It is not a secret. Organization is the cornerstone of any take-over-the-world-mission. And when it comes to taking care of your money matters like a grown and serious woman, this is especially true.
Choosing the tools that you will need to embark on this mission and emerge victorious, though, can sometimes get confusing and overwhelming given all of imported gadgets, sleek toys, and multi-fold temptations that lurk at your nearest Staples, Kinkos, or Office Max.
But don’t worry.
Here are the basic tools that you will need in your arsenal. These four tools will give you the structures and systems needed to (wo)manhandle your finances into submission without breaking your budget.
Monthly Calendar: (Digital and/or Paper)
Populating a monthly calendar helps you get a clear understanding of what your bills are, how many you have, and when they are due. This helps you pre-plan accordingly and avoid the surprise of late fees. In laying out all your financial commitments, you may see that they are either too spread out across the month or too clustered at one part of the month. Knowing this information empowers you to make better, more strategic plans around automated deductions and billing cycles. Use this information to speak with customer service departments with the companies with whom you do business in order to adjust the due dates of your monthly expenses.
Binder, Three-Hole Hole Puncher, and Labels:
Avoid misplacing your most important monthly paper statements by employing this one-stop organizing system. Instead of chucking your statements into a ” to-do later” pile once you look at them, ( some heavy duty hole- puncher can handle up to forty-sheetsat at time) immediatelyhole-punch them after viewing them and place them behind their appropriate dividers in your binder. This “oldie-but-goodie” approach promise to provide you with easy access to these documents.
Dry-Erase Board-Corkboard Combination:
Mount it above your desk. On the dry-erase side, create high-leverage views of your long-term financial goals and what you are doing monthly to either bulk up your savings or chip away at your debt. Use the dry-erase side to also display a “money affirmation of the month” that will keep you focused and inspired. Before you post the next month’s financial targets, take a picture of your whiteboard for future reference and/ or enter that data into an Excel file. Use the cork board side to keep the names, account numbers, and contact information of the companies, institutions, and experts with whom you do business. Your contact should might include the following: student loan lenders, rent/mortgage management companies, insurance providers, cell phone, cable companies, and your lawyers and accountant. ( These numbers should of course be in your phone was well. ( You should also log these into your phones)
It goes without saying that clutter kills productivity. But tell that to ” Life”.
“Life” happens, you may realize that within the span of two weeks, you can no longer see the bottom of your desk because it has been taken hostage by all of your papers. To safeguard against against this, schedule a day either weekly or bi-weekly to shred unneeded paperwork. This not only brings you a sense of orde and peace, but greatly reduces the chance of identity theft because you are taking the appropriate measures to dispose of materials that contain personal data with care and precision.
OPTIONAL: Favorite Lipstick and/or Lipgloss (Preferably Big and Bold): Controllling your finances is definitely women’s work. Popping a burst of your favorite power color to your lips strikes that balance between sassy and playful with the grown and serious, reviewing balance statements, calling customer service to dispute a charge, and goal-setting around your next money milestones.
Originally published in 2013. Updated on August 1st, 2014.
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