I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few years now and the best time to do it seems to be fresh in the New Year when everyone’s goals and perspectives are open and receptive. If you are looking to get more organized with your bills in 2018 I have some tips. Let me just say I am in no way shape or formed certified to give out financial advice. I just know what works for my household and I’ve been asked by a few friends to share my tools. My husand and I are still in the process of learning more ways to save money ourselves without totally alertnating our lives like never ordering take out again or having to eat shoprite brand food every week. We are no where near where we want to be but we are also not drowning in debt so CHEERS to that!
In order to get your bills organized you’ll need some basic supplies. I use a notebook (preferably a cute one so I don’t look at it with disgust every time pay day comes along), a calculator (my phone) and my favorite pen. If you are looking for ways to balance your check book this is not the post for you because the only time I use my checkbook is for rent and that’s because you always need proof to keep a roof over your head. I know some people like to use a calendar which can also work. I choose not to use a calendar for bills only because I rather pay all my bills all in one day so I don’t have to think about another bill until next pay day!
My method to never paying a bill late is this: The first thing my husband and I do is pay our bills before we spend ANY money. We go through each bill that has a due date between our pay dates. So for example, if our pay dates in January were the 12th and the 26th, on our January 12th pay day we would pay each bill that is due January 12- though the 25th. This allows us to never miss or forget to pay a bill. I adopted this method when I lived on my own and then helped my husband onto the band wagon. Though mishaps can happen, I have to say in our 10 year relationship we have rarely ever paid a bill late (bills together and separate). Late bills can lead to higher interest rates on credit cards, late fees and a lower credit score! No bueno!
- Take small steps: I basically write out a draft in my notebook (my cute notebook) of each bill that is due during that pay period. I also list next to each bill the amount due. I crunch numbers. I was never the best in math but when it comes to money I am pretty good at figuring out what works for us! I subtract the set amounts on specific bills like Rent, Insurance, Student Loans, ect… and when it comes to credit cards (I try to pay in full) for any reason my bill is extra high, I’ll leave it blank and come back to it.
- I then go through any special events that we have and put money aside leading up to that event. For example: In March we have a family wedding so we will decide on how much we can gift and we break down our paychecks and put that money aside where it won’t be touched. This gives us piece of mind that by the time the wedding is here, our gift will already be saved up and we will not have to worry about dispensing a large amount of money at the last minute. Our gift is now happily accounted for without regretfully having to choose between giving a gift and paying our electric bill! Ouch!
- Once events are accounted for I usually give myself a budget for two weeks (until next pay day). This allows me to control impulsive spending in order to have room for savings and pay down credit cards that got higher than expected. Once that is all written out… I do a walk through with my handy calculator. I take my overall account balance and subtract all the main bills, events and two week budget. Whatever is then left over I will spread it out and pay off credit cards or send directly to our savings account. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve gone many months with nothing left over to save. Finances can be a struggle at times. I know this method may not always work well with everyone’s pay schedule but you can alternate to work for you. This method has been working for us for quite a long time now. We rarely fight about bills or money and it also allows my husband to enjoy his own spending money as I enjoy mine.
If you have any other tips and tricks on keeping track with finances, please share in the comments. Also, share any saving tips with me as well. They’d be highly appreciated!
January is all about starting fresh and making better goals for 2018! I hope you will follow along with me. Until next time….