Okay, so you’ve probably said it before, as I often have, “this is the year that I am going to get my financial house in order”. It doesn’t matter how many times you have said it before or how many times you will say it in the future, you can only start from where you are now.
So when it comes to finances…spending, saving and budgeting are all topics that are very important even millennials know that it’s a task that we all must inevitable be able to handle. Trust me, being in debt is no joke and retirement comes sooner than you think.
Budgeting with pad a paper may be considered old school, and I understand that, however, believe it or not, a lot of people still like to see a spreadsheet with numbers – pages of expenses and assets, however, with the internet, apps and social media, there is no excuse not to be knowledgeable about your finances.
The task of cleaning up your financial life doesn’t have to be overwhelming and I am going to share with you a list of 8 ways to organize and tidy up your financial life for 2017.
- Automate your bills so that you’ll never miss another payment…set it and forget it. If you have a steady income coming in and you are budgeting it’s great to never miss a payment again, because there are too many negative consequences when you do. Auto pay is only good for the bills that are the same each month, like the mortgage not ones that fluctuate like your water or gas bill.
- Pay Yourself First: Save for Retirement, Then College for the Kids – if you can have money taken out of your paycheck and deposited into a retirement account with your employer or have the bank transfer money directly from your checking to savings account – save something – after all you worked hard for those dollars, keep some of them for yourself.
- Track your spending – whether using a smartphone app, Quicken software or an old fashioned notebook, pad and pencil – when you see where you are spending your money you may find ways to eliminate unnecessary spending.
- Protect your credit – check your credit card and bank statements carefully, whether you get them hardcopy or online. Also sign up to get an annual credit report which is now free at www.annualcreditreport.com
- Organize and backup your files – whether these financial records are needed for tax purposes, estate planning, or medical records and home repairs make sure everything is organized in a file, a box and if electronic, back up the files.
- Create a budget, stick to it and review it regularly to stay on track – if you are a couple, make sure you both review it together as finances are the biggest cause for discourse in a relationship. There are many budgeting apps that you can download on your smartphone, computer or tablet.
- Update your records – your will, your beneficiaries, health care directives and your online accounts – keep a notebook or an online password vault with your online account passwords and userids.
- Get personal finance advice from the voices behind the top money blogs, including Wise Bread, The Simple Dollar, Mint, Nerd Wallet, Rent.com, GOBankingRates, TurboTax, WalletHub, Broke Millennial, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Stacking Benjamins, The Budgetnista, BeFrugal, Well Kept Wallet and The Ivy Investor
When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the idea of building an emergency fund seems impossible. After all, experts recommend squirreling away three to six month’s worth of living expenses in a savings account. How can a newbie saver even get started?
Here’s the good news: It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to build a small, yet effective financial safety net. In fact, a little bit of savings goes a long way when it comes to weathering certain financial upsets
Few more tips to save more money for the future:
- Take on a part-time gig. If you’re looking to build a small financial cushion, fast-track your progress by taking on a part-time job and funneling that extra income straight into your emergency savings account. There are so many things you can do for cash and put that money away – teach piano lessons, tutor in Spanish, check out Fiverr for services you can offer – website design, voice overs, etc.
- Declutter and sell items you no longer want or need – garage sales, Craig’s list, Facebook yard sales – be careful where you meet buyers and sellers – some cities offer the police station parking lots for exchanges.
- Live beneath your means – POINT BLANK PERIOD!
- Don’t post financial information online – taking pics of checks, credit cards, address, etc.
- Don’t click on those posts – xyz company will pay you money for clicking and sharing….really!!!!
What say you, how are you getting or keeping your financial house in order?
If you missed the Podcast with The Ivy Investor, click this link to hear the interview.