It’s amazing the allure of ignorance. People gravitate toward a life of “winging it” to escape the realities of the necessity of budgeting.
Whether you make bank or barely enough to eke by every month, escapism is a Band-Aid that just delays the festering. It doesn’t prevent or heal; it merely distracts for a time. And it’s amazing how much can be avoided if live right at your means instead of securely below.
But, why would you chose to live at your means over control?
Learning to be in control — and ultimately responsible for your own actions — is just part of growing up.
Revolving Bill Calendar
One of the first steps of gaining control over your financial profile is to draft out your financial obligations. While there are items only paid once a year or annually, the majority of revolving bills occur monthly.
If you pay via e-check, automatic draft or by credit card, look at your bank statements over the past year and write down each of the recurring bills. Note when they are paid, when they are due and the amounts over the last year. Write down the range of payments (the most expensive bill and the least) and the average payment amount for each item.
Organize them by the dates they are due.
It can also be helpful to indicate the average and range on a calendar in order to more quickly glance at your estimated budget as the month progresses.
If you pay via cash, it may be more difficult to track down what payments go out each month. One strategy is to meticulously track every single dollar for at least one month. For every dollar that comes in and every dollar that goes out, document where it goes.
It may sound overly simplified, but creating a revolving bill calendar is such a crucial step for gaining control over your finances. It creates an easy to read, easily accessible and tangible system of household bills and accountability for all involved.
Don’t Forget …
While this method is beneficial for monthly bills, there are still those that occur less frequently. Consider printing out a full year’s worth of monthly sheets and imputing those throughout the year. Another method of handling those particular bills is to divide the amounts by 12 and scheduling those each month as well — simply put that money in a separate place (either via envelope system or savings account) so it doesn’t accidentally become allocated to something else.