Posted by Gail | Filed under Money Management
I’m always amazed at how disorganized people are with their money: Accounts all over the place; bills everywhere; no system anywhere in sight. If you want to save some money and loads of time, spend a little of each to get organized.
First, cull your accounts. Have you opened up chequing accounts hither and yon? Still using them all? If not, time to trim back to just one to simplify your paperwork and keep better track of your money. This is particularly true for couples that have brought several accounts into a relationship. Figure out which accounts are working best for you and dump the rest.
Consider combining accounts at a single institution so you can throw your weight around. You can save money on monthly fees by keeping a minimum monthly balance. Or you can demand higher levels of service and fee rebates by offering to consolidate everything except your credit cards at one institution.
Next, set up a financial tracking system. Whether you create your own spreadsheet, use an off-the-shelf software program, or go with an on-line system, you need to have a process in place for keeping track of your money. It’ll take a little time to get it all set up, but you won’t believe how in-control you feel once you’ve laid the groundwork.
If you’re an expert at excel, create a system for yourself. You don’t need to buy a package. If you’ve got a system that works, please save yourself some money by sticking with what you’ve got. Just USE IT! For those who don’t have a clue where to start, I’ve created a package that you can download from my site called The Gail Way.
The Gail Way includes a:
- Spending Analysis worksheet and instructions
- Spending Journal worksheet with examples
- Budget worksheet, which includes the Life Pie and The Jars.
I created this package in response to all the people who keep writing to me to ask for budgets, spending analysis worksheets and budget binder pages. This is reflective of the system I use. And no, I have no intention of creating an app since that’s code for “easy” and “let’s not think about it too much.” I want you to focus on your money and make every decision consciously.
Finally, make a regular date to pay your bills and do your filing. Regardless of what system you use, if you let yourself get too far behind, your system will go out the window because it’s just too much work to catch up. Instead, do a little every couple of days to keep on top of the bills, the payments, the balancing and the expense tracking.