Do you struggle with staying on a budget month after month? Or, maybe making sure all your bills get paid by their due date? Or better yet, making sure you pay all of them, not forgetting any. Including the ones you pay annually? It isn’t always an easy feat, some months have more days than dollars.
When my husband and I were first married, we were on a very tight budget. Looking back, it amazes me how we were even able to live. It must have been on faith and love alone because it definitely wasn’t on money. I am sure everyone feels that way when they first start out, right?
I was curious what methods other people used to pay their bills. For a couple years, I recorded the bills down just as my mom had done my whole life, but that way seemed too time consuming to me. I knew someone else whose way of paying bills was way off course, I have no idea how she kept things straight. Her way was too easy to make a mistake and overlook bills.
One day, I was having this same conversation with a neighbor and she mentioned that they put theirs on a spreadsheet. And, that way made sense to me. No more flipping back and forth through pages, no more trying to figure out if you paid a bill. It was all there in one place and with a quick glance all your questions were answered. A spreadsheet was the answer I had been looking for and from that day on, a spreadsheet is what we have used to keep track of our expenses.
Over the years our spreadsheet has gotten fancier. I used to think I had to print it off in order to keep track of our expenses. I have learned if you just keep your spreadsheet on the computer it will do all the adding for you.
Why a spreadsheet will work for your bills:
- Keeps all your bills together on one page.
- You can compare different month amounts.
- You can keep track of monthly, annually, and semi- annually bills.
- You are able to color code and highlight if needed.
- At the end of the year, Excel already has everything added for tax purposes.
More Benefits of using a Spreadsheet:
- This spreadsheet can be used either on the computer or by being printed out.
- After I have completed a whole year, I like to put the previous years grand total at the end so I can compare the two years and make sure I am staying on budget.
- With the spreadsheet you can highlight which month your semi-annual and annual bills are due.
- You can group your bills. For example, a group for monthly bills, a group for annual and semi-annual bills, and a group for irregular bills.
How to use the spreadsheet:
- At the top there is a space to put the year. Since we moved so much being in the Marine Corps, I always added our location, then the year. You can do it however makes sense to you.
- On the left side of the spread sheet where there are empty rows; that is where your bill names go. For example, car payment, electricity, water, gas, groceries, doctor, etc.
- The columns going down across the top are meant for each month of the year. January, February, March, April, and so on.
- In the column for January beside each name of your bill, you will type in the total. You will notice that the amounts get added horizontally and vertically. DO NOT MESS WITH ANY OF THESE CELLS. THEY WILL MESS UP THE FORMULAS. If you see a cell that currently has $0.00 in it. Leave those cells alone. This excel spreedsheet is completely editable so you are able to make this spreadsheet your own.
- I also like to highlight the months that my annual and semi-annual bills are due.
- You can either keep this spreadsheet on the computer and fill it out everytime you pay bills or you can print it out and write in the montly amounts manually.
Benefits of using the Spreadsheet on the computer:
- All the columns get added up for you. Each month gets added (this total is at the bottom). Each bill gets added (this total is along the right side). And at the end of the year, you will be able to see how much you spent over the course of the year. You will also be able to compare the current year to the year before.
- All your bills can be seen at a glance.
- You can highlight things that need to be highlighted.
Other things to use to get on budget:
Carrie, my friend over at Carrie Elle has cleverly come up with a great budgeting system. Very similar to that of Dave Ramsey’s envelope system, but pretty. And, at the end of the month, you just cover up your previous months amounts with a sticker that comes in the kit.
I hope this free printable will help alleviate some of the stress you may feel every time you sit down to pay your bills. For me, it helped make better sense of where our money was going and what bills were left to pay every month. And it now happens at a glance.
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How about you, what kind of method do you use to pay your bills? I would love to hear from you, leave a comment below.