Time to “Get it Together”! Don’t get discouraged. Not making a change now will result in your life looking the same 20 years in the future as it does now. Breaking bad money habits and creating good money habits is hard work and you may not see immediate results!
Get Organized: You must have a quiet personal space to work on your finances. Your space must be comfortable. Get your office supplies that may include pencils, highlighter, stapler, tape, scissors, paper clips, post-it notes, calculator, and paper in one place and organized. Buy an old desk at the thrift shop. Put your laptop on it. Have a two-tray system. Yup, just like in the movies. One tray for new stuff or the “In” Box and one tray for the files you have worked, are filed, in the “Out” box. Make sure you have a small file cabinet or even a file box to store important papers. You will need a shredder to shred credit card statements and other documents that contain sensitive personal information. Have a trash can. Charge up your devices using a charging station.
No matter how humble you are, have a filing system to store important documents. It can be simple. An expandable file folder works just fine.
Car Your filing system should have a section for your car. In this file you should have folders for Certificate of Title, Purchase Agreement and Loan Agreement. I keep a separate file of car maintenance expenses and receipts. If there is ever a warranty dispute, I want documentation.
House Keep your rental agreement. If you own your home, keep finance paperwork, closing documents, mortgage application, mortgage statements and any home improvement receipts. Tax receipts. Home inventory for insurance.
Credit Cards Credit card application, credit card agreement, and the last 12 months of credit card statements to track expenses and then readjust your budget.
Insurance This is easy. Keep your policies. Policies for auto insurance, home insurance, and life insurance.
Personal Documents Birth Certificates, Family Death Certificates, college transcripts, any personal legal documents like judgements or criminal justice reports. Marriage certificate and military documents.
Savings Keep the statements. You’ll need them for tax.
Taxes Keep your tax returns and tax related forms.
This is not a complete list. Everyone’s filing system will look different. Having stacks of papers throughout your house is not a filing system. Again, if you cannot do this, get someone you trust to get you filing in order. Check out this great book and resource, Get it Together by Cullen and Shae.