Get Your Financial Affairs in Order

You can work on getting your credit card debt, student loan debt, and other financial troubles under control, but until you get organized with your finances, you'll never be able to fully achieve financial freedom. Here are some tips to get organized with your finances.

1. Prepare a budget and stick to it. You should know exactly how much money is coming in and how much money is going out. These amounts need to be balanced.

2. Make a list of all debts and total amounts owed. Seeing it in black and white might surprise you but you need to know the bottom line.

3. Set aside a time each month to pay bills. Whether you choose to pay bills online or through the mail, it helps to have a set time to pay bills.

4. Keep a calendar, either hard copy or on your computer, with bill due dates clearly marked. Decide when you need to pay these bills in order for them to be on time and record these dates as well.

5. Keep bills and bill-paying supplies in one place.

6. If your stack of bills seems like it’s a mile high, consider consolidating some of your bills to take some of the pressure off.

7. Don’t pile up unopened bills on the kitchen counter or elsewhere. Go through your mail every day. Throw away junk mail, open bills, and record their due dates immediately. Billing cycles vary and even though your Visa bill was due on the 5th last month, don't count on the fact it will always be due on the 5th. Opening your bills will help you avoid unpleasant surprises and late payment fees.

8. While there are certain records you'll need to keep for a long time, like tax returns and proof of paid off accounts, you can shred utility bills once the payment has gone through.

9. Just as you are being diligent to ensure you're paying all your bills and you're paying them on time, make sure you're getting paid as well. Check direct deposits for accuracy and monitor savings and investment accounts.

10. Keep a file with separate file folders for paycheck stubs, tax returns, sales contracts, and anything else related to your finances.