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Relieve Tax Season Stress With These Financial Organizing Tips


financial paperwork organization

Tax season is upon us, and with it comes the sobering realization that handling money can get pretty stressful. Loose receipts, scattered bank statements, missing passwords, and questionable Quickbooks management— and that’s before we even get down to the numbers themselves.


Keeping your financial information organized can improve your peace of mind, help you save money, and build your confidence in your future.


Hire an Accountant

I understand that this isn’t a viable option for everyone, but I do strongly encourage it if you can. Accountants can be expensive, yes, but audits and fines can be a lot more expensive, especially if you’re a small business owner. Invest in a professional so you can rest easy.


Give Paper Documents a Home

And no, I don’t mean throwing them loosely into a drawer. Dedicate a single space in your home to your financial information, like a crate or file-folder box. Next, divide that space into labeled sub-sections (i.e. Receipts, Bank Statements, Credit Reports, Invoices, etc.) Finally, be diligent about filing things into their proper folder without wrinkling or tearing. Then when the time comes, you’ll know exactly where to look!


Make a Budget…

Budgets will look differently for everyone depending on their income and their needs, but if you’re having trouble getting started, the 50-30-20 Rule is a good baseline. This principle encourages you to write down how much you take home per week, then set aside 50% of that for necessary expenses like groceries and bills. Split the remaining 50% into 30% for savings and 20% for pleasure. Feel free to adjust the percentages as you see fit!


… Then Stick to It!

At the end of the day, if you continue to overspend, hypothetical budgets don’t amount to anything. Be mindful of your bank balances and try to use your debit card more often than your credit if you’re tempted to spend more than you can spare.


Write Down How Much You Spend

Balancing a checkbook is quickly becoming a lost art, but there is major advantage in tracking how much is coming in and going out every week. If that sounds too intensive, start simple: write down your initial checking balance at the start of the week, then write down your remaining balance at the end of the week. Seeing that number can help you remain mindful and spend responsibly.


Organize Your Digital Files

Don’t let your desktop be your undoing! Create as many folders as you need to keep invoices and records organized on your desktop, and avoid deleting files until you’re certain they don’t contain information you’ll need later. I also recommend making a “Finance” folder in your email and dropping all correspondence relating to income, taxes, bank statements, etc in it.


Track Changes in Income

This is especially important if you own a business, since you’ll likely be making a different amount every month. But even if you’re simply changing jobs, it’s important to note whenever there is a shift in your income. In a similar vein, track any expenses that arise from your occupation, including money spent on supplies or miles driven while on the job. This will all be majorly important information come tax season!


Write Big Expenses Down

This largely refers to things like car repairs, appliance replacements, home renovations, or other large expenses that people might want you to prove later on. Be sure to record the following details: dates of service, descriptions of what you bought and why you needed it, receipts and invoices from the service, and the total cost of the expense. If you’re working with a company or contractor, be sure to record their names and contact information.


Hire a Professional Organizer

I might be biased here, but seriously! Some professional organizers (myself included) can assist you with organizing financial documents, digital files, work spaces, and emails. I myself used to be a bookkeeper, so I can assist you further with things like bookkeeping and Quickbooks.


While none of this may be particularly ground-breaking advice, they are tried and true methods for spending money mindfully and preventing stress when the economic rubber hits the road. Stay on top of things and you’ll find that tax season will be smooth sailing next April!

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