Organizing Your Money

organize money

 

Money and finances mean many things to people. Depending on our background, we may have experienced scarcity or prosperity. We may view money as “to be spread around like manure” (thank you Hello Dolly!) or for only the most important of needs. Organizing your money means getting a big picture perspective, having tools set up and creating routines that work for you.  Getting organized about money is the first step for use, balance, and comfort.

The Power of One

As in all organizing, you want to be able to find what you have! Having just one checking account is the way to know how and where you are spending it! Having one credit card not only simplifies paying the bill during the month, it also makes you most aware of where your money is going. If you are a small business owner, you should also have one credit card and one checking account for your company. Simplifying our connection to money can make all the difference.

Write It Down

Writing down how and where you spend money is an enlightening experience! Just like those food logs that scare us into a lifestyle diet change, we can do the same for money. Keep a log of EACH item you purchase in a month. Not only will you realistically know what things cost to create a realistic budget, you will also know just how many times you are using money for “wants” rather than “needs”.

Ledgers can make the difference for us in keeping track of and being accountable about our funds. Use your check register all the time to record checks and debit card transactions as these occur. For bill paying, keep a ledger to record your payments to utilities, credit cards and other monthly expenses. This way you see what each bill is each month, compare the expenses of the bill each month, and be sure you paid it each month. Seeing it on paper makes money not only a currency traded, but an effective way to see what are we really about. You can also use Quicken to record the payments to see annually what your expenses are and to help balance your checking account each month.

 

Money and Taxes

Getting organized for tax time can be simpler.  Through out the year, donations and expenses are occurring related to taxes. Before tax season, you’ll start to receive tax related information from your job, your bank, etc. Keep all of these tax-related papers in a labeled file folder. This way, when you’re ready to do your taxes, you won’t have to search for the papers you need.

 

Money Routines

You hear it all the time: “pay yourself first!” Set up an automatic payment from you to your savings account. It is the most painless way to get ahead on your savings.

Having trouble paying your bills on time? Set up automated payments to get this done timely. You will still need to keep up to date on what is being paid and to whom, but the process can make a difference in getting the job done. Finish bill paying by filing all receipts into an easy access file or notebook.

 

Getting Organized with Your Money

Organization with your money is the first step to realizing your financial goals. Do you want to purchase a home, send your kids to college or retire early? Having a working knowledge of your finances makes these goals attainable. Be empowered by organizing your money with systems and routines that work for you. This all takes time, our most valuable resource, however organizing your money is well worth the investment.

Apps that help

  • Mint.com
  • EveryDollar.com
  • Your Bank app
  • OurGroceries app (save money at the grocery store with a list)
  • RedLaser (for price comparison)
  • CardStar (for loyalty cards)

What ways are you getting organized with your finances?

 

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ADHD Bill Paying Solutions

 

 

ADHD Bill paying solutions

 

It’s a struggle to pay your bills.  Anxiety, math phobia, and paperwork challenges all add up to ADHD bill paying problems.  Financial documents are a nightmare because of details, multiple steps and lack of consistency.  Not to mention those awful accruing late fees!  Try one of these ADHD bill paying solutions.

 

Bill paying center

  • Gather together your bills, a pencil, calculator, stamps, envelopes, checks and manilla envelopes.
  • Open the envelopes of all the bills and mark the date due on each.
  • Divide the bills to pay according to the date due and the income in your checkbook.
  • Keep your bill paying center where you see it every day.
  • Pay your bills either every day or 7 days ahead of due date.

Online bill paying

  • Set up online bill pay using your bank’s services.  You will need one bill from each utility, including your account number.
  • Open your bills each day and write the due date on the envelope.
  • Check your balance weekly.
  • Pay your bills daily and set the due date for payment according to your balance and income.

 

Money Management Binder

  • Set up your binder with tabbed slash pockets. Label the pockets: To be paid, January, February, March, etc.
  • Use this Monthly Bill Manager to list your bills and how you paid.

 

Bill Manager List

  • Place all bills in the binder as they arrive.
  • Write checks and pay online once a week. Call the day Money Monday or Financial Friday.  Set a reminder or put post it notes to help you stay on top of your weekly commitment.
  • Keep the binder in the same place all the time so you can drop in bills and keep up with your weekly payments.

 

Auto debits and other automatic payments

There may be some payments that happen automatically from your account.  Make a list of these payments and the amounts taken out monthly. It creates a visual reminder for you and keeps you on track with your money.

Big Bills to Pay

Even with a great system, big surprises happen.  Make a list of the big bills you pay at different times during the year.  Payments for property tax, insurance, and estimated tax payments occur at random times throughout the year.  Go back through last year’s checkbook and create a list of these expenses.  Add these to your recurring reminders.

