I have just returned from a holiday and, feeling inspired by happiness guru Gretchen Rubin’s recent book Outer Order Inner Calm, I tackled a dreaded job – sorting out the Tupperware cupboard.
After years of neglect, our family has taken to throwing plastic containers into this cupboard and quickly slamming the door shut before a cascade of plastic descends to the floor.
Once the job was complete, however, I felt an intoxicating lightness and energy.
The positive feelings were a gateway to address other nagging unresolved issues.
At this early stage of the new financial year, it is a perfect time to apply this approach to money matters. Here are some tips to get your financial house in order.
Each time Vic Super runs its fantastic free education program, Super Woman Money, it asks participants to rate their money status.
There is a high correlation between the participants who don’t open their bank account, credit card and superannuation statements, and those with the lowest money self-assessments.
Hiding from the reality of your financial situation will not make it any better. Commit to opening all mail on the day you receive it. You will reduce the risk of costly late fees and penalties for inaction.
Whether it is physical paper or electronic correspondence, a great filing system is essential.
My approach is to buy a new binder at the beginning of the financial year and fill it with plastic sleeves for each aspect of financial life.
Insurance, dividend notifications, receipts etc get filed in their sleeve only when no further action is required, as a physical signal that your work is done.
Once the clutter is gone, put in place systems to stay on top of your affairs.
Set up a sweep to automatically repay your credit card, ideally on the day you get paid each month, so you are confident there are always sufficient funds in your account.
Establish direct debits for essential bills.
Store at the store
Many of us have multiple cards and limits higher than required.
Cut down to one credit card with a limit equal to or less than your monthly take home pay. This may result in some extra effort to make larger one-off purchases, but it is worth it to avoid overspending.
Investing the time to get the physical side of your finances under control will not solve all your money problems, but at least the clarity and calm that results makes it worth the effort.
Article by Catherine Robson. Published by The Sydney Morning Herald, August 7, 2019. Find the original article on The Sydney Morning Herald here.