I know, who wants to be an adult??? Well let’s face it, whether we like it or not, it’s going to happen. As much as we would love to stay in our childhood of no bills or responsibilities, it’s just not possible.
Trust me when I say this, adulting is NOT for the weary at heart. It is hard work day in and day out. Taking care of the kids, and the husband, and the dogs, and the cat… you get my point. One thing that can be a big ole pain in the butt is your finances. Unless you have hit the lottery, we all need to keep track of our money, and pay the bills, and take care of any other monetary responsibilities we may have.
If you are a seasoned adult, or just venturing out on your own, here are a few tips that may help you improve how you take care of your finances.
The first suggestion I would make, would be to invest in a filing cabinet.
You can usually find one cheap at a garage sale, or thrift store. Don’t worry what the paint on the outside looks like, because I have found some ways for you to show your creativity with your new investment.
You can take a look here at some fun ways to re-hab your filing cabinet. If you have the space for it, I would go ahead and buy the larger size, 4 drawers. If you don’t have the space, a smaller one is definitely a good start. There isn’t a specific way you should set these up, so you can start with some categories like: vehicle, credit cards, insurance, and so on. Breaking down files for everything will help when sorting where you want to put items. You will probably make some changes along the way, no worries!
The second suggestion I would make, would be to make electronic images of everything you put into the file cabinet.
I would set up your online “file cabinet” exactly like your physical one. Including all folders, sub-folders, be specific when labeling your items. If you can easily access a document online, e.g. bank statements and tax returns; you don’t need a hard copy of it. You can just download those digital copies, save them on a malware-free hard drive, and shred the physical copies sent to you on a regular basis.
If, however, you need the physical, original copy of a document for any reason, birth certificate or marriage certificate, you can scan the document, file the original one in a folder, and keep that folder in a secure, damage-proof place. All of this can be done with a printer that has the scan option.
The third suggestion I have, would be to start checking into some options to use apps to track and organize your finances.
At some point, you’re going to need extra space or a backup for your electronic files. For that, use Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud storage services. These will allow you to access documents no matter where you go or what device you are using.
If you need help organizing the files, there are apps for that too. Microsoft Excel is a great program for this. If you are comfortable enough with the options Excel offers, you know the capabilities already. Otherwise, I would download the best tracking apps for your smartphone or tablet.
Last but not least, I would recommend setting up a specific time to sit down and organize your paperwork. This isn’t something you would need to do every day, but weekly or monthly may suffice. Habits take time to develop, so it helps to get it on your calendar until it becomes second nature for you to organize your paperwork regularly.
By spending the time now, it will save you time in the future. You will thank yourself later!
(maybe with a new pair of shoes, we can organize those also!)