I could honestly write an entire SERIES of books on being organised. I absolutely love it. I accept that its not for everyone, and that is fine. But if there was just ONE area of your life that I would say is essential to organise – it’s your finances.
Organising my money was where it all started for me. As soon as I hit my 20’s I quickly realised just how traumatic and stressful life is when you don’t have control over your money. So, I set about creating a spreadsheet to get a hold over it all. I remember reading that you can live a very stress free life full of all the usual little luxuries you are used to when you practice the habit of saving – and that you don’t have to be rich or on a high salary to do so! As someone who used to be scared to check my balance every time I went to the cash-point for fear I didn’t have enough to get me until the next pay day, getting this in control was the highest priority for me.
Just the THOUGHT of getting your finances organised can be exhausting for some people and so many take the ‘Head In The Sand’ approach and ignore it entirely. BAD IDEA. The situation will only get worse. If you ignore sorting it out today, you will be in a real mess in the future.
You know how it goes: “what you do today directly affects what you will have tomorrow”.
Today’s effort creates the results you get tomorrow. It can be a challenge initially, but once it is sorted your life will run soooooo much smoother and you will get much more enjoyment out of life.
True that you can survive a few months being careless and turning a blind eye to your finances (we have all done it), but it WILL catch up with you eventually and it will be harder to sort the longer it is left.
Now honestly, I could go on about this subject forever, but I imagine that would be terribly dull to read. So, I have condensed this entry into just two small (nearly effortless) ways to get a handle on your finances as quickly as possible.
The most important thing is to track your spending. And there are so many easy ways to do this. You just need to find what works for you.
In the old days (you know, like,the 80’s!) everyone had to manually record everything.
Receipts everywhere, accounts books, payslips, pen & paper. Urg! Just typing that made me feel stressed. It wasn’t uncommon for people to have a big fat ugly ‘Papers’ folder stuffed in their wardrobe where they attempted to keep a record of everything. What!? That’s impossible. Gross. Totally unorganised. A nightmare!
With the technology with have today, it’s easy! We are so lucky.
So then, why are people in more debt these days than ever before?
Easy – they have a lack of organisation skills!
We are never taught something as ESSENTIAL as organisation at school and that is why so many people struggle with just LIFE in general.
What use is understanding Photosynthesis, Algebra or the Periodic Table when you can’t even organise your finances to make sure you pay your rent on time?!?
I am getting ranty now so I am going to jump back on subject.
Where was I?
There are plenty of tools you can use to track your spending and get a hold on your finances. Personally, I use a simple ‘Google Sheets’ App to track everything and it works perfectly. But, if you prefer to use your mobile phone and don’t get on a computer often, there are tons of useful little phone apps that do it all for you these days!
So, what do I do? Two simple steps.
On the 1st day of every month (Pay Day) I will pay all of my Bills/Commitments first and then record them in my spreadsheet.
Your Spreadsheet Columns might be: (as an example)
- Utility Bills
- Grocery Shopping
- Gym Membership
- Mobile Phone
- TV and Internet
Of course if you had any Loans or Credit Card commitments you would also include them there, along with whatever other essential payments you have.
Most of those above might be fixed commitments that come out of your account via direct debits or standing orders. The important thing to remember is that you always, ALWAYS do this step first. No matter what. On Payday! No exceptions
If you get into the bad habit of immediately going out on “pay day” and blowing all your money at the pub – you are already screwed! Familiar with that, anyone?
So my main bit of advice – the second that money hits your bank account – pay it where it NEEDS to go first.
After I have paid my essentials and recorded them all down, it is time to have some fun with what is left. (If you find you have nothing left after you have paid your essentials, I highly recommend you seek some financial advice from a professional. No need to panic – it’s fixable!)
I split what I have left between 2 categories
2) Spending Money
I generally like to put away at least HALF of what is left into savings and the rest I transfer onto a separate card that I like to call my ‘Play Money’ card or ‘Spending Money’ card.
This card is a simple Cash Card (can’t go overdrawn on it) with a contactless chip. This card tends to be the ONLY bank card I will take out with me and use.
I don’t track what I spend on my play card- because it really doesn’t matter! It’s money to have fun with and it isn’t touching or affecting my other accounts or savings in any way! So, if I want to blow it all on Starbucks and Gummy Bears – I totally can! Guilt free.
One very strict rule though – once that “play money” is gone for the month, it’s gone!!!! I NEVER put money back onto that card before the month is out. Once it is spent, I am without until I get paid again. This is very important to stick to because it builds discipline and helps you budget out your play money a little better.
So to sum it all up, these would be my 3 MAIN tips to organise your money:
1) Record all your spending each month into the main categories and move your money as soon as you get paid so you don’t accidentally spend it. Use Direct Debit and Standing Orders to make sure those bills get paid/money gets moved every month, no matter what!
2) Split whatever is left in half. Put one half into Savings. (Or more if you can!)
3) Spend the rest and have some fun!!!!
Above all, just remember that whatever your financial situation, right NOW is the time and place to start organising it. Don’t wait for anything. Take a few hours today and get it organised and then keep it up monthly.
The effort you make today will make all the difference in your future.
How do you approach financial management? If you would like some more advice, or more in-depth information on how I organise my finances, feel free to email me or leave a note in the comments below.
THANKS FOR READING – DHARMA ROCKS Xx