I have what can only be termed as an obsession with lists. I have lists for everything. In fact I am starting to think I need a list to keep track of my lists. Since I have a number of them on the computer and the sidebar is a list of all the lists I have there…. I kind of do already. NCN asks in Day 18 of 33 Days and 33 Ways to Reduce Debt and Save Money – how do you keep track of due dates? And I say… with a list of course!
I have several recurring expenses that always happen on the same day every month. My mortgage is always due on the 1st. My car loan payment is always due on the 20th. But I also have many payments that the due date is always in the same part of the month, but the actual date varies a bit month to month. I have a single standard list that I keep month to month to keep track of all these various due dates and make sure I pay them in a timely manner. Here’s how.
I have one standard list that simply gets replicated every month in a spreadsheet form. The list has all of my standard monthly expenses in one column, the amount due in the next column, the amount actually paid in the third column, the due date in the fourth column, and a place for a checkmark in the fifth column for if it has cleared from my bank account. There is room at the bottom to add any bills that do not reoccur and just need to be paid in a particular month.
This is my method: When I get a bill in my email inbox or by mail, I immediately fill in the due date and the amount owed on my sheet. Then when I pay a bill, I enter the actual amount paid (usually the same as amount due except my credit card which I snowflake extra to) and use strikethrough font on the entire line to show I paid it. Then, when I see the debit in my online banking, I place a checkmark in the last column, and that item is done until the next month.
That’s it! I have used this system for a very long time, and I haven’t paid anything late with it yet. I look forward to when I can simply sit down once a month and pay all the bills at once, but since we are nowhere near out of debt, our money is still being managed much more closely than that would allow. Someday we’ll be paying this month’s bills with last month’s income, not this month’s, but until then I go with my system. And it seems to work.