Am I right?
If so, you’re not alone. The organizing business is a multi-million dollar industry with all of the big name stores consistently selling every box, bag, and tool for organizing that you can possibly imagine. However, if you’re trying to organize finances, this can be a bit of an oxymoron. It’s not helpful to spend a few hundred dollars to outfit your desk if you’re trying to save money this year. So, below are a few helpful tips for getting organized without spending too much money in the process.
1. Embrace Envelopes
Envelopes have to be one of the least expensive ways to organize finances. They only cost a few cents each to buy, and you can purchase them in bulk. Every month when I get my paycheck, I split up cash into various envelopes marked “rent,” “groceries,” “gas” etc. I know exactly where to find them, and my husband likes having his own envelope with spending money for the month. This simple organizing tool only takes a few minutes after you get your paycheck, and it will keep you accountable for what you spend. For example, if you run out of grocery money a few days before your next paycheck, you might have to get creative in the kitchen or make breakfast for dinner until you’re fully funded again.
2. Open A Spreadsheet
If you have a computer, then you can make a free spreadsheet. All it will cost you is a little bit of time to input all of your bills. This will help you to determine how much you spend every month. It’s especially helpful to use this in conjunction with the envelope system, because you can write down how much you put in each envelope into the spreadsheet and track how well you accomplish your goals every month.
3. Use A Planner
I am old school and use a paper planner. There’s just something about getting to cross off everything on my to do list by hand that I just love. However, you can easily use your phone as a planner and set reminders for when you have certain bills due. The only problem with a phone system is that phones can malfunction whereas paper planners cannot. You can hit ignore on your cell phone when you are busy and forget to pay a bill, but if your bill hasn’t been crossed off on your planner, you know you still have to pay it. Planners only cost around $20 or so, and they can save you big when it comes to avoiding late fees.
Using these three relatively inexpensive tools, you can easily get organized financially this year. Don’t be swayed with expensive and intricate filing systems. All you need are a few envelopes and a little know how on the computer to find the right budgeting system that works the best for you.
Do you have another great way that you organize your finances? Do you use any online tools to track your progress? If so, please mention them in the comment section below.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons