Step 7 a & b – Finances

I have taught a lot of classes and talked with a lot of women.  One of the biggest complaints that I hear is what do I do with all of my paper?  Step 7 addresses finances as well as paper clutter.  This is an area that we could all use some improvement in.  If your finances are a mess it could affect your relationships as well as your organization.  The first and most important tip is to be on the same page as your spouse!  Sit down and discuss what is happening with your money.   Remember this should be a calm and rationale discussion – no pointing fingers!  Even if you don’t pay the bills you should be aware of where your money goes.  This can be an eye opener for a lot of people.  Every household is different in how they handle their finances.  I have seen houses where the hubby takes on this responsibility (this is the way it works at my house – I hate money! 🙂 ), there are many households where it is the wife’s responsibility and then there are those households where they have separate accounts.  You need to find what works for you but no matter what the situation, you both need to be aware of what is happening with your money each month!

Once you have discussed how you are going to handle the money and where you stand, it is time to discuss a budget.  A budget?  Yes, a budget.  This is a hard concept for some but an important one.  You may have different ideas on where your money should be spent.  Your husband may be one that likes a lot of toys.  You may enjoy a good day of shopping now and then.  If you are both spending like crazy and not consulting one another, you could get into trouble quickly!  If you have the money, be sure to allot each of you a little extra, if you don’t have the money, make sure you are both being more careful!  The best way to stay on top of your finances is to use cash.  When it is gone, it’s gone!  Use the old fashioned envelope system until you get an idea of how you spend your money.  Be sure to track all you spend too.  This will really help you to see where you need to cut back or where you need to put more money.

When you are planning your budget make sure you are saving.  Paying down debt is important too.  Once you pay something off put that money toward something else until you are completely out of debt.  Once you are out of debt the stress is gone and you can live how you want to without any guilt! 🙂

Once you have planned a budget you need a way to organize your finances.  I love the concept of a bill book.  This is one of my favorite things to talk about!  Filing cabinets can be big and you can lose things in them.  A binder is much easier to manage and keep track of.  To make a bill book you will need a 3″ binder (the D rings are very helpful), 21 file jackets (these are file folders that are enclosed on three sides and open at the top), labels (the large shipping labels or something a little larger would work great), 4X6 photo holders (these will serve as your envelopes), and the print outs that we are giving you in this post.  These go in the front of your bill book and are used for planning purposes and to keep track of your spending.

To begin each file jacket should have a label.  The first 5 should be labeled Bills to be Paid, To be Filed, Taxes ____ (you put the year on the line i.e., Taxes 2010), Bank Statements and One Time Only Payments.  Each file jacket after that should be labeled with each account that you pay money to each month.  For example, the Power Company and all its information such as Company Name, address, phone number, account number, name of your contact there, when the bill is due, how it is paid and any other impertinent information.  You need to fill out a label for each bill you pay and put one on the front of each file jacket (see photos below for reference).

The photo holder is used for your cash system.  It takes the place of envelopes and allows you to keep everything in your Bill Book.  This is a great way to file your bills and control paper clutter.  When your mail comes into the house immediately put bills to paid in the right folder and you will get rid of half your paper clutter from mail!

Cash Pockets           Monthly Budget Sheets

Account Information Labels
These go on all file jackets for each one of your bills.

You will have 5 file jackets that look like this with the following labels Bills to be Paid, Bank Statements, One Time Only Payments, Taxes ______, and To be Filed.

The Bill Book is a fabulous place to start with finances and will help you get many things in your home organized from your bills (paper clutter) to your relationship with your spouse!  Good luck! 🙂

Posted on May 26, 2010, in 10 Steps, Freebies, Organizing, Step Seven and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Tracy: I loved your post on finances. This is honestly my biggest struggle. I always can talk myself in to a NEED. You know when you are at the store and that little something looks so good and you know that you NEED it! My hubby is the one who pays the bills in our family also. He does a great job, but we both should communicate better:)

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