Monday, September 14, 2009

Organizing finances and home filing systems

As I'm gearing up for autumn cleaning and closet sorting, I decided to take September to take care of some other chores I've been putting off. Namely, revisiting my finances, checking my credit reports and creating a new filing system for receipts and other home related paperwork.

As someone who's served as the monthly bill-payer/household budgeter/home file organizer before, I like to keep on top of this so I know generally where we're at, at any given time. And it's helpful for me to track my own personal items as well.

Here are some of my favorite resources:
  • - free online personal finance service website that is not only fun to use, but intuitive. I was a bit hesitant logging in with personal information but the many glowing accolades I read from Kiplingers, Money Magazine, PC Magazine (and more than a couple of friends) finally sucked me in. Plus I liked the objective recommendations with regards to saving me more money.
  • - Not the same service as the annoying guy who sings at the Ren Faire! A lot of the "free" reports come if you sign up (and pay!) for a monthly credit monitoring program.This is the official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Since you are allowed one free report from each agency per 12 months, I have mine scheduled in my Google calendar to request a different one every 4 months so I can see if there are any errors to correct. Note: you do not get your FICO score for free, just your file disclosure (to check to be sure everything is accurate). I pay $7 or so once a year to get my actual FICO score to see how it's doing.
  • What financial records to keep, how long to keep them I honestly don't know how papers seem to 'grow' and turn into clutter. So I sort through the mail and inbox pretty carefully before it comes into the house, and set aside dedicated purging/shredding times twice a year for me.
  • The ABCs of Household Paper Management
  • Video tutorial:How To Organize A Home Office File Cabinet

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