7 Simple Ways To Save By Organizing Your Finances

by Vincent King · 12 comments

Money makes you sweat. You’re tired of losing hours of sleep over something as simple as your checking account balance, yet you feel like every time you surrender your guard disaster strikes, and you inevitably lose even more.

There is a better way.

Follow these 7 simple steps and you will reduce the unnecessary stress that too many people bring into their relationship with money. Organize your finances to eliminate stress, and eliminate stress to live the healthier, happier life you deserve.

1. Organize Your Space

If you know where your bills are, you can get to them when you need to pay them. Once your mail is delivered, file it accordingly rather than let it pile into unmanageable mountains.

Bills that lay scattered from den to bedroom, piled on kitchen counters and dropped like crumbs along the way to the playroom floor are far less likely to get paid on time. Late bills cost money.

Set up a simple mail routine, trashing what needs to be trashed immediately, while intelligently filing the bills that need to be paid. Don’t put off what you have to do anyway. File smart, mail on time, and never pay a late fee again.

2. Be On Time

Late fees are the fastest way to owe more than you should. But, sometimes it’s difficult to know when everything is due. Dig in to discover when that cable bill is due, or whether you should pay your cell bill this week.

Rather than simply paying bills when you have the time, schedule times to sit and get it done a few times during the month. Your bills aren’t all due on the same day, so you don’t have to pay everything all at once. Take a look at all of your bills. Which are due first? Which are last? Spread them out so you pay them when you have the cash.

3. Don’t Let Your Statements Go Unread

You signed up for that credit card because the interest was low. But have you ever looked at what the rate is since then? Don’t fall for the low-rate bait. Keep your eyes on the fine print inside your statements, as terms can change.

If you find that your rate has jumped, give the credit card company a call and give them a chance to lower it. You never know until you ask.

4. Automatic Payments Can Be Your Friend

Maybe you’ve feared those auto-payments in the past, worried you might not have the funds to cover your purchases if your bills are already deducted. But, allowing for the automatic payments lowers fees for you from many companies and helps you stay on top of those payments which must be made.

Assign alerts so that you know when bills will be paid so you know what’s being withdrawn and when. Also, keep a watchful eye on your numbers and stay aware of what you must pay before making your next big purchase.

5. Protect your Account

Overdraft fees can murder your balance. If your bank offers overdraft protection, then sign up. You could be saving yourself fees on top of fees on top of more fees.

You can sign up for overdraft protection by linking your savings or a credit card to your checking account. Some banks even offer a grace period that will allow you to put the money back in up to two hours after you withdrew it.

6. The Fewer The Better

Instead of paying bill after bill, try to consolidate your efforts. If you have enough available balance on a lower interest rate credit card, shift a second card’s balance to that one. But be careful not to stumble over high transfer fees. They may sour a seemingly wise decision by piling more debt on top.

7. Don’t Just Automate Your Bill Pay

We open savings accounts with the best of intentions, but it’s all too easy to find that a year has passed and only one deposit was made. Take advantage of an automatic transfer to savings each month, and significantly grow that otherwise dormant account into something of substance.

Anything else missing here? What are your best tips for saving through organization?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Paul says:

    Here in New Zealand businesses are now charging to send you a paper bill. $5 is NOT uncommon.

    I have my main account (technically called the cheque account but use a cheque about 4 times a year now) and numerous dedicated savings accounts. 2 for credit card payments to which I transfer from cheque account for purchases made. Both these credit cards have loyalty points.

    1 savings account for firewood savings. Another for Wheelie bin which is payable 1 year in advance. Another for emergency fund. Yet another for rates (property taxes) and water rates. 1 for travel expenses, another for irregular expenses and one for tax expenses.

    Fortunately in New Zealand, and just about every civilised country in the world except the USA, income tax is taken out of your gross pay and paid tot the tax man every payday. None of this moronic scrambling to pay taxes at the end of the financial year. No wonder citizens of the USA are in such dire financial straits.

  • Georgina Goosen says:

    Great post. I am a South African and our bank have low or no bank fees for over 55’s so one needs to ask. Some are tied to your having an investment with them. It saves a big sum as our bank fees are among the highest in the world.

  • Great article. I like automatic payments (no paperwork, easier to budget, sometimes cheaper), but even more than that I think automatic savings is one of the best ways to save money. That is, having some of your paycheck go directly to your savings accounts, no matter the amount. Even $20 a week can add up quickly, and it’s money you would have never missed but feels good to know you have. There are also some checking accounts that move money over to your savings account pennies at a time whenever you use your debt card.

    Thanks for the great read,
    ProSaver

  • Kate says:

    I pay my bills twice a month; one group is automatic deductions, the other I pay at the bank. My SSI comes on August 3rd and I pay most of the bills from that one. Insurance (mine, my cat’s and my rental insurance) are automatically deducted on the 15th. My cell phone is the rogue deduction and it comes on the 28th, and my rent of course on the 1st. I have had to get very tough with my budget while I was working as a temp, and until the SSI figured out how to direct deposit money across the border. This has proved very helpful. I also have $40 deducted from my cheque every 2 weeks and put in the savings. I have found I usually don’t miss it. Getting my paycheque and my SSI direct-deposited has also saved me bank fees; my long-time bank will shuffle the automatic deductions to take the direct deposits into account, and they give me points toward a free movie (they own one of the big movie chains too). Bank Tip: Ask if they have a “senior checking account.” My bank has one that charges no fees (saving me $14 a month) but you have to ask for it.

  • Argie says:

    With Social Security as my only income (long story what happened to my retirement fund), I get one “paycheck” per month. I immediately pay all my bills for the month, no matter when they are due. What’s left is “my” income for the month, to eat, shop, save, whatever. It’s a pinch by the end of the month, but having the bills paid makes for less worry and stress, and that’s worth a lot to me.

    • Curious says:

      What happened to your retirement fund?

      • Paul says:

        Probably Enron. ‘Nuff said.

      • Argie says:

        No one in our company was scheduled to retire for several years, so the boss played the stock market with the entire retirement fund (for over 300 people). No one was aware of this, of course, and he lost almost the entire fund, all the while thinking he had plenty of time to recover it. I was in a car accident and afterward was unable to do my same job. So I retired a little early. By figuring how much was left in the fund and how long they expected me to live, my retirement income was $73/month. And when it went below $5000, they cashed it out. And everyone in the company hated me for draining away what was left.

  • Shane says:

    great tips. Organizing your financials can be daunting and it is easy to push it out of your to do pile. thanks for the tips

  • Great post. You clearly show that taking some very simple steps can go a long way towards improving one’s financial situation.

  • Marbella says:

    Automatic Giro and paying on time are two major means to save money. Unnecessary fees also lowers your credit rating.

  • M Meagher says:

    I try to only get paper bills. Online billing is one way to forget paying the bill that’s due. I have found for one online bill, I get three or four messages and after a while my inbox is cluttered and it’s just “white noise”. I sort my bills when they arrive in my post box and have a folder, i write the amount I want to pay on the front of the envelope and also include a due date which is always 7-10 days before the bill is due. Some bills I go old fashioned…and snail mail, but most I pay with on-line banking. this is a very easy system and it saves a lot in late fees.

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