A Simple But Effective Way To Organize Your Finances


A 3 step guide to learn how to organize your finances for beginners. Three simple ideas to organize your finances. Use an electronic file, binder or file box. Free printable included.If you want to reach financial freedom, you must learn how to organize your finances.

Getting organized is so crucial to reaching your financial goals that I dedicated an entire chapter to organization in my first book, Financial Fitness.

In the book I describe my simple three-step process to organizing your personal finances.

I also created a checklist to help you organize your finances even faster.

You can download the “Financial Records Checklist” and a bunch of other resources to help you improve your finances from my free printables store.

The best time to get organized is when you are first starting your journey and are super hyped about achieving your goals.

Your own hype-ness will give you the momentum you need to take action fast, get organized and move on to achieve your other personal finance goals.

Related Reading: 15 Financial Goals To Achieve By 40

Why Should You Organize Your Finances?

I don’t know about you but before I take on a big project, I like to get organized.

Getting organized just helps me to mentally prepare for completing a big job (plus it allows me to procrastinate a little before actually getting started). Before you judge, just know that there are actual, legit benefits of procrastination!

Procrastination aside, getting organized is a useful practice that helps put you in the right frame-of-mind to begin any journey and it provides multiple benefits in a personal finance journey.

The second way that getting organized is beneficial is it makes the journey seem so much more attainable because you will have everything you need to help move you closer to reaching your goals in one location (your binder or electronic file).

This will serve as a visual reminder to stay committed to the goals you have set for yourself.

In summary, there are two reasons why you MUST organize your personal finances when you start your personal finance journey (ideally while you are saving your $1,000 emergency fund):

1. To give you time to prepare your mind to be receptive of your new goals.

2. To get all of your documents in one place thus preventing any roadblocks to your success.

Next, I am going to explain the organization process in three easy to follow steps but free feel to customize any of the steps to meet your unique needs.

Here we go!

How To Organize Your Finances In 3 Steps

Step 1: Gather all of your important financial records.

Personal Finance Junkie or not, I understand that not everyone knows what to include in their financial records so I am going to be very specific about this.

In step two I will tell you what you need to do with these items. 

Refer to the list below for the EXACT documents you need to gather:

  • Accounts – List of accounts with account number and phone number to call for help or disputes
  • Auto – Vehicle title and maintenance records
  • Balance Sheets – Current balance sheets
  • Budgets – Current budget
  • Credit Reports – Credit report copy from all three bureaus (update yearly)
  • Contracts – Apartment lease, mortgage docs, warranties, marriage and divorce decrees, CC&Rs
  • Debts –  A list of debts owed, a current statement from each creditor
  • Education – Diplomas or copies, transcripts
  • Health – Medical records, immunization records
  • Insurance – Life, home, auto, renters, pet insurance, including policies you have on others
  • Investments – Investment account statements and records including retirement accounts
  • Passwords – Login information for important accounts
  • Personal –  Copy of social security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, passport
  • Tax Records – W-2s, 1099s, charitable contribution records, receipts, tax returns, etc.
  • Wills, Trusts, Etc. – Current executed estate-planning records and beneficiary designations
  • Work Related – Check stubs, updated resume, evals, letters of recommendation, etc.

Step 2: Choose a storage medium.

Here is the fun part!

Now you get to decide where you are going to store all of your documents. Your storage solution is a big key to your success. Chose the option that you feel you will be most successful with.

If you are tech savvy and live on your computer, then option 1 will be for you. Option 1 people tend to prefer eBooks over print books.

If you want to be able to see and touch your files, then Options 2 or 3 will be for you.

Option 3 is the most secure option but it will take up the most storage space in your home.

Option 1 is to create an electronic file.

This option will require you to scan many of your documents so that you can upload them on to your computer. 

Once you get the documents uploaded you can choose to store them in your Google Drive (I’m still a bit afraid of the “cloud” but it’s an option if you trust it).

You may also opt to store your documents on a flash drive or straight to your desktop.

I may write a tutorial on this process later but for now, if this option sounds appealing to you and you know how to make it happen, then get to organizing!

Option 2 is to create a binder.

If you want to have a tangible finished product, then option 2 is for you.

For this option I recommend you purchase a high quality, durable 3-inch binder.

Once you have your binder in hand, use the list above or download the checklist from the free printable store so that you know which documents to file where.

When you purchase your binder, don’t forget to pick up high quality dividers for your sections.

You will need at least 16 different sections to get started but I recommend getting a few extras so you can add more sections as necessary. Two packs of 10 dividers should do the trick.

Option 3 is to create a file box.

During this process you will organizing your entire financial life…all in one place.

For many people, the thought of this is terrifying and for good reason!

An electronic file or a binder like the ones I describe above would be like a gold mine for someone who is looking to steal your identity. So it is important to take every security precaution that you can when choosing those options.

Option 3, the file box option is probably the most secure option if you select the right file box.

To keep my documents secure I use a fire and water resistant safe/file box combo.

You can find tons of great, safe file box options on Amazon and some in traditional stores like Staples as well.

When you purchase your file box don’t forget to get letter size hanging file folders as well.

Once you have all of your materials then you are reading to move to step 3…filling.

Step 3: Start filing!

When you get to step 3 you are basically done organizing.

This step is the easiest step because all you need to do at this point is start putting files where they belong.

You will use the list above or the checklist you downloaded from the printables store (both have the same information) to determine what goes where.

You may also add additional tabs as you see fit.

Other Resources To Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

If you want to get out of debt, save more money or reach financial freedom it all starts with getting organized. The problem is, getting organized is hard when you don’t know what to do. My three step process makes organizing your personal finances super simple!

My three-step process includes gathering important documents, selecting a storage method, and filing your documents according to my financial records organization checklist (which you can download from my collection of free printables).

Products Mentioned To Help You Get Organized

How do you organize your finances? What questions do you have about getting organized?