Thank you to TurboTax for sponsoring my writing about household finances.Learn more about how TurboTax can help you find every tax deduction you deserve. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.
Hi all! Today I wanted to share with you a few tips that might help you not to dread this time of year so much.
You don’t know what I’m talking about?
Did I scare ya? Yeah it’s that time!
Please trust me when I say that if you get your papers together now (if you don’t have an organized system) then you will know if you are missing something and you won’t run around like a crazed woman come oh, April 12 when you decide to start!
But really these tips should help you all year in stay organized and actually save you some money!
Ok first of all you need to have a place to organize your files.
I have 3….a bit of overkill but it works for me. I have my on desk file holder with my tickler file & the ‘everyday’ files (read about how to set up a tickler file system so you never forget a bill, appointment or birthday card again!). Then I have a file box for house stuff (tax bills, water/sewer, deductible repair receipts, etc.) and other tax stuff (paycheck stubs, last year’s return, receipts from my blogging income, etc.). Lastly I have a 2 drawer file cabinet for the stuff that needs to be filed away but kept. Our dog’s vet records, doctor visit records, car/truck/motorcycle info/papers, etc.
You will really only need two places for your files. One that is placed either where you pay your bills (or where your mail comes in the house) & then a file cabinet for papers you need to keep but don’t need right at your fingertips.
After you have set up your filing system step one is to actually use it but step two is to set up a budget.
I follow Dave Ramsey’s plan for getting out of debt & it is really, really, important to me to do so. So my budget is very important to me-it’s my ‘map’ to follow to get out of debt. Dave also has a page all about the truth about budgeting.
You could use an excel spreadsheet but there are many online options (some free, some not) that will let you keep track also. But in my opinion, and what I reach to most often, just a sheet of paper, calculator and a pencil are the tools to use if you really want to keep track of your budget. Why? Well, it’s like if I gave you a debit card versus cash it has been studied & found that you will spend more money paying with a debit card than you will with the same amount in cash. Why? Because you physically see the cash leaving your possession. Same logic applies to physically writing out the budget and subtracting your bills. It hurts me much more to write down that I spent $70 on fabric than it does to type it. Knowing I have to write it out and have it in a place where other people could potentially come across it (a notebook) and see how much I spent, makes me way more careful in my spending.
Anyway in case you want to try my method here is a fun printable for you to download, print and use to write out your budget!
Click here to download the FREE budget printable
This printable is free for PERSONAL USE ONLY. Please do not host the printable on your site-send your readers over here to download it for themselves!
My only other tip is this: My husband gets paid every 2 weeks so I figured out a way to reduce my stress about bills-I pay my bills almost a month in advance. Let me explain: let’s say he gets paid two times a month- what I do is I take his 1st paycheck and pay all the bills that are due on and around the time he gets paid a second time. Our mortgage is due on the 1st so I take March’s 1st paycheck and pay the April 1st mortgage payment.
I started this over 2 years ago and honestly I don’t know how I did it because we were always getting paid like 3 days after something was due. I believe I took a Christmas bonus or tax return money and paid all the bills at once then the next time he got a paycheck I applied it to bills due closer to the time the next paycheck would arrive. This way I reduced my stress because I know that we are always current on our bills. Even if it’s a stretch to pay them all we know we aren’t ‘behind’ because we are paying almost two weeks early.
If you have a bunch of bills due around the same time and one paycheck just does not cover them all then you can call and ask to have your due date changed. Most companies will do this for you. I pretty much split mine into two ‘clusters’ of due dates by doing this.
I hope that this helps you get started on the track to organized finances that won’t make you all nervous and get anxiety when you realize you have no idea where half the documents are that you need to file your taxes!
I would love to know what is the one organizational tip you have to share with my readers-because I’m sure they would appreciate reading through some more tips!
Have a happy day,
If you like what you just read please Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!