You can save money when you digitally organize your finances.?
“When people have clutter in their lives, it leads to late payments and fees, and that can lead to credit problems,” Vera Gibbons tells me.
Gibbons is a fellow personal finance journalist based online at VeraGibbons.com. “Financial organization can reduce the clutter.”
If you are concerned about missing payments, it can help to get digitally organized. “People who haven't digitally organized their finances don't realize what tools are out there,” Gibbons says. “There are tools to help you budget, pay bills, and pay others. There's a lot of stuff that's free.”
She points out that a recent survey shows that most office workers spend 30 hours a week hunting for paper on a disorganized desk. If you don't organize your finances, that could be you at home.
Tools to Help You Organize Your Finances
I know that it can be a real help to use digital methods to organize your finances. I like using automatic payments, and I rarely print out bank statements anymore. I can quickly and easily reconcile them online without too much trouble at all.
While I don't use a budgeting tool, there are plenty of people I know that like to use budgeting tools in order to help them stay on top of their spending. These tools can be helpful when used properly. “Many people are fully aware of what's coming in,” Gibbons says. “The mystery is where it's going. You can use budget apps to see where your money went, and then see how you can spend less and save more.”
Other tools that Gibbons mentions include:
- Google Calendar: “For bill paying, Google Calendar is helpful,” Gibbons says. It helps consumers see when their bills are due. “Create a date and the calendar sends you a reminder,” she continues.
- Smart phone keychain apps: “You have all these membership programs and rewards cards on your keychain,” Gibbons says. “Do away with the clunkiness. You can use a smart phone app like KeyRing or CardStar to create scannable versions you can keep you your phone.”
- PopMoney: “This is a P2P payment service,” Gibbons explains. “You can send money to people you know quickly and easily. Pay the landlord, divvy up costs with your friends. All you need is an email address or a cell phone number.”
- CamCard: “If you go to a lot of business meetings and collect business cards, this ca be a great way to scan cards into your phone,” Gibbons says. “You can take notes on the cards. Perfect for someone who is always networking.”
There are plenty of other tools for digital organization, from wallet apps to your bank's own app.
How to Start to Organize Your Finances Digitally
Taking the steps to get your finances organized digitally can be a daunting task. That's why Gibbons recommends that you carefully consider your first steps. “Start slow,” she suggests. “Start baying bills online. Set it up with your financial institution.”
Then, once you see that you can use online bill pay with the help of Google Calendar and other alert systems to stay organized digitally, you can expand your efforts. “Start with the basics, stay organized, set up alerts,” Gibbons says. “Beyond that, you can start looking at your overall financial picture, and start adding other digital tools.”
“Once you have the system down, and you've gone digital, it's so much better.”