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Many people who struggle financially suffer from a lack of financial organisation. Money comes in and goes out, but if asked they couldn’t really tell you where it went. If you don’t consciously track your finances then you can’t map put places where change is possible or identify waste.
A lack of organisation doesn’t only make it hard to budget efficiently but it can actually cost you money. How many people have had an appliance break and had to replace it out of pocket because they remember where they put the warranty or receipt? Keeping good records can also help you remember to pay your bills on time, meet important deadlines and identify errors.
Getting organised is as easy as learning to categorise everything and keep it in one place. Invest in a filing cabinet if you want to organise for a whole family or a file box like this one if you won’t have a lot to store. Make a file for each category of financial information you will be keeping. Here is one way to label your files:
- Having insurance is a big part of healthy finances. Keep records of all of your policies together here.
- Receipts and Warranties
- Any documentation that comes with a major purchase should be filed here
- Keep tax assessments, T4s, pay stubs and other communications with CRA in this file. If you ever get reassessed you will have all of your information in one place.
- Loans and Credit Records
- File your loan agreements and payment records here.
- Financial Aid
- Keep any information about Student loans/bursaries and scholarships here.
- College Costs
- If you are a student keep records of tuition payments, text book receipts and other associated costs here
- Savings and Investments
- File statements from your savings accounts here as well as any other investment documentation
- Chequing Account
- In general save your cancelled cheques and bank statements. If you have them delivered online you can print off a pdf. Alternatively you can save all of your online records in a folder in your inbox and merely keep a paper copy with a running tally in your filing system. If you chose this option it is important to read and go over your online statements before saving them in your email
- Bill Payment
- Put all of your bills in this file. Consider segregating them into paid, and to-be-paid to help you keep track