3 Ways to Regulate Your Finances

Managing your finances is a tough task by nature, even downright overwhelming. Here are a few timeless tips you can use to better manage your money.

Managing your finances is a tough task by nature, but during a time of such uncertainty and economic instability, it can feel downright overwhelming. But whether or not the world is in a period of crisis, there are a few timeless tips you can use to better manage your money.

In this post, we’ll be sharing three ways you can regulate your finances—from tweaking your budget to looking for growth opportunities, we’re here to help make this daunting task a little more doable. 

1. Tailor your budget

One of the biggest personal finance myths is that your budget is a set-it and forget-it tool. The reality is your life is in a constant state of change. From increases in income to job loss and modified expenses, there are so many factors that change how much money you have in the bank. That’s why it’s so important to tweak and tailor your budget regularly. But how often do you need to take inventory, and what should you look at?

A good rule of thumb is to look at your budget if your income or expenses have significantly changed. If you got a promotion, received a pay cut, or moved to a pricier rental, it is time to take a look at your finances. But even if your finances haven’t changed much, you should still do a check-in every few months or so.

So, what should you look for when updating your budget? You can start by making a list of all your income and expenses. Do your best to estimate the variable ones that change month after month. Then, factor in any savings or investments, such as a 401(k) fund that you contribute to. Once you finish, you should have a good idea of what’s left in your budget. You might also know how much you’ll need to cut back to make ends meet or move the needle on your goals.

2. Shop around for the best of the best

Another way you can optimize your finances is by constantly looking out for the best deal. Whether you’re shopping for groceries or a home loan, it’s important to keep your financial interests at the forefront of your mind. Scoping the best deal on the shelves is relatively simple. just look for sale prices and coupons that can increase your savings! Financing, on the other hand, requires a bit more finesse. 

Here are a few key takeaways to help you out: 

  • Work on your credit score: A good credit score will work in your favor when negotiating loan terms. Lenders will be much more apt to give a low-interest rate to someone with a reliable financial history than someone on the opposite spectrum.
  • Compare loan types: Every lender and loan type has its unique requirements, benefits, and drawbacks, so it’s worth looking at all angles so that you can find the best solution for your needs. Reverse mortgage interest rates may be more or less affordable than a home equity loan depending on your situation, so homeowners should take the time to weigh the pros and cons of their options before moving forward.
  • Keep your payment history positive: There are many reasons why it’s important to maintain a good payment history. In essence, it’s tied to your credit. Late payments can incur late fees, and it will almost certainly affect your eligibility for lines of credit later on.  

3. Review extra expenses

There are several “big steps” you can take to get a better grip on your money management. There are also plenty of easy things you can do to cut back on costs that have a substantial impact on your finances. Since we’ve become so reliant on technology, many of our bills are processed automatically. Automatic billing is undeniably convenient, but it also creates a mental disconnect between ourselves and our bank accounts. You could be charged for subscriptions you no longer use or need anymore. By using a subscription cancellation tool, you can optimize your spending and make more room in your budget with minimal effort.

Regulating your finances can feel like a big to-do, but with these three tips, it’s much more manageable! 

Meet the Author

Holly is a Los Angeles-based health and wellness writer who helps readers make positive changes both physically and mentally. Her insightful content about healthy living, delicious recipes, and mental acuity is for every type of reader. Years of experience as a wellness guru and numerous dietitian courses have given Holly valuable insights and strategies that she can use to help boost the accuracy and relevance of your health-related blog.

3 Money-Saving Tips for College Students

Lots of college students have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some money-saving tips for students in this tough situation.

The coronavirus outbreak has completely turned college students’ lives upside down. Universities have shut their doors and classes are now being held online. Sadly, graduation ceremonies are also being canceled. Since everything is so uncertain right now, college students must save as much cash as they can. These three money-saving tips for college students will help them during these tricky times.

Become a Car Expert

People spend so much money on maintaining their vehicles every year. Use your time in quarantine as an opportunity to tackle these automotive projects yourself. Pop open the hood of your ride and become a pseudo-mechanic. Everyone has nothing but time on their hands right now, so try to learn more about fixing automobiles. If you know how to do mechanical repairs, you’ll save yourself so much dough in the long. You should wash your car yourself, too. Not only will you save yourself some cash, but you can wash your ride however you see fit. The more you know about maintaining your car and fixing repairs, the more money you’ll save.

Eat What You Have

College students are notorious for eating out. It’s so fun to try out new restaurants and share a meal with your friends. Yet, one money-saving tip for college students is to eat what you have in the house. Fight the urge to order food every single day. You won’t believe how much extra cash you’ll have in your pockets at the end of the month. Be creative in the kitchen as well. If you’re social distancing with your parents, use this as a chance to bond. Cook a meal together as a family. Hopefully, you’ll make something delicious—plus, you’ll make memories that’ll last you a lifetime.

Don’t Buy University Apparel

People who are in college love to represent their universities. College students have a blast in their school’s bookstores, both online and in-person, searching for cute t-shirts and stylish hats. Please, save yourself some serious dough and fight the urge to buy university apparel during this time. Your closet is likely full of your school’s clothing anyway. Wear what you have around the house and purchase more when schools reopen. When things return to normal, you’ll be glad you refrained from online shopping.

The world is a very scary place right now, but remember that we’ll get through this stronger than ever. If your college graduation has been canceled, hold onto the great memories you’ve made throughout the past four years. Cherishing those memories will help you get through this until things return to normal.

Meet the Author

Kayla is a writer, artist, and designer from the Chicagoland area. She incorporates her creativity to produce work that is informative and thought-provoking.

6 Ways to Pay Off Your College Debt

Students loan is one of the major financial shackles that young Americans bear. Here are 6 ways you can use to pay off your college debt.

Students loan is one of the major financial shackles that young Americans need to bear for decades and a crisis that has crossed the $1 billion mark long ago. However, it doesn’t need to be a crisis and can be managed with smart decisions. Here are 6 ways you can use to pay off your college debt

1. The Debt Avalanche Method

Depending on your student loans, you may be paying low interest on your undergraduate loans while a higher interest for others. With the Debt Avalanche method, you pay the minimum for all your loans while spending extra saved amount on the highest interest loans. This pattern keeps repeating itself till you pay off each highest interest loan and you move to the next loan in the interest hierarchy. This method helps you pay less interest in the long run.

2. Increase the Frequency of Payment

One of the scariest things about student loans is that it accrues daily. So, the first step would be to calculate the interest that gets accrued every day. You’re one of the fortunate ones if the amount is in single digits. To combat the daily growing interest, you can make payments every one or two weeks instead of once every month.

3. Set-Up Auto-Pay

Every day there are plenty of things that might distract you or grab your attention. Bills, relationships, holidays, FOMO( Fear Of Missing Out) and a thousand things to make you anxious. While you are getting through the chaos of life every day, missing out on payments is a common issue. Setting up autopay would prevent you from paying extra money for missing out on payment dates.

4. Put More Energy and Effort to Bring in More Cash

With saturated markets and a tough economic situation, desirable jobs are scarce. You may not land your dream job right after your Master’s. However, your college debt isn’t going away. So, take every opportunity to earn money. Do as many side gigs as you can apart from your regular day job. Holidays are especially lucrative with plenty of gigs available on Fiverr, Craigslist and TaskRabbit. Don’t forget Amazon mTurk either.

5. Student Loan Forgiveness

There are different ways to have your student loans forgiven. Careers like teaching, medicine (doctors and nurses) or if you work in the public sector and some other scenarios. However, they all require some specific criteria that need to be fulfilled.