 

What solutions work for your bill paying?

 

More bill paying ideas here!

 

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Mint.com and Organizing

Mint.com

 

One of my favorite tools for organizing and money is Mint.com.  This site helps you get a clear picture of where you are spending your money, helps you create a budget, and consolidates information so you can prioritize using your resources wisely.  It’s not always simple to understand your money, but Mint makes it easy to be good with your finances.

 

This week I am honored to be interviewed by Mint.  Check it out!

 

If you think getting organized is only for Type A, Martha Stewart sorts, then maybe you haven’t heard the biggest perk of attacking that mountain of paperwork and deploying your label maker: unearthing lost funds.

“My clients and I always find money when we are organizing!” says Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer and family manager coach.  ‘

 

Learn more about how I help coach clients with their money in this interview.

October Tax Deadline is here

Small business October Tax Deadline

 

You cringe as you realize your small business tax deadline is here! Wasn’t it just April and you realized that the 15th was around the corner?  Postponing tax filing was an easy decision to make.  And now ~ it’s the real deadline. It’s a necessary evil, but it can be easier.  The October 15th tax deadline is just around the corner.

 

Know the papers you need

The first step is always knowing what you need.  Some of this information can sound like a foreign language.  Do a little research and start with a checklist for these papers can help.

Filing status is different for many small businesses.

  • For corporations, an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax identification number, is used to identify tax reports to the IRS.
  • For sole proprietorships, use your social security number.

Income can be found on your bank statement, invoices or sales receipts.  These include:

  • Wages and salary
  • Self – employment income
  • Consulting

Expenses  can be found in your credit card purchases, debit and bank statements, and vendor statements.

  •  Automobiles
  • Bad debts
  • Depreciation
  • Employee compensation
  • Home office
  • Insurance
  • Interest
  • Legal and professional fees
  • Pension plans
  • Rent
  • Taxes
  • Travel, meals and entertainment

The IRS has many resources to help you decide on small business expenses.

Find the papers online

It may be difficult to gather these papers together.  However, with online banking and online access to your credit card statements, you can consolidate this information.  If you use QuickBooks and have gotten behind, you can download information to your banking and credit card accounts instead of manually entering it.

 

Getting assistance

It may feel completely overwhelming to gather all your information. Not to worry! There’s help at hand! Professional organizers and Daily Money Managers often come in to assist you in gathering all this information.  Your accountant can send you a tax worksheet from previous years to remind you about this information.

 

Keep papers digitally

Keeping a digital copy of this information can ease your stress too.  Neat Receipts or Neat Connect (sponsored link) scan in your information and help you with tax categories. As you find receipts in your papers, scan these and categorize. Keep all your information together  and accessible.  Scanned information can also be exported into QuickBooks, TurboTax and Excel.

Struggling with your personal taxes too?  It’s the October tax deadline, but with a few other papers to find.  However, these same online and digital resources are available.

Financial Organizing: Bill Paying

financial organizing bill paying

 

 

Good financial organizing requires being organized about paying bills.  Bill paying is a necessary evil for us.  It’s not fun! (It’s not fun ever!) Sometimes it’s scary because we may not have enough money to pay bills.  Sometimes it’s complicated because income comes in at a different time than bills come in.  Sometimes it’s just so much going on it’s hard to keep up with every thing.

 

We try to find the easiest way to pay our bills on time. (Paying your bills on time increases your credit score, which is linked to credit extended by banks, mortgage companies and other loans.)  There are lots of different ways to pay bills.  Choose what’s best for you.

 

Bill paying starts with a great system and routine. Think of bill paying as a process with steps.  Follow these three steps and add in your own personal touches to make bill paying easier and less stressful.

 

Step 1: Keep all your bills together

  • Gather the bills in your command center.  I recommend getting the paper bills as a reminder you need to pay them.  Bills can get “lost” in your email.  Place them where you will see them, just so you remember to pay them.

 

  • Keep a list of your bills so that you know what you pay and when you pay. If you pay everything online, this list is especially helpful to see.

 

Step 2: Establish a system that works for you

  • At times these systems can overlap, but generally find one that works best for you.  Also have one as a back up, in case there’s an oops.
  • Pay by check.  Order 2 sets of checks at a time so you always have checks.  Place the checks together with stamps, envelopes and pens.
  • Pay online through your bank. Print out the consolidated receipt.
  • Pay automatically with a bank account or credit card.  Review your accounts monthly to be sure everything is paid correctly.
  • Pay by phone. Create a list of account numbers and phone numbers for each account.

