Starting 2012 on the right financial foot is a resolution many people share. We’re only a few weeks into the new year and you may already feel defeated, but it’s not too late to get organized, and turn 2012 into the year you become a money ninja.
One of my resolutions was to spend more time focusing on our budget, spending, and eliminating debt. So far we’ve doing great on this front including eating at home, paying bills early, and socking away extra funds into savings.
Of course I can always do more, so here are some more ways I’m getting my finances organized for 2012.
3 ways to get your finances organized:
Get your free credit report & free credit score
Start the new year right by checking your credit score for free. AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY place to go for free credit reports. Since you can get them from all three bureaus, choose one to start, and use the other two reports later in the year.
You can set alarms/calendar reminders to check your credit report two more times throughout to year.
To obtain a free credit score you can use CreditSesame.com to find out your score. They use Experian and you will need to provide identifying information, but it is a secure site. Your credit will not be dinged for checking your score. In order to keep the service free they do analyze your debt and offer solutions like lower interest credit cards or refinancing options.
Create a home for your finances
This year I created a binder that is my ‘brain’. It includes our schedules, important papers to have on hand like class lists, menus, and our budget for the year.
The idea behind my ‘brain’ is to make it easy for my to access all the info I need without having to use my actual brain to remember. (I swear each kid stole a bit of my memory when they were born.)
The sections are all separate so I can flip right to what I need.
- Calendar and event papers: Cozi is my preferred calendar method at the moment.
- Menu and grocery list: You can find those here.
- Debt repayment plan and net worth sheet: You can create your own, but I use simple excel spreadsheets that include sums.
- Yearly Budget: I use a Pages template for our yearly budget-you can find similar templates on Excel. I update this monthly since my income is variable.
- Monthly bill checklist: A printed list of our monthly bills and a few spots to write in notes. I find for me pen and paper are the best way to make sure everything is taken care of on time.
- Folder in the back: There is one for tax documents as well as one for papers I need like forms for early dismissal.
What ways are you getting organized with your finances in 2012? Any tips you can share?
Want more advice on organizing your budget for 2012? Stop by Adaptu for my latest post on re-evaluating your budget for 2012.