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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Organizing Your Finances

It's Thursday! Thanks for checking in for another info-packed Organize Now post. Today we are organizing our finances.
If you are joining us for the first time, we have been getting organized using Jennifer Ford Berry's Organize Now book as our guide. You can check on past posts to catch up.

Week 1 about Organizing Your Mind and Life Vision HERE,
Week 2 about Organizing Your Priorities HERE,
Week 3 about Organizing Your Schedule HERE
Week 4 about Organizing Your Cleaning Schedule HERE.
Week 5 about Organizing Your Personal Information HERE.

Organizing your finances! If you want a good example of how to do this, you should talk to my dear husband. He is SO GOOD at this and I am SO THANKFUL because I am not too good at it.  Since my husband takes care of our personal finances, we are A-OK in that area. But I am in charge of my business finances, and am using this chapter to help me with it. In 2006 we were in San Diego and I was working a lot ( before kids,) I kept really pretty good records. I knew I had to for tax reasons since I was making good money as a music therapist and flute instructor and had a lot going on with my business. I got in good habits right from the start.

Fast forward to 2008: we moved to Indiana, I stopped working for a period of time and became a stay at home mom. I am still primarily a SAHM, but I did start working a few hours a week in 2009 and have slowly added hours and income to my work, esp. with my Shaklee business. My Quickbooks needed an upgrade when we moved here, which I didn't end up doing. I thought it wouldn't be too hard to keep track of things since I wasn't making too much money. That was a mistake. If you have a business, no matter how big or small, then do yourself a huge favor come tax time, and KEEP GOOD RECORDS (income, expenses, mileage, etc)!!! You can thank me later:)

This Week's Goals:  
(can be applied to personal or business finances)

1. Find one place to store all bills as they come in. 

We use a simple basket in our kitchen. It's easy for me to put the mail there so nothing gets lost or overlooked. Every Sunday evening my husband goes through mail, gets rid of junk mail, pays the bills and balances the checkbook. (Thanks, honey!) We like using online bill paying for many of our bills. It is a great way to reduce paper and clutter and ensure that you pay your bills on time.

2. Write down all of your expenses and income. 

Keep a list of your fixed expenses such as your rent or mortgage, utilities, phone, savings, etc. Fixed expenses should not exceed 65% of your income.
 Keep a list of your controllable expenses such as gasoline, credit cards, entertainment, food, etc. If you are looking at ways to reduce your budget, look at things like a daily latte habit. That can really add up!

3. Make a budget!
This is so important for knowing where your money is going and actually being able to save some. Write it down! Computer programs like Quicken can help make this pretty simple. The most important thing in my opinion, is to live within your means. Don't overspend on things that are not necessary. You will be happier and perhaps healthier, and be able to save money too.

4. Set up a retirement account

This is something that many people don't think about until they are older. But if you are a 20 something or 30 something reader, please look into this! If you are in your 40s or older and haven't been saving for retirement, NOW IS THE TIME!! If your employer offers a 401k or something like it and ESPECIALLY if they will match what you put in, PLEASE DO THIS!!! It is pre-taxed dollars! Even if you can only contribute a small amount every month, make it a priority and stick to it. There will not be social security benefits for the younger generations. It really is up to us to save for our futures. Roth IRAs are another great option for people who qualify.  If you need help in this area, don't be afraid to ask someone who knows.

If you have kids, you may think it is more important to set up a college fund for them then a retirement fund for you. Although that is important, I think your retirement is more important. (If you had to choose one) Your kids will have the option of taking out college loans at lower interest rates. You however, will not have the option of taking out a low interest government loan to pay for your retirement expenses!


If possible, do not carry a balance on your credit card(s). This is something I have always felt strongly about. I won't charge something unless I know that I can afford it. This avoids interest charges and also helps to keep my credit score high. And it's probably a good idea to limit how many cards you have. The more you have, the more to keep track of and also the more vulnerable you become to credit card or identity theft. Don't get sucked into opening new cards just to get an additional percentage off of your purchase. Always seems like a good idea at the time but.....

If possible, pay your mortgage twice a month rather then monthly. This will reduce the amount of money you pay on interest. We try to overpay our mortgage every month but I never thought about doing it bi-monthly. Good tip!

There is a lot more info on this topic in Organize Now. Check it out:)

Thank you again for reading and keeping up with my blog. I really do appreciate all of you and also love to hear from you! If you are getting organized along with me, please post a comment or link your blog to mine. Would love to hear how it's going for you and what tips you can contribute.

Have a great day!



  1. We've been through the Dave Ramsey course so most of this is covered. :-) Great ideas for those who haven't been through a financial course.

  2. Thanks for adding the comment about Dave Ramsey, Tami! I actually thought about his course the other night and meant to add something about it. I haven't been through it yet personally, but have only heard excellent things about it.

  3. Those are all great points! Organizing finances can really be a chore for most people so some would just prefer to hire accountants to do it for them. The credit card tip is good, too. It’s easy to be tempted to buy something you can’t afford if all it takes to get it is a swipe.

    Angel Richards


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