 

Step 3: Establish a routine that works for you

  • Our lives are busy! However, a routine is what keeps your bill paying from becoming chaotic and late.  Choose just one routine and practice, practice, practice.
  •  Pay bills each day as arriving.  Open the envelope and write the paid date on the bill.
  • Pay bills weekly on a certain day each week.  Consolidating bill paying saves time.
  • Pay ahead double the amount.  This can get tricky, so be sure you keep a list of how much you paid when.
  • Set a weekly time to work on money.  No matter which routine you choose, have a regular time to check your bank balance and credit card statements helps you adhere to your budget.

 

After you have completed bill paying, you can file all the bills in one box labelled with the year.  It’s the easiest, fastest way to keep up with these papers. The box can be in your office, easy to access. It’s just that simple!

 

Have some tricks or tips to your bill paying?

 

Join me on my Financial Organizing  pinterest board.

 

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Financial Organizing: Creating a budget

financial organizing creating a budget

 

We all want to make the best use of our resources. Saving money is at the top of this list.  Financial organizing creates a focus on your goals, your systems and your routines around money.  Creating a budget as the first step to organizing your money.

 

Start your budget by knowing what weekly and monthly expenses you have. 

  • Start with a list of all the utilities, rent and bills you pay every month.  These expenses are often set already.
  • Use mint.com to see what categories you are spending money on each month on your credit and debit cards.  These expenses can be modified to see where to save money.
  • Use cash for 2 weeks.  Go to the ATM, withdraw the amounts for each category, and pay with cash. Leave your credit cards at  home.
  • Once you know where your money is going, you can take the next step with clarity.

 

 

Money saving strategies

 

  • Pay yourself first with automated savings. You can set up an automatic deduction from your checking account to a savings account.  Decide on a percentage of saving or a dollar amount to have transferred each month.
  • Think about your personal goals.  Is it to retire comfortably?  Take more vacations? Invest in more education for yourself?  Link your goals to empower your savings. When you know what you are saving for and a timeline to accumulate an amount, it is powerful.
  • Designate 2 or 3 ways you will save money.  There are small ways to start saving money.  Eat at home for dinner.  Pack lunch for work and school.  Grocery shop with a list on the same day each week.  Starting small helps you accomplish your goal to save money.
  • Get educated on the best ways to invest your savings. Learn from blogs, attended local seminars and find trusted investment counselors.

 

Know your weaknesses.

 

  • If it’s all to easy to go online or use a credit card for purchases, use a strategy to defer purchases. When online shopping, use the wish list instead of the card.  Return to the site a day later and decide if you want to make a purchase.  Carry only your debit card with you to make purchases, rather than a credit card.
  • Just like a diet, if you feel deprived you will not keep up with your budget.  Keep sight of your goals with a picture of what you want to accomplish.  Reward yourself with small purchases to keep on track if needed. A small splurge can be a good thing!

 

Budgets help you accomplish your short and long term saving goals.  Having basic tools to prioritize how you use your money makes it easier to accomplish these goals.

 

Lots of ideas on money management and financial organizing are on my pinterest board.

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Financial Organizing: Best Financial Apps

 

organizing your finances best apps

Organizing your finances is important.  But let’s make it as easy and as seamless as we can.

 

In the early 2000’s, we started experiencing the ease of online banking.  Many people were reluctant at first, and some continue to doubt the safety factor.

 

However, what’s not to love about our smartphones, tablets and computers when they can make something less painful?  The best financial apps can make financial organizing easier.

 

Your bank App

Not only can you make deposits without going to the bank, you can transfer money rather than send a check.  Having your bank app on your phone means you can check deposits and account balances.

 

Reminders

The trick to keeping current on bill paying is to set a reminder to pay the bills!  Reminders are great for paper or online bill pay.  Set the reminder as a recurring event each month to act on your finances.

 

CreditKarma

Once a year it’s great to check your credit score.  Your credit score impacts how interest on loans, how much you pay for insurance and mortgage rate.  Keep up annually with this free app.

 

Red Laser

I love to shop when I know I am getting the best price for an item.  Using Red Laser, I can price an item by scanning the bar code and see where to purchase it most cheaply.

 

Grocery IQ

There’s always groceries to buy! Why not share the responsibility by sharing the list?  Grocery IQ builds a list that can be used by multiple smart phones.  Whoever is on the way home can stop and get the milk now.

 

Expensify

Expense accounts can be time consuming!  Simplify the process with this app that includes scanning your receipt and adding it to your expense form.

 

I’d love to learn your favorite financial apps too!

 

Loving all the money mojo? Join me on pinterest Financial Organizing

 

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Organizing your Papers: Tax Time Tips

 

 

tax tips

It’s that time again!  It’s easy to procrastinate.  Incoming mail shouts out “Important Tax Papers Enclosed.”  There’s no avoiding it, it’s time to get organized for your taxes.  It’s better in baby steps with these tax time tips.

