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According to a NerdWallet survey, 64 percent of Americans currently have credit card debt or have faced debt in the past. Although facing your finances head-on might seem like a stressful task, it can be made easier with organization. A lack of organization can actually harm your finances more than being short on cash because simple things like losing track of bills can lead to late fees, and not keeping track of your checking account can cause overdraft fees. With that in mind, here are some tips for getting your finances in order and staying organized.
Keep your bills in one place.
For optimal organization, experts recommend keeping bills that arrive by mail in the same place by investing in a simple file cabinet and some pocket folders. Open all paper bills as soon as they arrive and make note of the due date and amount owed, while paying special attention any time that due dates vary each month.
For electronic bills, bank statements, and investment statements, consider using a separate email address. Using a different email address will ensure that your electronic bills and statements aren’t overlooked amid the other emails you receive.
Additionally, view all online bills as soon as you receive them by email to confirm that you’re in agreement with the charges and amount you expect. If you want to keep all bills in one place, print out a copy of the bill and keep it in the same physical folder as the bills you receive by mail.
Set aside time to pay bills.
Setting aside time each week to pay your bills is great way to stay current with your financial situation. Adding a weekly 30-minute block to your calendar will ensure that your bills are paid before they’re due and will give you time to review your online bank account for accuracy.
When it’s time to pay bills, remove the paper bills from your to-be-paid drawer and open the to-be-paid folder on your computer. If there isn’t enough money available into your bank account or if you won’t have enough by the bill’s due date, look into obtaining a loan. Eastern Loans offers same-day direct deposit loans for people with limited incomes and bad credit.
Pay bills efficiently.
Online bill payments can help you pay your bills efficiently and effectively. Most banks offer online bill payment options, while some service providers (phone, company, mortgage, etc.) also offer online bill pay.
Although it takes longer for the initial setup of online bill payments, you’ll save time each month by paying your bills online. Both banks and service providers send you a confirmation number as part of the transaction, which should be kept either on the bill itself or in a master list of monthly transactions.
If online bill payments aren’t an option for some of your bills, write out your check, record the transaction, and use the return envelope provided in most bills. After mailing your payment, allow seven to 10 business days for mail delivery and payment posting. Although you won’t have a confirmation number, you should still make note of the transaction and write down your check number.
File paper copies of your bills.
Set aside a 10-inch-by-13-inch envelope for each month to keep paper copies of the bills you’ve already paid. Place paper copies in the appropriate month’s envelope along with a master list of transactions, including information on bills received electronically. If any of your bills will be needed for filing taxes, make an extra copy and file it with your yearly tax documents.
All in all, keeping your finances in order will help you avoid late fees and keep your financial situation stress-free.