Wednesday, March 16, 2011

tips for monthly bills and budget

Thank you to TurboTax for sponsoring my writing about household finances.Learn more about how TurboTax can help you find every tax deduction you deserve. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do

Managing finances as a couple is kind of like learning a new language. At first it makes no sense and you feel like you will never get it down, but then over time and with practice you both become fluent in it! Scott and I are by no means fluent in it but we have made huge progress in the last two years {almost our two year wedding anniversary, YEOW!}

When we first got married we opened a joint checking account and each had our own checking account. In the last 6 months managing 3 checking accounts has become a thorn in my side. We recently decided our paychecks would go into the joint account, Scott would get money for gas and spending cash, we pay the bills, and then my gas money, spending cash, grocery money and our “fun” {read the small amount we now have to eat out since taking on a car payment} money all stay in the joint account. I just couldn’t stand not knowing just exactly how much money we had at any moment without having to check 3 accounts, take into consideration any bills that we have pending and then about 20 minutes later arrive at an amount that I could have sworn should have been bigger.

Moving into base housing in a few days will make bill paying even easier. When we pay our rent our gas/electric/water and trash will all be included. All we will have to pay separately is cable and Internet each month. That will leave our monthly bills to be car payment, insurance, cell phone, my student loan and our 2 CC. all of these are automatic except for our cell phone. Easy peasy!
{money issues can cause so much heartache, but when you have it under control life is so much better!}

One of my favorite tricks and one I use to share with all of my financial clients {I was previously a financial counselor for military families} is to stagger when your bills are due. Don’t make everything due on the 1st or on the 15th. If all of your bills come out on the 1st you will spend the first two weeks of every month either scraping by or using your credit card. Spread it out, half on the 1st and half on the 15th.

Before I was married a good portion of my monthly pay went to rent. Living by the beach without a roommate was not cheap, but was manageable if done right. Since my rent was due the first of the month I called all my bills and asked them to change my date to be due the 16th. They were happy to make this change. Some of them, like my student loan was not worth the hassle of trying to change so one month I basically paid twice so I could be a month ahead. So the 16th of every month I made my loan payment that had a due date of the 5th of the next month.


Cherith Ann said...

Since you have an iPad, you should take a look at the "Budget for Mac" app. It is phenomenal for the OCD money nazi like me because it allows you to view your money in virtual envelopes. If your paychecks are the same every week you can set up allocations and then hit "record pay" and it automatically distributes all the funds where you want them to go. Seriously, this program saved my sanity!

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