7 Easy Ways to Organize Your Finances
You can't control everything in life. We've all learned that lesson during the global pandemic. But though we can't predict the challenges or even opportunities we might encounter on the road of life, we can take some steps to remain in the driver's seat, particularly with our finances.
Organizing your finances can help you stay focused on your goals, increase productivity and success, save time, and of course, reduce stress. So how can you get started? Here are some tips:
- Bring together your finances. There are many aspects to your financial life; you have your credit accounts, bank accounts, insurance, and retirement accounts. Gather all your financial information and create files either on your computer or in a filing cabinet. You can also create a spreadsheet that documents all your assets and liabilities. If you receive paper statements, put them into binders organized by date and type of information.
- Create a budget. Budgeting is the key to saving. To create your budget, make a list of your monthly income and expenses. Be sure to include all expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, credit card payments, utilities, monthly subscriptions, and fun and entertainment costs. Also, include monthly savings in your budget.
- Track your spending. A budget is only effective if you follow it. Use a spreadsheet or budgeting app to track your actual spending each month. If you're over budget, you'll have to find ways to decrease your spending. For example, can you save money by eating at home versus dining out? Make adjustments in your app or spreadsheet as needed.
- Save automatically. They say you should always pay yourself first. Automating savings makes accomplishing that even easier. You can specify the amount you wish to save, the frequency, and the date you want funds deposited.
- Organize your bills. Bills are just a part of life. The most important thing is to stay on top of them since late or missed payments can result in costly fees and negatively impact your credit. Make a list of your monthly bills and due dates. To simplify bill payment, consider using online bill payment and setting up recurring payments.
- Check your accounts regularly. Thanks to technology, monitoring your accounts is easier than ever. With online and mobile banking, you can set and receive alerts to notify you about specific account transactions or balance levels. Monitoring your accounts can also help you avoid overdrafts, stay on track for your goals, and even spot fraudulent transactions.
- Set and document your financial goals. Think about what you'd like to accomplish in the short and long term and then write those goals down. Then, determine what you'll need to do to achieve them. For example, if you want to buy a home in five years, how much money will you need to save each month for the down payment? When you determine that, add it to your budget and track your progress.
By taking these steps, you'll be better prepared financially for the road of life – no matter where it leads you. If you have questions about your financial future, a Washington Trust banker can help, no matter where you are in life.
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For more information or to speak with one of our trusted advisors about your unique financial needs, contact us at 800-465-2265 or submit an online form.