6. Adjust Your Tax Withholding and Refund

A lump sum of money each year in the form of a tax refund leaves everyone excited. But with debt, it’s no good and can deteriorate spending habits at the beginning of each year. Instead, you can adjust your tax withholding and get a bit heftier paycheck every month. This gives you more freedom with your cash every month so that you can put it into your student loans.

Being debt-free brings a different kind of joy. It requires discipline and foresight but as soon as you become free of your debt, you feel more happy and relaxed. So, cut down on your expenses and use the above-mentioned methods to pay your college debt faster and smarter.

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Why You Should Use the Bullet Journal to Track Finances

There are many things you can do to manage your finances better. Here are some ways a bullet journal can be useful when it comes to your finances.

Many would agree that the hardest part of transitioning into adulthood is managing your own finances. This is especially true for anyone who has been used to the guidance and support of their parents when it comes to money matters.

When people start making and spending their own money, it’s easy for things to get overwhelming and get out of hand. They start signing up for subscriptions, paying bills, taking out and paying loans – the ins and outs, and the flow of money becomes unbearable, and then soon they’re playing catch-up.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to manage your finances better, and having a bullet journal is one of them. The Balance notes that bullet journaling is effective in helping you become organized and productive. Aside from allowing you to express your creativity, it can also be easily made to fit your organizational style. Bullet journals help in making you more productive by allowing you to keep track of your goals, as well as inspired and reminded of your passion and dreams. Here are some ways in which bullet journaling can be useful for you when it comes to your finances:

Keeping Track Of Expenses

When you don’t keep tabs on where your money goes, it usually feels like money magically evaporates into thin air. However, when you do, you get an idea of where every single penny goes and are warier the next time you are spending. Through this practice, you can gain insights about where most of your money goes and decide whether that’s really where you want your hard-earned money to be spent. Forbes states that by keeping track of your expenses, you will be able to balance what you want and need right now and what you want and need in the future. You can also save yourself from the shock at the end of the month when your bank statement comes in because you are able to keep track of things in real-time.

Managing Work and Clients

If you are a freelancer or in a job that involves managing clients, bullet journaling can help. A bullet journal can help you keep track of every new and existing client and the work you have to do for them. Your bullet journal can serve as a personal record of your client’s every want and need. Then you can use the record to better your work and keep them satisfied. It can also help you stay on top of things by providing you with to-do lists and trackers for your weekly or monthly work goals. Through this, you’ll be able to anticipate how much your income for the month will be and adjust your budget accordingly. Your bullet journal can also help you stay on top of client payment schedules.

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Paying Off Your Loans

When you take on a loan, no matter the size, the most important things you need to remember are your payment schedule and to make monthly payments on time. It’s easy to follow this religiously in the beginning, but it’s even easier to fall behind. After a while, you may even feel like your loan repayments are never going to end. Bullet journaling can help you keep track of how many payments you’ve made, and the payments you have left. This is especially useful, as LoanMart Ohio explains that some lenders reduce payment and interest rates automatically each month if you never miss a payment.

Planning Purchases and Finances

Having a bullet journal with functional finance spreads will enable you to see how much money comes in and how much you spend each month. You can track your finances whether it is on rent, groceries, utilities, debt payments, or other monetary obligations. With this, you’ll be able to plan future purchases such as gifts, replacement appliances, and the like. You can plan these purchases without needing to get a loan, sacrificing rent, or taking some money out of your savings. Bullet journaling can be a useful tool when saving up. It is useful because it can help you determine how much money to take out of your income every month. Additionally, it can help you determine how long you should do it to be able to have enough money for a single purchase and especially big ones.

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Staying On Top of Bills

While traditional bullet journals are minimalist, you can release your creative juices. Additionally, you can dedicate a page or two to make a bills-tracking spread. This way, you can easily track whether or not you have paid each bill for each month, effectively keeping you from incurring late fees that could burden your income. If you refer to our post on the ‘22 Financial Tracking Layouts for your Bullet Journal’ you can find many layouts to inspire your own financial tracking spread. You can choose from having a unified monthly tracker that allows you to collate your bills or one that separates utilities, rent, and subscriptions.

Meet The Author

Annie Wu began bullet journaling in college to keep track of all her deadlines. She found that it was just too valuable a habit to kick. Since then, she’s used bullet journaling to keep up with work deadlines, bills, and important events. She works in a humdrum office job in the day and does some freelance writing on the side. She hopes to someday be able to leave her day job and instead write full-time.

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Things You Need To Budget For At University

When you go to university, you will have a lot of things that you need to pay for. If you are not careful when you budget, then you may find that your finances get out of control. You may begin to struggle to afford everything. If you want to get some support with that, then you can find some useful tips right here.

Common Course Costs

Sure, your tuition fees will cover some of the costs that come with your course. However, there is a high chance that this won’t include everything. There are ways for you to save money here, and one of the main ways that you can cut back is by buying your books online. You can even buy them from a charity shop or second-hand store. If your course is very dependent on research, then this can cost you a small fortune. You would be surprised at how much of a difference it can make to your budget.

Transport

You always need to try and take into account any travel costs that you may experience when at university. This could include taking the bus to a class or even catching the train home to visit family. You also need to try and look into any alternative methods of transportation that could save you some money. For example, it may be cheaper for you to get the train when traveling to university because you can qualify for a student railcard. To take advantage of any additional savings, try and look into booking your tickets way in advance. If possible, you can also try and stay on campus as well. If you want some cheap accommodation, then look at the University of Southern California.

Top Things You Need to Remember to Budget for at University

Food

Students don’t always live off baked beans. It is more than possible for you to eat regularly and healthily even when you are on a budget. If you want to do this, then you need to avoid impulse buys whenever you are at the supermarket. Additionally, you need to make a shopping list whenever you go out as well. It is also a good idea for you to freeze meals in advance, or even cook bulk meals. When you do this, you never have to worry about heating a meal up, and you can also have cheaper meals when you are on the go.

Entertainment

It doesn’t matter if you are going to student nights, a fancy dress outing or even a quick coffee because it is always a good idea for you to try and cut down the cost of socializing. Give yourself a specific budget every single week to go out with. That way you won’t be inclined to go over, and you can also avoid any impulse sessions as well. If you want to socialize, but you don’t want to spend the money, then you have nothing to worry about. You can easily have a few drinks at your dorm or you can even go to the cinema. A lot of venues will offer you a discount if you are a student, which is fantastic if you want to cut down on cost.

Utilities

If you are in a residential hall then gas, electricity, and water will usually be included as part of your rent. This may not be the case if you are going into private housing. Of course, along with your rent, you also need to put some money aside every single month to cover your utility bills. Setting up regular payments on a direct debit is a fantastic way for you to see what is coming in and what is going out of your account.

Top Things You Need to Remember to Budget for at University

Clothing

It’s tempting to go straight to the shop when you get your loan so you can buy yourself a whole new wardrobe. This is great, but it is possible for you to save some money by checking out deals on websites. You might also be able to get a student discount too. The more you can do your research, the more your money will stretch, and this is always a good thing when you are going to university.

If you want to save money on washing your clothes, then try and do everyone’s load at the same time. This way you can all chip in for the washing powder, and you can even take it in turns too. You’d be surprised at how little changes like this can help you to cut down on your bills, and it can also help you to free up more time in the week.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I may receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here.


Effective Strategies For Saving Money On Payroll Processing

There are more than enough ways of reducing the spending on payroll processes. Some are effective in one category of business and some are effective on others. When it comes to payroll it is one of the biggest expenses of the company, as it should be. Employees are the lifeline of a company and so does the amount of work they do for the company.

Even the simplest employee payroll services contain the following aspects:

  • Regular Wages
  • Overtime
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Benefit Days
  • Severance
  • Health Benefits
  • Fringe Benefits

And this does not even include the mandatory liabilities like the Medicare taxes and other aspects like social security, federal and state unemployment insurance, local and government taxes and so on.

