Like most of us, I like my money and would prefer not to part with it. There’s something extremely satisfying about watching numbers in a savings account grow. Sure, I like to go on vacation as much as the next girl, and I can't always resist that cute scarf or Target dollar-bin item. In general, though, I try to save whenever I can. And this can make paying bills a bit painful.
After we bought our house, the number of bills we had to pay each month seemed to skyrocket. We suddenly had more accounts with more companies for more services. Some bills could only be paid online, and some could only be paid by mail. Some were due on the first of the month, some at the end of the month, and some on a seemingly random day, ostensibly for no other reason than to confuse the heck out of me. Between all of this and my tendency to stack the mail in various places around the house (whichever empty surface I got to first), there was a period of some nearly-late payments and a general lack of organization.
Feeling out-of-control of your finances is not a great feeling, so I decided to make a change. After all, there was a time (in an earlier and simpler stage of my life) when I'd really enjoyed the process of paying bills and checking them off my list. Call me crazy, but I know there are others of you out there. You're probably also the people who, like me, enjoy making a to-do list after you've already completed some of the tasks just so you can cross them off. In any case, I felt certain I could bring myself back to that point of slightly enjoying the emptying of my bank accounts, provided it was done in an organized way.
So, I created some charts that have really helped me to organize my monthly bills. I wanted to keep them fairly simple so that I would actually use them. Oftentimes, complicated record-keeping begins with the best intentions and ends up at the bottom of a pile of magazines. I have one chart per month, and they are each unique in their color scheme, just to keep things fresh. Each chart lists the month at the top and then has three columns: Bill, Date Due, and Date Paid. I have my charts laminated, and write on them with a washable marker (currently a blueberry-scented marker, which makes the entire process one hundred times better). At the end of the month, I wipe off the chart and move it to the back of the pile so it's ready for the next year. Here's this month's chart (not filled in, of course).
I've found this tool to be super helpful. I'd love to share it with you. For a limited time, subscribe to our mailing list (find it here)and get the charts for free! If you give the charts a try, I'd love to hear what you think! Happy organizing!