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Monday, January 2, 2012

Organized Resolutions: Your Finances and NeatDesk Giveaway

OK...are you ready to start the New Year off right? 


Have you started making your New Year's resolutions? Are you thinking that you need to get more organized? Of course! Why are you here? 






Today, we're going to talk about getting your finances organized. I went over this thoroughly last year...so I will recap that and then I want to tell you all about this FANTASTIC giveaway I have!

This is a great time to start getting things in shape. Have you ever kept an accurate list of what you are spending your money on? Maybe....maybe not! You need to find an organized way to keep your finances straight.







I don't have a fancy program.  In 2004, I made this up on my own in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program - to mimic a checkbook register.  So, I have kept to it and like it because it works for me.  You may not like it...it's just your own decision what you use.  To prove it, here is a glimpse of my spreadsheet from the last 8 years!




I use Excel often, so I am familiar enough with it that I know how to set up a checkbook register on Excel to help keep track of everything.  I also do almost ALL my banking online and rarely write checks anymore, too.  {Two other great sources for this is mint.com or pearbudget.com}. This is by far the easiest and most wonderful thing you can do, since your credit union or bank can electronically or manually send checks and you don't have to deal with stamps, etc.  You can even have it set up to pay at a certain date...so you don't forget about it or automatically pay a recurring payment!






I'm going to interject a moment of my own advice {since both my FIL and hubby work for credit unions} but I sincerely advise that you look into getting your checking/saving accounts at a credit union.  They are by far the best way to go.  They have better rates - and let's face it, they are NON-profit organizations looking to get you the best deals!  Here is an article if you don't believe me. Enough said!

Even Suze Orman knows it's best!


OK, with that said....I started with making a check register out of it like this on top:




Then, I just type in all the transactions as they go...and go online on a daily {or every other day} basis to see what has come and gone in our checking account. I also use this spreadsheet at the beginning of each year to then make up the next year's budget.  When doing this, I also set up about TEN savings accounts {the max allowed}, plus more in my own "business" checking account {which I use for my piano lessons and blogging business matters}.  I have each categorized like below {but I can change these, as needed}:




When my hubby or I get paid, I distribute according to what I've budgeted into each of these accounts.  Then, when I have to pay for something under the categories, I just transfer it over when I'm checking my balance.  I have figured out HOW MUCH to pull out each paycheck based on going through my check book "register" from the year before. Here is an example of food and utilities:



It's tedious, but at the beginning of the year, I take EVERY category I can think of {go down and look at EVERY place you purchase things from - mortgage, eating out, insurance, etc.}. 




Figure out how much even the little things are, any stores you shop at regularly, and divide that by the number of paychecks you/your spouse receives to figure out your budget.  Then, each pay period, take out THAT amount and put it in the savings account {similar to the old envelope method} - except that you will EARN interest.  Go HERE to get the entire post again with more detail!





Now...I'm going to offer you an opportunity to get even MORE organized with your finances. It's a product called NeatDesk and it will organize all your receipts, documents, business cards....and more! It's really an amazing machine that they are giving to one of YOU!



This made my receipt pile nightmare disappear! I love this scanner! It's unique in that it's a digital filing system. I'm totally a digital girl and love getting rid of as much paper clutter as possible. Receipts are those things we all have to keep and yet hate to hang on to them. 




This is the perfect solution for those of us who can't wait to get rid of those things, PLUS it has a computer program that puts them into "cabinets". I can separate my business expenses from my household/personal expenses. 

It can also help you keep track of how much your are actually spending. It's not huge, can fit on your desk or a shelf {there's a smaller version also, here}. It also puts all your business cards into a "contacts" folder...it does a bunch of NEAT stuff! Would you like to try to win one?  


The giveaway is now closed!

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