If we carefully take a look at small businesses, wages make up for 60 to 80 percent of the company spending. No matter what size company you own it is necessary to take control of the expenses the right way and the smart way.

Now, let’s look at some of the major strategies for reducing costs on the payroll.

Outsource Payroll Handling

If you do not currently have a specialized department which has the job of taking care of payroll, then you need to outsource the work.

Any payroll services company with a good reputation will be able to reduce your cost dramatically. The most important reason that payroll service companies reduce the payroll cost is by saving your resources. They perform the whole process in the fraction of time and with their experienced accountant they avoid nearly all common and uncommon mistakes.

When you hire a professional to help in your payroll management you also get the freedom to relax while they do all the hard work for you. The service providers will mitigate all the risks involved in payroll processing. They will eliminate the chances of penalties and they will complete the payroll in a more cost-effective manner.

Payroll Frequency

When it comes to payroll frequency there are enough ways to go around. Depending on the nature of the business the payroll cycle can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly and anywhere in between.

The most important thing when it comes to payroll frequency is to align it with the recurring bills. When you have to take out money from the business treasury it must be recorded. Editing records at uneven intervals can quickly result in a catastrophe.

By aligning you payment cycles with your payroll you can effectively manage your account and take care of the payroll processing more efficiently.

Direct Deposit

The benefit of a direct deposit is as simple as this, for a check it will cost the company on an average $2 but for a direct deposit, it will be 35 cents.

By eliminating checks from the payroll procession and introducing direct deposits you can save thousands of dollars from the cost.

The benefits of direct deposits precede the simple monthly pay cycle. For those “Employee of the month” bonuses or for successful completion of an insanely difficult task the amount might be given at a random time. By going with direct deposit any of these irregularly occurring amounts can be paid in a jiffy.

Time Keeping

Using those Ye older methods of timekeeping will cost you dearly. If you trust your employees then don’t use a timekeeping system at all, we don’t mind. If you need to keep track of your employees, we suggest you use a timekeeping system.  

There is a vast variety of timekeeping system available in the market choose the one that best fits your needs.

By going with old methods like a punch card or manual entry, when it comes the time to calculate the pay it takes up a lot of time. If there is an electronic system implemented then it only takes a simple click to get the report ion any and all employees’ attendance.

Employee Retention

Employee retention is something that every company struggles with. It is difficult to find people who align with your missions and values and are ready to stick with the company rules and regulations. Nonetheless, employee retention is a must if you want to reduce the cost of payroll.

The loss of finance happens when an employee quits. As soon as an employee quits you start losing time and money which ultimately gets added to the total cost of payroll. Going with a payroll service provider can help you tackle this problem.

When it comes the time to hire a new employee the time taken to set up baking and checking account of the new employee also take up valuable time thus using company resources. These resources hit the amount spend on payroll processing.

The only way to get rid of this problem completely is to increase employee retention rate. Depending on the values and nature of the business this can be done in a number of ways.

Running a content writing business, you can allow writers some leisure as long as they finish their assigned task. For software houses, allowing employees flexible working hours as long they make it to the daily SCRUM meetings on time.

Each business requires its own set of rules and regulation to increase retention it is important to apply the appropriate to avoid unnecessary expenses.

About the Author

Emily David happens to be a talented and experienced digital marketing professional who specializes in finance as well and pursues it as a passion. Being a prolific blogger, she shares her immense knowledge about both these fields through a number of blogs in various topics. Also, she has been associated with Biznavca for the past couple of years; and providing tips and advice to people looking to Payroll services company, Tax adviser, Tax Planning, Chartered accountants.

How to Manage Your Money More Responsibly

Responsible money management is something that we allunderstand in theory but struggle to adopt in practice. The temptation ofluxury purchases and the stress of structuring personal finances in awell-calculated budget are just two reasons as to why financial stability ishard for many of us to maintain. Still, the advice in this post could makethings a little easier for you. Let’s talk about managing your money more responsibly.

Clean Up Your Monthly Bills

The first step to managing your money more responsibly is to clean up your monthly bills. Set yourself the 30-day rule with luxury purchases. If you still want the item then buy. If you don’t then you’ll have more money in your account at the end of the month. Still, luxury expenditures might not account for many of your monthly expenses. In fact, you might be quite frugal in that regard but still, have very little interms of disposable income. Maybe you should be looking at your necessary monthly bills instead. We’re talking about rent, food, gas, utilities, and other basic costs.

Before you start making compromises, however, simply think of cheap ways to get the same necessities. You could use coupons and vouchers to get the same weekly shop as usual for less money. You just need to do your research. You could also start growing your own fruit and veg, so those items don’t need to be bought from the grocery store. You might also want to look into Boost Mobile plans if your current phone provider is charging a lot. Prepaid phone plans can be cheaper and just as effective. If you want to clean up your monthly bills, then you just need to think of more cost-effective ways of getting the thingsyou need.

Start Thinking Of The Future

If you want to have a stronger financial situation, then you also need to think beyond your current costs. It’s important to cover your monthly bills, as discussed in the previous point, but you also need to think about future expenses. That’s why it’s wise to save up some money at home for unexpected events. Of course, an emergency fund is only the tip of the iceberg. You need a proper savings account that you regularly expand. Some future events are a little more certain.

For example, you’re probably going to retire one day, and your kids might want to go to college (or make a down payment on a car, ahouse, and so on). The point is that you should start thinking of savings for the things you can predict aboutthe future. An emergency fund is a safety net, but your savings account is your future bank account and investment pot. Start putting a fixed percentage ofyour monthly income into your savings account. With every passing year, you’ll have accumulated substantial savings for the future. Make sure you look into pension plans for your retirement to ensure that you’re getting as much money as possible for the future.

Thispost was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I may receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

Maintaining Positive Finances for a Positive Outlook on Life

When we talk about our finances and how it affects our lives, we tend to think about the lifestyle that having money can afford us. We think of how cash can affect the house that we live in, the car that we drive, the places that we entertain ourselves, and whether we are able to head away on holiday once a year or not. However, it’s extremely important that we also consider the ways that our finances can affect less material and more significant parts of our lives.

Believe it or not, finances and mental health, happiness, and wellbeing are all closely linked. There are, of course, ways that your mental health and emotional wellbeing can affect your finances directly. You may find that you lose your job or find difficulty in being hired because you have experiences with mental health problems. This can plunge you into financial turmoil. Your relationship may strain and break under a lack of emotional wellbeing, and you find that you suddenly have to pay a lot more to live, as you are no longer splitting rent and bills with another person.

However, have you ever considered that things can also work the other way around? That a negative financial standing or debt can actually take the wheel and have a profoundly negative impact on your life and cause you to experience upset, pessimism, or even depression? Studies have found that experiencing debt can result in mood swings, anxiety, consistent low moods, and a range of other negative symptoms in individuals. So, if your main goal in life is to be happy, it’s extremely important that you maintain a positive financial standing in life. Here are a few different ways that you can take control of your finances and start improving your overall quality of life!

Maintaining Positive Finances for a Positive Outlook on Life

Clearing Existing Debt

If all of this sounds familiar, and you already have existing debt that is making your life a misery, you need to focus the majority of your energy and effort into clearing this sum of money. The best and most positive way to do this is to come up with a financial plan. Note down all of the money that you owe. Then work out the amount of disposable income that you have on a monthly basis after paying rent, bills, and other essentials from your pay packet. Chances are that this disposable income is usually spent on entertainment or other luxuries. Instead, dedicate it wholly to making extra payments off your credit cards or finance agreements.

