Call it what you will — The Law of Circulation, Feng Shui, The Principle-of-not-getting-your-lights-turned-off-because-you-forgot-to-pay-the-bill — money ebbs and flows and takes on a life of its own. Managing money is kind of like raising children who misbehave to get negative attention if they aren’t getting enough positive attention.
From the Cash Flow Clutter Chart companion article:
Cash Flow clutter comes in the form of unpaid bills, unfiled tax returns, incomplete insurance claims, multiple unnecessary accounts, and postponed financial decisions. Money likes attention, and if you don’t pay it regular positive attention it will demand negative attention in the form of late fees, worry, stress, and legal problems.
Whether you think you’re rich or poor…well, that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? What we think and feel and believe about money has a huge effect on how we deal with it. I have “poor” clients who live with a scarcity mentality, being loath to spend any money at all for fear that they might never get any more than they already have. I and have “rich” ones who, despite their ability to pay, simply do not always pay their bills on time, incurring other sorts of financial consequences. But we can all improve our situations a bit at a time.
Here are 5 organizing tips to help you give your money the “positive attention” it craves:
- Designate a day of the week to deal with money, so you don’t have to worry about it every single day. I like Money Monday, and so do many of my clients, because it has a ring to it, don’t you think? What do we actually DO on Money Mondays? We pay bills, reconcile statements, call for answers to billing and other financial questions, review insurance policies…whatever needs done that doing a little of each week will help keep us on track (like bookkeeping and filing). We create a “menu” of Money Monday tasks so we don’t forget about the things that only need to be done periodically, like paying taxes.
- Arrange to have some uninterrupted time. The fewer interruptions, the less time it will take to accomplish your Money Monday goals. Try for an hour at first. It might take you a lot less time, or a lot more, depending on your situation. Adjust accordingly.
- Organize your space. You need a clear workspace (desk, table, or countertop), and convenient supplies (computer, checkbook, files, envelopes, stamps). The easier you make it to focus on the task at hand, the more pleasant the task becomes.
- Money Mondays will be a breeze if you keep on top of your incoming mail (try using an action file). Create a system for paper flow, and use a simple filing system that works for you.
- Upgrade your tools. Get a pretty file box, or a special pen, or nifty check deposit app for your smart phone (if your financial institution has one available); whatever it takes to make Money Mondays more enjoyable for you!
Of course, this is just the tip of the financial iceberg. As you focus on your money you may uncover issues you didn’t even realize you had (I’ve been double billed for how long?!). Ask for help, if you need it, from an organizing, or financial, or legal professional. It will pay off in the long run, I promise!
Are you paying your money enough attention? In what ways yes, and in what ways not so much?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2013-2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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What a great idea! I’ve been trying and failing to do this monthly. I like the sound of Money Monday! If only it was later in the week, but maybe it’s better to get it over with early on!
Truth? Mine sometimes doesn’t get done until Tuesday morning. But it wouldn’t get done then, either, if I didn’t see it every week on my Monday calendar! I want everything to have a “ring” to it: Money Monday, Flow Chart Friday, Website Wednesday, etc. But it’s not possible to create cute names and times for everything. You could have Financial Friday, or Bill-Paying Thursday…but yes, it’s good to get over with early in the week. And, the more organized your efforts are, the easier and…dare I say it?…the more fun it becomes to give your money positive attention.
I love your analogy that managing money is like raising children. Attention is definitely needed for both! Now what do you suggest for trying to get through your Monday Money tasks with an impatient 3-year-old?! 😉
I’ve recently rediscovered how critical the “fun” factor is for me. What would make Money Monday (or maybe Thursday?) more fun for me.
Real head-scratcher there . . .