If you haven’t given your files a glance recently, it’s likely time for a purge. You may have stacks of paper all over your house, or you may have papers languishing in your files that you no longer need. Either way, take some time this week to sort through your files and get them in shape. Organizing your papers helps you find what you need, when you need it. (And maybe even make tax time easier for you next year!)
If you need to create a filing system, follow these steps. How you sort and label each category and subcategory depends on what paperwork you have and what you need to keep track of (yourself, partner, 3 dogs, 4 kids, etc.)
- Gather all of your paperwork into one place.
- Sort papers into high level categories (Auto, Health Insurance, Health Information, Home Improvements, etc.).
- Create labels / hanging folders for each high level category.
- Where necessary, sort high level categories into smaller subcategories (one for each car, each person’s health info, etc.). Label these folders.
- Put all paper you are keeping into their labeled folders.
- Recycle or shred the paperwork you don’t need.
I suggest keeping your system simple so it’s easy to maintain and expand. Feel free to color code, but keep in mind it needs to be easy to add more categories and subcategories.
No matter the state of your files, take some time to go through each folder, purge and shred what you don’t need, and catch up on your stack of filing. If you need guidance on what to keep or toss, ask your financial advisor or do some online research. Turn on some fun music, listen to your favorite podcast and get busy!
No one likes paying bills. Unfortunately, it’s something we all have to do. The third week of February happens to be National Pay Your Bills week. So I thought I’d share a few tips on making your bill paying process a little bit easier.
- Keep all of your incoming bills in one location. This could be a folder or inbox on your desk or a box on your kitchen counter. Where ever it is, all bills that need to be paid should go in it.
- Keep all of your bill paying supplies in one place. Stamps, pens, pencils, your checkbook, envelopes, return labels, etc. should all be kept together. If you like paying your bills while watching TV, keep the supplies in a box that you can take with you to the couch and store out of the way when you don’t need it.
- Balance your checkbook before you pay bills. Pull out the receipts from your wallet. (We have one spot in our house where all receipts go so I don’t have to go bothering my husband about receipts when I want to balance our books.) Keep in mind any debits or credits that are going to happen in the next few weeks (such as incoming salary or automated bills being paid). This way you won’t overdraw your accounts.
- Sit down 1-2 times a month and pay all your bills at one time. Make these regular times, say the 3rd and 24th of each month.
- Immediately record all the paid bills either in your checkbook or your computer software register and (if necessary) file them.
- Automate payments where possible. Maybe you can have your cable bill and phone bill automatically put on your credit card. Ensure you review those bills regularly to ensure you’re not overpaying.
- Pay your bills online. I log on to my checking account and pay all of our utility bills at the same time. You can even post date when necessary. Maybe you’re headed out of town and need some bills paid while you’re gone. You can do this with online bill payments.
- Consolidate your money as much as possible. Have only 1-2 debit and credit cards to use for everything. You don’t need all those department store cards or gas cards. Fewer bills coming in means it’s easier to keep track of where your money is going.
I hope these tips help you create an easier bill paying process! If you want some support in creating new routines, schedule a call with me or send me a message!