Updated: Jan 8, 2020
It doesn't matter how much money we have or don't have, what matters is what we do with our money.
How we use our money should be determined by what is important to us, and the goals we have for our future, not by what others are doing or by what is happening in the news. When life gets busy, organization can fall by the wayside. This is an exercise you complete before you dive in to revamping your budget, it's now time to get organized with your money.
A Quick Lesson In How & When You Should Set Up Your Bill Dates
A best practice would be to asses your budget and to pay your bills every time you get paid.
Those who are Self Employed (sporadic pay) Most self-employed will review and pay their bills at month end, in time to pay bills on the 1st, which is typically when mortgages and other large items comes out. If you are self-employed, try to have all of your payments come out of your account or payable on the same day. This way you have an entire month to set yourself up to pay in a timely manner.
Those who are Employed (steady pay) For those with a steady pay check, going through your budget and ensuring bills are paid on pay day is an excellent practice. Paying half of the bills each time. This way you are sitting with your bills bi-weekly as oppose to a having to worry about them daily, or even worse, never.
Being organized with your money and automating some of your financial decisions makes day-to-day money management easier.
Here are some ways to start:
1. Set Up a System for Paperwork and Bills
Have a system : what works well for most is having several bank accounts, and renaming them inside of your online banking.
To do this you would open up free bank accounts and rename them;
Daily Bank Account
Held Funds Bank Account
Emergency Fund Account (optional)
By using different accounts, you can prevent yourself from accidentally spending bill money on a night out.
In addition to that, your paperwork should be organized. Using a file system in a drawer or electronically, where you keep bills and other financial statements together is great.
2. Consult with Anyone with Whom You Share Accounts
Whether it's your spouse, significant other, or relative, you can easily bounce a check or debit card payment if you don't know how much the other has been spending. Say your spouse has the day off and decides to go to lunch and golfing with a buddy. This is the easiest way to avoid spending money on unnecessary NSF fees.
It's also a great idea to outline goals either together or alone so that you are on the same page financially.
3. Use a Digital Calendar to Set Up Money Reminders
At MoneyHaus we use our Google Calendar for everything, so why not use a calendar to manage our money? In a way, our money has appointments too, and it’s our job to get it to each appointment on time.
Use a wall calendar, agenda, free online calendar to help you remember where your money needs to go and when. Give each dollar a job and make sure it gets to where it needs to go. Highlight paydays, how much automatically gets transferred into savings, what you’re keeping for spending, and when each of your bills and obligations need to be paid.
4. Balance Out Your Payments and Expenses Over the Whole Month
Once you have placed all of your due dates on your calendar, if you notice that one pay day has more obligations than another, contact your lender and your utility companies and move some dates to balance things out a bit better. As outlined in the photo above titled Best Practices for Bill Due Dates.
Balancing things out will help you avoid thinking that you’re broke for half the month – and have lots of extra cash to spend for the other half. Feast or famine cycles can actually cause you to reach for your credit cards more often because you know that money is coming to make the payments. The problem with this is that you get into a habit of always paying for the past and never getting ahead.
Managing your obligations is key to organizing your finances.
Out With the Old; In With… But Hang On a Minute
If you’ve made it this far without getting yourself in over your head, work to improve on what you’re doing rather than trying something completely new. If you already pay your bills on time and have some spending money, look at your savings and see what you can do to top it up. Or see if you can find ways to pay off debt a little faster.
This is where tracking your spending will help. By jotting down what you spend for a week or two, you might discover that your coffee buying and eating out habit amounts to $50+ a week. That’s $200 a month that could be put to work helping you top up your savings or pay your mortgage down faster, while still eating out once a week. It’s all about making choices with what we have and appointing our money wisely.
5. Stay Consistent No One System to Organize Money Works for Everyone
Practice leads to progress, not perfection, so be realistic. Finding a system to organize your money that works for you will take a bit of time. And what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next, even if you live under the same roof. Try not to get discouraged if it doesn’t all come together the very first month. You’ll get another chance next month to work on it some more!