Last week in our quest to free up time and space and feel more organized this year, I shared my ideas on staying real organized with your money by creating a budget. This week, I want to talk about being real organized with paying bills. Maybe not the most appealing topic, but way more appealing than paying late fees or having no idea what you owe and when it is due. I’m telling you, getting these little and seemingly boring things take care of will free up your mind for other things….like fun crafts or DIY projects or time with the kids. 🙂
Not only does it free up space in your mind both creating a budget and being organized with paying bills, but it will help reduce your stress and your stress related to money. Those are always good things. This week’s tasks are a lot easier than last week’s task of creating a budget. Though they truly go hand in hand and can be done at the same time. As usual, I’ve got some printables to help make this a tad bit easier and more organized for you.
This is part of my weekly real organized series where I am sharing one small(ish) project each week to help us get our home and our family a bit more organized. The goal of this series is for us to be able to organize some of those things that we as moms have to deal with on a weekly or daily basis. By organizing those things we can free up time in our week as well as space in our homes and minds. All of these things free us up to pursue spending more time with our family as well as find some time and space to do something we love and find fulfilling as well.
The first thing that we need to do to organized paying bills is to know to whom we pay money each month. We also need to keep track of those bi-monthly, quarterly, or yearly expenses as well. If you have started working on your budget, you should have some of this info. already in your mind or on paper. I know that much of what we do today is digital. I still think it is a very good idea to have a list of the companies that you deal with as well as their phone number, website (and password), as well as your account number.
You can track all of that on my printable. It is really handy to quickly find everything in one place. I find it especially handy when we have power outages due to storms in the summer. I love being able to quickly find the electric company information and call to find out an update on when we will get power back. I keep a copy of this form in our family notebook. That way my husband and I both know where it is and can easily find the information.
I keep a copy of this form in our family notebook. That way my husband and I both know where it is and can easily find the information.
The second part of being organized paying bills is to know when things are due as well as if you have paid them. Generally, there are a set of bills that you pay each month and they are due at the same time each month. You can keep track of those so that they don’t sneak up on you. You can track them on this sheet. To tie it all back to where we started in the Real Organized series, I also have a spot for tracking your bills in my printable planners. Yay to keeping it all working together!
If you are just getting started with being organized paying bills, I highly recommend you keep track of everything on paper for a few months so that you really know where your money is going and when. To me, there is just something different about writing it out versus keeping it digitally.
Once you really have a handle on your bills, I highly recommend automating things. It totally is a lifesaver and makes sure that things are paid on time no matter what. My bank, USAA, offers free bill pay online. I have all of the bills that I can receive electronically go there. I am able to set them up to auto pay. The great thing about USAA’s bill pay is that I can set parameters. I can set it to pay the bill the day it is due or on some other specific date. I can also set that it is only paid if it is up to a certain dollar amount. For example, my Verizon bill is set to pay it if the bill is under $150. If for some reason the bill is over that amount, it won’t auto pay the bill and I am sent a notice by USAA Bill Pay. I have it set that way for a couple of reasons.
I have a budget, if a bill is going over my budget, I may need to rework things to pay it. I don’t want my bank account to overdraw because of a random high bill. I also want to be able to look at that bill and figure out why it is higher than normal. There may be some issue that I need to address or some mistake that was made that I need to call and get corrected. In essence, the way I have the bills set up to auto pay are a safeguard for me.
To tie together automation for budgeting and bill paying, for those bills that I auto pay, I have a recurring transaction set up in Goodbudget to add that payment to whatever envelope it is paid from on the date that the bill is auto-paid. That way, I’m not assuming I have more money than I do. It keeps it all automated and keeps me on track with paying the bills as well as sticking to our budget.
Paying bills can be a nightmare if you don’t have a plan and know where your money is going. It can also be very simple when you have a budget and you know where your money is going each month. I know that the time it takes to set all of this up can be a pain and feel like torture…or is that just me. I also know that when you have your budget and paying bills organized and automated, it totally frees up time and space in your mind.
Time, space, and money to have fun with other things…like crafts, DIY projects and your kids. 🙂 Sounds great to me!
How do you organize paying bills? I’d love to hear more ideas…I know there are plenty of different methods. Leave me a comment below.
Can’t get enough of organizing? I’ve got a whole Pinterest board you are going to LOVE!
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