Five steps to organize your finances

Organizing household financial records is an important step in achieving financial peace of mind.

As the year comes to a close, consider making one of your New Year’s resolutions to organize your financial records and important papers. After the initial investment of time to get papers in order, the task of keeping track of your finances and other records will be simplified and it will be easy to find important papers when you need them,

  1.  Determine where you will store your records. Having a specific location in your home such as a home office, file cabinets, desk or even a cardboard box will make it easier to keep on top of bills, filing and other documents such as birth certificates, auto title, insurances policies etc. At the same time, develop a filing system so you can easily locate bills or other records you may need.
  2. Determine who will be in charge in keeping records. It may be a joint venture, but often the job is left to one person. At the same time, be sure to communicate with your partner about how records are filed and where important documents such as marriage licenses, mortgage papers, life insurance, etc. are kept.
  3. Set aside one day a month to file and organize documents that have arrived in the mail or by electronic documents. At the same time, review credit card statements and bank statements to check for accuracy.
  4. Always keep your checking account balance up to date. Recording all purchases from your checking account whether by check or debit to avoid over drawing your account and racking up costly overdraft fees.
  5. At least once a year, go through your financial records and purge your files of unneeded documents. You may wish to find out how long to keep records such as warranties, loan papers, utility bills. Michigan State University Extension’s offers valuable information about where and how long to store documents.

In summary, spend the time soon to organize your finances to save yourself time and frustration later! 

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