Not only does your house need spring cleaning, your finances also in dire need of one too.
An important part of keeping your personal finances in good shape and getting yourself out of debt is organizing your finances. And, that can be done with some regular “spring cleaning” of your finances.
Fortunately, organizing your finances isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Once you have your budget, your paperwork and your bills in order, your personal finances will be easier to manage and you won’t find yourself juggling payments or questioning whether you will have enough money to tide you over until next payday.
If you’re ready to start spring cleaning your finances, these 4 steps will start you off on the right track.
#1. Set Up a Filing System For Your Finances
Whether you arrange your receipts and bills in folders or file them electronically in your computer, what’s important is that you keep all of the paperwork related to your personal finance together in a safe place.
Gather your credit card, phone, utility, insurance, mortgage, car loan and other payments you’re required to make on a monthly or yearly basis, and organize them in whatever way works for you like envelopes, folders, spreadsheets, computer software, or phone apps. Once you’ve organized your paperwork, keep them together in a safe place, like a filing cabinet, a desk drawer, or a folder on your desktop. So, when it’s time to pay your bills, everything you need will be right in front of you.
#2. Create a Budget with the Help of a Budget Calculator, and Stick to It
Budgeting is a critical step in getting your finances in order, and it’s a skill you can learn with the help of a budget calculator.
List down your monthly expenses which includes your debts, fixed and variable costs, spending and all your income sources, cutting back where necessary to ensure all your obligations are met.
Tracking your spending is a helpful way to take account of what you are actually spending each month, which will help you stay within your budget.
Reviewing your budget frequently is often overlooked but important. Our circumstances can change unexpectedly, and when this happens, go back to your budget and make adjustments where necessary. Having a budget helps you gain better control of your money by accounting for where it all goes.
If you have tried to make a budget in the past, but it never seems to work very well, you can consult a licensed financial planner. They would be happy to help you put together a budget planner so you can get your finances in order.
#3. Reviewing and Pay Off Your Debt
Having debt payments on top of mortgage, utility bills and other necessities is an added financial strain that can throw your finances into disarray if you don’t keep up with your payments and stick to your budget. So, make a plan to tackle your debt now.
Evaluate how much you owe, and how much you are paying in interest. Once you know how much debt you have and how much interest you have to pay, you can set up a plan to chip away at your debts. If you’ve consolidated your debts, you’ll only have one payment to make each month, which simplifies things.
#4. Start Saving Money
Saving money not only gives us peace of mind, it also ensures that we’ll have something to fall back on in a financial emergency. Financial emergencies like a job loss, reduced hours, an illness, major vehicle or home repairs can strike at anytime, and during these moments, having cash on hand can prevent us from resorting to credit and racking up debt.
How much you allocate towards your savings is up to you. You can start with as little as RM10 per month but what’s important is that you keep it systematic. The amount will grow with time, and the more savings you have, the less likely you are to resort to debt.
Organizing your finances is an important part of getting you back on the right financial track, but when responsibilities pile up and life gets busy, we tend to forget to organize finances and we let them slip by. This happens to the best of us, so if your financial house isn’t in order, don’t get discouraged. Just as you spring clean your house, spring cleaning your finances helps keep your life and your finances organized.
Do you have other tips to spring clean your finances? Share with us in the comments section below.