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Organize Your Personal Finances In These 4 Easy Steps

Whether you consider yourself a financial expert or budgeting amateur

, it's important to have a solid system to help you organize your personal finances. Take a look at these great tips to organize your bills and personal finances.

1. Say farewell to paper.

That's right. We now live in the era of all things digital, which means it's a good idea to go paperless and start paying your bills online. It may seem like a bit of a challenge at first, but it makes managing your personal finances a lot easier to do down the line.

What does it mean to "go paperless," you might ask? When you decide to start paying your bills online instead of through the mail, you'll have to set up online accounts with each of your individual service providers' websites. Once you do, you will be given the option of going completely paper free, which means your service providers will stop sending you paper statements, bills and promotional offers that you're used to seeing in your mailbox. Instead, you'll be able to view all of this information online, and you can pay your bill directly from the site, instead of writing a check each month and going through the hassle of mailing it in. When it comes to your household and financial accounts, you'll never have to lick a stamp or seal an envelope again.

The two major reasons to pay your bills online and go paperless are:

1. You'll help protect the environment by reducing your use of paper.

2. You can reduce the clutter of paper in your house and help save your sanity.

Not only does getting rid of the stacks of paper they send each month going to relieve a lot of stress but it helps to save the environment as well.

2. Pick an organizational system that fits your needs.

When it comes to organizing your personal finances, one size does not fit all. Even though many believe that paying your bills online is the only way to go, that's only the first part of this four-step process. Once you have all your accounts set up online, you will have to find a way to consolidate them so they are in one place. Otherwise, you will have to go from site to site, and with that many usernames and passwords, you are bound to forget a few.

Fortunately there are a couple of ways to do this. First, you can purchase bill-organizing software, such as Moneydance and Family Finance Planner. These packages give you the ability to manage bills and organize your personal finances from one program. You'll be able to pay bills, see important documents pertaining to your account and to get alerts when due dates are close. Most of the financial software out there will also allow you to create a budget, and it will let you know if you start to exceed it, or if you can afford to spend a little more.

Although it may be a little more labor intensive, another way to handle it is to create a financial spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel to handle your finances. Create a spreadsheet that fits your needs by noting which bills need to be paid, how much they're for and what the due date is, then subtract your monthly bills from your income so you'll be able to see what your financial needs are month to month. Once the bill is paid, mark it paid in the spreadsheet so you'll have the peace of mind that it's been taken care of until next month.

3. Look ahead.

Planning for your financial future plays a big part in organizing your personal finances now. Unfortunately, life isn't predictable and putting together a financial plan for the future so you can handle anything that can happen which means it's important to set financial goals for your future.

Start by setting up an emergency savings account. This fund should hold about six to nine months worth of living expenses that you can use in case you get into a financial bind. This money should be used for emergencies only, hence the name "emergency savings account," such as paying for rent and utilities after losing your job.

Setting up a retirement savings account is another great way to plan for your future. Your employer may offer access to a 401(k) which is a good example of a retirement account. Every time you get a paycheck, you can contribute a portion of it to this fund. Oftentimes, the employer will either match the entire amount you contribute, or at least a percentage of it.

Retirement funds like these can give you the future you want, whether it's sailing a way to Bora-Bora or simply being able to do the basic things we enjoy like going to the movies and taking yearly vacations after you retire.

4. Don't stress.

While everyone experiences stress about money, there are only so many things you can do when it comes to taking care of everything. By taking advantage of these steps, creating a budget and using the financial bill organizer method that meets your needs, you'll be able to kick back and simply enjoy life

by: Steward Gearlds

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