Consider how much activity and even chaos there is in an average day. Working parents, busy families, social commitments, and volunteerism keeps many consumers on their toes from one day to the next. One consequence of such a busy lifestyle is becoming completely disorganized from one day to the next and most never really have an understanding of how the fast-paced life can affect your financial life.
Disorganization is not just about being cluttered in your lifestyle. It can have serious consequences that affect you financially. For one, if you do not have a system for organizing bills and other incoming financial information, there is a strong chance that you will forget to make a payment on time or at all. This can be especially costly if it happens often. The interest and penalties you accrue on your accounts can really hurt. Just one bounced check at a bank these days can cost upwards of $40. Bounce several checks and you are out several hundred dollars in addition to the fines imposed by your creditor.
Getting Organized on the Cheap
Frugal people can be as disorganized as anybody else but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get a better system in place for your financial and overall well-being. Here are some tips for organizing on the cheap to save money and keep you on track:
Keep a Calendar
You may have a calendar for daily events in your family’s life but you also need one for you financial affairs. You can usually pick up a free calendar at local businesses you patronize who use them as promotional materials. Print out calendar pages for free from the Internet if you don’t have any extras lying around. Write down dates a week a head of time for bills that you pay via mail and for any that you pay online, make a note of the day in which you need to make payment.
Central Mail Location
As mail comes in each day, establish a particular place in your home where all mail gets placed immediately when you don’t have time to go through it. Decorate an old shoe box to make it more attractive if your mail location is in plain view. Shred junk mail as soon as it is in your hands and store only what you need in the mail location. This will eliminate the big stacks of paper cluttering your home. By establishing one place for all mail, you’ll know exactly where to look when you need something and things will not get lost. Additionally, you may be more inclined to sort through your mail on a regular basis if it is all in one handy location.
Automate Your Finances
If you are familiar with banking online, you should make use of the free services many banks offer these days for paying bills automatically. The catch with this method for keeping up with bills is that you need to have money available to cover the debts. Automating your income through direct deposits is a way to ensure you keep more money in your account.
Developing a budget and then regularly updating it is a sure way to always be in the know of where you stand financially. You can use free budgeting spreadsheets to track your spending, calculate your income, and gauge your expenses. By tracking your budget on a worksheet weekly, you have your figures at a glance whenever you need them