the Clutter
Many people simply stuff their bank statements into a drawer without ever reading them. This is bad practice as you should ensure that you check each statement for accuracy. Keep receipts and mark them off as they appear on your bank statement. However, once you’ve verified all is correct, you can then destroy them and get rid. By that, this means shred or burn them not simply chuck them in the bin as you’ll no doubt have heard about issues of identity theft. You should also get rid of all bills lying around as soon as you know they’ve been paid and that the payment has been received successfully. Obviously, if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to keep hold of you statements, receipts etc. a lot longer for tax calculation purposes.
Simplify Your Bills
Since the dawning of the internet, many companies have started to encourage us to opt for electronic billing instead of paper billing, thus giving you less clutter to clear away. Furthermore, you can avoid reminder bills and letters if you opt to pay them online from your bank or set up standing orders and/or direct debts. Then bills become one less thing to worry about and will help you to keep your finances nice and tidy.
You may have savings and hold stocks and shares or, perhaps you have a pension. Keeping things tidy can also mean making a tidy profit so a regular 6 monthly or annual review with a reputable independent financial advisor can also keep things simple and tidy for you, whilst they get to work making your money work harder for you.
Just like with the dusting and polishing, tidying up your finances is an ongoing, never ending process which must be returned to time after time if you want to keep on top of your finances, manage your money better and make your money work for you in the most profitable way.