One lesson the economy has taught us is the importance of keeping our finances in top shape. It is easy to forget to pay the cable bill when it is hidden under a stack of junk mail on the kitchen counter. A good credit rating is an increasingly important factor in today’s financial world. Those three little numbers carry weight when you are considering applying for a loan, mortgage, or credit card. As a single mom I am extremely conscious of my finances and credit score. Recently, I was blessed with a car that I desperately needed and thankfully because of my credit score I was able to purchase a car with a doable monthly payment on a single mother’s salary. Early on in my journey in single motherhood I realized the importance of being financially organized. This year take control of your finances by getting organized with a few of these helpful hints.
Tips to Become Financially Organized
Create A Space for Your Mail
Junk mail can cause havoc in your mailbox. There are countless pieces of mail that you will discard throughout the year. Usually junk mail ends up in a pile on the kitchen counter. Put a stop to this bad habit and create a designated space for your mail. It can be as simple as a basket, or mail bins that hang on the wall. The mail bins are great, because you can separate the mail into its different compartments. When you are consciously placing your mail in a designated area you are more likely to pay attention to deadlines and due dates.
Open Your Mail
This may seem obvious, but how often do you find pieces of unopened mail lying around? Open your mail the day it comes in or no later than the next day. Unopened mail leads to late payments and unnecessary stress.
Formulate a Financial Spreadsheet
If you want to take control of your finances you have to know your finances. Formulating a financial spreadsheet allows you to keep track of when a bill is due, the amount due, the minimum amount due and the balances. There is financial software available that has all the bells and whistles, but if you want to save a few bucks create your own spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is only helpful to you if you are diligent about taking the time to record your finances and update the spreadsheet on a regular basis. Getting your finances on paper gives you a clear idea of the direction you need to go in to meet your financial goals.
Create File Folders
The accordion folders are best for organizing bills that come via mail. You can cheaply purchase these folders, label them by sections, for example, electric, gas, charitable donations, school expenses, mortgage, student loans, etc. You may want a separate folder for income tax filing and returns. If you do most of your finances online create Word folders that can house your e-bills. Financial organization is important whether you do your billing online or via mail. This is a great way to gage how much you spend each year on utilities and to create financial family goals like lowering the electric or water bill. Find a place in your home that your files will be accessible and safe such as a home office or even a closet in your bedroom.
Organization is key to keeping your finances under control. By opening your mail, organizing it, and keeping financial records you’ll be on top of your game. Why pay a $35 late fee because your electric bill was buried under the pizza flyer? Take that $35.00 and put it into a savings account. God wants us to use our money wisely and be financially responsible. When your finances are running smoothly your household will run smoothly as well. Make 2010 a fiscally sound year for your family!
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
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