Tip Thursday – Taxes, Bills, Organization!

You guys know how I love my organization….and being that tax season is almost here I thought I’d share with you how I organize my bills and get our ducks in a row year round, every year. You don’t need a lot of supplies and you don’t need to spend a lot, depending on your budget it can be very cheap (walmart) or very expensive (office depot, office max; Martha Stewart collection – brand names etc) whatever your preference is, I opted for the cheap version.

Main list of supplies: Sturdy 3 ring binder, plastic page separaters, page protector sheets

This list will vary depending on what kind of organization you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how many categories you need. So lets dive in

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Large 3 ring binder from Walmart, it wasn’t the most expensive but I also didn’t want to get the cheapest only because I needed something fairly sturdy to hold all the material I was going to put together. I used Microsoft word to create a simple cover.

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Again, both the page dividers and page protectors I bought from Walmart, fairly cheap. You can get a nice stack of paper protector for less than $5 I think they were about $3 something. The page dividers came in a packet of 8 for $5 I believe. It comes with pockets on both sides of the divider (highly suggest that), labels, and multiple colored sheets.

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I have over 15 categories of items/bills and I’ve included examples of the kind of categories I have made. Included is a “charity” section. You can see I inserted my receipts and proof of donations into the folder. My husband and I try to donate throughout the year to places like Savers and Goodwill (march of dimes, children’s hospital etc) and this is a great way for us to keep track come tax season. I also take photos of everything that I donated, as shown above. Although the picture is very vague, I do do detailed shots of all items, especially those with a lot of monetary value, you never know when the IRS will come knocking. I’ll print out the pictures and slip them into the folder as well. There are a lot more in-depth things that I do to prepare for tax season so if you’re interested, let me know!

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Now I’ll go ahead and show you the break down of how I keep track of my bills etc. I go ahead and make a category for EVERY SINGLE BILL that I have, credit cards, car payments, school loans, large purchases etc. In the pocket/folders I put essential documents and anything additional that relates to that account/bill. Then I’ll take a 3 hole punch to the actual invoice/bill and organize it from newest to oldest being in the back. On the very back of the category, behind all the invoices I have this sheet that tracks the month, date I made the payment, the amount, and the remaining balance. This is just a very simple chart that I created using Microsoft Excel. This way, I’m able to visually keep track of how many bills I have and how much I have left (makes sense when I do debt stacking, if you’re familiar with that theory), so when I have a lump sum of cash, I know which one I can pay off first, or when I’ll be done paying a specific bill. Any other “misc information” goes into my planner 🙂

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and look, I even have a place in my planner to remind me to clean out, update, work on my bills/folder

I have used this system for 2 years now and I love it, it’s served me so well. Everything is in one spot and I have immediate access to it. When I need information I don’t have to go searching in every nook and corner of my house to find an old invoice or former documents etc. It makes life so much easier.

I certainly hope this helps! Let me know if you have a similar system or how different yours is, I’d love to know!

– Cyndie –

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