So, we’re almost at the end of January 2018 and if one of your resolutions was to get your finances in order I hope you’ve started working on it by now. If not, don’t fear – you still have time!
Some people simply can’t keep up with their finances because they aren’t as organized as others. That doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means you have to work harder to keep up with the finances in your household that some people would.
I used to be the worst at getting things organized in my home and I don’t mean just the finances! When I’m at my 8:00 – 5:00 job I am one of the most organized individuals you’ll come across. But get me to my house and holy smokes – hold on to your hats because it wasn’t pretty at all. But that has all changed!
I got divorced and had to learn pretty quickly how to keep up with what was going on in my financial life in my own house. I had to come up with a system that worked for me and the first thing was putting together a budget. UGH! We all hate those because we feel like we’re restricted to go by that budget – but in reality, your budget will change as your circumstances change.
I’ve put together a list of things that are important to keep up with when it comes to finances so you always know where you stand. Some of it might seem a little silly when you first read it, but trust me – it all matters.
Keep an inventory of what’s in your home – If there is a fire or burglary in your home, do you know everything that you have? The insurance company will only replace what you tell them is destroyed or missing – nothing more. Not only should you have a list of your possessions but you should know what you paid for each item.
After a robbery a while ago, my husband and I have started keeping photos of everything we have. Someone broke into my car – in our driveway – and stole all of our golf clubs with the bags and everything in them. We made a list for the insurance company and afterward we realized there was a lot of stuff in those bags that we couldn’t claim because it was too late.
We forgot about the towels attached to our bags, all of the balls, tees, divot fixers, drizzle sticks, umbrellas, etc. that was with our bags that we never even thought about claiming. So, we had to buy all of that stuff new and we didn’t have money coming in from insurance to claim that stuff because we overlooked it all.
Even if you are renting a house or an apartment you should have renters insurance. It only costs about $10 a month and if something happens, it will be worth every penny you pay.
Know how much money you make and spend for taxes or insurance – Face it, payroll is done by humans and human error can happen, even when it involves your paycheck. If there is an amount that you don’t recognize, question it. Did you get charged too much for insurance? If so, question it. Question anything that looks out of the ordinary because mistakes do happen and they can happen to you. I’ve had it happen to me before. My company switched vison plans and after looking at my check stub I realized I was paying for two vision insurance plans. Oops!
Know what you’re worth – It’s important to know what you are worth, particularly if you are going to buy a house or other large ticket item. You should know the value of your personal possessions, how much you have in your retirement accounts, what you have in savings and investments and how much your debt is each month. If you know then you won’t ever be surprised.
Write bills and due dates on your calendar each month – When you write down who you are paying, how much you’re paying them, and what day each bill is due then you most likely won’t miss paying it. You sure don’t want to pay late fees on any bill so getting it in the mail before the due date is the best thing you can do. Write it all down on your calendar so you can see it every day – bills should not have the motto of “out of sight, out of mind.”
If you use your phone to keep up with due dates, set them all in a reminder so an alarm will go off at least a week before the bills due date. Write the check and put it in the mail at least 3 days before it’s due. That way it will get there on time and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
I get my cable bill electronically each month, until one month I didn’t. For some reason it just stopped coming to my inbox. Well, I didn’t write it down or set a reminder for it so it didn’t get paid. Know what happened? They turned it off. I was in a panic when I got there to pay it and have it turned back on. Now I put it in my calendar and I know exactly when I have to go online to pay it.
Get involved with paying bills – Are you the person in your household that takes care of the home while your spouse takes care of finances. If so, put a stop to that right now. YOU need to know what’s going on with the finances. Where would you be if suddenly your spouse wasn’t there to take care of things?
What if, and I see it all the time, your spouse is hiding some debt from you? What if they have a credit card you know nothing about? Trust me, it can happen. Then if they are suddenly gone you are left to deal with all of that.
I had a friend whose husband racked up well over $12,000 in debt and had a huge gambling problem. She never even knew it until the divorce. He had the bill sent to his workplace rather than the house and the gambling problem, well, that’s part of what was racked up on the credit card. It can happen to you as easily as it did her.
It’s up to you to know what’s going on with the finances in your home. Don’t turn a blind eye and hope that someone else will take care of things. Sometimes they just don’t.
If you take responsibility for your finances you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and sleepless nights. So step up and learn everything you can to help keep your family financially secure.