Do you find dealing with your personal finances confusing and a bit overwhelming? Do you get statements in the mail and leave them un-open for months? Nowadays you most likely have your financial statements, such as credit card statements and bank statements, emailed to you. But do you ever actually open them and review them?
My first husband often ignored any mail that came to the house, including credit card statements and utility bills. It was a nasty habit that drove me nuts, because I am the type of person that opens my mail before I even get back into the house.
Ignoring all of these bills can quickly put your finances in jeopardy.
After a month or two the phone starts to ring.
Companies want to know why you haven’t paid your bills. And if you continue to ignore things you begin receiving threatening letters.
Why do that to yourself? Why not just look after things from the start?
I know… you are too busy, or you simply do not want to deal with paying bills and organizing your finances because it seems scary.
Unfortunately, ignoring it only makes things worse.
Instead, look for ways to build new habits that will help you stay on top of things. Teach yourself how to get organized, or turn to someone for help.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Open and Review Your Mail
Review all financial statements as soon as you receive them. You are looking for any errors, including charges you didn’t actually make.
When it comes to your utility bills, review them to make sure that you and your family are not using too much electricity or too much water. Sometimes families do not pay attention to how much they use and their bills skyrocket out of control.
Pay Your Taxes
Always pay your taxes on time. This goes for both your income tax and your property tax, if you own a home.
Schedule Bill Payments
Schedule your bills using a calendar. If you prefer a paper based calendar, then use that.
You can also use a calendar online or an app that will send you a reminder when it is time to pay each bill. Choose something that you will be able to refer to easily and quickly.
Always set your reminders for at least 8 days prior to the due date. This allows plenty of time for the payment to reach the company that you owe money to.
Organize Your Financial Documents
Keep your statements and other financial documents well organized. This post, Start Organizing Your Financial Documents Today, gives you all the steps you need to get your documents in order.
Speak With an Advisor
Speak with a financial advisor about investing your money, or to review your current investments. Make sure you are getting the best return possible.
Call Your Mortgage Company
Speak with your mortgage company to see if you are currently paying the best interest rate on your mortgage. If not, is it possible to refinance your mortgage for a better rate.
Review Your Insurance Policies
Review your life, home and auto insurance policies, and make sure that you have all the coverage you need in case of emergency.
Update Your Will
Speak with a lawyer to make sure your will is current and written with your best interests in mind.
Being well organized actually helps you save money. I know it takes time to do all of this if you have neglected it up until now.
Instead of tackling this all at once and simply feeling frustrated, try doing a little bit of work each day and regularly monitor your progress as you complete each task.
It may take you six months or more to get it all done. While that sounds like a long time, it really isn’t. And remember, if you need help with any of it, ask a trusted friend or family member to come over and help you out. Make an afternoon of it with some coffee and cookies.