Sure, you may have some dull months during this process, but you will clear your debts a lot faster and will be liberated once they’re paid off. Writing all of this down in a personal financial plan will also give you an exact date that your debts will be cleared in the future, giving you something to aim for, focus on, and look forward to. Remember that not spending money doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a social life during this period. If you hide away in the house doing absolutely nothing, you can start to feel down, even if you are positively impacting your financial life. Just do free things instead. Invite friends around to watch a film, go for a walk in your local park, or head to free events or attractions in your area, such as museums.

Maintaining Positive Finances for a Positive Outlook on Life

Knowing How to Use Credit Cards Effectively

If you find that you need to take out some form of credit agreement (whether that’s to cover unexpected costs or to boost your credit rating), don’t worry. Engaging with lending doesn’t necessarily have to mean sinking into irrecoverable debt. You just need to know how to borrow money sensibly and effectively. Let’s start with credit cards, as these are one of the most commonly used financial tools when it comes to accessing emergency cash or building your credit score. When you take out a credit card, you will gain access to open-ended cash within a set credit limit. You can use this cash, pay it back, then use it again and continue this cycle for as long as you please.

But not all credit cards are equal. Each card will come with an interest rate attached, meaning that it costs more to use cards with a high-interest rate than it would to use a card with a lower interest rate in exactly the same way. You can click here in order to find out which credit cards on the market may offer you the best interest rates. Once you have found the best credit cards for your needs, it is absolutely imperative that you do not exceed your agreed credit limit, as this will see you rack up big fees and fines. It is also important that you don’t take cash out from your credit card account (this also incurs large fees), and that you pay back your minimum payment figure every month.

Avoiding Borrowing from Friends and Family

You may have noticed that the term “interest rate” has been thrown about quite a lot above. This is because every professional lender will charge you an interest rate for using their services. This is how they make money! So, it’s not all too surprising that many people think that they would be better off borrowing money from friends and family who will not charge them interest rates. But this should be avoided at all costs. It’s bad enough that money can interfere with your personal wellbeing, but you shouldn’t allow it to interfere with your personal relationships too. Borrowing from friends and family can result in tensions, arguments, and disagreements that would otherwise be avoided. Only ever borrow money from professional lenders. The interest rate is more than worth maintaining your positive relationships with the people you love.

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While it is a shame that money holds the potential to have such detrimental effects on your overall happiness and wellbeing, there are ways to reduce its impact – and that’s by maintaining a positive financial stance in life. Hopefully, the above information will help you to achieve this!

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

3 Financial Hurdles Everyone Needs to Know

If you want to remain financially organized, then you ought to be aware of major financial hurdles in life. I’m sure there are many things you’re not aware of, which means they come as a surprise when you have to deal with them. So, I’ve created a list full of concepts and terms that everyone needs to understand in more detail

Retirement & Pensions

Everyone needs to keep their retirement in the back of their mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your twenties or fifties; think about your retirement. Mainly, you need to concern yourself with raising a retirement fund. This helps you save money for those years where you no longer work full-time and need to remain financial safe and secure. As it shows on https://www.usa.gov/, retirement plans are often offered by your employer. Not only that, but you can create a private pension fund too. Pensions are basically funds that you contribute to every month, and your contribution is aided by either your employer or the private pension company. The earlier you start contributing to a pension, the more beneficial it will be when you retire.

How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial

Mortgage Loans

If you don’t know what a mortgage is, then you need to do some research real quick. It’s something most people come across, and as it states on http://mortgageloans.co/, it’s basically a big loan to help you buy a house. There are different types of a mortgage loan, but they all have the same premise attached to them; you borrow money and use it to buy a house. To get this loan, you need to apply for it through a lender. Then, if approved, you normally need to put a deposit down to secure the loan. After this, you’ll have to pay it back over the course of a few years; simple, right!?

Retirement presents the problem of a reduced income along with the problem of potentially increased financial obligations, such as medical procedure payments. A standard mortgage will not help you solve those problems because you will be adding a regular mortgage payment to your financial obligations. However, as a retiree, you have the right to apply for a reverse mortgage, instead. The available home equity you can borrow will be determined using a special home equity formula. Then your lender will dole that amount out to you according to the loan terms. This might include a lump sum, line of credit, or monthly allotment, in most cases mortgage lenders allow you to decide which structure you prefer. You can then spend the received money for any necessary or preferred purposes. You can do this without repayment obligations as long as you stay in the home.

Money

Credit Cards

Last but not least, we have credit cards. Most people have heard of these, but are you all aware of what they are and what they do? A credit card is basically a card loaded with money that you can spend. Everyone’s card will have a specific amount on it that they can spend every month – and this is determined by a credit check, and how much your bank believes you can be trusted with.

At the end of every month, you have to pay your credit card bill. This is all the money you spent on this card for the last thirty days. Pay off your balance in full, and you incur no extra charges. But, if you take the minimum payment, then the rest of your bill is added to next months – with interest. This is how a lot of people end up in credit card debt, as they keep making minimum payments and racking up more and more money to pay. Generally speaking, they’re great financial tools, but only when you use them properly and responsibly!

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These three financial hurdles will definitely cross your path at some point in life. Hopefully, by now being aware of them, you can go away and do some extra research to ensure you’re all clued up and ready when your paths cross.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

Budgeting Tools for Those Who Are Scared of Budgeting

No matter what stage of life you’re in, budgeting is something that is essential but sometimes daunting. If you ask me, I put off my budgeting for far too long. However, now that I budget regularly it has been such a positive addition to my life and has reduced my stress immensely. It is extremely helpful to have tools that you can utilize to help you track your finances and spending, especially if you are saving for something in particular or trying to pay off debt.

Different tools will work for different people, and it is important to find one that is easy to use which you know will last over time and not just for a season. Once budgeting becomes a regular part of your life, you’ll never look back! Here we will compile some of the best budgeting tools that can be utilized by anyone, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are when it comes to budgeting.

Tool One: Budgeting Applications

Most of us spend a lot of time on our phone anyway, so why not download an app that can help us budget and keep our finances straight. There are many different budget apps on the market; it is just a matter of which is best for you. My personal favorite app for budgeting is HomeBudget. However Mint and Clarity are also top favorites in the app store. I’ll explain a little bit about each and why they might work for you!



HomeBudget

HomeBudget works for my husband and I as we link our bank accounts to the app as well as to both of our accounts. We are able to create a shared budget and then simply add in each expense into categories we’ve already created such as “gas” or “groceries.” There is a free version of this app, but we pay for the upgraded one to get all of the features. My personal favorite aspect is that you can roll over budget money to the following month, which helps me aspire to save for big purchases. It’s fun to watch your money grow as you start to spend on things you budget for rather than just impulse buys.

Simple Ways to Organize your Life to Make More Money

Mint.com

Mint refers to itself as the “free money manager and financial tracker app”. The makers behind TurboTax are responsible for this app, so you know that it will be effective and user-friendly. Mint allows you to track your bills. They also allow you to add in where you spent money and how much you are able to save. Mint is also linked to your bank accounts and allows you to keep track of their balances. Lastly, it allows you to see your net worth. This is a unique feature to help you see where you are with your finances.

Clarity Money

Clarity follows a similar model to many budget apps. They do this in the sense that it allows you to track and manage your expenses and begin to save. The app also has a very useful feature. This feature allows you to see your monthly subscriptions you may have forgotten about (hello, Netflix!) and cancel them if you realize you are not using them. There may be some subscriptions you’ve forgotten about, and Clarity helps you see this. You can also view your credit score on the app and find credit card offers that are based on your spending habits tracked in the app.

