Sometimes, reviewing your finances can feel like the tornado scene from The Wizard of Oz. OK, while there’s not a cow or wicked witch flying around, there are a lot of moving parts for you to keep track of. Budgets, loan and credit card payments, taxes, and more are all whizzing around requiring your attention. Thankfully, there are some tried and true ways to organize your finances that will put you on the Yellow Brick Road to success.
5 tips to organize your finances
1. Review your accounts
The best way to keep your finger on the pulse of your finances is to carefully review your transaction history, set up account alerts, check your credit report and score, and analyze your spending habits. For the latter, use tools like Money Management to categorize your transactions and spot high-spend categories you could cut back in.
Your accounts’ transaction history is always available within Online Banking or mobile banking. While you should check your transaction history periodically, you can also set up customized account alerts to aid you. Get alerts via text, email, or push notifications if your balance is getting low, when a check clears, and more.
Along with your transaction history, you should also monitor your credit report and score. Credit reports are available to view for free annually. Doing so will help you spot inaccuracies that may be hurting your credit score. This number is important for many reasons – access to more favorable loan and credit card terms being one of them!
2. Use Bill Pay
Are you still keeping bills in a shoe box until it’s time to shred them? Or, maybe you’ve adopted paying bills online but find the process time-consuming and frustrating. Bill Pay1 offers a fast and streamlined approach to paying bills. This tool consolidates all your eBills under one login so you can quickly get money where it’s needed. It also helps you avoid late payments by sending you alerts when a payment’s due date is approaching and tracking the status of a bill, so you never have to guess whether it was paid.
Do you share finances with a partner or spouse? If so, it’s important to practice good communication so you can keep up with your financial obligations. This may mean assigning specific tasks to each partner. If one of you is responsible for making the mortgage payment each month and the other handles utilities, you’ll know exactly what is required of both parties.
This may be more efficient than keeping responsibilities vague. For example, if no one is specifically assigned to mortgage payments, both of you may assume the other party is handling it or forget altogether. This can cause issues down the line, as missed loan or credit card payments can negatively impact your credit score.
It’s also important to communicate with your partner about spending. If one of you makes a large purchase from a joint account, the other partner should be made aware of that. Not communicating these sizeable transactions may lead to a checking account overdraft. The other partner may continue spending as normal, unaware there are less funds than they might usually expect there to be. It’s important to enroll in overdraft solutions to mitigate the damage of an “oops!” moment.
4. Pay down debt
If you have a sizeable amount of debt, it may feel like something that’s always looming over you and distracting you from other aspects of your financial life. The best way to get out from under debt is to lean on your resources and create a debt payoff strategy.
One important thing to keep in mind while plotting your course is to tackle high-interest debt first. These debts have a greater probability of snowballing, as any balance you carry over month-to-month will accrue interest. Once you know how you’re going to pay off debt, stay consistent. Having a plan and sticking to it will put your mind at ease while you work toward financial freedom.
5. Get financial help
Sometimes, professional guidance is all you need to untangle your finances and get them organized. A credit union team member is available to offer guidance and point you to the tools and resources needed to accomplish this. Or, for significant amounts of debt, debt management assistance can help you strategize your next move.
General Electric Credit Union (GECU) wants to help you simplify your financial life. That’s why we invest in digital services that make it easy to organize your finances. From Money Management to Bill Pay, we have the tools you need to succeed. Learn more about Credit Union membership and how it can Improve the Quality of Your Financial Life. You’re eligible for membership if you live, work, worship, or attend school in select Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky counties – it’s that simple!