It’s time to check in… how many of you have been having your monthly “date night” to discuss your finances? If you have, that’s great! If you haven’t, this is a great time to start. New year, new beginnings, new budgets. What better time of the year to organize your finances and start fresh.
Clean Up Your Desk
For me, I can’t even begin to think about a budget if my home office isn’t organized. Life gets in the way and things tend to pile up. Before you know it, there are stacks of paper everywhere, waiting to be paid, filed, scanned, or just papers you don’t know what to do with. Start there. This will take some time and effort, but you will feel so accomplished afterwards. Separate everything into piles, however you want to keep track of things. A pile for paid bills, insurance, tax related information, mortgage, kids info, etc. Choose whichever categories that work for your purposes. File them. Do not leave them on the floor. Invest in a filing cabinet. Or if you are really trying to go paperless, get a scanner. Put things where they belong and get rid of the piles.
Buy Some Folders
Now, everything is put up and cleaned up. Organized. Our goal is to keep it that way. So create some more folders. Get your money’s worth for that label maker. Create a folder for “unpaid bills”, a “to be filed” folder, a “discuss with your significant other” folder, a “not sure what to do with folder”, etc. Keep them in a convenient location so that you are easily able to put things in the appropriate folder quickly. This way you won’t get overwhelmed with papers again. Pick one day a week (or however often works for you) and file things away, pay bills, discuss items that need to be discussed and discard papers that you really don’t need. Make the determination, do I need this or not? Now you are all cleaned out and organized and ready to take 2013 by storm.
Create a Budget
The question now becomes, how do you keep track of your finances all along? How do you keep track of your spending? Do you use a budget? Budgeting can be a great tool to help you keep your spending in check and it doesn’t have to be cumbersome with all of the great, convenient programs and apps out there. I’m sure all of us have a few places that we could trim in our spending without even missing anything. I challenge you to start cleaning and organizing your finances. I promise, it is good for the soul.
The next part of this blog post will discuss some great budgeting tools and apps, but I want to make sure you are ready for it. So pick a day and get immersed in your finances. You better get moving fast…part two will be here is less than a month and you want to be ready!
Oh, and on a side note, if anyone has any really great ideas for what to do for all of my kids’ artwork, please let me know…yes, I have folders for those too!