Just like most things, in order to achieve your money goals, you need to be organized. This means not only knowing how much money is coming in and how much is going out, but also keeping track of the smaller details. Today, I would like to discuss some aspects of how my wife and I organize our finances. Everyone has his or her own way of organization, however if you find that you are still struggling, sometimes hearing another method can help.
When it comes to your personal finances, there are three ways to break it down: income, savings and expenses. To keep the finances in my household organized, I like to use Quicken and Excel. The great thing I love about Quicken is that you can download transactions directly from your bank or financial institution. This way, you do not need to worry about entering in everything manually. Another great feature is that Quicken allows you to assign a category to each transaction and generate monthly reports. This way to can easily see where your money is going each month and your income, savings and expense amounts can be tracked.
In addition to using Quicken to keep track of transactions, I use Excel to keep track of bills and payoffs. One spreadsheet I use, I have all of my monthly bills. In one column I have the name of the bill, the next column is the amount due and the next column is the due date. This allows me to see in one location everything I owe and to whom. Additionally, I also list the date and amount of the last payment I made so that I can reference back to it easily. It looks something like this (these amounts are made up):
This is a spreadsheet that I update on a weekly basis. Once I have all the numbers updated, and before I schedule any payment, I like to sort the list by due date from soonest to furthest out. This way, I can easily see which payments need to be scheduled when.
Once I schedule the payment, I am sure to update the “Amount Paid” and “Last Payment” columns. Then I delete the “Amount Due” and “Due Date”. I login to my accounts online each week and make sure everything is up to date. This may seem like a bit much to some, which I can certainly understand where you are coming from. My wife and I have found that this system works and lets us keep everything neat and organized.
In addition to this main bills spreadsheet we use, we do also have a spreadsheet containing month over month balances. This allows us to have a history of each bill we pay in one, convenient place. Also, we use multiple bank accounts to organize our money. There is a method to this madness as well, which I will save for future posts.
If this method is something you are interested in, try it out. Get everything organized and wait to see just how much better you feel when you have everything conveniently in front of you. If you have a different method that you find works for you, please comment and share. I would love to hear from you.
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