This picture was taken a long time ago (2012!) and although the space has changed the system has remained the same! (We have moved mail and finances into the study)
“Real organising is not just about sorting and storage.
To keep things organised, you need to establish a SYSTEM.”
Setting up systems in your home is like setting up routines or new habits. After a few months of sticking to them, you wonder what you ever did before!
So here is our Family Finance System…
1. Mail In. This can be either the paper variety or most often electronically. As soon as the bill comes in it is opened. NO MAIL REMAINS UNOPENED FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS. Yes sometimes you dread opening bills. But delayed bill paying adds to paper clutter, increases the chance you will misplace it, pay it late and have to pay more in late payment fees. Collecting and opening the mail is a shared task and part of our everyday routine. As we enter the house, after the school pick up, Master O collects the mail. He loves this job! Whilst the kids are having afternoon tea, I go through the mail (and all the notes in the school bag!)
- Junk mail straight to recycling bin
- School notes to School File it Folder
- Invitations and Notices onto The Family Noticeboard.
What about the bills??? 2. Bills Board. The bills go straight onto the Bills Board. This is simply a clipboard where we keep all bills until they are paid. By having them in one location, we both know what needs to be paid. I briefly check:
- When is the bill due? This is recorded in iCal (a software calendar program for Macs)
- Is it how much I had budgeted for? We rarely get surprises! In general we have calculated how much each bill should be and put that money aside each fortnight. My HOT TIP IS. When creating a family budget slightly over calculate each bills. That way you are never left short! Even if the bill is less than you had expected, PAY WHAT YOU HAD BUDGETED FOR! It will mean you are always a little ahead and give you a cushion, should you find yourself struggling one month.
- Is it accurate? I always check our bills for inaccuracies. Especially if it doesn’t seem to match previous bills or is more than I expected. This way I can judge wether it is time to change suppliers or switch to a better plan or deal.
3. Family Finance Folder. Once the bill is paid it is stored in the relevant section of the Family Finance Folder. I ALWAYS record the receipt number, on the bill, before storing it away. At the end of the financial year all of these records will be used for tax purposes and then stored in a large filing cabinet in our home office.
So there you have it. Our Family Finance System. Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment and let me know!