For me back to school season means
- a little freedom and
- the dreaded lunches
After a summer full of fun, travel + impromptu get togethers, when I was preparing our home for back to school I was really looking forward to cleaning up, getting organized + being home a little more. Well.... we’re 14 days into our new-normal… and none of those things have happened #laundryfordays
But that’s okay. I’ve been here before and I know that there’s momentum in the small steps. By breaking down my tasks in manageable bite-sized steps I know this mountain of organization, paperwork and laundry can be tackled.
Having rental properties means that not only do you have to budget and keep your own finances organized, but also the $$ of your properties. And come April, when the Ghost of Taxman’s Past starts sneaking up on you, you’ll thank yourself you did this NOW.
I've put together 4 actionable, easy to follow steps you can try today to start moving in the right direction:
#1. Pick a day
You have to start somewhere, and if it’s not blocked out in your schedule the chances of you putting it off is pretty likely. To start off, pick 1 day. I like to pick Monday. Next step, schedule a time. Put it in your calendar like an appointment. Phewf. That’s done. See, it’s easy. Now that’s your “day” - you have my permission to not do any rental property paperwork until that day. Keep a “to do” list of things that may come up, but don’t actually do anything, like making a “honey-do-list” for future you.
#2. Pick your tool
How do you normally track your property’s income + expenses? Do you use an app, a program, spreadsheet, good ol’ pen + paper? Maybe a mix? I personally am a BIG pen-to-paper-girl. Which is both annoying + time consuming, but I keep coming back to it, so I'm just gonna go with what works. What I do is a mix of paper + an excel spreadsheet. I’ve tried a bunch of different tools, Quickbooks, Xero, Excel, a binder, a combo… and what I found has been the easiest for me to stick to is a spreadsheet + a paper checklist.
I have a checklist for every month that goes over all the expenses. There’s no numbers, no dates, just the months at the top and a list of all the expenses along the side. On my “day” I go over the checklist and confirm that things that need to be paid have been. Then I go to my spreadsheet and input the $$$ into the appropriate cells.
#3. Do the fun stuff first
Is there anything about the paperwork side of your rental properties that’s more “fun” than the others? Is it tracking the income? Is it recording how much you’ve reduced the mortgage by? Is it the profit number? Whatever is your favourite number to see, do that one first. Some say to save the best for last, but nnaaaww, just start with the fun stuff. The idea is that it’ll create some momentum and get you excited to keep going.
#4. Step away, but before you do: schedule your next date + start your “to do list”
When you have gone through your “day checklist” do ONE more thing before you step away. Add another “rental property bookkeeping day” to your calendar for next month. Schedule it and start a new “honey-do-checklist” for future you. I make mine the 3rd Monday of every month. As you think of anything you missed, or things to do for next time add it to that next session.
You’re not alone! And I know once you have things organized and streamlined you are going to feel amazing #likearealadult. BUT don’t try and tackle all the steps in one day. That’s overwhelming, leaves you full of dread and will likely leave you putting it off until the taxman says YOU HAVE TO DO IT. Who needs that stress? No one.
In October, on the 3rd Monday of the month [my "day"]: October 16th I will be doing a walkthrough of the actual systems and steps I do to stay on top of my rentals + personal $$. If you’d like to peek over my shoulder I'd love for you to join me via online webinar. Sign up below: