Do you constantly forget to pay bills, make debt repayments, save money, or keep track of your financial documents? Your finances might be in disarray, and this might cause you losses in the form of penalties, hurt your credit score, and derail your goals.
Your finances are more like your personal space; the more organised they are, the more liberated and at peace you will feel. Financial organisation is a crucial step when it comes to smart money management. Disorganisation can lead to financial stress, affect your financial plan, and cause you to lose control over your finances.
Organising your finances can be a challenge. Fortunately, with some planning, you can simplify your financial management. This can save you time, energy, and money and grant you more financial freedom. In this guide, we’ll share seven steps you can take to organise your finances today.
Do you know where all your vital financial documents are stored? Your apartment lease, title deeds, bank and loan statements, business agreement, etc.? If your documents are scattered across different locations, you first need to gather them in one place. Next, you should start sorting them by categories. When it’s time to access financial information, you will know exactly where to find it.
If you have many years of paperwork, concentrate on first sorting through the oldest paperwork. You’ll find that there’s little that you need to keep, thus simplifying your filing system and creating space in your home. Sort through all your financial paperwork and shred anything that you no longer need to keep.
Once you are done sorting your documents, create a system for managing them effectively. For instance, you can file them into categories and store them in a safe. You should also scan and store them digitally in a password-protected file on your computer.
Finally, consider going paperless. These days, most of your finances can be managed online without needing paperwork to be sent to you. If you haven’t already done so, choose to go paper-free for bank statements, credit card statements, loan statements, and regular bills, such as utility. Reducing the amount of paper coming into your home will mean you spend much less time organizing it.
Read Also: How to Do a Complete Financial Self-Audit
If you have accounts at multiple banks or Saccos, determine whether they are benefiting you. Are your many accounts costing you money? Could you combine savings and money market accounts for a higher interest rate?
There are a few reasons to have multiple accounts – the convenience of the branch location, high-interest rates, low fees, accessible ATMs, or you have multiple savings goals, and you want to separate them. However, the problem with this is that it spreads your money out, and if you aren't careful, you can lose track of your savings, bounce checks, get overdraft fees, etc. The likelihood of making financial mistakes also increases.
However, consolidating and combining some of these accounts can have many benefits. It makes it easier to manage your finances and reduces the number of bank statements you have to go through. Fewer bank accounts are also easier to monitor and can often result in higher interest rates, lower fees, and other perks.
Apart from your savings accounts, you should close dormant investment accounts such as MMFs, cancel credit cards you no longer use, or reduce the number of credit cards you use. If you have multiple debts that are challenging to service, you can consider consolidating them.
Do you have so many recurring subscriptions that you can’t remember them all—Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, gym, internet, etc.? It could be time to pare down. To do this, review your bank statements for the past four months. Identify all your subscriptions or regular payments, and then ask yourself the following questions:
If you no longer use or need a subscription or service, cancel it immediately.
For all the other subscriptions, note precisely what they cover and how much they cost. Ask yourself if you need everything they offer. Finally, start shopping for alternative and cheaper options.
Once you’ve decluttered your subscriptions, you will be surprised at how much money you can save and how streamlined your budget will be.
Read Also: Money Hack: Make Your 2023 Spending Plan
Automating is one of the easiest ways to keep your finances organized.
Automation will help reduce the stress and uncertainty of saving, paying bills, and repaying debts. It will save you time and effort and ensures you never miss a payment, suffer penalties, or hurt your credit.
Luckily, you can automate many areas of your financial life. The two most important ones are:
Read Also: How to Automate Your Finances in Kenya
Having multiple debts can make your finances complex and difficult to manage. However, a debt repayment plan can streamline your financial obligations, making staying on top of your finances easier. It enables you to pay off debts and reduces the number of monthly transactions, simplifying your finances.
A debt repayment plan is a roadmap for your financial journey, outlining the necessary steps to become debt-free. It lets you track your progress and stay motivated by setting specific goals and milestones. This clarity and structure help you focus on your financial objectives and make informed decisions regarding your spending habits and saving strategies.
You can consider several strategies for repaying your debts, depending on your goals. Two popular methods are the snowball and avalanche methods. The snowball method involves paying off the smallest debts first, while the avalanche method focuses on paying off debts with the highest interest rates first.
Living without a budget or having an outdated one automatically creates financial clutter because you don't know where your money is going. If you find yourself in such a scenario, your finances can take a wrong turn as it's easy to overspend and accumulate debt.
Regularly reviewing your budget allows you to organise your finances and develop a clear understanding of your financial health and the adjustments you need to make to achieve your goals.
A budget is the most important tool for keeping your money organized. It lets you stay disciplined, track your spending, and make conscious choices that align with your financial objectives.
To review your budget, start by determining how much money comes in monthly through work income and other sources such as a side hustle or child support. Next, assess how you spend your money and whether it aligns with your current financial situation. Your income should be sufficient to cover your living expenses, debt repayments, and savings. It might be time to create a new budget if it isn't.
Organizing your finances can be overwhelming, especially when faced with complex financial matters. If you hit a roadblock and are unsure of the best course of action, you should consider consulting a licensed expert, such as a financial advisor.
An expert can offer invaluable assistance in various areas. For instance, they can help you understand complex tax regulations, identify the most suitable investment options based on your goals and risk tolerance, create a comprehensive estate plan, and more. Seeking professional advice empowers you to make informed decisions and helps you avoid costly mistakes that could negatively impact your financial well-being.
Taking the time to organise your finances is a decisive step towards gaining control over your financial life. Organising your finances will give you an accurate picture of your current financial situation. This knowledge will put you in an excellent position to control your finances, plan for the future, and make informed decisions to ensure you achieve your goals.
Remember, organising your finances is not a one-time task—it's an ongoing process. Make it a habit to regularly assess and update your finances to prevent disorganization from getting out of hand. You can avoid unnecessary stress and setbacks by staying proactive.
The benefits of organised finances extend far into the future. You will experience increased peace of mind, reduced financial stress, improved credit, and better overall money management. So, start organising your finances today and enjoy the long-term rewards of a well-managed financial life.