Monday, July 28, 2008

Paying bills and balancing that checkbook

When my husband and first were together, he paid the bills and I balanced the checkbook. But since I became a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) I now pay all the bills and balance it all out.

I use Microsoft Money for my checkbook. It is so easy to use and it automatically gives me my new balance without any calculating. I rarely make any errors using it. Of course, I use the online checking from my bank. But I think it is really important to know exactly how much money I have as I'm waiting for bills to clear.

When we first moved, I wrote down all our bills on a pad of paper. I wrote the estimated due date and whether we pay automatically or not. As bills come in I keep them in a stack. I then write down on a post-it note how much is due and the due date. I put the post-it over the previous month on that pad of paper. At a glance I can see how much we paid for the last few months. For a while we had a lot of medical bills to keep track of so it was really helpful to do it this way.

I normally pay the bills the last week of the month. Everything is due toward the beginning of the month except our credit card. We only use one credit card. I pay some of the bills with that, and its billing cycle ends around the 25th. I used to pay bills as they came, but it's easier now to pay them all at once. Then I know exactly how much money we have and how much to put into savings. And using Microsoft Money is just a great cross reference.

I can usually get them all taken care of in about 15 minutes. And then I don't think about them again until the end of the month.

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