We are more aware of the personal power of using our resources wisely. Those resources start with your finances and your time. Financial organizing is as important as organizing your home. It starts with setting intentions, establishing priorities and creating goals for your funds. You want to know where you spend money and how much you spend. All of this happens with money management and financial organizing. Try one of these five tips to get started organizing your finances.
Creating a money mindset
Perhaps as an adult with ADHD, disconnected utilities, insufficient funds, late payments and unpaid bills even with enough money in the bank may be constant struggles for you. Fear and overwhelm might create a road block in working on or organizing your finances. Getting organized is the first step to realizing your financial goals. These goals can be attained by a working knowledge of your finances. You can set short and long term goals by writing costs down and analyzing how to achieve these. Set aside time each week to be aware and learn about your finances. Be specific about your goals and use these as your “why” to get organized. Share your responsibilities with a partner to work as a team. A money mindset gives you a sense of accomplishment and command over your fears.
The Power of One
Keep a list of all your accounts. That includes bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit and credit unions. Many of us are unaware of just how many places have our money. From this list you can pare down to single accounts to work with and use.
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. There is a lot less paper coming in as a result too!
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 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 track your financial goals. You can also use Quicken and budgeting apps to record the payments to see annually what your expenses are and to help balance your checking account each month.
Automate your money management to accomplish your goals
Good routines reinforce your plan. 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 can use auto debit from your bank account or a credit card. 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. Automation can give you visual tools to help you see your finances. Charts for bill paying, categorized payments, debt tracking and financial goals help you see where your money is going and where you can change your behaviors.
Routines reinforce your priorities
Even with automation, you need solid routines to be sure you stay on track. A monthly money meeting with yourself and your partner insures your bills are being paid and you further strategize on how you are spending money. Set this date and make it fun by meeting at a coffee house, having a special treat, and keeping the meeting short. At that meeting review your bills and see what goals you are accomplishing. Set goals for the next quarter and the year. These meetings give you knowledge and opportunity to drive your success.
Get started where you have the most questions about your money. Wondering where you spend your money all month? You can start with an expense tracker app like Mint.com to automate and then review your spending. Want to be able to pay your bills on time online? Set up your bank account app for automatic bill pay. Looking ahead to save more? Automate your savings plan. If you are struggling in this area, meet with a money manager or certified financial planner to help as your guide. Once you start, you will feel comfortable spending more time on your finances.