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How to Organize Your Money Trails - 5 Easy Ways

It's no fun when your financial records are in disarray. It's certainly stressful when you can't find much-needed records. So many people get stressed out when there's a need for their financial records because they don't know or they've forgotten where the said documents are.

To prevent such scenarios, here's a guide to scheduled tasks that will keep your money-related paper trail in order:

Once a day

Take note of how much cash you have on hand and record how much is left at the end of the day. Keep track of this so can actually account for your expenses down to the last cent. This way, you'll be more aware of your spending habits. Most people don't realize how the little things add up to a significant amount until they actually commit to listing down all of their purchases and expenses.

Once a week

Organize your receipts, billing statements, invoice, and other money-related paperwork. Use ledger or a computer program where you can consolidate all this data. Have back-up copies of your records. Photocopy them and then place them in a safe place. You could also ask a trusted friend or family member to keep your stash of documents at his or her house.

Once a month

Pay your bills on time and follow up on debts you're owed. Create a checklist for this monthly reckoning. Consider keeping track of the pattern of your utility bills so you can more or less predict how much you'll spend each month. This way, you can easily curb your spending when you feel that you're in danger of going beyond your monthly budget.

Once a quarter

Consult your organized documents and filing systems so you can get an accurate picture of your progress towards meeting your personal financial goals. Make the necessary adjustments to spending, savings, or investments. You should also double check all the entries in the documents. Make sure that you haven't missed anything.

Once a year

Do some spring cleaning. Update your files and discard outdated items. Remember that you don't have to keep all your financial records forever. You can keep any tax-related records for seven years, bank statements for one year, and pay slips until you receive your end-of-the-year tax statements. Meanwhile, documents for big-ticket items should be kept permanently -- or until the said item has been "retired" or, perhaps, sold.

Make a commitment to devote the necessary time to these tasks so you won't ever get stressed out whenever somebody asks you for your financial records.

Paula Owen has been passionate about writing articles for the last 5 years.

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