A Money Coach in Canada

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My World Vision child’s progress reports

My investment statements

My monthly strata meeting minutes

My bank statements

All these and more I want to keep for a few years. But I’m so not a filing cabinet with files person. That’s just a lot of real estate and doesn’t fit my digital understanding of the world.

Staples gave me a new fetish that serves me well: 13-pocket accordian files. These aren’t just the meh brown ones any more. They come in all kinds of nice looks. I choose ones which are partly transparent with distinctive coloured trim.

I have one for each year which then contains all the statements mentioned above in its appropriate section, clearly labelled (handwritten. I’m not THAT much of a keener).

This accomplishes a couple key things for me.

1. Whenever one of the statements comes in I know exactly where to put it. No more mental friction trying to figure out where to put it.
2. Whenever I need something I know where to get it.

In addition to those key functions, I also find them aesthetically pleasing. They are “lite”. They exude “organized” without exuding “office”. And they take up just a discreet bit of shelf space.

So. How to declutter your finances? Try that system for yourself if you don’t currently have a place for your statements.

Photo Credit: Kasaa

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

4 Comments

  1. brad

    The way I handle this is I get all of my statements online (bank account, credit card, investments, etc.). The Mac has this wonderfully easy way to save them to your computer as PDFs:

    1. Go to your bank’s website and open the statement in your web browser (it may open in Preview if it’s a PDF).
    2. Go to the File menu in your browser and click ‘Print” (or hit command-P on your keyboard).
    3. In the bottom left corner of the print dialog box, you’ll see a drop-down menu for “PDF.” Click on that.
    4. Choose the “Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder” option. The Mac will create a new folder in your Documents folder called “Web Receipts” and will save your statement there (with today’s date) as a PDF.
    5. If you do an offsite backup of your important documents, all you need to do is add your “Web Receipts” folder to that backup.

    I also use this approach for saving online receipts and email confirmations when I purchase things online. I haven’t saved any paper receipts or statements in years!

    [Reply]

    Nancy (aka Moneycoach) Reply:

    Brad – you rock! I can’t believe that, as online-oriented as I am, I hadn’t thought of this or something like this. That’s awesome. I’ll start trying this out today after work. Seriously, thanks from this money coach!

    [Reply]

    brad Reply:

    Thanks – it’s a great system and works for me. The only downside is that nothing is organized; it’s all dumped in your Web Receipts folder. However, the other beauty of having this on your computer is that it’s all searchable. Using Spotlight on your Mac you can find whatever statements or receipts you’re looking for in a few seconds just by searching for any words (like the name of your bank) that appear in the statement. So it’s not really necessary to organize your Web Receipts folder into subfolders.

    The ability to save any file as a PDF without having to buy Acrobat is one of the great cost-saving features of having a Mac. I know there are free PDF makers for Windows as well, but they aren’t built into the operating system the way the Mac’s are — every Mac comes with the ability to create PDFs right out of the box.

    [Reply]

    Mar 28, 2011
  2. Robert

    @Brad – While it’s true nothing is organized when you drop it in your Web Receipts folder it can be! When naming your file to save you can add as much infor as needed. I can usually guess what year I purchased something so I personally like to organize by year. When naming a purchase from Jb Tool and Stuff, it would look something like this – “2011 04 01 JB Tool and Stuff router bit”. Not beautiful but effecient for me. I am sure that you can think of many ways to change the information but the point has been made.

    [Reply]

    Apr 01, 2011

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