When I think about what my finances looked like a year ago, they were completely out of control! I had no budget, no real savings plan and chose to pay the minimum on my credit cards each month.
Once I decided to get organized and serious about my finances, everything changed for the better. It is amazing to me how by simply being organized saves me money each month! I have so much more control of my life and my stress level has really decreased.
I am no longer oblivious to how much money is in my bank account and pay all my bills on time each month. I have managed to pay off all my credit cards and now put money away in savings and retirement funds each month.
How being organized saves money
Track expenses and bills
Ever since I created a budget, my life has gotten so much easier! I have control of my finances and know exactly where I stand financially. I no longer have mindless shopping spells and overspend at the grocery store. I know when all my bills are due and have stopped wasting money on late fees.
My closet is clean
Keeping my closet clean can be such a challenge! I don't know why, but I constantly have to remind myself to keep it organized. I know I have too many clothes and probably only wear about 20% of what I own.
In the past few months I have slowly committed to getting rid of clothes I don't wear. I have been trying t0 fill up 1 bag at a time. I start with Ebay, and if the items don't sell, I drop them off at Goodwill. While I am not making a ton of money putting my clothes, shoes and accessories on Ebay, it's still money! Right now I'm just keeping the funds in my PayPal account until I decide what to do with it.
Planning a vacation far enough in advance
The earlier I start planning my vacation, the more time I have to shop around for deals and savings! I like to sign up and get email alerts when airfare drops. I do a ton of comparison shopping, read online reviews and compare sites like Ebates (sign up & get $10!) and MyPoints to make sure I am getting the best price possible with the option of getting cash back!
Keep a revolving grocery list and home goods list
I keep a grocery list and home goods list in the kitchen drawer where I write down an item that needs replaced. I even created a meal planner and grocery list printable I keep on my fridge- you can download it for FREE here! Whether I go to the grocery store or shop on Amazon Prime, I am always prepared!
I used to go to the grocery store almost daily after work. I would only go in to grab one or two items, but would always walk out with more that I planned. Now I carefully plan my trip to the grocery store once a week. Keeping a revolving grocery list has helped me save a lot of money!
I also use Ibotta, which is another free cell phone app. You use it after you go grocery shopping and use your receipt. It's basically a rebate app, so you can earn anywhere from 50 cents to $5 off everything you buy.
My favorite part about this app is that it's not always brand specific, like a lot of coupons are. So you'll be able to scan “any brand of bread” for 50 cents off, etc. If you do coupon – you can STILL use Ibotta and get a rebate. For the diehard couponers out there, this will often result in getting an item for FREE. Crazy, right?
If you want to grab the Ibotta app and start making money off your grocery receipts, click here to get started. You will receive a cash bonus of $10 when you scan your first item!
Use 1 email account solely for coupons, deals, etc.
I have one email account that is used exclusively for signing up for coupons, Groupon deals and other savings programs. By having this email account, I only have to log on when I need something and it isn't bogging down my general email feed.
Plan for the unexpected
While I am still working on feeling more comfortable with this category, contributing to my emergency fund has decreased my stress level! With my car turning 11 this year, I really want to create a larger fund for car maintenance and expenses. When it comes time to buy a new (or used) car in a couple years, I want to be financially prepared. This goes for other life emergencies – unexpected vet bills, medical bills, etc. By planning now, I expect to be prepared when an emergency happens!