I am not a neat freak. I’ve accepted it, and I’m going to let my piles of paper and stacks of dirty dishes be as they may.

But I still hate paying late fees.

To balance my imperfect tidiness with my stinginess, I found three apps that make up the difference.

The trick is to avoid using technology to be organized. The solution to never paying a late fee is to use technology to replace my memory and store information.

  • Don’t know where the water bill is? Evernote has a digital copy.
  • Can’t remember if you paid the cable bill? Mint can tell you.
  • Want to cancel a trial membership in 29 days? Todoist will remind you.

Below are the free tools I use to make up for my shortcomings. It’s okay not to be a neat freak.

Evernote remembers everything for me.

An elephant never forgets, and Evernote is saved in the cloud. I try to live a near-paperless life as I have a healthy fear of throwing away important information.

Instead of worrying about where a piece of paper is hiding, I scan it into Evernote. With the right words and tagging, finding information is fast and east.

Since everything is saved in the cloud, I can use the mobile app to look up information at any time. I also don’t have to worry about backing up my computer.

Evernote is handy for those few companies and bills that aren’t quite up to speed with emailing statements.

Mint tracks every penny.

With Mint, I now have one place that tells me if the cable bill was paid and how much my wife spent at Bed Bath & Beyond last weekend.

There are other great budgeting and money tracking apps, but Mint is still my favorite. All my bank accounts and credit cards are linked to Mint, so each swipe of a card and Amazon Prime purchase is in one place.

Did the cable bill get paid? Check Mint. How much did we spend on groceries last month? Check Mint. How much was our tax refund from two years ago? Check Mint.

No paper, no files, no receipts, and no folders. I know where every penny of my money has gone. It’s bliss.

Todoist reminds me at the right time.

What I can’t stand about paper to-do lists is that they are on paper. Having to rewrite or reorganize a week of tasks is a waste of time, and I ecstatic when I found Todoist.

My favorite feature is the recurring tasks, and I created a daily task to check my Mint account. Every day, I log on to Mint and check to see how what is going on with my money. Once I’m done, I mark the task as finished in Todoist.

Not only do I gain the satisfaction of checking a task off my to-do list, but I also don’t have to remember to put it on my list for tomorrow. The task hides from me today (after I’m finished) and shows up on my list tomorrow.

There is nothing quite as enraging as signing up for a free trial and then forgetting to cancel your membership before the trial ends. Todoist is great for reminding you of one-time tasks like ending a trial membership or buying milk at the store.

With Todoist, my life got easier, and my wallet got fatter.

Which to use first?

Getting used to these apps takes a little time, and I don’t want you to overwhelm yourself.

If you want to try all three of these apps but are afraid of trying to do too much at once, here is the order you should use.

  1. Start with Mint and track all your money in one spot. But don’t worry about budgeting or goals for now.
  2. Next, sign up for Todoist and get used to making electronic to-do lists. Be sure to try out recurring tasks.
  3. Finally, start using Evernote to save scans of paper documents. If you don’t have a scanner, you can email pictures to Evernote from your phone.

Finally, all these apps have free versions that work great. After a while, I fell in love with Evernote and Todoist, and I upgraded to their premium versions. But for now, get used to the free versions and see how you like them. Good luck!

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