5 Simple Tips to Keep Your Finances Organized
When it comes to keeping your financial life organized, you want it to be fast, easy and effective. But if you find yourself repeatedly trying to get organized or struggling to stay that way, some old habits might be to blame. Here are some simple tips that can help you keep your financial life on track.
Open the Mail Every Day — Believe it or not, getting in the habit of doing this one simple thing can go a long way toward keeping you organized. Letting the mail pile up day after day turns opening it into an overwhelming chore. And, more importantly, it means you can lose track of important bills, statements and other financial paperwork. If you just can’t bring yourself to do it every day, designate a few nights each week as mail nights.
Go Paperless — The mail won’t seem so overwhelming when there’s less of it. Opt to get paperless bills and statements whenever possible. It cuts down on the time you have to spend opening mail, you can’t lose or misplace them, and it’s a great move for the environment.
Automate Payments — Once you’ve gone paperless, take the next step and automate as many payments as possible. You designate the date and amount of payments, and your bank account will be debited automatically. You won’t have to worry about forgetting payments and incurring late charges. You just have to make sure you have enough funds in your accounts to cover payments on the days they’re scheduled. If you have payments that can’t be automated, set a calendar reminder for them on your computer or phone to be sure they get paid on time.
Opt Out (and Avoid Temptation) — Tired of receiving endless offers for pre-approved credit cards or insurance? You can stop receiving them by visiting optoutprescreen.com. You’ll fill out a quick and easy online form, which will keep you from receiving those pesky offers for five years. There’s also a lifetime opt-out option, which requires a mail-in form you can request from the same website. You’ll cut down on junk mail and on the temptation to open new lines of credit you don’t really need.
Evaluate, Eliminate, Consolidate — Review all your bank accounts, credit cards, insurance and other financial concerns to ensure they are meeting your current needs. Get rid of anything that no longer makes sense for your current lifestyle and consolidate what you can. For example, if you have multiple balances sitting in retirement accounts from past jobs, you might want to roll them into your current 401(k) or an IRA. Or if you’re carrying balances on multiple credit cards, look into the possibility of a consolidation loan or moving them to one card with a lower interest rate.