Is the way you organize your finances serving you well?
Here’s a quick quiz to give you an idea. Answer True or False to the following questions:
- I have a simple, effective system to record and track the money coming into and out of my life.
- My receipts are organized and easy to find when I need them.
- I set aside time every month to review the job my money is doing for me and to make changes where needed. (Bonus marks if the time is booked in your calendar.)
- The accounts I have were chosen deliberately to serve my system.
- I have eliminated duplication of effort in every area of my finances.
- I know my numbers: monthly spending, savings, and investments; or I can retrieve them within minutes.
- My financial documents are well organized and accessible. There is no paper clutter.
- I have thought about my lifestyle, goals, and personality type, and created a system that meets my needs.
- I have built-in systems to help me overcome unhelpful habits and tendencies.
These are all questions that touch on the way you organize your finances, which is the basis of financial security and, afterward, financial freedom.
How’d you do?
What big picture?
If you’re like most people, you might not have given much thought to creating a big picture system to ensure that each major aspect of your finances is addressed effectively given your values, goals, and lifestyle choices.
Think back to the moment you left home. Did someone sit down with you and help you think through how to set up your bill payment system or discuss how to create an account structure that would help you reach your goals more quickly?
Or help you create a spending and saving plan?
Or better yet, create a diagram to illustrate the flow of money in your life and how best to use your money?
If you’re laughing by now, or rolling your eyes, I get it. Who on earth gets that sort of guidance, right? Our educational system was not set up to teach you how to plan, track, manage, and grow your money.
Most adults put together a patchwork of systems on an as-needed basis – figure out how to pay bills over here, try to save some money over there, sort out how to deal with debt, wonder what to do about the tax refund; wait, what to do about the need to pay off expensive debt and build an Emergency Fund? It’s complicated!
There is no ready guidance about how to connect all these parts of the system for the best possible results.
Spring cleaning for your financial system
This month, we’re going to change that.
We’re going to look at what goes into an effective personal finance system, starting with your motivation to dig into it, even if it’s about as interesting to you as a bag of concrete mix. (If you’re someone who nerds out over concrete, well – isn’t that interesting? I don’t get you.)
In order for you to change anything in your life, you need to want to change in the first place.
Here, then, are the top three reasons why you might want to tuck into your financial system and rethink some of the bits or do a full-on reorg.
#1 – Save time
Your time is the only resource in your possession, so to speak, that is non-renewable. Even if you work harder, faster, smarter, you will never have more time.
If you waste it one day, you can’t make it back the next day by being super productive.
You also have a finite supply to deal with. This isn’t a morbid thought; it’s a reminder that your time is infinitely more valuable than money. By tweaking (or overhauling) your financial system, you’ll buy back some precious time that you can use to move yourself closer to your most cherished goals.
#2 – Reduce stress
Paper clutter weights you down. If you want a clue as to how much of an impact it can have on you, read my series from last summer in which I ran a Who’s Got the Messiest Desk or Office contest, complete with prizes for the best transformation.
If you’re tempted to beat yourself up because you think you’re the only one dealing with a crazy stack of files, documents, envelopes, receipts or whatever else is clogging up your space, do read the post. I received heaps of emails and great photos from my readers. You are definitely not alone!
You know what else is stressful?
Not feeling like you’re in control.
Feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff you need to deal with and not knowing where to start to make sense of it all.
Or not knowing how to bring it all together – the need to pay off debt, create a plan, save more money, make more money, figure out investing, keep life rolling, ensure bills get paid on time. There are so many moving parts and it’s taking up an awful lot of brain space. More stress.
When you create a solid foundation that you can wrap your head around, it is immensely freeing.
What does a freed brain do?
It becomes more creative; comes up with strategies to get better results; figures out how to pay off debt more quickly; learns new skills to up your results.
#3 – Get better results
One of my Women’s Money Group members joined our group because she had tried everything: spreadsheets, apps, tools, hacks – you name it. She still didn’t feel she was making progress with her finances.
Then she learned the simple, value-based organizational system I teach. One year later, she’s knocked off a significant chunk of debt, built up enough savings to pay for a new computer and a trip, and her confidence is growing.
It’s all about the system.
Once you set up your finances in a way that serves you and your values, you get more joy from your money. And, you make better choices with your money because you’re on top of it.
More time to yourself, less stress, more progress. Who doesn’t want that!
I’m going to spill the beans on my system and show you all the details in the upcoming Women’s Money Group Workshop on June 30th. You can get more info here. Join us on the 30th to learn the system, free up your brain and your time, and speed up your results.
In my next post, I’ll pass along Five Sure-Fire Ways to Get Better Results with Your Money. (Hint: it has to do with your system.)
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. How do you handle receipts, bill payments, and tracking your money? Share your tips and strategies below.