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Paying bills is a drag.
I think I waste more mental energy dreading paying the bills than it actually takes me to get the task done!
I used to spend hours finding our bills around the house or digging them out of my email. Only to sit down and figure out which bill is due when and how much to pay. Our house was cluttered with random bills I meant to file, JUST IN CASE, we needed it!
I may write about saving money, but I not driven by numbers. I don't go to bed dreaming about excel spreadsheets and cutting corners in random areas of our budget.
I am a goal setter. A visionary type person which means I don't care HOW we get somewhere just as long as we MAKE it there.
We have busy lives and pack of people who keep us busy. I crave SIMPLE systems that keep us marching towards to goal. If the system is complicated, I won't do it.
So about 3 years ago, I realized our bill paying system wasn't working for us. I needed something simple that kept our budget goals AND our bills in one tidy place. I came up with the binder system.
It isn't rocket science.
But if you are struggling with a way to BUDGET and Bill pay without giving all your time away each month, here is what works for us!
1. PURCHASE A 1.5" 3 RING BINDER
Purchase a 1 1/2" 3 ring binder. If you have a lot of paper bills, you may need a 2". You want enough room to hold one year of bills and other budget-related items.
While you are at it, make sure to get one with pockets inside the front and back. I have found those pockets to be super helpful to hold things I may need in the future but don't want to deal with right now!
2. DIVIDERS, HOLE PUNCH, AND PENS!
I LOVE these plastic dividers with pockets. You'll need 12 dividers, one for each month of the year. Go ahead and label each tab January through December!
Every time I pay a bill, I write on the bill the amount I paid and three hole punch that bill. I place the bill behind the corresponding month. I keep all my bills throughout the year. I find that sometimes a bill is wrong or I forgot what I paid.
When I have all my bills in one place, I can quickly figure out what I actually owe. Remember, people get billed wrong for things all the time! Keeping track of what I paid and when I paid it is a huge time saver!
While we are talking about 3 hole punches, go ahead and buy yourself a really nice one. It is worth it! Keep it next to all your bill paying stuff.
By the way, I also think pens are a really great splurge. I have this set and LOVE it.
3. PRINTABLE BUDGET FORMS!
The last thing you need for a great budget and bill organizer is printable budget forms! I print off one budget form for each month, three-hole punch it and place it in my binder.
While I am paying bills, I simply jot down each bill in my budget. It takes 2 minutes tops! At some point in the month, we will talk through goals, savings, and debt. We make some plans and I may jot those down on my budget form as well!
My favorite budget forms are from Jessi Fearon's Real Life on a Budget Planner.
It contains printable monthly budget pages, monthly expense tracking sheets, goal trackers, check-in meeting sheets, debt repayment tracking, and so much more!
Right now, it is a part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. It's a great deal so check that out here.
Etsy also has some great printable budget forms.
Grab a cool binder and some dividers and make this your year to get organized!