Tool Two: Excel Spreadsheets

For those that are computer savvy, this is a free way to track your finances and budget from your computer. There are many templates available online to download and modify (I personally looked at Pinterest and found tons for FREE!). Depending on where you are in life, your budget will be different from year to year. Excel will allow you to change these sections and dollar amounts as well as create charts to track your spending habits over time.

Budgeting Tools for Those Who Are Scared of Budgeting

Tool Three: Paper Budget Planners

Some people prefer to keep their budget planning “old-school” with the old pen and paper method. There are so many printable templates to print out and keep on the fridge, in your planner, or in a binder. This method will help you keep all your bills compiled in one tidy place. Paper budget planners can also be used if you have kids that have an allowance. The binder can help you teach them to budget in an easy and effective way.

Tool Four: Bullet Journaling

If you are a regular reader of Jihi Elephant, you know that bullet journaling is the organization method of choice! Check out the free resources in the Resource Library. In the library, you can get some ideas on how to incorporate finances and budgeting into your bullet journal. A “bills” page will allow you to keep track of bills you need to pay, and you can easily check them off as it is completed. Talk about easy – this method allows you to have your budgeting all in one place with your to-do lists, goals, and everything else!

Remember, it’s never too late to start where you are. Happy budgeting!

More on Budgeting

What Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type Means for Your Wallet

Whether you believe in personality typing or not, tests and types are used quite frequently to build teams at work, hire the perfect candidate, or even determine romantic connections on a first date! Myers-Briggs personality types are widely popular and assign types such as “ENFP” or “ISTJ” to generalize how a person like to interact with others and how they perceive the world around them. If you don’t know your MBTI, or Myers-Briggs Personality Type, you can take quick a version of the test here.

So how does personality have anything to do with how you manage money? Well, since our personality determines how we take in information, analyze risks, and make decisions, it has a lot to do with our relationship with our money! Knowing your money tendencies can help you make better financial decisions when it comes to spending, saving, and investing.

Whether you’re an impulse spender or a frugal saver, there are always ways to improve your money moves. Mint created this infographic to highlight each Myers-Briggs personality type and ways they can reach success both personally and financially.

This post was written in collaboration with Caroline Pitarque Johnson of Line Writing Co. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here



How to Make More Money and Organize Your Life

You’ve probably read the title of this post and thought, ‘but making money is anything but simple.’ This is the mindset that a lot of people tend to have, and it is the very reason those people don’t make more money. If you’re looking to increase your bank balance and have a little more money to spend on yourself, check out these simple ways to organize your life to make more money.

Change Your Mindset

The first and most important thing, which so many people fail at when it comes to making more money, is changing their mindset. They think it’s the least important because you’re not actively doing work to make more money. However, the reason we are not making the money we want to make is that we are letting our limiting beliefs around money run the show. It is your responsibility to change this mindset. Start working on them now, as they can take a while to change. Affirm the things you want to believe regularly, and do your best to stop negative thought patterns in their tracks. Watch all your ‘I am’ statements. If you constantly say, ‘I am broke’ you’re reinforcing that belief.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Invest A Small Amount of Money Each Month

If you want to become wealthy, then you need to invest a small amount of money each month. Figuring out where to do that can be the hardest part, but some apps and advisors can help you if you just want to get started. You don’t even need a lot of money to begin! You’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency. Nobody expected it to blow up the way it has over the last few years! There are different platforms you can explore and learn more. Have a look at Coinbase vs. Kraken to see if investing in cryptocurrency is right for you. Another way to invest is through banks and investment firms. I use Aspiration for my investing. Aspiration have various investment accounts to choose from and the best part is that you can set it to automatically invest for you! I invest $10 a month and have already seen gains!

Utilize Passive Income

In an ideal world, we would not have to put in hours and hours of work make a lot of money. People are already doing this with passive income. You can make money passively in numerous ways, these ways could include:

  • Becoming an affiliate
  • Writing an eBook
  • Making YouTube videos
  • Drop shipping

These techniques may take a little work upfront, but soon enough, you won’t have to do much at all to make money.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Rent Out Your Home

If you’re going away for a while, you could use a site like Airbnb to advertise your home and make some cash. Alternatively, you could consider renting a spare room, or even just your driveway space. Keep your mind open to all the ways you can utilize things you already have to make some extra cash!

Start A Side Hustle That You Enjoy

If you enjoy doing something, such as voice over work, tutoring, knitting blankets or creating websites, you could start a side hustle. This could be a great way to top up your income while enjoying yourself. I started my blog because of a love for writing, bullet journaling, and organization. With my blog following, I have been fortunate enough to open an Etsy shop where I sell products that I create which interest my readers. Check out my stationery and planners over at the Jihi Elephant shop!

hand painted, hand drawn, stationery

Sell Your Old Stuff

Now is the time of year everyone is cleaning out their closet and homes, getting some spring cleaning in. Go from room to room and try to sell all of the things you never use or the clothes that you never wear. Advertise your stuff on eBay, VarageSale, Vinted, or another selling platform. Facebook can even be used as a selling site these days! Do some research and see if your area has a Facebook page dedicated to selling stuff! If all else fails, try a garage or yard sale out!

Have more great ways to make money on the side? Let me know in the comments below and your ideas might be featured!

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here  

22 Financial Tracking Layouts for your Bullet Journal

Keeping track of your bills, payments, and money can be so incredibly difficult, particularly if you have more than one account. Thanks to my bullet journal I have been able to keep up with my bills, payments, subscriptions, loans, and more! Scroll down to find over 20 bullet journal layouts to help you with your finances! This post may contain affiliate links

Bills & Subscription Tracking

Bills and subscription tracking layouts are essential for me to track my payments. I can keep track of when they are due, how much I paid, when I paid, if it is autopay, etc. If you don’t use these layouts already, I highly recommend bill or subscription tracking layouts!

Expenses

I love this incredibly minimal expense or bill tracking layout. I created this one for a client, but I almost wish I used it!

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Bill Tracking & Subscriptions

This is my current bills tracking layout keeping bills on one side for 12 months and subscriptions on the other, again for 12 months. This layout uses Tombow Dual Brush pens.

debt, finances, bullet journal, bills, tracking, loan payments

Bill Tracking & Loan Payments

This one includes bills, subscriptions, and loans. The bills and subscriptions are separated by color and utilize Tombow Dual Brush pens. This tracker lasts 5 months.

Blue Bill Tracking

This layout tracks 12 months and utilizes a light watercolor blue. I’ve also added cute little corgis and kept it to bills only.

Bright Blue Bill Tracking

Similar to the previous layout, this one uses Tombow Dual Brush pens instead of watercolor and takes up more space on the page.

Pastel Bills & Subscriptions

This one includes over 12 months of payments, uses many pastel watercolors, and combines bills and subscriptions

Subscriptions

This layout is for subscriptions only, lasting 12 months and utilizes Tombow Dual Brush pens.

Bill Tracking & Subscriptions

These two are very similar in that they both track bills and subscriptions on two pages for 12 months. They both also utilize Arteza watercolor brush pen coloring.

Bills & Subscriptions

This financial tracking layout is a minimal layout with a simple title, a quote, and 6 columns.

2018 Bills

This layout was created by @CraftyEnginerd and features monthly bills, Bi-monthly bills, quarterly and semi-annual bills. This is a beautiful black and white layout with several visual tracking aspects.

Utility Bills Tracking

I love this bullet journal bill tracking layout found on Pinterest. I am unable to find it’s creator to give them credit, but I love the imagery and visual tracking aspects of it!

Bills & Textbooks

This final bill tracking layout was the very first one I used. I would use it monthly to track my bill payments, and when necessary, my textbook purchases.

