This is a guest post from my dear friend Heather of HappyHumbleHome.com, I am sure you will love her post (and blog) as much as I do!
Financial organization can be a tricky thing to achieve. With this list of 4 easy ways to get your finances organized I am confident that you will be well on your way to more organized finances.
Financial organization is the starting point for taking control of your money. It’s the key to saving more and get out of debt once and for all.
I know it can be overwhelming and scary to face the financial mess you’ve made, wanting to clean it up but not knowing where to start.
I’ve been there. I spent years spending more than I made, racking up debt, and not even paying my bills on time. Eventually, I grew up and realized that I would have to clean up all the money mistakes I had made.
I resolved to get my finances organized.
But when it came time to actually do it, I had no idea where to start! It took me forever to figure out how to get started and all of that confusion about what to do gave me another excuse to keep making those poor financial choices.
Even if you’re not as awful with money as I used to be, financial organization can be hugely beneficial for you by helping you get the biggest bang for every buck (literally!).
Here are 4 easy ways to get your finances organized
1. FIGURE OUT EXACTLY WHERE YOU STAND
You need to see your complete financial picture.
Look at all of your accounts. See exactly how much money you have (or don’t have) in your checking and savings accounts.
Calculate exactly how much debt you owe. List out every individual debt and how much is owed on that debt.
You can subtract your total debts from your combined bank account totals to see a rough estimate of your net worth. But don’t let this number scare you!
This big picture of your finances is just your starting point.
2. SET FINANCIAL GOALS
Having goals will motivate you to keep improving your finances, even when things get hard.
Decide what you want to accomplish financially. Do you want to save for something special? Do you want to pay off that student loan that you hate? Choose something that matters enough to you that it will keep you motivated.
Once you’ve decided on your financial goal, you need to write it down! Writing it out on paper makes it real.
Put it somewhere that you can see it every day. (I keep mine in my wallet and another copy on my refrigerator.) You want to keep your goal fresh in your mind as a reminder of what you are working for.
3. MAKE A MONTHLY BUDGET
The next step in getting your finances organized is to make a monthly budget.
It’s important that you make a new budget at the beginning of each month. Expenses are always changing and you want your budget to be focused on the specific month ahead.
List out all of your bills and expenses for the month and when each of those items will need to be paid. Then subtract those amounts from your expected income for the month.
Knowing exactly where each dollar of your monthly income needs to go will keep your spending in check and keep you on track. Your budget gives your money a purpose.
Sticking to your monthly budget is going to be an important part of the next step…
4. MAKE A PLAN TO REACH YOUR GOALS
If you keep on doing the same things you’ve always done, you are going to keep getting the same result. And chances are that same old thing you’ve been doing hasn’t been working for you, or you wouldn’t be reading this post right now!
Figure out exactly what you need to do differently to reach your own specific financial goal.
Write out the exact action steps that you need to take to meet your goal and tackle them one by one.
Here’s an example of what this would look like:
Financial Goal – Save $1000 by July 1st to fully stock my emergency fund
- Stick to my monthly budget
- Stop wasting money on take-out food
- Make my own coffee & skip the drive-thru
- Have friends over instead of going out
- Start meal planning!
- Set up automatic transfers into savings each month
- $300 each month
- Make extra money
- Tutor 3 hours each week
You need to make your action steps very specific to your own financial goal. The more specific you can be, the better.
Don’t be afraid to make your action steps a little challenging. For me, giving up the drive-thru coffee was hard.
Just be careful not to make them so challenging that you can’t stick with it. It’s a goldilocks thing. You don’t want your plan to be too easy or too hard, you want to find that “just right” range.
Now that you know how to get your finances organized, it’s time to actually do it! Start by figuring out exactly where you stand financially right now. Then, set financial goals that matter to you. Make a monthly budget and stick to it. Finally, create your financial improvement plan with action steps that will lead you to reach your financial goals.
Start today. If you follow these steps you can find yourself in a drastically different financial place a year from now.
Heather is the founder of HappyHumbleHome.com, where she helps women take control of their finances and have fun being frugal. Heather struggled financially for years before she finally learned how to save money without suffering. Now, she is passionate about sharing her frugal tips with women who need them.
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Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12