Personal Financial Habits

Keeping My Finances Organized 

This fall I’m leading a financial course at church with my husband. As I was doing some homework, I thought about how I keep my finances organized and I thought it might be helpful to share with you. If you have any tidbits to add I’d love to hear them!

I’m not a creature of habit. I like variety. I like each and every day to be different. However, I do have some habits and that is that I pays bills each and every Friday or Saturday. So whichever day is less hectic, I try to get through my personal bills. But let’s back up for a minute. Here’s a principle we live by.

Receipts are never kept. We pitch them as soon as we get them. The only receipts we file are large purchases for the house or receipts we may return something. Because I rarely shop, those receipts are few and far between. I also don’t carry cash. It’s harder to track where cash is spent so I only use a debit card.

As far as bills go, I still like getting the hard copy bill in the mail. I know this is so not “green” but I’m a visual person and I have my system (that I’m currently explaining) that works, so why should I change it? When the actual bills show up in the mail, they get filed into a little orange envelope called “bills”. They sit inside my office drawer till Friday rolls around.

So now let’s say it’s Friday. I open up Quicken on my computer. I love financial software and I love how it organizes everything so Quicken works for us. (QuickBooks is what I use for my business). Anyways, all our checking and savings account are linked right into Quicken so after entering one password every account is updated in minutes. I see all the spending we’ve done for the week and can categorize each receipt at that time. This eliminates the receipt keeping all week. There’s no reason to keep all the receipts if they will all electronically load in every Friday.   

Once I see how much is in the accounts, then I pay the bills. But I don’t write checks and use envelopes and stamps. It’s all done electronically. After signing in to my bank’s website, I click on which vendors I need to pay and again, within minutes I’m done paying bills.

Normally, I don’t file the bills unless they are tax related. It’s a waste of time to file something I’m just going to throw out later. So if it’s tax related, it goes in my file pile, and will be filed on my filing day at the end of the month.  

The final step, is on the thirtieth of each month my husband and I sit down and review our budget in Quicken. We look at where we stayed on budget or where we got off track. Then we know how to improve next month.  

So that’s it. It’s not a fancy or elaborate plan but the plan has manageable steps that help up stay on track. What do you do to keep your finances organized? I’d love to hear more ideas or tips.

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