How to Organize Your Finances: 10 Simple Tips for Success

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Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? If you haven’t yet decided on a New Year’s resolution, it’s not too late. It’s never too late to make the decision to make changes to your habits or lifestyle. Even if it’s later in the year, you can still make the commitment to change something you aren’t happy with.

As you are thinking about what you want your New Year’s resolution to be, think about your financial situation. Are there any improvements to be made there? Here are some questions to think about to determine where you can take action to improve your situation:

In order for you to improve your financial situation, you should organize your finances. And organizing your finances is a necessary step toward achieving financial wellness. Since learning to organize your finances is the first step to getting control of your finances, I want to give you some tips today to help you organize your financial life.

First, let’s talk about the consequences of financial disorganization. Financial disorganization can cause you to:

  • Miss bill due dates
  • Be unaware of the amount of debt you are accumulating
  • Lose important documents
  • Increase your risk for identity theft
  • Have a lower credit score

As you can imagine, there are lots of benefits to keeping your finances nice and tidy.

When you organize your finances, you will:

  • Keep up with paying your bills on time
  • Know where you stand financially at all times
  • Easily find important documents
  • Make budgeting easier
  • Achieve your financial goals
  • Get motivated to organize other areas of your life

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, on to the important stuff. Here are ten tips to help you successfully organize your finances.

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Simple Tips to Help You Organize Your Finances

#1 Identify where you will keep all your important documents

The first thing you should do when organizing your finances is to designate a secure place to keep your important documents. Designating a spot will help you keep your paper clutter under control.

We all know what happens when there is lots of paper clutter! Important things get buried and lost. Then you spend hours looking for that one document you need.

We’ve all been there.

Some examples of what you want to keep in a secure place would be:

  • Your will and trust
  • Active insurance policies (car, life, malpractice, renter’s, home owner’s, etc.)
  • Tax paperwork
  • Record of closed/paid-off accounts
  • Bank statements you want to keep
  • Car titles

I keep important documents like these in a file drawer. But that is just what works for us. There are so many options for storage, especially when you are short on space or cash. Get creative!

You could use an expandable accordion-style file, a plastic bin that accommodates files, a storage ottoman, a cardboard box, or a small bookshelf with binders or folders.

You also may want to invest in a small fireproof safe to keep some of the more important documents protected. Some documents you may want to store in a small fireproof safe are:

  • birth certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • social security cards
  • passports
  • home deeds
  • insurance information
  • copies of your health insurance cards

#2 Designate a spot for incoming bills and statements that need to be paid  

Having a designated spot will help prevent bills from getting lost in piles of mail on the counter. Separate your bills from your other mail as soon as you bring your mail inside.

You could put them in a folder, a letter sorter, a basket, a small desk bin for paper, or a designated drawer.

Signing up for paperless statements is a great way to decrease the amount of mail you get in your mailbox. It will help make the paper clutter more manageable.

It’s good to try to take care of your “keep” mail pile weekly. Pay the bill and then file or shred the statement when finished.

#3 Keep a shredder handy

Shred any documents or statements that contain any personal information. Gone are the days when I rip up my mail and toss it in the trash.

I err on the side of caution and shred EVERYTHING, to the point that my husband gets super annoyed with me.

Keeping a shredder handy will help you avoid a pile of stuff that takes you forever to shred when you actually get around to it.

A great idea is to keep your shredder in a basket to “hide” it. This keeps it accessible so you can keep up with your shredding.

#4 Keep track of your bill payments

This is probably the best tip out of all of them. Knowing exactly what bills you have, when they are due, and keeping track of when they are paid is key to keeping your finances organized.

You can create a bill pay checklist on paper to keep with your checkbook. Or you could create a simple Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet to track everything.

Just type the name of each of your bills down in the first column. In the next column, type in their due dates (you could list them in order of when they are due).

Then, list the months across the top. Each month when you pay the bill (whether it’s automatically paid or if you do it manually), enter the amount you paid in the proper box.

