It’s happened to all of us, and if it hasn’t, it will. That is, unless you read this blog post, of course. I’m talking about missing a credit card payment or being overdrawn on your checking account. These scenarios happen all too often and I believe it’s due to a lack of financial organization.
I bet if I asked you when payday was, you could tell me right away. But what if I asked you when your credit card payment was due? I’m guessing many of you would have no clue. It’s always more fun to think about money coming in rather money than going out.
In order to keep your finances from getting out of hand, you need to be aware of your various financial obligations including credit card, vehicle, and utility payments. This is accomplished by setting up a system of organization which will allow you to keep track of all these obligations.
Below I have listed two helpful resources which I have used quite successfully in the past to maintain control of my finances.
Resource #1 (Rainlendar): Rainlendar is a free and incredibly easy-to-use calendar program you can download to your computer (Windows, Linus, or Mac) and use to stay up-to-date on your financial obligations. I use it similar to the way you might use a sticky note; to act as a constant reminder for tasks that I need to accomplish.
Rainlendar can be set up to be visible at all times on your desktop. Every time you log into your computer, a list of upcoming events and tasks will be shown keeping you on your financial toes. To enter new tasks (money-related or not), simply right click on the date for which the task or event needs to take place and enter the details. It’s so simple!
If you use your computer frequently (at least once a day), this is definitely a must-have. However, if you rely more on your mobile device to keep up-to-date, almost all devices these days are equipped with some form or calendar or scheduling application. I know my Blackberry has this feature, however I simply find it too cumbersome to enter information on the small screen. I also find that it is much easier to enter information incorrectly making those applications unreliable. Either way, you should be using some form of calendar oriented program to keep you up-to-date on all your financial responsibilities.
Resource #2 (Accounts): This helpful resource is only applicable to iPhone or iPod Touch users (but if you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch, check out my video tutorial below). Accounts is best described as a mobile checkbook register, but it does so much more than simply keep track of the balance in your checking account.
You can find the Accounts app in the App Store for $1.99. There is a free version of this app, but you are only allowed to enter 15 transactions which won’t be very helpful if you plan to use the app long-term.
Instead of rambling on about this awesome app in the post, just check out my video review of Accounts below.
If you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch, check out my tutorial below which will show you how to create a transaction register using Microsoft Excel. You can also use this tutorial to create a register with the free office software available at OpenOffice.org if you don’t have Excel. Click on the link below the video to download the Excel register template and follow along with the video.
Podcast – #4- Organize Your Finances
(To download, right click and select “Save Link As…” (Firefox) or “Save Target As…” (Explorer))