• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

How to keep track of your monthly bills

Bills

I remember how I used to do bills each month. I’d sit down with the checkbook, a stack of bills, and a book of stamps… Then I’d hop on my horse and ride into town to bring them to the post office.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t that long ago, but doing bills like that certainly seems like something out of a storybook these days.

I still get a paper copy of some bills in the mail, but most now show up in my email inbox. I have the ability to pay each of them online: either by automatic withdrawal, or through a payment portal.

The only bill I pay by check is my mortgage — and that’s only because I drive by my lender every day. Also, for some reason, I like to get a receipt confirming I made the payment. Maybe I’m just being a little nostalgic.

I used to have a stack of paper bills in a basket on my computer desk. But with my new mixture of electronic and paper notifications, it’s harder to keep track of what needs to be paid and when. I needed a new system.

I decided to stop using my statements.

I’m not ignoring my bills; I just decided to stop using my statements as the reminders to pay them. When I get a statement, I examine it to ensure everything looks correct, then I discard it.

How I Keep Track of My Bills Without Statements

To keep track of everything, I use an expense worksheet (which I create at the beginning of each month). It includes who the payment needs to go to, the day it’s due, and the amount. Almost all of my expenses are the same amount from month-to-month, so that makes it pretty easy. The only two that are variable are my gas and electric bills. By the time I’m filling out my expense worksheet, however, the amount due has already been posted to my online accounts.

I process bills twice a month, which coincides with when I get paid from my primary career as a software engineer. On the first of the month, I pay all the bills that are due from the 1st to the 14th. When I get paid on the 15th, I take care of all the remaining bills for the month. My process is driven from my expense worksheet — without looking at a single statement.

Why I Don’t Use Automatic Withdrawals

I don’t pay anything using automatic withdrawals. I know it’s silly, but I just don’t trust them. Though I’ve used them in the past, I still avoid them if possible. It feels good to be physically part of the paying of my bills, even if it is simply by pushing a button. Maybe I’m just being a little nostalgic again