The end of the financial year came and went yet again. And yet again we scrambled on June 29 to cobble together all our crumpled receipts and group certificates. Yet again we crammed it all in a shoebox and handed it to our accountants with a shamed look that said “I’m so sorry” plastered on our faces. We all want to do our best to save money but it’s HARD to adult!

But never fear, we told ourselves, next year we would be organised. Next year we would have all our proof of purchases ready to go. We’d proudly have kept a log of our car use for business. We’d maybe even graduate from a shoebox to a proper manilla folder.

Well, we don’t mean to alarm you, but next financial year is NOW, people! The best time to get organised is this very minute, so here are our best tips to keep you sorted so you never have to face accountant shame again.

1. Keep those receipts… for now

Yeah, we know it’s a hassle to keep track of all those scrunched-up, rapidly fading bits of paper but trust us, it will be worth real cash monies come tax time. Don’t worry, you don’t have to hold on to them forever, thanks to our next handy tip.

2. There’s an app for that

Why stretch out the leather on your poor Mimco with receipts all year when you can have them in a virtual wallet instead? There are plenty of apps out there that not only let you take photos of receipts but also use cool text recognition software to identify the retailer and amount spent, and file that information for you in a tax-time ready format. You can even opt to have them sent to your email address so you have a back-up copy. Give Itemize and Shoeboxed a go, and maybe you can keep your shoeboxes just for shoes.

Itemize screenshot

Apps such as Itemize use text recognition software to read receipts and file information away for you.

3. You can claim that?!

You could be missing out on hundreds if not thousands of dollars from unclaimed expenses. Educate yourself on what’s claimable in your industry and you’ll save money. You may be able to claim a portion of your car or phone use, or even Netflix! Speak to a Brisbane accountant for extra advice or check out the ATO website.

Netflix shot

Could you be claiming a portion of your Netflix subscription?

 4. You gotta have goals.

The hard business of saving money is made much easier if you have something specific to save for. It’s basically “I might just put this money over here because saving is the responsible, grown-up thing to do” versus “this will go towards my beachside massage while sipping a cocktail or two in Bora Bora.”

Bora Bora

Sigh… I GUESS I can save money if it’s for Bora Bora.

5. Budget and pay down debt

Yeah we know, BORING, but sometimes when you’re a grown-up you just gotta suck it up. Doing up a budget is the best way to keep track of your dollars and retain some sense. If it all seems too hard, there are also money tracking apps such as ASIC’s MoneySmart that can help you control your cash splashing. Next, pay down your debt such as credit cards, car loans and personal loans. Paying interest is one step above flushing money down the loo, so you might want to limit that as much as possible.

6. Speak with the pros

Now you’re completely organised, there’s no shame in speaking to those who are trained to get you the most money back possible at tax time. An expert can guide you through the steps and provide personalised advice one-on-one. And isn’t it so much nicer to get a big, fat cheque back from the tax office when you didn’t have to fill out all the paperwork?

So yeah, we know it’s early in the financial year but remember, you PROMISED yourself you’d get on top of it this year, and you don’t want to start it all off by breaking promises. Get on it, and you’ll thank us (and yourself!)

Just a quick note: This post is sponsored, but we only write about things we reckon you’ll think are awesome. We’re all about sharing the love here at Style, and it’s the love from sponsors that helps make that happen. Thanks for the inspiration CommBank Flagship Brisbane!

Want to win $250 to go with the 1000s you’ve saved? Vote for one of our Style + Substance finalists for your chance to win