How do you keep up with your bills each month? Do you know when each one is due and approximately how much you will be paying out for each one?
Sometimes, when you have a lot of bills, it can get complicated trying to remember when they are due, and whether you have paid all the bills yet for the month.
Although my methods are simple, they have been quite effective for me for the last 10 years. All you need is a monthly pocket calendar and a pencil to begin. This is also a budget friendly way to keep up with your bills - no expensive software to buy.
How does it work?
The idea is to jot down all your bills and amounts on their due dates each month. Some may only be approximate, within a day or two, but most will probably be the same date each month.
Also, if you get paid biweekly, highlight the dates on the calendar that you will be getting your paycheck. If you make deposits regularly into your savings account, write down how much will be going into savings from each paycheck. I have provided an example to help you visualize the concept.
By recording all this information on your calendar, you will be able to easily see when your bills are due and calculate from paycheck to paycheck what you have to spend after your bills are paid.
As you pay bills, check off each one so that you know they have been paid for that month. This will also help ensure that if for some reason, a bill does not arrive in the mail, you will know and can get it taken care of without late fees and other complications.
As an added bonus to me, since I keep my calendar in my purse, it is always accessible to me wherever I am. I can also keep up with other events and appointments right there in my handy little calendar.
What if the bills vary quite a bit from month to month?
Credit Cards: Some bills, like credit cards, that depend upon your purchases for the prior month, will take a little more work. For those bills, first you need to find out when the cut-off date is for the credit card.
Keep up with how much you spend during that time period this month. Then write that amount down on next month’s credit card due date in your calendar.
Electric Bill: An electric bill can also fluctuate quite a bit from one month to the next especially during certain times of the year. You may want to check with your electric company to see if they offer levelized, or averaged billing. You will probably have to be with that electric company for at least a year to even qualify.
What they do is, instead of billing you each month for the actual electric costs, they average out the costs over twelve months, and you pay an averaged bill each month.
In other words, your electric bill may actually be $113 in June, but you may pay $187. But then in January, your electric bill may actually be $221, but you would still only pay about $187.
Of course, depending on how your electric company calculates the average, your bill may still fluctuate a few dollars from month to month. However, it should not be an extreme amount, therefore, making it much easier for you to budget for electricity each month.
It may be worth it for you to find out if your electric company offers this service.
Organizing the Actual Bills to be Paid
I have found that the best way to organize bills that you are not ready to pay yet, is to find a special place for them on a desk, table or counter, perhaps in a mail organizer. Then simply stack them in the order that they will come due, with the next bill due in front.
When you get paid, try to sit down and pay, at once, all the bills that have to be paid out of your current paycheck. This will help you see, in your checkbook, the actual amount that you have left to spend before you get paid again.
(Note: If you only have a few small bills to pay out of this paycheck, but have a heavy load of bills after next paycheck, be sure to account for any carryover necessary to cover those bigger bills.)
Well, this may not be your typical budgeting plan, but I find that is suits me better than any other method that I have tried. So, if you haven’t found a method that you love, try this one. Maybe it will be the one for you too.
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