Save time, money and reduce clutter: Part 2

Organizing your finances has many benefits.

As discussed in the previous article in this series, having a home filing system can definitely save you time and money and reduce clutter. This article will highlight numerous strategies on how to organize your family finances, which provide additional opportunities to achieve those exact same goals.

The FDIC Consumer News recommends the following strategies to organize your finances:

  • Direct deposit is a service that allows you to have your paycheck automatically deposited into an account at a bank or credit union. This service eliminates waiting for a check in the mail as well as travel time to your financial institution to cash or deposit a check. Direct Deposit gives you quicker access to your money and in some cases may help you avoid bank fees.
  • Pay reoccurring bills automatically with your checking account (i.e. insurance or utilities). This service can help save you time, avoid potential late fees and reduce clutter. However, if you use this type of service it is important to remember to record this transaction in your check register to avoid overdrawing your account which can lead to costly fees.
  • Consider online banking, which provides the opportunity to monitor all of your accounts including deposits and withdrawals online. This feature saves time because it reduces travel time to your financial institution and provides you with easy access at your convenience. In addition, you may save money because you will be able to see if you neglected to record an ATM or debit card transaction which will allow you to better balance your check register. Lastly, this service allows you to move funds between accounts at any time.
  • Create an automatic deposit into savings on a regular basis. Consult your employer or financial institution to make this arrangement. This allows for easy and consistent saving practices without having to travel to your financial institution. This may help you establish an emergency savings fund and or achieve your financial goals.

Tip: To learn more about SMART financial goals visit MI Money Health.

  • Consider utilizing an automated money-management tool. There are numerous software programs that you can download that allow you to view all of your accounts from numerous financial institutions. This service can save you time, provide an opportunity to identify potential theft or fraud and review your spending habits. However, since many of these products require account numbers and passwords, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) encourages you to use caution and to do your research, so that you can identify a reputable company before making your final selection.

Tip: For a variety of financial resources, including how to develop a monthly budget, visit Michigan State University Extension. In addition, Michigan State University Extension offers money management and homeownership classes. For more information about classes offered in your area visit MI Money Health.

  • Be prepared for an emergency. Make sure that legal and financial documents are up-to date, and that your family knows where to access them. For example your will, financial records, directives or power of attorney and beneficiaries that are listed on insurance and financial policies. In addition, should a disaster occur and you need to leave your home immediately, would you have the necessary information and access to cash if you weren’t able to return to your home right away?

Tip: For additional resources on preparing your finances for an emergency, visit Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

By making an effort to organize your family’s finances you can save yourself a lot of time and in many cases, a lot of money.

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