The Best Way to Streamline Your Finances and Paperwork

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated January 24, 2019

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Personal Finance
June 7, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Whether you run a small business or you just keep good track of your household records, it doesn’t take long before paperwork starts to accumulate. Eventually, you will have an office full of paper that doesn’t want to stay organized.

You can defeat clutter by finding the best way to streamline your finances and paperwork. Just choose the option that works best for you.

Several companies make apps that will help you organize and simplify your documents. There are so many options that you may need to try a few before you decide which one you like. Some features to look for include:

  • Graphs that show your cash flow in real time.
  • Forms that help you create budgets.
  • The option to connect directly to your online accounts.
  • Bill notifications.

Some smartphone budgeting apps that get overwhelmingly positive reviews are:

  • Mint
  • PocketGuard
  • YouNeedABudget (YNAB)
  • Simple

Most of these apps offer free versions, so you can try them before you commit any money. A few of the above apps are free to use, but you will get access to more features by paying a monthly or annual rate.

Paper has a tendency to accumulate and get unorganized. What’s the point of keeping records when you can’t find the item that you need?

Going paperless will help you take control of your finances and paperwork. Instead of stacking reams of billing statements in a corner, you get to store them online or on your hard drive.

Before you can go paperless, you will need a file transfer and storage system that lets you keep digital copies of your statements, invoices and other paper items. Popular options include:

  • Google Docs
  • Basecamp
  • Microsoft Office 365

You may also need tools that let you turn paper into digital files. Reliable scanning apps like TurboScan will make this easy. You can also use an option like eFax.com to send scanned items as faxes.

When it comes to paying bills online, you may get the best services from your bank. Tour your bank’s online platform to see if it will let you schedule payments ahead of time. If you don’t like your bank’s tools, then consider an app like Square or PayPal. For your taxes, the best online tax services can help you preserve certain information from year to year online. Read our reviews for more info.

How you file your finances and paperwork can help you simplify your office and streamline work. Consider following a filing system that:

  • Uses color-coded binders or tabs to organize items by topic.
  • Purges unnecessary items every five years.
  • Differentiates between stored files and active files.

Once you get your office under control, your life will become a little easier. Plus, you won’t stress out every time you want to find a specific document.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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