It’s no surprise that most of us are a complete disaster when it comes to our finances. We have no systems in place to truly see how we’re doing and we just flail around hoping that everything will someday fall into place.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the best strategy for building wealth and living your best life, so it’s really important to completely overhaul your finances and get them organized. Below are the 10 best tips I could come up with to completely organize your finances and get your life back on track.
Our blog posts often contain affiliate links, you can learn more in our very long (and very boring) affiliate disclosure!
10 Steps to Organize Your Finances
#1 – Set Financial Goals
Having goals is an awesome place to start because without goals, you’ll never make progress. It’s really important to have a reason why you’re working towards something as well, for example, you may be trying to pay for your children’s college and that’s something you won’t be able to do unless you actually have your finances organized and have an idea where your money is going.
We often just assume we’ll make it to retirement with enough money and that we’ll be completely okay but for most people out there, that just isn’t true! Without actual monetary goals it’ll be very hard to get to that point easily.
Let’s say you’re 30 and you want to retire by 60. This means you have 30 years. Based on your lifestyle and where you plan to live when you retire, you need to find out the exact amount of money you need to save each year to make sure you’re okay to make it to 100.
Want some examples of awesome financial goals?
- Retiring with over $1,000,000
- Paying for your children to go to college
- Paying off your student loan debt
- Paying off your mortgage early
- Being debt free in 5 years
#2 – Set Up a Filing/Organization System
It’s really important to make sure that the files you have are organized in order to keep your overall finances are organized. This means that you need to create an awesome filing system that can help you get that done!
You have two main options for an organizational system, you can either keep it on paper, or you can go paperless. If you choose to use a paper organizer, I found this awesome one on Esty that you can throw into a binder! If you decide to keep it all online it’s really vital that you keep it somewhere that you can access from any computer just in case your computer may crap out on you someday.
Things that you should keep in your organization system:
- Recent Bills
- Large Purchase Receipts
- Emergency Info
This is also a really awesome time to go through all of your old papers and get rid of anything that you no longer need, is any one else guilty of keeping old bills from 2 years ago because who knows if you’ll need them? I’m a bit of a paper hoarder.
#3 – Create a Budget
Of course budgeting would make this list because it’s the simple most important thing you can do to keep your finances organized and get your money working for you.
#4 – Have a Mandatory Monthly Budget Meeting
The annoying thing about budgets is that they aren’t a set it and forget it kind of thing. You can’t make a budget in August of 2018 and expect that exact same budget to work in December, it’s just not realistic. This is why it’s so important to have a monthly budget meeting to go over exactly what your needs are for the month.
Your monthly budget meeting should include your significant other (if you have one) because the budget is going to affect them as well. The two of you should talk about the budget lines you need to increase each month (ie., a higher gifting budget at christmas and a higher heating budget in the winter). It’s also an awesome time to talk about your financial goals and discuss how close you are to meeting them!
#5 – Automate Bill Payments
Automating your bill payments is going to take a ton of stress off of you each and every month. And bonus! Automating bill payments actually increases your credit score because you’ll never miss a payment and it shows that you’re responsible!
Most online bill payment systems allow you to either do a direct payment from your chequing account, or you can make the choice to put those payments on your credit card. However, if you do decide to put them on credit you must make sure that you’re paying them off every month or else you’ll end up right back where you started!
#6 – Build an Emergency Fund
When most people find themselves in a horrible emergency, like losing a job or a medical emergency, they’ll usually use credit cards to help them through because they aren’t prepared. This is when an emergency fund comes into play! Having money set aside for emergencies is the best thing you can do to stop yourself from paying crazy amounts of interest and digging yourself into an even bigger hole than you’re already in!
It’s usually recommended that you have at least 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund, but if you don’t yet have one, you can easily save $1,000 to start.
#7 – Make a Plan for Debt Payoff
Debt is one of the most stressful things that people deal with financially. It’s not a fun thing to have, it’s pretty horrible. If you just pay the minimum payments and you never make an attempt to actually pay it off, you’re going to be in debt forever and that’s just not a fun way to live.
If you’re looking to start actually paying off your debt, I highly suggest you check out a post we wrote called 10 Things To Do BEFORE You Pay Off Debt to help you create an awesome debt payoff plan.
#8 – Calculate Your Net Worth
Sometimes when you’re seeing the day to day progress of your finance efforts it can feel like you aren’t making any real progress. I’ve been there. Paying off my student loans is a daily struggle and every time I make a payment (no matter how large) I feel like I’m not really making progress.
This is why net worth tracking is an amazing way to go about seeing how well you’re doing. In a basic form, tracking your net worth just means subtracting your liabilities from your assets! The best thing to do is to track your net worth at least once a year (preferably more) and see how far you’ve come!
#9 – Track, Understand, and Raise Your Credit
Most people who are unorganized financially, usually have a very small understanding of what a credit score is and how it really works and just how important it really is!
You’re in luck, because we’ve written a ton about credit scores because as a young person who had a crappy credit score right after I turned 19, I know the struggle of raising one. So here’s some of the best credit score content you’ll find on this website:
- How to Increase Your Credit Score 100+ Points
- Why Is Your Credit Score Decreasing?
- Common Credit Score Questions Answered
- What is a “Good” Credit Score?
#10 – Start a Profitable Side Hustle
Making extra money is always an awesome idea because who doesn’t love extra money? You’re in luck, we have an entire page on this website with our best money making tips and tricks that I highly suggest you check out!
Well, that’s all folks! These are 10 steps you should take in order to start organizing your finances and figuring your life out! Hope you enjoyed!