I recently spoke with Rebecca Eve Selkowe, owner of Financial Fitness with Rebecca Eve in NYC, which helps people take control of their money and create budgets that actually work for them. I realized how the behaviors that trip people up on organizational dilemmas are exactly the same as those that lead to financial struggle. Change can begin to occur when we begin to be aware of those behaviors that trip us up, so, we thought we’d share some organization tips to manage your finances so you can get unstuck, get organized and stay on budget.
1. Get organized. Keeping all your bills in one place will help you stay on top of what you owe and how much money you have. In fact, because you’re reading this on Manilla.com, we suggest you sign up immediately, and start saving yourself a ton of time and money. While you may not like what you see, facing it is the first step toward eliminating it. The same is true with any kind of clutter — the first step is always determining what you have and where you want to keep it. Keeping similar things together will help you remember where you keep everything, and when it comes time to pay a bill, you’ll know where to find it, and how much you owe.
2. Be consistent. By getting and staying organized, whether with your bills or anything else you bring into your home, you’ll find you have more time to spend on activities you enjoy. When you know where everything is, you spend less time searching for things. When you know you already own it, you don’t purchase the same item more than once. In other words, the more you stay organized, the more time you have to devote to things that matter and the freer you’ll feel on the inside because your stuff and your finances aren’t weighing you down both physically and mentally.
3. Be aware. When you know what you have, you can then determine what else you need. While automating your bills is a smart idea, keeping on top of how much you’ve spent and how much you still have will enable you to budget yourself wisely and plan for the future. The same is true with knowing how old perishable items are in your home, or how many bottles of shampoo you still have before you go out to buy another. By taking stock on a weekly basis where finances are concerned, and a monthly basis for all other items you bring into your home, you’ll make smarter decisions and rarely find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of being caught unaware.
4. Be kind. So many of us destroy any possibility of creating positive change because we immediately go into shame and judgment. Shame and judgment paralyze you and does no one any good. While looking at a stack of bills or a pile of clutter it may appear to us that our situation is bleak, we have the power to choose to remain positive and take small but focused steps toward changing our situation. Give yourself a break, applaud yourself for wanting to create change and then take it one day at a time.
5. Be realistic. Let’s remember that it doesn’t take one night for everything to fall apart, so we can’t expect that in one night our financial or clutter issues will magically go away. Focus on taking it one day at a time and forgive yourself if you have to take a few steps backward. Falling backward is part of the journey and it’s OK. A slip-up doesn’t mean failure — not trying in the first place is the only failure. Continue to make small improvements, and you’ll see how much positive change can happen in no time at all.