There are many things I love about my job and many things I can't stand. Guess that's true with everyone, right?
One of my biggest dislikes is the fact that I get paid bi-weekly. Huh? Isn't that like the most common way to be paid? Yes. But you see my last job paid us bi-monthly. And I loved it. Our salaries were divided equally over 24 weeks. No, we didn't get the extra two paydays a year, but our paychecks were slightly larger because those "extra" pays were accounted for in the 24 paydays. Plus, I knew that on the 16th and 31st (or last day of the month if less than 31 days) I was paid. Same days every month- consistently.
So when I switched jobs and was paid like most everyone else I know, it was so hard for me to keep track of when to pay my bills. Why? I.HAVE.NO.IDEA. But it has been driving me nuts for the past year. Maybe if I explain my old super modern, high tech bill paying routine, it will help you understand.
This is my check book.
This is my old bill tracking spread sheet.
I know it's difficult to follow along with this super complex system, so I will break it down. The yellow papers are my old bosses post it notes. I turned them sideways to fit in my checkbook so I would always have my bill payment system with me. I would mark the month and make list my bills in two-three columns.
The first column were the bills that were paid with my paycheck on the 16th. The second column were bills to be paid on the 31st. The last column were bills that came up sporadically such as car registration or maybe a credit card that I rarely use. Those bills were paid from either paycheck depending on when they were due and which pay day had money left over to cover the bill.
Each post it note could hold 2-3 months of information on them and I would just overlap new ones every so often. Most months I set up all bills to be paid automatically online at one time and only had to worry about those extra bills when they would come by email.
Super easy right? I never missed a payment and it just seemed so convenient.
Bi-weekly pay sucks. I can't get a grasp on it. One month I may get a paycheck the first and third week and the next month the second and fourth. I should be able to keep the same system as before right? It's just that some months there are times when the due dates of a couple bills don't line up with the paycheck and I have to make sure I leave "extra" money from the previous paycheck to help cover the bill. Make sense? Does anyone else run into that with being paid bi-weekly or is it just me being stupid?
For the past year, I've been struggling to make sure I am getting bills paid on time and not coming up short in my checking account. It stressed me out each month and I was having a hard time coming up with a bill paying system. I searched all my favorite blogs to see what systems were out there, but most seemed too complicated for someone who used to organized her bills on post it notes!
What I have been doing is using this box that my sister-in-law used to wrap my daughter's Christmas present. I really love this box. I think she got it at Walmart.
I've been throwing all my odd bills and to do paper work in this box so that I wouldn't lose anything. Ummm, like my husband's registration sticker for the suv. Totally couldn't find it even though I thought I had thoroughly torn apart my office and bedroom. Of course a few days after he paid $5 at AAA to replace it, I found it under a pile of books on my nightstand. Never thought to look there!!!
Anyway, I began using this box to hold all papers that needed action. But this also added to my bill paying problem as I had to weed through papers to find those bills that aren't paid online.
So I figured I would try to come up with my own bill paying planner. It needed to be super simple or else I would never commit to using it. What I did was to deconstruct my coupon binder. I don't use coupons much and it was just collecting a ton of dust and expired coupons anyway. It's not the cutest binder out there, but I only used what I could find around the house. I may do something with the cover, but only if this system works.
The first part of my binder holds my zippered pouch. I removed the scissors and replaced them with a calculator, some highlighters, and my favorite pens. The pouch has two compartments and I'm thinking of keeping my checkbook in there as well. I rarely write checks and it would keep my purse less cluttered as well.
The next item is an old folder from my daughter. You may be able to see the faint writing on the front. She used it for her gifted class and I can still make out her writing on the front. Makes me smile when I see it. :)
You may have noticed a couple of things about my planner. For one, it's just my bills. Yes, I know this goes against Damn Ramsey, but after 25 years with my husband, this works for us. We've never combined our money. We have a joint account and my husband uses that primarily. I have access to account with my own debit card though he doesn't have one to mine. We joke about that all the time! My husband also keeps his balance "in his head". He's also bounced checks. Not often, but I just don't think we could exist peacefully if we combined our accounts and paid everything from one account. He doesn't keep receipts but checks his account online every few days to see where he's at. It's just too nerve wracking for me as I like to keep everything in order.
Also, we split household bills. I pay almost all the utilities and he pays mortgage, cable, and groceries. It equals around the same amount of money for each of us so we like it. Because he does a lot of coaching and extra teaching, we use those extra checks to pay insurance, taxes and other large bills. Somehow it works out perfect that he gets paid for those every year right before those bills are due. He also doesn't have any credit card debt, just one student loand. Neither of us have a car payment either.
I also don't have many bills. I have the house bills, one credit card with balance and two student loans. I may use a credit card like Victoria Secrets or Home Goods here and there, but usually I pay with my debit card. And other than the one credit card, I pay all others in full if I use them.
We've done this ever since we've been together and never had problem. This wouldn't work for everyone and goes against most experts advice. We are in process our debt snowball and have adapted our system to fit that as well. We talk about combining our accounts, but I'm the one whose most hesitant. Maybe after we knock out some more bills, I will be less nervous.
There you have my bill planner. I've only been using it since beginning of January so it may take some time to see if it helps make it easier to do my bills. I sure miss my post it notes!
This post is linked to I Heart Organizing and Clean and Scentsible