Tips To Stay Organized & On Top Of Your Bills

giphyToday I feel like writing this post using Sex & The City gifs. Just because!

As you know, I am on my adventure to being debt free. I told you about completing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and paying off my first three credit cards.

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Bye credit cards 😉

So I had finally started to get into a groove with this whole being better with my money and focused on paying down debt thing.

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And then I left my job I was miserable at and it halted my progress. I needed to find ways to pay the bills since I didn’t have another solid job lined up.

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I started waitressing and busted my butt to pay off my third credit card right before I moved in with Jordan. But now I had no idea when I could conquer the other two and be able to keep moving forward.

I had already been struggling to make a budget that worked for me when I was at my previous job due to the little amount I made and the pay cycle they used. Now it became nearly impossible to make any sort of budget or plan because who knew how much freelance work I would get or the amount of tips I would make. I could get scheduled 5 shifts one week at the restaurant and then only 2 the next. One night I could make $100+ in tips and the next walk away with $14.

It became the most inconsistent thing when that’s the thing I wanted to be most consistent with.

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I am still no expert when it comes to financial stuff, but I have made mistakes and have learned a thing or two on my adventure so far. Here are a few ways to stay organized and in control of your money so you can save time and money because wouldn’t we all love more of both?

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  1. Utilize calendars and make them your trusty friend who gives you gentle reminders

I’ve always been a big fan of planners and still use them even after school. Once I really started adulting and accumulating more bills, I started writing them in my planner. I really like planners that have the whole “monthly” view as well as a daily view. Each month, I write down when my bills are due in the monthly view so I can see them all in once glance and I can see where they line up and make sure to include when pay days occur. Here is an example of what you can do in a physical planner, Word document, online calendar, or app.

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To extend it further, if you need extra accountability, you can include the bills in your daily pages of your planner or calendar. If you use an online calendar like Google Calendar or an app, you have the option of it reminding you with an alarm on the day it is due! You can set yourself up for success! Once a bill is paid, I put a nice little check mark by it so I know it’s done and taken care of!

Let me tell you…late fees exist and some are more intense than others. When I still had my Victoria’s Secret and Express credit cards, they were maintained by the same company. So the monthly minimums were the same at $25 and they were both due on the 15th of every month. One time, I had gone on a vacation and thought I had planned ahead and already paid it before I escaped from reality. Then a few days after the 15th, I came to the realization that I didn’t pay it. It was then I learned that each card charges a $25 late fee. I had two, so there just went $50 because I spaced out and didn’t make sure it was taken care of!

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Then a couple months later during the holiday season, I was so busy and not on top of things that I realized I didn’t pay my Victoria’s Secret and Express credit cards on the 16th. They show no mercy and even barely 24 hours late, you still get the $25 late fee. So there went another $50 in late fees for a grand total of $100 I lost in late fees!

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You have no idea how mad I was at myself for these simple mistakes I could have avoided.

If you are financially comfortable enough to enroll in auto pay options that some services offer, this may also be another layer of protection from the gross late fees.

2. Use an app to keep you in the loop of your finances

There are numerous apps available such as Mint in which you can enter in all of your financial information by linking your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and so forth and it will have it all in one place for you. (It can remind you of bills coming up too!) It can also track your spending and gives you pretty visuals and charts to see where most of your money is going. It could be a great way to see that you might be spending too much money on food, drinks, or clothes and help you break some bad habits.

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I haven’t fully gotten into this app due to my budget making issues I’ve had this year with my variable incomes, but might try to give it a whirl again in the future!

3. Pay bills right away whenever you get paid

At my previous job, I got paid every Wednesday. So I started a habit of paying bills and spending time with my finances every Wednesday morning. I’ve been the type of person that will mindlessly spend by grabbing a spontaneous coffee or going out to dinner randomly. Things I may not have actually planned out. So I wanted to make sure that no matter what, I got my bills taken care of and that money accounted for so I didn’t accidentally overspend and use the money that should have gone to my next bill. The money needed to be out of sight and used properly right away. It became easier for me to see what I actually had to spend at the end of the day.

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This is a great way to check in often with your money and see what’s going on, what progress has been made, and what else can be done.

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So as the new year is approaching and resolutions are being made, you may be thinking of starting your own adventure to being debt free and want to learn more about all things financial. Enrolling in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is a great first step! You can do it online or at a local church in your area. I recommend going weekly to an actual in person class so you can meet other people who are in this with you, learn more beyond the lectures such as money saving tips, and it’s a great way to hold you accountable. Please contact me if you have any questions or need help finding a class for you in your area! *I was not paid to advertise this class. I have personally completed the program and am passionate about it.

I am pumped for 2017 and ecstatic to tell you that I did recently accept a full time position as an Account Coordinator at a marketing firm!! This will be my very first salary position, which I am thrilled about! Now I can actually make a solid budget! I am looking forward to completing more financial goals in 2017. 🙂

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Who else is making financial goals? I would love to hear about them! Let’s do this! 🙂

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With extra sprinkles on top,

Rachel

 

2 thoughts on “Tips To Stay Organized & On Top Of Your Bills

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