Financial Savings Bullet Journal Layouts

Saving is a great financial habit to build! If you don’t already track your savings, I recommend one of these bullet journal layouts to help you out!

Financial Goals

This first layout created by @honeyrozes uses bars to track saving and other financial goals. I love the simple and clean look of this layout.

Money Saving Plan

How cute is this layout by Life’s Carousel? I love the piggy bank an the way she fills in the bank with different shades of green!

Savings Monthly Tracking

Check out this “savings jar” bullet journal tracker I created for a client? I love that it tracks your saving over time and allows you to set a monthly goal! Even better, this is an A6 layout!

Home Fund

This home fund by Life’s Carousel is also a fantastic savings tracker! I love that it has mini goals which look like bricks, so as you reach your goal, it appears as if you are building a wall!

Loan and Credit Pay-Off Layouts

These layouts help you to pay off your loans and credit cards!

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Loan Payments

I already briefly mentioned this layout, but it helps me to track how much of each of my loans I have already paid off!

Credit Card Tracking

I love this layout created by the Petite Planner because of the graph! I am a huge fan of graphs because they really give you a visual of your spending and saving!

Bullet Journal Spending Logs & Catch-All Layouts

Spending Log & Budgeting

I created this layout for a client, and I love the minimalistic design! This layout tracks spending and other regular spending categories that might now qualify as bills. Additionally, it provides a place to track your saving!

Blog Finances

This layout is one of my first financial tracking layouts. I never kept up with this one, but a simple spending log is always a simple option.

December Spending

Love this spending love by Chasing a Better Life that incorporates spending, bills, income, and debt payoff!

January Budget

This layout is an elegant and compact catch-all finances layout! It tracks income, spending, saving, and debts!

If you love these layouts and want more bullet journaling ideas check out my own plan-with-me posts and my Instagram where I post all my layouts!

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What is the Minimalist 50:20:30 Budget System (and how to use it)

The 50:20:30 Budget is gaining popularity, particularly among minimalist populations. This budget helps you break down your goal spending into 3 categories making it easier to keep to your budget than a budget which is broken down into 5 or more groups. Keep reading to learn more about the 50:20:30 budget and how to use it!

This post may contain affiliate links

What is the 50:20:30 Budget?

The 50:20:30 budget is a simplified budget utilizing 3 categories: essentials, savings, and personal. I have been using this strategy on and off since I graduated high school and it has been the most effective budget strategy I have used yet! It is not only easy to use and simple but encompasses all possible spending without much categorical overlap to worry about. There are no excuses.

50 | Essential Spending

The first rule or spending category is essential spending. This category refers to your bills and any other expenditures that cannot be avoided and occurs regularly. This might include topics such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, insurance, electricity, internet, phone bill, etc. These bills do not include pleasure subscriptions, or anything extravagant and unnecessary. Remember that your essential spending is half of your income, so spend it wisely!

20 | Savings

The second budget rule is that 20% of your income is to be saved. This might include a savings account, emergency fund, retirement fund, or it might go toward paying off debt. Building up a savings is incredibly essential in case of emergencies, debt issues, retirement, etc. I can personally attest that my savings have saved me, financially, on several occasions! If you aren’t currently saving money regularly, open a savings account and get started today!

30 | Personal Spending

The final rule of 50:20:30 budgeting is that you get to spend 30% on anything else. This includes all recreational or entertainment purchases. This money can be set aside to go on vacation; it can also include clothing, hobbies, home decorating, gym membership, recreational, and entertainment expenditures. Here is where you can go crazy (so long as you remain within your budget) because this category is all you. Whatever your heart desires, this is the part of your budget you utilize to get it. Be responsible, but so long as you remain within 30%, you’re golden!

piggy bank

How do I use the 50:20:30 Budget?

What makes the 50:20:30 budget so successful is the fact that it is minimal and simple. It’s easy to remember the rules, and it’s easier to keep track of, regardless of how you track your spending. My favorite way to track my spending is through Mint. Mint connects to all of my accounts, allows me to set my budget, savings goals, and even pay my bills. I highly recommend checking out Mint, its free!

Another great way to use this budget is to keep an excel spreadsheet of your spending or keep a written record in your planner or journal. Just knowing what the budget is, is not enough, you must now track your spending and be sure to adhere to the budgeting rules.

Get started on your budget, I’d love to hear how well it works for you!

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5 Ways to Ensure a Harmonious Home

We each have a unique idea of what our perfect home environment looks like and the aesthetics get a lot of attention – but what about how home feels from an emotional perspective?  Our home affects our mental and physical health a lot more than we realize; it’s an imperative aspect of our lives and a large component of the first base of Maslow’s triangle regarding human need psychology.

The saying “tidy house tidy mind” describes this well, but the concept shouldn’t be limited to cleanliness or home organization.  Like the engine room of a ship, some things need to be taken care of to ensure a consistent feeling of harmony within your home – as niggling concerns which are left unattended can quickly snowball.

This article looks at how to ensure a consistent feeling of “home” by taking care of some of the less glamorous ‘behind the scenes’ tasks that are necessary to create a harmonious home environment that allows you to nurture your mental, physical and emotional health.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

1. Budgeting & Bills

Keeping up with household bills can be stressful if money is tight, but you want your home to feel like your castle – a sanctuary from financial stress – not a situation where each time you go past the mailbox you dread receiving another bill.  The best advice is to set up an affordable payment plan with each of your creditors to lessen the financial stress or even better, look into no interest credit cards that you can transfer existing debt onto and pay off each month within the interest-free period.

2. Gardening

If you come home each day to an overgrown garden, paint peeling off the fences, and rubble in the yard – it can create a feeling of chaos.  Though you don’t need a white picket fence with begonias growing in the garden, however, a garden that feels “well kept” will help you feel calm; like your life is in order.

Self-Love Ideas

3. Organization

Do you ever find yourself searching for car keys or having to empty out your closet to find the outfit you’re looking for?  If you live in physical clutter and chaos, it affects your mental state and creates an inner sense of clutter and chaos too.  Keep things organized within your home so that you can feel more at peace and calm within yourself.

4. Clean & Tidy

Keeping your home clean and tidy sounds simple enough, but often, this can snowball out of control when left for a few days, becoming such a chaotic mess, that you don’t know where to begin.  The trick here is to either employ a cleaner that undertakes a moderately deep clean, each week, or for you to do it yourself, little and often.

5. Neighbors

No matter how hard you try, not everyone is getting to get on with you, and some people are just plain difficult.  However, if you can get on with your neighbors you can build a sense of warmth and community between you. This warmth will pay dividends on facilitating the feeling of “home” you crave.

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In summary, your home is there to provide you with a place of harmony that supports you throughout the storms of your life, yet it’s important to maintain your home to receive the harmony you deserve from your home.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

5 Ways to Ensure a Harmonious Home

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

There are a lot of things in life that can cause you stress. Everything from work to family to trying to keep up some semblance of a social life. However, there’s no doubt that one thing causes more stress for the vast majority of people than just about anything else. That thing is, of course, money. Now, whether we like it or not, most of our lives are ruled by money, but if you’re struggling in any way when it comes to your finances, that can start to have a seriously negative impact on your life. It can impact your general well-being, your relationships, even your health! To prevent that from happening, here are a few ways to stop your finances from ruining your life and get organized.

