Sunday, May 20, 2018

10 Tips To Help You Organize Your Personal Finances

If you're trying to be fiscally responsible, then you may be taking a closer look at how you spend money. Trying to put together a reasonable financial plan can be daunting. So if you're struggling or just want some advice, use these 10 tips to help you organize your personal finances.

1. Start a budget or take a look at your established one. If you have any sort of income, then you need to have a budget. If you already have one, then it's probably a good idea to take a second look. Are there any expenses you frequently occur that aren't in your budget or any services you pay for that you don't really use? Trim or add as needed. If you're starting a budget, base your financial plan on previous months expenses and adjust as needed.

2. Keep records organized. When tax season comes every year, you don't want to get into a panic. Instead, make a habit at the end or beginning of every month of taking your expenses and putting them into separate files for income, charity, interest payments, tax payments, and any other relevant folders. When tax season comes annually, filing and also getting the maximum return will be much easier.

3. De-clutter your home. When managing personal finances, many people overlook their charitable contributions, but these amounts can add up. It's a great idea to go through your house occasionally and donate unused items. Take note of what you donate to maximize the charitable deduction on your yearly taxes. You may be surprised on how much you're missing out by not keeping records of these areas.

4. Make goals for yourself. Your goal may be to put a certain amount of money aside towards retirement or pay off a certain amount of debt. It's easy to waste money when you don't have a plan in mind. Stick to your goals by writing them down and sticking to them every month. Make sure that they are reasonable and attainable. Not only can this monthly habit help you organize your finances, it also can be an incredibly empowering step.

5. Pay off personal debt. If you have debt, and most people do, make paying off loans a top priority. Constant debt can hurt your credit score and keep you from fully enjoying life. You may want to consolidate debt or liquidate current assets to cut down on interest payments. Try to pay off loans as early as possible, even if that means cutting back on your current expenses now.

6. Stop overspending. Many people struggle with impulse buys and paying far too much for things that they don't need. A good budget can help to avoid this habit, but you may also want to look for additional ways to avoid splurging. Only shop with cash and leave your credit cards at home. Separate accounts also help you keep your money in specific areas so you can't overspend. Whatever system works for you and keeps you on track financially is the one you should stick with.

7. Change your credit card. If you're paying for extra fees and expenses, then you need to ditch your card. Rewards cards are a great asset, especially cards for places you shop on a regular basis like grocery or gas company cards. Look at your current card to determine if you're really getting enough and make a change if necessary.

8. Automate your bill pay. You may be interested in paying all your bills manually every month, and that can be a safer option. However, for many expenses that are fixed such as internet and a car payment, having an automated payment makes your life much simpler. You can link up automatic payments to a separate account to review quickly once a month.

9. Save for a rainy day. Maybe even a few of them! Always put some money aside every month as a financial cushion for when things go wrong. You may need this money for an emergency trip or any unexpected expense. When you have this money put aside, your life is much less stressful.

10. Take advantage of certain services that can help you save money. Medical savings accounts are a great idea and you're missing out if you're not contributing the maximum amount to your employer-matching 401K account. Many of these perks come with your job, so make sure that you keep in touch with HR to determine how you can get the most financially from your job.

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