Staying on top of all of the important financial information you need to keep sounds great in theory but how does that play out in real life when you’re just trying to keep your documents, statements and receipts in order. It can be hard to keep everything money-related together and at the ready when you need it. Here are some tips to help you stay better organized financially.

1. The financial ties that bind

Grant Bledsoe, a Portland based financial planner, founder of Three Oaks Capital Management and writer at Above the Canopy has his clients get organized by creating two binders.One for housing estate plans and the other for successions plans.Bledsoe explains that one binder serves to organize all your personal estate and business succession documents, and stays put at home. He explains, “Generally this includes wills, trust documents, medical directives, buy/sell agreements, and several others.” He also emphasizes including a list of step by step instructions for a spouse or family member. Even jotting down who to call if something were to happen can make a big difference to those left in charge. The second binder should solely include business succession documents . If you work in an office, these would be kept at the office with business partners. You’d also include step by step instructions for work colleagues to consult if necessary.

2. Use technology to your advantage.

You can be one app away from being better organized with all things money-related in minutes. The app Genius Scan is an app that’s perfect going paperless. It’s like carrying a mini-scanner around on your phone screen. With the click of a button you can scan a document by taking a quick snapshot of it. The picture can then be exported as a jpeg or PDF file. I first learned about it when my daughter had to submit a physical form for camp. We forgot the paperwork at home. They assured us that we could just send it over via email using this app after dropping our daughter off. I didn’t have to make another trip back to the camp. I just took a photo and sent it off via email to the people in charge and she was set to go. I realized that this could be helpful for many other purposes like storing financial information. Melissa Zehner, founder of Mooslet, an agency that offers writing services, agrees and uses the app to record and store receipts. She takes a picture of each one using her phone, the app then converts the receipt to a pdf file and ships it to her Dropbox account. It’s a fast, easy and paper- free way to keep everything safe.
3. Be mindful of tax information year round.

Melissa Whaley, Virtual Tax Pro and Bookkeeper for Entrepreneurs of WhaleyBookkeeping.com believes keeping tax information organized is a year round thing.  She thinks that putting things off until tax time is a mistake. She suggests setting aside a block of time once a week, or at least once a month, to get things in order. Whaley points out, “It will alleviate so much stress when it’s time to file taxes and help you see the financial health of your business throughout the year.”

The Bottom Line

A little extra effort and planning can go a long way when it comes to getting organized financially. Whether you’re keeping personal or business documents in a binder with directions or storing receipts digitally, taking all of these extra steps can pay off and keep your financial house in order.

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Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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