Getting more organized with your money can help you live within your means, pay bills on time and reach your financial goals. Here are a few ways to organize your finances.
Review your budget monthly
Make it a habit to review your budget at least once a month to see if you’ve been spending within your means. If you’ve gone over budget, cut costs and adjust your targets as needed.
If you’re not already tracking your spending and budgeting your money, you can start a budget now. Types of budgets include zero-based budgeting for a seriously structured budget or the 50/30/20 rule, which you can tailor to your needs.
Automate your savings
Pay yourself first to ensure that you’ve covered your saving and investing bases before you do your shopping or go out for dinner. Make saving a habit by automatically transferring a portion of each paycheck into your emergency fund and other savings.
Experts also suggest directing at least 15% of your pretax income into a retirement account, including an employer match if you’re offered one. If your work offers a 401(k), you can set up automatic withholding to invest a portion of your pay pretax. You can also set up a traditional or Roth IRA through a brokerage.
Organize and automate your bills
Streamline your bill payments with the following tips:
- List all of your bills, including utility bills, subscriptions and minimum debt payments, in one place. Write down the due date and typical amount due next to each provider’s name.
- Use your bank’s bill payment center to make it easy to track and pay bills. You can usually choose between making one-time bill payments or setting up autopay.
- Consider adding calendar notifications on your phone or other device so you’ll be reminded when a bill is coming up.
Make a plan to manage debt
High-interest debt can throw a wrench in your progress toward financial goals. You can pay down debt faster to free up funds in your budget and increase your net worth.
Here’s how to get more organized in your approach to debt management:
- List all your debt in one place, including your credit card or personal loan balances, mortgage, auto loan or student loans.
- Next to each of your debts, write all pertinent information: the total balance, the interest rate, the minimum payment due and the monthly due date.
- Focus your efforts on erasing one debt at a time while still making the minimum payment on all other debts. Where should you start? You can use the debt snowball method and start with the smallest balance first, or use the debt avalanche method and pay down the highest interest debt first.
Establishing good money habits can help you gain insights into your finances, stick to a budget and develop a strong credit history.
For more information about budgeting and maintaining good credit, see the following articles: