Here is a simple hack that will have a big impact on your peace of mind.
Unless you are super compulsive about tracking all of your financial transactions, you have probably had those moments where you say to yourself, “Did I pay my credit card bill this month?”. Then, it’s a frantic search through a statement, or logging in to your bank to see if you did, in fact, pay the credit card payment.
I had a few of those moments myself, so I came up with a simple checklist for my recurring bills which I check off whenever the payment is made. I used to keep it in an excel spreadsheet, but I have recently migrated it over to Google spreadsheets.
Here’s how it works (you can see a screenshot at the top of this post):
The spreadsheet has thirteen columns.
- The first column contains my recurring bills, the remaining columns contain each month, January through December. In parenthesis I note the day of the month on which the bill is normally due, and automatic payment method, if applicable. For example: Time Warner Cable (ACH 2), means that my cable bill is normally due on the 2nd day of the month, and it comes out of our account automatically by ACH.
- When I pay a bill, I place an X in the cell corresponding to the payee, and the month. If I do not have to pay the bill that month, I place an NA in the cell.
- Finally, I also highlight the months where I will be having a non-monthly bill, so I know to look out for it, and to budget accordingly.
Keep it on your computer where you pay your bills, or print it out and keep it with your checkbook.
You can also download a sample bill checklist in Excel.