Get Your Finances Straight With A Payment Schedule
May 5, 2016 / Sara Davis / Budgeting 101: The Basics of Saving Money
Sometimes paying bills can be difficult.
Beyond remembering when each bill is due, you have to be financially prepared for them.
Carefully planning your bill payment schedule is important, but it can also be challenging and confusing at times.
For this reason, many people have a schedule that helps them prepare for each bill that comes their way. According to Gretchen Lindow, author of the Retired by 40 blog, creating her first bill schedule changed her financial life.
While she had previously been behind on payments, she and her husband are now slowly making their way to being up to a month ahead of schedule.
Lindow explained bill schedules are especially helpful for people who have missed a payment in the past, have experienced an overdraft fee as a result of paying a debt or struggle to remember when each bill is due.
However, even financially sound folks can benefit from having a concrete itinerary that will tell them what is due and when.
How To Create Your Bill Schedule
The first thing to do when creating a bill schedule is to list every single fee you will have throughout the year.
You'll likely first think of your monthly payments, like your rent or mortgage, utilities and perhaps your cell phone bill. But don't forget about bills that come annually, quarterly, or otherwise less frequently.
For instance, the blog Organizing Homelife explained that school tuition and ballet lessons are two payments she only makes from September until May. Other common examples of less-than-monthly bills are car insurance and water.
Once you have your list, write each one out in order of their due date. You can use a pen and paper or a spreadsheet to do this. Regardless of the method you use, the first column should have the date the bill is due. The second column should be the payee - whom you are paying or the entity you should make the check out to.
Next, write in the approximate or exact bill amount.
Finally, include a chart that you can check once each bill is paid.
After this filled out, you'll have a visual representation of how much you are expected to pay each month. When you get paid, make a point to get these bills taken care of.
If you get paid twice a month, for instance on the 1st and the 15th, you'll pay every bill that is due before the 15th on the day you get your first paycheck. When you get your second paycheck, you'll pay the remaining bills due that month.
In the case of those months where an annual or semi-annual bill occurs, you may feel tight on money compared to other months of the year. To prepare for these bills, set some money aside every month in a savings account to go toward that payment.
Creating and sticking to a bill schedule might take some work.
But rest assured, once you get into the habit, you'll be confident that you'll never miss a payment again.