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I cannot tell you how much of a mess I used to be. I'd pay some bills when I remembered, some I'd wait 3 months, some I'd pay 3 months ahead, and then forget to pay 3 months later ... seriously, I was a mess. Constantly paying late fees, over fees, shut off fees etc. My life has become so much easier since I became somewhat organized.

The first thing I did was to set up folders for each monthly bill, and then a folder for each other-than-monthly bill (like car registration, property taxes, etc). I set up a section in my desk at work where my personal files go. It is where I do my internet stuff, so it was the most day-to-day convenient for me.

The second thing I did was to get a small calendar that I could easily keep in my handbag, mine is the size of a checkbook. Then I sat down and wrote down the name of the bill (water bill, Chase credit card, whatever) on the date that it was due, so that I couldn't make the excuse of "I didn't know it was due". The bills that charge late fees (mortgage, etc) get their names written down twice ... once on the due dat, and once on the late-fee date, just so I can have that "fluff date" if needed. The credit cards are written in RED because they MUST be paid on or before their due dates, end of story. The calendar gets looked at every single day, normally in the morning when I am sitting at a stop light I'll look at it, then again at work to double check, I am constantly looking at the thing.

In the past year since I set it up I haven't paid a late fee that I wasn't 100% aware of, I haven't had one utility shut off, my life is so much easier since I am always aware of where every penny I pay goes, and when it will go there. Instead of hiding my head in the sand, HOPING things will get better for me, I am MAKING things get better by meeting my bills head on.

Thats great, I think I need to take that kind of approach to get myself a little more organized...I remember to pay the bills, but some are always late...

Sub: #1 posted on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 14:03

dawnlango7 dawnlango7

(Posts: 1147 | Credits: )

Good job!!

I keep track of everything on a spreadsheet. That way I know if I'm missing any bills that didn't come in the mail, and I know the due dates and amounts of everything. I also have them grouped by priority, so that if we are low on funds (almost always!), I know which bills HAVE to be paid on time and which ones can wait a bit.

I also track my daily expenses (gas, groceries, etc.) on a spreadsheet so that I always know where our money is going.

Sub: #2 posted on Mon, 10/06/2008 - 17:32

alias1958 alias1958

(Posts: 1230 | Credits: )

Sounds like you're doing a good job. I keep track of everything via spreadsheet. It's just easier and it works for me. For my gas and groceries, though, I have a set budget and take it out of my bank account in cash for the week, and then once it's gone, it's gone, and I put any extra toward next week's gas and groceries.

Sub: #3 posted on Thu, 04/23/2009 - 09:16

regbyandjulie regbyandjulie

(Posts: 144 | Credits: )

any extra I have (rare, but it does occasionasionally happen) I deposit back into my account, and then pay it towards a credit card. Even if it is only a few dollars.

Sub: #4 posted on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 07:37

smo65d11 smo65d11

(Posts: 1468 | Credits: )

I just use Quicken..........

Sub: #5 posted on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 02:57


I have a paper cutter (the kind they use in school; has
a handle).

I cut all bills at 6 3/4 inches from the top; then punch
with 6 holes for the DayTimer binder. They get fan-
folded and are placed in the binder.

So I just 'flip thru the book' whenever I get anxious
(not very often) and when paying batches of bills.

Payments are written on the bills with a pen, when
made, with the date. At least 3 months' back history
is kept in the book. For the most part, all I do is look
for the same amounts I wrote as 'paid' on new bills
that come in. So if I wrote $37.19 to the gas company
in January, in February I look at the new bill to see if
they credited the account for $37.19. They've never
made a mistake.

Some of the accounts will combine multiple payments
I made in a single month, to a single figure. I just scan
the previous bill for mutliple hand-written annotations,
and do the quick math.

The sections of the flip-book are ordered in sequence
(approximately) by due dates. So if the electric bill
is typically due before the phone bill is due, the electric
bill is filed earlier in the flip-book (towards the front of
the book). All electric bills are filed ahead of all phone
bills, in sequence by date (newest bill 'on top'). So
they're in reverse chronological order (most urgent on
top throughout the book).

If I get confused I pull the top bill from each account
and file them altogether in the front of the book. If
it's bill-paying day I might pull each latest bill and hold
them in my hand, shuffling them and thinking it

Often I can pay everyone, which makes the math

If I can't, I have it down cold how to pay each of them
just enough to be (what I call) '29 days before current';
that is, I pay them just a dollar or two on currently
due amount plus all amounts due more than 30 days.
I generally don't play that game 3 month's running,
though; it gets tiring to do all that math each month
just so I can buy a $30 feel-good trinket instead of
catching up on a bill.

I try to be current (zero balance, or a small $3.00 credit
they owe me for overpaying slightly) at least every 3
months on each account; often I go 5 to 7 months
having them owe me a little something every month
(which proves I have a zero balance; nothing late).

Basically though for me it comes down to working the
system I've set up; sometimes I just don't want to,
and wing it (I'm pretty accurate so that works out
well but is a lot more stressful than having all the
numbers at my fingertips).

I have a vertical file that hangs on the door; it has slots
angled upward; each slot can hold maybe 5 unopened
envelopes from the utility bills etc. I use that to collect
unopened bills and never let it get too full; by the time
5 different vendors have billed me, it's time to set
aside an hour or two to sit down with these 5 arrived
bills and see what's in them.

By the way, I do look at my checking account online,
and print to file (to PDF) when I need to, then encrypt
it and store it offline (where the Internets can't get
to it). Enough so that there's no reason to read the
printed (ground mailed) statement from the bank.

I have to force myself to open the statements, as I
just about never learn anything useful from them --
they confirm my own records every time.

Sub: #6 posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 03:24


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