I am one of those people who really feel good when tasks are completed, lists are checked off and things are organized. So I am happy to report that I am starting the year off right. Christmas has been put away and the house is back to normal. I have cleaned out my office which includes going through the previous years files and magazines to downsize. I also finished all of my year-end accounting and filing for both home and business, so I am organized and ready for tax time. I finally have a system that I feel works well and after doing the year-end routine I think I have nailed the easiest way to stay organized.
My magazines – I keep them for one year so I will only have January to December, I do one final look through and tear out and file inspirational pages, then either recycle or donate the rest of the magazine. You’ll find that if you have a nice little stack your local fashion college will love the donation. I remember when I was in design school we used those magazines for so many projects, it’s nice to be able to give them a second life if you can.
The receipts and paperwork – At the beginning of the year I organized a file system in my office and these are catch-all folders that are for house, my son, business, to do, etc. At the end of each month I empty the catch-all folders and file everything in the yearly master file, I have one for home and one for business. I have a separate receipt master file, again one for home and one for business. I learned in previous years the way taxes and receipts are categorized so I set my master files to match those categories. This year I was able to file December and then go through the yearly master files. I threw away the unnecessary receipts and paperwork. Shredded the statements that I don’t need anymore, and have my envelope ready to send my accountant.
On a side note I had to close all of my accounts and start over in early December because someone had gotten my debit card info and began stealing from my account. I do my best to stay ahead of the game but there seems to be no perfect way to avoid being a victim of theft. I am well versed in how to handle the situation because this has happened before, a few years ago someone stole my husbands identity (they have his social security card). Because of the social security number being compromised this is something that we will have to guard against forever, apparently. Not sure if you were aware but you cannot get a new SSN even if it has been compromised. Either way, this is a good reminder to pull your credit report and see whats happening. I do this every 4 months anyway because of the identity theft.
To get your free credit report go to annualcreditreport.com you can get one report from each agency every year. Because this has become part of my accounting system how I do this is that if I get the Experian report, I calendar this in my Blackberry with the date and the agency, then 4 months later I get the report from TransUnion, then 4 months later I get the Equifax. This is the free way to see your credit three times a year. You will not get your score for free, but I find that this is a good way to keep up with what’s happening to your credit.
I am also reviewing my goals for the upcoming year and beyond and looking over last years financials so that I can start on the right foot this year. I hope that you are all starting off your New Year feeling good as well. Happy New Year.