Paying the bills. It’s not something I find enjoyable and our current bookkeeping system has not been working for us. This week a friend introduced me to a simple system for organizing unpaid bills and tracking payments for monthly bills. I thought the system was so efficient that I wanted to share it with my readers.
The key to this system is to find a calendar that works for you. This Calendar in particular has a pocket that it slides into so it keeps all of your bills in once place and they are not falling out all over the place. I’m using my Moleskine Portfolio Binder with calendar pages. You could even use some of the ideas here to use something like Google Calendar to track your bills, but I think the beauty in this system is that it is simple and on paper. It’s a system that you can simply grab when you need it. Low tech can sometimes be more efficient!
1. Put it in the Calendar: When you receive a bill in the mail immediately put it in your calendar. Write the bill and amount due in BLACK or BLUE ink. You want to be sure to write the bill on the date that you need to make the payment, not necessarily the due date. Counting back 5-6 days is usually enough time to write the check and pop it in the mail or make the payment online. You can then store the bill right in the calendar page that corresponds with the due date to keep things simple.
Add regular monthly Bills: Go ahead and put in all of your regular monthly bills like rent, if they are regularly the same amount and due on the same day every month.
Add the miscellaneous: You can write in birthdays, holidays and other unexpected expenses on the calendar as well. That way you are prepared each month.
2. Cross it off: When you make a payment you will then cross out the bill.
3. Note important details: Write the amount paid (if necessary) the date that you made the payment, and the check number in RED pen. (Using a red pen makes it easy to quickly look at your calendar and see what’s been paid.) You can also write in any other notes that might be important; if the payment is late, overdue or if there is a credit on the account.
4. File It: Once the bill is paid you can file it. If you ever need to know if a bill was paid or what check was used you can simply grab your calendar to see the details.
Why I love it:
1. Visual: I love that when you glance at the calendar it is easy to see what bills have been paid and what bills are unpaid. I’m a visual learner so by seeing the red ink and crossed out bill I’m more likely to remember that the bill is all set.
2. Dual purpose: I love that the calendar can also store the unpaid bills so I don’t have to dig through files or piles to find the bill that I need for that month.
3. Simple: This method is an excellent and simple way to keep track of your monthly bills. There are many excellent computer based or cloud based systems. It’s refreshing to find a paper based system that is truly simple. An added benefit is that it’s easy to look back after a year and get a snapshot of how you spent your money so you can budget accordingly. This may not be a high tech solution for organizing your bills but it’s simple and always right there!
4. Organized: Having all of this information in one place helps to keep your bookkeeping organized. If I ever need to know what check was used to pay a bill or on what day I mailed out a check I can just grab the calendar and all of that information is at my fingertips! If you share your finances both spouses can easily open up the calendar and see what’s been paid and what bills are outstanding.
If you’re looking for a simple solution to organize your bills this might be your solution. It’s easy to get set up and get started; give it a try. I set up my “Finance Binder” last week and I’ll be curious to see how it works for us. My husband loves that he can take a quick look at the calendar and know what’s still outstanding for the month. I’ll follow up in a month to let you know how it’s working for me!