23% of adults say they pay bills late (& thus incur fees) because they loose them, according to Harris Interactive. The systems you use (or don’t use) can make or break your financial situation. Here are some organizing tips and web resources to help you get your financial affairs in order and reach towards your financial freedom!
Money Management — Keep a Spending Log – In order to pay your bills on time, you have to be able to have the money available to spend! To have a true sense of where you’re spending your money daily, keep a daily spending/expense log for at least one month. Enter in everything that you purchase each day. Even that 50 cent pack of gum. Get a little notebook that you keep with you and just do it. This will allow you to see where you can cut back and start saving.
Designate 2 to 4 Days Per Month as Bill Paying Day – Ninety-nine percent of the time, you don’t have to drop everything you’re doing when you get a bill in the mail to pay it right away. Designate 2 to 4 days per month and do all of your bill paying on those days. For example, you could choose the 16th and 29th of each month. You may do the same, or perhaps you might want to pay any pending bills one day per week, such as every Friday.
Set up a Streamlined Bill Paying Filing System – Keep your filing systems for bill payment as simple as possible. 13 file folders is all you need. One file folder for “Bills to be Paid” and one for each month of the year. As a bill is paid, file it in the month it was paid. It will be very fast for you to go back and research any questions and the system is easy to maintain.
Paper Management — Tax Files – Divide your tax files into the categories you know you use of into the categories that your credit card company uses to summarize your expenses, such as travel (car rental, lodging, transportation); entertainment (restaurants, movies); merchandise (gasoline, automotive, household, retail stores); healthcare (medical, Rx); miscellaneous and education.
Use a Receipt Box – If you have not been good about saving all the receipts for tax deductions, put a smallish box, without a lid, where you unload your purse or briefcase and make the habit of doing nothing when you come home until you put the receipts in that box.
Good luck and let me know how you are doing by commenting below.