Read these 8 Finances Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Organize tips and hundreds of other topics.
Every home needs a designated place for incoming bills to be paid, bank statements, and debit card receipts. A simple small plastic bin (or like container) on the computer desk, in the home office or near the phone station is an ideal place to store all your bills. Additionally this bin is an ideal place to keep additional billing paying supplies such as small calculator, envelopes, stamps, address labels/ stamp and an ink pen; thereby keeping everything together when you are ready to work on the finances and pay bills.
Particularly if you have a small business or a home office, you'll want to be careful about keeping receipts for tax purposes. Once again, you'll find the value in keeping a handy In-box in a convenient place so that you can quickly take care of these receipts upon returning home.
If you're not already using them, consider ordering the checks that come with a duplicate carbon. This allows you to always have an extra copy of any checks that you write. The big bonus is that you don't need to enter the check info in your register while standing in line at stores or any other time you write a check in a hurry. Simply enter it from the carbon at your convenience.
Financial statements are usually sent on a monthly or quarterly basis. When these arrive, file them in a corresponding file folder. Once you receive the year end statement verify that that year end statement matches the information provided on the monthly and quarterly statements. If yes, you may consider tossing out the monthly and quarterly statements and keep only the year-end statements. However, if tossing them out is not advised by your accountant you may simply attach them to the year end statement so all your statements are maintained together and ready for tax time.
As a general rule of thumb, it's good to keep your tax returns for at least seven years. Try setting up seven files for storing your tax returns. Keep the most recent year in the front. Each year as you file the new returns, throw out the returns in the last (seventh) folder back in the drawer. Move this now empty folder to the front of the drawer and place in it the most recent tax return.
Debit cards are a great convenience. If you're not using one already, give it a try. You can save time by paying for gas in your auto at the pump, and by using it in automated self-serve check-out lines. The one down-side is you need to keep track of the receipts to keep your finances in order. Make sure you have a designated In-Box for financial papers that you can easily dump your debit slips into upon returning home.
If you have access to a computer, here's a great way to organize your savings bond information. Go to Savingsbond.gov, a website of the federal government. On this site you can download the Savings Bond Wizard, a spreadsheet to help you keep track of the values of your savings bonds. There's also the ability to download updates so that you can continue to have the most current redemption values available.
An address stamp can effectively be used in the home, as well as, office. They are available for purchase at many locations, such as an office supply store. You will find that the address stamp makes paying bills, addressing letters, and cards much easier. No more handwriting on envelopes, one press of the address stamp and the envelope is ready to go.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|