Category Archive: Money Management

A Day Organizing Documents

2015 has been an incredibly busy year around the old NCN household.  Honestly, I’ve slacked off a bit with my bookkeeping and document organization – so I took a few hours today to clean things up and get things tidy.  I am now much better prepared for next year.

First, I sorted, organized, paid, and filed this year’s remaining bills.  I am finished with 2015 – and ready for 2016.

Second, I sorted and organized our tax documents for 2015.  Many more will arrive over the next month – so I wanted to be ready.  Receipts and other tax-related items are nice and neat, and we should be ready to file our taxes in February.

Third, I took an hour or so to organize other business-related documents.  My house serves as my main office – for both my regular job and my online ventures – so its important that things be neat and organized.

Fourth, I shredded non-essential documents – mostly old envelopes and unsolicited junk mail.  No matter how often I go through that kind of stuff – I always seem to end up with a stack of it, just sitting around.

Fifth, I sorted through our assortment of important documents – wills, birth certificates, insurance policies – just to make sure that they were all in good shape and accounted for.  I also updated a list of important contact information that I keep on hand, in case of emergencies.

I have stored away all of 2015 documents, purchased a new file-box for 2016 – and I’m ready for the new year.  It feels much better to be organized, ready to go.  Blessings.

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A Super Simple System To Organize Bills And Paperwork

I have been using this super simple system to organize bills and paperwork for years.  I like this system because it only takes me a few minutes to either file or find bills or paperwork.

I can file an entire month’s worth of bills and paperwork in less than five minutes.  Like I said, this system is super simple.

Some our bills arrive via email, but a number of them still arrive via regular mail.  Here’s how we manage our bills, paperwork, and receipts –

The Setup –

I use one letter tray and one expanding file box. That’s it.

I’ll create a label for each tab in the expanding file box, one tab for each month, January through December.

The System

When our mail arrives, I open each piece.  Bills to be paid are placed on the top shelf of the letter tray and paperwork to be filed is placed on the bottom shelf.

At the end of each week, I’ll pay the bills from the top shelf, using online bill pay or the occasional paper check.

I’ll then move those bills to the bottom shelf.

At the end of each month, I’ll take all of the bills and paperwork from the bottom shelf, and place them in the expanding file box, under that month’s tab.

I do not take the time to alphabetize or sort the bills.  All of the paperwork for January goes into the tab labeled January.  This takes seconds.

If I ever need to take a find a bill from January, I’ll simply open the expanding file box, find the January tab, remove the bills from January, and find what I need.  As long as I know the month associated with a particular bill, finding it takes just a few minutes.

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For tax-related receipts, I keep those paper-clipped together on the middle shelf of the letter tray.  At the end of each month, I place them in the expanding file folder, in one of the unused tabs at the back of the box.  This keeps tax-related receipts separate from day-to-day bills and paperwork.

Withe a 19-tab file box, there a extra tabs available for sorting and storing specific documents, bills, or other papers.  I usually reserve the back two tabs for paycheck stubs and information about our insurance policies.

The Storage

At the end of each year, I place the entire expanding file folder on the top shelf our our closet.  The entire system takes up less space than a large shoe box.  Each January, I purchase a new expanding file folder and start over.

This system works for me.  I should note, we have simplified our finances and automated much of our bill paying.  Rather than creating an elaborate filing system, I use this system to quickly file, find, and store our bills, receipts, and paperwork.  Extremely important documents (wills, cart titles, etc.) are kept in a fire-proof safe.

Please share your thoughts in the comments – and check out No Credit Needed via Facebook and Twitter.  Blessings.

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Getting Ready For A New Financial Year

I’ve taken the time today to do a little financial housekeeping, getting ready for a new financial year.

I reconciled the balances in our various checking and savings accounts.  All checks written have cleared and transactions have posted.  If you are a financial nerd like me, you know that’s awesome.

I then updated our inventory of financial accounts – taking the time to update account passwords and website information.  The inventory is designed for my wife, so that she would have a snapshot of our finances, should something happen to me.

After that, I took a peek at our retirement and college savings accounts.  I really need to do some more research before I touch our current investments, but I’m pretty happy with the progress we are making.

Our final mortgage payment for this year posted last week.  I made a note of just how much interest we paid last year.  We’ll receive a year-end statement in a few weeks, but I was curious.  I’ll stat working on our taxes in a few weeks and having this information on hand will be, well, handy.  I can’t wait until we have paid off our mortgage – in full!

Our insurance premiums are due twice a year.  Our next payment is due in June and I can now add that payment, divided by six, to our monthly budget.  I also did a quick review of our insurance coverage and I’m satisfied we are in good shape.

I have several apps on my phone that I use to manage our finances.  I took a few minutes and made sure that these apps were up-to-date and functioning properly.  I think I’ll write a post this week about the apps that help us save money!  Stay tuned.

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Finally, I reviewed our credit reports – checking for any errors.

It feels good to be organized.  With these simple tasks behind me, I think I’m ready for next year.

What about you?  Are you getting ready for a new financial year?  Leave a comment below and share.  Blessings.

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Take Back Control

Happy New Year!

Here’s how I rid myself of consumer debt – and took back control of my financial future.  (No gimmicks necessary…)

First, I sat down with my wife and had an honest conversation about our finances.  We talked about where we were, where we were headed, and where we wanted to be.  This conversation – and the many similar conversations that followed it – changed our lives.  I will ever be grateful for my awesome, amazing wife.

Second, I created a plan to get out of debt.  My plan was simple, easy-to-execute, and realistic.

Third, I found freedom through structure, by using a zero-based monthly budget.  Every dollar that enters our home is designated to either spending, giving, or saving.  The smartest decision I have ever made – even smarter than the decision to get out of debt – was the decision to live on a budget.  Without a budget, money finds a way of disappearing.

Fourth, I created a system for organizing my financial documents, bills, taxes, online accounts, etc.  The shear volume of information and paperwork associated with personal finance can become overwhelming.  For me, it is imperative that I keep things neat, organized, and (my favorite organizational word) de-cluttered.  Simplicity rocks!

Fifth, I accepted accountability.  For me (and this still feels very strange to think about, even after all these years) my accountability came from this blog.  Literally, I told (and still tell) my story – to the entire world.  (Okay, I will not exaggerate.  The site has yet to reach the entire world – but I still have hope!  Help me out!  Be sure to subscribe to No Credit Needed via free daily email or rss – and don’t forget to follow me – twitter.com/NCN.  Also, use the buttons below to share this article!)  It’s good to share your story (warts and all) with someone.  Trust me, you are not the only one going through what you are going through.

Sixth, I just kept (and keep) going.  It’s one thing to have a good plan, to put it into place, to get started, and to make some progress.  It’s another thing, entirely, to keep going, to keep moving forward, and to keep making progress.  The day after I paid off that final debt, I already knew that my journey – rather than ending – had really just begun.  Surround yourself with like-minded people, positive voices, and folks who will pull for you – but you will still have to be the one to impliment the plan.

No Credit Needed is an independently-operated, single-author, personal finance blog.  Rock on.

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