This week is my annual review of how I do my finances. In our home I take care of finances because my husband says that it stresses him out. So, I plot and plan and worry for him. I honestly think he would do a better job at it because he is a saver and more frugal than I am. I am prone to nickel and dime everything away on little nothings. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I’m kind of impulsive and when I get an idea, I want to buy whatever it takes RIGHT NOW. Of course I can only act on my ideas that don’t cost much because our funds aren’t large. Anyway, I keep the finances and each year I review how I do it and print out a year’s worth of recording sheets at once.
Over the year’s I have come up with a way that works really well in preventing me from forgetting to pay something. That had been a problem several years ago. If for some reason I didn’t recieve a bill or if one got misplaced once it arrived, it went unpaid. Then I would inevitably spend the money I needed and I would get a not so nice disconnect notice. Pretty embarrassing. The system that I use now (which I’m still working on) has mostly eliminated forgetting to pay something.
What I have done is make a form using Word (Excell would work great too, but I haven’t spent much time learning it). This form contains 6 tables to a page, so 12 printed front and back. Each table has one month’s bills listed and the dates of each paycheck. Bills that are the same amount each month have the amounts printed in and anything that deducts automatically from our account each month is marked with an asterisk. There are a couple blank lines in each table for surprise expenses. And bills that are only paid annually are placed in the correct month the bill is paid such as our car registration. That way I’m not surprised when the bill comes for that I know when it’s due because I can see it listed on my sheet.
Paying my bills this way has also helped me to have a record of when something was last paid. Sometimes my payment is sent a day after the next billing cycle and so I receive a bill listing two month’s on it. I can quickly look on my sheet to see what I actually owe. And for someone like me with a really sketchy memory that is wonderful. I also jot down reference numbers, check numbers etc. on my sheet as I pay the bills. This gives me a one stop reference for those transactions.
This year I am adding a sheet to track our money. It’s just a simple table with columns for income, Bills, Groceries/Gas/Etc., and Surplus. This will give me a place to track whether or not we have a surplus and it will help me see how much money I am actually wasting. I hope anyway.
I also plan to create a form with all of the utilities listed. It will contain the phone numbers and our account numbers for each utility. This will make contacting them for any reason easier. Especially for those times when a bill doesn’t arrive.
I am old fashioned in that I receive most of my bills in the mail. I pay most of them online, but I like to have the bill to look at and I am absent-minded and don’t trust myself to pay them if I go paperless. I know that is the future, but I am resisting.
Our finances aren’t exactly fun, but it is very much easier since I have organized them better. I’m still working on a place to keep the bills until I pay them. I haven’t found a place I’m really happy with yet. I have some ideas, but I’m trying very hard to resist the urge to act on them RIGHT NOW, lol. I’m praying that the Lord would help me to become a better steward of His money and be a better blessing to my husband and children in doing so.
Well, that is how I control our finances. How do you keep your finances under control? And where do you keep you bills before paying them? I could use some more ideas 😉