Some of the most important things you can get organized are financial documents. These include receipts, bills, and tax documents. It may seem a bit overwhelming to think about sorting through a bunch of papers, but the sooner you can take a moment and get them organized, the easier it will be to keep them updated and available anytime you may need them. You want to be able to set up a filing system that is easy and realistic for your life. It especially comes in handy during tax season.
Receipts and Bills – When it comes to receipts and bills, you can decide if you would rather store hard copies of them, or use a digital tool. Either way, it’s a good idea to itemize them into folders by year and month, and you can even separate it out by category. This will help to make it quick and easy to find them and reference back to them when needed. Only keep the receipts you need for income or deductions. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by saving every single transaction you ever make.
Tax Documents – Typically, most of your tax documents (W-2, 1099, etc.) come to you by February. It’s best to keep these physically together or scanned and filed digitally in one folder by the year. If you are in a position that requires you to itemize expenses from over the year, this is when using a good filing system for your receipts comes in handy. When you are ready to sit down and file your taxes, it makes it so much quicker and easier to have everything together so you do not constantly have to stop and get up to search for another document.
Apps and Tools – There are so many different applications and tools out there that can help to keep your finances in order. A few great options include: Quickbooks (various prices) or Mint (free) for bookkeeping, Expensify (free – $9/month) and Google Drive (free) for storing receipts, and FileThis (free for 6 connections) for automatically pulling and saving your e-statements. Each one has its own strengths, but all are great for keeping your financial documents in one place and easily accessible.