You can sum up each column and each row to see what you are spending each month and for all of your individual bills.

This simple technique will go a long way in helping you organize your finances so you don’t forget to pay a bill.

#5 Designate a time and place every month to pay your bills and set a reminder on the calendar.

It would be a good idea to base your designated bill pay times around when you get paid and when your bills are due.

For example, my husband and I both get paid every other week, and our paydays fall on the same week, so I pay my bills and update our checkbook ledger two times a month.

If you get paid weekly, you may need to set time aside every week to pay your bills. Try to figure out what will work best for you and actually schedule a time block for it on your calendar, write it in your planner, or put a recurring reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.

It’s also an excellent idea to designate a place in your home where you will sit to pay your bills. Try to keep that area cleaned up to make it easier to grab your bill pay supplies, sit down, and get to work.

This brings me to my next tip to help you organize your finances.

#6 Keep all your bill pay supplies together and handy

Paying your bills does not have to take that long.

Sometimes the most time-consuming part of paying your bills is finding your checkbook and ledger, finding passwords, logging into your laptop, finding a pen that has ink, locating your envelopes, stamps, and return address labels, and digging through your pile of mail on the counter to find your statements.

Another idea would be to keep your budget with all your bill pay supplies so you can monitor how you are doing with sticking to your budget each time you pay your bills.

If you need help with creating a budget that works, feel free to check out my post here.

By keeping things together, organized, and ready, you are increasing your likelihood of being successful with paying your bills on time.

If you need help creating a budget, you can try this free budget workbook. Here is a preview:

Free Budget Binder to help stop living paycheck to paycheck

#7 Keep your passwords safe

Use a password book to keep track of website names, user ids, and passwords for all your accounts. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of accounts that you regularly have to log into to pay your bill.

This is also important if you are the main bill payer in the household like I am. If anything happened to me, my husband would know exactly how to access our accounts, which brings me to the next tip for organizing your finances.

#8 Talk to your partner about your finances

This is so important for peace of mind! It would not be a good situation if the person in the household responsible for managing the finances became incapacitated (this sadly actually happened in our family).

To prevent that from happening to you, talk openly and frequently with your partner or family about the household finances.

My husband is not a personal finance nerd like me and has no desire to participate in managing our money. He knows I’m pretty good at it, and he lets me do my thing.

However, if anything ever happens to me, my husband knows where all of our documents are, how my bill pay spreadsheet is organized, and where to find all of our passwords.

He also knows what to do with our finances in an emergency. I’ve even told him what he should do with the life insurance money if I would die.

I know, so morbid, right?

The bottom line is communication with your spouse or partner is so important!

#9 Keep track of your net worth

Your net worth is just all your assets minus your liabilities. Knowing your net worth is important because you will know exactly where you stand financially. Knowing where you are can help you determine your next steps to improving your financial situation.

There are several ways to go about keeping track of your net worth. You can use good old paper and pen, create a simple spreadsheet, use financial software, or try one of the many free financial apps.

#10 Consolidate your accounts

My final tip is to consolidate your accounts if it makes sense for your situation.  It’s much easier to manage your money when you don’t have a million accounts to keep track of.

You really don’t need to have several checking accounts and several basic savings accounts. It just makes it harder and more time-consuming to keep track of where your money is located.

Keep it simple! Don’t overcomplicate things.

So really assess your accounts and look for ways to consolidate to make your finances more streamlined, uncomplicated, and easier to manage.

Final Thoughts on How to Organize your Finances

The importance of organizing your finances is sometimes greatly underestimated. However, you need financial organization in order to improve your situation and maintain good financial health.

By keeping all of your financial documents organized and easily accessible, taking care of bills and statements when they arrive at your house, having proper storage for all of your financial-related paraphernalia, and communicating with your partner, you will set yourself up for success with managing your finances and meeting your financial goals.

Don’t forget to grab your free budget binder!

Do you have any financial organization systems or tips that work for you? I would love to hear them. Please leave me a comment and let me know.

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