Getting your finances in order tends to feel like an overwhelming, complicated task. But it doesn’t have to be. Follow these easy steps to organizing your finances and you’ll feel a lot happier about the health of your money in the new year.
However you receive your income, whether you always deposit your check on the same day of the week or if you have direct deposit, set up an automatic transfer to your savings account. You can do this even if your checking and savings accounts are at different banking institutions.
Conventional wisdom says to always "pay yourself first," meaning you should always set aside some money for saving even when you have bills and debts to pay off. Figure out how much you want to be socking away each month. This will require having a budget in place if you don’t already, then set it and forget it.
Max Out Retirement Funds
When it comes to retirement, the first thing you want to make sure is that you are taking advantage of any matching funds from your employer. This is when your employer promises to match your own retirement contributions. If you aren’t taking advantage of this – it’s like you are leaving money on the table!
Since you’ve already made a monthly budget, see if you can move any of your expenses around to make sure you are able to contribute the maximum amounts to your retirement. While you are at it, tax season is the perfect time to meet with your financial advisor and see if you want to make any changes to your investments.
Organize Your Bills
If you’ve never done it before, take a look at the due dates of all your bills and see if they are dates that make sense for you. For example, does your credit card come due the same week you pay rent or your mortgage? Most companies can be pretty flexible with the due date, so call around and see if you can get the cable bill or credit card moved to a week when it doesn’t leave you penniless.
I would also recommend checking to see if you’ll get any savings on your bill if you enroll in auto-pay. I save five percent on my phone bill that way. If you do enroll in auto-pay, make sure you continue to look over any bill carefully for any incorrect charges.