Deal with Your Debts

Few things create a bigger knot in the pit of many people’s stomachs than the word debt. It’s one of those things that can make it feel as though you’ve failed as a person. However, it’s important to remember that debt is just a part of modern life that everyone must learn to manage. Of course, if your debts start to pile up then that can be pretty scary. Luckily, there are ways to deal with it. Consolidating your debts with a single loan can be incredibly useful. Check out this debt consolidation loan calculator to figure out how much you could save on a month-by-month basis. Solving debt with more debt might seem backward, but it helps only to have one payment that you need to make each month.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Curb Your Spending

Here’s the harsh truth that a lot of people want to ignore: most of us spend too much money. We end up spending far more than we can actually afford because we don’t keep track of what we’re spending it on. You might think that you’re frugal with your money since you don’t make any huge purchases but the truth is it’s the little things that empty your bank account. A coffee here, a little souvenir there, and soon those little purchases have added up so quickly that your account is empty. Make sure that you keep track of all your spending so that you don’t end up wasting all your money.

Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

Set Up a Budget for Healthy Finances

Do you know what your monthly income and outgoings are? Well, if you don’t then it’s no surprise that you’re worrying about money. By setting up a clear budget, you can keep track of all your spending as well as figure out where you can cut back and save money on a regular basis. One really easy way to track your money and create a budget is through the use of mint.com. Mint gathers your financial information from your bank accounts, billing accounts, loan accounts and more to help you create a doable and accurate budget as well as savings goals. Mint even offers a more centralized way to pay your bills.

One of the most important things to remember is that money often only has as much power as you give it. Sure, there are plenty of things in life that you cannot do without money, but if you spend all your time thinking about it, then you’re never going to be able to see the value in anything else. Try to adjust the way you think about money and put less of your energy into obsessing over it.

Gained control over your finances by creating an accurate, do-able budget through Mint.com!

Dealing With Financial Stress

Do you ever find yourself checking your bank account and immediately feeling tense or stressed? That’s because money is a huge source of anxiety in our lives. So if you’re anxiously awaiting your next paycheck, don’t worry—you’re part of the 72% of Americans who feel stressed about money.

Stress and anxiety can manifest itself in our bodies in many different ways. Muscle tension, poor digestion, and high blood pressure are just a few. People with high debt are also more likely to struggle with mental health issues like depression.
Thankfully, there are some self-care actions we can take daily to help alleviate money-related anxiety. From an Epsom-salt bath to meditation sessions and a tall glass of kombucha, this infographic provides self-care inspiration and money mantras for a peaceful and prosperous life.

how-to-combat-money-stress

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation. Want to write a post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here


Are Your Finances Ruining Your Life?

4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life

When it comes to your financial life,  you need to get organized. If you lose this organization, you could find you are getting yourself into a difficult situation without even knowing it. So, in this post, we are going to be looking at four steps that you can take to have a more organized financial life.

#1 | Draw Up or Revise Your Budget

First of all, you should make a detailed budget of all your incoming and outgoing money, as thoroughly as you can. Note that your budget is a flexible thing, and once you make it, it is not set in stone. After all, there are all kinds of circumstances that could befall you. So, you need to be ready for all the financial events that could happen at any point during your day to day life. A good budget is one that can be adapted whenever you need to.

Be sure you have a budget all figured out before you move on. Try using Mint.com to organize your finances and track your money automatically and securely.

4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life

#2 | Keep Bills in One Place

Even though most bills are now handled electronically, you need to make sure that they are all being sent to the same place, and that you keep them together. This way, you can stop things from getting confused and chaotic. You should also highly consider paying your bills as soon as you receive them. The last thing that you need in your financial life is to pay unnecessary late fees and fines because you forgot about it.

#3 | Sort Out Your Tax Situation

If you only work for a single employer, your taxes are usually relatively straightforward. But if you run your own business, work as a freelancer, or you receive any other forms of income, you need to be much more organized. You may need a 1099 form 2016 on which to declare everything. You need to be thorough with taxes, so you don’t pay any additional fines. Many people find it useful to employ a professional accountant or financial advisor. This way, they can ensure that your financial files are comprehensive and accurate.     

4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life
Image credit: Ivory Mix

#4 | Check Your Bank Account Regularly

If you have a detailed budget, you shouldn’t find yourself with any unexpected spending surprises. Regardless, everyone should get into the habit of checking financial accounts on a regular basis. Doing this will ensure that you are not the victim of any fraudulent activity.

When you are looking at your financial life, being organized is one of the most effective things that you can do. This way, you know exactly where every penny of your money is going. Many people tend to bury their heads in the sand if they encounter any problems. But you need to be proactive and tackling them head-on!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation.



4 Steps to A More Organized Financial Life

How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial

Millennials live in a time full of financial challenges; there’s no denying that. Whether we are just not trusted, or if it’s because the cost of living is always on the rise. Regardless, it’s a challenge. But, there are ways to become a financially strong millennial. For any millennial out there, wondering how to take hold of your finances, this post is for you!

Organize and Economize

If you find yourself struggling with your finances, then the first tip we have for you is to begin organizing and economizing. Organizing is as precise as it sounds, take to recording absolutely everything that takes place regarding your expenditures or outgoing money and incoming money, all of it. This is for several reasons. The first reason is that it helps to keep a tighter hold on your finances and ultimately stop your spending from spiraling out of control. And second, financial records provide evidence if you find yourself in trouble. My favorite way to organize my finances is  Mint. Mint gathers information from all your financial assets, helps you create a budget, and work toward saving goals while providing you with useful spending and income trend information. I have been using it for over seven years, and I don’t know what I would do without it.

One way of organizing your financial information is generating payroll check stubs on a site such as PaystubCreator.net and then keeping them in an organized fashion. You could also be keeping all the invoices you receive, both in the world of bill paying and in the world of income, so that you can always prove you have both paid debt that you owe and have been paid.

Economizing refers to eliminating unnecessary spending and utilizing a budget. Before making a purchase, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, ‘do I really need this?’ and if you do need it, ask yourself ‘is there a cheaper alternative that will work just fine?’ Another way to economize your finances and eliminate splurges is to go shopping with a list, never deviating from this list no matter the deal or discount. It’s hard, don’t get me wrong, I struggle all the time! But it is doable!

How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial

 

Get Ready for Retirement

Even if your planned age of retirement is well over four decades away, it’s still important to start planning and saving for it now. This is because believe it or not, as millennials, we are in an ideal position to do so (at least compared to past young generations). Starting your retirement fund now is important because your money will grow and accrue interest and the longer it is growing, the more money you will have when you go to retire.

Specifically, what you should be doing is beginning to contribute to a Roth retirement fund option. This is a fund that both you and your employers will contribute to, meaning money will be growing within it whilst you work. A good piece of advice is to match whatever your employer contributes. If your employers do not contribute then it is up to you to save, add it to your new budget!

Now that you have a better idea of how to begin your journey toward financial strength, get going! Start organizing your financial life with the use of budgeting, shopping lists, filing systems, or whatever else works for you!

This post was written in collaboration. This means that while I have added to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I receive financial compensation.



How to Become a Financially Strong Millennial

Six Steps to an Organized Filing System

Keeping your documents organized and easy to find is super important! I mean, some of these are legal documents. That’s not something you want to lose or misplace! If you don’t have a filing system, let’s get you one! Keep reading for the perfect filing system! This article includes affiliate links.

Step One | Find A Filing Container That Works for You

Do you have a lot of filing or just a few papers? Does your filing need to follow you around? Do you want to customize your cabinet? These are some of the questions that you need to be asking when you’re picking a filing system. Here are some of the most common filing system containers, their pros and cons, and some examples as inspiration.

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Filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets are the bulkiest option; however, they hold the most. If you have a lot of documents, then you probably need a filing cabinet. You can find standard-sized cabinets with three or four drawers at any office supply store. Similarly, you can find smaller one and two drawer cabinets. Size and appearance are up to you.

The good thing about Filing Cabinets (next to them being larger in size) is customizability! You can buy these in various colors and styles or you can paint them, and add detailing! Check out these 15 Fabulous Filing Cabinet Makeovers compiled by The Melrose Family!

