Thursday, January 15, 2009

Maintain Your Monthly Plan

There's a couple really simple things I do to stay on top of our monthly spending plan (see "Make a Monthly Spending Plan" below). Here's a few easy tips to stay organized and on track.

1. Put All Your Bills in One Place

As soon as we get a bill, I open it and write the amount due and the due date on the outside of the envelope. Then I immediately put it on my desk so all the bills stay together in one place.

2. Pay Your Bills on Time

It's crucial to pay the bills on time to avoid late fees, which can really add up. So as soon as we get paid, I pay the bills first--before we buy or do anything else. If cash flow is an issue, make yourself a little calendar so that you know when your paychecks come in and when each bill needs to go out--you can note this on the envelopes as well.

3. Use Weekly Cash Envelopes for Daily Expenses

This is probably the single best thing we've done to get a handle on our spending. I use the month's spending plan to figure out what we need for groceries and any other categories we can pay for in cash (gas, entertainment, laundry, lunch, etc). Then I put the cash for each week in an envelope.

Not only is this simple, but it keeps us to our plan. It's far too easy to walk into the grocery store with a debit card and over-spend for the week--especially if you're hungry when you shop. But if you only have $65 when you walk into the store with a store list, you're only going to spend $65--trust me.

Let me know if you've found any tips or tricks that help you handle your spending each month. I look forward to hearing from you!


cksknitter said...

My tip is to pay those bills online. It saves you 42 cents in postage for every bill. That can add up to a few dollars every month, money that can be better spent (or saved) other ways.

Obsidian Kitten said...

great suggestion, cksknitter ~ thanks!