If you are stressed because your finances are hard to control or your home is a mess, there’s some basic steps you can take to get things in order. Once you have some good, logical systems in place, it takes very little time to keep on top of bills or clutter.
I’ll show you some tips that have helped our family streamline our finances, live free from debt, and—gasp—resist the urge to overspend.
Create a System and Let the Stress Go
It can be overwhelming to try to organize a mess, but the one thing that can turn it around is a logical, simple system: something to manage the flow, providing a structure and routine that does exactly what you need it to do to stay on top of things.
These tips are all things I’ve started doing over the years to manage our finances properly, live within our means, keep on top of the clutter, and aim for contentment rather than consumption.
1. Create a System to Monitor Your Bills
Our supposedly paper-less society has made it much more difficult to keep track of expenses and ensure that bills are accurate and paid on time. There are so many moving parts!
I came up with this system to streamline the process so I always know exactly what’s due when and keep everything monitored.
If your situation is similar to mine, it should just take a few minutes twice a month to keep on top of everything once you’ve set it up. And never pay late fees.
See how it works:
2. Question Your Expenses
At least once a year, it’s good to review every single household expense to determine if they are necessary or not. It’s amazing how many items sneak through automated payments or renewals and how many things we simply pay for without questioning whether we actually want or need them.
If an expense is truly necessary (or we do want them and can truly afford them), the next step is to determine whether they can be tweaked to reduce the cost and/or improve the quality or value. It’s really not a huge task to compare prices and services to figure out the smartest deal.
Here how I lower our bills:
3. Always Get the Best Deals
And what about one-time purchases? How do some people always manage to find the best deals? Part of living debt-free is putting in a bit of work to save some money—if it’s more money than the time is worth.
It’s not always about the lowest price but also about the best value for the dollar.
Here’s how I do it:
For frequent purchases like groceries and other household supplies, I rely on the Flipp app on my phone. I love it because it does all the work.
Great money-saving phone app:
4. Live Within Your Means
I started gardening on a budget because I had to. I continue because it’s enjoyable. Sure, money can buy just about anything but what it can’t do is buy the satisfaction of creating a thriving organic garden over many years. And that happens to also be a great money-saver.
Here’s some tips:
If you struggle to turn off the urge to shop, sometimes the cure can be found in truly getting your home in order. Most of us own way more stuff than we could ever make use of. Getting rid of the excess and having an organized, functional home can be the ticket to become an unshopper.
It All Adds Up
Here’s a recap:
1. Create an easy-to-follow bill paying and monitoring system to keep on top of your finances.
2. Once a year (or more), review all of your expenses to make sure they are necessary, desirable, and affordable.
3. When you do shop, know how to find the best prices. Sometimes a little effort really pays off.
4. Get real. Live within your means.
5. Love what you have. Declutter your home and keep it in order. Let go of the urge to shop for unnecessary stuff.