How to Organize Money Now (2024)

Why are you getting organized? It’s probably not because you need more bins or boxes in your life. Organizing is a tool so you can live the way you want to live, and spend your time the way you want to spend it. We don’t just organize things and the spaces they are in. We can also organize time and money. Before you hit the buy button on one more organizing bin, let’s talk about how to organize money now.

How to Organize Money Now (2024)

I LOVE organizing money. You probably love the things that money can allow for, like traveling, home improvement, hanging with friends, and even those snazzy organizing bins you are eyeing up.

What Money to Organize First

In case you’ve been under a rock, it’s time to pay attention to savings interest rates again. You should be talking with your banker about moving that lazy, good for almost nothing (zero-percent) savings account over to a high-yield CD or money market account. Sure, the difference between 1% and 4.something% doesn’t sound like much, but in the case of one of my clients, the fifteen minutes we spent moving her $10,000 will earn her enough interest before the end of the year for plane tickets. And all she had to do was click…click…move money from her savings account to a new short-term CD at her current bank. Done and done!

That’s what I mean by organizing money. It isn’t all budgeting and cutting things out of your life. It’s about paying attention and letting your money work for you.

Budgets Are Cool Again

Speaking of budgets, have you noticed that budgets are cool again? You probably know someone who gushes over their love of the YNAB app (short for You Need A Budget). Budgets aren’t just for broke people, and they aren’t just for rich people, either. Thanks to the internet and the plethora of easy-to-use apps, now budgets are for all of us.

Myths of Organizing Money

No, online banking isn’t the same as budgeting.

No, creating a connection between your budgeting app and your bank account doesn’t expose you to potential fraud.

No, connecting your bank account to a budgeting app doesn’t allow your app to withdraw money.

Yes, we all need a budget.

Yes, if you have time to play games, watch videos, watch TV, or listen to podcasts, then you have time to create and use a budget.

Yes, you can budget and organize money if you have ADHD (and probably need it even more than the average bear).

Mint is No More

I was shocked to hear that a long-time money management tool closed in March 2024: Mint.com. If you used Mint, shake your fist at Intuit (the owners of QuickBooks and Mailchimp) like I do, and then move on. You have options, many of which are listed here in this article on alternatives to Mint.com.

The app called Copilot.money considers itself the best money tracker app. If you hate the word budgeting, then don’t. Just track your money. Watch where it goes and see what it tells you. When you start tracking your money, most people start thinking about what they are doing and why.

YNAB.com is the elephant in the room, and I’m OK with that. They’ve done the work to make a fun, sexy app that lets you keep track of all the money that you have now AND the money that’s about to come your way. YNAB says you should assign each dollar a job before it hits your wallet, so it doesn’t act like a surly teen and just go MIA when you are making plans to do things like pay the mortgage.

This is the critical adulting skill that many adults miss…how to plan ahead with your money and hang onto it for long enough to that it starts to band together with other dollars, getting to work, and accomplish important things like be ready to help you buy your next car.

Those of you with executive functioning issues just got lost in that last sentence. That’s ok. Just read it again. 🙂

Budgeting apps like YNAB help you see not only the money you have right now, but also where your money is already committed so you don’t accidentally spend it on dumb stuff (or stuff that feeeeeels like you neeeeeed it).

Online Calculators Are How to Organize Money Now

Financial calculators are a cool way to play with your money’s possibilities. I found a nice page with free financial calculators that are easy to use over at Empower.com.  Having somebody else set up the questions for you (How many months expenses do you want to cover? How many years until your kid goes to college?) makes it easy to start thinking about saving. I just like someone else doing the compound interest math for me (I’m looking at you, loan calculator).

How do you get to be rich? If marrying a billionaire or being adopted by the Rockefeller’s hasn’t worked for you, try being frugal. Also…frugal is cool again, too. Most of us are just working hard, investing calmly, and trying to live our values. For me, frugality is a value, so that I can spend money where I want to spend it, not where the bankers say I have to.

Frugal is Not About Being Cheap

Frugal is cool. If you don’t believe me, watch this review that says Frugal people never do these things.  George Kamel is part of the Dave Ramsey team, the group that brings you the EveryDollar app.

Folks, Dave Ramsey changed my life, and that of my entire family, back when he only had a book. This was way before the Financial Peace classes and the EveryDollar app. If you still aren’t sure why you would do this budgeting thing that feels so hard, Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps lay out for you not only how to get out of debt (steps 1-3 and 6), but also how to build generational wealth (step 4 and 5) and to build enough wealth to leave a legacy beyond your own family (step 6). The idea of joyfully tithing (giving away 10% of income to charity or the church) really fueled our approach to money management and debt-free living.

Simple but maybe not easy. Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps can take years to accomplish, so having an app to keep track of the gnarly math and do all the heavy lifting for you? I had to do it with spreadsheets back in the day, but you don’t have to! You do, however, have to watch some videos and really learn what saving money and paying off debt looks like. I still recommend reading the book Financial Peace (affiliate link), as old-school as that sounds like.

So if debt-free sounds good to you, but you come from other faith traditions and aren’t vibing with Uncle Dave, then head back to YNAB (it’s pronounced “why-nab”). It’s a full package with a pretty app and funny YouTube videos to tell you how you keep screwing up the idea of budgeting, and how screwing up your budget is very rarely fatal. The main barrier to YNAB might be the monthly fee, but you don’t have to spend a cent to learn the concept behind solid budgeting.

If the clever YNAB videos are enough to get you excited about financial planning, you can probably bootstrap your own Excel spreadsheet until you can find the roughly $10/mo to pay for the YNAB subscription. If you are married or involved with a partner, the real value might just be the dashboard that you can both look at together, making decisions with the same information, in real time, no matter who writes the checks for the bills. And if you are a college student, well, lucky you, since YNAB offers a free year subscription to every college student, so, seriously, head over there right now! All of your friends probably already have theirs, and you don’t want to be left out.

Your Money or Your Life?

No discussion on how to organize your money is complete without mentioning the book, Your Money or Your Life. I read this at the same time I read the Dave Ramsey book, and the two complimented each other beautifully. Vicki Robin and her co-author Joe Dominguez (who passed away before apps were a thing), don’t have a class or app or subscription for you to buy. But there is a free Life Energy Calculator on their website that can help you think differently about trading your time for dollars. You still have to work and earn and spend and live, but you don’t have to do it on autopilot.

Why Are You Waiting to Organize Your Money?

Sometimes you have to hear something a few times to decide to do something with it.

Rising interest rates might not mean much to you until you read that moving your money from one type of savings account to another could pay for your next plane ticket!

Budgeting might sound like torture until you see how YNAB has practically turned it into a game.

There’s a saying…All that clutter used to be money. Can you look around your home and see that is true? Are you ok with that?

Before you spend $$$ on one more plastic bin, maybe decide to get a handle on how to organize money now in 2024.

 

 

 

 

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