Organised people have more money (and time for that matter)! Why? Because they don’t have to pay late fees, don’t lose uncashed cheques, don’t pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for off-site storage to store things they don’t need – the list goes on and on.
For many of us, times are tough, at least financially. Spending less is only one possibility to help you save money, but there are other things we can do to reach the same goal. One of them is being organised.
As a professional organiser, I frequently come across old cheques that can’t be banked anymore or payment reminders that have often incurred late fees. There are more substantial and often unnecessary expenses, too, such as paying an awful lot for off-site storage for things we don’t need. Or even people who pay for a bigger house to have enough space to keep all their stuff. Remember: everything needs space, and space doesn’t come free of charge!
Let’s start small and see what you can do to never pay your bills late again.
Deal with your financial affairs
Many people – including me – don’t like to deal with all the paperwork that comes with financial matters. However, it is worth the effort to have it under control at all times. You will feel so much better and might become more creative and resourceful, too.
Regaining control includes having
- a budget
- a system to track your expenses
- financial goals so you can plan accordingly
- a system to always pay your bills on time
This is how I have set up my personal bill-paying system that works a treat since many years:
- When an invoice arrives in the mail, I open it, throw the envelope in the recycling bin, and put the bill in an inbox in our kitchen. This box is emptied weekly, and all the actions that come with it are done weekly as well.
- From the inbox, bills go into a manila folder labelled ‘to pay’ on my desk.
- Every fortnight (a day after payday), I open this manila folder and pay the bills via online banking. It’s so easy to schedule payments nowadays, and I never miss a due date. I have mirrored my manila folders in my e-mail inbox and also check whether any bills are in this inbox.
- I enter the expenses into our tracking system which is a simple Excel spreadsheet.
- If I want or need to keep the bill, I note the date of payment on the top right corner of the invoice and file it straight away. I don’t print out electronic invoices but file them on my computer once they’re paid and then delete them from my inbox.
How to avoid high seasonal expenses
I’d also like to mention something we started a few years back. If you can, set up automatic payments for your utility bills. Especially gas (but also water and electricity) usage fluctuates a lot, at least here in Victoria with for seasons (yes, sometimes in one day!). However, with regular payments, you don’t have to worry about huge gas bills in winter because you will accumulate a credit during summer.
These are only a couple of possibilities to save money by being organised. Other tips include:
- meal planning
- having a home for everything so you don’t buy things you already own
- decluttering your space (because space costs money, remember?)
- avoiding off-site storage if possible
- re-thinking how many of one item you really need—are you sure you need 50 pairs of shoes?
Let me know what you plan to do with all the money you save by being organised!