Filing Box

The next option is the filing box. The filing box is nice because it is more mobile. I feel like I am moving at least once a year, so I have gone for the filing box. I have one that keeps my documents, and a second that stores my spare office supplies.

The filing box option is a little less customizable than the filing cabinet. To make up for customizability, the box comes in a dozen different styles and sizes. Check out some of the adorable and practical options I have found below! I prefer the lidded option, but a desktop option is great if you do not have a lot of filing.

Expanding Filing

The expanding filing sounds kind of silly but is practical for small amounts of paperwork. This option isn’t as sturdy as the other options. But it is perfect for easy-to-grab, often-used documents.

The expanding file can be both mobile and fixed since there are a variety of styles. Some have handles and others snap shut for mobility. Still, others are meant to sit on a desk or shelf. Check out some of the accordion filing systems I have found.

Desk Drawer Filing

This option only works for someone with a desk drawer that would fit some hanging files. The desk drawer is also not mobile and the size depends on your desk. Here are some desks that have filing drawers.

You can also make desks using filing cabinets. Check out this tutorial done by HomeTalk.

Step Two | Organize Your Documents

Organizing your files is the most important part of this whole process and it is the backbone of your entire system. But don’t let that scare you, organizing your files can be made simple with my FREE File Planning Workbook.

The first step here is to make a list of your main categories. These are broader categories that may or may not have subcategories (we’ll get to subcategories in a minute). Once you have made this list, keep a few notes that describe what exactly goes in this main category.

For example, in my main category, Finances, I keep anything related to my money, banking, and loans. Basically, if it involves my money, it’s in Finances.

Once you have your main categories designated then it’s time to figure out your sub-categories. Sub-categories are more specific categories that fall under your main categories. Sometimes you are able to figure out your subcategories by your description (like my Finances example). That isn’t always the case though.

Sometimes it is easiest to figure out your subcategories by looking at all the documents that you plan to put in your main categories. If you see a trend, then it is probably subcategory worthy!

There are cases where a subcategory isn’t necessary. For example, my Taxes file doesn’t need any subcategories because it is already so specific and archive-ready (archiving is Step Four, stay tuned!). Not having subcategories is perfectly okay!

Now that we have all our categories sorted we need to file it! That leads us to step three

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Step Three | Decide How You’d Like to Keep Your Files Organized

You may be thinking, what do you mean decide how to keep my files organized, we already decided our categories didn’t we? Deciding how to keep them organized is another layer and there are a few ways to do this. The first way is to use different colors.

Color Organization

When you use different colors for each main category, it is much easier to navigate your filing at a glance. At-a-glance navigation is so much quicker than staring at your files trying to find something.

Color Coordinated Labels

One way to organize by color is to label your categories in certain colors. This is nice if you already have colored pens or markers to use. If you don’t happen to have colored pens lying around but would like to color coordinate your labels, check out my favorite labeling pens!

Colored File Folders

Another way to organize by color is will colored file folders or hanging files. You are able to assign each of your categories a color based on colored hanging files. Doing this allows for extremely easy to scan files.

A Combination of the Two

You are also able to place only very sensitive file categories in a color such as red, and files that do not get archived (keep reading to learn about archiving files) in another color such as purple or blue. You can then leave the rest of your files in generic hanging files and use color coding on all your labels. This method allows for easy archiving.

Sorting

Deciding the order in which you file your categories really depends on what is most functional for you and your files. Here are three ways to sort your files.

Sort by Topic or Category

Sorting by topic or category is the easiest way to sort your files because you have already organized your files into categories. All the work here is done, just plop your files on in by the categories you’ve already picked alphabetically.

Sort by Relevance*

This is the sorting method I use, I find it most handy when reaching for my documents. When you sort by relevance there are three sorting categories to keep in mind. First, you want to keep your most frequently used categories at the front. This means you refer to them more often than your other categories.

Second, your almost-never-used files go at the back. If you don’t need them very often, you don’t need them blocking the files you do use a lot. These categories might include Memory Items, Misc., and Instruct. Manuals.

And last is everything else gets placed in the middle.

Sort Chronologically

Chronological means that the categories are sorted by most recent at the front and least recent at the back in the order in which they occurred. Timelines are a great example of something chronological. Chronologically is most handy in archived files because these files are kept by year. If your filing categories allow for chronological sorting, then go for it!

Step Four | The Rules of Labeling

One of the most important ways of organizing your files is with labels. There are different labeling products to choose from, here are some of my favorite labels.

When you are writing or typing up your labels, be very specific. The label is only so big and you want your labels to be readable, and being specific makes it easier.

Write one or two-word labels for maximum benefit. Using one or two words allows the label to be kept on one line. This also allows the label to be bigger and more readable. You want your labels to be seen without getting close or squinting, so the bigger you can write them, the better.

Like I mentioned, keep your label on one line. Doing this allows for greater readability. Sticking to the 1-to-2 word rule makes keeping your label on one line really easy.

Sometimes the words being used on your label are too long and you need to use two lines. FALSE. If the word is too long, shorten it. For example, Instruction Manuals is pretty long even though it’s only two words. You can keep this label on one line easily by shortening it to Instruct. Manual. This shortens it just enough to fit on one line!

You might also shorten your label by taking out small words like the, of, etc. or replace small words with symbols (i.e. and becomes ‘&’, inquiries become ‘?’—get creative).

Label in all capital letters. This, again, just makes the label easier to read at a glance because the letters are all the same height.

My last labeling rule is to use good handwriting or type it. The reality of it is, that if you don’t have good handwriting, then your labels won’t be easy to read at a glance. So, if your penmanship isn’t great, try typing out your labels instead to keep them readable. To make typed labels easier, try these label sheets. They fit into your printer like a normal piece of paper and come with a website that provides the Microsoft Word template.

However, if you have good handwriting, then there is no reason you can’t write your labels out.

Step Five | Archives

The archives are everything in your main categories for the previous years. You don’t want all your finances from 2012 mixed in with your finances for 2017, that will just cause chaos. With archived files, you can be assured that each year’s information is all in the same place, allowing you to go back a year or two if needed, but also allowing you to find this year’s information more easily.

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How to Archive

Archiving is super easy. At the end of each year create a subcategory for that year (under the main category: Archives). For example, this subcategory might be 2016. Then you create second level subcategories using the previously determined categories. Are you following me? Perhaps the graphic in my FREE File Planning Workbook can help you to follow along, I’m a visual learner too.

You can choose to keep your subcategories by allowing them to become third level subcategories, or you can choose to remove them all together. This is up to you. I keep my original subcategories, as is depicted on page 10 of the Workbook.

Categories That Don’t Need to Be Archived

I keep a file labeled Information. This file is comprised of mostly handouts and printouts with information that I found helpful or wanted to keep handy. These documents do not need to be archived because they are relevant every year and if they become irrelevant, I probably need to go and find an updated version to replace it.

Another category that might not need to be archived is Instruction Manuals. These are manuals that come with all your appliances, toys, and electronics. These are nice to keep around (assuming you still have that product) in case you need to figure out a setting or learn how the product works. But these, again, are not relevant to only one year. The Manuals are only relevant as long as you have the product, and if you don’t have the product, then trash the manual.

Step Six | The ‘To-Be Filed’ Bin

A To-Be-Filed Bin is a place or container that you keep on your desk or on your filing system. The purpose of the bin is to keep handy documents that you are still using, but that need to be filed when you are done without damaging or losing them. Keeping this bin within reach of your desk or filing system is important to prevent damaged or lost documents. Check out These paper trays.

Read more about desk organization here.

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