Monday, February 23, 2009

The forgotten secret of financial savviness

In the story I wrote in this month's Madison magazine, I outlined the 10 biggest mistakes we make with our credit cards.

Well, guess what? I forgot one (plus, let's face it, 11 is just not as nice and round a number as 10).

So, in the interests of sharing information and giving added value, here's number 11.


It sounds so innocuous when you see it written like that, doesn't it?

The fact is that if you keep tabs on your financial information - so that you can actually put your hand on something when you need it - you're halfway there to keeping on top of your finances.

Think about it: no more late fees because you 'forgot', no more missed opportunities because you 'threw them out'. Lissanne Oliver - check out her blog - is the Australian queen of organisation, and she reckons that getting your financial, um, stuff together puts you in the driver's seat.
Here are five basic steps to get you started:
1. Put everything related to your finances in one place - even if it's a shoebox.
2. Open your mail over the bin - if you don't need it, don't keep it.
3. Don't take every receipt you're offered - those three apples from the fruit shop are probably not tax deductible.
4. Cull. Understand how long you need to keep things (five years for tax records, for instance) and once that time has passed, get rid of them!
5. Deal with your financial stuff regularly - get it out once a month and look it over. The more often you do it, the less arduous it is.
Simple stuff, but very powerful...
For more about organising your finances, check out this story I wrote for Ninemsn's Money website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment. Copyright © Alex Brooks, Allison Tait and other bylined writers 2007-2009. Please do not use anything without permission or without noting its origins on your blog or website.