It's been a few weeks since I posted any Home Manager or Homemaking ideas. With a new year right around the corner, it's a good time to share how I organize or manage our financial paperwork.
I use a shoe box.
Ha! Ha! Just kidding. That's my mom, I'm so NOT kidding. No, really I use a Finance Binder.
Why do I use a Finance Binder?
It makes my life easier! As our Home Manager it's important for me to keep our finances organized so we don't waste money because of misplaced receipts. Within 2 minutes I can have my hands on just about any receipt Joel needs from the current year. Several times I've had to go back a few years to find receipts for auto parts warranties. Saving us money once again.
A lot of people use a file cabinet and file folders but I find digging through a cabinet and folders to be chaotic and time consuming. A binder organizes my financial year in a way that makes sense to me. Whether you use folders or a binder the important thing is to have a system in place.
You can set up a Finance Binder also. You will need:
- A sturdy 3 Inch Binder. I like the clear pocket binders so I can slide in a label for the year.
- Tabbed Dividers. How many will depend on your number of categories.
- A sturdy Closeable Pencil Bag for a binder. For small sized store receipts you need to keep.
- 3 Hole Punch. It just makes life simple to have one for 8.5x11 paper!
- Cloth zippered pencil bag. I place all small sized receipts I need to keep in the bag. Receipts for things like clothing, expensive toys, electronic items go in here. Receipts for weekly things like groceries or toiletry products are thrown away.
- Financial Goals with projected time to achieve them.
- Current Budget.
- Income Tab: Pay stubs, Stock Dividend receipts. Any taxable income receipt.
- Bank Statement Tab: Bank statements and any notices.
- Giving Tab: Receipts from charities we donate to. I keep ledger paper behind this tab with each tax deductible organization listed separately. Then as I donate I record the date, check # and amount. At tax time I just add up the columns. Makes claiming that deduction much easier!
- Utility Tab: Natural Gas, Electricity, Water/Sewer.
- Cox Cable and Telephone Tab: Our cable internet is reimbursed by Joel's employer each month so I keep the statements and reimbursement receipts.
- Medical Tab: Receipts for our medical expenses reimbursement account. If you don't have such an account medical expenses can be tax deductible.
- Auto Tab: Receipts from any work on our vehicles. Auto insurance statements.
- Tax Related Tab: Anything I think might be a tax deduction.
- Other Tab: Receipts for purchases that I might need later but are too large to fit in the Pencil Bag.
There you have it. My system for organizing our financial paperwork.
How do you organize your family's financial paperwork? Do you stuff a shoe box under the bed? Use a filing cabinet? Or just throw it all away and hope for the best?