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Organization: The Key To Money Management

being organized saves moneyIn today’s busy society, it often seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day. With work, family, and social commitments, sometimes financial organization takes a back seat to more pressing matters. If you are one of those people who has a box full of uncategorized receipts and a pile of mail waiting to be opened, it might be time to try a different system. Organization really is the key to money management.

Make Sure To Pay Bills On Time

Paying bills on time keeps accounts in good standing while avoiding late fees or interest charges. Having a good payment history also helps maintain high credit scores that become very important when shopping for a mortgage, auto loan, or car insurance. Credit scores can even be important when applying for a job. If money is short, consider a service like Check ‘n Go before letting accounts become delinquent.

If you have a tendency to misplace mail, sign up for email reminders about upcoming bills. It can also be a good idea to set up automatic payments for monthly bills that are always the same amount, like rent or health insurance.  Automatic payments not only save time, they make it much less likely that you’ll ever incur a fee for being late.

Track Your Spending

If you never track spending, you’ll never have any idea where to cut back because you can’t be sure where the money is going. Luckily, with websites like Personal Capital, Mint or with any number of smart phone aps , there is really no reason not to have a good handle on how money is being spent.

It’s easy to check bank balances daily for errors and to avoid overdraft problems. It’s also easy to categorize purchases made with debit or credit cards. In this day and age, you really don’t need to balance your check book or have a bag full of receipts. Let technology do it for you.

Make a Budget

Perhaps the best way to control your finances is through budgeting.  Now that you know where your money is going, it’s time to take control. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or take hours of calculation. Write down how much you make, set aside amounts for savings and investments, and whatever is left is what you have to spend for the month. Beware that budgeting can be addictive. You might find yourself cutting and saving in areas you never thought possible. It’s a good problem to have!

Automate Your Savings

If you are one of those people who are always going to save but find there is never anything left at the end of the month, try paying yourself first. Whenever you get paid, send a percentage to a savings account separate from your main bill paying account. Make it hard to access that money so you won’t be tempted to transfer it over for silly purchases.

If your employer offers direct deposit, it’s easy to have payments split into two accounts. If you don’t have that option, set up an automatic transfer from your bank to the desired savings account. It might feel odd at first, but you’ll thank yourself later when you have money set aside for emergencies.

After making the effort to automate your savings, track spending, create a budget, and pay all bills on time, you’ll see that a little organization takes very little time and saves tons of money and stress over the long term. Organization really is key for successful finances.

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/Krishnan

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

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