Rid yourself of financial clutter
Ever feel like it’s too hard to track your spending? You hang on to crumpled receipts, perhaps keep them in an old shoebox, and then come tax time you have no idea which are business expenses and which are personal. If this sounds like you, we can help you clear out the clutter for better financial health.
Get rid of financial clutter in 10 easy steps
1. Invest in a filing system
There are super affordable and stylish filing systems out there. You don’t have to go all out and get a tacky metal filing cabinet; all you need is a labeled accordion-style file folder and some paper clips. Decide on a system that works for you: sort by category, alphabetically, etc. Then manage your paperwork accordingly. We recommend sorting pay stubs and tax papers by year and divide with paper clips.
Remember, you only have to keep tax files for 7 years, so shred the rest as part of clearing out the clutter!
2. Create a folder for every financial year
This file will include your current budget or financial plan, updated documents such as last year’s tax return and any important documents that need to kept in one easy-to-find place. After the year is up, decide what needs to stay and replace old documents with new ones.
3. Come up with a system for filing tax receipts
No more stashing crumpled receipts in boxes. Have a folder for business expenses as well as personal. Better yet, there is an app for that. 5 iPhone apps for Tracking Expenses
4. Use a cloud invoicing system
If you do all of your invoicing or expense reports yourself, try using a cloud accounting service. I personally use Freshbooks because I can track all of my hours, clients, invoices and expenses in one place. 5 Top Picks for Small Business Cloud-Based Accounting
5. Download your banking app
Chances are you might already have this on your phone, but it is a great way to ensure that you are tracking your spending and sticking to your budget.
6. Go paperless
Almost every company offers paperless statements and billing. Take advantage of this! Why would you want to hang to tons of paperwork when they will archive your e-statements for up to 10 years?
7. Set up automatic payments/withdrawals
If you do this it will cut down on the stacks of bills that may pile up and you will never miss a payment again. Remember that even if you are only a couple days late with a payment, it still affects your credit score. More so, this makes saving even easier if it is automatic. Knowing that your bills are paid and that your savings account is happy is all part of good financial health!
8. Find a bank that respects you and only use them (if possible)
Sometimes you can’t avoid using more than one bank, but the more accounts you have open in different places, the more financial clutter you will have. If you do pick one, make sure that you can live with their terms. No one wants to pay $15/month for hidden fees.
9. Limit your credit cards
If possible, only allow yourself to have 2 credit cards at a time. One for business expense and one for personal. This makes it way easier to track expenses. Not to mention, if one card is compromised, you’re not totally without access to credit.
10. Clean out your wallet or purse…daily.
It may seem like a bit much, but we get busy and start stashing receipts where they don’t belong and eventually lose track of them. Take 5 minutes everyday to quickly organize your purse or wallet and feel financially clutter free! Start today by sorting your loyalty cards. If you haven’t used it ever, cut it up and throw it out. If you use it, but only a couple times a year, take it out of your wallet and keep it will your coupons for the next time you need it. Your wallet will thank you!
Have any other ideas for eliminating financial clutter? We’d love to hear from you! Ask a question or comment below.