If you want to save some money and loads of time, spend a little of each to get organized.
First, cull your accounts. Have you opened up accounts all over the place? Still using them all? If not, time to trim back to just a couple or three (if you need even that many) to simplify your paperwork and keep better track of your money. This is particularly true for couples that have brought several accounts into the relationship. Figure out which ones are working for you and dump the rest.
Then combine accounts at a single institution and throw your weight around. You can save money on monthly transaction fees by keeping a minimum monthly balance. Or you can demand higher levels of service and fee rebates by offering to consolidate everything except your credit cards at one institution. (Keep your credit card account at a different institution so they can’t dip into your account.)
Next, set up a financial tracking system. Whether you create your own spreadsheet, use an off-the-shelf software program, or go with an on-line system, you need to have a process in place for keeping track of your money. It’ll take a little time to get it all set up, but you won’t believe how in-control you feel once you’ve laid the groundwork.
Make a regular date to pay your bills and do your filing. If you let yourself get too far behind, your system will go out the window because it’s just too much work to catch up. Instead do a little every day or couple of days to keep on top of the bills, the payments, the balancing and the expense tracking.