Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Organized Bill Paying

Like I said in my post about creating a budget, I could have cared less about budgeting and bill paying until I started couponing and becoming more aware of where our money went. I am blessed to be married to a man who is very organized, especially in the area of papers and money. For the longest time Lee took care of all of the budgeting and bill paying and he did a fabulous job. After talking with him and looking over all of the accounts, the bill schedule, and the way he kept up with it all, we decided that I would take it over. I didn't want to usurp his territory, but wanted to take the load off of him as well as get a better grasp on our finances.

Bill paying is definitely an area that requires organization. I can't imagine just trying to remember what bills you have and when they are due (not to mention making sure that the outgo doesn't exceed the income at any given point). We pay our bills in a myriad of ways. Some we write checks and mail, some we have to go on the website and enter information, and some are auto drafted from our checking or credit card. This seemed so confusing to me at first wondering, "What do I pay, when, and how?"

I decided to do what I do best, make a chart and check off sheet. I went from the 1st day of the month through the last filling in a chart with the day of the month, what the bill was, how much it was (if it was constant or a guess), what account it came from and how exactly it was paid. This is my cheat sheet so that I can just go to it and follow step-by-step instructions so that each bill gets paid the right way.

I then filled in the 12 month calendar for this year with each bill that was due. I color-coded them (red = take action, green = auto draft from credit card, blue = auto draft from checking). This helps me to see if a bill is coming up and if I will need to do something for it. If I need to, I go to the cheat sheet and follow the steps. If it is auto drafted, I just go check the credit card or checking account statement online to make sure it went through. If it was from the checking account, I reconcile the check book. I then mark out the bill on the calendar so that I can see that I paid everything.

I hope that all of that made sense. I know that I am really OCD and anal about things and some people probably have systems that are really simple and they work great for them. I just thought I would share what I have been doing.

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