After my husband and I decided this was really the year to buckle down and start saving for a down payment on a house, we knew that we had to really get a handle on our budget. We've always been a little loosey goosey, generally knowing how much we spend, generally knowing how much we can afford, generally knowing when bills were due, but no solid set in stone plan to follow.
Between the two of us we have too many student loans, car payments, insurance payment, and regular bills to keep track of in my head. Every few days I would check in to see what bills were due, did I forget anything, over look a due date? Some bills come out through automatic withdrawal, but I don't like to do that with everything. When we became serious about saving I knew that I needed a better system.
I looked around to see what options are out there. There are all kinds off Bill Pay Checklists, most of them are free. I found two that I prefer. One come from A Mom's Take.
It is a free printable, for the whole year, and is nice and colorful. This is my monthly go-to guide. I write down all of our bills in order they are due, how much the bill is for, and I check it off each month once paid. I've said it before, I'm a list person. Having this physical piece of paper as a list is hugely helpful to me.
Another one that I like is from My Frugal Home. This one is very similar, still a free printable, but it's also editable on the computer.
I like that this one is editable on the computer. Each month I just need to open the pdf and electronically check off each bill as I pay it.
Something else that we have found extremely helpful for budgeting, is to pay all bills that are due within a time period right as we get paid. So even if we are paying the bill before it is due, we pay everything that we know will be due before the next income check, right up front. That way we know how much we have to push into savings, and don't over spend on the little things.
Keeping track of what we have in savings, and watching it slowly increase has also been rewarding in and of itself. What are your tips for keeping track of expenses and bills? How do you budget throughout the month?