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Trying to Get Your Finances Organized in the New Year?

January 2nd, 2011 at 01:38 am

Right now the stores are selling all kinds of organizational gear. But really, you can have perfectly organized finances while spending no money at all (or very very little). You can probably make do with things you already have on hand. The following are what work for me.

1. Filing System:
David Bach's filing system is the very best one IMHO. I've been using it for about 10 years, after trying several others that just didn't work. Bach's system is pure elegance: easy, compact, it really works, and it's a cinch to keep up. You can find his system in some of his books or at:
http://www.oprah.com/money/David-Bachs-File-Folder-System

I use a plastic Rubbermaid tote that was very inexpensive & is 100% portable. If you don't have a tote or small file cabinet, hanging files, and manilla tab folders you'll need to buy them, but they'll be worth the expenditure.

2. Calendar:
A calendar is essential to staying on top of your finances. This is where I record when I need to make payments (especially the irregular ones like estimated taxes and property taxes), when CDs or other long-term financial assets mature, and anything else that affects our finances.

For example, we get a 10% discount on our car insurance because my husband & I have both completed an on-line defensive course (2 cars = both of us have to do the course). The course certificate is good for 3 years. My husband's certificate expires later this month, and the date is on my calendar so that I can remind him to re-take the course. The insurance company won't remind us; we have to keep track of this sort of thing ourselves.

I use a free calendar that one of my husband's business suppliers gives us.

3. Special Box For Important Little Things That I Don't Want to Lose: In this box I put coupons, gift cards, safe deposit box keys, master key for car with keyless system, extra cash, and passport. I keep the box in a spot where I can always get my hands on it. Any little old freebie box will do.

P.S. - Now if I could just figure out a way to organize my photographs as well as I have organized my finances! Smile

6 Responses to “Trying to Get Your Finances Organized in the New Year?”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I personally swear by Quicken, but folders, a file cabinet, and a calendar are also pretty darn useful to simply and inexpensively stay organized. Agreed!

    I also have a spot for the "to be paid bills." I just need to make sure to look through it once a month or so.

    Interestingly, I received a "second request" for a bill this year that I swear I never received. At first I thought it was my mistake and thought I would find it when I did my filing (I pile everything up and file once a quarter or so). BUT, never did find it. Must have been lost in the mail!

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Your husband can probably wait to retake his dd course until your insurance is about to renew. My certificate expired earlier this year, but the discount was still applied for the whole term.

  3. wrk4lvg Says:

    I'm quite certain since the policy is set for 6mo (or 1 year) that the discount will not expire mid-policy. Best way to find out is to call. That way you MAXIMIZE that certificate and discount.

  4. scfr Says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, FrugalTexan & wrk4lvg.

    Update on the defensive driver course discount. We received a notice from Geico (our insurer) in the mail reminding us that the certificate was due to expire! They told us that the discount would no longer apply when our policy renews in April unless DH retook the course.

    So, double props to Geico for:
    1. Letting the discount go until policy renewal. When DH took the course they applied the discount immediately and sent us a refund for the amount we had already prepaid on our policy, so we actually are getting the discount for an extra 3 months.
    2. Reminding us to retake the course so we can continue to get the 10% discount. I did not think they would do this.

    We have been with Geico for about 19 years now. We started out with just car insurance but now have our homeowner's policy with them as well. I rate shop every once in awhile, but they continue to be competitive. Also, they have never given us anything but great customer service. So nice to deal with a company for so long and be happy with them.

  5. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Scfr,

    I'm with Geico too. Big Grin When your husband takes the course, if he is at all familiar with doing things online, then I'd highly recommend doing the online course. Geico offers a discounted rate of $19.95. (For Texas at least.)

  6. scfr Says:

    Yes - We both did the online course, and I agree that it is the way to go.

    Maybe Geico should change their logo to "the company all the smart frugal people use." Smile

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