Updated: Nov 21
Managing and organizing for some people can cause anxiety. If this is you I’m here to help.
I happen to be a creature of order and can’t survive any other way. However, being a former math teacher, I’ve seen firsthand how hard it could be for some.
No judgment here!
Many times I would help students who were struggling in my class organize their notes for my class and their backpacks.
Once everything was organized my students would tell me they had such a great week.
Believe it or not, organizing your routine helps. Studies show that clutter and disorganization has a profound impact of your mental health.
It can become a vicious cycle.
So, if organizing your school work can make a difference in how you feel, imagine the positive effects organization has on your finances.
Here are 8 easy steps to help you organize your finances.
Gather Your Finances and Create a System
One of the biggest obstacles to organizing finances is gathering everything in one place and evaluating what’s important.
In case you're wondering, EVERYTHING is important when it comes to finances.
Even if it’s something trivial like the carwash membership you just signed up for.
Once you have in mind everything you're spending for the month, you can then decide on the system you want to use to keep track.
A financial system is just how you will pay your expenses.
For some, this system is already set because they get paid at a certain time. Monthly, Bi-monthly, etc. If you get paid commission only this can be a challenge.
If you’re not sure of what could work for you invite a financially savvy friend to help.
Create a Budget
Once you’ve gathered your finances and decided on your payment schedule, create a budget to track your spending.
Creating a budget allows you to make every dollar you make work for your lifestyle.
There are so many budgets out there that it can be overwhelming to pick.
My favorite budget is the “No Budget” budget. This is when you have your paycheck split into several accounts.
One is your operational account where all your main bills are automated. Then your personal account, savings, and whatever else you want to separate your money for.
It's easy because once you set it up you don’t have to worry about your bills.
Most people can do this through their job with direct deposit, but if your job doesn’t offer this, you can set it up through your checking account using the automated bill pay feature.
Pay your accounts as if you were paying a bill. This will separate funds so you don’t have to.
Sync Your bills with your Payday
If you find that you are loaded with late payments, try rescheduling your bills to sync with the dates you're paid.
For example, most teachers in Louisiana get paid on the 15th and the last day of the month.
So, I would reschedule some bills to come out only on those two days. This helped with my “no budget” budget method I loved so much.
Automate Your Bill Pay
Another great way to organize your finances is to set up automated bill pay. Having your bills paid this way guarantees zero late payments.
I also like this because if something happens where your bill is late, you’re not responsible for late charges.
The bank will happily compensate you if the fault is in their system. This doesn’t happen often, but it happens.
Another reason I love automating my bills is when I view my bank statements I have a true synopsis of how my money is moving.
This is a big help when doing your taxes.
Create a Debt Payoff Plan
Once you have a system and budget in place, create a plan to pay off your debt.
Less is more when it comes to finances, so the fewer bills you have the more money you can automate to your personal or savings account.
That sounds like a good deal, right?
Credit cards and personal loans with high-interest rates are putting a dent in your finances, plan to pay them off.
Allocate funds each month to reduce your debt. You’ll see an improvement in your credit score and your cash retention.
Decide on a Savings Amount
When you're deciding on your debt plan, also decide on your savings plan. Use the automated system you’ve created for your bills to help you save money.
Pay an amount you are comfortable with into a saving account. Have your direct deposit or automated bill pay take it out of your check before you have a chance to miss it.
Emergencies always happen, so you want to have something aside. Typically you want your saving and your emergency fund to be separate accounts.
But until you can accomplish this, there is no shame in your savings serving as both.
Seek Credit Counseling
Now as I mentioned before, organizing can be a real obstacle for some. If that’s your story, don’t hesitate to invest in credit counseling services.
This can help you to learn how to organize your finances if you still struggle with the concept.
They will also have an associate walking you through the process and checking your progress along the way.
It’s ok if this’s what you need in the beginning. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Enroll in Employer’s Retirement Plan
Last but certainly not least, make sure that you're enrolled in a retirement plan whether through your employer or on your own.
When you contribute toward your retirement through your employer, you get to choose the amount that’s deducted from your paycheck.
You can’t miss money you don’t see! LOL!
Also, the biggest benefit is your employer will match your contribution which means you get free money.
This is a major part of having your finances organized. It also helps you to set aside a little something for the future.
Major Take Away
Organizing your finances doesn't have to occupy your mind constantly. Many of the things you’ll need to implement are one-time actions.
So just start small and with a little elbow grease and consistency, you’ll have your finances on autopilot.
Never underestimate the power of organization.