Bills are one of those things I keep meticulous track of!
Have you ever had a payment come out of your account when you weren’t expecting it, or maybe you just forgot to pay the bill and ended up with a hefty late fee? I have, and it’s not fun.
The Time I Let GO…
Ok, this isn’t the only time this has happened, but most recent. After I had my youngest child, things were busy. I had a new baby with a few health issues I was worried about. Not to mention, 3 of my kids came down with a nasty stomach bug just 2 weeks after she was born. So I was stuck in a camper with 4 sick people, trying to take care of them and keep me and baby healthy in such a small space. Then on top of that we were moving in a week, baby had appointments to get to. Ugh… busy! Important things got put on the wayside.
I didn’t even realize I had forgotten to pay a few very important bills and it ended up costing us an extra $50 in late fees on top of what we already owed. Then somehow, after we moved, a check that I had sent out to pay a bill, before we had even moved, bounced. All because I had forgotten about an auto payment that just happened to pop up the day before they tried to put the check through. It dropped our account just a few dollars below what it would have taken to pay the bill. Ugh! So we ended up with a late fee AND insufficient funds fee from our bank causing our bank account to actual fall into the negatives! Awesome (NOT REALLY!)
This was all purely circumstance. I was preoccupied with other important things in my life. I know you probably have had something similar happen to you. Things have the tendency to get away from you sometimes. BUT… you can try to stay on top of things, and even though sometimes things don’t go as planned, at least you HAVE a plan to come back to. Once things got settled down and I was able to make bills a priority things fell back into place. That can happen for you too!
Whether you are just starting out with bills or your bills have become your worst enemy in terms of trying to stay on top of things. I’m positive you will get some use out of what I have to offer.
Now that I have laid that all out, I’d like to share with you some ideas and freebies to help you organize and keep track of your bills.
My Recurring Bills List:
I feel like everyone needs a recurring bills list. This is a list of all of the bills paid on a regular basis. Such as utilities, internet, mortgage or rent, etc.
On this list is the due date, the bill, and the approximate amount. I say approximate because sometimes bills might change. Our utility bills, for instance, can fluctuate anywhere from $10 to $30, depending on so many factors. I also have a spot to mark if it is auto pay.
I change this list whenever we add a bill that will be recurring or drop a bill that was recurring, like car payments.
I keep this list in my home management binder, which you can read about here if you’d like to start one. I love mine and it’s such an amazing place to keep important things organized and handy. (Like usernames, passwords, and account numbers, among other things.)
My Bills Worksheet:
I use to use a checklist type list, ya know the ones that you write the bill and due date and then under each month that you pay it, you just check it off? I love the idea of it but, unfortunately it didn’t really work for us.
It helps to keep track of the bills that you have paid, but it doesn’t really give you any insight. And one thing I know is I am the type of person who needs insight. Insight is good especially if you have a budget and need to keep track of your expenses.
So, after figuring out that the checklist wasn’t working, I devised a new worksheet. I love it. I’ve been using it for over a year now and haven’t changed a thing! (This is kind of a big deal in my world!)
This worksheet is an all in one. It has tables for recurring bills, extra bills, and money that comes in every month. It also has a mini calendar. This is so much easier than having multiple sheets just to pay your bills. (Especially if you are anything like me and already have multiple worksheets for EVERYTHING! What can I say? I’m obsessive.)
In the recurring bills section, I write all the bills that are on our recurring bills list with the due date and amount. If I don’t know the amount, I wait for the bill to arrive and then fill it in. Sometimes this will apply to due dates as well. You know, like when February rolls around and you have a bill that is on a 30 day cycle? Suddenly your bill isn’t due until the second week in March.
In the extra bills section, I write anything that comes up, such as a sudden medical bill, unexpected school fees, or overdraft fees… ugh.
In the money in section, I write all the money that comes in for the month. At the beginning of the month I make sure to write down all the money still on hand and in accounts from the previous month. This is for budgeting and spending purposes, which you can read more about in this blog post.
I use the mini calendar as a reference (rather than having to pull out an actual calendar) when I am working the bills into our monthly plan. I also mark paydays using small dollar signs. You could make a “key” that has symbols for things like “Bill Due”, “Unexpected Bill”, “Make Payment”, etc.
Staying on top of the bills:
After write everything into my bills worksheet, I will write them on my calendar. I also write all of them on my monthly planner page, the weekly ones on my weekly planner page, and my upcoming ones (within a week) on my daily planner page. I know, it seems like overkill, but it never hurts to have a few extra reminders.
When I pay a bill, I mark it off on my worksheet and cross it off all of my planner pages.
Now for the freebies:
Just click to download.
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