13 ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS TO ORGANIZE YOUR BILLS, BUDGETS & FINANCES
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With 63% of Americans currently living paycheck to paycheck, there is little doubt that financial management remains a challenge shared by most households. But while personal finances seem to be getting more complicated by the minute, technology is proving to be an essential helping hand to streamline debt repayment, budgeting, savings, and investing.
In this guide, you’ll find some of the tools available today that can make your financial life easier – and help you achieve your financial goals! Let’s dive right in.
Create a Budget (and Review It Monthly!)
One of the key tools you’ll need to keep your financial life organized is a monthly budget template. A standardized framework can help you subdivide your expenses into tailored categories and record your after-tax income with ease.
However, if you are finding it hard to maintain a record of your transactions, or you often forget to add expenses to your budget, you might try simpler options, such as the 50\30\20 rule. This budgeting method is highly customizable and won’t require you to remember every purchase or inflow!
Check Your Financial Statements and Address Cash Flow Issues Before They Turn Into Emergencies
Depending on the bank you use, your financial statements might be readily available online. Use this tool to track your cash flow, identify issues and discrepancies, and quickly apply online for personal loans before a shortfall turns into a financial emergency!
Keeping an eye on your statements can also help you unveil mistakes and suspicious transactions promptly, thus avoiding the costly consequences of fraud!
Choose a Budgeting App You Can Trust
Budgeting and personal finance apps represent essential tools to use to streamline your household’s financial life. But when selecting an app to use, make sure to compare features (i.e.: round-up features can help you bulk up your savings without having to improve your spending habits!), data safety standards, and pricing.
Keep Your Bills and Paper Statements in One Place
Although most business and utility companies will deliver bills online, you might still receive an occasional paper bill, credit card statement, or receipt. In any case, it is important to have a system in place to collect and organize your financial documents.
A great way to do so is to have both a physical file cabinet and a digital folder stored on a cloud system. This allows you to protect important documents from physical damage or cyberattacks and can give you immediate access to important files.
Set Up a Calendar and Reminders To Avoid Late Payments
From triggering hefty fees to staining your credit score, late payments can lead to a cascade of negative consequences. Fortunately, you can protect your finances by setting up a payment calendar and reminders. If your budget allows it, you might even consider paying your bills as soon as they come through!
Another great option is to enroll in auto-pay programs. Once you have opted in, lending institutions can automatically withdraw the amount due from your account, thus saving you from having to set multiple reminders. In return, you might obtain a 0.25% discount on your interest rates!
Use a Credit Score Tracking App
Your FICO score impacts all aspects of your financial and non-financial life. A good or excellent score can give you access to convenient loans, advantageous mortgage products, and better utility and insurance deals. On the other hand, a poor credit history will cause lenders to doubt your creditworthiness.
But despite the critical role credit scores play in everyone’s financial life, estimations show that 40% of Americans don’t know how their credit score is determined. To gain better control over your finances, make sure to learn the elements that will impact your FICO score and use a credit score tracking app to keep an eye on how your score fluctuates over time.
Take Advantage of Expense-Splitting Tools
Every family or household has a different budgeting strategy – and rightfully so! However, if you often find yourself sharing expenses with your partner, family members, or friends, you should consider taking advantage of cos-splitting tools. These apps can help you keep your expenses under control and make sure that purchases are split evenly.
Choose an Investment Platform Wisely
Investing is an important element of personal finance, especially if you are looking to safeguard your savings from inflation and take advantage of capital gains. And, thanks to today’s investment platforms, it has never been easier for retail investors to get started.
However, before committing your investment capital to a certain platform, be sure to evaluate the automatic investment features it provides, as well as its data security standards and investment options.
Use a Debt Management App To Streamline Your Repayments
As you build a family and purchase your first home, your debt landscape might become overwhelming. Student debt, personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages can add up and make it all the more difficult for you to regain financial stability.
Luckily, with the right debt management app, you can obtain a clear overview of your financial situation, plan repayments, set up repayments, and calculate your repayment rates.
Use an App To Organize Your Receipts and Optimize Your Deductions
Struggling to keep your receipts organized? Consider ditching envelopes, paper clips, and online folders and adopting an all-in-one receipt organizer app. These solutions allow you to store and manage photos of your receipts, which can make it easier to claim deductions during tax season and avoid leaving money on the table!
Use a Shared System To Get Your Family Involved
Although you might feel like you have sole responsibility for your family’s finances, you are not alone in this! Instead, consider teaching your kids about money and using a shared system to record expenses and income. This can help you get everyone involved and ensure that your whole family is committed to achieving the same long-term goals.
Set Up a Savings Account and Start Planning For Retirement
It is never too early to start building an emergency or retirement fund! While this isn’t a project that can be completed overnight, having separate savings or retirement accounts can help you safeguard your financial stability during rainy days and maintain a high quality of life after retirement.
Set Clear Financial Goals
One of the most powerful tools you have to keep your personal finances in check is your own commitment to achieving your financial goals. Without specific, measurable, and realistic objectives, you’ll find it harder to be disciplined in your spending habits and you’ll be more prone to pitfalls.
If you are unsure about the best goals to set or how to achieve them, working in partnership with a personal financial advisor can help you find the guidance and assistance you need!