I’ve been thinking for a while now that I would like to do a short series of posts on being organised as I have had a few emails and comments about this, and I have to admit I love being organised!
I thought I good place to start would be to look at the dreaded finances! This is probably the most challenging area of my life in which to stay organised, and to be honest, my quality of life seriously suffered with the stress it used to cause feeling like I didn’t have a handle on it! However over the last few months I have got much better and learned some new ways to stay on top of things.
I have to say I have technology to thank for most of this as I use an app on my iPhone to help me track my spending. Each month on pay day I set out my budget in my Spend app and then record whenever I spend something or have a direct debit come out under each heading. If you didn’t want to use an app a simple spread sheet on your computer or even just a list written in a notebook would do the job. To give you an idea of the budget headings I use here they are:
- Mortgage and insurance
- Utility bills
- Food and household
- Credit Card
- Gym membership
- TV and internet
- ‘Pocket money’
Most of those costs are fixed and come out via direct debit, the two areas of my budget that have some flexibility are my food and ‘pocket money’ budgets. Yes I still give myself a bit of pocket money each month!
To keep track of what I spend against each of these budget headings I keep all of my receipts in my purse and then every 2 – 3 days I will quickly go through them and log in how much I have spent against each budget using the app. This lets me know how much I have left for the rest of the month and if I need to start being a bit more frugal!
I did try and set a weekly food budget, however what I found was that different things would run out at different times, so one week I would need to buy more store cupboard things in bulk and then the next week just a few veggies, so each week varied.
Some of the challenges I have faced keeping organised with this is making sure that I track what I spend on my credit card as I mainly use this for online purchases. I would personally much prefer to use a credit card instead of a debit card when making online purchases. You can easily pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges, plus I feel better knowing I have that safety net in case of crisis. What I’ve started to do to try and manage this is each time I use my card online, instead of moving the confirmation email into a folder in my inbox, I flag it until I have logged that spend in my app or on my spread sheet.
So to sum up these would be my key financial organisation tips:
- Set yourself a budget each month using an app, spread sheet or even just writing it down in a notebook
- Use direct debit for payments whenever possible
- Keep on top of logging what you spend – keep receipts and flag emails for online purchases then record in your app / spread sheet or notebook
- Don’t forget about what you spend online!
How do you approach financial management? Do you have any other tips for day to day organisation?