Create a master file for all tax related papers
Even before your 1099 papers arrive, start a master file using an expanding accordion file (affiliate link) or file folders.  Label the files with the important tax categories –W-2 information, interest and dividend income, capital gains and losses, charitable donations, medical and dental expenses, deductible business expenses, and miscellaneous deductions (educational expenses, safe deposit boxes, financial planning). Even before your papers arrive, this file will be their “home” and papers will not get lost! And to prepare for the current year, begin a master file for incoming documents for the current year, so you will not have to search for them at this time next year.  Not sure what papers you will need? Turbo Tax has a list for you!

Set aside time on your calendar to collect tax related information
At the beginning of February, mark your calendar for a 2 hour tax session with yourself! Go through your checkbook, bank statement and files to find important items to copy for accounting purposes. Three weeks later, mark another 2 hour tax session to wrap up those loose ends and file your documents in your master file. If you use an accountant, you are ready to send in your papers.  If you file yourself, break your filing sessions into manageable chunks like 2 hour sessions too!  You can always break these sessions into one hour segments too.  Most importantly marking these on your calendar commits you to work.

Use technology as your assistant
So much has changed about paper and the IRS.   You can use scanned documents as records for your tax deductions. According to the IRS, “The electronic storage system must also index, store, preserve, retrieve, and reproduce the electronically stored books and records.”  You can scan any kind of paper and receipts as back up documentation. If you choose to scan, be sure you back up your documents and create an online file system that you can easily use and access.

There are lots of other ways technology can help.

  • Can’t find your most important tax papers? Look online for your property tax payments and mortgage interest expense.  It’s easy to locate these records on your mortgage or banking websites.
  • Medical expenses are easy to track online at your medical provider’s website.
  • Need values for your donations?  Click online at TurboTax Its deductible Online Charity Tracker.  It’s a free, easy to use online tracker for your donations throughout the year.
  • File electronically with the IRS is the way to go.  Upon receipt, you will receive confirmation. Keep the confirmation with your tax papers, just in case.

Tax time and tax preparation is much easier by being organized.   After you are done, treat yourself to a little reward!

Need help with your tax preparation?  Let me assist you.

Enjoy a little time away from your taxes.  Check out my pinterest pages Warm Winter Fun!

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Organizing Receipts

organizing your receipts

 

Receipts here, there and everywhere? Is it time to get a better handle on your receipts? As temping as it seems to toss or shred as many as you can, it is easy to find a simple solution for storing receipts.  Organizing receipts saves money, helps you return items easily, and simplifies tax time.

Here are 6 simple ways to keep receipts under control!

  • Use a Ziploc or small zipper case in your car for receipts.  Gather them together from your purse, car and bags.   Drop them in the case each time you get gas.
  • Place an envelope on your kitchen desk.  Keep receipts by month and write the name of the month and year on the front of the envelope.
  • Have a slot in your command center in your kitchen for receipts.  Drop these in daily while you are doing your paper triage.
  • Have receipts in the closet? Keep a box in your dressing area for dropping in receipts.
  • Use a 13 slot accordion file for keeping receipts by month.  Keep your accordion file in an easy to access desk drawer.
  • Set up a monthly hanging file for receipts and bank deposit slips in the front of a file drawer.
  • Keep your receipts in a To Be Scanned folder or box.  Neat Desk is a great option and easy to use.  Have your Neat Connect (sponsored link) set up wirelessly all the time on  your desk, ready to use.

Now that you have gathered these, how long do you keep receipts?

  • Want to match up your credit card purchases with the monthly statement?  Match and then destroy unneeded receipts.
  • For major purchases, staple the receipt to the instruction book.
  • For taxes, in the state of Texas, these can be used as a tax deduction because of sales tax. Save your receipts by month.  Neat Connect (sponsored link) is especially helpful with templates for taxes.

Got receipts? Organizing receipts? How are you organizing receipts?

 

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Back to School Checklists

 

back to school check lists

I love checklists! Back to school can be stressful and often we forget some of the most important, simple items.  Here are a few sample back to school checklists to cover your back to school needs.

Real simple back to school checklist

Real Simple Back to School Checklist

Real Simple Back to School Checklist

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/back-school-essentials-checklist-00000000000242/index.html

mom agenda back to school check list

Mom Agenda Back to School Checklist

MomAgenda Back to School Checklist

http://www.momagenda.com/printable/back-to-school.pdf

Container Store College products

Container Store Back to College Checklist

Container Store College Checklist

http://www.containerstore.com/pdf/college/checklist-2009.pdf

professional-organizer.com back to school checklist

Professional-Organizer.com Back to School Checklist

Professional-Organizer.com Back to School Checklist

https://professional-organizer.com/WordPress/tag/school-checklist/