Whether you are planning to start shopping for a new home the one thing you really need to have is your finances in order, whether you’ll be relying on a mortgage or not. This is especially important if you are though, as sometimes even ‘little’ mistakes can derail your loan. You really don’t have to be a financial whiz – or hire one – to stay on top of your money though. Here are easy ways that you can start making use of today to help you do just that.
1. Automate as Much as Possible
One easy way to make sure that you have a great on-time bill pay record is to automate as many payments as you can. Most companies do offer that option these days, allowing you to link either your bank account or credit card so that payments can be automatically deducted on an agreed upon date. Do remember to keep track of what will be deducted when though, to avoid both late fees and potential black marks on your credit.
2. Formally Track Your Spending
Being aware of just where your money is going is a first important step to managing it as well as possible. Certainly, you probably already know how much your ‘big bills’ are costing you, but how about all of those little expenses that add up to more than you might imagine?
By keeping track of everything you spend – even those morning coffees and on the go lunches – you’ll get a far better idea of what your real financial situation is. You can chose to do so the old-fashioned way – with a notepad and Excel sheet perhaps – or opt for one of the many great smartphone apps out there that will help you record your expenses even when you are ‘on the go’.
3. Organize Your Online Accounts
We all have at least a few – and usually more than a few – online accounts that have our financial information stored in them, or charge a small monthly fee automatically for some service or another (like Spotify, Netflix,etc.)You should keep an eye on these as well. Use an app like LastPass to collect all of your online accounts – and logins and passwords – together so you can keep better track and also add an extra layer of security to your online financial life.
4. Maintain a Mail Station
Even though many financial transactions are online only these days, there are still plenty of things that come in the mail that you need to keep an eye on, such as insurance statements, stock statements etc and these can easily get lost among all the junk mail. To avoid this create a mail station in your kitchen or hallway, divided into sections like’ To Take Action”To File’and ‘Junk’.